I had mixed feelings about "Clavado En Un Bar", the first new New Girl of 2014. While it made me chuckle at times (and that has barely happened during this disjointed season) and strayed away from making Jess and Nick's relationship the focal point, it still tied things up a little too tidily -- even by sitcom standards -- and relied on way too many flashbacks. Granted, this is a show that uses flashbacks almost to a fault, but unless it uses them in as stellar a way as in the Season 2 episode, "Virgins," it can feel as lazy and uninspired a trope as a clip show.
Ever since Friends went off the air nearly a decade ago, there's been a noticeable absence of great Thanksgiving episodes on sitcoms. New Girl has clearly been trying to fill the void and while the first two efforts -- "Thanksgiving" (Season 1) and "Parents" (Season 2) -- were solid efforts, last night's "Thanksgiving III" proved that the third time isn't necessarily a charm. It probably didn't help matters much that this was a Thanksgiving episode with little to no Thanksgiving, but mostly it was because the mojo of Season 3 is still off. While Schmidt and Winston had some particularly hilarious moments, Coach still feels out of place and the over-analyzing of Jess and Nick's relationship reared its ugly head again. Here now are the do's and don'ts of going camping on Thanksgiving:
Just in case you were wondering what Coach's role would be now that he's returned to the gang on New Girl, it's this: making Schmidt and Winston's life a living hell. Last week he spent the majority of the episode humiliating the clumsy Winston (this week didn't go much easier on poor Winnie either) and during this week's episode, "Longest Night Ever," he courted Schmidt's ex-girlfriend Cece, a woman he's still very much in love with. Wait, aren't we supposed to be glad that Coach is back? He's been sort of a thorn in the side of the shaky Season 3. Hey, at least we didn't have any Nick and Jess relationship drama to deal with. Here are the do's and don'ts of the episode "Longest Night Ever":
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":
It's the moment we've all been waiting for: the return of Coach/Damon Wayans Jr. to New Girl. Season 3 has been a little off (to say the least) thus far and having one of the show's original characters come back to spice things up again will surely help, right? Well, I wish I could enthusiastically say that was the case, but even with the tremendously talented Wayans back in the game, something still felt not quite right. Maybe it's because Schmidt is living across the hall (possibly) or maybe it's because Jess and Nick are sucking all the fun out of the room by analyzing their relationship over and over again and then resolving it over and over again (actually, that's definitely it) but I was hoping for a sea change with last night's episode "Coach." That said, the presence of a naked Taye Diggs didn't hurt and Winston finally, at long last, has a proper rival/foe in the man he replaced. Here are the do's and don'ts of when Coach returns:
Well, that was a pretty bizarre episode of New Girl, even by the standards of the already pretty bizarre Season 3. (Wait, this is what they did with their Halloween episode? It comes but once a year, you guys!).
While Season 2 of New Girl was sheer escapism (albeit, very well-written and well-acted escapism), Season 3 is shaping up to be one that holds an almost unforgiving mirror to what it's like to struggle through the ups and downs of your early 30s. From love (Nick and Jess) to questioning who you are in the grand scheme (Schmidt) to Winston (Winston), Season 3 thus far has aimed more for character studies than hearty laughs. While I can certainly appreciate what episodes like last night's "The Box" are doing, I'm anxious for New Girl to venture a little bit back into sitcom land. Sure, it's nice to relate and be able to see yourself in the characters you love, but I still would like to laugh with these guys again. Until then, here are the do's and don'ts of paying off your debts. (Come on, New Girl, stay off my case about bills! I'll get to them!)
Well that was an awfully manic episode of New Girl, wasn't it? I mean, it makes sense, considering all four of the loftmates have spiraled into different levels of mania, but that didn't make "The Captain" any less of a strange episode. An especially evil and vindictive Schmidt made good on his word to do everything in his power to split up a newly emotional Nick and sexually awakened Jess, who fell for his trickery. Winston…well, Winston had another storyline involving his cat.
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.
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