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New Girl 4.01 “The Last Wedding” Review: Fist of Fun

16 Sep

A quick note before discussing the season 4 premiere as last year was uneven and disappointing after the highs of the previous season. I was a bit of a New Girl defender insisting that Nick and Jess weren’t the problem, even with episodes like “The Box” which had the pair yelling at each other for things they knew about each other prior to getting together (Nick not having a bank account was a bit of a stretch) and for me at times they were the only thing working. Well them and crazy Winston. Now they are not together and despite being a staunch Nick and Jess fan I’m excited to see how this will impact the dynamic of not just them, but of the group overall as the group is what suffered when they we’re together. So how is the first outing back?

New Girl The Last Wedding“Wedding” was the first episode of New Girl which felt like a fully formed thing and as this was relatively early in the life of a sitcom (the general rule is the first 6 episodes are a bit wonky and this was only episode 3) it was a really positive sign. It was the first wedding Jess was attending with her roommates which a signaled an acceptance until they told her to “repress the Jess,” but by the end the chicken dance happened (still one of my favorite scenes) and they became more than just three friends and their new quirky roommate. Flash forward to now as the New Girl writers hit refresh and try to get back the spark which was absent for a lot of last season. As with the first wedding they attended together, the twelfth wedding of their summer of weddings has a lot going for it.

Taking place 4 months after Nick and Jess broke up means the wounds aren’t fresh; it might still be a stretch that they are living together the apartment is the central location of the show and without Jess living there it would lose the heart so I’m willing to suspend my disbelief here. Plus Nick and Jess are both total weirdos when it comes to their relationship that it’s actually not really that hard to buy. The aim of the episode is for everyone to hook up with someone at this wedding as only Coach and Schmidt have had any success all summer (Nick’s claim of a bridesmaid smooch is negated by her hospital bracelet and goldfish accessory). This leads to an ongoing joke about the five of them being a sex fist and the smut levels are at an impressive high. Maybe the Fox Standards and Practices people were taking it easy on their first episode back. See also the salt/pepper hole gag.

The problem with this many weddings – I’m not even going to question how all five of them are getting invited to this many – is they run into a lot of the same people, for Coach this is the biggest issue as he hasn’t called anyone back plus he maybe also stole the photographers charger as well as not calling her back. Coach deserves all the drinks he gets poured on him and the blurred flash induced vision. There are a lot of people who are already together narrowing the options so when the bridesmaids suggest a four-way with Nick and Schmidt one of them is far more into the idea than the other. Winston can’t summon the strength to move as he is in pain from the police academy training and Jess is encouraged to go big targeting the best man.

One of the best pairings on New Girl is Schmidt and Nick so when season 3 ended up with the two of them in a disagreement and in their own romantic subplots it meant there was far too little Schmidt/Nick interaction and it was contentious when there was. They’re still sparring of course, but in that grumpy old man Nick/over eager Schmidt manner and this storyline includes all the elements I love about this unlikely friendship. Nick is excited about one thing and that’s his tap shoes; they don’t get mentioned outside of the opening scene, but they provide the sound effects for my favorite running gag of the episode whenever Nick leaves. This happens often as Schmidt tries to convince Nick the four-way is a great idea and Nick only relents when he finds out Cece is single to stop his friend from doing something stupid. Nick’s hoof hands are the thing that throws Schmidt and Nick reveals Cece’s new romantic status prompting potential weirdness and drama down the line.

The ongoing saga of Schmidt and Cece is something I have been reticent of in the past; however they have such good chemistry together that if it happens then I won’t be annoyed. I would like Hannah Simone to get something to do and while it would be preferable if it was a storyline of her own, as the only non-apartment 4D dweller she is isolated and this makes it hard to achieve this.

Jess ends up competing with guest star Jessica Biel for the affections of Ted, the best man (a wedding celebrity no less) and this involves “being there” or “Bidening” – this gag didn’t really work for me beyond the association with guest star Reid Scott’s main gig Veep – and she spends most of  the time hovering awkwardly. Jess takes a drastic measure that backfires “and at wedding 12 I sat on a men’s toilet seat” which leads to a sweet and not all that uncomfortable heart to heart with Nick considering both the location and the ex factor. This is the Nick and Jess that I love, not the arguing about bank accounts version, but the pep talk go get ’em kind. What’s great is this episode is reminding me of a whole lot of previous strong moments with this toilet conversation harking back to the season 2 premiere sitting atop a car as Nick consoles Jess about her career situation. This time it is about love and Nick reinforces the idea that she can be a fridge person (a fridge person being a big life event, usually a wedding invite person) too. It’s also a little like the photo booth scene from “Wedding” just without the drunken sadness and Nick tells Jess to be herself, even if she automatically takes this to a Tina Turner place. It’s sweet and supports my belief that the best conversations on TV take place in the bathroom.

Both Jess and Jessica Biel move from subtle attempts to laying it all out there with Jessica Biel doing this in the naked phone picture sense (Jess shows a photo she took with a dude who looks like Larry King). Ted can’t choose and ends up with neither; Jessica Biel goes home with her plan B (the vicar) and Jess goes home with her friends. They might have failed in their original mission, but none of them are going home alone. It’s this sentiment that suggests the writers know the group aspect is what the audience wants even more than will they/won’t they tension. There are still those aspects of course, but the friends come first and as they tear down the invites on the fridge with some of them going to dark places about these weddings (Nick’s comment is dark, but hilarious) it reminded me that this is the New Girl I love.

One episode doesn’t mean we can start yelling from the rooftops how the show is back on top form, however it is a step in the right direction and it gives me hope for the rest of the season. As far as the ensemble goes there wasn’t a whole lot for Coach, Winston or Cece but it also didn’t feel like they were off on their own either and I’m pretty excited about the prospect of Winston as a cop. A solid season opener and I’m glad to have these guys back.

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3 Responses to “New Girl 4.01 “The Last Wedding” Review: Fist of Fun”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Girl 4.04 “Micro” Review: Pogo Part 2 | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 8, 2014

    […] than the bathroom conversation in the season premiere, Nick and Jess haven’t really spent a great deal of time together this year and while […]

  2. New Girl 4.05 “Landline” Review: “Shut it Down” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 15, 2014

    […] up Jess has so far not really connected with anyone to a point beyond a conversation, not at a wedding, with a dating app nor with the micropenis dude. So it’s some kind of bad luck that she has […]

  3. New Girl 4.09 “Thanksgiving IV” Review: “Life Moves Really Fast” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 26, 2014

    […] is Schmidt’s second attempt this year to get everyone laid at one event; the wedding was a total bust on this front, but now Schmidt is super serious about the whole “Winter is […]

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