How New Girl Season 4 Made the Show Great Again

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A lot of people were ready to give up on New Girl after a less than stellar season three. While the third season had a handful of great episodes, “Birthday” being one of the more noteworthy ones, the season overall seemed to lack the spark that made season two so memorable. Winston remained one of the only consistently funny characters, providing most of the laughs. Going into the current season, many were worried that New Girl might continue on the trajectory it had taken during season three. However, their worry was misplaced as the show was able to recognize what it had done wrong in the previous season and make the changes necessary to be great again.

While the fourth season started out a little slow, it quickly found its groove again. Now at midseason, the show is on a roll with every character’s strengths being highlighted in the different plotlines. Season four has especially been good for Damon Wayans Jr.’s Caoch. When the character first appeared back on the show in season three, it was almost as if they didn’t know what to do with him. They tried different things with his friendships with Jess and CeCe but nothing was really working. Damon Wayans Jr. is a brilliant comedic actor and it was no doubt a great decision to bring him back, but he needed to have a purpose. The end of the third season showed him stepping into the role of gym teacher at the school Jess works at, a move that both gave him purpose and led to some great storylines between him and Jess in the fourth season. The teacher’s convention allowed us to see some of his insecurities about teaching and opened the door for him to become Jess and Ryan’s biggest supporter. We were able to see a bond form between Coach and Jess, one that will hopefully carry on into the later half of the season.

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Another big reason of why season three didn’t work as well as previous seasons had to do with Schmidt. A fan favorite from the start, he found himself with two love interests in season three and instead of deciding between them, he choose to lead them both on. Now obviously Schmidt has done some morally wrong things in the past, often having to contribute to the gang’s ‘Douchebag Jar,” but his arc in the third season made him truly unlikable, going beyond his typical antics. In the later part of the season, he moved out of the apartment completely and despite his regret over hurting both CeCe and Elizabeth, he never returned to the hilarious Schmidt we once knew.

Season four has gone a long way in redeeming Schmidt’s character, showing that he is capable of being just friends with CeCe. Between finding a date for her during ‘Bangsgiving’ and his surprisingly sweet reaction to her considering a breast reduction, we were able to see that Schmidt really does care about CeCe. Now that he isn’t only trying to sleep with her and is instead forming a true friendship, their relationship has become quite adorable. Schmidt’s return to living in the apartment has also led to some hilarious moments, most notably the ‘guys night’ in which Nick and Winston attempted to teach him how to do laundry.

Finally, as much as it hurt to see Nick and Jess break up at the end of season three, their separation has ultimately helped New Girl tremendously. Neither of them were ready to enter into that relationship so early on, and though it led to some fantastic moments, in the end, they both needed to figure some things out before they can be together.

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Season four has allowed them to do this, as we have seen Nick explore his fear of entering into a real relationship with someone who could last. We’ve also seen him address his insecurities about not being good enough and aiming too low in relationships because he doesn’t think he brings anything to the table. By midseason, he seems to have found something with Tran’s granddaughter, as he realized that the one night stands he’s been having aren’t enough. At the same time, we have seen Jess move on as well. When her attraction to Ryan became too much to0 handle (which is completely understandable, he’s adorable AND British), she had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes breaking the rules is okay.

As both these characters have grown over the first half of the season, the show has also been able to keep their friendship intact, something that isn’t easy to do. They still live together and have both been exploring other relationships, but instead of making it awkward and keeping them apart, they’ve supported each other’s new relationships, Nick going as far as to pretend he’s gay so that Jess’s love interest isn’t driven away by the fact that she lives with her ex. The parts of their friendship that originally made us all root for them to get together have remained, and as they both grow individually, they come closer to being ready for a serious relationship together.

New Girl has made the adjustments necessary to be great again. So if you’re one of the many who gave up on the show after season three, I highly recommend you give season four a chance. Not many shows are able to recognize where they’ve gone wrong and admit that they need to make changes and the fact that New Girl has is very promising. I wasn’t sure if I would stick with the show going into season four but am glad that I did. Going into the rest of the season, I am optimistic that they will continue on the same path.

Photos via FOX

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