Tuesday, November 12, 2013

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - Jess Goes Crazy Over 'Menus' and Nick Tries Working Out & Giving Motivational Speeches

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.08 Menus

An overabundance of Chinese food take-out menus left at the loft's front door is the catalyst for an interconnected series of adventures for Jess and the guys.

At the start of "Menus," I was very worried about the main story. It featured Jess in full-on crazy mode. And that made her immediate reactions feel very broad. Just look at her first conversation with the Chinese restaurant owner. Jess astonished like that was as if the show somehow went back to the first season where the show was just the Zooey Deschanel doing wacky things show.

And yet, the main plot grew into something very promising once the rest of the characters rolled into it. It was clear that Jess was fixating on this "problem" because she couldn't take her students to see the ocean. But seeing her feel bad about getting the guy fired and her defeated attitude upon returning to the loft was strong emotional material. Stuff the show wouldn't have dared to do in season one.

And that momentum goes even further with a solid B-plot that features Coach trying to get Nick to workout. Nick isn't motivated to do much but Coach is willing to try. Nick not sticking with it shouldn't be too surprising but Coach believing it's because he's not a good trainer was a good character beat for Damon Wayans, Jr. to play. And then, pulling everything together with a motivational speech from Nick was just so delightful.

Some more thoughts:
  • Cece popped up for just a few seconds but it was enough to plant the seed of a possible Cece-Coach romance. That seems intriguing.
  • Winston's jaw locking was very funny but the injury plot just felt tacked on - even with the Ironside and Friday Night Lights references. I was worried that bringing Coach back would diminish Winston's value and in this episode that largely felt true.
  • Jess: "As long as hot dogs are hats, anything is possible."
  • I appreciated the choice to move Schmidt out of the loft when it first happened. But since that decision has been made, I'm not quite sure where they want to go with that character. He feels pretty aimless right now.