New Girl's Return: All In? Or a Bit Puzzling?

New Girl Season 3 Premiere ReviewNetworks as much as anyone like to show off. So when Fox sent out screeners for not only all of its new comedies (including two exposures to Dads) but also a double-helping of The Mindy Project, it did seem a smidge conspicuous that we got not a single frame of New Girls Season 3 premiere.

Me, I chose to believe that it was because with the Mexico setting, there was perhaps extra ADR to do for windy beach scenes. Or a bit of green-screen work to do with some pick-ups. Surely there was nothing to “hide.”

Yet something was undeniably “off” about the first episode back for one of TV’s most anticipated returning comedies.

PHOTOS | Fall TV Spoiler Spectacular: Exclusive Scoop on New Girl, Plus 44 Other Returning Favorites

What worked? The cold open, where Jess and Nick expressed ever-heightening declarations of being “all in” with their new romance, then fretted about how returning to the loft (and Schmidt’s 40 texts per day!) would kill their buzz. So instead, they turned heel and ran for the border, on an impetuous Mexican getaway (following a bit of Volvo loving).

Schmidt’s own romantic dilemma — to break up with Cece or Elizabeth — worked on some levels, as predictable as his cowardly approach may have been. Even the scene where he saves face with Cece by fibbing that Winston bedded Elizabeth had promise (“Give her the short version, which you did not give Elizabeth!”), until it escalated into prolonged and creepy weirdness. Which yes, was the point, but it did the character of Winston, forever the show’s Achilles Heel, no favors. Ask yourself: Is there any reason Cece would believe that the neighbor she has known for a couple of years now would engage in so lewd a practice as sewing her underwear into his own?
NewGirl-EP301_AllIn-Sc13_00696Were that scene the least of the embarrassments visited upon Lamorne Morris’ character. Sigh. No, instead we got a C-story in which he apparently obsesses over jigsaw puzzles — at first kinda funny, if only for the theme songs he would hum to himself. And yes, it “paid off” when his (so-so) skills allowed him to (sorta) reassemble Nick’s shredded passport. But the bit that revealed his color-blindness… what? And my confusion comes from someone who is a bit color blind himself.

And don’t get me started on the inexplicable (and again, prolonged) scene in which Winston and Schmidt circled each other, the former wearing a hoodie for pants. Did it not feel like these two characters shouted/growled 75 percent of their dialogue in the episode?

Thankfully, the half-hour ended on an up note, as it resolved Jess and Nick’s conundrum — can they make a new relationship work while already living together? — with sweet lines such as, “I’m not ready to lose you; I just got you” and, “I got a really great deal on Craigslist — I got all of you.”

Are you “all in” for Season 3? Was the hit-or-miss premiere but a rare hiccup?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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74 Comments
  1. K. says:

    It was a ok episode for me and yes I’m “all in” for the season but the best part in last nights show was the end with them making out on the door and Schmidts face and reaction.

  2. dru says:

    I’m already so over Jess/Nick

  3. Good, I thought I was the only one who noticed that something was off. Like a different vibe to the show or something.

    • Claudia says:

      It has been like that since season 1. I don’t like Lamorne’s character, neither Schmidt’s weirdness. Don’t even really like the show, but hey everyone watches so I guess I’m wrong.

    • Eric says:

      I agree, the editing has changed and it doesnt feel quite right

  4. WhatDidYouExpect says:

    Not sure why Matt and Michael hate the show so much now.
    The latter even had to tweet his disdain last night.
    I enjoyed it.
    What exactly are you looking for?!

    • Yeah, it’s like something was in the water at the TVLine offices. I thought this episode was funny, even better than the new Mindy Project, even if it wasn’t their best. Maybe the quirk was dialed up a little too high, but it wasn’t like it was Maya Rudolph’s character in Up All Night or Skip from 1600 Penn. I’d never say Lamorne Morris did anything to be ashamed of. The underwear bit was hilariously creepy as well as terrible improv, a rare combination that works. C’mon.

    • scooby says:

      It was ridiculously uneven, and I want to love the show. I want to badly because the people involved are so great and when the show’s on, it’s really good. Last season it went too far from time to time as well. Maybe focus less on improvising different options and write a few good ones before you show up on set–sounds obnoxious, but c’mon, the time isn’t being used wisely if this happens this often and it’s becoming more of the rule rather than the exception. It’s why they missed out on Emmy noms this year. They take such a long time shooting different choices for scenes, and if this is what they settled on, what takes did they not use? In the finale, Winston was made to seem a bit crazed in that badger bit from CeCe’s wedding. It looks stupid. Making him do bigger and crazier things doesn’t make me laugh after a certain point, it makes me think Winston is bipolar and needs his meds. Funny Winston is when he’s trying to get a condom so he can have sex and all that that quest involved. It’s an understandable crazed desperation rooted in truth. There’s no way anybody would try to drop a badger through the ceiling to ruin a wedding. Those things are mean. People would be hurt.

