Tag Archives: Damon Wayans Jr.

New Girl 4.05 “Landline” Review: “Shut it Down”

15 Oct

When five people live together boundaries are probably going to get crossed and this doesn’t even factor in the two characters on New Girl who still live together after a break up or that Schmidt and Nick are still sleeping in the same room. After sharing one phone charger in season 2, now there is only one good spot in the loft for phone reception – a new building has messed with the previously good signal – and that spot happens to be the window by Nick’s bed.* This intrusion is solved by the purchase of a landline phone and I kind of wish they’d gone further down the retro path with a rotary dial or even a burger phone as the visual gags would keep on coming. Taking messages for people is no longer common place and as Nick is the only one in the house during the day he takes his new found role and runs with it. The phone also reveals Coach has been sleeping with the school nurse and as Jess is now vice-principal this is a matter that crosses the work/personal line so she will have to address it in the workplace; enter shenanigans (and a new super cute teacher).

*I remember what is now long ago being at my grandpa’s house in the middle of nowhere trying to text the boy I liked from the only good spot in the entire house, pretty much hanging out of a window in freezing cold temperatures. I am smooth.

New Girl 4.05Despite attempts to date/hook 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 chemistry with the one guy she isn’t allowed to date and this is the new science teacher Ryan (who also has a particularly hard surname to pronounce). I’m jumping ahead here and after lecturing Coach about sleeping with his co-workers and making him fill in HR forms, Jess herself gets flustered when she is introduced to Mr. Geauxinue included messing up his surname so much she says “goes in me.” Coach witnesses all of this and instantly recognizes why Jess has turned into a bumbling mess and this leads to a very funny faculty meeting where Coach causes Jess to mess up her “Shut it down” demonstration by hitting Ryan in the bikini suit area.

Coach probably shouldn’t be defining himself at school as the guy who has sex with everyone – so far this seems to be one of Coach’s only defining traits, c’mon show you can do better than that – and Jess is right to note there are certain stipulations in place for a reason, however she realizes that no amount of paper work or hand gestures are the solution. What follows is a classic story obstacle set up; just as Jess is about to approach Ryan in a dating capacity she is informed her position as an administrator means she can’t date anyone who is in a position below her, which means Ryan. The forbidden fruit trope is nothing groundbreaking, but it’s fun seeing Jess getting extra awkward and Zooey Deschanel has a strong rapport with guest star Julian Morris. Plus he has excellent cardigan game so hopefully we will get to see more from him soon.

Back in the loft Nick is mooching about by himself after his suggestion of beers and a catch-up with Schmidt and Winston is dismissed as they are too busy with police academy work and interview prep for Business, Man magazine. Nick (and to a certain extent Cece, who briefly appears this week to record a voicemail message that is too steamy for Schmidt even when she goes full deadpan) is the only character who is still adrift when it comes to his career and the landline gives him both a purpose and a connection to his friends he feels has been missing. By taking everyone’s messages during the day he finds out Winston has been dating a woman called Judy and Schmidt is looking to get a spoiler for his car. The messing up of the spoiler alert gag is hilarious, but also reveals the depths of despair Nick has reached. Nick comes across as a parent in this moment trying to find out what the kids have been up to and getting not much back in return.

Taking it further Nick indulges in a three-way phone call to give them their messages in one of the funniest sequences in the episode. Schmidt calls it a teleconference call, but I prefer the terms of teenage years long gone. Unlike Winston, my best phone position is sitting crossed legged in the hallway. Now I’m feeling nostalgic for landline chats and all those hours I spent talking about nothing with people I had spent all day talking to at school. Today the landline in my house knocks out the wi-fi connection for 30 seconds whenever it rings (who knows why) and the only calls are from telesales and robots. No warm and fuzzy feelings there.

Nick sings himself a theme song for his new found role with “I’m a very good secretary” even though he’s actually kind of terrible at it. He takes it upon himself to break up with Judy for Winston and send in a photo to Business, Man magazine of Schmidt and he manages to mess up both. The photo he sends of Schmidt is the most recent he has and he looks like he’s in the middle of telling Nick to fuck off, which in the end works out well for the ‘bad boy’ image the magazine profile creates for him. Winston should have probably broken up with Judy himself and Nick shouldn’t have crossed this line even if he does want to reconnect with his friends. There are better ways to go about this and they probably don’t end with someone recreating the big gesture moment from Say Anything.

Eating bowls full of jelly during the day – Nick pretty much has a bowl of something on the go throughout the episode – and finding comfort in taking other people’s messages is a cry for help of sorts from Nick; will this season be the one where Nick finds purpose? Nick doesn’t tell Schmidt about his interview as a result of the answer machine replacement service and when the answer machine fails to record the message Winston has to step up and use his excellent phone skills. Winston is socially awkward in real life, but dynamite on the phone (cue hilarious flashback) and scores the kind of douchey profile Schmidt thinks is the dream. Winston even remembers to include the acronym Schmidt has for his own name – Some Can Have Money, I Desire Thoughtfulness – which you know Schmidt has been waiting to see in magazine print for years and probably has stitched on a cushion or at least on a business card.

New Girl continues to be a lot of fun this season and this is another episode where they play around with the different character groupings. While Cece gets a short shrift, her brief appearance is one of the highlights of “Landline” declaring “I don’t know what is happening” as the conversation descends into random movie talk (Winston likes Splash).

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.05 Jess A+O sweaterJess loves Alice + Olivia sweaters this season and ribbon -graphic black sweater is adorable and so very Jess; complete with detachable collar depending on how preppy you’re feeling.



