New Girl was one of my favorite shows last season. In fact, it’s been on the top of my viewing list since somewhere around the middle of the first season, once the writers allowed the weirdness of the rest of the roommates to shine through. While Jess still has her quirks, they’re not quite as cutesy as they were before. Sometimes she’s even playing the most sane roommate in the loft, which seems to work for me. These changes really helped the show take off halfway through season one and most of season two.
I was looking forward to the show returning this year, but a few episodes in, I’m finding it not really clicking for me and I don’t know why.
It might be the Jess and Nick relationship, which I admit I was interested in seeing play out but which, so far, seems to have centered around tired old sitcom plots about the fear of personal change and losing friendship if the relationship fails. This week seemed to be an exception, mostly because the episode was about Nick and Jess messing with Schmidt, and not about their new relationship, and that made the episode stronger I think. Despite my complaints, I hope the writers don’t end the relationship anytime soon and dive straight into the tired old awkward post breakup storyline. I’d rather see them turn into the skid, preferably by making the relationship mostly a secondary focus rather than a primary story. Jess and Nick can stay together, but they’re more fun when they’re messing with someone else than when they’re freaking out about each other.
Speaking of tired cliches, Schmidt’s attempt to juggle two relationships at once was so predictable and lame that I groaned every time it was discussed on screen. That sort of plot really was something I thought this show wouldn’t have to resort to, and the fact that they did has shaken my confidence in it. What made the writers think that Schmidt juggling two girls at the same time would be funny? They made it even worse by throwing in the old “they both showed up to the same party” gag! Now Schmidt and CeCe are broken up (for a second time) and its going to seem even more wildly implausible when the show inevitably tries to glue them back together again. Silver lining: Schmidt’s cold-cut fueled, couch-bound depressive spiral was pretty entertaining this week, and I could see the writers having a cabin fevered Schmidt go crazy in his spacious new loft across the hall. That would be fun to watch…
Winston appears to have become a completely insane person, which I really can’t complain about because all the weird and crazy stuff they have him do each week has made me laugh. I particularly liked his interaction with his (stolen) cat from a few episodes ago and his David Letterman from this episode. But his craziness can’t carry the show when either Jess/Nick or Schmidt aren’t working, and none of them have been working on consistent basis so far this season.
All that said, I think Tuesday episode (3.06: Keaton) was probably the best one of the season so far and I hope it’s a sign of better things to come.