‘New Girl’ – ‘Wedding’: Say yes to the Jess

Senior Television Writer
10.04.11 40 Comments


A review of tonight’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as I have acrobatic, mean-spirited, highly-educational sex…

I hadn’t planned on writing about “New Girl” for a while. Last week’s “Kryptonite” was a step down from the pilot (mainly because of the awkward transition from Damon Wayans Jr. to Lamorne Morris) but still promising enough, while the other episode I’d seen (Oct. 18’s “Naked”) pushes Jess’ eccentricity over the line into annoying. So I was just going to wait and see a month or two from now how the show was managing to maintain its inner Zooey-ness. 

But “Wedding” was easily the best of the post-pilot episodes I’ve seen, and in some ways I enjoyed it more than the pilot. It made pretty good use of Winston, gave Schmidt a very funny foil in Natasha Lyonne’s gross but confident Gretchen (whom I hope comes back) and with the slow-mo Chicken Dance(*) did a much better job of recreating the fun of the pilot’s climax than last week’s bit with the guys all donning silly hats.

(*) Winston’s dance-off with the kid and then the Chicken Dance climaxwere both reminders of a theory Phil Rosenthal liked to espouse behind the scenes on “Everybody Loves Raymond” (and which is clearly shared by many comedy writers): funny dancing makes everything better.

Most importantly, though, it allowed Jess to be strange and silly without making her seem like a slow-witted womanchild, and/or someone so oblivious that you’re not sure why the guys tolerate her presence. Jess is goofy and can’t control it, but she also enjoys herself and her life much more than the guys usually do, and it was nice to see an episode building towards them acknowledging that, while also allowing Zooey Deschanel to do various amusing bits of physical and verbal comedy. (Jess’ ongoing struggle with the bicycle pants was a good running gag, albeit one that didn’t have the expected payoff at the end where her lack of underwear became an issue).

Strong episode all-around. FOX unsurprisingly ordered a full season last week, and if they can make more like this one, I look forward to watching for quite a while.

What did everybody else think?

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