New Girl 4.04 “Micro” Review: Pogo Part 2

8 Oct

Even though this word isn’t uttered in “Micro” this episode seems like a direct callback to “Pepperwood” when “pogo” entered the New Girl lexicon in season 2. This was the term they used to refer to Winston’s prominent boner and they revealed how everyone in the loft had an unmentionable flaw – Schmidt had horrible toe nails (or clickety-clacks), Jess is a know-it-all and Nick can’t take of himself – Cece was exempt despite all her best efforts (including a supremely disturbing baby voice). Instead of focusing inward it becomes a more general observation after Jess witnesses the guys dissecting every woman that walks past them and in a classic guys versus girls sitcom setup Jess and Nick make a bet in attempt to prove their point. Jess wants to show she’s not shallow like the guys are when it comes to looks and that she can date a dude with a micropenis for a month, something Nick doesn’t think she is capable of.

New Girl 4.04 the dudesOther 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 it’s a touch implausible there wouldn’t be any tension or jealousy regarding sleeping with other people, I am more than happy to suspend my disbelief as they’ve managed to retain the chemistry that made them a “will they/won’t they” in the first place.

They’re not trying to make us forget they were ever a thing as there were several references to their former coupledom including Nick’s assessment that Jess has perfect breasts, but it’s her wonky right knee that’s “got some stuff” and it’s why he always let her take her pants off before sex. There’s always been a combative element between Nick and Jess as he tries to one up her know-it-all attitude with the season 1 episode “Landlord” standing out as the first time Nick tried to prove Jess could be wrong. On this occasion Nick was determined to validate his belief that acts of kindness are often motivated by something selfish/sexual and generally Nick is pointing out the worst in people.

In “Micro” Nick wants to show Jess that she isn’t exempt from reacting in a shallow way and Jess is a little too confident in her abilities that she doesn’t even consider this guy might have a terrible personality, which he does. This involves throwing around terms like “for true” and calling scotch on the rocks a ‘sco-ro.’ Jess realizes what a terrible mistake she has made even before she sees his penis that resembles a tiny pigeon egg – she thinks she could have worked with it – and her attempts to demonstrate her point go awry. Jess comes to the conclusion that everyone is flawed and her big wonky knee revealing gesture at Matt’s apartment is interrupted by his girlfriend. He’s not that bothered as she was getting a little fat and even the hot dude with the tiny dick is superficial.

So yeah we’re all flawed and we all have things we find unattractive on others and this is where the A and B plots converge as Cece and Winston have managed to convince Coach and Schmidt they can be models. In a ‘classic Cece and Winston mess around’ (and Cece’s exasperated response to this is very funny) they take Coach and Schmidt’s compliment off and turn it into a competition. In an attempt to prove who is the better model Schmidt and Coach go from compliment showering to body nitpicking; Coach has a tiny waist and Schmidt has teeny nipples (and all I can think about is that time kittens suckled from his nipples). A wonky knee, tiny body parts, a depression-era garbage man look are all things on the outside that we can be judged for and the only two people who escape the scrutiny this week are Winston and Cece. Winston doesn’t get off completely as he reveals he might have a thing for Sesame Street wonkiness adding another thing to the list of amazing and bizarre Winston Bishop ticks.

After Jess delivers her “we should support each other’s flaws” speech she rolls around in her own know-it-all pogo by exclaiming how she knew that she was better than these guys. Jess has no self-awareness at times and this scene is indicative of this; she has already conceded that she has lost the bet gifting Nick the ‘Ass Chat’ subscription and yet she can’t give up on proving her point. It’s fun watching Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson riffing off each other and the chemistry is still very much there; while I was very much a Nick/Jess as a couple defender this returning to ‘friends only’ direction is really working. And it’s also fine that I can get those shipper feelings when they reference their former coupledom followed by all knowing flirty smiles at each other. The group dynamic as a whole works so much better with them as friends. Plus we get to see Jess telling dudes to “Shut your gross beautiful face” and Zooey Deschanel’s delivery of this line is pretty wonderful.

Some flaws are ones we no longer have and Schmidt is still hung up on his former overweight status and this is in part why his image is so important to him. Cece and Winston’s prank backfires as they have to follow through with their promise to get him a modeling job. The portfolio photos are hilarious and while I am sad they didn’t end up using “hot guy with a kidnapped son” they do end up getting him a billboard. It’s a win that Schmidt probably needed even if Cece and Winston are out of pocket by quite a lot – not helping the college fund – and this once again shows why pranking with Winston is a terrible idea.

I also wonder if this discussion of flaws is a nod from the show to the audience as a way to say ‘yep we know last year was a mess, but we’re working on it.’

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.04This week is going to involve some horn tooting as Jess is wearing a French Connection horse print dress that featured in the first ever Fantasy Costuming post, which was all about the wardrobe of one Jessica Day.


New Girl 4.03 “Julie Berkman’s Older Sister: Punting the Sweet Fantastic

1 Oct

Jess tends to be the most optimistic person in the room on New Girl, however like most people she has certain weak spots that cause her to behave in an uncharacteristic manner. One such area is her parents and in the past we have seen her attempt to Parent Trap them back together and this week we find out how Jess has a habit of scaring off her dad’s girlfriends. Now she is determined to make nice and attempt to welcome this one with open arms, which would be fine if Jess didn’t already have an acrimonious past with Bob’s new girlfriend.

New Girl 4.03 Jess and CeceThere’s been a lot of talk of where last season of New Girl went wrong and while there’s not one specific answer there is one character who really suffered as a result of multiple plot points that ended up isolating her and this was Cece; her best friend was busy with her new boyfriend and her boyfriend also had another girlfriend. Some of my favorite New Girl moments have been as a result of the Jess/Cece friendship so I was thrilled to see it front and center in “Julie Berkman’s Older Sister” as Cece comes over to provide support and to enjoy the Jess versus Bob’s new girlfriend entertainment. This takes an unexpected twist when they see who Bob is dating and it makes up for Cece’s initial disappointed after Jess decides to take the high road and be respectful. One flashback shows just how much young Cece (who looks eerily like Hannah Simone) relishes in Jess warning off her dad’s girlfriends and another reveals just why Bob has stopped introducing Jess to the women he is dating (it involves correctly accusing a woman of faking a disability).

