Review: ‘New Girl’ – ‘Cooler’

Senior Television Writer
01.29.13 55 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as I violate the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act…

For a season and a half, it’s been clear that “New Girl” has been heading towards a Nick/Jess hook-up, and I’ve for the most part been ambivalent about the whole thing. Yes, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson work well together. Yes, the characters are two very opposite personalities, sparks can fly, yada yada yada. But for the most part, it’s felt like something the show has been doing because it’s what’s expected, rather than because anything particularly interesting has ever happened in the scenes where we’re meant to think of them as a future couple and not as two mismatched friends.

Fair is fair, though: their kiss at the end of “Cooler” was a moment that completely and totally worked, even though the entire episode had made it clear that that exact thing was going to happen, with Jess reacting that exact way. For a couple of minutes there, I actually found myself intrigued by the idea of them hooking up, thanks to some excellent work by both Deschanel and, especially, Johnson.

The rest of “Cooler” dialed back the wackiness of the last few episodes in favor of a more straightforward hang-out episode, with the long-awaited return of True American thrown in as a bonus. (Adding new “rules” kept it from feeling like a rehash of the time they played it with Fancyman.) The result was an episode that was much less laugh-out-loud funny than the last few, but that was enjoyable nonetheless and felt true to the characters. And there were some nice running gags, from Holly (played acceptably by Brooklyn Decker) getting turned on by Schmidt and Nick’s sadness to Winston’s struggle speaking to women. (“Hey girl, what your name is?”)

As almost always seems to happen with this show, there was so much going on that one storyline got short shrift, which in this case was Cece’s date being convinced (understandably) that she was trying to bail on him. But overall, this worked.

What did everybody else think?

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