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'New Girl' Recap: 'Wedding Eve'/'Landing Gear'

5/11/2016 9:05am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5 Finale Recap: 'Wedding Eve'/'Landing Gear'
As a show whose core strength is its ensemble, one might think that focusing on a season-long arc would not be “New Girl’s” key to success. But if the plot is about the ensemble, then there should be nothing to worry about. Such is the case with Season 5 revolving around the buildup to Schmidt and Cece’s wedding. This year has not been perfect, but when it has faltered, it has usually been when it has strayed from this guiding principle. With the finale set at the actual nuptials, the stage is set for the main cast to shine, with some support from the supporting characters that have success...

'New Girl' Recaps: 'Dress'/'Return To Sender'

5/4/2016 9:07am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episodes 19 And 20 Recap: 'Dress'/'Return T
Schmidt and Cece have to take care of a few last-minute items in anticipation of their nuptials, as do their friends, who are pretty much matching their stress levels. In a lot of ways, this season of “New Girl” has been about the lead-up to this wedding. This is a show that has utilized premieres and finales for weddings before, so it does not feel all that out of the ordinary. So there is no need for the loft crew to make any major changes to their identities, but now that it is two of their own forming a union, they see the need to emphasize the best of who they are.

That quest for perf...

'New Girl' Recaps: 'Road Trip'/'A Chill Day In'

4/27/2016 10:06am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episodes 17 And 18 Recap: 'Road Trip'/'A Ch
Now it really looks like the “New Girl” writers knew that this season was going to end in a series of back-to-back chunks. How else to explain the one-two scheduling coup of a bachelor party episode followed by a bachelorette party episode (with a little “Grandfathered” in between)? Not only that but “Road Trip” and “A Chill Day In” chronologically exist concurrently and share corresponding emotional beats. Schmidt and Cece are still freaking out, which they ought to be allowed to do, because marriage is scary, but this time it has nothing to do with measuring how much they love each other....

'New Girl' Recaps: 'Jeff Day'/'Helmet'

4/20/2016 8:46am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episodes 15 and 16 Recap: 'Jeff Day'/'Helme
“New Girl” is airing its final 8 episodes of season 5 back-to-back, starting with the pair of “Jeff Day” and “Helmet.” Usually when 2-parters exist because of network expediency instead of actually being written as 2-parters, they are not connected in any way besides temporal proximity (and all the other ways that two different episodes of the same TV show are connected). But “Jeff Day” and “Helmet” have just about the same character configurations and plot concerns. They move the same concerns forward while standing on their own as individual stories. They are built with durability, focusi...

'New Girl' Recap: '300 Feet'

4/13/2016 8:57am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 14 Recap: '300 Feet'
“New Girl” is a show that is usually about maturation. Sometimes its characters’ changes may only be incremental, but they generally remain on the path of self-improvement, which is why “300 Feet” sticks out like a sore thumb. The lives of the loft gang were messes in the early seasons, and to some degree they still are, but their current states are more often typified by turning over new leaves. “300 Feet,” however, suggests that everyone may be more stuck than was previously thought.

The idea that Jess is so obsessed with clearing the air with Sam makes perfect sense. She wants to be on ...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Sam, Again'

3/30/2016 10:18am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 13 Recap: 'Sam, Again'
As “New Girl” moves forward, it looks to the past, as it is wont to do. Jess is looking for a new school, because she has actually made a clean break from her last one, instead of holding on and trying to fix it, as she is wont to do. Jess is not one to let go so easily, which can be maddening to the people around her, but it is a strong quality if she utilizes it appropriately. A sense of the past is important when experiencing major personal development; yesterday should either be embraced or brushed aside when heading into the future. With the return of a major guest star and references ...

'New Girl' Recap: 'D-Day'

3/23/2016 9:26am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 12 Recap: 'D-Day'
“New Girl” has a knack for taking on the hackiest of sitcom tropes and redeeming them by grounding them in solid character work. “D-Day” is the latest episode that appears as if it is going to be run amok with “Three’s Company”-esque, “hide this from Mr. Roper” style twists. These storylines may be implausible, but they are happening to people with realistic and interesting emotions. In some ways, these people are exacerbating their situations’ ridiculousness, as if they know they are sitcom characters and their instincts are telling them to ramp everything up. But they do not quite reach t...

