Episode 1: All In
By: Carlos Uribe
New Girl is a show about four best friends who live together.
I died laughing.
New Girl starts off it's third season the right foot. It picks up pretty much where the finale left off. Nick and Jess are finally getting together, Schmidt has to make a choice in his love triangle, and Winston continues to exist. I think I should cover the last one first. It's a bit weird because New Girl has done such a great job with most of it's characters but it continues to under-serve Winston. He remains the least developed and the writers struggle what to do with him. The premiere can't carry on Winston's plot because the raccoon from the wedding isn't going to follow them to their apartment. This basically means he has nothing to do. The writers basically gave him a silly story where he starts a puzzle. This turns out to be a bad idea because he's just as terrible at puzzles as he is at pranking people. It's a new bit of information but I think the more important reveal comes at the end when the characters finally figure out Winston is colorblind. I'm not sure how it too them this long. This love of puzzles and colorblindness play a small role in the main plot which is a good way to make him relevant but his own story has relatively low stakes. This is a good and bad thing. It's a good thing because it gives a small runner story to cut to but it's bad because it basically means Winston remained within the status quo. Nick and Jess are together so their status quo changed. Schmidt failed to make a choice so his status quo is changed. Winston? He remains the same. He's the only character where the show fails to make any strides which continues his undeveloped nature. I like Winston but this season should be about integrating him into the show more so that he's his own figure rather than the character the writers struggle to include. That's my wish for the season but I have no idea if that's actually going to happen or not. The premiere doesn't inspire a lot of hope and this is possibly the only weakness I could actually point out. Don't get me wrong: his story was hilarious. I just wish that Winston actually had a character arc.
The premiere picks up on Schmidt's impossible choice: whether to date Cece or Elizabeth. This is where my feelings for the love triangle are a little complex. I think that Schmidt and Cece basically belong together. They are a couple that worked really well and I felt that Schmidt really was heartbroken over losing her. On the other hand, his relationship with Elizabeth feels more genuine. She brings out the best in him while Cece allows him to remain who he is. It's Elizabeth who ultimately makes him grow up and change. It's two different choices that can help determine the speed of Schmidt's character development. The way he sees the choice is very revealing about what I just said: Cece allows him to have crazy sex but Elizabeth was dating him first. Cece allows him to have the lifestyle (crazy sex) he currently wants. Elizabeth, on the other hand, brings him back to the fat, sweet guy she dated in college. It's a bit odd but Schmidt might have lost his weight but he actually became a worse person. His character development is to therefore regress who he used to be without gaining the weight back. It's what helps make Schmidt such a rich character. What complicates matters is that he wants both. He wants to be a better person but he wants his lifestyle. It's a complicated choice which is why he can't just pick one of them. He consciously picks Elizabeth but he finds it impossible to actually break up with either of them. He's now stuck in a pretty big dilemma that has some stakes: he could lose both ladies forever. This was the least funny plot but it still worked well and helped take a direction I didn't immediately predict.
The final plot that gets picked up is the relationship between Nick and Jess. The two finally have decided that they want to be together. The problem is that Schmidt's relationship problems and Winston's decision to start a puzzle are going to distract them from concentrating on their new relationship. They want it to work so they run away. Jess takes the two of them to Mexico where they spend their days together. Here's where New Girl gets complicated with them: it struggles with their desire to go all in while running away from their life. The two want to completely commit to this relationship. They want to go all in. Only their afraid that their relationship falls apart once they go back to the loft so they do their best to avoid it for as long as possible. The two really aren't able to go all in because their avoiding their home. How can one go all in when the one perceived risk in their relationship isn't in play? It isn't until Nick gets put in resort jail that the two are basically forced to go back home and try to actually work their relationship in their life. That's the moment where they truly go all in. This has to be the best plot of the night because it fits their relationship and the characters perfectly. Of course they would run away from their life. Of course they would mistake this for being all in. Of course Jess would be the first to realize they have to go back. I'm not saying that New Girl was predictable but rather that everything was a natural progression. It helps that their plot was the strongest of the night in comedy.
New Girl had a great season premiere. The Winston plot is a little disappointing because his status quo isn't affected. Making him colorblind and bad at puzzles do not really count as making the premiere significant for his character arc because he has to have one. The rest of the plots were great. The Schmidt plot fit him perfectly and complicated. The Jess and Nick relationship was exactly what the writers needed to do. What's best is that the premiere was simply a laugh riot. Which is to say:
I died laughing.