New Girl 3.08 Review – Are You a Doer or a Dumplinger?

13 Nov

There has been suggestions that this season of  New Girl has been a little off, that it’s not connecting in the same way as last year and while I agree that it might not have the same spark as season 2 there’s definitely still a lot of great material here. Part of the issue comes from how fractured these characters have been; Schmidt started the season dealing with his double dating drama, Nick and Jess have been paired off and Winston was languishing in a place called crazy town. Schmidt’s moved out and Coach returned and it already feels like Coach has been on this show for more than 3 episodes.  If last week was about reintroducing Coach in the broader sense, then “Menus” builds on this and shows that an extra person can help boost the story.


From the pilot the main Coach characteristics were that he yelled a lot and he couldn’t talk to women; both of these attributes are still part of him and he has a terrible time forming sentences when Cece stops by, yes the word ‘breasts’ randomly comes out of his mouth. Plus he tells her that he will “tip her right over.” Smooth. Coach feels like he is defined by his job that is also his name; since his breakup he hasn’t been doing much coaching and he sees a project in Nick. As we are already aware Nick has some terrible habits including eating Chinese takeout for breakfast – it’s not even takeout from the night before, he’s actually ordered it in special and for some reason this seems way more horrifying.

Even with the perfect workout track and yes Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” is just that, Nick still can’t resist the menus that keep coming through the door and he chooses dumplings over abs. The abs that he thought God just hadn’t gifted him with. Nick has very little belief in himself, but he has an infinite supply for those around him. While he might not always go about this in the most logical way Nick has an abundance of encouragement for those he cares about and he was always on hand last season when Jess was feeling down about employment status. On this occasion his advice is misguided as Nick tells Jess to stop trying to try so much because she’s constantly getting shot down with her suggestions at school. In refusing Coach’s help and opting for his not so healthy lifestyle, Nick’s telling Coach that he’s terrible at what he does. This isn’t Nick’s intention, he just really wants to eat dumplings.

Nick’s big speech moment comes as a result of seeing both Coach and Jess eating takeout in the most slovenly manner (“Chinese food ménage”) and seeing Zooey Deschanel eating out of a takeout box as if she is a horse with hay is pretty damn funny. Nick’s no Jeff Winger when it comes to the speechifying but he does solve the problem and it’s nice to see an overall victory. Nick is his best self when he sees the best in others and while he doesn’t think much of his own achievements he certainly cares about what his friends (and girlfriend) are doing. This speech moment includes an interruption from Schmidt as he finally admits that he is missing everyone. The nanny cam and the desperate fear of missing out phone calls had already informed everyone of this fact. I’m still not sure what’s going on with Schmidt this season but I hope that we’ve hit the point where he returns to the fold, even if he is living across the hall.

In an episode of personal victories, Winston suffers physically on a couple of occasions whether he is slipping on the stack of menus while eating an ice cream or falling over while faking a jump shot (as someone who might be considered clumsy I totally feel for Winston here). He also ends up as a pawn in Jess’ war against Hop Foo as he has an allergic reaction to the Chinese food – Lamorne Bishop does swollen jaw speak rather well. So while it’s probably not a great for Winston personally, this episode goes a long way to show that rather than taking screen time away from Winston, the return of Coach might help boost his story thanks to their slightly antagonistic relationship. Also the wheelchair that Winston found led to both this Friday Night Lights reference “What’s up Jason Street?” and Winston’s call of “IRONSIDE” at the beach.

Jess’ one women menu stopping mission is something I fully support and while I am partial to the odd takeout, having my letterbox crammed with menus is frustrating, especially when it is the same menus week after week (luckily in my building they put a recycling box next to our letterboxes, yay conservation!). This is Jess is transferring her frustration at Principal Foster onto the manager at Hop Foo and she is naive enough to believe that simply asking will stop the endless menu supply and really what can she do? Report him to the city? Yes she threatens to do this. Jess also researches lawsuits on the internet but really this argument is futile because at the end of the day she’s just going to get someone fired. What she really needs to do is put this energy into her planned school trip and this is where the two merge as Hop Foo lends her their van to take the kids to the beach.

There’s not much else to do but wear a hot dog hat and while they haven’t been to the beach a great deal on New Girl when they do it’s a place of self discovery – in “Injury” Nick came to terms with his potential illness and he gets his big run into the ocean moment – in “Menus” it brings everyone together and it feels like everything is going to be ok. Except for maybe Winston who is probably going to get buried in the sand.

One Response to “New Girl 3.08 Review – Are You a Doer or a Dumplinger?”


  1. The Wish List: Jess from New Girl’s Pea Coat | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 14, 2013

    […] the pea coat and on this week’s episode of New Girl Jess wore a traditional navy colored pea coat that is available from J. Crew. Pea […]

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