New Girl 3.07 “Coach” Review: The Boys Are Back In Town

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Last night’s episode of New Girl, appropriately titled “Coach,” saw the first return of Damon Wayans Jr.’s character since New Girl‘s pilot, and while it was a pleasure to have Coach back on my screen and finally get to see him interact with the guys and Jess again, I found the episode as a whole to be a little disappointing. Despite the charisma and humor that Wayans and guest star Taye Diggs brought to “Coach,” the unnecessary, and in my opinion, unbelievable nature of the Nick and Jess argument over calling each other boyfriend/girlfriend was too much for me to buy into, and it detracted from the goofy and funny antics that made up most of the episode.

My major frustration with the Nick and Jess plot from last night’s episode of New Girl is because the disagreement between the two of them spawns from no plausible conflict. Nick and Jess have already agreed twice that they are couple, the first time during last season’s finale and then the reconfirmation of that in this season’s premiere, when the two of them agreed that they we’re going to be “all in” when it came to their relationship. I’m not sure how it works in the New Girl writers’ room, but if I have two characters telling each other that they are “all in,” I’m not going to suggest six episodes down the line that they never talked about calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend.

While I can understand Jess having issues with Nick going to a strip club or Nick wrestling with his desire to have things go back to “old times” once Coach shows back up, I feel like New Girl could have explored both of these character motivations without tying them up in an ungrounded storyline. Typically, New Girl‘s major storylines are grounded in authentic character traits and interactions, but this plot felt like a really shoehorned way to get Taye Diggs to guest star as a hot guy who tries to seduce Jess. While I’m all for more Taye Diggs on my TV (the guy is so awesome), having Nick and Jess act out of character in order to facilitate his reasoning for being there is not the way to handle it.

As for the rest of “Coach,” I really enjoyed Wayan’s presence on New Girl even more than I thought I would. Even though the New Girl writers need to reaffirm Coach’s character traits and behaviors to ensure that he doesn’t just feel like a more bro-ish version of Brad from Happy Endings (R.I.P. show), Wayan’s performance is so energetic, charismatic, and hilarious that I could watch him do almost anything. You only have to watch this episode and listen to the way he says lines like “You keep making mistakes, Winston!” to understand what I’m talking about. Putting it simply, the guy is just plain funny.

Furthermore, I’m really interested in seeing where New Girl will take Coach’s relationships with these characters in the future. While it was great to have all four of the guys laughing, drinking, and almost getting into fights with cops last night, I hope that Coach creates some sort of divide or conflict in the group. Perhaps he pairs better with Schmidt, while Nick and Winston get more of a chance to bond, or maybe the New Girl writers explore the almost big brother/little brother relationship between Coach and Winston? (For the record, I loved all of Coach’s jokes about Winston’s basketball abilities from last night.)

Even if the episode slightly dropped the ball on the already established relationship between Nick and Jess, “Coach” was a good first step in reintegrating Wayans and his character back into the world of New Girl. Welcome back, Coach. I hope you stay a while.

Other thoughts:

I’m not sure if Coach actually forgot Jess or if his lack of remembering her was just a byproduct of his breakup, but either way, it was hilarious, especially the quick flashback to the night Bin Laden was killed: “Yes, we killed Bin Laden!” “SEAL TEAM SIX!”–“I thought I was alone for that…”

Nick having a “Put on pants?” note is fantastic. I want to high-five the person in the New Girl writers’ room who thought of that one.

More of the guys being drunk, please. Especially more of Schmidt and Nick being drunk. In the back seat of a car. Slap fighting. That was great.

Nick and Schmidt’s debate over whether Raiders of the Lost Ark was a pro-Nazi film was probably my favorite moment of the night and a nice callback to New Girl‘s last episode, “Keaton,” where Winston kept referencing The Truman Show even though it was clear that he had never seen it.

Jess’s description of her Shirley Temple drink: “I call it a Temple Grandin because it makes me friendly and compassionate.”

“You’re also drunk on a Tuesday and you’re a teacher.” “They’re watching a movie tomorrow!”

“I might as well spray paint Jay Cutler sucks on the wall and just round out the whole image.”

“Did you hear the joke about the two black guys and two white guys who walked into a prison? The two white guys came out.”

What did everyone else think about last night’s episode of New Girl

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