With the exception of Mad Men, the old adage that “slow and steady wins the race” is rarely one that applies to successful television shows. To stay ahead of the pack in the do-or-die ratings race, a series, especially a new one, has to take off like a shot.
While New Girl has always been solid in the ratings during its first season, it got off to a somewhat shaky start with viewers. While some realized early on that the show was adorable (let’s retire adorkable for good, shall we?) and funny others found Zooey Deschanel‘s cutesy Jess grating.
But in a game-changing maneuver, New Girl quickly found its footing. The hit comedy has not only discovered the right pacing with its writing (while the wonderful Happy Endings is entertaining, it’s impossible to keep up with at times), but it has made subtle tweaks (more effective use of flashbacks) and created ongoing character developments that have made the series one of the funniest, most likable ensemble comedies on television. Early New Girl skeptics, it’s really time to catch up.
So why bring up this in-no-way-subtle racing analogy? Funny you ask! During last night’s episode of New Girl, aptly titled “Secrets,” our beloved Jess was training (with a little help from the audio from Diane Keaton’s autobiography) for a 10k along her best pal CeeCee. But training soon gets derailed when Winston blows CeeCee and Schmidt’s cover about their illicit affair and Jess feels betrayed by her friend and roommates for keeping such a huge secret. For the duration of two moons passed, no less!
Yes, CeeCee and Jess eventually made up (of course they did, you guys), but their falling out felt exactly what most minor setbacks between female BFFs feel like. They are brief, they cut you to the core (how could CeeCee have seen My Girl with Jessica P. first?… Jessica P?!) and, in the end, they always make the bond stronger. Jess figured out that CeeCee was apprehensive to talk about her relationship with Schmidt because she has feelings for him (twist!) and CeeCee literally carried her over the threshold at the 30-hour mark of their 10k.
While CeeCee and Jess were restoring the bonds of their sisterhood, Nick was traveling to the dark side of brohood douchery under the tutelage of douche Sensei Schmidt. (Anybody else dying to hear how Schmidt would pronounce “Sensei”?) Nick is in the midst of that phase that most nice, urban, single, straight, reasonably attractive guys tend to go through in their listless mid-to-late 20s: They temporarily turn into jerks.
Nick, who can’t have just casual sex or lie (in one scene he threw his phone at a wall just to avoid confrontation) to save his life, has a complete douchebag transformation when he successfully gets out of a jam with two girls he slept with. While the douche jar may over runneth for a while, it’s a safe bet that Nick’s segue into Schmidt territory, much like Schmidt’s brief stint as a hippie, will be, thankfully, short-lived.
While “Secrets” may not have had the same amount of consistent or hearty laughs as “Fancy Man” (parts one and two), it still had some gems. Nick’s excuses for why his phone was broken was a thing of beauty (Jesus hawk on a speedboat, the environment, bears, magic), Jess’ reaction to the information that her male roommates occasionally “self-complete” to the thought of her was priceless (as is the fact that, like the word “penis,” she can’t say “masturbation”), and the return of Fat Schmidt gave Fat Betty a run for her money.
Some other highlights from “Secrets”:
— Nick’s sweaty back is a surefire sign that he’s about to buckle like a folding chair under pressure.
— The way Schmidt pronounced “amateur” and “Japan.” They were no “chutney,” but then again, nothing is.
— The devastating truth that “finders’ keepers is not a thing.”
— Winston going “full Poppins” and later channeling his “great Negro spirit” to become Theodore.
— David Wain’s brief, but hilarious cameo as a fellow runner. (“Heads up, I’m peeing!”)
No, this wasn’t New Girl’s best outing yet (that victory still belongs to the surprisingly moving “Injured”), but it proved yet again, that — final race analogy alert! — it’s a winner in every way. What did you think of last night’s episode of New Girl?
[Photo credit: Fox]