NEW GIRL Debriefing: It’s always sunny in the loft

NEW GIRL: Jess' (Zooey Deschanel, second from L) dad (guest star Rob Reiner, second from R) arrives with his new girlfried (guest star Kaitlin Olson, R) in the "Julie Beckman's Older Sister" episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, Sept. 30 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Also pictured: Hannah Simone (L). ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

It’s an all-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, all the time kind of night on FOX, with Kaitlin Olson (Dee) guest starring on New Girl tonight, and Glenn Howerton (Dennis) paying a visit to Mindy Project right after!

It’s firmly boys vs. girls this week: Cece (Hannah Simone) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) meet her dad’s new girlfriend, while Winston (Lamorne Morris), Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Nick (Jake M. Johnson) help Schmidt (Max Greenfield) out with his focus group at work. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Jess’ father Bob (Rob Reiner) comes to town to introduce her to his new girlfriend Ashley (Olson), but she’s already wary, given her dad’s past romantic failures. When the new girlfriend turns out to be someone with whom she and Cece went to high school, she predictably loses it. Not only is Ashley the older sister of one of their classmates, and someone they fought over crushes (and apparently transmittable “river” diseases), but some inappropriate snooping into her purse reveals that she’s a recovering sex addict to boot. Not surprisingly, Jess takes matters into her own hands, as is apparently her custom with her dad’s paramours, and Ashley decides to take off, not wanting to come between Bob and his daughter. Jess, naturally, feels terribly: she realizes Ashley’s changed since high school, and more importantly, makes her father happier than she’s ever seen him. He covers Tal Bachmann songs in his band, for crying out loud!

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

It was completely predictable that Jess would freak out over her father’s love interest — it’s a sitcom trope for one, and totally in line with her character for another. What irked me a little was Cece nudging her to read Ashley’s phone and her unabashed disdain for the woman; Cece’s usually more of a straight woman to Jess’ crazy, and while I’m glad they’re expanding her character and giving her something to do other than being a model, acting like a thirteen year old might not be all that much better. However, that might have been the point, I guess: sometimes we can’t help reverting to our old selves when we’re thrown into these kinds of situations, and to be fair, it is really weird to see your best friend’s dad date someone half his age. In any case, Jess’ change of heart was welcome, and I liked that she came to understand that her dad had to make his own mistakes, because it was the only way he was going to learn. So she helped her dad propose, after being hit by a bunch of cyclists (did that remind anyone else of Gilmore Girls?), and all was well in the Day family.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Schmidt tries to prove himself at work to his skeptical boss Gina (Michaela Watkins), by trying to come up with a product pitch by the end of the business day — marketing household sponges (yes, sponges) to men. He enlists his roommates’ help to stack his focus group and feed them lines to make him look good, but it all goes to pot when Nick tanks the script in favor of flirting with one of the female participants. On the bright side, we learn Coach’s real name is Ernie! (Did we know that already?) Gina sees right through the charade and is about to take the account away from Schmidt, when he comes up with a stroke of brilliance for the campaign, based on his real life. Since he’s sharing a room with Nick right now in the overcrowded loft, Nick asks to have some alone time with his new lady friend, but Schmidt points out he’s going to have to clean up his messy half of the room if he hopes to entertain any woman there. The two brainstorm that, “the dirtiest thing in the room should be her,” and the boss reluctantly agrees it’s a good tagline, and gives Schmidt the account. Win!

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Sure it was a silly plot, but it’s fun to see the guys act goofy — even if, again, they seem to be reduced to one or two memorable lines an episode. While I’m enjoying seeing the show return to its ensemble roots, without being swallowed whole by the relationship drama, I do wonder how sustainable this current path is, given that the men in particular seem to be in a kind of stasis, development-wise. (Seriously, when are Coach, er, Ernie and Winston going to get something significant to do?) I try not to think about it too seriously, because it is a goofy little show, but they did such a good job with Jess, Nick and Schmidt in the past that I’m sure the can spread that kind of love around with the other characters. (Kind of like Ashley Berkman and the river disease! Heyo!)

So, what did you think of tonight’s episode? Is Sweet Dee going to stick around for the long haul to become Jess’ stepmother for real? Is Schmidt’s campaign doomed? Will Nick ever learn not to live like a frat boy?

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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