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Taking another look: New Girl

4 May

Schmidt and Nick
I’m ready to admit it.  New Girl is a good show.  I’ve consistently rated it highly amongst the new shows of this year, but generally with the stipulation that it had the potential to be very good, but was still finding its footing.  Well, after watching the latest episode (though it really could have been done after the episode before, or the episode before that), I’ve taken the show off probation.  There’s no longer an issue of potentiality.  The show is straight up good.  I doubt I’m the first one to say this, but Schmidt, the lovable deuchebag is on the verge of becoming a break out character, and is the new Barney, from How I Met Your Mother.  As that show becomes less relevant, New Girl becomes more.  New Girl has mostly ironed out the problems that seemed like they could blow up after the first couple of episodes.  Jess, Zooey Deschanel’s protagonist, who bordered on unfathomably weird, has become far more manageable, and the word “protagonist” is misleading because the show is much more of an ensemble piece than Zooey and friends.

Schmidt, who seemed like he could easily move into the territory of an unlikable tool, has instead become the rare loveable deuchebag.  All the characters know what he is, and they hate him and love him at the same time.  His hilarious moments are both his most douche-y, and his most OCD, such as his complaining when Cece incompetently and uncaringly attempts to help him in the kitchen.  Winston, who wasn’t even in the pilot, and barely played a role in the first few episodes, actually became a character, with attributes and actual lines, some of which were funny.  Nick, as the straight man of the group, who seems bound to eventually get with Jess, has had his moments as well (though it’s worth noting that Winston might, by this point actually be more of a straight man than Nick, but moving on).  The phone call in episode “Kids,” where Schmidt pretends he’s talking to a woman, but is instead talking to Nick, is downright hilarious; and most of the credit here is to Nick and his reactions.  The same credit goes to Nick during the last scene in that episode in which Schmidt takes Nick to an Italian circus, and Nick can’t get enough.

Also, Winston is actually a character.  Winston got the short shrift in the early going, possibly due to the unforeseen circumstances that he wasn’t even supposed to exist.  Pilot character Coach, played by Damon Wayans Jr., was excised when Wayans Jr.’s other show, Happy Endings was unexpectedly (but fortunately) picked up for a second season.  Lamone Morris’s Winston debuted in the second episode as a basketball player with a short professional career in Latvia just moving back to the states, and he didn’t get a whole lot to do in the first few episodes.  New Girl finally got around to giving him some characterization, and while he still lags behind Schmidt and Nick in the amount of good lines he gets, Winston has at least gotten a couple of chances to shine.

The theme’s not great; but nothing’s perfect.

It feels good just to take the shackles off and enjoy a show without reservations.  Welcome to my personal canon, New Girl.  You’ve earned it.