CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: NEW GIRL – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 2

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MAIN CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Your Highness)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Black Rapunzel)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

CHRISTAMS EVE EVE

GUEST CAST

Megan Fox (Transformers)

However often “Christmas Eve Eve” reminds us of the old gift-giving truism, it’s not just the thought that counts. It’s also the effort and attention to detail that accompany the thought. This year, New Girl presents us with a sweet, silly Christmas episode, full of affection and the implicit knowledge of its characters that is key to the show’s appeal, but it’s wrapped up in a package as clumsy as a gift from Nick Miller, with his “caveman wrapping skills.”

When her roommates try to talk her out of celebrating Christmas this year, Jessica Day, that immovable object of merrymaking, puts her foot down. “Christmas is not cancelled!” she insists. “Christmas gifts are how you show the people you love that you care in a very special, magical, and highly mandatory way.” Her proposed compromise of a Secret Santa gift exchange is intended to lower the stakes (and the stress) of the holiday. Instead, it raises them. Each Secret Santa gift has to be extra-special because it’s the only gift each of them will get this Christmas.

Christmas Eve Eve cleverly plays out different kinds of gift-giving anxieties and the emotional realities that underlie them. Some are simple mishaps, like Jess buying Nick a gift so perfect, he ends up buying it for himself just before the gift exchange, or Schmidt refusing Winston’s package delivery just because it’s addressed to retired Rear Admiral J. Garagareaux.

Some tensions run deeper. Schmidt is certain Winston’s gift will leave ”my Cece” disappointed; Winston gently but firmly insists that his friendship with Schmidt’s wife (“I like to think of her as our Cece”) has its own in-jokes and touchstones. Winston, who knows how to make a thought count, fashions a makeshift bean bag chair from the blandly inoffensive blanket Schmidt snatches at random from a store shelf, and the way Cece’s face lights up proves Winston right. The gift is a private joke referencing a classic Cece-and-Winston mess-around. She loves it and what it says about their friendship.

Jess’s reminder that each present is a tangible expression of love pays off as each unwrapping uncovers another moment of shared history. Schmidt sees that his friends treasure his wife as dearly as he does, and a little more weirdly. Nick’s gift proves that sometimes, the thought that counts is the image an item conjures up for the recipient. As pleased as Schmidt is with his luxurious new socks, it’s the idea of Nick “mispronouncing ‘cashmere’ in a store” that fills him with joy. In this episode, the thought behind each gift is revealing, and not always in the way the giver intends. Jess’ decision to bring Nick and Reagan together for the holiday is commendable, even self-sacrificing, but it isn’t her first impulse. She only cobbles together the plan to fly Reagan in after Nick buys himself the “cool” sunglasses she’d picked out for him. Then there’s the heartbreaking reveal that Jess’ name was left out of the Secret Santa drawing. After her frantic orchestrations and her exhortations to see each present as an expression of love, she’s left with a second-hand gift, one with no shared joke or spark of joy. It’s a nice touch that Jess’ exclusion is her own doing, not a sign of a friend’s thoughtlessness.
Their touching solution recreates and amplifies Jess’ reminiscences of her childhood Christmases. But like the set-up that artificially excludes every relationship outside the loft, this over-the-top ending doesn’t quite ring true. Nick waking Jess with a cup of cocoa, Furguson appearing with felt antlers just as Jess’ dog Frank used to, Jess turning to see “snow” falling outside her window: These moments feel magical and dreamlike, but they fit into the scale of the New Girl universe. Christmas Eve Eve doesn’t sidestep the dreamlike improbability, but escalates it with a city street filled with lights and fake snow, a pre-dawn robed choir, a Motown great appearing to sing and celebrate with these friends. All the elements of this Christmas surprise can be explained individually: Winston arranging the cruisers, Robby’s recently revealed music-industry connections. Even the confetti is set up with a shot of Nick at a shredder. It’s festive and fun and it all falls within the strictest limits of possibility.

