NEW GIRL Debriefing: Single and ready to mingle

NEW GIRL: Schmidt (Max Greenfield, R) tutors Jess (Zooey Deschanel, L) in dating via mobile apps in the "Dice" episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

In this week’s instalment, Jess  jumps back into the dating world, twenty-first century style, with Schmidt’s help. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang decides they’re going to have one last kick at the illegal pastime can before Winston  becomes a cop. Only, they don’t tell Winston what they’re up to, because that would ruin all the fun, now, wouldn’t it? As you can imagine, hilarity ensues in each of these scenarios.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) tries to follow in Schmidt’s (Max Greenfield) footsteps by downloading a dating app he uses to find her own prospective love match. (Of course there’s an app for that.) Obviously, because she’s Jess, she gets paired up with a weirdo and needs rescuing from his creepy apartment, which leads Schmidt to reluctantly take her under his wing in this brave new dating world.

Elsewhere in the loft, Winston (Lamorne Morris) is worried he hasn’t become part of the brotherhood at the police academy, because he’s the only one in his class who hasn’t gotten a nickname yet. On the other hand, Nick (Jake M. Johnson), Cece (Hannah Simone) and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) figure they have one last chance to do something illegal before they officially live with a cop, and they decide smoking some pot is the perfect sendoff to their bohemian life since Coach has never indulged in it. As Schmidt says, it’s like a meeting of 12 year old idiots, but if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right, because the only thing better than Ranting!Nick is probably Stoned!Nick.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Despite the fact that we had two separate story lines that didn’t intersect this week, I loved the way the whole cast was used in this episode, much more than in the season premiere. Yes, this is a bit of a retread of earlier seasons, and I wonder how long this can go on realistically, but it worked for me here. I’ve really come to enjoy Jess and Schmidt’s friendship, and I feel like he’s always the most human when they have some sort of plan to undertake together. Instead of focusing on horn dog Schmidt like last week, here we see how much he clearly cares for Jess’ well-being — even if that means getting her properly laid. He knows how to weed out the creeps to prepare her for the “prize” at the end of the day, because he knows Jess deserves better than, frankly, the way he treats women himself.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

It might seem like the pot subplot with the other roomies is a little superficial, I thought it did reveal more about them than it let on. They start off loafing in their living room, giggling as stoners would, but when Winston invites them to a party to make him look cool, you know hijinks are about to ensue. As you would expect, Nick is dopey and Cece rambles to strangers, while Coach appears to be unaffected until he becomes overly affectionate. However, it’s when they’re locked in a closet “hiding” from the (future) fuzz that you find out what’s really going on — like, for instance, that Cece continues to feel dissatisfied with her life and thinks she’s going nowhere, while Coach sagely councils her that maybe it’s time for her to go back to school. It was oddly poignant, perhaps even more so because perpetually-stunted Nick doesn’t see the problem with remaining a bartender, especially a bad one like Cece is. And that’s the crux of Nick’s problem these days: he’s stuck in some sort of rut even he doesn’t see. It’s one of the reasons he and Jess didn’t work out as a couple, and I suspect it’s what he’s going to have to break out of if they’re ever to (inevitably) get back together.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

In the end, I think what I liked the most is the hope in this episode. Even though they’re stoned, there’s hope that Cece and Coach will find their place in the world. Even though he’s still on the fringes, there’s hope Winston is becoming part of the police academy family with his new (terrible) nickname. (And I love that he was in on the prank on the stoners.) Even though he’s on his way to becoming a confirmed bachelor, Schmidt takes Jess’ words about love to heart, and tries to make a connection to one of this conquests — though she pulls a Schmidt on him in return. Even though she’s been on date after horrible date, Jess still hopes to find lasting love in this crazy game. It was all refreshingly sweet, and reminded me of the side of New Girl I love.

How did you feel about Jess and Schmidt’s cracks at the dating game? Were Nick, Cece and Coach sorely lacking in Cheetos? And when will Winston get a real story?

Nels
Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

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