New Girl "Nerd" Review: The In Crowd

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Sep 25, 2013

New Girl S03E02: "Nerd"

After last week's season premiere, we discused New Girl's unique ability to feature standard sitcom stories that have been done a bazillionty times before—like Schmidt's dual dating of Cece and Elizabeth—without being all stale and horrible and un-watchable. That trend continued this week in "Nerd," when Jess ran afoul of a cliche workplace clique, Schmidt continued to date both Elizabeth and Cece, and Winston contemplated the best way to kill a cat. 

Okay, so Winston's story was actually pretty unique, all things considered. I mean, let's just take a moment to appreciate the fact that a third of this week's episode was dedicated to watching a protagonist try to kill a cheating girlfriend's pet. It doesn't matter that in the end, Winston decided to let Ferguson live—like we (mostly) figured he would. The intent was there. Winston's kinda creepy and it's awesome. 

The strength of "Nerd" lies in its diversity. All of our loft-mates were given fairly equal attention, even Winston's weird feline-homicide plot had a much more nuanced point at it's core. After tip-toeing around their relationship status since the middle of last season, Winston decided to ask Daisy to make things official... only to learn that she was sleeping with someone else. Ouch, boo. 

Meanwhile, Jess and Nick's storyline managed to feel rather vintage New Girl by walking the line between being a Nick-and-Jess story and being a Nick/Jess story (and it did so very well, I might add!). Jess's struggle to fit in with the cool teachers at her new school and Nick's semi-disastrous attempts to be her coolness guru could've easily been a Season 2 story. The romantic aspect of their relationship wasn't essential to the story—which, for those of us who might be a little nervous about the potentially premature launch of the good ship Nessy, is a very good thing. As characters, Jess and Nick are still full of potential stories that don't hinge on their relationship insecurities or swapping cooties in the backseat of the car. Nick didn't try to help Jess because she's his girlfriend, but rather because she's his friend. He cares about her—but these two characters cared about each other long before New Girl's writers went and made them an official "thing." 

While it was certainly refreshing to see Jess be insecure about something completely unrelated to Nick, deep down in my Grinch heart I feel that we've had so many variations of the "Jess doesn't fit in" story that it was a little bit hard to get excited about yet another adventure in self-acceptance—even with a cameo from a Paula Cole-loving, jacuz-hoarding Curtis Armstrong. With that in mind, I'm willing to argue that Jess vs. the Popular Clique wasn't really about Jess fitting in as much as it was about the writers reassuring us that even though they're a couple now, Nick and Jess are still individuals, and even though we've had a lot—a lot—of Nessy action in the last few episodes (if we're looking at the last few episodes of Season 2 in addition to last week's premiere), New Girl isn't about to switch to an all-Nessy-all-the-time format. 

Finally, we have Schmidt (and Schmidt's nipples). I said it last week and I'll say it again: I should hate the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline. We should all hate the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline. But I don't, and based on your comments last week, many of you don't either. I loathe love triangles. Loathe them. I didn't like the one that happened on Suits and I didn't like the one that happened on Being Human and don't even get me started on Glee (all that one's more like a love hexagon at this point). And yet, when Schmidt's super-evil co-worker (IT'S JUST AN OFFICE, CRAZYPANTSmade it her primary objective to force Schmidt to choose between Cece and Elizabeth under the worst possible circumstances at the worst time—and with, undoubtedly, the worst possible outcome in mind—I crossed my fingers and toes and actively hoped that everything would be okay-ish and we'd get to watch Schmidtty continue his charade for at least one more week. IDK. THIS IS WHAT NEW GIRL DOES TO ME. Does it do the same thing to you? Wanna join my support group? BYOB, and by B I mean hard liquor. And speaking of Bs—hey look it's the other kind of B (in Apt. 23): Hi, Dreama Walker!

Even though I personally loved last week's premiere, I understand that it was kind of hit-or-miss for some of the New Girl faithful. I think we can all agree that "Nerd" represented a fine return to form though, yes? Maybe? What'd you think of the episode? 


– Line o' the night, "Schools are for fools! Sometimes firemen are women!" —Drunk Jess. <3 her.

– Also rounding out the solid guest-star roster this week was Angela Kinsey from The Office.

– I caught a few glimpses of secretly-responsible-Nick in his struggle to juggle Jess's dilemma and make sure Winston didn't actually murder Daisy's cat. I like. Also, I know Margo Martindale is like, super busy right now, probably, but I wouldn't mind a return to Chicago to chill with Mama Miller and the fam at some point this season. What do you say? 

