“Wedding” was the first good (almost great) episode of the series. The first two episodes which were basically double pilots were just okay. They had to set up the series and characters and, when Damon Wayans, Jr. had to be replaced, they needed to add a new castmember and establish chemistry. Now that the characters seem relatively comfortable with one another, the show feels like it’s found a groove.
Nick, Schmidt and Winston are all invited to a friends wedding and Nick is bringing Jess as his date to make his ex-girlfriend Caroline (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) jealous. Meanwhile Schmidt is trying change wedding fortunes by hooking up with his old college crush Brooke (Katie Cassidy) instead of continuing his pattern of having hate sex with Gretchen (Natasha Lyonne).
What I liked most about this episode is everyone was relatively equal footing with Jess being the weirdest and Winston being the closest to sanity. After the first two episodes, which I found enjoyable enough, I was afraid they were going to treat Jess like she was an alien still learning how to interact with human beings and understand concepts like “love” and “booty calls” (like a female Mork or a cute Alf). This episode Jess just came across as an awkward, quirky dork. For example, when Nick is introducing her to Caroline and Jess is pretending to be his girlfriend. She takes it too far by being weird and too forthcoming but she’s not stupid. This episode was also the best performance we’ve gotten out of Zooey Deschanel so far. Unlike before where Jess was treated as a girl embarrassed to be herself, Deschanel played her like a girl who was confident and proud of her weirdness. She wasn’t looking to be pitied for “not getting it.” I was glad she finally stopped apologizing and refused to “Suppress the Jess.”
The other roommates, on the other hand, moved closer to her on the “less than normal” scale. Schmidt, instead of the douchefest we got last week, was more desperate and it was a better fit. Winston was competing with a kid for ushering duties and after two episodes of talking about how Nick gets when it comes to Caroline, we finally see his complete breakdown after he finds out she’s dating again. Jake Johnson has been great in the series thus far but he doesn’t do “incredibly drunk” well and the episode crept into Cliché land. Jess ended up being the voice of reason here and getting Nick to let go of Caroline (again) and the episode ended in roommates chicken dancing with Jess to Phil Collins’ “A Groovy Kind of Love.”
This was a solid episode overall and since New Girl got a full season pickup, it looks like I’ll be doing this for a while.
Thoughts and observations:
- A couple of layers were peeled back for the other roommates: Winston played overseas basketball and unemployed for two months making him feel like a loser and Schmidt’s nickname in college was “Fat Schmidt.”
- It’s weird to see Mary Elizabeth Ellis acting relatively normal. i keep waiting for her to have a Charlie Kelly-induced emotional breakdown like every appearance he has on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
- This is the second time in three episodes that Nick has had a heart to heart with Caroline. He and the show needs to move on.
- One thing I wondered about is does Caroline really string Nick along or is this just how he sees it and he overreacts? i wasn’t convinced either way.
- “When I see you I want to think, “Who let the dirty slut out of the slut house?”
[in a British accent] “Probably the slut butler, right!” – Schmidt and Jess
- “So when I do the chicken dance I do it a little differently. Instead of doing claps, I like to do a peck. It’s more realistic.” – Jess
- “It was weird when I was stuck in a freak sandwich between you and that 8-year-old. Can we talk about that?” – Jess to Winston
- “She goes on top of the kill list”
“Is that because you’re going to attempt to kill her by having sex with her?”
“More of less.”
“Oh Schmidt! One day you’re going to kill the nicest girl.” – Schmidt and Jess
- “Your head is shaped like a yam.”
“Yeah I know. I can’t wear soft hats” – Jess and Nick