A fun festive episode for the holidays and one to watch over Christmas.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: NEW GIRL- THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 1

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MAIN CAST
Zooey Deschanel (Your Highness)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (BLack Rapunzel)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings)

THE 23rd

GUEST CAST
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Stephen Ammell (Arrow)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Winston rolls around the apartment on the rollerskates Jess got him. Schmidt hates Christmas because everybody goes home. They’re all planning on going to his office party tonight. He dresses up like Santa and gets dirty on all his coworkers when they tell him what they want and he uses that information to undermine and manipulate them the rest of the year, in the true spirit of Christmas. Schmidt gets up and we see he’s in skates, too. He tries to tackle Winston at a slow roll. Nick, also in skates, tries to intervene, but they end up in a pile. Jess comes in, needing their help on getting a present for Paul. After only a month, she’s not sure what’s appropriate. She shows Nick the card she made for “Nerdy weird sex that works for both of us”.
On the way from the mall, Jess drives them through a neighborhood decked out with Christmas decorations. She wants to come back at night on the way from the office party to the airport, but Nick is resolved not to miss his flight for the fifth year in a row. CeCe is at work on a set in a bra and panties. Schmidt drops by with a gift. It’s a shoot for a before and after for a Bolivian diet pill. They’re interrupted by Kyle, who frenches CeCe hello. Schmidt explains he designed the perfume for her. It gets awkward. Paul and Jess exchange gifts. He got her tickets to Vienna and passes to a show. She got him an anatomically correct fuzzy heart of a 50 year old non-smoker. It beats. She wants to get him something better, but he tells her it’s fuzzy and quirky and sweet, just like her. He says he loves it several times, then hugs her and says he loves her. She pauses, then goes with “Thank you.” The gang arrives for Schmidt’s office party. They find him wearing only red boxers and dressed as “sexy Santa.”
Jess tells Nick what Paul says and he advises her to tell Paul if she doesn’t feel the same way. She tells him she’ll do it. Instead, Jess hides in the bathroom. Nick sees Paul standing alone outside and goes to talk to him. He asks if Jess talked to him and Paul says yes, so Nick reassures him that just because Jess doesn’t love him now doesn’t mean she won’t one day. Paul says she told him they might have to leave for the airport early. Nick tries to pretend he’s drunk, or joking or anything to rescue the situation, but it’s too late. Jess and CeCe hide in the bathroom. Kyle wants to go to another party. Jess thinks he’s the “living worst” and asks if he even got her anything. He didn’t. CeCe tries her Schmidt perfume, but inhales and hacks ferociously. Winston complains to someone about the rigors of having a job and office life. We see it’s a kid. Schmidt’s boss Gina comes over, it’s her son. She’s impressed he’s talking to Winston since he doesn’t usually talk to people.Schmidt sees Kyle mock CeCe for wearing the mustache Jess gave her. CeCe hears Schmidts mean coworker harassing him and tries to tell him to stand up for himself. He notices the bad smell and she tells him it’s his perfume, but he’s just glad she wore it.
Outside on the awkward balcony, Paul begs Nick to tell him what Jess says. Nick tells him that Jess said the sex was incredible but she doesn’t want to rush into anything. Jess sees them hugging and goes outside. Paul tries to cover for what they were talking about but only comes up with they both like jazz music. Nick confesses he told Paul she doesn’t love him. Jess starts yelling at him and Nick tries to leave, only to find he’s locked out on the balcony with them. Jess tries to talk to Paul gently, saying she feels overwhelmed. She says she got really badly hurt and is trying to not get hurt again. Nick’s cell phone rings and he answers, explaining that he can’t talk because he’s in a weird situation. Jess asks if they can keep going, just slow things down. Paul says he’s not sure he can. Nick pipes up, but Jess shushes him. Schmidt finds Kim in the supply room with a bunch of women and tells Kim he’s done being Santa. “Santa’s dead, I killed him!” Schmidt says. Gina’s son hears and runs screaming. Schmidt tells him she needs to start taking him seriously, so no more Sexy Easter Bunny, Cinco de Sexy or Sexy Martin Luther King Day. Kim says she can’t believe it took him five years to say so. Winston fields a call from Nick’s mom and assures her he’ll make his flight. Gina comes over, panicked that she can’t find her son. Winston helps look, sure somehow it’s Schmidt’s fault.
Back outside in awkwardtown, Paul tells Jess he can’t slow down and if she needs to then he can’t do this anymore. Jess says OK. Nick, the peanut gallery, tells Paul to consider the fact it’s Christmas. Winston interrupts looking for the kid, freeing Nick from his awkward prison by opening the patio door. Winston wanders out front and finds Alvin in an igloo. He assures him Santa isn’t dead. Alvin asks if Schmidt was just being a “d-bag”, because that’s what his mom said. Winston assures him he’ll get extra presents this year. Alvin thanks Winston, but calls him “LeBron.” Gina finds them and gives Winston her card. She says if he ever wants to hang out with Alvin again she’ll pay him a lot of money, like whatever he’s thinking, plus a lot more. The guys, Jess and CeCe drive to the airport. Nick, the driver, sees that Jess is bumming out and makes a detour. They pull into Candycane Lane, but it’s late and the lights are all off. Jess laments her bad timing. Nick goes to knock on the people’s door, shouting that there’s a girl who really wants to see the lights. Everyone joins in, shouting at all the houses to turn on the lights. One by one they all come on, in an explosion of wonderful tacky lights. Back in the car, Nick gets a call from his mom and tells her he’s going to miss his flight. He hands the call off to Winston as the lights go off.
 A really fun first Christmas for the New Girl team, The light up scene at the end was beautiful.

