Though I'm sure it's a coincidence, Jess's Alge-bio-civics class (that would be algebra, biology, and civics, all taught at once via the dynamic use of dead frogs) in New Girl Season 3 Episode 11 reminded me of the episode itself:
Something made up of a lot of interesting parts that doesn't necessarily work as a whole.
Lately, the sitcom often feels like it's losing its grasp on its characters, unsure of what to do with them now that Jess and Nick have unexpectedly formed a totally happy, healthy and drama-free relationship.
How has the first half hour in the second half of New Girl Season 3 decided to deal with this issue? Flashbacks! Lots and lots of flashbacks!
Though that sounds groan-inducing, the flashbacks were actually hilarious - from the brief cut to the time Jess and Coach watched "Boogie Nights" together, to the tortured tale of Winston's life as a Latvian basketball non-star, the flashbacks were lively, full of energy, absurdity, dark humor, and top-notch New Girl quotes.
They harkened back to the off-the-wall vivacity of New Girl Season 2.
However, there was trouble in the present day.
New Girl Season 3 has become almost dangerously dependent on gimmick episodes, and this one - Jess has to decide about her entire professional future in 20 minutes! It's a real-time challenge! And actually nothing really changes and the stakes are pretty low! - was the gimmickiest yet.
The reliance on gimmick episodes implies that the writers are lost as to how to have the characters grow, or do anything interesting on their own; not a long-term strategy that inspires a lot of confidence.
It is my deepest hope that this is just a phase for the show. Wait, that's not true... my deepest hope is actually to someday own and operate my own artisanal fro-yo stand.
But it is my second deepest hope that the trip-ups of this season are just growing pains for the show - an awkward adolescence, if you will, as the writers decide what to do next to bring the show back to its former glory.
After all, New Girl took the bold (and pretty unheard of) step of having their will-they-or-won't-they leads get together, and actually end up 'happily ever after' while the show goes on around them. These road bumps could just be the writers experimenting with different things as they attempt to carve out a new normal for the characters, something as fun and ingenious as the highest highlights of New Girl Season 2.
It *could* happen. I hope it happens. But with every new episode that I see of this season, I become less and less convinced that it will.
I don't need a dead frog, a math equation, and the name of a local political leader all mushed together to figure that out.
Has New Girl lost its way since Jess and Nick got together?