Review: 'New Girl' - 'Menzies': I get knocked down, but I get back up again

It's that time of the month for Jess, while Carla Gugino seduces Schmidt

<p>On &quot;New Girl,&quot;&nbsp;Nick (Jake Johnson)&nbsp;tries to help Jess (Zooey Deschanel)&nbsp;through a tough time.</p>

On "New Girl," Nick (Jake Johnson) tries to help Jess (Zooey Deschanel) through a tough time.

Credit: FOX

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I feel like I want to murder someone and also I want soft pretzels...

PMS and other period-related humor is a really dicey subject, and one that often leads to lazy humor of the "Women be crazy, amiright fellas?" variety. But "Menzies" worked in part because Jess' PMS-driven behavior was tied in with the shame spiral she's been in all season. She's been in a dark place already, and this is just making it worse. On top of that, the various jokes — and the way the roommates reacted to her situation (Nick losing his temporary cool, for instance, when Jess said "it feels like a fat man sitting on my uterus") — felt very specific to these characters, rather than the usual hackiness sitcoms tend to apply to this subject. Winston faking sympathy PMS as a way to mask his post-breakup depression was goofy, but falls into the increasingly broad category of things the show does because Lamorne Morris will make it funny.

Speaking of which, the episode's highlight, unsurprisingly, was Nick opening up to silent Tran on the park bench. Put Jake Johnson in a situation and let him riff, and laughter will virtually always come. The only disappointment with that subplot was that Tran was still there at the pool when Nick brought Jess and Winston to the place, since at a certain point he would have just asked the old man to do the baby cradling thing since Nick himself was so inept at it.

As a Carla Gugino fan of long standing, I'm pleased to have her on this show for a little while, though this episode mainly felt like set-up for whatever kinky things these two will do together now that Schmidt is trying to move on from Cece. Still, what little we heard of the sex non-disclosure agreement (including "possible exposure to lead paint" and "guaranteed mercury poisoning") was amusing as a starter.

And much like "Black Betty" will always work as dramatic entrance or exit music, "Jump Around" will always work for any scene of characters who really like each other celebrating something like getting the gas turned back on, winning your high school baseball championship, etc.

What did everybody else think?

Alan-sepinwall-sm
Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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