SANTA

David Walton (Fired Up!)
Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2)
The episode begins with Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston having some good old Christmas themed loft chats. The gang realise that evening is their last chance to have a ‘holiday hang’ before they go their separate ways before Christmas. They talk about the many parties taking place and agree to try hit them all. At the first party they attend Schmidt and Cece feel awkward and uncomfortable around each other and are not shy of admitting it. Jess freaks out when she sees Sam, who sees her at the last minute. Nicks new girlfriend Angie suggests they have sex, Nick pretends to be okay with doing it at a public place and to be as sexually adventerous as her.
Sam follows Jess to the nex party and tells her he wants her back. She says no. Nick admits to Angie that he is not like her and misuses the word stripper. She leaves the party in anger. Cece gives Schmidt a gift and is hurt when he passes it on to another woman, without even looking at it. At the third party Jess thinks about rejecting Sam. Nick tells her he believes in second chances. Angie turns up Nick apologizes and they are back together. Cece tells Schmidt what the gif was and that she gave it to him as a thank you for him loving her. Jess keeps changing lanes when driving home as she is choosing whether or not to go see Sam. The car is pulled over by a big hearted Santa looking cop, who lets the Jess go free and who the gang dub ‘black Santa’. Jess goes to the hospital to see Sam. They kiss. Schmidt tells Cece he never really gave away the gift. Nick and Angie are missing, everyone assumes they are off having sex.
Another great Xmas episode the two main relationships were the focus of the story and made it a heartwarming ending at the hospital.

CLAVADO EN UN BAR

GUEST CAST
Curtis Armstrong (Southland Tales)
Brian Posehn (The Devil’s Rejects)
In an interesting move, New Girl’s – season 3 midseason return kicked off with a bottle episode at Clyde’s Bar — hence the episode’s title “Clavado En Un Bar,” which is not only a single by Mexican rock band Maná, but literally translates into “Stuck In A Bar.” However, this installment was mainly driven by flashbacks — told in near-realtime, at that — as Jess came to the guys for advice on a big career decision that needed to be made in exactly 20 minutes — well, 19 minutes, according to Coach and his faithful stopwatch. (“I don’t watch movies. I time them.”)
Of course, the majority of this episode was a round robin of origin stories, with each guy recalling their own critical life decisions and how they ended up where they are today. For Winston, this meant recounting his days as a Latvian basketball player. While these flashbacks weren’t all that amusing, the payoff came at the end of his story, when Winston made the realization that he, in fact, had never actually made a decision in his life. I particularly laughed at Coach’s matter-of-fact observation, “You decided nothing. That story contained zero decisions.” Schmidt’s story was perhaps the most bizarre, as we learned about his whirlwind transformation from hospital candy-striper to Christmas tree salesman to marketer. This account took a few too many oddball turns to really be considered funny — more just weird for weird’s sake. This string of flashbacks was made all the more strange by a totally random cue of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and not it in a clever, anachronistic way. Coach’s flashback, meanwhile, was a bit more entertaining, if only because we learned that his birth name is Ernie.
New Girl’s 3rd run midseason return (which in actuality was probably supposed to be the midseason finale, judging by the Christmas tree subplot and bar decorations) was a strong entry in so far as shaking up the characters’ career paths.

