My review for this week’s episode of New Girl, “Fired Up,” will probably be a little shorter than my typical reviews have been in the past. That’s not because I don’t have the time to write a thousand-plus word review for the show and more due to the fact that over the past couple of episodes (mostly due to the “Sister” trilogy) New Girl has been perfectly ordinary. It’s not as if New Girl is consistently disappointing me every week. No, instead it’s like the series is simply just in a rut, a state of complacency and filler where a lot appears to happen over the course of an episode without much really changing (and, in the case of tonight’s episode, without much really making me laugh).
The two central plots of “Fired Up” revolve around Jess landing Coach a position as volleyball coach at the school she teaches at (before she is promoted to vice principal and thus forced to fire and then rehire Coach), and Nick stepping up to be a lawyer for Schmidt after he finds himself being sued. Personally, neither of these storylines particularly worked for me individually, but the Coach/Jess stuff definitely held more merit. Jess helping Coach find a new job and seeing the effect he has on the kids (and the effect that they also have on him) was a great way to show us the bond that has now formed between the two of them. While episodes like “Basketsball” illustrated the disconnection between Jess and Coach, “Fired Up” reinforces how the pair have found common ground and actually have more in common than most would think (their shared crying scene in the bar was a standout moment of the episode for me).
Furthermore, New Girl uses Coach’s presence at the school to help motivate Jess to demand that she be promoted to vice principal, a title that looks like it will hold a lot of stress and conflict down the line for Jess if the ending of this episode says anything about it. This change in Jess’s career is incredibly exciting to me, because now she finally holds the power and responsibility that she has always craved and deserved in the school setting. However, will it be too much for her to handle, especially with the added weight of sharing a room with Nick, or will Jess continue to stand up (like she did in this episode) and take charge to reform the school? It’s definitely an interesting avenue for New Girl to explore as it heads into its final four episodes of the season, and I hope we haven’t seen the last of the challenges that Jess will face as vice principal.
Although Jess finds herself passed out in bed by the episode’s end (reading light still turned on and attached to her head), Nick returns to the loft feeling confident and successful after (in typical Nick Miller fashion) unorthodoxly helping Schmidt avoid paying the man who was attempting to sue him for $20,000. Jess’s exhausted state feels earned by what New Girl has shown us throughout “Fired Up.” The countless difficulties of being vice principal prove to be almost too much for Jess, but her determination to attack them head on would certainly cause anyone to need some sleep.
Nick’s final moment of the episode, on the other hand, feels hollow and doesn’t land for me emotionally. It’s not like I needed New Girl to suddenly transform itself into a male version of Legally Blonde as Nick tries to help Schmidt, but Nick’s pride in “tricking” the other attorneys into letting Schmidt out the payment felt really half-baked to me. I needed to see some form of innovation or inspiration from Nick in order to achieve that win for both Schmidt and himself, thus leading to his enormous sense of satisfaction and pride, but the falling out of the chair move? Like I’ve said about New Girl’s episodes recently, it felt harmless and fun but also incredibly ordinary. And that’s something that New Girl, at its heights both last year and this season, never is.
– Cece also agrees to go on a date with a 20-year-old, Australian guy named Buster. I can’t really see how this fits into the bigger story of New Girl aside from it eventually making Schmidt jealous. Groan.
– Winston drew the two biggest laughs from me tonight. First, his singing of “Loves it in the caboose” had me howling, and then his determination to have “Courtroom Brown” be his nickname almost had me in tears.
– “I’ve got quite the eye for young boys. That’s right. I said it. It’s not a typo.” Nick and Cece’s boss, Mike, is becoming a pretty solid recurring character.
– Loved the really simple and stupid joke of Coach being “Coach Coach.” The wordplay lines were pretty abundant throughout the episode, but man, they worked.
– “I’m young, I’m energetic, and I think it’s about time you take advantage of me!” For being an English teacher, Jess really needs to work on her word choice.
What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of New Girl?
[Photo via Adam Taylor/FOX]