Tuesday, September 16, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - Jess Sets Her Sights on the Best Man While Nick & Schmidt Contemplate a Foursome in 'The Last Wedding'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 4.01 "The Last Wedding"

At the last wedding of the summer, the gang makes a pact: Each of them will get lucky by night's end. Jess sets her sights on the best man, who also has caught the eye of a beautiful scientist. Schmidt and Nick get an indecent proposal. Winston recovers from his police academy training. Coach panics when he realizes he already has hooked up with every woman at the party.

"The Last Wedding" is a good start to a season that hopes to be a rebound year for the comedy. It keeps the plot simply while making sure everyone remains likable. Moreover, it's just genuinely funny. It is a return to basics of sorts - for better and for worse. There's some awkward stuff that Jess does throughout the episode - the vagina voice, the sex fist, her dancing, etc. - that I honestly thought the character evolved past. But there was more than enough to make her little story here feel important.

Jessica Biel is the big guest star for the premiere and she does a pretty good job as a foil to Jess. I'm a tad disappointed by the show's use of Reid Scott - who is constantly funny on Veep and yet is relegated to just being the object of Jess and Kat's affections at the wedding. Biel's Kat is funny throughout - her seemingly knowing everything was amazing - while Scott gets one moment of characterization. And frankly, I just don't like the resolution to this story - that the best man simply can't choose between the two and after waiting for too long they're just completely over him. The episode is building up to something a bit bigger than that. So the payoff isn't that great. What I don't really understand is why one of the guys doesn't go after Kat so Jess could spend more time with the best man? That seems like a simply solution that could have been pretty funny. It's not as if Coach was doing something better. It's implied that he slept with every woman at the event. And yet, Kat doesn't make any kind of passing reference to that effect. So it doesn't exactly give a good sense of the show thinking about the big picture.

But then, there is Nick and Schmidt debating whether or not to have a foursome with two of the bridesmaids. The recurring sound bit of Nick's tap shoes was genius. Overall this was just an awesome Nick episode. He was a friend to both Schmidt and Jess and putting their needs before his own opinions. That was very nice to see. He was uplifting in the best way possible.

It's all leading up to the great concluding moment of Jess realizing that no one in the group is going home alone because they are all going home together. And that was a sweet moment. Seeing these six people all collectively having a good time as friends was just the kind of thing this episode needed to end on. It renewed my interest in this season while also being pretty damn funny - especially Nick's "I hope they can't have kids!" and later recognizing he went too far. A very promising start indeed.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Last Wedding" was written by J.J. Philbin and directed by Trent O'Donnell.
  • Nick and Jess living together while both are actively looking for love has the strong potential of becoming too heavy-handed too quickly. It's a tightrope the show will have to walk this season in fleshing out the state of that relationship. However, I thought they handled it really well here.
  • Who in the world would guess that Winston would be the one with the sage advice for Jess on how to win the guy. "Be there. I call it the Joe Biden."
  • The Biden reference only got better once Kat turned to Jess and asked, "Are you trying to Biden me?"
  • I didn't always enjoy the news about Cece distracting Schmidt and yet the story wasn't solely about that.
  • However, Nick's hands are like hooves.
  • Nick pops into Jess' room: "Hey, is Schmidt making fun of me?" Jess and Schmidt: "Yeah!"
  • Winston: "I can't close my eyes!?!?!"