Networks 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 Girl‘s 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.
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?
Were 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?