To get painfully honest right up front here: New Girl Season 3 Episode 9 was a regression.
Yes, I was happy to see Cece and Schmidt back in action, even if it was only individually (and even if Hannah Simone's prodigious comedy talents were mostly blown in a straight-man role here). I was happy to see the return of "Furguson," and Winston's always-entertaining fixation on him. I was happy to hear a solid joke about flip-phones.
But the parts just did not add up- - not to the rollicking comedy that this show is capable of producing, and not even to much of a coherent whole.
I am not going to lay it all at the feet of Coach's disruption of the character dynamic... even though, as was made painfully clear in this episode, he is basically a Schmidt retread, with the same exact sometimes-funny, sometimes-toxic blend of insecurity and faux machismo, this time couched in a fixation on sports instead of luxury hair pomade.
Why have two characters with the same exact personality quirk? I don't know-, you might as well ask why Cece would date her ex's roommate mere weeks after their break-up.
While you're at it, you might as well also ask why is Winston into a weird, Maalox-swilling bus driver when his last lady was the thoroughly (and conventionally) adorable Brenda Song.
I don't have a problem with it as a plot point, I just want to know why. I want to understand why I'm laughing. Is it because Winston is going against his usual type in women? Is it because this was secretly his type all along? IS IT BECAUSE BUSES AND MAALOX ARE INHERENTLY FUNNY???
I'll accept any of these answers. But I would love an answer, and one that jibes with the characters they've been steadily developing and distilling since the second half of New Girl Season 1.
In fact, this whole episode harkened back to New Girl Season 1, from the random and unclear swings in character motivation, to glossing over the episode's lack of plot momentum by having something unexpected and absurd happen (you know, like Jess running Schmidt over with a car).
I know, I know, tell you something that you don't know/that I haven't said in multiple reviews. But I truly am at a loss. My relationship with New Girl has had a lot of up-and-downs; it went from one of my most loathed to one of my most loved shows on the strength of New Girl Season 2.
But I'm unsure what to make of this episode and New Girl Season 3 Episode 8.
Is this a temporary dip in quality? Or a permanent change? Your guess is as good as mine. But despite a handful of solid New Girl quotes, this episode represented a real, consistent step down in quality for me, and I'm a little nervous to see what comes next.
Is Cece really going to start dating Coach? Is Schmidt ever going to get over it? Am I missing something with this whole bus driver thing?