The look of pure delight on Cece’s face as she realizes just who Ashley (Kaitlin Olson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is coupled with Jess attempting to stifle her horror is hilarious and both Hannah Simone and Zooey Deschanel give good reaction faces. They know her as her less forgiving nickname Trashly and she earned this nickname through a series of trysts including one on the bleachers with Jess’ boyfriend at the time. It also gives Jess a pretty solid theory as to why God thinks sex is a sin as Jess has firsthand knowledge of seeing sex from above and how horrible it looks.

Jess and Cece have a strong shared history bringing depth and weight to episodes like this; there’s not much story that needs to be laid out to understand just why Cece is present at this brunch. Cece has been part of the Day family for a long time and while Jess’ mom might not be a fan of Cece, Bob is clearly fond of his daughter’s bestie (he did attend her wedding at the end of season 2 after all). Cece is here in part because of how she thinks Jess will react and considering how sunny Jess is most of the time, it is refreshing both for Cece and viewers to see her switch into sabotage mode. The flashbacks and particularly the display of menace reveal a rare dark side of Jess.

Rather than having Bob in the dark about Ashley’s past it was rather refreshing that he was aware of it and then some, plus it turns out the rumor about Ashley sleeping with their D.A.R.E officer was true and Bob is more than fine with this; they even tried to make a list of everyone Ashley slept with but ended up stopping at the ‘L’s.’ Jess attempts to stay quiet; however Cece plays the devil on her shoulder and encourages Jess to look at Ashley’s messages. Ashley has a perfectly good reason for the sexy tests – she’s a sex therapist – and this prompts her to leave this unwelcome environment. This is Jess in full protective mode, but her dad doesn’t need protecting in this way and if he gets hurt then he can deal with it. Jess is very much about fixing things and yet this can have the opposite effect as she becomes stifling rather than nurturing.

More misunderstandings follow and a grand gesture is required to save this relationship, a new move for Jess who in the past has used a baseball bat and accusations to fend of these women. Jess ends up caught in the middle of the road with cyclists whooshing past her (I feel like the screaming reaction is what I would go with in this situation) and when she gets clipped she pulls out the engagement ring in her dad’s pocket aiding a romantic moment despite her fuzzy headed pain.

One thing creator Liz Meriwether said she wanted to do this year in a pre-season interview with Alan Sepinwall was to have more focused storylines and this has been evident in the last two episodes as they’ve split the group into two plots rather than three. The guys are all showing how equally boneheaded they are this week as Schmidt needs help with an account pitch selling sponges to guys. It’s such a mundane specific item that of course ‘sponge’ is going to be the thing they yell out when they’re asked what word springs to mind when they think of the word sponge. A fun aspect of this story is seeing Schmidt trying so hard and spiraling as each of them tries to help – except Nick who is actually trying to get laid – and they just can’t quite get it right. A frustrated Schmidt is a very funny Schmidt.

It all gets kind of ridiculous when these four guys riff off each other; whether it is just how disgusting Nick is with orange juice pulp leftovers and what he wipes his bloody/sloppy joe mess on or arguing about the pizza they are going to get courtesy of Schmidt. This ends up turning into another Nick/Schmidt quality friendship moment and while it can’t quite hit the lofty heights of “gave you cookie, got me cookie” it is still pretty satisfying to see the happy ending of their unlikely team; Nick’s “Yay” We’re doing a bit” is so adorable. The fake ad that closes the episode is both hilarious and incredibly depressing when you factor in how it’s not that far off from some of the Super Bowl ads and “Spongey McWipy” needs to become a thing. Winston is next level Don Draper of coming up with slogans.

As with Cece and Jess, the Schmidt/Nick pairing suffered last year and they have been very much in focus this season. This is the first time the room sharing has been mentioned and of course there’s a huge difference in how they treat their respective sides. In one respect Schmidt and Jess are very similar in their strong enthusiasm for certain projects and as I mentioned last week the similarities between Nick and Cece continue to stack up. It’s also not surprising in a way that this is where a lot of New Girl’s romantic hookups have focused on. There is still character work that needs to be done with Coach as Damon Wayans Jr. is a good fit for this show, but we still don’t know all that much about him.

Oh and I can’t wait to read “Punting the Sweet Fantastic” even if guest star Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife related sobs when I remember this show is no more) is right with her assessment of this book idea “feel like you kind of have to do something to write a book about yourself.”

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.03It’s a style watch double hitter this week with Cece’s yellow Joie ‘Alicia’ tank and Jess in a super pretty Tory Burch dress that is perfect for brunch. Plus I really need a makeup IMDb to happen as now the hunt for Cece’s lipstick begins.

Update! The hunt for Cece’s lipstick is over thanks to Twitter and New Girl makeup artists Michelle DeMilt and Jorjee Douglass. The color is ‘Punta Cana’ by Cargo Cosmetics.

New Girl 4.02 “Dice” Review: Darn Tootin’ Fun

24 Sep

Jess is optimistic to the point of gullible at times and while Nick is New Girl’s grumpy cynic, it is Schmidt who has responded to a broken heart by closing himself off to the possibility of love. Schmidt has no problems getting laid and Dice, a new dating app (it’s like Tinder) aids the briefest of connections. Schmidt and Jess are friends despite being so diametrically opposed when it comes to pretty much everything and as with the season 1 episode “Control” this proves to bring out their best and worst.

