“The Captain” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.18.19 PM“The Captain” was, by far, hands down, one of the funniest episodes of New Girl we’ve seen in quite some time. Certainly replete with awkward moments (the eponymous Captain, for one), they added to the episode’s hilarity, rather than detracting from it.

As has so often been the case lately, the episode focused on Nick and Jessica. Stopping that from becoming trite, however, was the addition of Schmidt into the mix, as he tried every trick in his arsenal to mentally undermine the fledgling couple. He played on Nick’s commitment phobia and Jess’s incessant need to talk about her feelings to throw a wrench in the works, and, well, it nearly works. But he pushed it that little bit too far, prompting Nick to man up and talk about his feelings and prompting Jess to quiet down, just once.

Our favorite strand in the episode, by far, though, was Continue reading

“Double Date” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 6.50.31 PMWell, you’d have to say that this week’s New Girl was a touch predictable. So predictable, in fact, that we predicted it right from the season premiere. And yet, we don’t really mind. It’s all in that very specific ‘I told you so’ vein – something we all enjoy, massively. We knew Schmidt’s two-timing was going to end in disaster. We (mentally) warned him. And, now that it has, we’re full of a grim sense of satisfaction, tempered, all the while, with feelings of genuine sympathy – we know he truly loved Cece, and thought he loved Elizabeth. And now he’s lost them both? We do feel for him. We’re not heartless.

Now that that arc has come to its inevitable conclusion, it opens up the season for a lot more drama. First and foremost, Schmidt’s threat to Nick and Jessica. He’s pledged to make their lives hell until he’s succeeded in breaking them up. This should bring us at least a couple of weeks of hilarity as he does whatever he can to drive a wedge between the pair. Given the newly-minted status of their relationship, it also raises the possibility that he might succeed. Perhaps Nessica is going to be fairly short-lived.

The other strand that will likely come out of this will be Continue reading

“Nerd” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 2.19.48 PMWe have the overwhelming feeling that this could all get very tired very quickly. Not the Jess and Nick strand. That’s still going strong and is getting more adorable by the week. We mean Schmidt, Cece and Elizabeth. And the reason that’s getting tired isn’t because love triangles are overdone or because we think Cece is the obvious choice, but because the writers clearly think Cece is the only choice. From the opening moments of this episode through to its closing scenes, it was painfully obvious that they, and perhaps even Schmidt, had chosen Cece. The focus was on her. Even when Elizabeth was on screen, it was as a foil for Schmidt and Cece. This is hardly the balance that the situation calls for. If you want us to believe that Elizabeth is a viable alternative, that Schmidt could feasibly and with good reason chose her, or even that Schmidt loves her, you’re going to have to make us believe it. And you haven’t yet.

The rest of the episode was more promising. Nick and Jess continue to grow as a couple, and as individuals. As Jess vies to get into the cool teacher ‘clique’ (featuring Don’t Trust the B‘s Dreama Walker) at her new job, we see the surfacing of old insecurities and the development of each character as they continue to learn about themselves and grow into each other’s lives. Nick coming to Jess’s rescue again and again (and Continue reading

“All In” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 7.44.11 PM

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 Continue reading

“Virgins”, “Winston’s Birthday” and “Elaine’s Big Day” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.46.24 PMWe can’t believe we missed all of these episodes as they aired! The final three episodes of New Girl’s second season were among its best. They were hilarious in a way that the show hasn’t been in quite some time. There were genuine tears running down our faces during some of the sequences. In a way, though, we’re glad we got to watch them the way we did, in part because of the timing of the episodes themselves. They took place over a three-day period and watching them one after another saved us from breaking the narrative flow.

First up we have “Virgins”, in which each of the central characters told the story of how they lost their virginity. Some of the stories were laugh-out-loud, side-splitting hilarious, and others were just stories, but the episode, in not reaching too far or being too ambitious with its storyline, was a veritable coup. It’s been so long since we had the main characters all together, alone, that we had almost forgotten what amazing chemistry they have, and what magic the writers can work when their focus is tight. Of course, we also loved the episode because of its ending – Jess and Nick finally sleeping together. While we, as hardcore Ness ‘shippers, were most excited by that, we acknowledge that the closing montage was fantastic in general. It showed how far each of the characters has come since that first, virginity vanquishing roll in the sheets. And it gave us further inkling of Cece’s unhappiness and the uncertainty surrounding her impending marriage. As she elects to wait until after she and Shivrang are officially married to sleep with him, her fears have never been more apparent.