LAXMAS

GUEST CAST
Julian Morris (Cry Wolf)
Billy Eichner (What Happens in Vegas)

LAXmas tries to let all of the show’s characters head off in different directions but finds a way to keep them together for just a little bit longer when all of their flights get delayed. Jess, who has agreed to spend Christmas in London with Ryan and his family, takes the delay as an omen of what’s to come; maybe she’ll be a giant disappointment to Ryan’s parents, even with all of the presents that she’s bought for them (which are stolen by “Reverse Santa” . And Jess isn’t alone in her hesitation to travel for the holidays. Schmidt is reluctantly heading back home to Long Island, a place he’s happy to have escaped from, while Coach can’t get over the guilt of leaving his family behind to go on a Christmas vacation all by himself. Nick and Winston, on the other hand, have an entire plan for their return to Chicago, which involves lots of beer and women. Ultimately, New Girl uses this time at the airport to re-solidify connections between the group before they leave for the holidays. Not only do we have Jess doing everything she can to convince Billy Eichner’s airline worker to book the soonest flights available for her friends (before ultimately bonding with him and scoring Nick and Winston some sweet first class seats), but we also have Schmidt and Cece’s moments in the high-class, gold members’ club before they ditch a jerky Barry Bostwick (with Schmidt embracing his Long Island identity: “New York. Long Island. Billy Joel. Nassau County. Billy Joel. Again. Goodnight Saigon”) and share sodas in the food court.It’s there, in the food court, that we get the first of two standout moments from the episode, when Cece tells Schmidt that “I really like being your friend,” a sentiment that he repeats back to her even though there’s clearly romantic tension between them. Between that exchange and Schmidt’s immediate refusal to even contemplate Bostwick’s character’s proposal , New Girl appears to be on the path of reuniting this dysfunctional couple. The other standout sequence from tonight’s New Girl may have been slightly more predictable, but it still landed for me, as Nick’s reassuring of Jess, telling her to go to England, proves yet again that this series will always come down to these two characters. Sure, the rest of the roommates and Cece join Nick outside the airport in order to fully convince Jess to fly to London and be with Ryan, but it’s Nick Miller who throws away first class and risks getting kicked off the plane entirely in order to stay on the phone with Jessica Day for just a couple minutes more. It’s a heartwarming moment that could be called cheesy if not for the steadily built connection between Nick and Jess.

LAXmas is a Christmas episode that directly references and even insults holiday favorites like Love Actually.  However, the episode’s at its best when it embraces these conventions and puts New Girl’s signature stamp on them, serving as a reminder to fans that this is a show that’s meant to make you laugh but also make you feel. New Girl’s specialty is blending wacky humor with real, genuine emotion, and it pretty much perfects that recipe in “LAXmas”

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – KEATON

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CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Yes man)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Glitch)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Image result for NEW GIRL KEATONFollowing up on Schmidt’s utter misery from these last couple of episodes, this week’s “Keaton” gave New Girl a much-needed kick in the pants for Halloween. Instead of splitting the group up into separate storylines, this episode was more or less all about Jess, Nick and Winston trying to get Schmidt out of his slump, and for the first time in a long time, each cast member pulled their own weight.
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But the highlight, of course, was the titular addition of Schmidt’s alleged pen pal, Michael Keaton. As in Batman. The idea that Schmidt’s pseudo father figure was a made-up version of his favorite actor was indeed quite funny, and made for some amusing sequences behind the scenes with Nick, Jess and Winston, who spent most of the episode hiding out in the abandoned  apartment across the hall. There were several moments that really stuck out here, including Nick’s line, “He saw the hit movie Multiplicity 25 times,” and Winston wanting to be the Robin to Nick’s Batman (“Robin’s the joke.”) — also the fact that Winston had never seen The Truman Show.
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Another standout from this episode were the college flashbacks of Nick and Schmidt. Not only were these scenes humorous in their own right, but I’m always astounded by how many early 2000s references they can cram into them. From Nick’s dialup image downloads of bikini girls and Schmidt’s bag of turkey, to their mini-slot machine coin bank and Fight Club poster, these flashbacks did not disappoint in, yet again, perfectly capturing Nick and Schmidt’s archetypal college experience.
Image result for NEW GIRL KEATONHaving Schmidt find out about the gang’s ruse before the party was a fun way to raise the stakes, especially with all of them dressed in pitch-perfect Halloween costumes. This episode ended on a high note, with Nick apologizing to Schmidt for pretending to be Michael Keaton’s online alias, MichaelKeatonPotatoes@aol.com. Also, I died laughing when Schmidt brought up the time he and Nick saw Michael Keaton, who winked at them, with Nick admitting, “Honestly, I can’t explain that one. It was just the weirdest day of my whole life.”