– "I Believe I Can Fly." That was beautiful, guys. 

– Was Winston right to steal Ferguson? "I got yer cat!"

– Do you have a hard time accepting Zooey Deschanel/Jessica Day as the epitome of unpopular? 

– How much longer can Schmidt maintain the delicate Cece/Elizabeth balance?

– Did you think that Elizabeth and Cece were kind of dense at the dinner party? I mean, c'mon ladies. 

  • Comments (86)
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  • darcicomplex Oct 10, 2013

    I loved that slow-mo flashback of Jess trying to befriend the “mean” teachers that was so great, and it was hilarious that they used "Bouncin' Back" by Mystikal in the background, too

  • Adicted_87 Oct 10, 2013

    Who else reckons it was Coach in the shower then? Great ep though!

  • giraffee Oct 03, 2013

    Loved it as always! Quick question... was it Kevin McHale singing in the high school flash back? I could have sworn it was! But no mention of it anywhere so... *shrug* :)

  • Ridnarhtim Sep 28, 2013

    Sorry, gotta disagree. I hate the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline. I hope it ends very, very quickly. And man, do I hope it actually ends in a surprising and interesting way.

  • Zuanna Oct 01, 2013

    I agree with you here, and I also think that Schmidt and Cece's relationship and their potential at the beginning of the show is now ruined. The writers probably think that the show needs two people that SHOULD be together, but they're never able to, for various (sometimes stupid) reasons. They're kind of like the Chuck and Blair of New Girl, but let's be honest, Chuck and Blair's relationship yelled "stupid" shortly after season 1. I liked the idea when the show first started but now I'm just bored whenever I see a scene involving them... And Elizabeth... well, I like the character, I like the actress, but I'm feeling like she too lost her charm because of this stupid Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline.

  • abdulay31 Sep 26, 2013

    Decent episode but could have been better, i am just glad Winston is getting good storyline this season & he is nailing it so far, the Nick/Jess relationship is good for few episodes as a long haul will ruin the show.

  • CaitlinRice Sep 26, 2013

    Man, I am late to the party this week. Damn Premiere Week. Winston's cat-killing tactics were hilarious and wonderful. Ferguson batting the cat noose around had to be my favorite part, although the "I Believe I Can Fly" bit was a close second.

    I agree that we could have seen this storyline in any season and we still would have had Nick show up to save Jess (especially since he gave her the crappy advice to begin with). I like that we see the relationship but it doesn't feel like that is all that we're focusing on.

    As much as I love CeCe and Elizabeth I just want this to hurry up and blow up in Schmidt's face already. I'm over it at this point.

    Now is Ferguson not the cutest ugly-cat you've ever seen? How can you not love this face:

    (Image credit: Fox)

  • hairy_gizmo Sep 26, 2013

    Definitely found the season opener a bit underwhelming but loved this episode which had some really good laugh out loud moments. Like others I found the cat/nipple bit creepy and hilarious at the same time

  • ludoTV Sep 26, 2013

    Schmidt is getting dumped next week - CeCe definitely was suspicious...
    I hope Ferguson stays... Adorable cat... well except when interested in Schmidt's nipples... funny but yuk...Winston & Ferguson rock...
    Nick & Jess were adorable but not corny - check that!!!

  • vcivi Sep 26, 2013

    Poor Winston...another break up for many is this, since the series started.....but now at least he has a cat...laughed so hard, while he was deciding how to kill the cat....he is awesome

    Schmidt... was a close call this week...wonder how long he will be able to keep up appearance...

    This episode i loved Jess and Nick..they were their oldselfs again...with all their weirdness, but still a bit more stable Nick...was lovely to see...

  • Mantis82 Sep 26, 2013

    The writers are not a fan of Winston when it comes to women. Schimdt and Nick are always getting hot girls all the time and its always them messing it up. Winston gets a sexless relationship and a girl cheating on him practically in his face. Poor winston, hope the writers give him a win with the ladies

  • Zuanna Oct 01, 2013

    Lol I didn't know that you can "thumbs up" a comment more than once. I just wanted to remove mine, because I don't exactly agree with you. I'm such a mess.

  • Zuanna Oct 01, 2013

    I think they want to balance the show, with Winston being the guy who never gets any, Schmidt the guy who likes a girl (two, actually) and never gets to have a real relationship and Nick the lucky one, who found someone good for him. If all of them had girlfriends we would probably get bored really soon.

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