‘New Girl’ – ‘Kids’: The babysitter and the brassiere

Senior Television Writer
04.18.12 53 Comments


A review of last night’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as Drea de Matteo is scheduled to appear…

FOX renewed “New Girl” last week, and though the ratings have dipped notably since that strong premiere(*), these last half-dozen or so episodes have suggested this is a show that deserves to live a long and funny life.

(*) I wonder how much of the dip is the fault of FOX taking it off the air during the baseball playoffs (wrongly assuming that “X Factor” would be the bigger draw) and taking away that early momentum, and how much is the fault of the show taking a good chunk of the first season to figure itself out. It’s not an either-or proposition, and many shows decline over the course of a season, but there have been obvious scheduling and creative issues at play here.

“Kids” continued that creative surge, pulling off a kind of Murphy’s Law farce in the loft without having to lean on the tired crutch where everything is going wrong because no one knows what’s really going on with everyone else. There was a brief period where Schmidt didn’t know about the hypothetical pregnancy, but that info came out in short order, and then it was just a case of each little brushfire fanning the flames of the one next to it, until we came to the disastrous moment when Russell’s ex came into the loft to find Nick removing bras from her daughter. Excellent structure, lots of laughs, no cheating or requiring anyone to be dumber than normal to make the jokes work.

The Schmidt/Cece story was my favorite, as it deftly weaved back and forth between Schmidt the awesome and sensitive guy and Schmidt the rampant d-bag completely lacking in self-awareness. His fear of “a Russian nesting doll situation” if he has sex with Cece again was particularly horrible/hilarious, as was his run of incredibly Jewish-sounding baby names. We’re getting to a point where both of them are having serious feelings about the other, along with a reluctance to admit it (both to themselves and each other), and I’ll be curious to see how the show handles it going forward. But thus far, Schmidt/Cece has been an absolute winner on the humor front.

Nick dating younger women continues to pay good comic dividends, as does the writers’ realization that if you just let Jake Johnson say a lot of ridiculous things in a row, good things will come of it.

And though Winston wound up in a story completely disconnected from the rest, it no longer feels like the show is trying to simply manage Winston and keep him out of everyone else’s way. Joe makes an amusing, weird foil for him, and yet their relationship continues what we’ve seen in recent episodes about Winston’s unexpected nurturing side. (He is, essentially, Joe’s nanny.) Sure, Joe may not be as good as Michael Strahan at most things(**), but who would’ve thought to compliment him on his ability to grab seven copies of “Speed” on VHS for a fraction of the price?

(**) Though the line about Strahan being better at marriage ignored the very ugly, very public, very prolonged divorce proceeding between Strahan and his ex-wife a few years back.

What did everybody else think?

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