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – HALLOWEEN

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CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Yes man)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Glitch)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

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GUEST CAST

Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Nelson Franklin (Argo)
David Walton (Bad Moms)

Image result for NEW GIRL halloweenThe episode begins with Schmidt complaining to Nick about he’s cheap sheets. He excuses he’s crappy bought with the arrival of a high school crush, Amelia. Jess walks in wearing her haunted house costume, and invite the guys to go see her, as Nick tries to avoid, since he’s secretly afraid of haunted houses but won’t tell.  Jess visits Sam in his workplace, and struggles between start liking him and not start liking him. Even as he tries to convince her he’s not that much of a good guy, a letter from a previous patience and his own special way to treat a little kid start to make her evolve some feelings for him.
Image result for NEW GIRL halloweenBack at the apartment, Schmidt and Winston are discussing about their Halloween plans. Winston complains how he and Shelby don’t have a sex anymore, and while explaining how terrible is that situation, Schmidt let oveerflow he’s feelings for Cece, hidden deep inside. Nick walks in with his crush, Amelia, as they happily talk to each other. Talk turns into something more when she takes the first step and kisses him.
Image result for NEW GIRL halloweenAt Jess’ room, Cece argues about how Jess is starting to like Sam. She’s making a costume for Robby, who gets invited to the carnival Jess is working by Schmidt, who walks in later. Meanwhile, at Nick’s room, he and Amelia enjoy the aftermath of their first time, although Nick gets a little bothered by her way to kiss, that includes a lot of biting and lip action. Strange lip action. Nick and Jess meet in the hallway. He talks about she starting to like Sam. Amelia walks in on them and Jess and her are introduced. They are then interrupted by Amelia, who attacks Nick with her kissing. Later that night, at the carnival, Winston and Shelby meet. He appears to don’t understand what costume is she wearing. Schmidt crashes into Cece and Robby’s romantic caroussel ride. In another place, Nick and Jess talk about Amelia and he’s fear of commitment. But things only get worst for he’s side when she carves a pumpkin with how would be their family, including a dog.
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Cece outrages against Schmidt when he meddles between her and Robby again, and insists that he should go home. He wants to fight Robby, who surprisingly shows being more quick then he is. Sam arrives and surprises Jess. She feels more pressure into hiding her recent feelings for him. Jess then goes into the haunted house while Nick tries to open up in any way talking about Jess and her feelings to Sam. When he seems to don’t understand, Nick think that is about time for him to think about he’s problems, and in order to face he’s relationship problem, must face he’s fear of the haunted house first.
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It doesn’t start very well when a psychotic clown assaults him. When a worker of the haunted house also doesn’t understand what costume is Shelby wearing, Winston backs her up, starting a fight between them. He asks her why they’re not having sex, as they relationship come to an end. Nick is still exploring the haunted house, but things get off the tracks when he sucker punches Jess when she jumps up in front of him to scare him. He’s kicked off the haunted house as Sam takes care of Jess. She tells him about her feelings but he won’t go for it. He then asks if she wants him to leave and he agrees. Nick is still struggling with Amelia, and receives a slap in the face and a walking away when he tells Amelia that she just isn’t what he thought she was and she says she’s not the idea of a person, she’s an actual person.  Schmidt surrender to Cece and Robby and decide to give him his costume in order for them to have a couple’s costume. He takes he’s entire clothes off and becomes Matthew McConaughey in the movie “Magic Mike”. The episode ends with Nick getting ready to receive a payback punch of Jess. She first says she can’t do it, but when he’s guard is down, she finds the strenght to do it and finally hits him.
Image result for NEW GIRL halloweenFor a first attempt at a Halloween episode it really does shine, It has everything you would expect from New Girl, Quirky Humor with some really touching moments. Robbie was a a Ninja Turtle was really funny, and Jess looked awesome as a Zombie. all in all a great episode of a great quirky show.