      As for the premiere, is it just me or did the ‘Jess going to get Winston and Schmidt’ thing feel like it took about 20 minutes in the car rather than the hours it would take to get to Mexico by plane? Now, Jess didn’t have money, right? How’d she get back to NYC? If driving that should’ve felt like it took longer. No way would the guys drive back down there. They’d fly. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Jes to go to the US consulate to either get help with Nick or to contact Schmidt who would then be able to wire money or fly himself and Winston to Mexico? Jess had to go all the way to NYC on (I guess) Monopoly money to drag them herself? Also the fact that they were trying to steal one bracelet made no sense. They’d still need another one.

  5. james says:

    Overthink a silly sitcom much? I really enjoyed it, and it had me laughing through the whole thing. Here’s to hoping they can continue to find more episode plots involving things other than sex sex sex (unlike Season 1).

  6. Tom Is Ugly says:

    Don’t know why Jess is with that loser Nick or how Nick has gotten all of the hot girls he’s been with so far. This relationship will ruin the show.

  7. Whomp says:

    I really enjoyed this series in the beginning but it’s gone incredibly downhill since and now has been deleted from my DVR schedule. The show used to have heart and humor and now it’s just turned into what crazy thing can they do this week for absolutely no reason. It’s frat boy humor at it’s worst and is taking the fabulous Zooey Deschanel down with it. Nothing is worse than a middling character like Schmidt who “breaks out” and then takes over the show. Those characters are good only in limited doses. Writers will never learn.

  8. Robin says:

    I thought I remembered the season ending differently, so I was confused when it picked up right after the wedding. I guess I was wrong. It was just ok for me. Some parts were funny some were not – but I usually find New Girl this way so it wasn’t such a surprise really. I’d say I’m “All in” though

  9. Lizzy says:

    I thought the Winston parts were easily the best part of the episode. If anything Nick felt “off” and the Schmidt story line was so sitcommy that it just won’t end well or soon enough for my liking.

  10. Andy says:

    I wouldn’t call Winston the show’s Achilles Heel. I love what Lamorne Morris does every week.

  11. New Girl was a favorite of mine last year. Episode after episode I have seen it go for the cheap humor and twisted juvenile crap…But Nick& Jess have hooked up and I think its great. Winston…poor poor Winston with the dumb storylines. Why not make him the introspective one with a funny side.

    What I dig at the end is that they get it…they get out of their way and get it…..lol!

  12. iMember says:

    I can’t take you seriously when you say Winston is the show’s “Achilles heels.” Season 2 and this episode in particular proved just how much Winston is the funniest character on the show! Overall, I thought it was an alright premiere that pulled things off well in the end, but Winston was the MVP in this episode. C’mon Matt. Get with it!

  13. Shannon says:

    Thought the episode was pretty good – can’t wait for Coach to come back though!!!

  14. Drew says:

    I was laughing. It felt like a normal episode of New Girl to me. No complaints… except that maybe there was too little of Cece. They need more Cece… In fact, they could cancel Dads and add a half hour of Hannah Simone sitting in a chair, silently reading a book and I would be tuning in every week.

  15. DL says:

    I thought this episode was hysterical. All the goofy, weird shtick was something I actually loved. The part where they circled each other with Winston wearing hoodie-pants had me cracking up.

  16. M.N. says:

    I went into it figuring the episode was going to be a lot of set-up and not a lot of pay-off, and with that mindset, I thought it was great. Plenty of laugh out loud moments (Winston), still plenty of typical NG cringeworthy moments (Winston/Cece). Having Nick and Jess together without turning it into the Nick & Jess Show will keep the writers’ hands full – hopefully they’re up to the challenge! So far, so good.

  17. rp says:

    I thought the scenes with Schmidt and Winston seemed like they were dragged on a little long, but other than that I thought it was a solid start to the season. There was a lot of setup here, and I’m guessing the whole point was that NONE of them quite know how to react to all of this new information. There’s always going to be a “transition” episode here or there as they try to set up new story arcs, and I think the writers have a very clear idea of where they are taking all of them this season. Not my favorite episode, but after a 4 month hiatus, I think we all had our expectations set high.

  18. Katie says:

    Not sure what show you were watching, My husband and I laughed consistently through out the half hour. I thought Winston with his puzzle was hilarious.