'New Girl' Recap: 'The Apartment'

3/16/2016 9:55am EDT
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 11 Recap: 'The Apartment'
“The Apartment” finds the tenants of “New Girl” struggling with moving on. That description could apply to just about every episode of this show. It is, after all, baked into the show’s DNA. This sitcom began with the title character breaking free of a bad relationship and diving into an unprecedented living situation. This episode calls back to Jess’ decisions in the pilot, and that remembrance is instructive. “The Apartment” is such a nondescript episode title. “New Girl’s” base of operations is an apartment. Perhaps it is in reference to Cece’s place, whereas the loft is not an apartment...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Goosebumps Walkaway'

3/9/2016 9:01am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 10 Recap: 'Goosebumps Walkaway'
“New Girl” has been wandering off to become a different show the past few episodes. That sort of thing happens when the star takes an extended period of time off. But this particular show has done it with surprising self-assurance. It has been satisfying, but also a little worrisome. Jess has not been forgotten, but the Reagan arc has demonstrated that “New Girl” could move on from its titular New Girl to a new New Girl. Or could it?

Megan Fox’s run does not have to overlap with Zooey Deschanel’s, but this show cannot pass up that type of opportunity. Jess and Reagan have too much to talk ...

'New Girl' Recap: 'The Heat Wave'

3/2/2016 10:27am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 9 Recap: 'The Heat Wave'
With a heat wave cresting through, everyone stays indoors, making for … an EXTREME BOTTLE EPISODE! Keeping the loft crew stuck inside has made for some of “New Girl’s” best half-hours, but with temperatures so high, can everyone stay focused enough to put on a show? Of course, Nick has already been his most indelible when sweaty and babbling, so there is surely, at least, one reason to watch. With tensions running high, two pairs are forced to confront their most volatile emotions. They both result in breakthroughs though one leads to more questions than answers.

Nick definitely has a crus...

'New Girl' Recap: 'The Decision'

2/24/2016 9:12am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 8 Recap: 'The Decision'
The characters on “New Girl” make you want to scream at them a lot. This is true of plenty of shows, but especially this one, because they are so close to getting their acts completely together. So when their eyes finally open up fully, it is a little sublime. Schmidt and Cece have been constantly realizing just how in love they are with each other and declaring this ever since they got engaged, and they continue to do so in “The Decision.” So that beat is familiar, but Nick and Winston each have a breakthrough that is new and undeniably satisfying.

“New Girl” is usually not a show with pe...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Wig'

2/17/2016 9:19am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 7 Recap: 'Wig'
In the presence of someone they are attracted to, people are either unable to be themselves or perfectly able to be themselves. This is the conundrum of how to determine whom to romantically pursue. Do you go after the one “out of your league” who is hotter than you can possibly fathom? Or do you settle for the one who fits naturally into your routine? This conundrum can turn into a progression. The one who makes you nervous can become a part of your life, you change a little, and then suddenly you are yourself around the crazy hot one. For Nick Miller, this struggle is writ large and filte...

'New Girl': Megan Fox Joins The Loft As 'Reagan'

2/10/2016 10:02am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: Megan Fox Joins The Loft A
Jess Day sets the tone and often keeps the peace among her friends, so what happens when someone else just as influential steps in and changes everything? Megan Fox’s run on “New Girl” as Reagan may be temporary, but she immediately makes it clear what it would be like should Zooey Deschanel’s absence be permanent. The cowering reactions she inspires make her notorious reputation as a pharmaceutical rep frighteningly clear. She makes demands, and people acquiesce to them. Part of that may be because she is physically attractive, but the primary reason is because the energy she gives unequiv...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Bob & Carol & Nick & Schmidt'

2/3/2016 11:38am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 5 Recap: 'Bob & Carol & Nick & Schm
With Nick’s cousin and wife in town, and Cece wedding dress shopping with Winston, the loft crew finds themselves evaluating their relationships as they move forward with major life developments. Nick contemplates fatherhood, of a sort, while Cece takes care of one of the maids of honor’s most important duties while the maid of honor is unavailable. This is not exactly how they imagined these situations happening, but they are not alone as they take them on. Everyone is in such a good place in their lives that no matter how weird things get, it is no big deal. Their missteps are inconsequen...

'New Girl' Recap: 'No Girl'... Now What?

1/27/2016 9:24am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 4 Recap: 'No Girl'... Now What?
Despite the singular noun in its title, “New Girl” is very much an ensemble show. But while Nick, Schmidt, Winston, and Cece have all managed to establish themselves individually and in the group dynamic, the titular Jessica Day has always set the tone. This may not just be a Zooey Deschanel star vehicle anymore, but it retains that DNA. Thus, her extended absence is a risky proposition, both textually and metatextually. Life on the loft must find a different way to be harmonious while the construction of a “New Girl” episode must find a new rhythm to be successful.

