New Girl Review: “Nerd” (Season 3 Episode 2)

new-girl-2-2

Meanwhile, Schmidt is in trouble. His office is having a party and he invites Cece along but, when Elizabeth comes to visit him in the office, vindictive fellow worker (and future love interest?) Beth who, having seen is 2/3-size replica Don Draper office, is out for revenge and invites Elizabeth along to the party. He tells Cece that the party is employees-only, putting her out of the picture, but when she quits her latest modelling job she turns up at the party, leaving Schmidt juggling Cece and Elizabeth at the same party. This whole story shares the same themes as Jess and Nick’s – Schmidt wants to be someone he’s not (Don Draper) and, in chasing this dream, he has bitten off more than he can chew. Schmidt is not highly regarded at work, and Beth is leader of the pack in taking him down.

Even Cece, whom one would imagine is the most successful of the group, is mistreated on her job. To restate the case: nobody in New Girl is respected. It’s a cast of relative losers, and that is what makes this show so special. Most sitcoms rely on a fool, or an authority figure to rail against. New Girl, like Friends, relies on a cast of lovable losers and their interactions therein, and it looks like this group and their taking on of the world will become a key theme in season three – hence both episodes thus far ending with the group reconvening after an episode spent mostly separate, realising that all they need is each other.

Presumably, the tensions that come with this territory will come to a head around episode 12 – something will jeopardise the group. Will Maturity Nick tire of Jess’ antics? Will Schmidt and Beth get together? Will Winston finally get a happy relationship, or even just a good puzzle? The group is far too lovey-dovey at the moment, but when will that conflict strike? Nick is still a long way from really growing up, though. His advice to Jess ultimately causes the mess he needs to fix, and his mature solution to keeping Jess out of trouble is to get in to trouble with her. So he’s not totally dull, not yet.

Also, just a quick shout-out to Molly, Rose and Dan (Dreama Walker, Angela Kinsey and Mark Proksch), and the tacit appreciation that the audience will know that Kinsey and Proksch were Angela and Nate respectively in The Office, giving them both ready-made characters. That we’ve also seen Walker in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 only adds to that. It was a smart move casting known faces in minor roles, and using the audience associations to govern how the characters should be absorbed. Altogether, the writing is tighter and the editing remains as superb as ever. New Girl is the best 22 minutes on TV right now, and if you’re not watching it you’re a fool.