' ' Cinema Romantico: New Girl: Wedding

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New Girl: Wedding

You know, it's funny. I'm going to a wedding this Saturday. Weddings are so fantastic because they somehow become these pockets of time unto themselves where everyone is happy and dressed to kill and there are refreshments and merriment and great music (so long as you have a great DJ) and you inevitably catch yourself looking around at a moment when you're sitting down catching your breath and thinking, "Why isn't life always like this?" And then you remember, "Oh. Right. I'm wearing my rose-colored glasses right now."

The third episode of "New Girl" revolves around that old standby, a wedding. (Note: On the way to the Nebraska/Wisconsin game this past Saturday my friend Matt forced me to watch the pilot episode of NBC's "Whitney" on his phone to prove to me just how awful it was, an episode that revolved around......a wedding. And believe it or don't, but "New Girl's" version, while 3,343 x worse than "Parks and Recreation's" Andy/April wedding episode last year, was 2,772 x better than "Whitney's" version of a wedding. Whitney Cummings isn't mercurial. She's just shrill.) Nick's ex, The Waitress (i.e. Caroline), will be at the wedding and, thus, Nick and Coach and Schmidt enlist Jess to masquerade as Nick's date. One caveat: Jess can't be herself. No mercurial dresses, no nicknames, no chicken dancing, no - as the saying is now going with Zooey - adorkableness. Which is why it's supposed to be funny when 7 seconds after slipping into a fairly stunning dress Jess puts in buck teeth. Sigh.  (Though I did totally dig Jess's biker shorts under the dress, a gag which lacked a proper payoff.)

So at the wedding all three guys are set up with their own storylines: Nick will eventually re-gravitate to The Waitress (i.e. Caroline) and then find out she has a boyfriend and then get sloppy drunk, Schmidt will find himself smitten with a former crush who is now sober while fighting off the advances of his wedding-only sex buddy (Natasha Lyonne, who I remember having a little bit of a crush on back in the days of "American Pie" and "Slums Of Beverly Hills" and who has now apparently turned into - forgive me, dear readers - Shaquille O'Neal in the off season) and Coach finds himself in competition with a cocky kid usher. The show's aim with these multiple storylines is admirable and, I think, more of an attempt to give them all personality (as opposed to archetypes) but they still haven't come anywhere close to figuring out how to incorporate this many angles into a 20 minute run time. The pace has gotta pick up or else they'll feel slack and unresolved. Like they do here. Coach's, in particular, is barely followed through with in any capacity whatsoever. Did they run out of time or did they have no idea where to take it?

(Parenthetical Tangent: "New Girl" also seems determined to end every single episode with all four putting aside their minor squabbles and coming together as one unified quartet in some sort of ridiculous but sweet manner. Seriously, this is how all three episodes have ended. It's like the way "Scrubs" always used to end with the "lesson".)

If anything, watching "New Girl" has honed my appreciation for a show like the majestic "Arrested Development" which continually managed to work in something like 22 storylines every single episode and still have plenty of time for witty lines and brilliant sight gags and both poignancy and poignant absurdity and just plain absurdity. Poor "New Girl" can't even remember they had a cocky kid usher for more than 14 minutes before he's already been unwittingly tossed on the scrap pile.

Yet this episode, more than the other two, suggested that maybe, possibly, potentially something is there, simmering. Zooey's getting into the groove, I think. She spends a good chunk of the episode over-acting but you know what? This ain't "All The Real Girls." It's a freaking sitcom. Let it loose! I enjoy her over-acting. That's been my favorite part of all these shows. Her. The payoffs still need to hit harder and/or actually exist and that pace really needs to find the zone and they really need to figure out who in the hell these three guys are but if they can do all that......

I'm beginning to understand the life of a TV critic. Fox just picked up "New Girl" for whole the season and now we're all stuck. Those have us who have agreed to subject ourselves to every episode want it to get better and are maybe even willing to lie to ourselves to convince ourselves it's better. The TV critic for the Chicago Tribune wrote this last week: "Viewers will come to see Deschanel, but they'll stay for the whole package because smart writing, confident timing and characters that are both familiar yet surprisingly fresh make 'New Girl' the most promising comedy, and one of the most promising shows, of the season."

Last week my reaction to that sentence was, What in holy hell is that person talking about? What show are they watching? Now I'm coming around to it. The TV critic is merely watching "New Girl" with rose-colored glasses.


Castor said...

Shoot, I missed another episode. I have yet to even catch one at this point. Boo.

Nick Prigge said...

You're not missing all that much. It means well, it really does, and I'm rooting for it but.....well, you know.

Derek Armstrong said...

Nice. I'm not watching the show, but I love your recaps. This being the only one I've read so far. Hey, I have things to do.

Nick Prigge said...

I appreciate your reading even one recap if you're not watching the show. And hey, there's going to be 21 more! I said I was blogging the whole thing and I'm blogging the whole thing! So help me God!