    • Jen says:

      We laughed through most of it too. I liked it.

    • Sarah says:

      Agreed. I was surprised so many critics found the episode off putting. I laughed pretty much throughout the entire episode. My only complaint was the editing was kind of weird (a little choppy, some scenes went on longer than they should have) and it wasn’t their best episode, sure, but still hilarious. Glad it’s back!

    • james says:

      Totally agree. I actually laughed more than I usually do.

  19. Shoukichi says:

    Was Winston odd, perhaps more so than ever? Perhaps, but to me, Lamorne Morris can do no wrong at this point. He makes me laugh out loud consistently.

    This wasn’t my favorite episode, but it wasn’t bad. It was funny, sweet, and pretty much what I’ve come to expect from New Girl, but nothing dramatically different in tone or style than every other episode since half way through season 1.

  20. Kristina says:

    It wasn’t the best episode the show has done, but I thought integrating Nick and Jess’s relationship into the show was handled well. And the show is always a little manic; I thought is was pretty funny. I really don’t see how the scene with CeCe ruined anything about Winston; obviously this situation is going to come to a head soon and this won’t be an issue anymore.

  21. Boiler says:

    I thought the episode was very funny with great lines. Normally I agree with you Matt but not this time

  22. anna says:

    This is a show with perhaps the best comedy writing team on television. Please stop expecting it to try too hard to impress you. Let it be funny when it’s funny, and let it be truly heartfelt when the story calls for it. I think you’re taking it too seriously and it’s clouding your ability to see it for just an amazing comedy with incredibly talented actors who can make you laugh one minute and cry the next.

  23. Badpenny says:

    It felt off to me as well. The Nick/Jess stuff was fine but the Schmidt stuff was too under-developed and Winston, well, it really seems like the writers have no clue how to use this character, now going into 3 seasons. And, as happens far too often, Cece is left to a cameo. Heck, even when Fox set out ad tweets they leave out Cece/Hannah.
    .
    I understand there’s only so much you can do in 20 minutes but making radical alterations to a character is just stupid. You think no one would have noticed in the last 40 years that Winston saw brown grass and brown leaves and whatnot? A very stupid subplot.
    .
    I’ll still happily keep watching but this was probably closer to the one of the worst 10 episodes rather then best 10, IMO.

  24. vanessa says:

    i agree. if there’s one thing that has always left me disappointed about this show is the fact that they don’t seem to know what to do with Winston. Lamorne Morris is hilarious anyway, but I wish he’d have more interesting storylines, storylines that expand over more than one episode. So far I’m afraid he’s just a random character they needed to have to balance the group of friends, and to have a black actor in the cast for diversity (made more noticeable by the fact that winston comes in to “fill in” for coach, who is was also black). i still have hope that they’ll make better use of lamorne’s comedic skills and make him a more relevant character.

  25. oldmom says:

    I was disappointed. I love the characters but the Mexico stuff was over the top and the Schmidt and Winston stuff was too long and forced. Don’t know if the writer(s) of the season finale wrote this but there was a big drop in quality. But I am still All In.

  26. Lecholls says:

    I thought it was very funny. I laughed hard, especially at Winston. And I love these characters, so I had high hopes. This wasn’t the best New Girl episode ever, but it was a premiere with a lot of exposition packed into twenty minutes. After a long hiatus, expectations are high, and the second half of season two was so good that the premiere would almost certainly feel like a letdown. I think getting back to the loft next week will bring the show back to the level everyone now expects of New Girl.

  27. I thought it was a bit off too, but I think it was more like the writers not knowing where to go after the season finale. I think they should have started somewhere down the line after Nick and Jess were together and after Schmidt made his decision–we could have had awkward flashbacks of him breaking up with someone, preferably Elizabeth since he spent all of last season wanting to be with CeeCee.

  28. Julia says:

    I agree, the Season 3 premiere was a little off. I’ll still watch the whole thing and hope it was just a rough start.

  29. Heather says:

    The color blind bit bothered me as well. Are color blind people this way from birth? If so, they would learn the names of colors differently. Even though green looks brown, when learning the names of colors it would still be called green. Therefore even though Kermit looks differently to a color blind person, they would still label that color as “green”.

    My rant for the day.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      It’s not always like that. I know “colors,” but can have trouble telling blue from purple, brown from green, in certain situations. The biggest leap here is that Winston’s issue would only now become evident to him/friends. Even my young sons know Dad’s “problem,” LOL.

