I wish I laughed at New Girl as hard as I used to. I'm not saying last night's episode "Sister 2" wasn't funny, per se, but the tone of the show in Season 3 hasn't given me one solid belly laugh, when the first and second season were packed to the brim with them. "Sister 2" had its funny moments, but even something as silly as Nick pretending to be a hot dog bandit (it's was as ridiculous as it sounds) didn't make me laugh in the same way it would have a year or two ago. Is it because I've outgrown these characters or because the pacing feels off or am I just not letting myself actually have fun watching such a light show? It might be a little bit of all three, but either way, not even the re-emergence of Coach this season or newcomers like Jess's crazy sister Abby (Linda Cardellini) are helping fix this problem. In fact, they might even be making things worse.
I realize that's a different opinion of Cardellini's Abby than the one I had after her first appearance (I thought she'd me a much-needed burst of energy for the show), but just like Abby herself, she's already wearing out her welcome. Not only is this character wildly unbelievable (even real wild-child basket cases would roll their heavily mascaraed eyes at her antics) but we know that whatever havoc she is wrecking (seducing Schmidt this week) will only be temporary. If Abby was a permanent fixture on the show, it might be an interesting dynamic, but there's an expiration date on her, and considering what an over-the-top annoyance she is, it's probably for the best.
Of course, the real issue here isn't with Abby, but the five main pals. Schmidt is Schmidt; Nick and Jess are fine, if not a little boring, in their relationship; but it's the uselessness and misuse of Coach and Winston, respectively, that's the most troublesome. In this week's episode, Winston was too stupid to complete a series of applications, and Coach was there to give him a hard time about it and/or try and encourage him to keep going. I honestly didn't know who to feel worse for here. Hopefully something happens to make Winston and Coach make any sense on the show, but in the meantime, here's the do's and don'ts of "Sister 2":
Do: Open Up a Dialogue Instead of Trying to Get Nick to Pull Off a Lie
Nick is a terrible liar. We know this, Nick knows this, and you'd like to think by now that Jess knows this. (He's especially bad at lying to her family members, like when he spilled the beans about his relationship with Jess to her dad Bob.) Still, that didn't stop Jess from trying to get Nick to cover for her while she sought out an apartment for Abby to move in to so that she could get out of their loft ASAP. The lie lasted all of, oh, five minutes before Nick caved and Abby became an even bigger nightmare. Of course, even when Jess did share her true feelings with Abby, it was all for naught, because she already got her claws in Schmidt (but more on that in a bit).
Don't: Play Sky Knife
That just seems like the worst, most dangerous, most idiotic game since Joey came up with "Fireball" on Friends. Despite its cool name, the game -- which literally consists of throwing knives at the ceiling and hopefully getting them to stick -- is just a bad idea all around for this accident-prone crowd. Stick to True American, kids.
Do: Check Both Sides of Tests and Applications and Have Just the Slightest Bit of Common Sense
You know, speaking of Friends, Winston has somehow turned into the Joey of this group. Someone so profoundly stupid and oblivious, there's no way they'd actually be able to function in the real world. This isn't a mid-life/career crisis Winston is claiming it to be; it's a full-on meltdown. Not only is Winston no longer picking up on social cues (he interrupted Coach's personal training with a lady he was clearly trying to sleep with) but he publicly embarrasses himself, he has a "pizza baby," he makes wildly inappropriate statements to people he shouldn't make inappropriate statements to (he told a potential employer he doesn't think women should handle money) and he botched his LAPD exam hard. All that said, I do like his idea for whatever a "sandwich meeting" is.
Don't: Try and Deal with Your Significant Other's Crazy Family Issues
It's not exactly fair to peg this to Nick, because he wanted nothing to do with dealing with Abby. Abby, who is wanted in Canada ("No one is wanted in Canada," as Jess points out), and makes a scene at museums, and overstays her welcome as a guest, and draws penises on sunflower paintings, and is kinda racist ("She has a thing with ethnic white people"), and seduces Schmidt with some truly bizarre sex acts (including giving hand jobs at the dinner table and role playing as Jess and Nick, which is truly disturbing) so that she can move in with him instead, is unmanageable. So when Nick yelled at her and told her that she is a "garbage person… you should live in a dumpster with rotten snails", that was somehow crossing the line with Jess. I mean Nick knows crazy families (as he explained, he has an uncle whose legal name is Shifty), but it's probably in his best interest to stay as far out of this Jess and Abby disaster as much as possible.
Bonus Don't: Claim That Taming Crazy Women Is Your Hurt Locker
Case in point: Abby. You're a weak, weak man, Schmidt.
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