“No Girl” wastes no tim...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Jury Duty'

1/20/2016 10:07am EST
'New Girl' Season 5, Episode 3 Recap: 'Jury Duty'
As the maxim goes, when entering into marriage, you are not just marrying your fiancée, but also your fiancée’s family. That advice should be extended to include your fiancée’s friends, especially, as in the case of “New Girl,” friend-roommates constitute a makeshift family. Since the two getting married have been in the cast since the beginning, those extra factors of marriage should be a bonus. But there is also the maxim about the dangers of living with your friends, as their worst habits come to the fore. So while Schmidt’s best friend Nick and his future wife Cece have already spent pl...

'New Girl' Recap: 'What About Fred?'

1/13/2016 10:22am EST
New Girl
“New Girl” has often been about roleplaying, as young adulthood tends to be a time for trying on various identities until finding the one that fits. This is especially true for this group of friends. “What About Fred?” amplifies that theme, as concerted efforts toward maturity and relationship adventures lead to uncomfortable, but potentially rewarding situations. “New Girl” understands the demands of society to play specific roles in one’s personal and professional lives and determines that the best response to those demands is not necessarily total acceptance, nor is it outright rejection...

'New Girl' Season 5 Premiere Recap

1/6/2016 9:05am EST
New Girl
As sitcoms age, they must remain consistent but not complacent. Conversely, they must also take care not to lose track of their characters. The season 5 premiere of “New Girl” has several situations that bring these conundrums to the fore. This is the nature of FOX shows. Other networks often have a lead-in intro sequence, but FOX cuts straight from the commercial to the opening act. And with this batch of episodes premiering midseason and thus presenting the longest stretch between new “New Girl’s,” there is a need for the viewer to make sure that everything is as it should be. There is no...

Zooey Deschanel Reveals Baby Name As Megan Fox Arrives On 'New Girl' Set

10/22/2015 11:11am EDT
Megan Fox Arrives On Set Of 'New Girl' To Fill In For Zooey Desc
Megan Fox was spotted arriving on the set of hit Fox series "New Girl" on Monday for her first day of filming.

The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" star is filling in for star -- and new mom -- Zooey Deschanel, who is on maternity leave. Fox will play a character named Reagan in four episode story arc and was spotted on set with co-star Jake Johnson. Fox plays "a gorgeous, straight-shooting pharmaceutical sales rep who comes to town on business and shakes things up in the loft."

Deschanel, who gave birth three months ago, was at the premiere of her new film "Rock the Kasbah" on Monday night...

'New Girl' Finale: Coach Says Goodbye To The Gang

5/6/2015 10:16am EDT
New Girl Season 4 Finale
Getting rid of sentimental attachments might be the easier option, but that is not how “New Girl” roll. It may have been how Coach survived the constant moves of a military brat, but his current living companions are more formidable than what he is used to. This show rewards its characters for unapologetically being who they are, and what you are is shaped a great deal by the people you have known and love. When it comes to the conflict between the potential rewards and risks of connection, “New Girl” will always, always come down on the side of reward.

Speaking of consistency, Jess has al...

'New Girl': The Love Doctor Is In

4/29/2015 10:30am EDT
New Girl - Panty Gate
Well, it did not take long for Schmidt to realize that it was no longer worth continuing his relationship with Fawn Moscato. Jess certainly could have told him this, and she was all ready to. But it was not like she needed to christen herself the Love Doctor to make that observation. It was pretty obvious to anyone paying attention. Just like it was pretty obvious that Coach and May did not really want to break up. Jess did not have to be an expert to realize all this, she just had to be observant. Luckily, just about everyone took her lead by episode’s end and acted upon some obvious intel...

'New Girl': Jess Attempts To Pass Herself Off As A Golfer

4/8/2015 11:15am EDT
'New Girl' Season 4, Episode 20 Recap: 'Par 5'
The thirtysomething characters of “New Girl” have spent a lot of time thinking about who they really are. Sitcom plots often feature people pretending to be someone whom they are not. Thus, “Par 5” – featuring Jess, Winston, and Schmidt trying on different personae with varying levels of commitment – just made sense as an episode of the sitcom known as “New Girl.”

Jess attempted to pass herself as a golfer so as to network for the sake of asking a city bigwig for new computes for her school. With her club sailing about 50 feet into the fairway on her first swing, it was immediately appa...