“Winston’s Birthday” was the weakest episode of the three. It took us too much away from Continue reading

“Bachelorette Party” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 1.07.55 PMThe pain one feels when one is suffering from tonsillitis is powerfully unique. It is one of those rare pains that cause a person to want to go to extreme measures just to make it stop. In the past, I have seriously entertained thoughts of just lopping them out myself. I have fantasized about plunging syringes full of numbing agent into my neck. I have bargained and begged, and have asked family members to embrace their inner Sweeney Todd.

Little did I know when I woke up this morning that that pain would soon be a thing of the past. That it would be eclipsed, and pushed from my mind, by a far greater pain. Because, if you want to know true pain, watch last week’s episode of New Girl. “Bachelorette Party” was the very worst of what the show had to offer. It was boring. It was unfunny (and not in that ‘we’re addressing something serious this week’ way). It felt like it was ducking the laughs that were worth chasing, forcing us, instead, to chuckle ashamedly at a series of juvenile attempts to photograph Shivrang’s penis for Cece.

The one bright spot was the introduction of Fat Schmidt’s ex, Elizabeth (the fantastic Merritt Wever, Studio 60). This feels like more than a walk-on role, and I’m hoping to see more of her over the coming weeks. I’m anticipating a season finale that centers on Cece’s wedding – maybe Schmidt will get that ‘serious relationship plus-one’. Either way, I’m predicting a lot more of Elizabeth and, potentially, a lot more of Schmidt. In the fat-suit department. Because he’s going to eat his feelings, is what I’m saying.

In summation: Continue reading

“First Date” – New Girl

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 3.10.40 PMIf the worst thing that I can say about New Girl’s “First Date” is that it wasn’t hilarious (and that pretty much is the worst thing I can say about it), then I think we can chalk this one down as a success. Recently, New Girl has done a fantastic job of encapsulating the awkward in-between phase of ‘friends-plus’, and that ‘let’s not do anything’ but still wanting to thing. The big-hitting comedy has always excelled at creating identifiable stories, and this week was no exception. Nick and Jess’s disastrous attempts at a date, their inability to click and their ever-growing tensions are all immediately recognizable to viewers, and are all the more entertaining for that. The chemistry between Nick and Jess continues to wow, and really sells the story. Despite their determination to just stay friends, the final scene speaks volumes and I doubt it will be long before they take it to the next level.

If one thing is suffering from the Jess and Nick arc, it’s Schmidt and Winston. Increasingly pushed together by the frequent requirement for Jess and Nick to be alone, they are spending more and more time as a duo. And we’re not sure that’s working. Playing cleverly into that this week, and going all meta and self-referential, is Winston and Schmidt’s realization that all of their best moments were because of Nick. Their later revelation that they don’t really need Nick after all may be the right conclusion for the characters, but I’m not sure that it holds true for the show. I’ll be keeping an eye on it over the remainder of the season but, for now, I’m not buying it. I will be very disappointed if this Nick and Jess, Schmidt and Winston divide becomes a regular feature. I think I’ve made it clear that I’m team Ness, but I don’t want it to take over the show, or ruin the established relationships that have made the show such a joy to watch. Fingers crossed! – K

Quoteworthy:

“I have a favor. It’s about my clothes.”

“Burn them. Burn them all.”

– Nick, Schmidt

“Chicago” – New Girl

New Girl went a bit darker than usual this week. Nick’s dad died. It was sad. Really sad. But the show managed to do something remarkable with all of that sadness. It made an episode that wasn’t about misery, or rending of hair and gnashing of teeth. It was funny. Surprisingly, but undoubtedly, funny. A strange direction to take, you might say. You might even say that this was one more example of New Girl being unable to take anything seriously, and glossing over the reality of a situation. I don’t agree. I think this was the most real any of their episodes have ever been. Yes, the helium voices were silly, as were the Elvis themed funeral and Schmidt’s fear of death, but, beneath all of that, the episode captured that intrinsic dichotomy of death and grieving. It’s indescribably sad, yes, but life moves on. People are still getting drunk, people are still falling in love, and getting engaged. There is still laughter. There is still fun. That’s the reality of every death I’ve ever experienced. And it’s the reality of New Girl. Life just is. It’s not perfectly scripted, it’s not perfectly calculated for the maximum amount of grief. It’s sad when it’s sad, it’s happy when it’s happy, and sometimes the two overlap. –

