Fat Schmidt, New Girl
THE MORE FAT SUITS New Girl puts on, the thinner the stories seem to get. My hat’s off to you both for getting as much meat as you did off this week’s slim pickings. This was a Ford Fusion of an episode. The second time I watched this episode, it seemed to me that Jess’s clunky walk against the revolving platform — effectively staying in place — was an apt metaphor for the show. Season two New Girl is built on stasis. Nothing ever changes, and everything is low stakes. It’s … boring. “Well, we’re friends now,” Cece says to Jess at the end of the episode in an almost incredible anticlimax to a thoroughly uninteresting problem.
How can an episode with all the physical comedy Phil describes and a hilarious set-piece highlighting Deschanel’s resemblance to a cartoon Russian monkey be so dull?
I think it boils down to the fact that New Girl is trying — inexplicably — to wean itself off of serial storytelling. Some earlier episodes this season seemed to promise a dip into longer story arcs, like the Schmidt-Cece relationship of yesteryear: “Fluffer” was an important follow-up to the first episode of the season, where Nick found Jess at the school she’d been fired from, crying. But then whatever throughline seemed to be developing faded away into hipsters and TV references last week and minor fights with predictable resolutions this week — nothing really seems to matter anymore. “I keep wanting to write the show off,” is what I said in week two, and Jane, when you asked “Guys — are we giving New Girl too much credit?” my heart said YES! YES.
We’ve been talking, in our glamorous behind-the-scenes e-mail chains, about the differences between serial and self-contained episodes. Which tradition does New Girl fall into, we wondered: the hyper-serialized quality of Arrested Development or the BBC’s Peep Show — both shows w...read more