Like the panicky ex-couple at its center, New Girl seems unsure of what to do with itself these days.
After spending an uneven first half of the season fishing for plot conflicts, New Girl Season 3 started coming together over the last few months, evolving into a clever, sweet paean to the pleasures of being content with a perfectly imperfect romantic relationship.
New Girl Season 3 Episode 20 blew that conceit up with an out-of-nowhere (and none too sensible) break-up, of course.
But though I was disappointed, I can't have been the only one who thought the break-up would at least herald a return to New Girl Season 2-style emotional pyrotechnics between the series's two star-crossed-ish lovers, the motor that always powered this show.
New Girl Season 3 Episode 21 seemed to be a statement of purpose about what to expect from the post-Ness/ Jick show, and unfortunately, it wasn't a jump back to the show's New Girl Season 2 glory days.
Rather, it seemed like the break-up has made the show hop all the way back to the often confused and convoluted world of New Girl Season 1, where jokes and New Girl quotes often didn't quite connect, plot threads appeared and disappeared at random and deep feelings were conveyed almost exclusively via monologue.
I feel a little bad for ragging on New Girl for reverting to the "Beautiful, Wacky People Having a Hard Time Solving Fairly Simple Problems" plot formula - our entire sitcom culture is built on Beautiful, Wacky People who can barely open a can of tuna, and it has served us very well through the decades, if I do say so.
But New Girl had the opportunity to show us how two of those wacky, beautiful people found each other and stayed together... and I think that they were beginning to succeed at it even.
The show had a chance to step away from the romantic theatrics that typifiy a lot of recent sitcoms (like the last few seasons of How I Met Your Mother) and build unique comedy out of the ways two very different people struggle to build a life together.
It's not just a missed opportunity to break new comedy ground; it's one that I think would have served the show better than putting Nick and Jess on the "break up, make up" carousel that they seem headed for.
It certainly doesn't help that their reasons for breaking up were even more absurd than all those reasons they trotted out over the course of New Girl Season 2 to keep from getting together.
Those two maniacs complemented each other in their madness; a double-Jess or double-Nick relationship seems like an actual waking nightmare (and a terribly boring show).
So tell me:
Where can New Girl possibly go now?