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
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
Montage set to a catchy 60s/70s tune
Which, of course, has to include that old awkward stand-by: the couple’s massage.
The nonsensical secret shame revealed
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.
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?
This one was a gimme.
Oh no! The door is locked from the OUTSIDE!
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.