New Girl 4.02 diceThe balance of smut and sweet that New Girl excels at is well represented in how Jess and Schmidt view dating; Jess thinks dating should lead to love or a relationship and that’s far from the point in Schmidt’s opinion. What is clear from both the cold opens of season 4 is Jess doesn’t always see the sexual innuendo in the statements she makes and once again I am impressed that a gag like “Darn Tootin’ Fun” and its acronym didn’t get flagged by Standards and Practices. Despite Schmidt telling Jess that she isn’t ready for Dice, Jess goes ahead and sets up an account and a date. Suffice to say her first attempt doesn’t go well and she ends up back at the apartment of a dude who has a braided beardy tail and the most incredible wolfie sweater. Jess needs Schmidt’s expertise to navigate these choppy dating waters and he lets her know he’ll do it in typically dramatic Schmidt fashion.

Not one to do anything by halves, Schmidt has a whole presentation set up in the bar (which is totes weird in the morning FYI) involving the buzzer from Taboo, stationary Jess isn’t suppose to use and a big welcome sign. He could set up his own workshop. Schmidt runs through multiple scenarios that all include the observation that the person in question is probably a pervert and he is appalled by Jess’ “Hubba hubba, mama in troubu” reaction to one of the profile photos. Schmidt sets up 10 dates for Jess and despite her protests that she’s wearing her lounge around underwear she undertakes the main part of Schmidt’s Dice tutorial. This is like speed dating in multiple locations, but just as disposable in the end even if Jess doesn’t have the temperament to make a swift exit. Enter Schmidt and all the excuses to ditch a date.

In the past Jess has helped Schmidt loosen up, even if this went to extremes as there is no moderation or middle ground for Schmidt. In just two episodes this season already feels more cohesive than last year thanks to the return to form of Schmidt; he still says awful things about how he doesn’t care about hurting people’s feelings, but this is far from the ‘evil’ bizarro version from last season. He’s a douche, but he is still capable of semi-sweet sentiments like telling Jess that she’s the best girl on Dice (he also refers to her as pie and the prize which should lead to jar donations).

Jess cuts the last date she is on short because of the living close to date location warning sign (pervert) and this whole experience has left her feeling sad as she’d developed a rapport with this last guy. With such disposable dating and just about any reason to shut an interaction down how are you ever supposed to find love? Schmidt finds this preposition confusing as “the point of dating is just to keep on dating and never stop” not to fall in love and have a relationship. Jess finds this whole thing perplexing as Schmidt might be missing out on a really great woman as he jumps from one to another without any consideration of what this could become. Despite his assertion that he wants to go through life this way Schmidt calls up the girl from the morning and when he tries to ask her out for coffee after they’ve hooked up she tells him that she doesn’t think he understands Dice. Burn. Side note – now that Nick and Schmidt are sharing a room where does Nick sleep when Schmidt hooks up? The Jess influence has not paid off for Schmidt and Jess quickly learns that she should have called it quits with date number 10 when he reveals he is a comedy magician and she is stuck watching his terrible tricks and hearing his crappy jokes. Where is Schmidt when she needs him? Dating apps might have made getting a date easier, but everything else is still as hit and miss as before.

New Girl is a network show so a getting stoned plot is going to be far more limited than a show like Broad City on Comedy Central, so when Nick suggests they get high before Winston becomes an official cop it’s going to include caveats (statements like not doing drugs again) and only coming in food form. What this storyline does is gives another opportunity to see all the social awkwardness from Winston and a fun dynamic between Cece, Coach and Nick. Until last season Nick and Cece didn’t have all that many interactions, but last year it became apparent how much they are alike and working in the bar not only gives an organic way to incorporate the only character who doesn’t live in the loft, but it revealed their similarities. On this occasion what they share is getting stoned and they play teacher to Coach who hasn’t got high before. Cece is pretty chilled out, while Nick is rather obnoxious playing the expert card and constantly showing off how good he is at getting stoned.

Nick isn’t that great at being stoned and I wonder how often he has done it – although the college flashbacks would suggest quite a lot – or maybe it’s just because he wants to show off to Coach. Regardless he does get the funniest gag in this subplot as he tells Winston multiple times that they’ll go to this party and Jake Johnson delivers gibberish like no other. Nick’s super awesome plan to not get detected does not pan out and they end up in the closet after kicking over the barbecue and life chats with a dog. Winston gets to earn cool points and a new nickname from his police academy colleagues by freaking his friends the fuck out and even though it’s ‘Toilet’ he’s pretty thrilled. It’s all somewhat cartoonish and while it didn’t hit all the beats with me, it was still fun watching these bozos being terrible in a social situation and making Winston look like he has all the skills (even with that Charlotte’s Web story).

What does come across is how this is part of hitting the reset button on everything that happened last year and the Schmidt/Jess plot is the far stronger of the two; what it demonstrates is the desire to play around with the ensemble by mixing up the groupings and this is an encouraging sign.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.02 Jess bow sweaterJess’ super cute short sleeved black sweater with white bows is Alice + Olivia and is also available in the reverse (so white with black bows). Perfect for fall as the temperatures hover between cool and crisp with a chance of ‘Surprise! It’s super warm today.”


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.

New Season Artwork for The Mindy Project and New Girl

30 Jul

The Mindy Project and New Girl return on Tuesday, September 16 (for their third and fourth seasons) and both ended in very different places for the central couple; grand romantic gestures and a reconciliation that didn’t happen. The new season artwork reflects both of these things with The Mindy Project focusing on Mindy and Danny, with New Girl maintaining its focus on the entire group of friends.

The Mindy Project S3Photographer Emily Schur has been shooting Mindy Kaling for 10 years and yesterday she released this Mindy Project photo on Instagram/Tumblr. It’s a fun shot focusing on this new relationship and one they are going public with this time (the season premiere title has been slightly altered sadly to “We’re a Couple Now, Haters”). Danny’s super adorable red reading glasses make an appearance and Mindy’s Three J NYC polka dot pajamas are still on our wish list. The Mindy Project is often at its strongest when addressing Mindy and Danny’s complicated friendship and now romance so I am very excited about this forthcoming season.

