New Girl Review: Schmidty Knows Best

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Just when Schmidt was on the verge of turning into a one-dimensional Twitter feed of elitist, douchey one-liners (granted, a hilarious and gorgeous man of a Twitter feed), "Control" brings the focus back to developing his character a little more and reveals a new, more maternal side of Schmidt.

We always knew Schmidt was a little crazy. I mean, come on, the man has an Irish walking cape and compares his sexual personas to cheeses. But in the New Girl loft, that’s just par for the course. Schmidt’s control issues, however, are of a more serious bent. While they haven’t been on full display the entire season, there have been hints:  his penchant for list making, how upset he gets when things go missing (like his driving loafers), his orderly display of hair products.

So what’s the antidote to Schmidt’s troubles? A little bit of Jess’ freewheeling personality!

New Girl Drum Circle

Unfortunately, the Zooey Deschanel indie day camp where you ride bikes and hang out with street performers isn’t really Schmidt’s cup of tea. Her world of glassy oceans and sandy beaches becomes a germ infested, hypodermic-needle-ridden, trash littered universe to Schmidt. The cutaways to Schmidt’s perspective as Jess is rattling off all the great things about the boardwalk felt appropriately hipster, but in less of a (500) Days of Summer way and more in a Wes Anderson vibe, which seems more fitting for Max Greenfield. This also resulted in some great lines. Check out our New Girl quotes page!

To Jess’ surprise, her tactic worked; Schmidt transforms into a street-meat-eating laid back kind of guy. The apartment rapidly falls to ruin, Nick and Winston can’t stop fighting and it quickly becomes apparent where this storyline is going.

The offbeat friends-as-a-family plotline has been done many times, but New Girl tackles it with, what else, quirky aplomb. It wasn't New Girl’s most original or well-written episode by far, but I thought the jokes landed well and the relationship dynamic was accurate. Of course Schmidt would think that he’s the cool rebel brother when he's actually the mom!

Jess’ comment that the division of apartment labor (i.e. Schmidt does all the cleaning and cooking) is sexist was an interesting dig at gender roles. At first, I thought she meant that they all viewed Schmidt as more feminine than masculine, but Winston and Nick’s double take at her remark suggests that’s probably not true. Or, Winston and Nick just don’t understand the concept of sexism, which is entirely possible considering the level of maturity they showed this week.

Without Mommy Schmidt around to cook and clean and tell them what clothes to wear, Nick and Winston regress back to about middle school, I would say. Their grocery store slap fest proved that the longer you do something doesn’t necessarily make it funny. This regression into bratty siblings connected nicely with the larger story, although I don’t think it naturally evolved from the original plotline of Nick owing Winston money as smoothly as the writers had hoped or intended. 

Finally, the group convenes a family meeting. They need Schmidt back. Nick needs Schmidt’s fashion advice, Winston misses Schidmt’s hair chutney (emphasis on the “t”), and Jess lures Schmidt in with a pair of fancy pants she bought for him. Just as quickly as he disappeared, the old Schmidt returns and ready to don some dress slacks. 

And sleep in them too, apparently, because when CeCe shows up later that night he’s wearing them in bed. Let’s not forget that CeCe was the one who caused Schmidt’s control issues to flare, but having been to the drum circle and back, Schmidt is now a different man. He accepts his lack of control in their relationship, only to suggest that he has the ultimate control over her – seduction. 

"Control" was a solid episode of New Girl with some hilarious lines and all the wacky details that we expect, but I’ve grown to expect a little more, especially after last week’s showing. New Girl has slowly been tackling tougher and more realistic topics, and while they have been couched in zany antics, there have been beautiful moments of clarity that shoot through the slapstick of the show and straight to its heart. 

Stray Observations

  • I laughed so hard after Nick wishes for a girl that was drunk all the time and then looks immediately horrified that he wished for such a thing.
  • How would you feel about a ban on high-waisted shorts?
  • There is no way Schmidt could buy enough groceries to feed this gang of four for $100. Not in California. 

Control Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (70 Votes)
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New Girl Season 1 Episode 16 Quotes

I'm gonna go take a shower with Nick's bar soap like a common ranch hand.


Do you remember when you got yourself off to An Inconvenient Truth? Or dressed up as Shia LaBeouf from Wall Street 2? Or said that jazz music was America's greatest mistake?

Jess [to Schmidt]