Welcome back to my weekly New Girl recap/review! To catch up on last week’s episode, check out my previous coverage here. As usual, there are some spoilers in this week’s review, so read at your own risk.
After a dream-like high of fantastic episodes and great character development, New Girl has popped the metaphorical bubble that had me encapsulated in bliss. In my coverage of episode six, (“Reagan”) I had said that it felt like the end of the first act of this season, and that I could feel a shift occurring, I wasn’t distracted. This week, I unfortunately was. Here are my two big issues with this week’s episode:
1) Nick is backpedaling.
One of my biggest hopes for New Girl’s future involved Nick. I wanted him to grow into a more responsible and more focused Nick Miller without abandoning the elements of himself that are so darn lovable. For a while, it seemed as though I was getting my wish. At the beginning of season five, Nick explicitly expressed his want to take on bigger tasks, no matter how difficult they may be. He found a comfortable middle ground in his role as manager of the bar. He seemed to be blossoming into the person I’m sure everyone knew he could be. This week, we see Nick fall back into bad habits. He’s overwhelmed with lust for Reagan, hiding out in Cece and Schmidt’s room to eat (he doesn’t want Reagan to witness his toddler-esque table manners) and avoiding using the restroom for the better part of a week. I know progress isn’t a straight line, but considering how often Nick has been in these types of situations before, his regression into old ways is not only disappointing but its concerning for what the remainder of the season will look like for him. I truly hope this is a one-off incident, and as soon as all those new crush jitters fizzle out, Nick can either form a real connection with Reagan or realize they might not be compatible and move forward gracefully.
2) Reagan is still an outsider.
I simply don’t buy it. “It” being essentially everything regarding Reagan. The gang’s willingness to let her into the loft, Nick’s swiftness in pleasing her (exhibit A being the attempted installation of a rain shower we saw in episode six) or how attracted the single guys are to her. Reagan’s only redeeming quality is her stunningly good looks, but that shouldn’t be why everyone drops everything to help her. Audiences have seen that played out ad nauseam — people falling all over the beautiful but hard-edged girl with an almost impenetrable exterior and a personality whose default setting is dismissive. Just because she’s good-looking doesn’t mean she deserves everything the gang is willing to do for her. And they’re willing to do a lot. Even Winston is so committed to helping her adapt to the culture and customs unique to the loft, he ends up lending a hand in Reagan’s breakup with girlfriend Camilla.
Like Winston, I’m worried (actually, almost convinced at this point) she simply won’t fit into the group. Even worse, she may not want to. She’s not particularly nice — labeling Schmidt a former fat kid, Nick a middle-aged man trapped in a 30-something’s body and Winston a dude that’s been dumped a lot doesn’t make me want to like her. “Giving in” to a roommate dinner isn’t particularly endearing, either. As Winston said, she’s “straight up discourteous.” Sure, she’s vaguely interesting this episode, with the fake IDs, ex-girlfriend blues and mysterious trinkets hidden among her wardrobe. It doesn’t keep me hanging on, though. The slight intrigue I had about Reagan in last week’s episode dwindled in “Wig.” And I had faith in Megan Fox! I hoped she would be more than the Mean Girl/Ice Queen trope character we’ve seen her play quite often in the past. That’s not a knock on the actress’s skills — she delivers Reagan’s disinterested frigidity with a certain finesse — but I’d like to see something new be revealed about her character in the future. There’s still a twinkle of possibility there, however faint, as we see her almost succumb to the craziness of the loft in several instances. That’s refreshing, honest and great to see. It could be her saving grace. I give Reagan one more episode before her sparkle either burns out completely or pushes her into a bonafide member of the New Girl crew.
I know I say it often, but the humor and wit of this show is consistently stellar. There’s rarely an episode where jokes fall flat for me; I always chuckle at least a handful of times. Sometimes, even when an episode’s plot is weak or a bit static, the sprinkling of Schmidt-isms, splashes of Nick and Winston wackiness and generous amounts of kooks from the couple of the loft are enough to redeem the entire 21-minute run. This wasn’t one of those episodes. Sure, there were still moments — included in my highlights below — that I enjoyed, but it wasn’t quite enough to avert my attention from how underdeveloped this episode was.
The short of it is this: The first few episodes post Jess’s announcement of sequestration in “Jury Duty” truly felt like ones perfectly crafted from the minds of hopeful New Girl watchers. We slowed in last week’s episode. Now we’ve come to a bumper-to-bumper halt, and I don’t know how quickly the traffic will clear.
Highlights: Winston detailing all the places he’s been dumped. Nick mixing up oranges and onions. The long list of biscuit metaphors.