Us Vs. Zooey: You Open Your Mouth And All I Hear Is “Cardigan”

Zooey Deschanel in this week's episode of FOX's "New Girl."

To the untrained, non-obsessive TV-watching eye, this week’s episode of New Girl might seem like a success. There were some funny, quotable lines (“It’s for moisture, Nick! Not for cleaning!”), and a little heartfelt conversation that gave the show some of the friendship depth it claims to be all about. OK. We accept that. That still doesn’t make this a good episode.

For a show that claims to be about friendship, though, they certainly had some sexual tension building until this week. This episode, instead of bringing back Justin Long, having Nick make a move on jess, or have a development between Schmidt and Cece, New Girl tried to make its viewers look at their own friendships with a heartfelt message. Which was…friendships make life better, or something. We think.

While building these friendships (Nick and Schmidt, Jess and Winston), both sides got a bit out of hand. Winston is helping Jess lead her “Ensembell”—kids who chose music over early morning detention—because he is, naturally, a talented bell player. Winston can’t let go of his mentality that everything is about winning (thankfully no one inserted a tired Charlie Sheen joke) and comes down hard on the kids and frustrates Jess. Winston even lets his winning mentality influence his song choice for the bell players, and Eye of the Tiger seems like the most obvious, clichéd choice that the show could have made here. We don’t believe no one could have thought of something more exciting or fresh.

Nick and Schmidt, on the other hand, argue about money because Nick doesn’t like to spend money to get things fixed and Schmidt had a $40,000 bar mitzvah. There was the potential some sort of humor relating to Schmidt’s Jewish heritage, but the show decides to avoid it. It feels like sort of a travesty to us to let such prime opportunity go untouched, but we also recognize that really isn’t the style of this show.

Without Cece’s presence to add sexual tension to the Schmidt portion of New Girl, this episode is strikingly feel-good in comparison to the Thanksgiving episode, traditionally the time for all kinds of morals.

Of course, the episode did have to end in a group outing to tie everything together neatly, and we see the friends up closer than before (duh). Which means that Nick can’t stop digging into Schmidt a bit—you know, to show that even after their fight, he really cares.

This show draws its strength from three things in our minds: the dynamic between Nick and Jess, the dynamic between Winston and Schmidt, and Cece in general. This episode had none of that, and without those components, it fell pretty flat.

Also, as much as we find Justin Long’s character unnecessary, how fitting would it have been to see Paul play the hand bells? Where are the writers on things like this?

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