Friday, February 01, 2013
Eliminating My Inner Nick Miller
If you aren't allergic to laughter, you should watch The New Girl on Fox's Tuesday night comedy block. The New Girl is one of the funniest shows on television. It has an excellent ensemble, and all the actors have great chemistry with one another. However, if I could recommend the show for only one reason, it would be for the character of Nick Miller. I'm not sure why I would ever be in the position to have to recommend anything for only one reason. What kind of universe do we live in? Why can't you always just give as many reasons as you want? Anyway, sorry for the digression.
Nick Miller is, by the world's standards, a huge loser. He is poor, drives a piece of crap car, is unlucky in love, rarely shaves or showers. Deep down, he can't really stand most people, but more than anyone, he can't stand himself. He frequently finds himself mentally isolated, and frequently goes loony from the isolation.
Like plenty of schlubs from my generation, I lived a life basically identical to Miller's from the age of 17-25, even had the same first name, even had the same aspirations to be a writer. Somewhere around the age of 22, I was confronted with a scenario common to probably a million sitcoms. I loved a girl who was dating someone else. Also, just like a sitcom, I knew this girl might also be interested in me, had several chances to steal her away, and didn't take them. So, much like Nick Miller, I lived in loserdom, wandering aimlessly, tagging along with all my coupled friends, slowly going loony. Don't get me wrong, being single is awesome, but not when you know you are missing out on the relationship you should be in. Anyway, a couple years later, the girl I loved met with me to tell me she had broken up with her boyfriend. She was obviously vulnerable. I decided to take it slow. A couple days later, she already had another boyfriend. She was acting like a stupid sitcom person, and if I'd just sat there and let her do it, I would have kept acting like a stupid sitcom person, too. Just like Nick Miller. But something inside of me snapped. My Nick Miller romantic nature cracked down the middle, and essentially, I did something like this.
This scene comes from, "Cooler, the most recent episode of The New Girl. I've always identified with the Miller character, but never more so than in "Cooler." Nick faces, if possible, more romantic humiliation in this episode than any other. Even the girl he should be with's boyfriend finds him a non-threatening joke. The episode has so many great metaphorical layers, including Miller taking off a coat, literally, a woman's coat, he has worn all episode, immediately before the above scene happens.
I don't really care how The New Girl handle's what happens next. I know that, despite the awesomely realistic, non-sitcom nature this episode took in its ending, the show is bound to rules, and will have to put numerous, screenwriter-created obstacles in the couple's way. Despite this, Nick and the titular new girl will most likely end up together, just like my girl and I, married for almost seven years now, and with a three year old, ended up together, and as a direct result of me finally taking action. Killing the inner Miller. It felt good.
Unfortunately, in my situation, romantic peace doesn't pay the bills.
I'm still broke--being a writer didn't pan out for me, either. So I'm back at school in my 30's, trying to learn a new trade. But school is ridiculously hard, and it's probably going to take me forever. I refuse to give up, which paid off in eliminating my inner Nick Miller romantic side. But will I ever be able to eliminate my Nick Miller professional side?
Here's to hoping.