New Girl Season 5 Episode 1 Review: “Big Mama P”

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New Girl Season 5 Episode 1 Review: “Big Mama P”

New Girl

While romance is a major part of New Girl, with all of the members of the loft searching for love each and every season (to varying degrees of success), it’s never been the heart of the series. Sure, the many relationships the comedy has explored, from Nick and Jess to Coach and May to Schmidt and Cece (who are at the center of the Season 5 premiere), have given us many laughs, along with some heartfelt moments as well, but they never have been the true focus of the show. That’s because, underneath its romantic exterior, New Girl has always been a show about friendship, and how our friends can truly become our family. It’s that central idea that is the core of “Big Mama P,” as the loft mates do everything they can to support Schmidt and Cece at the couple’s engagement party when Cece’s disapproving mother arrives in town.

The story that New Girl is telling in this opening episode of Season 5 isn’t anything new; it’s something that many sitcoms have done before it, and it’s even a storyline that New Girl itself somewhat explored when Jess’s dad found out she and Nick were dating back in Season 2. However, there’s so much fun, goofy material throughout “Big Mama P” and such a powerful conclusion to the half hour that it makes up for the premiere’s lack of ambition when it comes to storytelling.

A good chunk of “Big Mama P” is pure farce, from Jess falling down the steps to Nick picking up the wrong woman at the airport to Winston reclaiming the title of “Prank Sinatra.” It’s essentially a “greatest hits” of some of New Girl‘s best comedic material, and with the show having been off the air for more than seven months, it’s warm and comforting to fall back into its rhythms.

Furthermore, while Jess and Nick’s behavior is pretty typical of them, Winston’s reaction to becoming the “Carport Hero” is quite interesting. After spending much of last season trying to prove himself as a police officer, Winston now has the respect and recognition that he craved, but instead of basking in it, he rejects it, regressing to his old and constantly uneven pranking ways (the big and small pranks he conducted in this episode were just too funny). I’m curious if this storyline was simply an excuse to give Lamorne Morris a chance to shine (Morris is always at his best when Winston is his weirdest self), or if New Girl will continue to explore these feelings throughout the rest of this season.

However, while Winston’s season-long storyline may remain a question, there’s no doubt that the crux of Season 5 will be the build-up to Schmidt and Cece’s wedding, and “Big Mama P” is a solid opening chapter to that story. We might have already known how much Nick, Jess, and Winston supported the the recently engaged couple, but the scene in which all three of them give Schmidt and Cece their blessing, after her mother refuses to, is a powerfully emotional one and a nice reminder of how well-developed these characters and their friendships have become over the past four seasons.

Additionally, closing “Big Mama P” on the image of their five heads on Schmidt’s wedding planning board serves as a strong counterpoint to how Season 4’s premiere ended, with the group tearing down the wedding invitations from the fridge. This time, they’re not coming together to complain and forget about all the weddings they went to but to celebrate one that’s still to come. Season 5 of New Girl is all about the journey to that special ceremony, and “Big Mama P” is a promising sign that we’re in for another wonderful, wacky year of one of TV’s very best comedies.

Other thoughts:

  • Everything involving Nick picking up the wrong Indian woman from the airport, believing it to be Cece’s mom, was hilarious. I especially loved this line delivery from Jake Johnson: “Stop being so mean to me, or I swear to God I’m going to fall in love with you.”
  • There’s so many wonderful, goofy moments throughout this premiere, from Jess’s constant singing of the “Year of Us” (plus, her falling down the stairs) to Nick putting the Jesus wig on Winston to Winston trying out his feather prank on Jess in the closing tag. Man, I’ve missed this show.
  • Schmidt was actually doing a pretty solid job during the Bollywood dance. Then Nick and Winston had to join him….
  • Schmidt’s original inspirations for his and Cece’s wedding: Liz Taylor, Jackie O, and the Power Gays.
  • Which Winston nickname is better: Prank Sinatra or the Carport Hero? I think we all know what the correct answer is.
  • “The silly hounds have been released. I repeat, the silly hounds have been released.”
  • “I never thought I’d fall for the slim, hip ghost of Tom Cruise.” “None of us did.” “Quiet, chair.”
  • Welcome back to New Girl reviews! I’m so happy that this show is finally back on TV, and I’m so excited to talk with you all about it throughout the season.

What did everyone else think about New Girl‘s Season 5 premiere? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo credit: Erica Parise/FOX]

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