New Girl "Menus" Review: We Need to Talk About Coach
I didn't hate "Menus."
I feel like I needed to start with that because I'm sitting here thinking about how I didn't hate the episode, or even dislike it, but I can't think of anything terribly nice to say about it. However, I don't have any hate-rage to spew either, because it wasn't a bad episode of New Girl by any means. It was an okay episode. There were zany shenanigans and a few telling character moments. There was also quite a bit of laughter, which is probably the most important indicator of whether or not an episode of New Girl did what it was supposed to do.
So far, Season 3 has been a series of weekly quests and missions for Jess—from making Schmidt be honest with Cece to helping Nick come to terms with being a mostly functional adult to taking a bunch of her students on a field trip so that many of them could see the ocean for the first time. She's been a busy woman, that Jess, but tellingly, most of her Season 3 machinations have had little to do with herself and everything to do with the world around her.
After Principal Booger vetoed her field trip plans, Jess's personal mission in "Menus" was two-fold: She still wanted to find a way to take her students to the beach, but a pile of tree-killin' menus at her front door every single day kicked that Conservation Day enthusiasm into deranged overdrive, and Jess may or may not have threatened to burn down a local businessman's establishment if he didn't knock it off with the Hop Foo propaganda. Oops.
Whatever, she took it back. We've all threatened to arson up a local business at one time or another, right?
Jess's perseverance paid off, and in the end (after the poor menu guy got fired, aww), it was Hop Foo's delivery vans ferrying Jess's students to the seashore, with hot dog hats in tow.
Unfortunately, the perseverance didn't pay off—or stick—for everyone in the loft. I'm so torn on Coach, you guys. I was so excited to have him back, but now I kind of just want him to go away. He's a douche—which isn't a problem in and of itself—but we already have a dedicated douche in Schmidt. We already have a meathead parody in Nick, and we already have a weirdo in Winston. Coach isn't exactly essential to the larger story of the season (as far as we know), and I just feel like his continued presence is sort of gimmicky. "Hey there, TV viewers! Remember Coach? We brought back Coach. You LOVE Coach! Remember?"
Honestly? We never had time to grow to love Coach, and unless we're going to spend a bunch of episodes making up for lost time and building him up to the level that the rest of our core characters are at, his continued presence just feels intrusive and off.
Case in point? Coach's entire fitness-is-good storyline with Nick. With his established background, there's really no reason why Winston couldn't have been the one to shame Nick into doing some hilarious-and-sad push-ups, and then we'd have had the added bonus of skipping all of the awkward and alarming stuff where Coach mocked Winston and he spent the rest of the episode being a prop for Jess. We've seen so much awesome from Winston this season, New Girl! Don't undo it all! Also, where is Ferguson?
Perseverance is important, though. Nick may have given up on being anything more than a dumpling-man, but it was his good thinking that resulted in Hop Foo chauffeuring Jess's young'uns to the ocean. And through his persistent stalker behavior and the introduction of a nanny-cam hidden in the loft, Schmidt began the process of returning to his friends. He may still be living across the hall, but he's admitted to missing their shenanigans and Jess returned his key so he can pop in anytime he wants—even though he admitted that he has like fifty copies hoarded in his sad-pad across the hall.
I know it's only a matter of time before Schmidtty returns to us full-time and with that in mind, I guess I'm just bothered by the water-treading of the last few episodes—which could be a larger issue with the Schmidt/Cece story overall. We just haven't seen much of them lately, either in terms of their moving on from one another or getting back together. So I guess what I'm saying is "less Coach, more of everyone else" and maybe even a pinch of "less Nessy for now, too."
What say you?
NOTES FROM THE DOUCHEBAG JAR
– One liner o' the night: "You're my girlfriend now, you're not supposed to judge anything I do!" Do you really believe that, Nick? Really?
– "Remember when you sat out the game because you were sad?" YOU LEAVE MY WINNIE ALONE, COACH.
– "Oh Krystal, you're not legally allowed to touch me." Wait, so is this an actual thing? It's been in my local news a lot (this past week, actually!) but I didn't realize it was a thing, like, in parts of the world where it hasn't already been snowing for a month.
– Boyfriend 15.
– No but really, where's Ferguson? You can't air commercials lauding your cleverness for introducing Ferguson to the cast when you haven't actually SHOWN Ferguson in like, three weeks (four if you count that bye week after Halloween).
– What are your Coach thoughts?
– How long 'til Schmidt caves and moves back in?
– "OCD Rules!"
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