The Problem with New Girl

new girl

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.


4 thoughts on “The Problem with New Girl

  1. I agree with this 100%. I also couldnt get a grasp of why i am no longer interested in New Girl when it was one of my new favorite shows. You nailed it! These are all old troupes that have been done on every other sitcom. TV watchers like you and me have seen this before and have seen it done better before, Old plot done in a lackluster way = boring. That is also why the Winston stuff is great, because thats new! No one has ever stolen a cat before during the break up. And even if they have, said stolen cat has never been the focal B story. Awesome! New girl was great before when the quirky led to insanity that we would never have predicted. We all saw Jess/Nick from the first episode, the schmidt love triangle also predictable. These days i have limited time for content. If things done get better soon, New Girl is going to be taken off DVR rotation.

  2. Agreed. I’ve always felt like this show was weakest when it surrounded Jess, and now that she and Nick are together, they feel like they need to spend too much time on them and their budding romance. It just falls into the Jess Trap. And while Schmidt was always a great supporting character with his own quirks, even those quirks have fallen to the wayside with this stupid Schmidt/CeCe/Elizabeth triangle. That leaves Winston to be the crazy one, and while he’s doing an amazing job at entertaining me this season, I’m sure it can’t sustain the Winston Show. Eventually, it will just transition to stupid.

    That being said, this week’s episode was its strongest. Though, now that I think about it, it looks like we’re running out of things to do with CeCe. She was the weak link in this episode (and honestly, I had trouble believing she was suddenly IN LOVE with Schmidt out of nowhere — especially now that she’s all mopey about it). Do they really have nothing better to do with her than to just have her entire storylines revolve around Schmidt?

    Perhaps that’s another problem with New Girl. If they only let these characters have only one thing to focus on, when that one thing hits a brick wall, the whole show suffers.

    PS – Where is the cat, by the way? Did I miss it in the last episode? Or did he get rid of it? That was one awesome cat. And one awesome Winston with cat.

  3. Pingback: I’m behind on my shows. So what’re you watching? | Raked

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