Since New Girl debuted on FOX three years ago, the show has produced enough buzz and garnered enough popular and critical support that the network soon attempted to build a whole night’s worth of sitcoms around this surprise hit. Last year, The Mindy Project partnered with New Girl to form a formidable duo of half-hour laughers fronted by two very well-known female personalities. This year, New Girl has a very promising lead-in — Andy Samberg’s critically praised Brooklyn Nine-Nine — and a much stronger The Mindy Project backing it up.* Needless to say, FOX has put a lot of faith in Zooey Deschanel’s little show that could. So, what exactly went down?
*I’m just going to ignore Seth MacFarlane’s insultingly unfunny Dads for the moment. Et tu, Giovani Ribisi?
When we last left the housemates, Hannah Simone’s Cece just had her shaadi ruined because Taylor Swift was secretly romancing Satya Bhabha’s Shivrang, and she was in love with Schmidt anyway. Nick and Jess finally got together and drove off in her car. Oh, and Winston got attacked by a badger. “All In” literally picks up right where we left off: with the unconvincing couple driving off in a Volvo station wagon. Nick’s still shrieky and Jess is still pulling off her cultural appropriation via a sari that matches her eyes oh-so perfectly. They both declare that they’re “all in.” Loudly. And repeatedly. Get it?? That’s the name of the episode! And then Jess asks Nick to pull over. They get in the back of the shaggin’ wagon and Nick presumably goes all in. Which couldn’t have been easy with that sari.
But, then, the question that had to be asked, and Jess is the one who asks it: “Do we just go home?”
Therein lies the issue on everyone’s minds. The proverbial “Okay, now what?” (Translated: The Ross/Rachel conundrum)
Nick and Jess stand outside their apartment door deciding what to do just long enough for Schmidt to start blowing up their cell phones. And all I could think was: who has those ringtones? Seriously. They sounded like they were straight out of 1999. Schmidt eventually opens the door, sees Nick and Jess, vomits his romantic issues on the couple and scares them away.
The B story of the episode — Schmidt’s choice between Cece and Elizabeth — gets going. Let me repeat that for you. Schmidt’s choice between Cece and Elizabeth.
Schmidt explains to Winston that he likes Cece because “I’m not just a plug with her, I’m also a socket” (!?). But he decides on Elizabeth because — I’m not kidding — she was there first. Seriously, can we please move past this storyline? Any minute now would be fine.
Anyway, the Schmidt-nanigan™ of the episode is that he somehow doesn’t have the heart to break up with either one of them, so he keeps dating both of them. I’m sure hilarity will ensue in coming episodes. Groan.
If there’s anything good that comes out of this, it’s that we still get to see Hannah Simone for a couple of scenes.
The funnier subplot is Winston’s puzzle ineptitude and his need to be naked and crooning while doing puzzles, leading to this:
“Look at this puzzle, Winston. It’s ages six and up. You’re up, Winston! You’re way up!”
Back to Nick and Jess. They escape to Mexico and somehow survive on a beach for four days wearing the same clothes they wore at Cece’s shaadi.
Four days. In Mexico. Wearing the two-piece sex sari. Ugh.
This leads to Nick and Jess going…you guessed it!…all in on trying to sneak into a nearby resort. Nick gets caught and gets thrown into a Mexican jail before threatening to make a break for it Point Break style.* At a loss for what to do, Jess goes to get Schmidt and Winston’s help.
*Just rewatched Point Break this weekend. Keanu’s acting probably made me laugh more than this entire episode.
Schmidt decides to bribe the front desk person with a small bill he can use to “send his kids to college” or “send some fun up your nose.” This leads nowhere. They trade a car to the guard in exchange for Nick. They eventually find Nick confined in one of the hotel rooms watching Ugly Betty. They realize Winston is color blind since he thinks his bright green shoes are brown. (“If those shoes are brown, what color are you?”) Jess makes some speech about how they’re family and they decide to go back to the apartment. Nick accidentally shreds his passport, though, which leads Winston to overcome his puzzle ineptitude by putting the pieces back together. Sort of. He doesn’t, but they still get across the border because a colorblind black man talked their way in.
Speaking of puzzles, there were times in the second season when New Girl was firing on all cylinders. Those times typically happened when they struck the right balance between each of the characters. When everyone just fit together nicely. Unfortunately, too often during this whole Nick-Jess thing, Schmidt and Winston have been left to get into their own hijinks. What we’re looking at may be a whole new puzzle. I’m just hoping they can make the pieces fit.
Schmidt-ism™ of the episode:
“I just looked down, I thought this girl must be wearing sneakers with shoelaces and those shoelaces must be tied together because this girl is straight trippin’ yo.”
G.B. doesn’t stand for Gareth Bale. It might stand for Graduated, Barely (from law school). After spending time in Texas and Pennsylvania, he now lives in Northern California where he makes gifs and watches a lot of TV, movies and sports.