Season finale review: 'New Girl' - 'Cruise': In the summertime
A quick review of the "New Girl" season finale coming up just as soon as we ban nautical puns...
I didn't review the last few episodes because I was running out of different ways to express the same lukewarm feelings about this scattered third season. "New Girl" is a show that seems to be fundamentally uneven, but in previous seasons that meant some extreme highs to go right alongside the stuff that didn't work. Season 3 was slightly more balanced, but mainly because the lows weren't quite as low (even in the mess that was the first part of the season, for instance, I enjoyed Crazy Winston), while the highs weren't as high, nor as frequent. I like all these characters, I like the show's weird voice, and I'd like to think that with some time off to regroup from both the end of the failed Nick/Jess experiment(*) and the permanent addition of Coach to the cast (Damon Wayans Jr. will be a cast regular next season), the show can find the sweet spot more often than it did this season.
(*) As I've said in the past, I think they could have worked as an interesting comic couple, but it was clear the creative team wasn't feeling it.
As for "Cruise," which was Liz Meriwether's directorial debut, it felt a lot like the season it was concluding: a bunch of half-formed ideas colliding with one another, Jess and Nick continuing to navigate the awkwardness of life after their romantic implosion, and Schmidt finding yet another reason to postpone his inevitable attempt to win back Cece. Parts of it were funny, like Jess and Nick trying to be super cool while doing all the couples activities together, or Schmidt going full Ron Burgundy with his "sweet mother of sea dragon!" exclamation when Winston knocked the ring into the water. But almost all of it felt like it needed to be tighter and more focused than it was, and I found myself wishing the bulk of the episode had just been the six of them locked in the stateroom together, with maybe a minute or two of build up to that, and then the coda where Jess orders Nick to move into Schmidt's bedroom.
When all of its many parts are moving in harmony, "New Girl" can be the best comedy on television. We've seen that. But it doesn't take much to move the whole show out of alignment, and that's what we got for most of season 3. Hoping for better in the fall.
What did everybody else think?