Abby’s fingers were in both narrative pies this week, with her providing Winston with the impetus for his actions this episode. After taking his police entry exam, he was awaiting the results and was pretty nervous about it. Nothing cripplingly bad, nothing too Winston, just a bit antsy. This soon changed after a pep talk from Abby in which she stressed just how important these results are, after he tried to use any means necessary to distract himself from the results, be it going to a clothes shop with Nick and Jess to try on “all the jeans”, or to cock-block Coach at the gym by booking him up for the entire afternoon when there’s hot gym members to be trained. Eventually Coach, in his frustration, just checked Winston’s scores and shockingly, he’d failed.
I did not expect that at all. I thought we were going to get the usual sitcom thing of a character deflecting, assuming the worst, but actually being successful. Having Winston actually fail the test really did surprise me because it shows, in its own minor way, that the lives of these characters are by no means assured. Just because they are a main character just not automatically mean they will be happy, or successful.
Take Cece – she has gone from relatively successful model to doing shifts behind the bar over the course of the show. Coach has gone from authority figure to a guy desperately trying to pick up girls at the gym. Schmidt has gone from philandering marketing mogul to depressed singleton. In fact, come to think of it, everyone but Nick and Jess seem to be on the path to misery. Huh. Going back to Winston, I loved the way the show gave him an out – maybe he missed the back of the application form? – before yanking that away from us in the harshest way possible.
I really don’t know what they’re going to do with Winston. Although the episode ends with a hopeful note, it’s starting to become painfully clear that they really have nothing in the bank when it comes to that character. Coach is privileged in that he can sort of come and go as he pleases by dint of not having anywhere near the level of emotional investment that the audience has with Winston, and as a consequence he seems like a better character because there’s lower expectations around him. We’ve followed Winston for 66 episodes now, and he’s still no better off than he was at the beginning. Worse, in fact. He’s still mulling around in the background of episodes, good for the odd weird moment now and again, but not really strong enough to really carry the A-story. To put that in perspective, this is Abby’s second episode and she is already carrying the A-story. Think about that.
- Winston did get some great lines though – “I’ve got an urgent sandwich meeting to get to”, “Both y’all butts look great”, “Oh, you’re trying to whistle”, “Seriously, it’s like the Winston of pep talks.”
- Nick’s facial expressions are still second-to-none. Nobody does reaction shots like he does.
- Schmidt and nonsense: “How do we deal with nonsense?” Nick makes fists, to which Schmidt responds, “No, no. We just don’t stand for it, is what we do… hey Abby, look at me. Let’s go get a taco.” Perfect.
See you next week for more New Girl.