 

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1,2,3 & 4

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MAIN CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (The Guild)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Big Hero 6)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (The Grinder)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Katie Cassidy (Arrow)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Justin Long (Waiting…)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars)
Dermot Multoney (The Grey)
Martin Starr (This Is The End)
Natalie Drefuss (The Originals)
Rebecca Reid (Eastern Promises)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nelson Franklin (Argo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
David Walton (Bad Moms)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Carla Gugino (Watchman)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Brenda Song (The Social Network)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Merritt Weaver (Signs)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Taye Diggs (Chicago)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Turbo)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Ben Falcone (The Boss)
Prince (Purple Rain)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Kaitlin Olson (The Heat)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Julian Morris (Hand of God)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Greta Lee (St. Vincent)
Barry Bostwick (Spin City)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Salt)
Nora Dunn (Bones)

Your desire to watch New Girl is probably predicated by Zooey Deschanel, her cutesy fringe and massive possum eyes but rest assured there is a lot more to this show than that. If you aren’t already a Zooey fan please don’t let the somewhat annoying portmanteau “Adorkable” put you off seeing this great show.In my opinion the first few episodes of the show’s run are a little weak, but as season 1 continues this show goes from strength to strength as the writers seem to be figuring out what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. If you have seen the first few episodes on TV and are not sure if this show is for you I would definitely recommend sticking with it as the characters become less cartoonish and more fleshed out. While there are lots of comedies about people in their 20s and early 30s struggling with quarter-life crises, this show find a fresh approach to these issues that both men and women of this age in particular should enjoy.

There is lots of cringe-inducing humour and the show benefits from a great deal of physical humour and sight-gags as well as nerdy rapid-fire verbal comedy (which is my favourite!). I would definitely recommend getting this show on DVD, as it is incredibly rewatchable. Not only will you quickly come to really enjoy `hanging-out’ with these characters but sometimes the jokes and quips come so quickly you will definitely pick up on jokes you missed during the first watch.

