“New Girl” review: “Menus”


“People grow up. Especially young people.” – Outside Dave

“Anything’s possible” is what Jess tells one of her adorable students right after learning she can’t take them to see the ocean. Everyone’s trying to make a difference in this episode, with varying degrees of success. Jess, to show she can still make a difference in the world, goes on an obsessed crusade to rid the world of Chinese menus. Nick wants to get in shape to avoid the “boyfriend 15” (as in pounds). Coach invests all his time in training Nick due to his breakup and to having no clients. Winston wants to show he’s not typical, injury-prone Winston. Schmidt wants to be away from the guys while still being with the guys. CeCe wants more screentime. (Or at least Hannah Simone does.)

Coach is disgusted to see Nick eating Chinese takeout for breakfast. (It’s protein!) He lays it on Nick that new boyfriends typically gain at least 15 pounds during the relationship. Coach dedicates himself to getting Nick in shape, leading to a funny training sequence with Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. It’s clear that the writers are still trying to figure out Coach, knowing that Wayans Jr. is very funny and a great asset. This is only the third appearance of the character ever (second since the pilot), and he hasn’t been fleshed out like the others. Here, he’s more like his “Happy Endings” character, though there was more reason to feel something for him this week.

After Jess’ environmental field trip for her class goes kaput, she’s irrationally disturbed by all the extra Chinese menus Nick has at the loft. She goes to the restaurant to put an end to it to show herself she can make a change, as small and stupid it may be. After dealing with the jerk owner, she succeeds in stopping the abundant menus, but not before getting the person responsible fired. This was a very Winston subplot, but not as funny. (Speaking of which, Winston goes through measures to shake off the injury-prone label Coach slapped on him. Craziness issues. Typical Winston, as Coach would say.)

Schmidt misses the guys now that he’s no longer in the loft (he might’ve left his Oakland Raiders yarmulke there). He won’t admit it, of course, and tries to nanny-cam his way back in. I felt sorry for lonely Schmidt before remembering what a douche he was to CeCe, who makes only a brief appearance to be hit on by Coach after getting tricked into delivering Chinese for Nick. You’d figure Jess would want to be with her best friend after being down in the dumps, but Schmidt’s around all the time and CeCe’s a model…sometimes.

This is the second episode in a row where Nick solves everyone’s problem by being the mature, speechy, voice of reason. That’s what having a girlfriend can do for you, apparently. He’s still a slob, but a wise slob who’s growing as an adult while dating Jess. Maybe even more than Jess.

What did you think?