Schmidt's Mom Visits On 'New Girl'

4/1/2015 9:15am EDT
Schmidt's Mom Visits on New Girl
The controlling Jewish mother role has been saturated many times over on television. Of course, this characteristic is not limited to Jewish mothers, so the ubiquity of this figure is even more overflowing. Certainly, a lot of actual mothers are like this, so Louise Schmidt was not in an ideal position to say something new about the human condition. Nora Dunn brought plenty of verve to her performance, making her stand out in a way that made it clear once again that Nora Dunn deserves to be a bigger star. She did not establish a new paradigm for overbearing mothers, but she did not have...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Walk Of Shame'

3/4/2015 9:20am EST
New Girl - Walk Of Shame
“We are sluts, and we are clowns, but we are not losers!”

A few episodes ago, “New Girl” got away with the typical TV wackiness of a lost wedding ring by not really being about the ring. In this episode, Jess and Cece’s titular “Walk of Shame” involved a host of ridiculous indignities. This trope is not as common as the “stalling for lost item” routine, but it is at least just as wacky. There were points to be made with the girls’ predicament, but they did not overcome the fact that the mess they were in was gradually making less and less sense.

Jess and Cece’s feminist justifications ...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Spiderhunt'

2/25/2015 11:16am EST
New Girl - Spiderhunt
Season 4 of “New Girl” has dropped a lot of hints that some of the show’s ex-lovers may be getting back together, but it has been resolutely non-committal thus far. With Cece’s feelings for Schmidt stated and acknowledged, it would seem like the perfect time for the show to tip its hat. But instead it opted to say, “Nope, we’re fine with the way things are.” (At least for now.) Could this possibly be a show that would admit two main characters have feelings for each other, imply that they could have a healthy relationship, but then purposely decline to put them together?

That was the ...

'New Girl' Season 4, Episode 16 Recap: 'Oregon'

2/18/2015 9:34am EST
New Girl
“New Girl” can get a little wacky when it gets out of L.A. It is a weirdly specific form of wackiness usually, a kind that involves Jessica Christopher Day filling time with a musical performance. In Season 2’s “Chicago,” Nick’s dad’s funeral saw an impromptu appearance from Elvis. This time around, “Oregon” saw Jess stalling for time at her dad’s wedding with a tepid rendition of “Ave Maria” followed by a much more amusing reprise of the same by Jess-as-Cookie Monster. This moment was prompted by a strain of sitcom wackiness, with Nick and Coach attempting to retrieve the wedding rings...

'New Girl' Season 4, Episode 15 Recap: 'The Bar Crawl Is For All'

2/11/2015 10:00am EST
New Girl - The Crawl
What is Nick Miller’s driving motivation? Just one episode ago, a girl who was ostensibly perfect for him broke up with him, so it would be understandable if he would respond by lying on his bed for several days. But there was a silver lining to this setback, considering that this was the first time a girl dumped him because he was too ambitious. It was a bittersweet situation, sure, but with Schnick Industries having an auspicious start, it seemed like he was in a perfect position to actively bring to life the next great Nick Miller idea.

Instead, he gave in to his laziest impulses. T...

'New Girl' Recap: Strategy, Sizzle, Schmidt, Sex, Salesmanship, Something, And Synergy

2/4/2015 10:46am EST
New Girl
When Tran’s granddaughter Kai was introduced at Thanksgiving, she seemed like the perfect girl for Nick. But in just a few short scenes in “Swuit,” it became clear just how wrong she is for him. And it was a good thing! With Nick actually trying to utilize his talents to make something of his life, “New Girl” seemed so tone deaf by having his girlfriend implore him to instead spend the whole day lazing around on the couch. It was so clear by their lack of time spent together that they were growing apart. The show appeared to be missing this point. But as Nick walked into the bar, mela...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Coming Out'

1/14/2015 10:18am EST
New Girl
People like Jessica Day just care what other people think about them, and there is no point in telling them not to. Too bad she works with a bunch of insatiably horny and absurdly irrational people. “New Girl” is one of the best shows right now at exploring those forces that make young adults tick, with sex drive as one of those biggest forces. So it should be expected that another group on this show besides the loftmates would have wild freak outs over hookup-related frustration.

What is not expected is just how unreasonable Jess’ colleagues are. This season has excelled at the develo...

'New Girl' Recap: 'Shark'

1/7/2015 10:19am EST
New Girl
How many times does it take for sitcom characters to learn a lesson for that lesson to fully take? This genre has been known for concluding episodes with some clear edification, and while it is no longer as frequently blatant as it was in the heyday of Miller-Boyett, it is still very much a part of the landscape. So what tends to happen is that the same lesson is learned multiple times by the same character. This is not necessarily inconsistent or unrealistic; sometimes re-learning is essential to really internalize a lesson. That just has to be the truth, because otherwise some of the ...