TV Time: New Girl 3.22

new girl dance

Title Dance

Two-Sentence Summary Jess channels all of her frustrations about her breakup with Nick into making the dance at the school where she teaches the best it can be, which naturally means it turns into a complete disaster. Not helping matters is the fact that Schmidt, Nick, and Winston turn out to be the three worst chaperones ever.

Favorite Line “Nobody’s getting pregnant tonight! That’s the same thing I say on my dates.” (Winston)

My Thoughts This was actually the most fun I’ve had watching New Girl since the episodes prior to Nick and Jess breaking up. I laughed a lot, I loved the way the whole ensemble was in the same place, and I enjoyed seeing the characters in a different setting than usual. “Dance” may not have done a lot to further any of the season’s overall arcs, but I still enjoyed it—despite still having some reservations with certain aspects of the show.

Since I’m in a bit of a time crunch today, I’m going to break my thoughts on this episode into a little list of Five Things I Took Away from “Dance.”

1.) This was Cece’s best episode. I crave Jess and Cece scenes like I crave good chocolate. I know New Girl is primarily about the relationships between Jess and the men she lives with, but her friendship with Cece has always been something that humanizes and grounds Jess as a character more than any other relationship on the show, even the one she shared with Nick. Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone have such a genuine, warm chemistry, and I always feel like there’s a deep sense of shared history between them that drives all of their interactions. It was so nice to see Cece at her warmest and most supportive in this episode because Jess needed her more than ever. Simone played Cece’s gentle but constant support perfectly because it felt real. And Jess and Cece’s botched “good cop/bad cop” moment was one of my favorite parts of the episode.

2.) I would watch a spinoff of New Girl starring Winston and Coach. When did Coach become one of my favorite New Girl characters? I loved how dedicated he was to his chaperoning job, and his line about having “four asses” was a standout in an episode full of good quotes. And Lamorne Morris continues to be a saving grace for New Girl’s third season. He elevates the dumbest storylines with his great delivery and fearlessly weird performances. I don’t know what was better, watching Winston take the sexual tension out of a room by talking about the scent of his sweat or watching him dance while not knowing the words to “Call Me Maybe.”

3.) The Dumbest Boys In School is my new favorite rap group. From Schmidt rapping about teal (“When I say teal, you say sometimes!”) to Cece beat-boxing and Nick not having any fellow Chicagoans in the house, that rapping scene was one of the best New Girl ensemble scenes in a long time. It was awkward, silly, and just sweet enough to fit the tone of the show perfectly.

4.) I don’t understand why Jess and Nick are so miserable about a breakup that didn’t need to happen. It still doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re really going to be impacted that much by a breakup you mutually and impulsively decided on, then why did you break up in the first place? The fact that I still see the breakup as poorly handled and contrived has really impacted the way I see Nick and Jess’s character arcs now, and it’s continuing to keep me from enjoying parts of the show.

5.) It’s gotten to the point where I enjoy this show despite Nick—not because of him. Nick Miller reached new lows of idiocy in “Dance.” I know he was also channeling his emotions about the breakup into his interactions with the kids, but it was way too over-the-top to be even remotely entertaining. I laughed a little bit at the stuff with the different sodas mixed together, but as soon as he set off the fireworks/rockets/whatever they were, I just got mad. This isn’t even “immature Nick” from Season One; this is a character I don’t know or want to know because he’s not only too stupid to function, he enjoys being too stupid to function. Last season, I tuned into New Girl every week excited to see what new layer Nick’s character was going to get. This season, I’ve come to dread the ways this character is being stripped of everything that made him interesting just so he could be enough of a mess to justify the breakup. The only other explanation is that the writers really think he’s funnier when he’s written as a caricature, and that’s an even more depressing theory.