The actors are all excellent and are perfectly cast in their different roles bringing a real warmth to the relationships between the main characters. Zooey is excellent as Jess and is a really refreshing comic lead. It is great to see a quirky, laid-back female character as so often actresses in sit-coms are relegated to being the nagging girlfriend/wife or to just commenting on the funny situations the male characters get themselves in to. Not only is Jess a witty character but also her lack of tact and weirdness are frequently sources of humour, as are the gaffs of her three roommates. Schmit is the break out character of the show for me. While in the first episode he comes across as an arrogant, shallow meat-head he quickly becomes more nuanced and sensitive and in my opinion is far and away one of the funniest characters on TV.The first season of New Girl established the will-they-won’t-they pairing of Nick and Jess and the they-did-will-it-last coupling of Schmidt and CeCe, so the second season is all about raising the stakes for them. For Nick and Jess this takes the form of bad relationships keeping their minds off messing with the loft dynamic by dating a roommate. Though each has some legitimate opportunities for happiness, be it Jess’ commitment-phobic Dr. Sam or Nick’s sexually adventurous stripper girlfriend (played by Olivia Munn.) However knowing that there remains a chance they could end up together leads to frequent self-sabotage.As much as Deschannel is the star of the show, Johnson has quietly become just as integral, as Nick grows and discovers himself, with the help of his future self and a water-massaging elderly Asian gentleman (the show can get weird sometimes.)For Schmidt and CeCe, reality is far less promising, as CeCe begins to sense her biological clock is ticking, and finds herself on a course for an arranged marriage to a pleasant man who just isn’t Schmidt. Meanwhile, the one true Schmidt seeks to alleviate the impending loss of his caramel queen by running back to his one true love, Elizabeth, a girl he dated in college, when he was hundreds of pounds heavier. It sets up a troubling love triangle, as the real Schmidt is just right for Elizabeth, but the Schmidt he wants to be is a perfect match for CeCe. While there’s a grimy aspect to Schmidt keeping two women secret from each other, on the other hand, Greenfield makes it work by showing Schmidt cares about both women and is, oddly, doing it to not hurt either of them, rather than out of some sort of romantic greed. It’s an unusual situation, and one the show handles well.The focus on Schmidt and CeCe this season unleashes the show’s secret weapon, as Simone proves to be one of the most consistently funny performers in the series, popping in a look or a delivery that’s just perfect for the situation. Many of the show’s best moments this season grow out of CeCe’s on and off again connection with Schmidt, with the season’s home-stretch existing only thanks to the culture clash that grows from her arranged marriage, Part of what makes her so entertaining is how her exotic beauty gets betrayed to hilarious effect by her ability to be wonderfully silly. (The other benefit of having CeCe around is the presence of her Russian modeling pal Nadia (Rebecca Reid), who is economically hysterical, with a higher laugh to word ratio than anyone on TV.)The mix in the loft is why the show works so well, as the quartet of roomies and friends behaves realistically, no matter how offbeat the situation may be or how odd the four may sometimes get. So whether it’s Schmidt feeling old thanks to some hipsters who have imoved in and befriended Jess, the exploration of the group’s most annoying aspects (a.k.a. “pogos”) or Winston struggling with his period, they mercilessly tease each other, but have each other’s back to the end. This is never more clearly illustrated than in “Virgins,” where the crew one-up each other with their horrible tales of their first sexual experiences. The way they interact is as close to real friends as anything on TV.With the series expanding upon the world created in the first season, we get to meet more of the people in the lives of the four roommates, and those additions were rather impressive, to go with returning speicial guests, like June Diane Raphael (playing Jess’ lesbian gynocologist.) The late Dennis Farina had a great turn as Nick’s con-man father, while Margot Martindale plays his brassy mom, Nick Kroll is his dim-witted brother and Bill Burr is his Beantown cousin. Meanwhile on Jess’ side, they snagged Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis to play her feuding parents (and Reiner should become a series regular as her dad). Add in Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s brother, Carla Gugino as his sexually-aggressive boss and Brenda Song as Winston’s new lady friend, and the show managed to cultivate a fine ensemble outside of the core five, expanding and improving the series.

The natural progression of the relationships between Nick and Jess and Schmidt and CeCe, along with the changes in the world around them, made for an entertaining season that balanced silly fun with genuine emotion.
Coach’s return was a little unexpected, there was already a great ensemble, why mess with it? For those who don’t know, Coach was one of the original characters from the pilot. Wayans’s was already cast in Happy Endings, but with Happy Endings suffering in the ratings, it was expected to be cancelled, leaving Wayans’s free to find another role. It didn’t get cancelled, and New Girl even benefited with the addition of Winston. Eventually, Happy Endings was cancelled, and Coach comes back.  Coach’s return to, guess what, coaching was inspired, and his slight change in focus really benefits both him and Schmidt, as well as the show as a whole. By the end of the season, it feels like Coach has always been there!
Then there is Winston. It really is a testament to Lamorne Morris’s ability as an actor and comic that he has got so much out of character that doesn’t really have much to do. I think he’s one of the least developed characters, and with so much focus on Nick & Jess, the re-introduction of Coach and Schmidt’s all round issues, he’s left to fill out episode storylines without getting much development himself. The comic relief Winston provides is necessary to balance out the drama with the other characters, but it’s a shame so much of it is just short story arcs or lasts just a single episode. If there’s any area I’d like season 4 to develop, it’s Winston. There is just too much talent and comedy to ignore.

New Girl continues its solid track record, producing a classic relationship season without losing the fact it’s a comedy at heart. Well executed by all involved.

Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)
The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?
 Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating  that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”
That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by  Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.
For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.
Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people!
 The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.