In season 1 episode 15 of New Girl titled “Injured” written by Nick Adams, Berkeley Johnson, and Josh Malmuth, Jess’ friend Nick goes through a crisis of identity when he finds a possible cancerous lump on his neck. While the lump is ultimately harmless at the very end of the episode, the framing of this particularly thematically heavy episode exemplifies the way in which the writing and dialogue of the show as a whole drives both the development of the small circle of friends as well as the juxtaposition of real-world problems with the series’ distinct brand of humor.
The general delivery of jokes and one-liners remains consistent with other episodes, where a character starts a seemingly ordinary thought and concludes their sentence with the punchline. However, it is oddly the few-second pauses in the characters’ speech that act as the most poignant moments out of the 20-minute episode. As the plot and humor are dialogue-driven, these pauses allow the audience to shift their attention away from the progression of events to the details of the characters’ behavior, thus providing an insight into how these friends deal with such a high stress situation: the respites from the friendly teasing and jokes quickly reveals the underlying sadness, worry, and anxiety all 5 of them have for the well-being of Nick. Even after the lump is proven to be benign, the episode continues with intermittent pauses in the dialogue, thus further solidifying how the gang is still in the process of internalizing Nick’s near-death experience.
While the writing, pacing, and humor of “Injured” are all the trademark quality of the rest of the show, the moments of silence in this episode provide the central moments from which the characters are able to develop. When it comes to the writing and dialogue, Adams, Johnson, and Malmuth ultimately demonstrate the potency of writing nothing at all.
Netflix. “New Girl S1:E15 ‘Injured’.” Online Video Clip. Netflix. Netflix, 2018. Web. 6 Nov. 2018.