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Who Told 'New Girl' Tired Clichés Were an Acceptable Replacement For Actual Substance?

By Vivian Kane | TV Reviews | May 7, 2014 | Comments ()


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Listen New Girl, I’m going to preface all of this by reminding you that I only push you because I care about you, because I see your potential. So when I see you squandering that, it makes me want to cry right into your quirky, fluffy bangs.

New Girl has had a rocky road to travel, to be sure. They started weak, they found their footing, then lost their footing, now they just seem to be floundering… footless. Elizabeth Meriwether has said she and the other writers don’t really know where the show is going, and it’s becoming obvious. Last night’s season finale, of a show that has a history of fantastic finales, wrapped up an already meandering season not with a bang, but with a tepid dribble of will they/won’t they.

New Girl is definitely lost right now, and what do healthy adults (and TV shows) do when they’re having problems? They run away! In the finale, Nick and Jess force everyone to go on a cruise that they booked back when they were a couple, so as to diffuse any potential romance. I appreciate that they didn’t try to hide this exposition in any kind of story, they just laid it all out in the first minute or so. In fact, if they’d taken it one or two steps further, the episode could have been a great farce. As it was, though, they just proceeded to replace plot and character development with heavily contrived tropes more reminiscent of a 90s laugh-tracked sitcom than of the odd, wonderful show this had become.

Here are some of the clichés that filled the New Girl seas last night. I would say there are spoilers ahead, but can you have spoilers when nothing happens in an episode?

The destination setting
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Modern Family seems to be taking a big vacation every other episode now, in an attempt to shake things up. Is it working? No, it is not. Still, there is the hope that maybe if we put all our characters in a beautiful or wacky setting, everything else will fall into place.

The eccentric cameos
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Montage set to a catchy 60s/70s tune
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Which, of course, has to include that old awkward stand-by: the couple’s massage.
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The nonsensical secret shame revealed
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Don’t know what to do with a character for an episode? Give them a weird phobia! But we’ve never seen that before, you say? Wouldn’t that be strange? It’s a secret phobia! That should keep Coach busy while everyone else has real plot lines. (And by everyone, I obviously mean Nick, Jess, and Schmidt. Winston’s plot line seemed to be wearing a fishing vest and trying out his new delightful catchphrase, “Shame, shame, I know your name.”)

The grand gesture.
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After hiring a violinist to serenade Cece, Schmidt then gives up FOR NO REASON. Because Cece says she has bad luck with guys, that means the best thing for Schmidt to do is stand by and watch her pursue a 20 year old? Yeah, that’s going to end well for everyone, obviously.

The will they/won’t they?
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This one was a gimme.

Oh no! The door is locked from the OUTSIDE!
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Alright, this one may be the most worn out sitcom convention of them all: the stuck in a small space scenario. But the reveal of their Lord of the Flies makeshift camp after being trapped for three days was enough for me to forgive the contrivance.

Let’s hope that this hits the reset button on this show. New Girl, you have the summer to step up your game.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • ASFan

    I've only ever watched two episodes of New Girl: the Super Bowl one and the Jess/Nick break-up one, both to get to Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes. I was pretty unimpressed by both of them. For one, I am not a fan of plot lines involving celebrities appearing as themselves giving words of wisdom to the leads in order to get them to come to a realization, as it was with Prince. And another reason I watched the Jess/Nick breakup one was because that was Alexandra Daddario's appearance. And boy, was that a waste of a guest appearance. It sounds like New Girl is becoming the half-hour version of Glee.

  • dizzylucy

    I didn't even realize it was a season finale, there was nothing that left me longing for next season.

  • aroorda

    I'm so so so so tired of the will they won't they with nick and Jess. Jess specifically has become a whiny brat since the break up (which was her fault.) Just about ready to call it. I'll give it another half a season, but Goldberg and Bob's Burgers are consistently WAY funnier than New Girl. I'm starting to get Mindy malaise for the same reason.

  • Jiffylush

    The Goldbergs is great. I first saw it as an 80s version of The Wonder Years but it is consistently very funny and very relatable to 40 year old me.

    My kids and I watch Bob's Burgers religiously, we all love it so much.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Seriously, this shit gets renewed while Happy Endings and The B in Apt 23 get the axe.

    Fuck Zooey and her Q score.

  • Would have rather watched the three-day long version of True American the gang played while locked in the room. Way more entertaining than anything that happened on the boat.

  • Dumily

    The rest of the show can go to hell as far as I'm concerned so long as they keep making Nick Miller make weird faces and say weird things under his breath.

  • Repo

    Also: NO FERGUSON.

    Hooking up Nick and Jess was a mistake they are never going to get past.

  • Guest

    I think their hook up was inevitable and great while it lasted. Breaking them up ruined the show for me.

  • Sara h

    me too! It seems like they made them split because they didn't have any other ideas for develop the plot.
    It is sad 'cos I used to really loved the show, but now is a boring caricature of itself. Especially Schmidt! I can't stand Schmidt and his annoying obsession for Cece.

  • Ruthie O

    Schmidt's obsession with Cece is even more mind boggling now that I've gone back and rewatched older episodes. The pattern is always the same: Schmidt pines, Cece submits, and then SCHMIDT BREAKS CECE'S HEART. If he loves her so much, maybe he should stop breaking up with her/cheating on her every time they are a couple? Grumble, grumble, grumble.

  • Guest

    Totes. The lazy thing to do was break them up. Both grew and became better people when they were together and keeping them together could have allowed for other characters to have more story time. You can have a strong couple in a comedy (see Brad and Jane in Happy Endings) and still get to do crazy stuff.

  • emmalita

    Brad and Jane! GAH! I miss Brad and Jane. One of my favorite all time married couples on TV.

  • Repo

    I didn't watch that show, were they the main focus? Because you are right, you can have an awesome couple (like Lily and Marshall from HIMYM) but there always supporting characters. I agree that Nick and Jess hooking up was inevitable but as soon as it happened so was the breakup.......and here we are with a show of ruined dynamics. (and for me Schmidt still hasn't bounced back from them wrecking that character when he was cheating and dating both women)

  • Guest

    Brad and Jane in Happy Endings? No but that show was great for spending time with all of the characters something New Girl fails to do. I totally agree about Schmidt & CeCe dynamic is getting old.... OLD.

  • griffimx

    I also hated that this entire episode was basically one long commercial for Zooey's Tommy Hilfiger clothing line. New Girl...I want to love you so much! *sigh

  • vivkane

    I hate to admit how well that worked on me. I was willing to buy a yacht just so I could wear all of her boating dresses.

  • lonolove

    I definitely noticed that...when I wasn't proclaiming loudly about the utter perfection of her hair. Sweet jesus...it is so good.

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