A review of last night’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as I play guitar in an alt-country ska band…
I strongly disliked last week’s episode (and was in the minority among you on that), but was very pleased with “Valentine’s Day,” which gave all five regulars something funny and character-appropriate to do, and which correctly judged whose stories were more deserving of time than others. (I imagine, for instance, there was a lot of Winston at girls night in that got left on the cutting room floor, but the end result was probably the right amount.)
I was particularly pleased with how the Jess story went. In the past, whenever the show has done a story about Jess’ sex life, she tends to come across like a 10-year-old girl, or (to quote Donna Meagle) Nell from the movie “Nell.” This story did a much better job of making her seem both inexperienced and clumsy without completely selling her out for the sake of the joke. She had bad luck with Jason Stackhouse, and she’s not really into sex for sex’s sake, but she also didn’t seem infantilized. She was just the protagonist in a sexual comedy of errors.
This was also a terrific episode for Schmidt (“youths” is just a funny word, and not just because of all the “My Cousin Vinny” memories it conjures) and Cece, ending with their inevitable hook-up. Because we don’t see Cece as often as the guy roommates, it can be easier to miss how good a job the writers have done at character development (or, rather, establishment) with her, but she has a clear voice and a clear role in both Jess’ life and the show, and that’s more than you can say for what they’ve largely done with Winston, even if this particular subplot for him was decent.
One other thought: the show could not make it more blatant that a Jess/Nick hook-up is somewhere in our future, be it near or far, but I have to say I was intrigued by Jess misreading Schmidt’s signals and pondering a one-nighter with him. The one part of “The Story of the 50” I didn’t particularly like was that Schmidt’s big sin was trying to kiss Jess, when that wasn’t remotely as d-baggy as everything else he did in the episode, and when the show and the other characters don’t react that way about the greater purity of Jess and Nick’s flirtation. (You know he won’t be putting no 50 in no douchebag jar if/when they kiss.) Max Greenfield has quickly become the funniest part of this show, and while Schmidt’s been chasing after Cece for a while, and while Jess and Nick have been circling each other, I think it could be very funny – and possibly more character-appropriate – for Jess to realize that Schmidt’s more sensitive, inner-fat-kid qualities might make him a good match.
Of course, if you go down that road, then eventually she’ll also have to flirt with Winston just to make things fair, and suddenly it becomes a show not about four mismatched friends and roommates, but more in the vein of latter-day “Friends” where the writers keep trying to pair people off in new combinations. And that’s probably not ideal. So let’s keep Lizzy Caplan around as long as possible (even though she’s doing Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” cable series tend to film on weird schedules), let’s see where Schmidt and Cece take us, and let’s keep moving forward.
What did everybody else think?