New Girl 4.01 “The Last Wedding” Review: Back to Basics

New Girl Premiere 2

Welcome back to another season of New Girl, folks! It really feels like the series just finished its uneven third season only a couple weeks ago. However, it’s actually been four months since we’ve last seen Nick, Jess, Schmidt and the rest of the gang, and there has been one main question on fans’ minds since last season’s finale: can the show rebound? Well, if last’s night excellent premiere, “The Last Wedding,” is a sign of things to come in the fourth season of New Girl, I’d say we all have a lot to look forward to

New Girl‘s season four premiere essentially acts as a reset for the series. With Nick and Jess broken up, the dynamic between everyone in the group has pretty much reverted back to the way it was, with the now exes still facing some awkwardness as they reenter the dating world but also with the strong, solid friendship that they used to share before.

Since there’s no major relationship drama (aside from the Schmidt and Cece stuff, which I’ll get to in a bit), this episode allows for the cast and characters of New Girl to do what they do best: be funny. And oh man, “The Last Wedding” might be funnier than any episode from New Girl‘s third season. The humor in this premiere is certainly a little raunchier and more explicit than the series has been in the past, but it feels completely in-character for every person on the show.

Plus, so many of the more risqué or edgier moments from the premiere provide the episode’s biggest laughs. Look at Jess’s poor choice of metaphors (going from a fist to a finger), or Schmidt’s pleading to Nick to join him in the promiscuous proposition from the wedding’s bridesmaids (“You’re just the handsome prince covered in salty sea spray”), and even the brief montage of Coach being berated by his former wedding conquests (my personal favorite lines being “You stole my phone charger” and “I rented Best Man Holiday. You’re not in it”). This is a faster, quicker, and more enjoyable New Girl–a series that has gone back to the basics and seems to be having fun again.

“The Last Wedding” is so successful with its jokes and pacing and character moments because it allows this group of people to just be friends. Sure, there’s a little bit of tension between Schmidt and Cece, once it’s revealed that she’s now single, but it’s played for laughs. There are no declarations of love or big overdramatic moments.

In fact, the closest thing to a dramatic scene that can be found in this premiere is the exchange between Nick and Jess in the men’s bathroom, which doesn’t try to reignite the constant spark between them or bring up any painful memories from their ill-fated relationship. No, instead it’s just a well-written and perfectly acted scene between Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel, who again demonstrate how much chemistry the two of them have when they’re on screen together.

Nick encouraging Jess to be herself isn’t a sign that the two should get back together but a reminder of how great of friends the two of them were before they began dating and things became too toxic. The scene also illustrates that Nick and Jess are still those two good friends and have found their way back to that place of comfort with one another. And as long as they stay there,  remaining the heart of the series, and the jokes are as quick and hilarious as they were last night, I’m thinking this new, rebooted version of New Girl could find its way back to being TV’s best comedy.

Other thoughts:

– Another good omen for season four: New Girl has never been a show with great season premieres, but “The Last Wedding” ends that trend, easily becoming the best premiere the series has done.

– Can Nick wear tap shoes in every episode, please?

– With Jess’s misunderstanding of fist and finger, her odd dance moves and her Tina Turner voice, Zooey Deschanel was absolutely on point throughout her comedic scenes in the premiere.

– Guest stars Jessica Biel and Reid Scott were also really good in this episode. Biel was solid, playing it straight and letting Deschanel flex her comedic muscles, and Scott was always likable, even when he couldn’t choose between the two women.

– If you have the episode recorded, go back and watch what Schmidt does near the end of it, in the final Jess/Kat scene, after Cece says she expected him to do something weird. A hilarious sight gag.

– “Look at that, Laurie and Mitchell: They had a cash bar. I hope they can’t have kids.” Nick takes things a little too far when the gang is trashing all the wedding invitations on their fridge, but I love him for it all the more.

– “Just be yourself and if he’s not into Jessica Day, then there’s something wrong with him.”

What did everyone else think about the season four premiere of New Girl?

Photo via Fox

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