Review: ‘New Girl’ – ‘Pepperwood’

01.23.13 5 years ago 30 Comments

A quick review of last night’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as I have a deaf grocer…

“New Girl” plots generally trend towards basic hang-out comedy, but the show will at times go in a wackier direction, with mixed success. When Schmidt took Winston to buy some crack a few weeks ago(*), it worked because it was a prank gone out of control, with both men acting like the characters we know. Jess getting involved in selling horse semen to Russian gangsters last week was iffier, but at least worked as a good Jess/Nick character story, while Schmidt and Robby going undercover to bust up Cece’s arranged marriage plans was too silly, even with all the good one-liners.

(*) I was at press tour and didn’t have time to review that episode, but I must once again mention that Max Greenfield’s pronunciation of the phrase “crack cocaine” is my favorite thing so far of 2013.

Nick going undercover to prove one of Jess’s students is a killer was definitely a case of the show descending too deep into wackiness – and yet almost working just because it was fun to watch Jake Johnson play the ridiculous character of Julius Pepperwood. (With an accent that sounded modeled on Nick’s father.) “New Girl” isn’t the kind of show where Edgar was ever going to turn out to be a murderer for real, so the only way for that story to function is for everyone but Nick to treat the idea as dumb. That way you still get the Pepperwood antics, and you can even get the creepy revelation about Edgar, his wife and their duffel bag, but Jess isn’t being stupid along with him.

The Pogo storyline was much better, in that it was dealing with how the four roommates get along (and, in a funny side gag, how baby-talking Cece is only partially a member of the group), the things that drive them nuts about each other, etc. That said, it still felt rushed in spots, and Jess’s pogo being that she’s a know-it-all didn’t feel right. First of all, it’s not really a side of the character we’ve seen much of – she’s not Ross Geller or Ted Mosby. Second, there are plenty of well-established traits about her that are easily mockable – most of them no doubt leading to her contributing to the Annoyance Bowl (as counterpart to the Douchebag Jar). And while I enjoyed the introduction of the Bowl – and the amusing Zooey D. miming and dancing that led to said introduction – I don’t know that an episode about all the things the roommates secretly mock about each other was the right episode to put it in.

So lots of individual moments that were very funny (including the Winston scenes that bookended the episode), but an episode where both stories felt like they needed tinkering with.

What did everybody else think?

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