A quick review of tonight’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as I take a dart in the eye for a gold chain…
Death isn’t an easy subject to tackle in the format of a half-hour network sitcom, especially one like “New Girl” that wants you to feel genuine emotion at the same time it’s pushing very hard on your funny bone, and that doesn’t always have the best track record of juggling different tones and stories in a given episode. But “Chicago” did a very nice job of exploring how Nick would actually feel about losing his father – and how Jess would feel about trying to comfort him in this difficult time, when their own friendship is in such a strange place, and where she’s a stranger to Nick’s family – while also providing some wackiness like Schmidt having a panic attack over too many buttons(*) and Jess impersonating Elvis(**) badly. Everybody got their moment, whether it was Winston’s primal scream while trying to stall the mourners(***), Margo Martindale very plausibly being half of Nick’s DNA, or Nick Kroll and Bill Burr getting to be silly in smaller roles.
(*) Max Greenfield’s pronunciation choices as Schmidt are always a pleasure, whether it was mashing “crack cocaine” into one word a while back, or the way he seemed to add 2 or 3 extra t’s to “buttons’ each time he said it here.
(**) Zooey Deschanel is a lot smaller than the drunk Nick found to play/kill Elvis, yet the jumpsuit fit her quite well.
(***) Note: I checked with production, and that was not George Wendt as one of the mourners sitting near Nick’s mom. Sure looked like him, though. But why would Wendt bother with a non-speaking extra role? And why would “New Girl” waste him on such?
Ultimately, though, what carried the episode was Jake Johnson, and the way that Nick was finally able to come up with a speech that could sum up his father without seeming either too mean or too reverent (“And he was so mean to cabbies in such a cool way!”). It reminded me very much of last season’s “Injury,” which also dealt with fear of death and focused more on the bonds between the characters. Nicely done, all around.
What did everybody else think?