"Bells" featured some really strong performances from the cast of New Girl. It also brought out some deeper tension than usual from this typically tight-knit group.
The Good. Let me first talk about Winston. Since his introduction - after replacing the immediately memorable Coach character - he really hasn't had much of a chance to stand out. He had a late start, plus some larger than life roommates to compete with, so it was understandable. Here, his role was finally infused with some lasting flavor.
Yes, we know he's got a great memory for names, we know of his basketball background and that he's got history with the other boys. But they were like garnishes, not exactly filling. On this episode we saw his perfectionist intensity stir up lots of trouble. He lost his temp job, then bummed out Jess' less motivated students. Sure, it's a bit of a "Coach" reincarnation, but I'll take it. At least he was finally something more than an extra warm body around which things could happen.
And who knew the turtle-faced Nick could roar like a lion? We were aware he was a grumpy old man based on last episode, but some deep issues came up tonight. There's always been little skirmishes here and there between the roomies, but nothing so potent as Nick's feelings of inadequacy. Rather than call him out on it like an adult, Schmidt did what does best: escalate into all out petty war. Schmidt has never been portrayed as the epitome of maturity in the group, so that was expected. I still cringed a little when he uttered the word "loser" at Nick, though. I believe him when he said he hadn't meant it, but still. Some words just cut.
The sudden near-blows between Nick and Schmidt came a bit out of left field, but I hope it takes us to some interesting places. Not everything can be as hunky-dorky as Jess would like it to be.
The Bad. Jess was very much an after-thought in this episode. She has been such a gravitational pull for so long, it was a bit surprising to find her with a B story that honestly wasn't that compelling. I missed her. My favorite line of the episode was her question about the missing fridge and sofa, and whether they had been robbed by giants.
The most unfortunate thing about this episode was that I didn't laugh that much. Comedy is such a personal thing sometimes that even when a show has so many elements working right, it still doesn't strike the funny bone. That's what happened to me here. I wanted to laugh with abandon at the Nick and Schmidt back and forth sabotage, and their conditioner exchange, but it just didn't happen.
So many things worked well together and yet it didn't do much for me comedy-wise. This one, I'll chalk up to my personal preferences just not meshing with it.
- I made a wish list before that included Winston finally getting a job at Jess' school. I thought it would finally happen! And too bad it didn't because I'm so getting tired of their apartment.
- I was sorely missing Cece tonight. Sorry, but she adds not only eye candy but usually some needed flavor as well.
- Nick made a lot of turtle faces.
- For those on Team Nick, changed your mind yet? If not, he still has a bit of growing to do before he's ready for a relationship. Agreed?
- Girly-talk alert! Jess had some really cute outfits tonight.