New Girl Season 3 Premiere Review: Fun With Paradise Nick and Jess

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Sep 18, 2013

New Girl S03E01: "All In"

Oh New Girl, you slay me. That was a pretty meta season premiere. I know, I know, gettin' meta tends to be a love or hate thing, but the way New Girl seemed to eagerly anticipate and embrace all of our questions as they inevitably arose was no accident. The show knows exactly what it's doing. Pairing up your endgame couple halfway through the second season might seem premature in the face of non-sucky ratings, you know? It is, and New Girl was right there with us, standing in front of the door to the loft thinking, "Now what are we supposed to do?"

Way back at the beginning of time, when New Girl first premiered, lots of people shared the not-entirely-unfounded concern that what we were witnessing was basically The Zooey Deschanel Show. Sure, there were three dudes, but they mostly existed just there to give Jess someone to bounce her quirkiness off of—plus, well, it's hard to move a story along when you don't have any other characters for your protagonist to talk to. Knowing what we know now, those of us who side-eyed half of the first season (guilty as charged) are aware of the error of our (okay, my) ways and embrace New Girl as the high-larious ensemble show that it is—but a fear that the show will somehow lose that inclusiveness remains. Winston, in particular, has suffered from a spotlight deficiency in the past—and I'm not sure that featuring him almost exclusively as "the batshit crazy" roommate is any better when Nick, Jess, and Schmidt all get to revel in their respective big, important relationship stories—but it's certainly a start. 

And let's face it, batshit crazy Winston makes you laugh until you pee a little. 

When we left off last spring, Nick and Jess had ditched Cece's failed wedding to suck face as they drove into their quirky and no-doubt-more-complicated-than-we-initially-believed-it-to-be future. Cece and Shevrang had called off their sham of a union so he could marry Taylor Swift, which left Schmidt in the awkward position of being fawned over by two women between whom he genuinely couldn't—and still can't—decide when it comes to choosing one to date exclusively. His situation with Elizabeth and Cece echoes Jessica's similar predicament with Doctor Sam in the early days of the S.S. Nessy. Deep down, I think we can all agree that after Nick and Jess, Cece and Schmidt are New Girl's OTHER "endgame" couple—and yet, Elizabeth is no cardboard placeholder girlfriend. She's different than Cece, but she's not a "bad" girlfriend" by any means, and it's readily apparent that Schmidt enjoys spending time with her. As of this writing, my personal allegiances are equally divided between Cece and Elizabeth, and I can honestly say that even with my acceptance of Schmidt and Cece as the probable upcoming sequel to Jess and Nick, I'm not passionately pro-Cece and anti-Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a complex, interesting, and fully-developed alternative to Cece, which makes her relationship with Schmidt just as enjoyable to watch as the one he once had, and may have again, with Cece. (You know, up until he was conveniently douched up to pave the way for Nessy's formal launch. but whatever. Last year's holiday episode was still totally PRESH and I still need Jess's coat in my life.)

Nick and Jess fled to Mexico on a whim to avoid dealing with real life back at the loft—or more specifically, to avoid the distractions that living with Schmidt and Winston might impose on them, up to and including those of the exclusively romantic flavor. I loved how, as soon as Jess said "Hey, remember when we lived in a loft and had all those problems?" the phone rang. Jess and Nick can't just hide from the challenges that will inevitably pop up in this new phase of their relationship—we know that, the writers know that, and by the end of "All In," Jess and Nick had come to know that. After a brief stay in Mexican "resort prison," they're finally ready to re-enter the real world, where they have to actually work at things. 

The S.S. Nessy's course is plotted for the foreseeable future on New Girl, but most ships are incapable of travel without a highly skilled crew, and any worries about the terribly shiny and squee-worthy Nick-and-Jess adventures overshadowing the stories of their roommates were quickly sunk with a line from Jess that translates to both a literal meaning and a gross, mushy, touchy-feely one.

