New Girl‘s third season seems like a desperate effort at change, lest the viewers realize that the ‘will they won’t they’ tension propelling their favorite couple just isn’t there anymore.
Unfortunately, we’re not that stupid, and stalling Nick and Jess so that a repeat of what’s already been aired – with a little more angst and history involved – just doesn’t appeal.
It’s tough, after such a great sophomore season, to find that New Girl just isn’t that interesting anymore. It’s funny, sure. I mean, who didn’t laugh at Coach’s fear of boats? But that’s all he got in this finale, and background B-stories are all that he and Winston really have been getting this season. It was understandable in season two, when there was just so much going on in every episode of New Girl, that it didn’t seem possible for Winston to have space to stretch out in. But season three has been and gone, and Schmidt, Nick and Jess are starting to feel underwhelming.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe New Girl‘s shutting the door to something in this finale, when Nick moves into Schmidt’s room with the help of bunk-beds. But instinctively, I know that I’m not wrong. Schmidt spends the episode chasing after Cece, and Nick and Jess hang out on a cruise they booked when they were a couple, no one understanding why they still aren’t one.
It’s easy to say that Nick and Jess broke up because the writers weren’t bold enough to keep them together. And it is bold to keep a couple together on television, because we’re used to seeing the happy endings at the last minute; the credits rolling after the big kiss and promise of commitment. We don’t see a lot of the mundane in entertainment, and maybe the New Girl writers didn’t want us to see it, either. But I don’t think it comes from that, not when the writers pulled out such stops in the middle of a season to get the two together last year. I think, instead, that New Girl is a show about a group of adults who have been promoted to us as weird, non-adults, and that the storylines are sticking to that idea: that these aren’t normal people that we’re watching, but instead weird-sitcom people, who can’t hold down relationships.
Season three of New Girl has tried to make men out of boys, but in the end, leaves us with the promise of exploring that topic next season,when they put the two littlest boys back in the same room.
Regression, it seems, is the key to season three. I just wish that that had meant more. Because all it leaves viewers with is a mourning for Nick, Jess and their break-up, when it’s clear to us that they shouldn’t have separated in the first place. And the only defense I can think of, is that that’s just the kind of people these characters are.
I just don’t know if they’re the kind of characters I want to watch.
Episode Grade: B-
Season Grade: B
Season MVP: Winston (and Furguson)
- “…I have strong qualms as well.” Nice to see that Coach and his qualms will be back as regulars next season.
- Nick and Jess explain their break-up: “We’re just totally different people.” “Yeah, we just didn’t belong together.” The montage of you doing coupley-things on the boat said differently guys, but whatever. It’s fine.
- “Nick, that’s like the President and the Vice President not being best friends.” “…They’re not best friends.” Um, I think you’re wrong, Nicholas, have you seen Joey B.’s selfie with Obama?
- “Just pick one! Either you’re together, or you’re not!” For the record, that’s a not. Sea you next season, friends, even if Schmidt does think my use of nautical puns are the lowest form of humor.