by Clio McConnell
What’s new with New Girl? The theme song has been embellished, Coach has been replaced, and Jess has developed some spunk. Despite its mediocre start, the second episode of Fox’s new comedy works some redeeming magic.
In the pilot, we meet Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel), an endearingly wide-eyed young woman who has just discovered her boyfriend cheating on her. In her fragile post-breakup state, Jess moves in with three strangers she’s found on craigslist. The new roommates are Nick, Schmidt, and Coach. Though apprehensive of living with an emotional train-wreck such as Jess, the boys eventually warm up to her.
This new episode, which aired at 9pm on Tuesday, changes the dynamic a bit. First of all, Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) has left the show due to a prior commitment. He is replaced by the permanent third roomie: Winston (Lamorne Morris). Morris elevates the comedy of the show with his ongoing battle against Schmidt to be the apartment’s “Top Dog.” Winston, Nick, and Jess have fun mocking Schmidt’s constant attempts to be cool (re: taking off his shirt, making up slang, and bragging about the myriad women he’s slept with).
Meanwhile, Jess is busy trying to get on her roommates’ good sides. Unfortunately, her adorkableness comes with a side of klutzy, much to the guys’ chagrin. While tossing around a basketball, trying to be one of the boys, Jess accidentally smashes the TV. She apologizes and promises to get a new one, but says she can’t afford it at the moment. Unwilling to live without a TV until she has the money, Nick, Schmidt, and Winston back her into a corner and force her to get the one from her ex-boyfriend’s house.
Unnerved by the prospect of talking to Spencer, Jess’ first conversation with him is unsuccessful. Though she bravely broaches the subject of taking her stuff back, Jess soon finds herself making a deal that involves driving Spencer’s new girlfriend to the airport, and she doesn’t even get the TV. When they hear about this, Jess’ roommates—and her model best friend, Cece—are even more adamant that she reprimand Spencer and demand that he return her belongings. Finally Jess gets up the courage to retrieve her things, and with a collective effort, Jess’ friends restore her TV and her self-confidence, all while wearing very silly hats.
This newly self-assured Jess will provide for even more amusing roommate interactions and witty banter. If the improvement between the first and second episodes is anything to go by, New Girl’s first season should be quite entertaining.
Clio McConnell is a contributing writer. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.