New Girl Season 6 Episode 9 Review: “Es Good”

New Girl

Jess Day has never been my favorite New Girl character (that has and always will be Nick Miller), but she’s the show’s protagonist. Even though New Girl has grown into an ensemble series over the years, to the point where Jess could be legitimately absent from a few episodes in Season 5, it’s still always been Jess’s show; without the strong writing for her character and Zooey Deschanel’s equally stellar performance, New Girl never would have worked back when it premiered in 2011, and it wouldn’t work now either. Jess has, of course, been through some major ups and downs throughout the show’s five-plus seasons, but even when she’s made questionable decisions, they’ve still always felt in character, like something Jess would do given the situation and circumstances she finds herself in; however, in Season 6, Jess Day hasn’t felt much like Jess Day, and the New Girl writers seem to be damaging her character for the sake of keeping one, somewhat successful storyline going.

If you’ve read my reviews this fall, you know I’m not a huge fan of the Jess/Robby romance, but even though I was unsure about the potential couple at first, I was willing to give them a shot. Unfortunately, the result of their romance has been a constant back-and-forth between Jess falling for him and Jess feeling no spark, and even in this week’s episode, “Es Good,” Jess pulls away from Robby again when she tries to claim that they’re not exclusive. Later in the episode, Robby finally calls Jess out on her hot-and-cold behavior, asking her straight-up what she wants, and instead of Jess having some type of realization about her feelings for Nick (which seem to magically appear and disappear whenever the writers want them to) or fully acknowledging that she isn’t ready to jump back into the dating pool, she races off to find Robby so she can tell him that she wants to be with him. Where have we seen this before? That’s right, only two episodes ago during New Girl‘s Thanksgiving installment.

It’s understandable for Jess to be hesitant when beginning a relationship with Robby; it’s assumed that she’s still trying to get over her feelings for Nick, and her last couple of romances on New Girl haven’t exactly ended in the best ways, whether you’re talking about Sam or Ryan. On some level, I totally get why she wouldn’t want to risk getting hurt again, but throughout New Girl‘s five years on the air, we’ve never seen Jess be this flip-floppy over a relationship, to the point that almost every single episode since Robby returned to the show in Episode 3 of this season has been centered on their will-they-won’t-they drama. This character that we see now isn’t the Jess Day that I’ve known and loved over the course of the show’s run; she’s not even the character that we saw in last week’s “James Wonder,” who worked hard to get the promotion to principal at Banyon Canyon and wouldn’t fold under the requests of the student’s parents. This repetitive back-and-forth between her and Robby, which pretty much always ends the same (with the two of them realizing they like each other), is taking up too much time and bringing down the rest of the show.

Honestly, all this Jess/Robby drama feels like a stall tactic because Megan Fox wasn’t available for this fall’s episodes due to her pregnancy and the birth of her third child, so the New Girl writers couldn’t bring back Reagan when they would have liked to and had her cause tension between Jess and Nick. Of course, I can’t be 100% sure that’s the case (I’m not in the writers’ room), but that’s how it’s coming off onscreen. While Jess has been tied up with Robby, many of Nick’s stories have centered around his long-distance relationship with Reagan, and while those have definitely been more entertaining than the Jess/Robby relationship, they haven’t been all that satisfying. The most fulfilling stories for Nick this season have dealt with his newfound talent for writing, and similar to how I want more storylines focused on Jess and her work, I would also like to see more of Nick’s struggles as a writer.

At least Nick’s side adventures this season have been very funny, though, and that continues in “Es Good,” as he tries to help Schmidt deal with the contractor at his and Cece’s new home. Schmidt sees that the contractor, whom he calls Mr. Jason (Mike & Molly‘s Billy Gardell), respects Nick in a way that he doesn’t respect him, so he tries to act like his best friend, even borrowing Nick’s clothes and studying his body language.

Schmidt’s scheme, of course, doesn’t work, and he and Nick begin to believe that Mr. Jason is scamming them, stealing Schmidt’s money and the materials from his house to use for himself; however, after Nick and Schmidt craft a plan to try and steal back what’s his from Jason, it’s revealed that he’s actually been trying to help Schmidt and Cece all along, as he laments that, as a contractor, he’s always believed to be the bad guy. Everything about this story is pretty predictable and very sitcom-y, but it works well enough because of how strong the jokes are, from Schmidt using expressions like “tip of the ween” to Nick trying on Schmidt’s jeans (“They look fantastic,” Schmidt tells him).

If all I needed from New Girl was solid jokes and clever one-liners, I’d be pretty happy with Season 6. But I’ve grown to expect more from this show throughout my years reviewing it, and right now, its sixth season isn’t delivering in the same way that recent seasons (and especially the golden age of Season 2) have. Hopefully, next week’s Christmas episode can rediscover what I love so much about Jessica Day and end New Girl‘s 2016 run on a strong note. It certainly can’t be any worse than the underwhelming and downright frustrating events of “Es Good.”

Other thoughts:

  • In addition to Nick and Schmidt’s storyline with Jason, the other bright spot of this episode was another classic Winston and Cece mess-around, as the two of them follow along with Jess’s relationship drama and try to convince themselves that they’re not bored with their own lives. Anything that gives Lamorne Morris and Hannah Simone more screen time together makes me happy.
  • Speaking of Winston, his enthusiasm about this “dog and bone” situation has me very curious (and scared) about the details.
  • We learn a lot of interesting details about Robby in this episode. He not only builds factories and has the same gardener as Vin Diesel, but he also played bass on a track with Santana, which got him a gold record on his wall. Also, Schmidt claims that Robby is apparently his “second best friend,” a fact that quietly upsets Winston.
  • I know Nick doesn’t want Schmidt to refer to men with brown hair as “brunettes” anymore, but I find it pretty damn hilarious.
  • “I’m sitting in my ivory tower like Dan Brown.” “Nick, you’re a very talented writer, but you’re no Dan Brown. You’ve never even had anything published.”

What did everyone else think about this week’s New Girl, and are you as frustrated with this season as I am? Comment below and let me know. 

[Photo credit: Patrick McElhenney/FOX]

New Girl Season 6 Episode 9 Review: "Es Good"
2.5

Summary

Jess and Robby try being in an open relationship, while Schmidt attempts to be more like Nick in an underwhelming episode of New Girl.

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