It was announced Friday that “New Girl,” the FOX sitcom starring Zooey Deschanel, will be back for a fourth season next fall. I was glad to hear the news, but it made me think about how much of a disappointment this season has been. Don’t get me wrong, “New Girl” is still one of my favorite shows. I wanted to love this season so much. I wanted it to be as good as the middle and end of season two. I declared to everyone I knew after the “Virgins” episode aired last spring that it was the greatest half-hour of television ever. I still stand by that, but this season has broken my heart.
There have been some great moments, but most of my favorites were appearances by guest stars like Taye Diggs, Adam Brody and Mary Elizabeth Ellis. My favorite episode of the season, “Birthday,” was one of the only episodes where I did more than half-heartedly giggle at something besides Schmidt’s one-liners. The Coach and Winston’s cake-baking storyline in that episode was especially great, since one of my biggest complaints with this season is that the writers seem to have no idea what to do with either of those characters.
I was so excited when it was announced that Damon Wayans Jr. was coming back to the show as Coach. He was absolutely hilarious on the prematurely cancelled “Happy Endings,” and I was glad he would join Winston in the apartment, since the other roommates’ storylines were mostly based around their love lives. Unfortunately, the addition of Coach hasn’t added much to Winston’s character or the show in general. Thankfully, at least the writers didn’t pursue the idea of him having a relationship with Cece. Their friendship has been the highlight of the last few episodes.
Poor, underused Winston is another reason why this season has been the worst so far. I knew it was a bad sign when his storyline in the season premiere was based around a jigsaw puzzle. What irks me most about this season though is that Winston has become creepy and ridiculously stupid instead of the witty, harmless weirdo he used to be. He is apparently in a relationship with Kylie, who he met when he was trying to hook up his ex-girlfriend’s cat. (Yes, you read that correctly. He was trying to get some for his ex-girlfriend’s cat.) In the latest episodes, they’ve made him so irrationally dumb and socially inept that it’s just awkward to watch.
My biggest complaint about this season is Nick and Jess. I thought they were meant to be the new Jim and Pam, but now I almost wish they never started dating at all. How many times can we see the same storyline: Nick feels like he’s not good enough for Jess and she’s trying to change him, so he gets in some sort of wacky situation only to be shown that Jess loves him for the crazy-old-man-in-a-30-year-old’s-body that he is? Their characters are perfect together, but the situations they’ve been put in have just seemed endlessly repetitive.
One final bummer of this season: endless and terrible product placement. If I hear any more cheesy, forced dialogue about how convenient it is that you can open the trunk of the newest Ford SUV by waving your foot around it, I might tune out for good.
Please, “New Girl,” get your shit together for the rest of season three. Go back to what made the series so great from the beginning — the friendship of this random group of roommates. And please, more True American.
New Girl airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on FOX.