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New Girl Review: Cat Bachelor Party

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Like many a fine comedy, New Girl deals in a heightened version of reality and human behavior.

In the past, I've seen shades of everything on this show from Friends to...well, fine, mostly Friends, and occasionally some other stuff, too. But "The Captain" reminded me of nothing so much as a lost episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Is this a good thing? Well, yes and no.

A Bad Breakup

In the plus corner, Jess and Nick are a sloppier and more realistic pairing than ever walked through the doors of MacLaren's Pub, which makes them way more appealing to watch.

It's tough to keep a character grounded in some sense of realism when, for example, they're preparing to perform a degrading, nautically-themed sex act. But Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson have pulled off the rare trick of doing something cartoonishly absurd without getting cartoony themselves, anchoring their performance in still-relatable emotions and reactions.

The chemistry between Deschanel and Johnson does a lot of the heavy lifting in this particular department - their combustible romantic energy is unmatched in current network TV comedy, and, in fact, it can rescue the show when it sometimes spins out of control.

But I was disappointed to see Schmidt watered down to a dime-store Barney Stinson in this episode. Though there are plenty of parallels between those two characters - both men are soft-hearted comedic anti-heroes who only get into trouble because they're very insecure and also have very specific preferences about their suit tailoring, for example - but Max Greenfield's Schmidt is more of a sweetly wounded bird-cum-metrosexual doofus.

He's less compelling than usual here, where he seems to be trying on Stinson's scheming 'master of the universe' type personality. To see him getting the better of Jess and Nick as they each naively fell right into his trap (mere moments after discussing his desire to set a trap!), I did feel like I was watching a different kind of show, with his more typical Schmidt-style capering at the end mixing in oddly with the previous action. And Schmidt's love of Billy Zane in Titanic was even reminiscent of Barney's ongoing affection for The Karate Kid's William Zabka (yes, someone had to say it, okay?).

Schmidt, as he has been in the past, is one of New Girl's greatest strengths - if not the show's singular greatest strength - and though his descent into darkness this season has helped grow the character, it's also made him a little less focused. Where is "Big Guy" in all of this?

On the subplot front, I continue to adore the development and cultivation of Winston's personal weirdness, which, as he so ably pointed out in one of tonight's best New Girl quotes, still doesn't stop him from being the sanest person in the house. This season, Winston is finally beginning to come into his own, both as a person bizarre enough to be okay living in a house full of Jess's failed craft projects and Schmidt's failed erotic murals, and also as a person even-keeled enough to want nothing to do with the loft drama. It only took two entire seasons, but I finally feel like I understand what the hell he's doing there.

And finally, most importantly... what does "The Captain," with its spyglasses, dolphin sounds and bottomless shame, actually entail? I have no idea, but I hope we get a guide to it, a la New Girl Season 1's "True American," some time soon. Internet, you've helped me realize every other asinine idea I've had in my life; don't fail me now!

Can order possibly be restored in the loft? Are Schmidt and Cece ever going to find their way back together? What am I supposed to take away from the fact that Nick has a Jim Croce poster in his room??!

Review

Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5.0
  • 3.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (58 Votes)
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I'm still fairly new to NG, but isn't this is supposed to be a cute show? As a fan of all things cute, I love animals and am fairly educated. So, one episode ago and I can't enjoy it because Winston spends the WHOLE episode on the verge of killing the innocent cat -?!?! Even if he "probably" wasn't going to harm it, I'm waiting in suspense worried wtf he's going to do - this is comedy -?! Uh, NO. Now in this "Capt" episode, the plot is for him to have his cat perhaps wind up getting another pregnant??? Would be so funny, except for the glaring, ongoing REALITY that nearly 10,000 animals are killed every day in US shelters -!!!! This INCLUDES kittens AND puppies, not to mention the unwanted older ones. Anyone can google this. REALLY people, enough already. This was supposed to be a cute, feel-good show - oh well - I'm DONE with it.

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I'm not friends because it's going to find friends say

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I agree that Schmidt was hilarious last night but it started to make me dislike his character. From cheating on Elizabeth/Cece to trying to break up Nick and Jess he is not being the loveable d-bag we have come to know. Regardless of if he thinks the girls finding out last week was Nick and Jess's fault, Nick is his best friend and Nick is really happy. Schmidt should just man up, admit he was the one who was wrong and be happy for Nick and Jess. The sooner he can do that the sooner he can start making some actual head way in getting Cece back.

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He was definitly a Jim Croce's poster

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I think that poster was Frank Zappa, not Jim Croce

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I agree with the other commenters about jess and nick ruining the dynamic now they're together, Schmidt has been having a tough time and could really have used some more help from his friends, and instead the writers make him the "cheap villain of the week" with his plans inevitably backfiring and bringing them closer together, I really hope its not a recurring theme now, that would really ruin it for me

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@tallyWIZ - you are not alone! I completely agree. It's been going down hill for me for awhile, but last night I found myself changing the channel - it's definitely changed the dynamics of the show and it's not a 'must see' for me anymore.

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I also thought Schmidt's behavior was pretty hilarious in this episode! Everything he does cracks me up. And he is always so over the top that I don't think this was really out of character for him at all. I loved Winston's "cat brothel" in his bedroom and how serious he took it. He really is learning to shine this season, which is great. Now I think the whole cast is truly great, and each person brings something different to the show. I love how even though Nick and Jess are together now, they can still give us those moments that make us want to swoon, even with something as simple as him telling her how he feels. That's a huge step for him! And the reviewer is right, no matter what happens, Nick and Jess still have the most amazing chemistry. It's so fun to watch!