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“New Girl” review: “Longest Night Ever”

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“When you see a dog cage for sale, you buy it.” – Nick

How can you feel sorry for a guy like Schmidt? After the way he treated Cece by (cough) cheating on her, the schlub deserves to be in this emotional rut he’s been stuck in. All events since the breakup he caused have led to his briefly beefing with Nick after the Keaton incident, which led to Schmidt moving out, which led to Coach moving in, both figuratively and literally.

And hey, it’s not Coach’s fault that he’s going after CeCe. Schmidt hasn’t mentioned their breakup to him as far as I remember, and now this at least gives Coach more of a purpose for being around other than to sulk about his own recent breakup or to bust Winston’s balls. It also turns a character that had been a friend into the fiend that Schmidt and Jess catch passionately making out with CeCe outside the loft (for at least half an hour, by Jess’ estimate). It sets up some potentially great plot threads for the rest of the season as Schmidt’s forced to have a front row seat to hear, or see, all the things Coach plans to do while dating CeCe moving forward.

This happens after Jess fails to distract Schmidt at the loft. Some great stuff here with a brown, smooth couch-violating Max Greenfield and a grossed-out (yet sympathetic) Zooey Deschanel. After a failed attempt by Jess to get him to talk up women at the bar (“She has a flip phone. She’s either poor or a time traveler.”), he slips from under Jess’ thumb to win back Cece (but not before a stop for some delicious chocolates) during her Lakers game date with a confidence-lacking Coach. I guess the writers remembered Schmidt did something similar last season, so Jess is able to stop him, and hit him with a car at his odd request.

The awkwardness Coach has with CeCe as he returns to the dating game was the dullest part of this episode; watching Coach fight nerves and play cool was broad and sitcom-esque. CeCe going from pissed to understanding after finding out the person he was texting during the date was his mom was a little hard to believe. The reveal that she’s also been questioning her confidence dating again after Schmidt wasn’t expected or hinted at either (she was on at least one date several episodes back), so that was kind of weak.

Jess plays babysitter to the lovelorn Schmidt after Nick lets Winston’s cat (and best friend) Ferguson escape. I like that we got down to the bottom of what’s been eating at Winston this episode. Nick and Winston’s long search leads them to a female trucker (Jessica Chaffin), stale bologna sandwiches, and her stomach medicine. Winston’s attachment to Ferguson was fun for a little while in the past (the episode with Riki Lindhome as a fellow cat owner was a highlight), but it’s good to see him back in a human relationship. The trucker and Winston find out they have a lot in common aside from quitting the dating game, so could it be that Winston has found a crazy kindred spirit? It’s actually an awesome pairing, for this episode at least. I’m not sure what long-term prospects will come for these characters aside from this evening, though.

Still, it’s nice to see Schmidt show some character growth by admitting to Jess what a douche he was to CeCe see near the episode’s end. Boy, Nick and Jess sure are some great friends, helping to solve their various issues at the expense of their own alone time.

What did you think?