  30. James D says:

    I see matt’s point about Winston’s weirdness being out of place, with that said i still laughed pretty hard at that scene and Lamorne scenes in general, What i really like about this show is it doesn’t try to hide its awkwardness or wierdness. Nick and Jess were very awkward which some might perseve as off but in my opinion its what pushes this show above other sitcoms, that and it consistently makes me lol. i really liked the episode and am looking forward to see where things go. in my mind its the best sitcom on tv.

  31. And here I thought I was tired and just not “in the mood” for New Girl. Hopefully, they will get back on track next week because I love this show.

  32. Clamke says:

    I didn’t like how Jess was “yoko’ing” the friends so much. It was like she was suddenly nicks girlfriend and had no idea go the other two were, it’s like hello ur all friends! Horrible

  33. Steven says:

    I really love this episode! I was laughing all the time. Nick and Jess are the best!

  34. asniech says:

    I enjoyed it. I laughed a lot, especially with the puzzle fight. I always laugh a lot during this show, more than any other. It wasn’t the best New Girl episode ever, but still good.

  35. KSM says:

    I thought it was good. Not the best, not t he worst, but still enough funny moments to keep me all in. I kind of felt that they were making it feel off on purpose – Schmidt and Winston aren’t supposed to be best friends, so trying to make them be would make it weird. I think it just helped create the point that all four of them are in it together. I can’t wait to see what they do with Coach when he comes back.

  36. Sarah says:

    I am not a fan of Jess & Nick together, yet I still think the show is charming all around — but this episode? Not so much. I will definitely give it a few more episodes this season, but if Jess & Nick remain such a focus and so shrill, I will leave watching it to viewers who appreciate it more than I. I certainly do not understand watching a program that you do not enjoy over the long-term (which is different than just giving it some time to see where a show goes in terms of character development & tone), only to complain about it! I plan just to wait & see…

  37. Magali says:

    I thought Winston’s sexy puzzling time was the funniest thing on the show last night!

  38. Alex C says:

    Episode was Ok. May have not was the best but I will give it a pass and look forward to the next

  39. Jack says:

    Schmidt would have never debated which chick to chose. we have been led to believe he adores cece. no way he would want Elizabeth. blah

  40. ggny says:

    It isnt Breaking Bad or Mad Men stop over thinking a quirky sitcom and watch the dam thing

  41. Lana says:

    I’m not sure why I’m still watching this. In most cases I find it more annoying than funny.

  42. Amelia says:

    They do need to give Winston more of a story he is the Michelle Tanner of New Girl.

  43. Jen says:

    I’m not positive, but I feel like they’ve mentioned his color blindness before. It didn’t seem that out of the blue for me.

  44. Bronwyn says:

    I really like Winston. And it would be nice if he got something a little less goofy on occasion, though I like his goofiness too. I enjoyed the Jess and Nick stuff but found the Schmidt and CeCe and Elizabeth triangle predictable and tedious. And I love Schmidt but all I can foresee is they’re gonna find out and then he’ll lose both of them. To be honest, I would like him to choose CeCe. They’ve been toying with them for two seasons and made me root for them and now they have a new girl in the running? It’s a bit frustrating.

  45. mandy says:

    I agree with those who think you are over-thinking. Seriously. This show has always been a little awkward and uneven at times. But when it hits, it hits big. It’s not a cleverly written sitcom; it doesn’t go for the laugh track. it’s one where the actors make the show. And maybe they bring their own quirks and ideas to the screen.
    I enjoy New Girl in the same way I enjoyed The Office. Hit and miss, but mostly hit. And with an incredible fondness for the characters.

  46. XK says:

    I thought it was funny. Not the best episode, but still silly and over-the-top, and entertaining, which is par for the course.

  47. Sarah says:

    I loved it. And really I was just glad it was back. Nick and Jess are so cute, and I liked how they set up at least part of the season as them finding a way to work as roommates and WITH Schmidt and Winston (“We don’t work without them, Nick.”) And I thought Winston and Schmidt circling each other (with Winston’s hoodie pants) was hysterical. Also when Schmidt was yelling at Winston about the corner piece of the puzzle, I thought I might choke from laughing so hard.

  48. Sandra says:

    I’m really happy to have New Girl back, but I agree that the episode’s vibe was a little off. It just wasn’t the strongest episode. It didn’t have me laughing out loud like it usually does and the interactions were a bit weird to me. But I have faith that it’ll all be adjusted as the season progresses. Really excited about Damon Wayans Jr.s arc!

  49. Nicole says:

    I don’t know what they’re problem is with this episode. I thought it was pretty funny. One of the best parts was Schmidt and Winston’s bit with Cece, it wasn’t what they were telling her that made it so funny its what they were doing with each other that made it so funny. The last scene at the door was so awkward it was hilarious.

  50. J says:

    I’m ALL IN!

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