‘New Girl’ – ‘Control’: The little-nipped drummer boy

Senior Television Writer
03.14.12 36 Comments

A review of last night’s “New Girl” coming up just as soon as I reinstate my ban on high-waisted shorts…

I’m of two minds on “Control.” On the one hand, it did something very important to the long-term viability of the series by illustrating exactly why the other guys put up with Schmidt. Max Greenfield and the writers have turned Schmidt into the funniest character on the show, but his behavior – like Jess’s behavior – can be so extreme that it’s hard to fathom other people, especially someone with Nick’s personality, living with him for years on end. So having Jess disrupt the ecosystem to show how dire everyone’s life gets without Schmidt helped lay a good foundation for his place in the apartment, and the show, which in turn gives the show license in future episodes to have him go back to his douchiest.

On the other hand, I didn’t find most of the episode funny. And where the second half of last week’s episode intentionally dialed down the jokes to let the group bond emotionally over Nick’s cancer scare, “Control” was trying to be a normal, laugh-filled episode. I just don’t think most of the comedy worked. We’re only midway through the first season, and it already feels like the life has been sucked out of any story where the guys warn Jess not to do something, Jess does it anyway and is shocked that the guys were right about the consequences. Beyond that, I never bought Schmidt’s transformation into laid-back drum circle guy. He doesn’t have enough guile to pretend to become that guy to teach the others a lesson, and yet he always seemed to be faking it. His whole transformation, and then reversion to type, felt rushed.

Nick and Winston’s fight over Nick being a deadbeat was a bit better. I did like, for instance, that Winston had already planned out a section of the speech he could jump to in the event Nick told him to relax. On the other hand, the show is in danger of putting Nick into the Schmidt position of making us question why the others are friends with him. I get that he and Winston have known each other since they were kids, and apparently he and Jess are soulmates, but Nick can be an incredible ass sometimes, and it doesn’t feel like that storyline so much resolved itself as it got absorbed back into the A-story by blaming the conflict on what Jess did to Schmidt.

(Also, points off for not pulling a “HIMYM” and setting up a fake ItsNickMillerTime.com website.)

What did everybody else think?

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