New Girl 3×02 ‘Nerd’: The mean girls

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This week’s episode of New Girl introduced a clique of ‘mean girl’ teachers at Jess’s new school that are making it difficult to fit in. Nick joins in as the helpful man friend to try and make Jess look cool. Schmidt is still dealing with juggling his two-woman affair, reminding us that yes, this story line is still happening. Finally, Winston has to babysit Daisy’s cat even though he suspects her of cheating. That is, he suspects Daisy of cheating, not the cat. You knew what I meant! Anyway, let’s just get to the episode…

Jess trying to pull off her best Mary Louise-Parker impression. Source: 'fox.com'

Jess trying to pull off her best Mary Louise-Parker impression.
Source: ‘fox.com’

Jess has begun her new teaching job, but is not enjoying it very much because she hasn’t made any new friends. There is a group of cool teachers who won’t give her the time of day, so Nick seizes the opportunity  to try and help her not look like a nerd. He mostly succeeds, getting all of them drunk so that Jess will relax (although Jess relaxes a little too much). This episode really let Nick shine, and highlighted what a great comedic actor Jake Johnson is as well. One of the best moments of the episode is when Nick is trying to corral both Jess and Winston in the loft at the same time. His frustration and eventual failure was perfectly timed. This episode also reinforced what the premiere showed: that Nick and Jess as a couple isn’t that much of a different dynamic than before. Truly, their interactions felt natural, while somehow still having that cat and mouse element that they displayed all last season.

Schimdt and Cece star in 'Every 90's Sitcom Ever.' Source: 'fox.com'

Schimdt and Cece star in ‘Every 90’s Sitcom Ever.’
Source: ‘fox.com’

Schmidt, however, is continuing his downward spiral. I said it last week, and I’ll probably keep saying it until this storyline ends: Schmidt dating two women is a terrible idea! It just is. How many times has this been done on sitcoms before? However many sitcoms there were in existence in the 80’s and 90’s, that’s how many times it has been done before. And this week’s episode was even complete with the old ‘both girls get invited to the same party’ gag. The twist at the end that both girls believed Schmidt’s lies and didn’t figure out that he was dating them both, even after seeing each other in person, was at least clever. But that also means that he will still be dating both of them next week. It’s just tiring to keep up with, because we spent the entirety of last season seeing Cece and Schmidt apart, and now that they are back together, we know that when she inevitably figures out his secret that they are going to break up again. Quit playing with our emotions New Girl!

The stars of Fox's new comedy hit "Winston and Ferguson" Source: 'fox.com'

The stars of Fox’s new comedy hit “Winston and Ferguson”
Source: ‘fox.com’

For the second week in a row, my favorite character was Winston. This is an unprecedented streak for the fourth roommate. Maybe the writers are finally figuring out what to do with him. Daisy is back this episode, and she needs Winston to cat-sit for her. Winston wants to make things exclusive with her, but he hears another guy in her apartment when he goes to pick up the cat. Sadly, by episode’s end, it is discovered that Daisy is in fact cheating on him, and they go their separate ways. I was hoping for some sort of hilarious misunderstanding at the end, but instead it was a really unnecessary goodbye for Brenda Song. I’m not really sure why they brought her back at all, just to let her exit this way. I had already assumed she was out since she wasn’t mentioned at all last week, and the actress is already a regular on a different Fox show (Dads). Nevertheless, Winston and Ferguson made a perfect pair, and I hope that he stays forever as Winston’s comedic foil. In fact, can we have Coach move back into the loft, and just let Winston and Ferguson get their own spin-off show? I would totally watch that show!

In the end, it was a solid episode of New Girl. Our characters are growing without straying too far from what made us love them to begin with. Even Schmidt showed a lot of guilt over how he’s treating his girlfriends. That’s still a long way from his douchebag-jar ways of the show’s beginning. My only other hope from this episode is that the mean girl clique of teachers comes back for more episodes in the future. Angela Kinsey, Dreama Walker, and Mark Proksch are all talented actors, but they didn’t really get a chance to shine this week. If we can bring them back for more hot tub-related hijinks in the future, that would be great. Oh! And I would also like more medieval-times-singing-Jess moments as well. Thank you!

What did you think of this week’s installment? Let me know down below!

Brock Kimbrel

is a social media specialist from Atlanta, Georgia, who likes to pretend that TV characters are his friends. If you’re looking to have an hour-long discussion about the Smoke Monster from Lost, or witness a live-blog of the lastest SNL, he’s your guy. Follow him on Tumblr or Twitter to send questions and comments!

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  • Anne

    I think it’s interesting that you think Winston is being so well-utilized. I have always maintained that he hasn’t had anything to do the entire run of the show, and his character really just fills an unnecessary space. And–as I agree with you on Schmidt’s character this season having a really dumb plot–that leaves Nick as the only reasonable character. I don’t know what this show can do to improve on this formula it has set into–Winston as the “weird character trait” guy, Schmidt doing some Cece drama that has an ending clearly in mind, and Nick and Jess as foils for each other–and that kind of bums me out, because I know exactly what I’m getting every episode and it’s this.

    (Of course–thank you for the review, it was delightful–you cannot control the stuff that goes on TV! New Girl just can grind my gears sometimes)

    • brock kimbrel

      I guess maybe I should clarify… I feel like Winston is being well-utilized this season in comparison to how he’s been used in the past. He’s always been the odd man out that the writers can never figure out what to do with. He’s still that character… he’s just managed to illicit more laughs from me these past two episodes than he does normally. And yes, I do agree that New Girl has fallen into a predictable path as far as its characters are concerned, but I think that is true of any comedy that is on for very long. The way where New Girl has succeeded in the past is by putting these familiar characters in unfamiliar plots. I’m hoping the writers will give us more ‘True American’ New Girl and less ‘Schmidt dating two women’ New Girl.

  • Fennarama

    I have always loved all of the characters and never felt Winston was the odd-man-out. He always came through when needed, in different ways. I agree the Cece-Schmidt-Elizabeth love triangle is tiring, meh. But I also agree that I love what’s happening with Winston. Instead of Nick having his own weird crap, they’re giving Winston really random, quirky, and hilarious bits. Also Ferguson needs to stay! Winston and Ferguson are awesome!

    • brock kimbrel

      That’s interesting. You’re not the only person who I’ve heard say that they were a fan of Winston just as much as the others. I just felt like they never had a defined personality with him, maybe because he was originally supposed to be Coach and then had to be recast when Damon Wayans Jr. went back to Happy Endings.

  • http://modestcomplexity.blogspot.com Darci

    I totally loved that slow-mo flashback of Jess trying to befriend the “mean” teachers that was so great, and it was hilarious that they used “Bouncin’ Back” by Mystikal in the background, too