7 thoughts on “TV Time: New Girl 3.22

  1. I actually got distracted by my phone watching last night’s episode, which I don’t think has ever happened before. I found it a little dull, even though there were good elements, perhaps because there wasn’t anything that might happen, that I need to wait and watch for (maybe I’m just a UST addict? I don’t know).
    Totally agree with you on #1. Cece was excellent. And to some extent on #2. Winston was great, and Coach is growing on me. Coach worked a lot better in last night’s episode that he has in some (I don’t much like his brand of comedy). #3 The Dumbest Boys in School was a great (very meta) concept, but I can do without embarrassing rap at school dances. (classic awkward Neww Girl, yes, but not my fav). #4 yes. again. still. ugh. #5. precisely. I think it was during Nick’s scenes outside that I got to looking at instagram or something on my phone instead of watching. I loved the steam room/sexual tension bit with Schmidt and Winston, and the weird bit where he looked like he was going to kiss Coach when he got his chaperone duty, and the “friendly” dancing at the end, but I’m really disappointed by where they’ve taken Nick this season, and I think it’s a major part of why I don’t really care about the show any more. If Nick was still well written and fascinatingly complex (and they’d done the break up for real, justified reasons) I might still be invested, but as it is, I just don’t care… I feel like this episode was funny and fun and very classic New Girl, and I wanted to like it. But for me, it just doesn’t have the sparkle it used to… And I find it hard to believe the season finale is coming up – it feels more like the season has just fizzled out…

    • I’ve found myself more and more distracted as I watch the show as the season goes on. It used to be that this was the show I wouldn’t leave the room during, but now that’s become The Mindy Project (or Brooklyn Nine-Nine when it’s on). You said it perfectly when you called it a lack of sparkle. There’s just something missing now, and I think a lot of that comes from what they’ve done to Nick’s character. I laughed a lot during this episode, and I was definitely entertained. But this show used to do more than just entertain me—it used to make me feel and care on surprisingly deep levels. So when I think about what I know this show can be and what it’s become, all I feel is disappointed.

  2. One of these days, we’ll stop having the same thoughts but it’s apparently not today.

    I loved the opening scene with Schmidt hugging Jess then Winston offering to do the same once Schmidt was done. It cracked me up.

    I am 100% ok with a Winston and Coach spin off. They are easily my favorites right now.

    I was similarly unhappy with Nick last night. I like quirks in my characters (as evidenced by my love for Winston) but I also like them to act like mature, functioning adults from time to time and Nick hasn’t been demonstrating that lately. I’m still not over the “meat bucket” and basically all of Nick regressing to a teenager last night. I get that he doesn’t feel like a grown up and doesn’t like responsibilities but I only want to watch so much of that without some growth.

    • “One of these days, we’ll stop having the same thoughts but it’s apparently not today.” – I love that we seem to be sharing a TV brain (and heart) more than ever this season! 😉

      The hug discussion in that opening scene got the biggest laughs out of me in the whole episode. That was one of those rare moments this season where the show balanced its silly and sweet sides really well.

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who isn’t over the “meat bucket.” For some weird reason, that was my breaking point with Nick. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t even close to realistic, and it was the perfect representation of turning Nick into someone who would probably be dead in the real world because of how stupid he is just for the sake of a joke that wasn’t even funny. (Wow, I could actually feel my blood pressure going up as I typed that sentence.)

  3. Wow, you completely nailed all of my feelings about the direction this show has taken in the last few episodes, especially in terms of the breakup and the development (de-evolution?) of Nick as a character. It makes me so sad, I loved this show so much, and now when I see clips of Virgins or The Cooler, I just feel like I was just being strung along. I find it maddening that the show’s writers believe that there are no humorous stories to be found in the portrayal of a happy relationship.

    • Thank you so much for the comment, and I’m glad I could make you feel less alone in your feelings about the show. Like you, I’m baffled that this show—which at one time seemed proud to think outside the box—has fallen prey to that cliched belief that happy couples are boring. There are so many good examples on TV nowadays of shows (both comedies and dramas) finding great storytelling avenues through depicting happy relationships. I thought New Girl was going to be one of those brave shows, but it sadly looks like I was wrong.

  4. Pingback: The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (4/27 – 5/4) | Nerdy Girl Notes

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