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Sweatpants & TV | New Girl, Season 5, Episode 2 – “What About Fred?”

New Girl group hi res

The Lofties are growing up, guys! And it is hilarious.

This is one of the funniest episodes in my recent memory, packed with some great one-liners and even greater guest stars, so let’s get to my Top Moments of New Girl: What About Fred?

Jess and Freds parents

  • That New Girl’s got game: Jess has jumped back into the dating pool, but it turns out that she falls hard for Fred’s parents, Flip and Nancy (Henry Winkler and Julie Hagerty! Come ON!). These hip parents are amazing and interesting and right on Jess’s level: between park days spent painting and reading and their obvious upbeat devotion to each other, Jess is addicted pretty quickly. But what about Fred?
  • But boy can he dance: Fred is as dull as the dough ball he ate at the park, but he has some memorable moments when, in an attempt to let Jess have some alone time with Fred’s parents, Winston enlists his cop friend Aly to stall Fred on their way to meet his parents and Jess at a restaurant. Aly makes Fred perform a series of sobriety tests, including starting to break dance without actually break dancing. And Fred, played by SNL’s Taran Killam, nails it. (And considering Julie Hagerty is in an episode named What About Fred, I can’t help but harken back to one of my favorite movies from childhood, What About Bob?)


  • Nick and Schmidt become part owners in the bar: The group is growing up, even if they aren’t very good at it yet. Schmidt gives Nick a corporate makeover, and – this is Nick we’re talking about – Nick swings wildly between being too lenient and over the top strict.
  • Get a grip, Nick: Nick attempts to hold a staff meeting to establish his new role as manager, which disintegrates into a “yo mama” joke by Javier, Nick’s friend and co-worker. When Javier refuses to wear the new polo uniform and Nick wants CeCe to measure her pours, CeCe leads a walk out, followed by the rest of the staff.


  • Just a man and his cat: Winston and Ferguson are one of my favorite couples. I love how Winston talks to his cat the way he would a person (because really, don’t we all do that?) and how he takes such good care of him.


  • Nick implements Cobra Kai rules at the restaurant: Oh, Nick. At least you’re playing on your level, and Schmidt mirrors him with a karate stance when Nick fires Javier.

Nick Cobra Kai

  • “You and Fred = You and Us”: Fred’s parents have no delusions about their boring, rambling son, and like Jess, they want to spend more time with her. The captivating couple tries to lure Jess into getting serious with their train-loving son by dangling their Vermont house and all it contains, including their neighbor, Terry Gross (which is such a Jess-snagging move). She almost falls for it until Fred and Winston show up, and Fred launches into his I <3 Trains monologue.

Group at table

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About Tomi Wiley (38 Articles)
Tomi L. Wiley is the Poetry and Short Fiction Editor for Sweatpants & She has written and edited for media including Southern Living and Oxford American magazines, has been published in the literary anthologies Milk & Ink: a Mosaic of Motherhood, Telling Tales, Maypop and the Southeast Review, has coordinated panels for the Southern Festival of Books, spoken on the creative writing process at Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is a past president of the Tennessee Writers Alliance. She lives in Knoxville, where she is writing her first novel with the help of lots of wine, goat cheese and the Barefoot Contessa.

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