New Girl S4New Girl had a messy season 3 and I don’t lay the blame solely at the feet of Nick and Jess as a couple; for me this was one of the stronger aspects aside from some of the contrived fights. It did have an impact on the structure of the other relationships and the group dynamic suffered as a result. Returning things to ‘just friends’ could be awkward as part of the tagline suggests; they’re both ‘Idiots’ when it comes to romance (ditto everyone else in the loft). New Girl tried one set up that for one reason or another just didn’t work and now they must rise to the challenge of hitting what was a season 2 sweet spot, but with everything else that has occurred in-between. Damon Wayans Jr. has been made a regular much to my delight and his addition last year was one factor that really worked. The first episode of season 4 is called “The Last Wedding” and will guest star Jessica Biel.

On this poster Zooey Deschanel is wearing a Ted Baker ‘Halina” dress with a blue Kate Spade ‘Pyramid Bow’ belt. Off to go hunt for some super cute electric blue flats.

New Girl 3.23 “Cruise” Review: Dealing with the Weird

7 May

There are certain expectations when it comes to sitcom romance and this is especially true when it starts with such a strong “will they/won’t they” connection. It is hard to subvert this and keep the audience guessing and both the previous New Girl finales concluded in mostly predictable ways; season 1 ended with Nick’s deciding that moving in with Caroline was a bad idea and last year had Nick and Jess finally committing to something together as they drove off to a destination unknown together. With “Cruise” they went in a very different direction as they doubled down on the breakup as they continue to deal with their awkward ex status.

NewGirl-Ep323_TBD-Sc27_0232The cruise location is a fun way to get everyone together in the same place that isn’t the loft and as they’ve done desert and a wedding in the previous finales, they need to up the ante with the location. The first half of the episode has the characters scattered; Coach is mostly absent due to his fear of boats, Winston is doing Winston things, Schmidt’s trying to find the perfect time to approach Cece and Nick and Jess are partaking in the romantic activities they have already paid for. These include yoga with bonus genital breathing, a massage that has the pair revealing how well they know each other and explaining why they broke up (“We were just totally different people” “We just didn’t belong together”) and the best photo shoot I have seen since this Avril Lavigne meet and greet. Their day ends with a lot of wine drinking and what seems like an inevitable reunion is instead a super sloppy attempt at a kiss from Nick.

The boat location also helps show off Zooey Deschanel’s nautical/mod inspired Tommy Hilfiger collection in what I guess counts as product placement and yes I still really want the shirt dress.

It would be easy to have Nick and Jess getting back together or at least sharing a kiss in the season finale and to be honest it’s what I figured was going to happen. Instead what they have done is show how Nick and Jess are wrong about the fundamental reason behind their split as they’re not so different after all. Despite misreading signals and not being able to decide between a handshake, curtsy or a hug – this felt like a callback to “Cooler” when they were debating whether to kiss behind the iron curtain – they are so in tune with each other. During their activities they find the same things funny, are equally as terrible at making towel swans and get the same weird eye thing during their massage prompting a whole lot of high fives. While their attempts at non-sexy sexy poses bum the photographer out, they do a good range of buddy movie stances way better than whatever awkward posing you normally get from this kind of photo shoot (that’s a Buzzfeed listicle I want to see). They both only know starboard, I can guarantee they don’t know what side that is.

This is a weird breakup for multiple reasons and it mostly lies in this “we’re so different” explanation and this finale compounds this further. In fact it is also a good metaphor for the whole season which has tonally and narratively been all over the place. Some might put this down to Nick and Jess being together and for anyone who has been reading these reviews all season, you will know that I don’t adhere to this school of thought. For me, Nick and Jess have been the one consistent good element and it’s how everyone else fits into the story that has been the issue. By breaking them up this could be a way to get a handle on these other elements and they’ve come up with a way to keep everyone in the loft now that we know Coach will be sticking around (Damon Wayans Jr. has been made a regular for season 4) as Schmidt and Nick are returning to their college sleeping arrangement with bunk beds.

When New Girl started Jess was deemed the kooky one; since then every single one of these characters has shown that they are their very own weirdo. Together some of this weirdness is intensified and I’d say this is the case with Nick and Jess as friends, as a couple and as exes. By leaning into this with the scene in the cabin followed by a brief flash of how they look after being locked in their cabin for three days – “I am the queen of Wednesdays” – it highlights what New Girl does best and this is the friendships between the characters with all their quirks. The joke is in the brevity of this moment, but I’d quite happily watch an entire episode of them being stuck in that room together.

Winston has been all about the weird this season and despite feeling untethered and random at times, he’s also been this season’s comedy MVP. This continues in the finale with his glee at the knife fishing he has signed them up to (that might also involve a machine gun) and how he has had nightmares about making out with himself and Nick. Winston gave the push Nick needed in the season 2 finale to pursue Jess rather than drowning his sorrows in booze and he’s instrumental in the plan to get Nick and Jess to address what is going on between them.

Schmidt puts it best as he states “This is really confusing” and the mention of a near kiss has the group asking if they are together or they’re not. Potential new beaus (hunks and ho-bags) are referenced and it’s like they are speaking for the audience as they discuss why living with your ex is plagued with danger. My pro Nick and Jess stance is pretty clear, but I’m also looking forward to seeing how the show is going to navigate their relationship as friends when we return next season. If they had got back together in this finale then it might have made them an even lower stakes couple as the breakup would have only lasted for a few episodes. It is the quandary any writer has about getting a couple together and I do think they maybe regret how quickly they moved forward with Nick and Jess.