Quoteworthy: “That bastard was a saint. A saint. The bastard.” – Nick’s mom (Margo Martindale, Dexter, Justified)

“Quick Hardening Caulk” – New Girl

        image

This episode. This is what New Girl should always be – hilarious from start to finish, emotional when it needed to be, touching and sweet. The perfect combo. And it came at  just the right time – right when we were starting to wonder if the show had lost its mojo.

“Quick Hardening Caulk” saw progress on the two main arcs of this season. Perhaps chief among these is the ongoing Schmidt and Cece storyline. This week, Schmidt goes off the deep end. As he spirals following her engagement to Shivrang, we’re treated to a Schmidt who’s lost what few marbles he had to begin with. He’s determined to get himself a lionfish, the marine equivalent of Cece (though he doesn’t see the metaphor himself until after a disastrous encounter with a jellyfish). At episode’s close, he realizes that he’s going to have to let Cece go. But this is Schmidt. We all know that that revelation won’t stick for long. And I sincerely hope it doesn’t.

The other main aspect of the episode was, of course, Jess and Nick. The show has become more and more about them since That Kiss ™, as it should. As anyone who’s ever had a thing for a friend can attest to, kissing makes it complicated. And the complications reached a whole new level this week. When Nick starts getting his life together, Jess becomes more and more attracted to him. There are obstacles, of course. This is New Girl. But that only builds the tension even more. And, when Jess finally admits she wants to have sex with Nick, it’s electric. This far eclipsed their first kiss (and I think we can all agree that was fantastic). The stakes were higher. It meant more. The fact that they didn’t have sex doesn’t mean that that’s not where they were, and still are, headed. And, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter that they didn’t. For now, a kiss is enough. Because, boy, can this pair sell a kiss.

If there’s one thing we’re not loving about the show at the moment, it’s that Winston is being increasingly left by the wayside. Part of neither of the show’s romantic arcs, he’s becoming more and more the comedic foil. It’s beginning to feel as though he’s there just to be a sounding board for Nick and a complicit partner in Schmidt’s schemes. We’d like to see one of the other characters take a back seat to Winston for a change. Here’s hoping… – K

Quoteworthy: “Winston, I just realized something. It was never about a fish. It was a metaphor. It was about Cece. Don’t feel bad about not seeing it. Look, man, it was subtle as hell.” – Schmidt

“Cooler” – New Girl

IT’S FINALLY HERE!!! (For me, anyway. The rest of you probably saw this when it aired three weeks ago. But cut me some slack.) The episode where Jess and Nick finally kiss. And it was perfection. It was, by far, the best ‘FINALLY!!!’ kiss since Josh and Donna in The West Wing. Possibly even better. Being honest, I thought it could only be disappointing. I had already seen the clip – a friend posted it on Facebook, and I couldn’t resist watching – so I thought rewatching could only lessen the impact. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The build up to that kiss was so simmering, so tension-filled, that it far exceeded expectations.

But I should stop gushing about the kiss. The rest of the episode was fantastic – and would have been even if it had stood apart from that moment that fans have been waiting for since the Season 1 pilot. New Girl is so watchable (and so universally loved) because, even amid all of the wacky silliness, it’s so easy to identify with. These people are so watchable because the lives they lead are (give or take a douche jar) exactly like everyone else’s. This episode embraced that aspect more than any other, highlighting the awkwardness of dating for the socially awkward. Nick’s reliance on his new coat, Winston’s stammering and stuttering inability to speak to pretty girls, Schmidt’s over-confidence… we’ve all lived through each of those phases. Some of us are still living through them. And it lead to hilarious moments that we can really believe could happen.

But that kiss – that was the highlight. And makes me more interested than ever in seeing the aftermath. Jess is still dating Sam, so how will she deal with this new development in her relationship with Nick? How will Nick deal with it? How will the rest of the roommates deal with it when it inevitably comes out? I can’t wait to find out. – K

Quoteworthy: “Seriously? I think it might be gang related. Blue curtains. [whispering] Crips.” – Jess