Tuesday, April 29, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - Jess Organizes a School Dance & the Gang Has to Chaperone It While Dealing with a Saboteur in 'Dance'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.22 Dance

Jess fears someone is trying to sabotage her first middle school dance and she enlists the gang to help her chaperone on the big night.

Jess and the gang chaperoning a school dance is an awkward enough premise. Throw in a saboteur and it feels like there's no way this is going to be a success for Jess. Love is forever and ever is the theme of the dance and everyone sees how ironic that is right away. It's obvious that Jess is putting so much planning and thought into this event because she's trying not to think about Nick. Thusly, we're expecting her to have a moment of defeat when she releases just how futile that effort was all along. Fortunately, we aren't subjected to such predictability. Instead, the show opts to tell the story of this school dance through the eyes of a young Jess stand-in. And then, everyone is able to turn it around and the dance is its own weird kind of success.

But "Dance" also relies heavily on the often childish aspects of the characters. Jess wants this dance as a way to make sure no young kid has the same experience that she had sitting in the bathroom alone with Cece. In turn, Cece would smoke to seem cool and punk and falls right back into the same attitude when interacting with the kids. When it came to Nick, Schmidt and Winston, they were much more childishly annoying than they usually are. Winston apparently can exude heat and then a bunch of young girls follow him around. That plot was just so strange and weird. It's oddness really didn't fit into the episode at all. The joke that he could cool the sexual tension between Jess and Nick was amusing but the rest just wasn't. Similarly, the Nick and Schmidt plots where they interact with kids in the parking lot and a bully just played too juvenile for me.

The episode did have some strong comedic beats through. I respected nearly everything that Coach was given to do - he loves those kids but they will hurt you! Then, the confusion that Jess had with what "Good Cop/Bad Cop" meant was just fantastic. Of course, she would think the good cop is the one who's good at the job and not the nice one during the interrogation. Also equally funny was Nick, Schmidt and Winston getting up on the stage to perform. Nick's "Who here's from Chicago" was great as was Schmidt's "Mic Drop." I just wish the episode had more moments like that.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Dance" was written by Rebecca Addelman & Ryan Koh and directed by Trent O'Donnell.
  • I enjoy Angela Kinsey as another teacher at Jess' school but she literally did nothing in this episode except contribute to the atmospheric tone of the school setting.
  • Among the things that would be better chaperones than Schmidt, Winston or Nick are a dog, a plant, underwear and Ray Charles' ghost.
  • Jess: "Son of a...... penis. No, that wasn't better. Sorry everyone."
  • Next week is the season finale and the gang goes on a cruise!