Jess calmed Paradise Nick's panicky butt with, "There's no 'us' without Schmidt and Winston," which is true in the sense that New Girl would be a drastically different (and arguably less-awesome show) without them, but the notion is also revealing of the esteem with which Jess, and New Girl's writers, have for Winston and Schmidt. We can scream and flail over Jess/Nick week in and week out—and you know I'mma be right there with you—but at the end of the day, New Girl is a weird little show about four roommates who each bring something important to the table and enable the others to be the best people they can be. Case in point? Schmidt's frantic calls to AWOL Nick. Schmidt knew that dating Cece and Elizabeth at the same time was wrong, but he needed some guidance from his best friend in order to sort out his feelings. His inability to connect with Winston was played for laughs, but like so many points on New Girl, underneath all the lulz was a heartfelt story about a guy who needed help from his friend... and unfortunately, Winston just couldn't fill that role in the way Schmidt needed. That's not a point against Winston or Schmidt, btw, that's just how some friendships work. 

ANYWAY, despite that unfortunate passport-shredding incident, the gang made it back from our neighbor south of the border relatively unscathed, and IDK about you but I am "all in" for the impending awesomeness of Season 3! Bust out the monkey-shaped pinatas! 


– Quote of the night (OMG SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM): "I'm not just a plug with her... I'm also a socket." —Schmidt

– Why was Winston wearing a sweatshirt as pants? Was it some sort of reference to this guy? You know what? I don't want to know. 

– Poor Schmidtty spent a lot of time being disgusted this week. "DISGUSTING GARBAGE TRASH PERSON!"

– Hopes and dreams for the rest of the season? I'm crossing my fingers that Nick/Jess doesn't devolve into a cycle of breaking up and making up. C'mon, New Girl, you're better than that! 

What'd you think of the season premiere?

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  • saraint Feb 19, 2014

    I am finally catching up with watching this series, that I thought had a fantastic season 2. This episode was a big let down for me, I'm afraid: I couldn't disagree more with this review. I was so disappointed. The story was awful. It was like the scriptwriters had no idea what to do next and were stalling. Every line of the episode was over-acted, with the characters becoming caricatures of themselves. I hope the rest of the season will be better!

  • chuuuuck Sep 20, 2013

    Crazy Winston is one of my favorite characters on TV. Everything he said this week was funny.

  • Gizma Sep 19, 2013

    Winston as always my favorite, I couldn't stop laghing with his puzzel problem. And I have to say, Jess looks beautiful with that tan.

    Oh, and I vote for Elizabeth, it is time for normal people to be chosen.

  • MarieLaureDep Sep 19, 2013

    Nice comeback episode. And is it me or the scene between Winston, Cece and Schmidt had a Friends' "I'm Joey, I'm disgusting (...)" feel to it?

  • vcivi Sep 19, 2013

    Loved the first episode...but you know what i miss...Jess being weird and fun...she is becoming more serious as the series move along...she has not those weird things she says or does anymore...

    same go's for schmidt, he always knew what he wanted in the series, this episode, he seems annoyed, lost....

    Winston rules...Some moment it felt like he was Jess in the first season...the way he did his puzzle thing, weirdness....

  • virgo091085 Sep 21, 2013

    i dunno i thought they made Jess unbearable at first and almost wish the show was just the guys. toning jess down has been better.

  • vcivi Sep 23, 2013

    That is true also...i liked the weirdness she had in the first season...i just hope that this whole relationship thing, doesn't make her to serious...that would be boring....

    What did you think of Schmid????

  • virgo091085 Sep 25, 2013

    nah jess and nick are both still goofy.

    schmidt was funny but the fallout for not choosing is going to be horrible. or maybe both girls will be mad but then decide to forgive him and he'll end up right back at having to choose between them

  • irehawk20 Sep 19, 2013

    Both New Girl and The Mindy Project shows have an odd-numbered cast. New Girl needs a sixth member, which is a young woman character as both Jess and CeCe type. The Mindy Project needs an eighth member, which is a cranky old man doctor character to keep Beverly from both getting isolated and desolated.

