New Girl Season 2, Episode 1 & 2 Review: “Re-Launch/Katie”
New Girl is at it’s best when it’s odd. The show has a simple concept, three guys and a girl living in an LA apartment. It’s all about characters…the 3 1/2 characters. Before I get into the events of the new season, I think it’s worth discussing the show’s only glaring issue, Winston. If you watched the pilot of New Girl, you know that there was a character named Coach on the show, played by Damon Wayans Jr. He probably did the New Girl pilot because like everyone in the world he thought his other show, Happy Endings, would get cancelled. It didn’t and so they very quickly replaced Coach with Winston, played by Lamorne Morris. This wasn’t a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air situation when Aunt Viv just looked different one day, they gave Lamorne his own character and acknowledge that Coach left. The problem is that, throughout Season 1, Winston is playing second fiddle to Jess, Nick, and Schmidt. He has his own storylines but he’s feels like less of a personality than the other three. Truthfully, Hannah Simone’s Cece felt like more a character than Winston. Only 2 episode into Season 2 and it’s more of the same, Winston is still in the background. Maybe I’m premature in complaining about Winston’s screen time, but it’s not a good sign when in two episode all you character does is act weird after drinking girly drinks and complain when you friend express a desire to sleep with your sister…but I digress. On to the show.In “Re-Launch”, the season opens with things taking a turn for the worst with Zooey Deschanel’s Jess . She finds herself unemployed and questioning her whole outlook on life. Being a good girl who always to looking help people has gotten her nothing so maybe it’s time for a new Jess? At the same time, the shows best character, Schmidt, is looking to begin anew. But instead of change, Schmidt is looking to re-launch his brand as he is finally out of the penis cast he was in as a result of his sexual encounter with Cece’s roommate Nadia and what he described as odd angles. He wants the world to know that Schmidt is back and ready for action.
Despite Schmidt’s often inept behavior, the re-launch party is a success up until the moment when Schmidt’s ex, Cece, whom he hasn’t spoke to in months, shows up to the party with her new boyfriend (who Schmidt’s finds to be quite ordinary). He realizes that despite breaking up with Cece, she’s the only person he really wants to impress. On the Jess front, Jess agrees to take a job as a shot girl at Schmidt’s party in hopes to turn things around for her. Despite being outshined by Parker Posey, who plays the other shot girl, Jess eventually finds her groove only to become unhappy as she confronts the realization that she is no longer a teacher.
In “Katie”, Jess looks for things to do now that she’s unemployed much to the dismay of her roommates. Her poor attempt at cooking breakfast leads to the reappearance of Schmidt’s douchebag jar, which is always fun. Nick, who is always with the advice, tells Jess that this the first time in a long time that she is without responsibility, she can do whatever she wants. Jess takes this opportunity to go wild at the bar Nick works at. Meanwhile, Winston’s family is in town and he he has to figure out how to deal with Schmidt because his mother distaste him. Schmidt, on the other hand, has decided that his goal is bed Winston’s sister, Alisha.
At the bar, Nick is confront with a man who claims to be him from the future and can’t seem to dismiss this ridiculous claim because the man seems to know a lot about him. Jess, meanwhile, is feeling filthy and tells Nick to give one his friends her number after meeting to two guys who make deliveries to the bar. She also pretends to be someone on a blind internet date named Katie when she is confronted by a handsome strange, Sam played by David Walton. Her flirtation with Sam leads to one of those amazing awkward moment the next morning that is foundation of The New Girl when Jess asks Nick and Schmidt to go along with her ruse that’s she’s Katie. But problems occur when things go well with Jess when she is Katie, because she has convinced herself that Katie’s life is better than hers, so she maybe she should just be Katie now?
Feeling her hot streak, Jess decides that she will attempt to juggle the two men, one as Jess and one as Katie. But things go wrong, as this is a sitcom. Though when Sam discovered she is actually Jess, he decides why not give it a shot with the woman he knows formerly as Katie. Back at the bar, Nick begins grill his possible older self about what his future is. Although Nick discoveries that the old man isn’t his future self, he does heed what he is told. The episode ends with Schmidt attempting to woo Alisha with a game of one on one because she says she only dates guys who can play. The sequence alludes to He Got Game with Schmidt full of swagger as preps to play her, but as it stated earlier in the episode, Alisha is a pro basketball player, and he get mightily embarrassed.
After two episode, I can say the New Girl is what it is. Strange references, good one liners, and awkward situations. The two episodes we see aren’t amazing but it’s a quality start to a new season and good re-introduction to the characters.