For an already muddled season of New Girl, last night's "Menus" felt even more aimless than most episodes. Not a single story line worked: Coach tried to train a lazy Nick, Schmidt missed being in the apartment, Jess waged war against a Chinese restaurant because of their excessive menu loitering and poor, poor Winston was nothing more than a prop to point and laugh at. My only hope for Season 3 at this point is that it pulls a Season 2 and starts off messy, but ends things on a very high note. Because it's not just a matter of weak plot lines, it's that the chemistry and vibe that made the show so great last year feels all but nonexistent. I don't even feel the spark between Nick and Jess anymore. Maybe that's because Nick has become the grown-up and Jess is regressing back to being a childish girl, and while I appreciate character growth, I'd prefer them to grow into people we actually want to see together. Until Nick and Jess and the rest of New Girl gets its groove back, here are the do's and don'ts from "Menus":
New Girl has never been a show that's tried to reinvent the sitcom wheel, but that doesn't make it any less special, nor does it make it any less funny than the comedies like Friends or Seinfeld that paved the way for it. Case in point: last night's episode "Double Date" featured plenty of sitcom tropes (restaurant seating woes, revealing shocking truths, double dates gone awry, love triangles gone even more awry) but still managed to be a hilarious, refreshing episode.
Nick and Jess are still madly in love (it's only a matter of time before they drop those three little words, wouldn't you agree?), Schmidt is still torn between Elizabeth and Cece (pick Elizabeth, you fool, she gives delightful speeches in public !) and Winston is getting crazier by the week. "Nerd" was more or less an extension of last week's disjointed season premiere, but a much more cohesive, romantic and funny one, at that.
Season 3 of New Girl kicked off with the manic, yet romantic episode "All In." Now that Nick and Jess are in full-on couple mode (in fact, they took their honeymoon phase to a honeymoon destination), Schmidt and Winston are left to fend for themselves again. Well, Schmidt is still in the midst of his love triangle with Cece and Elizabeth (choose Elizabeth, you fool!) and Winston…likes puzzles and is colorblind. Yes, another season of New Girl means another season of the writers having absolutely no idea what to do with poor Winnie. That said, we did laugh at the episode…we're just hoping that now that Nick and Jess have returned to the loft, they'll all get back on solid ground.
Much ink has already been spilled about the way the Fox sitcom Dads has pissed off Asian-American groups with its "jokes" about sexy Asian schoolgirls and Chinese businessmen with strange sexual peccadilloes. Based on the jaw-droppingly unfunny pilot, though, there are plenty of other demographics that can and should be offended by this fall's worst new comedy series, co-created by Seth MacFarlane during, we're assuming, whatever downtime he had while directing his sophomore feature film, A Million Ways to Die in the West. (The show's laziness and general absence of humor certainly suggests that his attention was elsewhere.) Here are the various lobbying groups Fox should expect to hear from any minute now.
Another one bites the dust.
Oprah and Lance re-enact the Ricky Gervais classic, The Invention of Lying
With its potent combination of an award-winning director and star (Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington), a celebrated supporting cast (among them, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo), dark, emotional subject matter (alcoholism) and expertly executed spectacle (most notably a terrifying plane crash), the new drama Flight is sure to be one of the fall's leading Oscar contenders. The film, which was penned by actor/screenwriter John Gatins, casts Washington as commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land his free-falling plane with a minimal loss of life. He's celebrated as a hero for his actions... until it emerges that he's got serious personal problems that may or may not have contributed to the crash. Following the film's premiere at the recently concluded New York Film Festival, the cast and crew of Flight answered questions from the press, including how the project first began and whether it cured (or contributed to) their fear of flying.
The show may be called New Girl, but for us, it's all about the Schmidt.
"Hey America -- watch my new sitcom or the cat gets it."
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