New Girl Season Premiere Review: “All In” (Season 3, Episode 1)

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New Girl is finally back and season 3 has begun! “All In” picks up at the end of the last episode, giving us a quick recap of where we were with regards to Nick and Jess, and what happened on the drive home. Well, they did get back to the loft – to the door at least – before realizing that behind that big brown door lies all their problems, issues, everything that could conceivably come between them. In an effort to avoid this they get back in the car, drive around a little more, during whch Nick is slowly lulled to sleep. When he awakes, he discovers that Jess has driven them to Mexico.

OK, I know what you’re thinking – is New Girl really going for broke, getting big and broad this season? The show has always experimented with big broad comedy in some respect – the beaver at the wedding, the dead man in the park, Jess and the potential serial killer student – but if ever the show was going to get really broad, it would be in its third season. But really? Mexico? This is where the title of the episode comes in to play. Having not known what the episode was called before watching it, I took a stab at the title being “All In,” so often is that phrase used. It’s a becomes a catchphrase between Jess and Nick to denote reckless enthusiasm in their developing relationship, to give priority to their shared needs against all sanity, logic, or legality. Jess or Nick exclaiming “all in!” is usually a precursor to a plot point, or setpiece.

Case in point: in Mexico, Jess and Nick are on the beach. They’ve only been there a couple of days but Nick’s clothes are destroyed, Jess sports a rather fetching hair braid, and they don’t have any money left. Desperate, Nick spots a beachside resort. Using the reasoning that “Paradise Nick” (ahh! the aliases return!) is much more chillaxed about everything, Jess agrees (as Paradise Jess) that they should attempt to break in. All in!

Meanwhile, Schmidt is still stuck between Elizabeth and Cece. Such a physically mismatched love triangle is refreshing to see in a mainstream sitcom, where normally Elizabeth would be kicked to the kerb the moment Cece arrived on the scene, and that classic sitcom staple of the threesome relationship leads to some very funny situations. Schmidt continue to date them both, telling each that he rejected the other. Of course, he has the best of intentions (combined with a generous portion of lily-liver), and genuinely doesn’t want to hurt either of their feelings. This can’t end well… can it?