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“New Girl”: The Crawl is for all

The loft has never felt more like a trap than this week on New Girl. Jess’s panicky reaction toward Ryan’s invitation to move in with him in “The Crawl” suggests that none of the roommates are allowed to leave their current living situation.

Of all people, Jess was the one at the appropriate stage in a relationship to leave the loft and take the next step with someone she just told she loved. She was the one who dropped the L-word first, after all, and she’s the one making him find another job because the heat from the other teachers is growing too much. This story comes out of left field because the last time we were at the school, everyone seemed peaceful toward them. Jess’s reaction is also puzzling, until you realize that New Girl has been here before.

Nick was as close as this show ever got to seeing one of the roommates leave. That was in season one, when his U-Haul was literally parked curbside of a new apartment complex to move in with Caroline. Back then, keeping him from doing it had more merit than it does now with Jess. Then, it was a way to save Nick from himself and a way to show that Jess, relatively a new roommate, had made a real connection with one of the guys. Then, it was a better episode (“See Ya”) with a better ending (Nick’s cassette tape triggering a dance party).

This time, it feels like New Girl put a leash around its own neck. These characters are at the age when they should be making decisions like the one Jess stumbles on. It’s too easy for Jess just to say “Yes,” even the Anonymous Bathroom Stall Bar Girl knows the answer. And unlike Nick’s situation, nobody is holding her back because it wouldn’t be a bad decision; in fact, moving in together to stay close to each other when Ryan finds another job is the right choice.

But when Jess finally gets on board with the idea, New Girl sends Ryan to England for a dream job as a head master of his old school. If the roommates can’t move out of the loft, how can they make any relative progress? Why does New Girl think it needs to keep its characters in the closed quarters to have a successful show?

They’re already having a tremendous fourth season. “The Crawl” was a great episode outside of Jess and Ryan’s debacle. Nick leads us on a formulated bar crawl that he’s been working on for years. There are plenty of great drunken moment with him, and with Cece who’s trying to keep up with “Miller.” The crawl introduces us to quite a few new sets, including an awesome tiki bar, which is a great expansion for the show. Cece’s rekindled feelings for Schmidt are starting to come out, when Schmidt and his councilwoman girlfriend get seriously official. Plus, Coach finds his perfect match, a beautiful woman named May, completing what is a satisfying and full episode.

I knew one of two things was going to happen in “The Crawl,” either Ryan and Jess were breaking up or he was moving away because it was well-advertised on social media that this would be Ryan’s last episode. He’s moving, but they didn’t break up. It’s only a matter of time, though. The long distance won’t work and Jess will be single again. This was going so well, I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

My favorite thing: Winston pulls the 2 six-packs out of his backpack at the end of the episode and as the screen fades to black, Coach compares him to Mary Poppins.


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