New Girl Review: “Longest Night Ever” (Season 3, Episode 9)

New Girl
is not a dark show, not at all. The rare shades of dark undercurrent that do occasionally seep through are usually masked by absurdity, or not dwelled upon in any great detail, which makes the show generally breezy and happy. That this episode takes place almost entirely at night, or at least under artificial lights (I understand that all sets feature artificial lighting, you know very well what I mean) lends this episode a languid, unfocused quality. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just slightly slower paced than we’ve come to expect from late period New Girl, whose narrative drive appears to have stepped up a gear since Jess and Nick did in the same in their relationship. It was nice to have an episode happy to linger for a few minutes on just what Schmidt is going through, and giving Jess and Schmidt some alone time in the process.

This was an episode of odd character combinations, giving screentime to relationships that aren’t as defined as usual. Each group has their own nocturnal adventure, and “Longest Night Ever” is what results. I might be building up the atmosphere a little too much by focusing on the nocturnal setting, but it’s worth noting that even a show as light and breezy as New Girl can, just by dint of changing the time the show takes place, change atmosphere and tack in a strangely effective way.

“Longest Night Ever” felt like it was going to be a bottle episode – standard industry practice in which, to save money, certain episodes of a show may be set in only one or two locations – judging by the amount of time it took for anything to happen to Schmidt, Jess and Nick, but the disappearance of Furguson opened up the action.

Can I just say, and here’s why you possibly should take my readings of New Girl with a pinch of salt, that I only just got the pun around Furguson’s name. It never occurred to me that his name was Furguson, like the fur of a cat, and in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve spelt Furguson as “Ferguson” in previous reviews. In summary, I am a moron. Given that he’s the entire impetus for Winston and Nick’s adventure this week, it seems only fair to give this mea culpa and at least give him the respect that his punnerific name deserves. I’m sorry, Furguson.

The character’s disappearance this week allowed Winston and Nick to leave the apartment, to search for the errant cat. It’s a fruitless search until Winston gets a text message from somebody claiming to have found him, that somebody being a woman. At the begining of the episode, Winston left Furguson in the care of Nick and Jess to go to a club, but it was a wash out. Returning home to find that Nick had left the window open and Furguson was missing gave him the impetus to join the search, and also reminded us of Winston’s partnerless plight. He’s been ever so lonely since breaking it off with Daisy, as his close relationship with Furguson attests, so leaving him with Jess and Nick was a pretty big deal. If only he could meet a lady as crazy as him. If only.