I know that many of us are just getting over that stupidly disappointing season finale of New Girl (and, you know, a lot of the episodes that came before it), and I hate to continue to beat the decomposing horse that show has become, but there’s still one issue I just can’t let go of. No, not the tiresome will they/won’t they of Nick and Jess, and not the fact that we’re supposed to still find Schmidt charming after he cheated on both Cece AND Elizabeth. Not even the fact that the two female “best friends” barely even talk to each other anymore. No, I’d like to talk about the Winston Problem.
Poor Winston. After three full seasons, the writers still have no idea what to do with him. He’s like this piece of furniture sitting around the loft, and sometimes they’ll try to try out some new decorative plot-pillows on him or change up his character upholstery, but it never works. Instead of actual character development, he’ll just get some weird quirk that keeps him busy for an episode, and on the rare occasion that he does get an actual storyline, it’s almost always completely separate from the rest of the group. A lot of people really love Winston as a character, while others (*hand raise*) see him as a waste of valuable loft space. Whatever your feelings on him, there’s no denying… he’s one weird guy.
So let’s go over some of Winston’s “storylines,” and see if we can’t find a better path to set him on. Here are a select few, from least sensical to almost working.
This is the most substantial character development they’ve tried to fit Winston with. But it’s bound to distance him from the rest of the group even more than he already is. I foresee a lot of episodes with group plot lines, and Winston off doing cop stuff. Probably of the bumbling variety.
His romantic interests
As Nick and Schmidt discussed earlier this season, Winston “just naturally takes the sexual tension out of a room.” So his romantic interests have never been very, well, interesting (with one major exception). A whole episode devoted to trying to find a condom? You’re better than that, Bishop. (Or maybe you’re not.)
Winston vs. His Radio Boss
You (meaning I) may not have found these episodes very interesting, but at least Winston has actual goals and conflict. Plus, Kareem Abdul Jabbar was there.
His super freaky relationship with Bertie
The writers really upped Winston’s weird factor when they paired him with Bertie, with their mutual cat-centric erotic fascination.
Winston the Nanny
I LOVED this story line. He may still have been totally removed from the rest of the group, but the conversations he had with this weird little kid were the closest thing real character development that we’ve seen for Winston. So naturally, it only lasted a few episodes.
Winston’s great loves
Winston has had a lot of passions: puzzles, bubbles, badgers, Wicked, exploring space and time. Most of them are highly entertaining, but only substantial enough to keep him busy for a single episode. Except for…
His love of, and ineptitude for, pranks
Winston loves pranks. However, they usually end up with people getting hit with skis or shooting bears full of hepatitis C. They’ve managed to stretch this into a few episodes, and it always at least serves to bring him into the main storyline.
And finally, the #1 Winston plot line:
Winston’s love of his Ferguson has become his defining characteristic. Because if the writers can’t find him a meaningful character arc, they can at least give him a cat.