To start this year, fresh after the holiday break, New Girl gives us a quick little throwaway episode that we can use to cleanse our pallet of our indulgent Christmas viewing and get back to the nitty-gritty. And believe me, this is New Girl at its most throwaway and pointless. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but it’s true – at the end of this episode, we haven’t really learnt anything or gotten anywhere at all. We reach something close to profoundness with Winston’s realisation that every decision he’s ever made has been at the hands of someone else, but on closer inspection that doesn’t really fly – every decision we make depends on a million of other factors, all decided on by someone else. No one is really in control in life, this isn’t The Matrix. There’s no secret coding, nobody who can see through the system. Winston’s realisation may have consequences for the show insofar as he will no longer be able to do that job we never see him doing, but aside from that, not much at all.
Now, does every episode need to be profound? No. Does every episode need to shake the very universe in which it exists? No. I’m sure I’ve said this all before, but it bears repeating.
The premise behind this episode is that Jess has had a very tempting job offer – one that would be slightly easier, in better surroundings, and (as we find out later on) pays more. She implores the gang to give her some advice as to whether she should follow her heart and stay in teaching or go with her head and take the new job, explore new pastures, and maybe find her calling in that direction.
Like with Winston, we also come close to something meaningful down this path but never further than cod-philosophising, summed up neatly by Jess when she asks Nick, “How do you know if you’re on the right path?” Obviously you never know until you’ve made that choice, by which time it’s usually too late to turn back. Such is life. Jess being an anxious soul finds this extremely worrying and her compadres each proceed to give her, in turn, examples of big decisions they’ve made in their lives and how they’ve affected them. I guess it’s in sort of the same vein as last season’s “Virgins,” with each character looking back at a pivotal moment in their life, but ultimately it fails to have anywhere near the laughs that episode achieved. That’s not to say the episode doesn’t have any funny moments, it just doesn’t really add up to much.