New Girl 3.01 “All In” Review: Puzzles in Paradise

New Girl 301New Girl, my favorite show on all of television last season, returned last night with its season three premiere, entitled “All In.” If any of you read my reviews last year for the second season of New Girl, you know how much I loved how the writers handled the Nick and Jess relationship. For about ten straight episodes, the New Girl team was able to milk both drama and comedy from the pair’s romance without any situation feeling tired or trite. We saw Nick and Jess battle back and forth with their feelings, attempting to list the pros and cons of dating each other, before they finally just went for it, driving away together at the end of the season two finale. It was a great ending to a phenomenal season of New Girl, when the show really found itself and became, in my opinion, the best sitcom on TV.

While most of the show’s fantastic qualities were on display last night in “All In,” the main thing I came away with from last night’s New Girl premiere was fear. Fear of what the show could possibly turn into if it doesn’t mix things and take risks like it did last year. Nick and Jess together as a couple totally works, and frankly, it could be downright magical if it’s done right; however, what I saw last night was the New Girl writers starting to repeat themselves. Nick was second-guessing his worth to Jess again, the two of them were arguing about how to handle their relationship again, and it all ended with them making out at the loft again.

Even though I understand the concept of the New Girl writers needing to force conflict between Nick and Jess in case things get too boring for the audience, the writers also need to not tread over the same old territory that they used to great success in season two. Otherwise, it may start to appear that Nick and Jess haven’t actually made any progress and that their relationship may be more of just a label rather than actual, real character development. Please, let Nick and Jess just breathe and enjoy themselves as a happy, goofy couple for at least a couple of episodes, New Girl writers! There is a ton of comedic gold right there.

Now that I’ve gotten the one major negative from the episode out of the way, let’s focus on the positives from New Girl last night. I loved seeing Nick and Jess together on their drive to Mexico and as they relaxed on the beach. The chemistry between Zooey Deshchanel and Jake Johnson was on full display, as we saw a new comfort level between Nick and Jess. They were believable as a real couple, and there was a slight change in their actions and dialogue that showed how they were no longer only “just roommates.” Furthermore, Nick’s arrest, while a little cartoonish, also reassured viewers that even though he’s now Jess’s boyfriend, the same neurotic, weird, and grumpy Nick Miller still remains.

Meanwhile, while Nick and Jess were enjoying themselves in Mexico, Schmidt was forced to talk to puzzle-obsessed Winston (more on that later) about how best to deal with his women problems. Who should he pick: Cece or Elizabeth? Ultimately, as he tried to break up with each of the ladies, Schmidt realized that he still could not make a decision because he did not want to hurt either of them. Even though Schmidt’s feelings are coming from a good place, there’s no way that this situation is not going to blow up in his face in a totally hilarious way, as we could already see last night with Cece’s interactions with Winston, who she now believes is a pervert that attempted to steal her underwear.

Overall, even though “All In” was nowhere near the quality of the top episodes of New Girl‘s second season, I’m just so happy to have the series back on the air. I still believe that New Girl is the best comedy on television, even if “All In” was not the best representation of the series’ full abilities.New Girl

Other thoughts:

– Sorry for the lateness of this review. From now on, most of my New Girl reviews will be posted either the night of or the morning after the episodes air.

– I love the ridiculousness of Nick and Jess just tearing their wedding clothes in order to deal with the Mexican heat instead of buying or bringing any new ones.”Paradise Nick” and “Paradise Jess” were good looks for both Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel.

– What did you think of Jess’s speech at the end? Do you think the family message was too schmaltzy and overdone for New Girl, or, like me, did Deschanel’s delivery save it for you?

– One other thing that felt off about this episode: the pacing. It felt extremely rushed throughout much of the half an hour, like the writers were trying to cram a little too much into the premiere.

– People may complain about New Girl‘s lack of direction for Winston, but I personally find his eccentric tendencies (singing to Wicked alone in the car, taking pranks too far, and, now, being obsessed with puzzles) hysterical and true to real life. Every friend group has that one guy with all the weird quirks, and Winston is that guy for the loft.

– I don’t know if Winston being color blind was all that funny, but this line from Schmidt to him was hilarious:“If you think those shoes are brown, what color do you think you are?”

– Max Greenfield’s delivery of lines is one of the best parts of New Girl. The way he said “his jollies” had me dying of laughter.


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