New Girl Review: Reality Check

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This week’s episode, "Jess and Julia", could have marked the end of days. The New Girl apocalypse. The episode where New Girl’s skewed world - full of hand bell jam fests, school bus stripper poles, and former pro Latvian basketball players - met reality. But, to my surprise, my TV didn’t explode.

As it turns out, adorkable Jess does live in the real world, and she has to deal with real problems, not just how-to-defrost-a-turkey-with-body-heat problems. Problems like someone hating her. Leave it to Lizzy Caplan to bring the first real bit of bite to this sitcom. Spurred by insecurity in her romance with Nick, and the suspicion that Nick and Jess might have a thing for each other, Julia says some pretty harsh things to Jess. Check out the quotes page for a refresher of exactly what went down.

Jess vs. Julia

At first, I was resistant to the idea that New Girl was going to confront the criticisms of Jess’ character - her quirks are just affectation, her character is undeveloped, she’s really annoying! – because I really liked the alternate world where New Girl seemed to take place. It was a universe of magical realism where normal people existed alongside ribbon-hat wearing, singing self-narrators such as Jess.

Once Julia confronted Jess about her quirks, I was worried that Jess would be forced to rationalize or change her behavior, and New Girl would lose its uniqueness. If Seinfeld had held its characters responsible for their own moral deficiencies, the show would have been over. In fact, that’s how the series ends. But “Jess and Julia” worked because Jess didn't rationalize or change anything. She stood up for herself, showing that she can be tough and smart while still serving up cupcakes and hosting crochet circles.

It doesn't hurt that Jess has some really supportive friends. CeCe lovers rejoice! After a surprsingly CeCe-free episode two weeks ago, she's back and ready to jump to Jess’ defense. Her loyalty to Jess was touching, and she also rocked the ribbon hat.

But, as it turns out, CeCe’s indignation wasn’t necessary. Jess’ unswerving dedication to all things polka dotted and kitsch swayed Julia by the end of the episode. If New Girl is now taking place in a world where idiosyncrasies are acknowledged, then I have a hard time believing Julia would have a change of heart so quickly. Sadly, Lizzy Caplan is only sticking around for one more Tuesday, so I doubt we'll see much more develop between Julia and Jess. Here’s hoping she has a great send off.

While Nick’s latest love interest is assumedly going to fizzle out, Winston is trying to reignite a former flame. Apparently, spending several years in Latvia really hurts your game, because his first attempt to woo Shelby was terrible. Still, it’s good to see his character reaching out in new directions.

In many ways, "Jess and Julia" was new territory for New Girl. Normally, the show relies entirely on the strength of the laughs, rather than characters and story development, to carry you through the episode. This week the sitcom flexed its dramatic muscles, and it was a surprisingly strong effort. Still, I can’t help but miss the blissfully unaware New Girl that bounds through each week with uninhibited enthusiasm and not a care in the world.

Final Thoughts

  • Schmidt's part was small this week, but he delivered the only laughs of the episode. Where do you think Schmidt wears his Irish walking cape? Just out for strolls around L.A.?
  • I know guys wear each other’s clothes (come on, don’t lie, I know who you are), but, seriously Nick? Sharing underwear? Over the line.
  • There’s already a replica of the Douchebag Jar, so clearly there’s a market for New Girl memorabilia. Jess' ribbon hat would be a hot item. Who wants in?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (110 Votes)
Lindsey kempton

It's Jess' friend Sadie, who I don't think we've actually met before. I think it's mentioned that she and Jess work together, but dropping her in without much context was a little weird for this show.


Who the hell was the lesbian sitting at the kitchen table with Cece? I'm pretty sure I haven't missed an episode, but I cannot remember who that is.


Love the show! I was so happy when Jess told off Julia, I was like you go girl. As a fellow girly girl I was outraged with Julia's attitude and fully ready for Cece to kick her ass. When Schmidt starting about his Irish walking cape and his chut-ten-ney, was I the only one screaming "Jar!"? And the last scene was hilarious! Schmidt dry heaving had me crying laughing.


I actually thought this episode was pretty great. And thank god for the return of Cece!


I enjoyed the episode and really enjoy Jess and her quirkiness. My favorite scene was the last one about the towel and underwear, I had to rewind it and watch it again I as laughing so hard. Nick's disbelief that people wash towels and that sharing underwear is weird was priceless. I loved the horror on Schmidt's face. I can always count on this show for a belly laugh.


You missed the funniest Schmidt line of the night (after the Irish walking cape) in the recap and the quotes page...."sculpting chut-en-ney"....killer!


Anyone who finds Jess annoying can just watch another show. I love Jess, and Zooey Deschanel. I'm so glad this show is just as fun as I had hoped it would be. Even better.


Dead-on review. I love Zoey Deschanel, even her band has grown on me, but this wasn’t the best episode of New Girl. I actually just saw it. The only thing I can’t stand about the shift I work is all the shows I miss, especially since I’m terrible at remembering to set my DVR. Luckily though my employer, DISH, has this free streaming site: dishonline(dot)com where I can keep up with most everything I ever miss. If anyone here misses some of their favorites too, definitely give dishonline a try. A lot of the programming is even available to non-DISH subscribers.


I loved this episode and I don't think Jess is annoying. I know Julia and Nick aren't going to work out because Nick is already smitten with Jess, you can see it when they interact. I can't wait to get all these distractions out the way because they would be so cute together.

Lindsey kempton

I also love Jess and want her to stay weird forever! I was just citing some critic and viewer complaints that I had read or heard, one of which being that some people find her really annoying. But, if this episode proved anything, it's that Jess isn't changing for anyone.

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New Girl Season 1 Episode 11 Quotes

Julia: You never know, a judge might buy into this whole thing, so..
Jess: What whole thing?
Julia: Your whole thing. With the cupcakes and the breaking for birds, and the bluebirds come and help me dress in the morning!
Jess: Oh wow, I didn't know I was doing a thing.
Julia: It's a great thing. The big beautiful blue eyes. I bet that gets you out of a lot of things.
Jess: Yeah, except my peripheral vision is almost too good

I'm about to go pay this fine, and my checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch!