Review: ‘New Girl’ – ‘Sister’

Senior Television Writer
02.11.14 24 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as you’ve seen a girl who looks like me but with chaos in her eyes…

“Sister” is one of those “New Girl” installments that has too much going on and leaves nearly ever plot feeling slightly underfed – the Winston/Bertie/Coach/Cece corner of the episodes in particular – and yet has enough individual funny moments to mostly work. I could have listened to Winston discuss the tang level of the bisque for another five minutes, for instance, or hear more of Schmidt flirting in Hebrew, but what little we got was excellent.

That said, I wouldn’t have cared if the rest of the episode was just a flashback of Fat Schmidt at a buffet, because I was so pleased with the introduction of Linda Cardellini as Jess’s sister Abby.

In part because she spent so many years on “ER” playing a very dour character, in part because she didn’t keep working with Judd Apatow like so many of her “Freaks and Geeks” co-stars, it’s like the business has forgotten just how funny she can be. She’s a fine dramatic actress, as she got to demonstrate again last season on “Mad Men,” but what made her work on “Freaks and Geeks” so special was how multi-faceted it was: she could make you cry, but she could also make you laugh, sometimes within minutes of each other.

Abby’s a good character for her: you can see bits of both Jess and Mrs. Day in her (the scene where the sisters imitated their mom was a highlight, as was her discussion of wanting to put Nick’s “uptown butt into ski pants), but in a way where the family’s energy has been turned darker and more self-destructive. With Coach sticking around and Crazy Winston still dating Crazy Bertie, the show doesn’t especially need another character staying in the loft right now, but I’m looking forward to more of Cardellini for as long as she’s sticking around, and for as long as they can give her and Zooey Deschanel the kind of good material they had tonight.

What did everybody else think?

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