“All In” – New Girl

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Solid opening for New Girl’s third season here. We pick up right where we left off at the end of last season – Jess and Nick driving off into the LA night, having just agreed to give their relationship a real shot. And, in true, New Girl fashion, madness lies not far from there.

Afraid of what being around Schmidt and Winston will do to their fledgling romance (a fair worry, I think we can all agree), they decide to escape for a few days and find themselves in Mexico. Of course, this could never go smoothly (New Girl is not the paradigm of neatness) – they go native, living out of Nick’s car, breaking into high-end resorts and threatening young children. Nick gets arrested. Fairly standard fare.

The episode was notable for one thing: while we were delighted to see that Nick and Jess have survived the hiatus (even they couldn’t screw it up after five minutes), we were even more delighted to see that their relationship hasn’t taken over the show. We do love Nessica, but we love so much more about New Girl, and we weren’t anxious for it to become the Nick and Jess show to the exclusion of other strands.

Those strands this week were Schmidt’s decision – he does have the ability to ruin everything in a short time – and Winston’s insanity. We thoroughly enjoyed Schmidt and Winston’s interactions. The writers are still trying to work out what to do with the pair while Nick and Jess are together, but they’re clearly getting closer. There was hardly a moment of Schmidt and Winston’s time on screen that didn’t leave us guffawing (and that’s a word we don’t use lightly). It finally feels as though Nessica won’t exist to the detriment of the show.

But for all its hilarity, we must remember that “All In” was most definitely just setting us up for the rest of the season. Story arcs involving Schmidt’s love triangle and Nick and Jessica’s future happiness were teed up. Yeah, Cece didn’t get married, but this was still a honeymoon period. Everything was going right. Next week, or very soon afterward, is when things will start to go wrong.

Nick and Jessica can’t stay in their blissfully happy stage for long, and we’re likely to see some clashes there before the first half of the season is out. This episode saw Schmidt trying to have his cake and eat it, choosing both Cece and Elizabeth. But there’s no way he can keep that up for long and, in the discovery, it’s likely that he’ll lose both women forever. Which is a shame. We can’t understand why he wouldn’t just pick Cece – the history may be there between him and Elizabeth, but the tension isn’t, and true fans won’t be happy with the current situation, or the eventual explosion.

As the season unfolds, we’ll learn a bit more about where these arcs are going. But for now, we’re happy to stay in the honeymoon phase. That’s where New Girl thrives. – K

Quoteworthy: “We’re a family. You can’t choose who you love. Sometimes they choose you. And sometimes it’s just because you got a really great deal on Craigslist. I got a really great deal on Craigslist. I got all of you. There is no us without Schmidt and Winston. It’s gonna be really, really hard. But so what, Nick? So what? I believe in us. I’m all in.” – Jess

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