If you haven’t checked into New Girl since its creative slide post-season 3, and you’re wondering what those crazy cats are up to these days, here’s a check-in, courtesy of the seventh season premiere of the series last night (really? It’s been 7 years? Somehow, it feels like there’s no way it’s been on that long, and yet also, that it’s been on way too long).
The action jumps ahead three years from last we saw them, and things are different.
Schmidt and Cece are happily married, and they have a three-year-old daughter, Ruth (after Ruth Bader Ginsberg). Schmidt is a hard-core, Type-A stay-at-home Dad, and the season premiere is set at his daughter’s elaborate, feminist-themed birthday party. Cece appears to run a modeling agency. Schmidt also has a terrible mustache. Nick hates the mustache. It’s the C-subplot.
Winston and Ally are also still together, and Ally is seven months pregnant. Ally hates being pregnant. That’s the B-storyline.
Jess and Nick are together, and they have been for the last three years. They have returned from a European trip because Nick is now a successful author. They are not engaged, however, which appears to the subject of this entire season. Jess’s father (Rob Reiner) has given Nick one-month to propose or else he will withdraw his blessing.
Meanwhile, Jess lies to Russell (Dermot Mulroney) — who has been married and divorced since Nick and Jess got together — and says she is engaged when they are not engaged, but Nick plans to propose but then decides against it because the timing isn’t right. Also, Russell offered Jess a job running a non-profit education program. That’s the A-storyline.
It’s a different show now, but it’s also the same show. It’s no longer about four single people living in an apartment together. It’s now about three different couples living in separate homes — who also seem to hang out at Jess and Nick’s loft a lot — and also parenting, and pregnancy, and engagement.
But, it’s also the same sense of humor; the same daffy situations; and the same hit-and-miss jokes. Nick and Schmidt are still the show’s best couple, followed by Nick and Winston; Schmidt and Winston; Schmidt and Cece; Winston and Ally; Schmidt and his daughter; and finally, Nick and Jess. They’re not as fun together, and they’re not as fun apart.
It’s fine. It’s New Girl: Once great characters that have become caricatures of themselves, but they are likable caricatures, and it’s a comfortable show to watch, and there are no Trump supporters (and even Romney-supporting Schmidt is a super feminist stay-at-home-dad), and no one throws Black-ish under the bus.
Also, the episode ended with this song — a hit by the band Sheriff that didn’t chart until 1989, six years after the band separated. It was also in Goon. If you didn’t grow up in the ’80s, there is absolutely no reason to know this song.