It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a new episode of New Girl to review. In reality, it’s only been two weeks, but maybe the extra time off made me miss the series more than usual because I found myself smiling throughout all of “Dance.” No major plot changes occurred or storylines were resolved during the episode, but even though there was a whole lot of nothing going on, it was the kind of nothing that New Girl does so well. With a cast this talented and charming, you can pretty much have them just sit around together for an entire half an hour, and I’m probably still going to love it.
If I give it a little more thought, though, what makes “Dance” work so well is its lighthearted tone. Jess’s speech near the end of the episode to Wendy obviously mirrors her feelings towards Nick, even after their breakup. However, in a way, it describes New Girl itself. This show is about a group of friends in their early thirties still trying to figure out their lives and doing a heck of a lot of goofy stuff while doing it. In its natural state, despite all the fantastic dramatic work that it does produce, New Girl is still a sitcom, and like most comedies, it understands that sometimes you have to just let your characters have fun.
And man, “Dance” is so fun. Every joke tonight, especially everything related to Winston and his “heat,” lands incredibly well, and all the characters get a moment to shine. Coach’s speech to the guys about being chaperones is a true showcase for Damon Wayans Jr., while Schmidt’s proclamation that he’s the “Hebrew Cheetah” is the epitome of perfect. Jess and Cece’s interrogation of her co-worker, followed by their sweet scene with Wendy, where Jess says how “well-traveled” Cece is, elicits many funny moments. And at this point in New Girl’s run, anything Nick Miller does puts the biggest smile ever on my face, including launching off fireworks and shopping cart racing with the “cool kids.”
For many harsh critics of New Girl that have complained that this season of show has gotten too bogged down in the monotonous melodrama of Nick and Jess’s relationship (I am not one of those critics), the pair’s breakup back in “Mars Landing” must have been a welcomed relief, a sign that New Girl was going to get back into its grove. While I agree that having Nick and Jess break up has been good for New Girl, it has nothing do with my enjoyment of Nick and Jess’s relationship; it just appears that since their split, the Nick and Jess drama has been pushed into the background instead of the foreground, allowing for more focus on the fun antics of all the members of the loft.
It’s been a return to balance for New Girl, a series that sometimes finds itself juggling a little too much, and even though an episode like “Dance” might feel a little light in comparison to the series’ past couple installments, it’s better for it. Sometimes shows just need to embrace the goofy, the weird, and the spontaneous and have some fun.
– Jess’s speech to Wendy is a perfect example of how you have a character help another character come to grips with something, while also allowing them to have a realization all on their own. Really nice writing there by the New Girl team.
– Coach’s warning to Schmidt about Diabetic Amy was hilarious. “She’s getting no cookies!” “Well, she actually needs at least two or she’ll pass out.”
– Chaperones who are better than Schmidt, Winston, and Nick, according to Coach: a dog, a plant wearing underwear, and Ray Charles’ ghost.
– Winston bringing “too much heat” while dancing to “Call Me Maybe” is probably one of the funniest things New Girl has ever done.
– Schmidt really doesn’t approve of the young age of Cece’s boyfriend. “That means he was seven when Good Will Hunting came out. Seven, Cece.”
– “You call me ‘Gary the Janitor’ like it’s my whole identity. That’d be like me calling you, ‘Jess the Third Hottest White Teacher’.”
What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of New Girl?
[Photo via Adam Taylor/FOX]