New Girl Review: Middle School Dance Rules

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So this is how you're gonna keep us on the hook for the rest of the season, eh, New Girl?

Nick & Jess' Date

And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. With its clashing relationship expectations, confusing non-date dates, and awkward upper-boob touches, "First Date" took New Girl's Confused Twenty-Something Realness Quotient (C) to new heights.

I found it impossible to not wince with recognition--painful, painful recognition--as Jess and Nick went about their convoluted evening (if your own twenties didn't involve a guy who asked you out and then acted like he was angry about having to take you out/ a girl who made fun of you for trying to dress nice and treat her nicely, well, good for you, but also: go to hell).

With reappearances of characters ranging from Fancyman himself to Outside Dave, and callbacks galore, it seemed like tonight was going to be the night--that this thing that we've all been working so hard for (I mean, as hard as people passively watching a TV show can work) was finally going to happen.

Yet, that anti-climax wasn't anti-climactic. It felt like the right ending. It felt real. Yes, a show that featured a B plot about a homeless guy taking over the Loft's bathroom, has quietly transformed itself into the realest comedy on television.

How did this happen? How did this show turn from an annoying and forced-feeling "hipster-com" into one of the more genuine TV representations of what it actually feels like to be lost in your twenties? Guys, I have a theory.

During New Girl Season 1, there was a lot of hemming and hawing about Zooey Deschanel (that's what we did in the olden days, before we had Lena Dunham to hem and haw over). We all asked: could this doe-eyed indie sweetie, previously best known for being an ethereal indie sex goddess/ adorable singer/ imaginary girlfriend to every guy in a Radiohead t-shirt, carry a sitcom?

And so New Girl Season 1, especially at the beginning of the season, tried to answer this question by building a sitcom based on depicting Deschanel as a doe-eyed indie sweetie. Sometimes it worked, but when it did, it was often in spite of itself and in spite of Deschanel's Jess.

But the problem, it turned out, was not Deschanel. The problem, as we are discovering in New Girl Season 2, was expectations. We expected a sitcom about a hipster cutie-pie, and the writers gave us the best sitcom about a hipster cutie-pie that they could. But, as we can now see, Deschanel was always more than just that. She's a charming and gifted comic actress, who was boxed in by our expectations of her, based on her past work.

This season, the writers and cast of New Girl have fought those expectations in the most effective way possible: by pretending that they didn't exist, and moving Deschanel squarely into the physically comedic actress turf that's been inhabited by everyone from Lucy through Alyson Hannigan.

And not only has it worked for Deschanel--freeing her up to show off her formidable comic chops and ability to land a strong percentage of the best New Girl quotes--but it has freed up the show to be real, to be truly funny, and to invert comedic conventions to tell some striking truths about twenty-something existence.

I'm so glad I stuck around and gave New Girl a chance to change my mind. I'm glad I waited for that, and I'm happy to wait for Nick and Jess to give us not what we want, but what feels real.

Also, that whole thing about it being weird when you hang out with your best friend's other best friend? Is such utter truth, oh my god, I can't even.

Did you like the way this episode left things between Nick and Jess? Did you buy the awkwardness of Winston and Schmidt hanging out together? Have you been attacked by a homeless guy wielding shaving cream lately?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (111 Votes)

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This post really peaked my interest.
moving home


Can someone clarify for me whether or not Nick and Jess have slept together or not? In Nicks description of their dynamic early in the episode, he said, "we're roommates,we've made out a couple times, we get angry at each other.." why would he say just "made out a couple times" if they've actually slept together?


I was expecting so much more from this episode. I was kind of let down. I want Nick & Jess to be a couple. But at the same time I also want them to last a long time not just a few episodes then break up. But I did expect this to be the real begining not just leave us in limbo.


@Claire -- THANK YOU!!! I literally JUST going to write that in my comment because we get it, you didn't like it at first and now you do. No need to keep talking about hun. Write about the episodes for once. Sheesh. With that said lol, I love the awkward chemistry between Nick and Jess. The writers are keeping us on our toes with this couple and I'm so happy about. Too often on TV we see the formulaic relationship growth of fall into bed together, have a big fight but wind up together in about 2 episodes. It's real and hilariously different and I'm SO enjoying it. BUT I will say I'm ready for them to have a hot hot hot HOT kiss scene again -- real soon!


Great stuff this time! My husband hates this show, and even he was laughing at the fat guy ruining Wintson's date. I agree with pretty much everyone else re: Nick & Jess. I want them to be together, but I'm also glad they're taking it slow. They both know what's at stake, and they need to be sure before they go "all in," so to speak.


These reviews are starting to tick me off. Yes, the show and its main character have evolved from Season 1, but do we really have to hear about it every single week? In epic length? I'd be so happy to read a review on an actual episode for a change.


First of all - just let me say - I CANNOT stop laughing at Winston's flashback of a bad date. That was one of the funniest things I have EVER seen on TV. "Sir" George Michael's Father Figure is completely ruined in my head...I watched both the east coast AND the west coast feed just for that scene. I think the Nick/Jess relationship is being written perfectly - and realistically. I loved the moment when Nick pretended Tran was Jess and told "Jess" how much she's changed his life. I agree with the previous commenter - I think Nick is closer to being ready for this than Jess is. That being said - I wasn't quite convinced that Schmidt and Winston can't get along without Nick, mostly because we just got an episode recently (jellyfish) that put them together brilliantly. But in any case, I thoroughly enjoyed their B story.


I know a lot of people have complained about it, but I think they're playing out the nick and Jess relationship perfectly. They're in an awkward situation so they need to be sure that what they're doing is right. And I really love that it started with nick persuing Jess. It would have been so easy for them to do it the other way around. Based on Nick's actions at the end of the episode, I think he wrote down something about being boyfriend and girlfriend. Jess is just scared it will ruin their friendship, rightfully so. But I love how much he wants it. And Schmidt's pure joy about getting to dress Nick was hilarious, and classic Schmidt!


I think they did not left things between Nick and jess.

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New Girl Season 2 Episode 21 Quotes

Schmidt: Here are some things you want to hide about yourself on tonight's date--you're cheap, you're a heavy drinker, you're broke, you have a problem with anger.
Winston: Your car is horrible.

You can't outrun the Jewish!