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New Girl Review: "The Truman Show" Show

by at . Comments

First things first: yes, "Keaton" was funny - very funny, in fact - and it featured some brutally clever New Girl quotes (I've never heard a "Multiplicity" joke that I didn't like, it's true).

Yes, Joey Ramona Quimby is an excellent Halloween costume idea, and yes, having Winston think that he looks like David Letterman is exactly the touch of light, playful insanity that has really made his character pop this season.

But guys: we need to talk about Schmidt.

Cheering Up Schmidt

New Girl has come a long, long way from being that sorta-fun, sorta-annoying show about the girl from Elf. Over the past year, it's developed in leaps and bounds, and in New Girl Season 2, the show established itself as finely-tuned and totally essential TV comedy.

New Girl Season 3 seems to be focused on taking dramatic steps to make sure that the show doesn't rest on its laurels; it is pushing in many directions at once, seemingly doing anything to grow, whether that means finally developing Winston's personality, giving Nick and Jess a surprisingly healthy chemistry (which flies in the face of everything said about the possibility of their having a relationship over the first two season, but whatever), or totally breaking Schmidt.

Intellectually, at least, I applaud this boundary-pushing. There is something to be said for a popular network comedy refusing to get comfortable, to never embrace the steady groove of crowd-pleasing material that will result in its eventual slow decline.

But those laurels the show is determined not to rest on...they were good laurels. New Girl Season 2, especially the second half of the season, was modern sitcom writing at its whip-smart finest. And while twisting and torturing Schmidt until he turns into an unlikeable dick (or reveals himself to have been one the entire time, perhaps) is an artistically exciting move... I am not sure that I like watching it.

Schmidt has been the comedic backbone of this show from day one, nailing the majority of the laughs in that underwhelming first season. Though changes and revisions to the Loft dynamic are necessary following Nick and Jess pairing up, the Dickening of Schmidt just leaves a bad taste in my mouth (pardon any unintentional puns here, folks). I'm not even asking whether it's necessary, I'm just not sure it works. The highest good in a show like this is the joke, and I'm just not sure that miserable Schmidt is very funny. Which is a damned shame.

Which is not to say that this episode wasn't funny (very funny, in fact), or that I won't wake up at 4 a.m. tonight, softly chuckling to myself about "Keatonpotatoes@aol.com" (because I definitely will). But this episode - this new Schmidt character arc, overall - begs the question: Is taking a character to the dark side always better? Is this show enriched by having Schmidt seemingly lose everything that tied him to this earth? Is darker deeper, somehow? It's a valid question in our anti-hero-happy era, and not one that I necessarily have an answer for.

Having Schmidt turn his back on everyone and everything he's had in the first two seasons is an unexpected choice, a creatively engaging choice...but is it all that funny?

Is Schmidt really leaving? Will the Loftafarians ever be able to make up? Does Winston actually kind of look like Letterman, a tiny bit? Like kind of around his mouth area a little? No, just me?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (65 Votes)
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Joyeful

I'm not quite sure what to think about this episode. I didn't find it that funny, but I thought the character work on Schmidt was well done. That being said...Winston singing his work will never not be funny. Pumpkinning...

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I am glad they are pushing boundaries. How many sitcoms got stuck in a groove and kept doing the same old tired stuff until you were numb? I can think of one right now, The Big Bang Theory, where it took almost seven years for Raj to talk to a woman when not drunk, six years for Penny to tell Leonard she loved him, and Sheldon still has not even kissed Amy his girlfriend of three years! I was so happy when Nick and Jess got together because I don't think I could have stood another year of them going back and forth when they are obviously so crazy about each other. As for Schmidt, I felt his character was too one dimensional in the first two seasons. He needed to be broken out of his rut, he needed to wise up that you can't treat women like crap and expect them to love you. He got what he deserved and now he has to come back and be a better person for it. Good sitcom stories have character arcs; bad ones keep them doing the same thing year after year.

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I think that showing what Schmidt is going through is actually a pretty realistic route for the show to take. It's not always going to be rainbows and sunshine. And he's still funny, just not hilarious like he used to be. But he'll get back there. On the other hand though, I'm loving Nick and Winston this season! The Michael Keaton story was pretty hilarious, and so Schmidt.

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I really loved this episode. I thought they got back a lot of the balance they were missing and finally found their groove this season. It's the Schmidt story that hasn't been working for me. At least in this episode, I felt like there was a little positive movement there. It came in the most unexpected place though.....with Cece. That little scene where Cece admitted she finally had closure almost felt like it was giving me 'permission' to forgive Schmidt and find him funny again. I appreciate them trying to give Max a little more meat to deal with in the acting department this season, but it's just not FUNNY. Jake Johnson had a LOT of fantastic dramatic scenes last season, but the story line never sacrificed the humor to do it. I was just glad to move on from the whole revenge/anger aspect of Schmidt this week, because it was really bringing down the show.

New Girl Season 3 Episode 6 Quotes

Winston: Schmidt, you can't move out! Who's gonna do my fades?!
Jess: Yeah, who's gonna do his fades?!

I'm having a party tonight and I can't have him lying on the couch, wiping his tears with deli meat.

Jess
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