NG_323-29_0106There is another “will they/won’t they” and this one I’m a bit more tentative towards as the Cece and Schmidt dynamic has been full of false starts. Season finales can bring characters together as much as breaking them apart and in season 1 Schmidt ‘White Fanged’ Cece into ending it with him and last year he kind of won her back as she ditched her wedding for him (though he also had reunited with Elizabeth, his college girlfriend too). Now Schmidt wants her back, because of course and he stops himself from doing it first thanks to Winston “Grumpy Gussing” him, followed by Cece talking about her relationship with Buster (which we’ve seen very little of on camera). Now it looks like Cece is checking out Schmidt in their newly framed family portrait and the cycle continues.

Season 3 has been awkward and messy, but it’s also been ambitious and I’d rather be watching a show that tries different things and fails to hit the mark sometimes, than one that sticks to safe with the same stories each week. The resolution of this year was definitely a surprise and this is hard to achieve when we’ve become so accustomed to the rules of sitcoms. New Girl might not have hit the heights of season 2, but I’m definitely intrigued as to how they will solve all these unresolved issues come next year.

New Girl 3.22 “Dance” Review: Love is Forever and Ever and Ever and Ever…

30 Apr

So I didn’t have enough space for all of Jess’ use of forever, but hey it’s infinity anyway in true tween 4EVA IBTS (if broken still true) declarative style. New Girl returns to school tonight and the beauty of Jess (and now Coach) working at a middle school means these characters can resort to broad generalizations like boys are dumb/girls are stupid even though they’re in their early 30s. There are aspects from school that will always stay with us and so it makes sense that Jess wants to organize the perfect dance when she has such rotten memories of the ones she attended when she was a kid. Throw in her recent heartbreak and it is going increase this desire as Jess’ outlook is to focus on the positive. In fact “Dance” is about embracing childhood moments, no matter how painful or stupid as a way to circumvent what is going on in the present.

NG_322-27_0010There’s a push/pull in “Dance” between what makes a grown-up or in more specific cases what defines manhood and Nick tells Schmidt that he genuinely misses goofing around with Jess. The goofing around suggests play, but being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t be ridiculous anymore and the activities this group partake in are often just games you could play as a kid, with added alcohol. Schmidt thinks Nick is being rather mature with his assessment that breakups should hurt and how they’re using Winston as their sexual tension killing device. In the last scene they do get to dance together and it’s both goofy and full of sexual tension; even though they’re in a room full of people for a fleeting second it’s like they are alone. Jess finally gets to dance with her dumb boy and I don’t feel like I’m going out on a limb when it comes to predicting a reconciliation of sorts in the season finale next week.

Speaking of things that are dumb and the reason behind their breakup is still one of those things that compel me to say “really?” When thinking of Nick and Jess it actually does make sense that they would end their relationship for something as silly as this. After “Big News” I wrote about their inability to define what they are to each other and how this traces back to their first date encounter with Russell and I want to expand on this a little further. This is still what is going on as despite knowing and living together for three years, they’re still pretty clueless when it comes to admitting how they feel. Jess shares too much sometimes without saying what she means and Nick withholds giving the same effect; this is why they broke up, not because they don’t have anything in common, but because they share this inability to get to the heart of the matter.

It’s not just about Nick and Jess though and what makes “Dance” a great episode is its focus on the group; the breakup informs the actions without becoming this BIG ISSUE that dominates proceedings. Jess’ desire to create the perfect dance is rooted not with Nick, but thanks to her bad memories. It is not a completely selfish driven endeavor as Jess has shown on multiple occasions how much she wants to give the kids she teaches a really great middle school experience, whether it is showing them the ocean or dealing with a bullying issue. The dance does not go down perfectly, far from it and at first it looks like one of the teachers is behind the sabotage – the banana in the dark song is hilarious – instead it’s Wendy, the girl who is pretty much a mini Jess but with a shark tee and missing a Cece to share her misery with. Hey, they’re still doing the hanging out in the bathroom thing as adults too (this from season 1 “The 23rd”):

New Girl 1.09 Cece and JessIn terms of screen time the Cece/Jess relationship suffered as a result of Jess and Nick getting together – the same goes for Nick and the guys – so one benefit of breaking them is focusing on the other friendships that are at the heart of New Girl. Cece is often the stabilizing influence in the group, in part because she doesn’t live in the loft so she has a calming outside quality and because she generally has her shit together. Even though she’s not in the same place as she was last season in terms of career and relationship, things could be so much worse in that she could be in a loveless marriage doing modeling jobs she hates. Now she is working in a bar and dating a 20 year-old (who was seven when Good Will Hunting came out), but she seems pretty happy at the moment and takes the guys attempts to make fun of this age gap in her stride. It helps that they are terrible at doing this and declare their manhood by chanting “men, men, men” with a chest bump injuring Winston. They really are the dumbest boys in school. Jess also demonstrates that she’s not always the smartest as she thinks the good in good cop/bad cop means good at their job – this is up there with Batmanmobile for hilarious things that Jess doesn’t quite get. Another brilliant Jess moment comes courtesy of terrible self censorship when the lights go out “Son of a boooooo… penis. Ah, that wasn’t better. Sorry everyone.”

Coach gets to use his recently earned wisdom about kids “you have no idea what these little bastards are capable of. I mean I love them, I love them with all my heart, but they will hurt your feelings sometimes” while attempting to coach his roommates. So when Schmidt sees a kid being mean to someone about food, instead of standing up for the boy who was probably like him at school, he instead seeks the acceptance of the bully and in return gets called a “flamer.” Schmidt is persistent and the bully won’t back down either, so Schmidt challenges him to a foot race. In the parking lot Nick gains the acceptance of the boys with a box of fireworks because really Nick just wants to be pushed around in a shopping cart and not as part of the system. It’s clear that Nick definitely did everything in his power to not be a narc while he was at school, so much so he won’t admit to being a chaperon, or ‘rone.

