New Girl: Schmidt leases a store front

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Yeah, I haven’t written about “New Girl” in three weeks, but there wasn’t much to write about. Last time we met for coffee, Abby Day invaded the loft and met Nick. A lot has happened since then. In “Sister II,” Abby was a runt and spent the day with Nick, while Jess frantically sought out an apartment in which she could live. The next episode was called “Sister III,” I’m not even kidding. The episode titles were as dry their content in recent weeks.

“Sister III,” which was Abby’s last, turned out to be the best of this stretch of weeks because it took a realistic look at how sisters compete with each other. Abby claimed Schmidt as her new stuffed animal and they moved rapidly. Jess experienced the domino effect — one teaspoon jealousy, one teaspoon competitive spirit. So what’d she do? She tried moving in with Nick.

I know what you’re thinking… and yes, Nick and Jess already live together. This naive approach not only mocked a real milestone in serious relationships, it made me think “New Girl” will never mature enough to actually put Nick and Jess together, in their own place. Earlier this season, I suggested this story jump, but I never considered that the show’s creators would take such a laughable approach to it. Worse, when Nick and Jess moved into the same room, they hated each other.

This week’s episode was at least an attempt to get away from the same old boring nonsense the gang has been up to lately. Namely, it pinned Coach and Jess together. If you remember, “New Girl” has tried this before. Then, it was a hilarious situation when Jess pretended to know what sports were. Now, it took a more serious life approach. Jess got Coach a job, then fired him. The story seemed very unbalanced, but I couldn’t get my mind past Jess getting the vice principal job. The principal literally handed it to her — the paperwork, that is. Where’s the realism in that?

It’s sad what is happening to this show. The pre-Holiday break “New Girl” was pretty rough, focusing so much attention on Nick and Jess’ relationship. It made huge strides and showed promise, until Abby showed up. Still, the same problems from the beginning of season three remain today; in fact, they’re even more obvious. Nick does even less than he used to. The lazy Nick we knew and loved has turned into a blob of whatever — to no fault of his own. Jake Johnson is still the best thing this show has going for it and his stint as Schmidt’s lawyer this week was funny and refreshing. It’s nice to see him out of the apartment, doing something.

“New Girl” pulled Winston away from Coach. Winston was suffocating in what started out as a heady way to bring him more stories. I still don’t know what to think of Coach. Cece is all but erased from this show. This week she decided it would be OK to date a 20-year-old Australian. Have fun with that, Hannah Simone. Meanwhile, Schmidt, who flourished in pursuit of Cece and grew in his role as her boyfriend. Although he finally moved back to the loft, many of his dialogue has been shrunk in the laundry — down to punch lines, that actually still work every once in a while. I’m glad he wasn’t attached to Abby for an extended period of time.

Here’s hoping this show hits the reset button and remembers the things that made it great. It’s almost unwatchable now, but I hold out hope and write this post because I want to believe it’ll make a comeback. Hopefully it’s sooner, rather than later.

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