New Girl Review: No Weddings and a Funeral

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New Girl is on a winning streak. Uh-huh, thank you very much! (Sorry. I literally could not stop myself.)

An Odd Funeral

For a show that's greatest weakness has long been its wild and obvious indecision about what it wants to be, for at least the second week in a row, New Girl has hit a perfectly consistent tone.

"Chicago" offered more of everything that's made New Girl Season 2 so appealing, including over-the-top silliness, sharp-but-warm humor, and tender emotional moments slightly undermined by Schmidt rubbing his face on a dead guy.

A lot of things felt like they finally settled into place in this episode, including the ongoing slow burn of Jess and Nick's relationship, along with the ongoing slow burn of Nick's maturation into a full-on adult.

But the most important was Jess's solidification into a character that we laugh at because she does funny things, not a character that we laugh at because she herself is the punchline.

New Girl Season 1 seemed a bit confused about this particular issue. One second, the show was ridiculing Jess for being a glitter princess who lived on Cake Island; the next, it was taking down a character for making those same exact criticisms of her. Just when it would seem like the show had settled on having her be a neurotic who happens to wear frilly dresses, they'd have her mindmeld with a coyote.

I mean, personally, as a neurotic who wears frilly dresses but who would never mindmeld with a coyote (too awkward), perhaps I was extra sensitive to this issue.

But even if you're an even-keeled rationalist who wears sensible slacks, you can't deny that much of the engine that's been powering New Girl Season 2 has been the revelation that Jess is just a funny character who does funny things - not a child-like goon, not a saint-like weirdo, not Mork from Ork. Just a clever neurotic who nails many of the best New Girl quotes each week (and, yes, has clearly been dropping way too much cash at Anthropologie).

Nick's family was played for some fairly easy working-class laughs - for a house that was supposedly in Chicago, they seemed to be located a little bit closer to Lanford, Illinois - but I do have to give special props to Bill Burr for his portrayal of Nick's surly Boston cousin Bobby. You may recall Burr from his turn as Saul Goodman's most hilarious thug on Breaking Bad and his work here was not dissimilar. But, again, who's complaining about more of a good thing?

It may be premature to call this, but I think we've now passed the point where New Girl will have a bad episode. Sure, some will be better than others (and yeah, there will probably be a drop off in a few years, when all the original writers have gone on to other projects, and Jess will be a faint shell of the glitter princess she once was).

But I think we've hit a point where we can expect something consistent from this show. New Girl appears to have finally found its permanent groove.

And, yes, it just so happens that that groove is slightly reminiscent of a certain group of...chums...whom we all remember so fondly from the 90s. But so what? No shame in that game. If a billion nihilistic shows can model themselves after Seinfeld, why not have on show take a page from Friends and suggest that sometimes, on occasion, life is not completely terrible, and we can there...for you?

I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'll show myself out.

Did you like the peek at Nick's extended family? Was Jess's Elvis impersonation totally cute or way too much? Did you even notice Nick Kroll (he played Nick's brother)?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (112 Votes)

@ Boyd Crowder: don't know why you have to visit the part of the site where they talk about new girl, since you don't like it. That's just pure masochism or too much free time.


4 continued: You're a TV critic. You MUST know, by the law of tropism, that you've just jinxed the show by saying that. That's almost as bad as "one last mission!" :-)


1. Someone just hand Jake Johnson an Emmy. Just do now. If that man loses an Emmy to Jim Parsons or ANYONE at CBS, I will be PISSED. Have MERCY, he nailed that episode. He didn't waste a second of screen time. 2. Here's the difference between Friends and New Girl: reality. I loved Friends, but quite frankly, I didn't know anyone like those characters. New Girl, on the other hand? I know them. I am them. Their hijinks may be over the top, but the PEOPLE they represent are more real than any 90s sitcom I can think of. 3. That being said - all I want in life is for a guy to look at me the way Nick looked at Jess on that pulpit. I want to be that to someone. I just had to say it. 4. I think we've now passed the point where New Girl will have a bad episode.


Yeah the Elvis thing was a bit too much for me. I cringed as soon as I realized she was thinking about putting on the suit. But overall, the ep was great as usual. It was nice to have an episode that didn't revolve around the Nick/Jess relationship. It was a part of it, but not the main focus for the first time in several weeks. Schmidt can do no wrong and Winston was pretty funny. I'm a CeCe fan though, so always disappointed when she's not a part of the episode.


I love this show. They have been doing a great job. This episode had me cracking up a lot. I love the chemistry between nick and Jess. Love the way he was looking at her. Schmidt is the best. He's hilarious!


Terrible review....for example Margo Martindale as Nick's mom wasn't even mentioned??? I'll forgive you. This was a GREAT showed the depth of caring between the 4 roomies. I especially loved the looks of pride on Winston & Schmidt as they watched Jess nail Elvis and "save" the funeral service. And, of course, the looks between Jess and Nick. Compassion, understanding, love....all there.


Not sure why a shi/com gets reviewed here ....I don't watch that dimwit programming and don't want to see this site waste my time talking about them ....


New Girl is so great at being hilarious and tugging at the heart strings at the same time! The way nick was looking at Jess was one of the best moments of the season. Even with just that one look, you can see how much chemistry they have. It's insane! I thought Jess as Elvis was really funny. Her dance moves were on point! I loved Schmidt freaking out about all the buttons! Totally on par with his character. The scenes with him and Winston were also funny. Another great episode!

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New Girl Season 2 Episode 20 Quotes

Schmidt, I have to breathe because I am coaching you and also for regular life reasons.


Keep it light, keep it happy. Don't mention the felony thing. Or Paraguay. Or the storage space.

Nick's Mom