The Season 2 premiere of Fox’s New Girl kicked off Tuesday night with two episodes, carrying over a few threads from Season 1 and setting up the large arcs for Season 2. We couldn’t help but wonder how New Girl, continues to be new, since Jess (Zooey Deschanel) became one of the guys. We’ll recall that Nick (Jake Johnson) decided not to move out with his then girlfriend and moved back with the gang, joining Jess, marketing creep Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris). Here are some observations on how we think they’ll keep the momentum going based on the season premiere.
1. Jess’ Unemployment
Though not necessarily a new device in prime time television, Jess was delivered a big bomb in the season opener that her school made job cuts and she was given her pink slip. This sets up several new situations for Jess because she has much more free time on her hands. She’ll be on the job hunt that’s for sure–a man hunt too. She could pick up some part-time work or work her way into another school. We’ve seen already she has much more time to date and juggle men but this season looks like it’s about putting Jess in new situations.
2. A much different Jess
Juggling two guys? Okay, juggling one booty call and fighting off Bear Claw? This is a different Jess indeed. The monogamous Jess is taking a back seat and is flying by the pants. It’s not exactly Breaking Bad, but Jess’ era of unemployment looks to be liberating her, or is allowing her more free time to do arts and crafts. Either way Jess has always been unexpected, in that adorable, dorky way of hers (she has bunny ears for her phone), but something tell us she has more surprising turns coming her way. Remember, she couldn’t even say the word “penis” in the first season. Now she’s trying to have public restroom sex with a stranger.
3. A more loving Nick
The sexual tension between Nick and Jess is always going to be there, and just when you think Nick is going to make the move and tell her his feelings, the show wisely backs off. Still, it’s hard not to notice a bit more caring Nick, at least towards Jess. He was hands off when Jess played the field. He even helped her out; sure he gave her number to Bear Claw instead of Andy but it’s the thought that counts. And he never hesitated to become a leaping lord of the dance for Jess when she lied about being a dancer to Sam (David Walton). Even though Old Nick turned out to be a hoax, his advice to make Jess an old-fashioned and apologize for something he’s going to do to her in the future… it’s all a bit foreboding but sweet. Anyone’s guess on what he’ll do to Jess?
4. More douche-y Schmidt… Lots more douche-y Schmidt
Love him or loathe him, expect more and more stories about Schmidt. Greenfield did get an Emmy-nomination, so his increased role was evident in Tuesday night’s “re-branding.” This finally closed the door on his broken penis story line–thankfully. No more painful erection stories, gross penis cast, or undercarriage jokes from here on out. Now, he’s still douchey, extra-douchey in fact. The writers are walking on a high wire, teetering on what’s sufficient and what’s over-Schmidt-saturation. They never passed that threshold very much last season but they were dangerously close on the season premiere. Schmidt’s under-the-breath “Obama!” was absolutely brilliant–though not original–and remains a joke that works in the comedy world when done right.
5. Less Cece
What we’ll miss most moving forward is the lack of Cece (Hannah Simone). Her secret romance with Schmidt was the best part about Season 1 and seeing her in a diminished role, to revert back to Jess’ friend on-call, is not something we’re looking forward to looking ahead. It’s going to take some getting used to and while we don’t think this is a good change, we’ll have to give it some room to breathe andsee what comes of it. Cece’s new “good guy” shows that Schmidt did change her for the better, but we’re not so sure he’s an interesting character, especially if he remains outside the circle. Hopefully Jess’ free time involves more time spent with Cece and we can see her in some new situations and slip into her selfish self, at least once in a while.
6. Family Affair
We were introduced to Winston’s sister (Keenyah Hill) and mother (Anna Maria Horsford) yesterday, both affiliated with the WNBA. But what was creepier was Schmidt trying to put on the aggressive moves in front of Winston, his sister’s teammates and mother. *shudder* “The loft just became Big Momma’s House!” Yeah, Schmidt really did say that. Family appears to be a theme New Girl is looking to explore in Season 2. As long as it keeps putting our characters in odd, uncomfortable positions, we’re all in the family.
7. Help for Winston
Alright, we didn’t see much hope for Winston after the first two episodes of Season 2, but we really hope the writers address him better and give him some quality story lines this year and not just an afterthought. No wonder Damon Wayans Jr. left for Happy Endings (which was easily one of the best career moves of 2011). They’ve got a good character in Winston, and we’re sure that Jess’ unemployment will be treated differently from Winston’s (another future crime for sure), but let’s hope he has a rebirth this year too and not be stuck with cheap jokes like not being able to handle girly drinks and being the footstool of his family.
8. The Guest Stars
The caliber of guest-stars has jumped with just two episodes in. In Season 1 we saw Justin Long as a recurring love interest for Jess, and Lizzy Caplan play one for Nick. We also saw Dermot Mulroney, Martin Starr, Ryan Kwanten and Clark Duke. Last night we’ve already seen Parker Posey as a cheeky, shot-girl for Schmidt’s re-branding party and Justified’s Raymond J. Barry as futuristic “Old Nick.” Some other guest stars planned for this season include Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner as Jess’ parents (perfect choices), Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s cousin (wow, another score), Carla Gugino in a three-episode arc as Schmidt’s new boss (yes!), and Maria Thayer as one of Nick’s old flings.
Those are out observations from the Season 2 premiere episodes and what we think will keep this year fresh. What would you like to see in Season 2? What do you think is the thing that Nick will do that Old Nick was talking about? Share your thoughts below.