Two-Sentence Summary Feeling unsuccessful after her principal shuts down her idea of a field trip to the beach, Jess focuses her energy on taking down a Chinese restaurant that keeps besieging the loft with its wasteful menus. Meanwhile, Coach acts as Nick’s trainer, and Schmidt tries to figure out his new place in his friends’ worlds now that he’s moved out.
Coach: You’ll be able to see your abs.
Nick: I thought God just didn’t give me those.
Episode M.V.P. “Menus” was a great showcase for all of New Girl’s characters in different ways, and each actor had at least one (sometimes several) great moments. Lamorne Morris could have been used more (but when can’t you say that?), but I did love his moments of physical comedy. I thought this episode did a much better job than last week’s of making Coach feel more like “Pilot-era Coach,” and Damon Wayans Jr. played off all of his scene partners with ease as if he’d never been gone (the dumpling fight with Nick was especially hilarious). Max Greenfield’s quirky line delivery made me cry with laughter again, as Schmidt pronounced Chinese as “Chin-ese,” and I loved the way he shooed the kids away from Winston at the end only to start throwing sand on him, too. And Jake Johnson was used perfectly in this episode, with less yelling and annoying immaturity but more fantastic one-liners and one of the funniest motivational speeches I’ve ever heard (the karate kick part killed me).
Although all of the men of New Girl were great in “Menus,” I really loved what Zooey Deschanel did with Jess’s arc in this episode. I like when Jess gets to show her passionate side, and I love it even more when it revolves around her work as a teacher. Nick is right; Jess Day is a doer, and it’s one of the things I’ve always liked about her character. Deschanel made me believe in Jess’s convictions, and she even made me root for her in the ridiculous Chinese-restaurant plot. The scene where she was being complimented by the restaurant owner was the funniest scene in the episode. Jess’s inability to take a compliment from a man (who’s not Nick) any way but awkwardly is one of my favorite personality quirks of hers, and it’s something I hope stays with her character for as long as this show is on the air.
Favorite Scene There’s just something about a great New Girl ending that fills my heart with joy. Watching all of the characters come together at the beach to celebrate Jess’s victory was sweet without being too sappy. Deschanel and Johnson had a very real and warm chemistry in their interactions in this scene, and it reminded me that both of these characters can influence each other in really positive ways: Nick’s faith in Jess makes her believe in herself, and Jess helps Nick be his best self, too. The scene was funny enough to keep it from feeling overly sentimental (Nick running was a great sight gag), but it still packed a nice emotional punch from seeing all of these friends uniting over something good in a way that felt real and very true to who they are as characters.
A New Girl GIF* For My New Girl Feelings
Just like Jess, this week’s New Girl was characteristically strange, quirky, funny, and somehow genuinely cute all at the same time.
*I have no talent for GIF-making. Thankfully, I am highly skilled at searching Tumblr for the best GIFs. I take no credit for this beauty.