Winston faces a different kind of challenge as his “Call Me Maybe” moves make him irresistible to an ever increasing group of girls – if the whole episode was Winston being followed by a giggling girls I think I would be fine with that. It all ends up in the parking lot as the three of them earn their rap group name and Coach list of better chaperons is hilarious – a dog, a plant wearing underwear and Ray Charles’ ghost. They might be dumb boys, but they’re needed. The rapping that follows is amazing, mostly because it is so terrible and in an unsurprising twist Winston takes it too far and goes to a dark, dark place.

Returning then to Jess and Cece’s conversation with Wendy as Jess explains that things “never work out the way you plan them, but in the end it’s all worth it and that’s why you have to try.” This pretty much explains the root of Jess and Nick’s issues with each other – the future planning – and what they haven’t done so far as they gave up pretty quickly without trying to work through this issue. What I don’t want New Girl to do is go for the breakup/get together cycle that sitcoms tend to favor, this doesn’t need to be a Ross and Rachel situation (does anything?), but what these past two episodes has shown is that Nick and Jess not being together has been beneficial to the overall group dynamic. Maybe it is because there are now stakes once again with increased tension and by addressing the coupling situation; they’re also approaching the overall story in a different way. With this in mind, next week’s finale will hopefully continue the quality and consistency of the past few weeks while wrapping up what has been a messy season in a satisfactory manner.

New Girl 3.20 “Mars Landing” Review: “Nothing You’re Saying Makes Any Sense”

26 Mar

It’s that time of year when the TV stakes are raised and I didn’t expect New Girl to get added to the list of shows that have put me through the emotional wringer this week (I’m looking at you The Good Wife and Hannibal). Thankfully I am not hungover otherwise I don’t know how I would deal with this level of serious talk that begins with building a child’s toy and ends in a break up.

NG_319-7_0008The episode starts with everyone’s favorite nonsensical history infused drinking game and True American is as chaotic as ever. Even with the terrible hangovers they’re all suffering from the next day I still want to play this game. If only to shout random historical names and situations followed by beer. The last game of True American ended with The Kiss; the alcohol of the evening gave Nick the confidence to make a bold move. The opposite occurs in “Mars Landing” as the hangover leads to a different kind of truth sharing. One of the things that has been clear about Nick and Jess is how different they are and the old “opposites attract” can easily be applied here, but what happens if the only thing they have in common is that they love each other?

Scattered throughout their arguments which range from their feelings on education – Jess is unsurprisingly for it, Nick thinks kids should beg to go to school – where they want to live and if they will have a horse. While the content of these shouting matches don’t make a whole lot of sense (Nick is an intergalactic truck driver) the sentiment is clear; Jess makes plans, Nick doesn’t. There is a suggestion made about a breakup which they initially laugh off before returning to the toy building task that started all of this – I’m with Nick on this one, just give it to them in the box – at first they make a great team putting together the part that looks like a meth lab with the pipe bomb looking component. This doesn’t last long and the disagreement erupts again, this time causing a blanket fire. This really is a hangover of epic proportions.

What this leads to is another less shouty discussion and one that references how things used to be when they were just friends; there was no trying to be something they are not and they didn’t fight all the time. It’s a painful conversation and one that gives Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson the opportunity to show how good they are hitting the emotional honest moments on top of the more comedic aspects of the episode. Is it not enough that Nick loves her more than anyone he has loved before?

Apparently not at the moment and this conflict feels very much part of the nearing the end of season “we need to do a big storyline” thing. Other than a few other disagreements, Nick and Jess have been pretty solid all year and this has meant that there has been very little stakes when they have fought as they resolve it by the episode end. The only time this didn’t happen is recently when Schmidt moved back in and scuppered the room situation. This point is revisited when Nick walks Jess to her room, only for her to come out seconds later after remembering Schmidt is in there (naked).

At the end of “Cooler” Nick kissed Jess, the end of “Mars Landing” mirrors this moment, albeit in much sadder circumstances. Jess is the one who grabs Nick this time and instead of a kiss it becomes an embrace, the kind where you don’t want to let go.

New Girl 3.20 Nick and JessTo make it even more of a painful parallel, Nick is wearing the same green t-shirt and Jess is dressed in pink again. Not to rub salt in the wounds and add to the hurt, but here is the shot from “Cooler” just to highlight how consciously similar the scenes are.

New Girl Cooler KissYeah, sorry to do this to you. *Sob*

The B and C stories are a good counter to the emotional heavy lifting going on in Nick’s cabin sized room; the guys duke it out with each other to get the attention of the two new hot women who are moving in across the hall. There are some funny moments with Winston slapping Schmidt and Coach being high on the list. Yes, Michelle (Alexandria Daddario of True Detective) does do a good crazy witch eyes face. No none of the guys get to “sex her.” I’m thankful for this and also for Schmidt’s hangover hair, which is of an epic volume. Cece gets to play “What did I text last night?” The answer ranges from Jewel lyrics to rabbit buying suggestions. Schmidt’s emoticon face impression is a thing that should be savored. Both of these storylines are pretty light weight, but I do like the Buster/Cece thing even if I’m not sure why. Maybe I am charmed by the accent.

So is there finality in this breakup? I don’t think so, they don’t even use the phrase, it just happens. It’s a way to respond to those viewers who have been less satisfied this season and some of that blame has been placed at the feet of the central couple. When the point is raised about missing the time when they were just friends it feels like they are speaking for some of the audience and while this season has been incredibly disjointed at times, for me personally, it has never felt like a Nick and Jess problem. This year will go down as a messy one for New Girl as they’ve struggled to find story cohesion for all of the characters, but it hasn’t been a complete disaster and there has been some very good episodes. It’s ambitious in what it strives to achieve with these characters as they challenge the relationship dynamics and for some reason this season, they’ve just had trouble sticking the landing on several occasions.


