by Clio McConnell
The bad news: Julia’s back, so there’s no development of the Nick/Jess romance—here’s hoping the writers will throw us a bone when the season finale rolls around.
The good news: our second favorite potential-couple lots of screen time, so gear up for a whirlwind of sassy Schmidt-and-Cece repartee.
And then, there’s the really good news: Ryan Kwanten guest stars. That’s right, the Aussie hottie from “True Blood” saunters onto the set of “New Girl” as the lucky winner of a one-night stand with our girl Jess.
After all, this Valentine’s Day is the first one Jess has spent without a boyfriend in six years, and she’s determined to cure her loneliness with some meaningless sex. She heads to the bar with Schmidt and Cece, on a quest for a man with whom she can have no emotional connection. Jess hits the proverbial jackpot with Oliver (Kwanten), who is both incredibly attractive and incredibly boring.
Jess and Oliver bond over lunch—no, they don’t go on a lunch date; instead, they have a discussion about the importance of that second meal of the day. Without much finagling—and only a little favor from temporary-chauffer Schmidt—Jess is planted on Oliver’s shabby couch, well on her way to the desired one night stand.
Meanwhile, Nick goes to collect Julia for their über-romantic dinner date, only to find that she’s working late. He waits, palling around with her intern, Cliff (Clark Duke, “Hot Tub Time Machine”), and regaling the kid with inspirational tales of his stint as a law student, and the debauchery that followed.
Winston, who has fallen by the wayside yet again—really, the writers need to incorporate more roommate bonding time, because the chemistry of those four actors is what brings on the laughs—inadvertently walks into a ladies’ night with his current squeeze and her two friends.
As far as Valentine’s Day episodes go, this week’s “New Girl” was maybe an eight out of ten. The writing is consistently funny, and the characters are endearing, but I’m beginning to think that the creators have forgotten about the show’s premise.
The earlier formula was a good one: begin with three silly, insecure guys; add one very silly, very insecure, and very cute girl; add sporadic musical accompaniment and Douchebag Jar; hilarity will ensue. Remember those good old days?
Lately, we seem to have four only-slightly-related storylines running in different directions, and the roomies barely get to interact at all. True, Jess isn’t really the new girl anymore, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still watching “New Girl.”
Clio McConnell is the Theater/Books editor. Email her at email@example.com.