    New Girl is still in the lead, but it looks like both The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are tied second place right now, but later on, they will exchange places from second to third or third to second.

  • No1Slayerette Sep 19, 2013

    I'm yet to be convinced that New Girl can sustain Jess and Nick's relationship (Nessy, really? I hadn't heard that term before) without becoming tedious and repetitive. All this episode did was purposefully delay the question of how they'll work as a couple in the context of the show, despite, as you said MaryAnn, referencing it directly.

    'Nick and Jess fled to Mexico on a whim to avoid dealing with real life back at the loft—or more specifically, to avoid the distractions that living with Schmidt and Winston might impose on them', but these are all things that await them in the coming episodes, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    Did anyone else find Schmidt really really annoying in this episode? He used to be so lovable, and while Nick overshadowed him in Season 2, I was hoping Schmidt would bound back, but alas. Not sure if I care for his dating-two-women storyline either, it's going to be dragged out for a while, and I'm assuming Jess will get involved at some stage, her being Cece's best friend and all. It's just not something I'm interested in watching, maybe because I really don't care if Schmidt ends up with either of these women.

    And while I thought Schmidt was annoying, Winston just has to be one of the worst supporting characters on a sitcom that the writers are trying to force to be a main one. ; I'm not sure that featuring him almost exclusively as "the batshit crazy" roommate is any better when Nick, Jess, and Schmidt all get to revel in their respective big, important relationship stories—but it's certainly a start. And let's face it, batshit crazy Winston makes you laugh until you pee a little. ' No. No it's not. The problem I have with Winston is that he's just crazy because he can be, or more importantly, the writers need him to be. The other three leads are all quite manic in their own individual ways, but their behaviour directly links to their character - Winston is just ridiculous for no other reason than he needs to be just as entertaining as the other characters on the show.

    I really wouldn't know where to start to fix him, other than some long overdue character development, but at this stage I dislike him so much I can't imagine I'd even want to see that from him. Perhaps they should try to ground the character some more and then build him up again from that. But storylines of his own? No thank you, not until he's a drastically different character.

  • Arska Sep 19, 2013

    I reaaaally hope they are going to give Winston a slightly bigger role this season. I'd be lying if I don't enjoy the Crazy-Winston but seriously..

    Lamorne Morris can do so much with so little, it makes me wonder what he can do when Winston is given a proper storyline.

  • CaitlinRice Sep 19, 2013

    i was conga lining in my head all day yesterday (since I still can't put weight on my leg).

    This was my first thought while watching the episode (after *squee* of course): PUZZLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any small doubt I had about Winston being my long-lost imaginary BFF went completely out the window with that one. I just love him. And of COURSE he's color blind. In all seriousness though, what color DOES Winston think he is?

    Nessy made it official pretty quickly there. Although the uncertainty of what to do next and the worry about how well the relationship could succeed once the pressures of life were factored back in more than made up for that. And how freaking adorable was Nick????

    I hope the Schmidt/CeCe/Elizabeth thing doesn't get dragged out TOO long, although I'm not seeing an ending where this doesn't just blow up in Schmidt's face.

    All in all, it was a very solid episode. Not perfect, but still so much stronger than a lot of things on TV.

  • safibwana Sep 19, 2013

    First, that coat looks totally unremarkable to me. Second, it isn't available anymore. Third, Oh my holy jesu--you better be prepared to do some pretty nasty things to get a coat that costs that much. Describe them. Slowly. With smooth jazz.

  • radiumgirl Sep 19, 2013

    But then I can have the coat, right? You can keep my dignity. I just want the coat.

  • safibwana Sep 19, 2013

    Some day you're going to make some rich dude a very happy man. But his wife won't be happy at all.

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