New Girl 3.19 “Fired Up” Review: Firing Your Friends

12 Mar

The New Girl Abby Day arc is over, Schmidt is back in the loft and so is all of his stuff. “Fired Up” deviates from the potential problems that Schmidt’s return might cause the overall dynamic, namely that Nick and Jess are now sharing a room and instead focuses on two different work related stories.

NewGirl-Ep320_FiredUp-Sc10_0542This is really a follow up to “Clavado En Un Bar” – where it was revealed how everyone ended up in their current jobs – and details such as Nick actually passing the bar exam are instrumental in the events of the episode. The reason Schmidt moved back in is because he sunk all his money into a store front for Abby and now he’s broke. The store front becomes a storage facility for Schmidt and when it gets mistaken for an actual retail outlet Schmidt sees a way of making his money back (everything is “100% full price”). Nick points out that legally this isn’t something he can do and before the lawyer pressure is on, Nick sounds pretty knowledgeable. It of course leads to disaster as the furniture is stacked like Jenga and the guy who comes in for the lamp breaks his arm – cue amazing dramatic piano sounds from Winston, he once again wins the episode.

It’s been a while since there has been a Winston/Schmidt/Nick storyline and because this is sitcom and not a crime procedural I’m not going to look quibble over any plausibility issues that could be raised from the speed at which any of this happens. Plus everything is always expedited on those shows anyway. Like Winston (and everyone else), I have watched a lot of lawyer shows so there’s part of me that feels like I could sit there and say the right things. Winston is the only one who manages to play the part well, even if his business card turns out to be just a baseball card. I totally cracked up at his “it’s all billable, am I right gentlemen?!” as did their fake firm being called Cooper, Bishop & Ferguson.

Nick can legally represent Schmidt, but Schmidt fires him when it becomes clear that like riding a bike, Nick has forgotten a lot of what he learnt at law school. This doesn’t stop Nick and this is Nick at his worst; he’s belligerent and doesn’t really pay any kind of attention to those around him. It becomes a point scoring thing so Nick can prove the preppy dicks that he went to college with wrong. He also spent $19 on a briefcase that he really wants to use. This all comes up while he is speaking to Jess and she’s also after some advice. Nick doesn’t listen to her and he’s far too concerned with how to make the briefcase look sexy.

The scene is out of character for Nick and the only reason why it doesn’t feel like a massive reach is because Nick is insecure about the whole law school thing, even though he was the one who made the decision not to pursue it. It’s a chip on his shoulder and it brings out Nick’s self absorbed side. Oh Nick, if you weren’t so delightful in the tag as you call yourself a power couple and smile at Jess asleep surrounded by work then you’d have really pissed me off in this episode. I’m worried that they’re going to head down a communication issue route between Nick and Jess as we near the end of the season just to raise the stakes.

It’s not a Nick and Jess episode, this is a good thing as while I am very much in the pro Nick and Jess camp it’s refreshing to see these different dynamics take center stage. The Schmidt/Nick dynamic is one that has been lacking for most of this season (“Keaton” aside) and by hooking Jess and Nick up this soon, it has of course had an impact on how much screen time both Nick and Jess share with other characters. For all of Nick’s pigheadedness, he does have Schmidt’s best interest at heart, it’s just he’s got a terrible way of showing it and his way to stall the deposition by getting them to read the transcript out is pretty hilarious. As is all the references to them getting physical with each other and at one point I figured a slap fight was on the cards. Instead Nick has a plan and it’s a dumb plan, but it works “What do you call a lunatic who’s only got one case and no hobbies? You’re worst nightmare.”

Over at Jess’ school, Coach has become the new volleyball coach despite his feelings about the profession “I don’t like kids, I don’t like teaching. I just like pay checks.” That swiftly changes and he is soon enamored with the kids and they adore him, even if he yells that he’s going to murder their families. Coach is now very much part of the cast and Damon Wayans Jr. has really great chemistry with everyone, he’s probably had the least to do with Jess so I’m very happy with this development that will see him working at the same school. “Basketsball” laid the groundwork of their friendship and he gets to use the skills that earned him that nickname with both the pupils and Jess as he pushes her to ask for a promotion. It’s a job she gets, not because she’s good at her job (which she is) but because she’s the only one who asked. It also means that she gets a heap of work dumped on her that results in the discovery that they’re over their budget. As Coach is the last one in he’s also the last one out.

There are a whole lot of tears, first when the kids present Coach with a “Coach Coach” Letterman jacket just as Jess has fired him and later in the bar as they talk about the volleyball team. Jess gets hit in the face a couple of times by a volleyball and Coach shows what a good friend he is by stating that he’s not going to laugh, ok he laughs a little bit but who wouldn’t?! Now that Coach is working at the school it gives them more reason to use this location and this band of merry teachers. It definitely did take a turn for the dark with what is on the biology teacher’s laptop and the weird with his book burning suggestion – everything but The Da Vinci Code. The phrase “you frost my cookies” uttered by Principal Foster has entered the (imaginary) creepy phrase journal I keep.

Cece gets her own story while she is at work at the bar and Ben Falcone’s surly bartender Mike makes an appearance, more from him please. Same goes for Buster, an Australian with a fake ID (he’s only 20) and an eye on Cece. Buster is totally charming and the age difference is not an issue when it comes to asking her out, though I suspect that if this continues it’s going to get brought up. Nicely cheered on by the guys at the bar, as they celebrate their deposition win.

Overall this is a pretty strong episode and it’s a nice return to form after the somewhat unfocused Abby episodes. This has been a patchy season, but I’ve still been really enjoying New Girl overall and I’m happy that it is ambitious, even if they don’t always stick the landing. There’s a True American game on the horizon and hopefully it will be just as memorable (ok I don’t think anything can top The Kiss) as the first two.

This week’s wish list comes courtesy of this episode and can be found here.

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