New Girl 4×03 – Julie Berkman’s Older Sister

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Review by Megora
New Girl is still looking to regain its bearings, but the search hasn’t been very successful so far.

The third episode of the season puts the girls and guys in separate subplots, as Jess and Cece deal with Jess’s Dad visiting town with his much younger girlfriend, who just happens to be one of their old high school classmates, while Schmidt tries to get a marketing account at his firm with the help of the trio of misfits, Nick, Winston and Coach.

Though it’s fun to see the girls go off on their own for a bit, but the interaction between Jess, her Dad (Rob Reiner), and his girlfriend Ashley (Kaitlin Olson) is awkward at best. It was honestly a little painful to watch Jess, first attempt to save her father from the inevitable heartache of his relationship with a recovering sex-addict, then uncomfortably accept it and just move on. The only upside: Cece; Hannah Simone can pull off straight-faced comedy with the best of them. Here’s hoping the writers realize that and start investing more in her comedic playfulness, rather than just her love life.

That leaves the four boys free to work on nailing a marketing pitch at Schmidt’s all-female firm, advertising sponges for men of all things. Schmidt using his roommates as a focus group on cleaning: definitely not a well thought-out plan; getting inspired by Nick’s man-child antics: comic gold. It seems after four seasons, the real heart and soul of this show is the friendship between Nick and Schmidt; their scenes together are both hilarious and heart-warming. On another note, at least one thing is now a reliable staple in the New Girl world: any time the writers want to use a crazy out-of-left-field line just for laughs, they give it to Winston. Lamorne Morris has an uncanny ability to deliver insanity and still make it believable.

It is definitely a challenge to come up with plotlines that can drive character development of six different people all at once in a 20-minute sitcom, so the show seems to be settling for two major subplots, at least one involving Jess of course, and trying to extract as much comedy out of them without actually accomplishing much in terms of storytelling. Is that really enough to keep the show interesting at this point? I’m not sure.

Newbie Notes

– Cece’s excitement about Jess going crazy over her dad’s girlfriends is hilarious.

– Seriously, you can’t really fault the guys. What words can you possibly associate with “sponge”?

– It’s always fun every time Michaela Watkins (Schmidt’s boss) shows up.

– Can we please call Coach ‘Ernie’ from now on?

– A bike stampede? Only in L.A.

– The finished “Spongey-Mc-Wipey” ad at the end: priceless.

Roomfriend Ranting

Schmidt: The French press is in cupboard 64B. Did you not consult your item map?

Jess: Have you ever seen sex from above, Cece? It’s horrible. That’s why God thinks it’s a sin.

Coach: I love sponges because they connect my heart to my hand.

Winston: I like cleaning. It is the only thing I can control in a world filled with chaos. May I add (holding a sponge), I am Thor and this is my hammer, Mjölnir.

Conclusion
With a few laugh-out-loud moments, a shaky narrative, and The Mindy Project hot on its heels, New Girl needs to pull out all the stops to get its groove back.

Megora Rating
C

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