The pilot for New Girl was about Jess (Zooey Deschanel) leaving her cheating boyfriend and moving in with strangers she met on the internet. Episode two of New Girl is about Jess comically failing at getting her stuff back from her jerk ex-boyfriend. That was the basic idea anyway.
In execution however, the episode entitled ‘Kryptonite’ was a loose amalgamation of character quirks–Jess’s singing, Schmidt’s (Max Greenfield) douchey arrogance–and jokes in search of a stronger narrative.
First bit of business for episode two of New Girl is introducing the other new roommate. Damon Wayans’ Coach has moved out due to Wayans’ commitment to the ABC series Happy Endings.
Replacing Coach is Winston played by Lamorne Morris. Winston lived with Schmidt and Nick (Jake M. Johnson) before Coach and has just returned from playing pro basketball in Russia.
We don’t really get to know Winston very well as the show saddles him with a boring subplot in which he and Nick attempt to trick Schmidt into giving up the biggest bedroom in the apartment.
In the main plot, Jess refuses to go see her ex, Spencer (Ian Wolterstorff) and get her stuff back. Spencer has a strange power over Jess, even after cheating on her. As Jess puts it “He’s like a wizard and I’m a mage.” (If you know what a mage is without looking it up, how much do you love this show?) Nick thankfully, uses a more relatable geek reference, Spencer is Jess’s Kryptonite.
Jess’s first attempt at confronting Spencer and collecting her things is a failure as she ends up driving Spencer’s new girlfriend (Ashton Swinford) to the airport rather than getting her stuff back.
The second try goes better as Jess takes the guys and Cece (Hannah Simone) along. After several circles around the block and a little Vanessa Williams sing along (I like the repeated Jess singing bit by the way) Jess finally goes for her things and confronts Spencer.
Is it believable that Jess and her roommates have bonded so quickly that the guys have now, on two occasions, first at the restaurant singing “Time of My Life,” and now outside Jess’s ex-boyfriend’s house wearing her hats, have so willingly sacrificed their dignity for her?
Motivations and believability aside, New Girl maintains in its second episode a buoyant, fluffy air of breezy fun that makes the show easy to like. New Girl is in desperate need of a tighter narrative structure and better subplots but Zooey Deschanel proves that for another week at least New Girl can get by on her cuteness and charm.