Coming off the tail end of a season that was hugely popular and successful with critics and fans alike is tough. After season one the mutual understanding was that the show could only go up from there after stumbling through. However, after a season two that dominated many critics “best of” lists, can it get any better? Or at the very least sustain the same enthusiastic energy? Or will season three begin with a stumble rather than a bang?
Last season’s finale ended up with Jess and Nick running off together after one of the most heated and strongly written will they, won’t they narratives on television. Cece admitted to still loving Schmidt and called off her wedding because of it and now he’s stuck between her and Elizabeth, and Winston got lost in the air ventilation along with any other storyline the writers pondered giving him.
Will Cece and Schmidt give it another go? Will Jess and Nick continue to be my favorite onscreen TV couple to date? Will Winston get a storyline that allows him to show off Lamorne Morris’s comedic muscles? Will the season three premiere promise stronger episodes to come?
It almost nailed it, almost completely, but the episode’s shortcoming was that it played it safe and felt the need to spell something out that the audience could have gotten without help.
Otherwise it was a perfectly enjoyable episode.
We pick up with Jess and Nick who got in the car and kept driving until they wound up in Mexico and decided that this would be their rebirth—relaxed Jess and Nick also imagine the latter ever being relaxed and it seems impossible. The two get to indulge in all of their scheming and lazy-based daydreams when they come across a beachfront getaway and decide to live out of their trunk there, going from two wedding attendees to beach bums.
What works so well with their dynamic is that they don’t stop being funny the second they’re separated from the other two. Typically in sitcoms romance tends to kill the comedy and allows the supporting characters to carry the breadth of the funny scenes. On Friends it was Chandler, Joey and Phoebe who took the comedy while the Rachel and Ross got to play at love, the two of them always funnier apart than they were together. How I Met Your Mother is always funnier and even times more touching when the group gets to act together rather than in duos. Even in the more recent show Happy Endings (RIP) the show was always infinitely funnier when main couple Alex and Dave took a backseat and the others were allowed to take the spotlight.
Nick and Jess are both funny in their own right, Jess for her overt enthusiasm and physical comedy, Nick for his perpetual grumpy attitude and lethargic nature. Together they’re funny because of their aggressive natures and inability to plainly state anything and how they’re muddling through the relationship after being roommates and then friends and trying to see how it all works out.
Back at the loft Schmidt and Winston are having their own personal issues. Schmidt instead of choosing between Cece and Elizabeth has instead decided the best course of action would to be string them both along for a little bit longer to try and make up his mind. Obviously this is a jerk move but Schmidt tries justifying it by saying he just so happens to be in love with both of them.
The course of action that would make sense to real life humans would be to not date either of them while he couldn’t decide but that’s why Schmidt is our loveable ass: he does bad things but he genuinely believes he’s being smart and considerate.
Schmidt get’s caught in a lie though and it’s up to Winston—poor Winston—to get him out of it which results in throwing himself under the bus and claiming to steal Cece’s panties so that he can sew them into his own…why? Because that’s all that Winston could think of on the spot and as we’ve learned he’s not good under pressure.
Winston’s storyline mainly consists with his inability to complete puzzles or even really know where they begin and end. He also wears a hoodie as sweatpants.
Seriously if Lamorne Morris doesn’t get great material this year it’s unjust. He’s a fantastic physical actor and watching him puff out his chest and walk around Schmidt in a show of off-putting masculinity had me in tears.
Of course this standoff is due to the mounting tension between the two of them because of the relationship mess and because Schmidt’s type-A personality can’t stand by and watch someone put a corner piece of a puzzle in the wrong place.
Jess runs in before anything goes overboard because while relaxing in Mexico she and Nick were caught and rather than simply leaving, Nick was reluctant to give up his newfound happiness and instead tried running off. Now he’s being held and Jess needs her boys to come help her bail him out.
And they try to be smooth and end up in a trading play before finally getting to Nick who says he’s in resort jail, so it’s not actually that bad. He’s not pleased to see his other roommates and let’s Jess know as such. He believes that the second they walk back into that loft that they’re doomed, that the two of them won’t make it romantically. Schmidt and Winston agree and there’s a point to be made. Living together as lovers opposed to friends is mighty different. There’s less self-consciousness when you live with a friend, a lesser need to try, it’s relaxing and non-committal. However, once you’re in a relationship, and a new one on top of that, there’s a truckload of stress dumped on you. How do you act now? Do you change, try and remain the same, forcing normality onto the issue? Do you stay in the same room? Do you try a little harder, wake up a little earlier and in Nick’s case do you put in a greater effort to impress the girl you’re now dating?
As Nick says, he just got her and he’s not ready to lose her.
Jess doesn’t seem worried though and says that they all work together so well because they’re a family and she loves living with all of them and with Nick she doesn’t care where she sleeps as long as she’s sleeping next to him.
After Winston’s apparent discovery of being color blind helps them back into the country the foursome head back home where things are already noticeably awkward, however not because of the reasons they thought would be the case.
No they’re awkward because after Jess reprimands Nick for not having a key the two start getting it on in front of the doorway while Schmidt and Winston stand to the side, uncertain of how to get by.
Overall, it was a fun episode with some hilarious moments, however, the moment I mentioned being slightly annoyed with was the proclamation from Jess about how much she loved her roommates and how much of a family they were. I wasn’t annoyed because I thought it was wrong, I was annoyed because it’s such an obvious statement that it seemed unnecessary to mention. It was a moment that was earned because the group dynamic is so integral to the show and the way they interact heightens any bit of comedy they’re allowed to play. Having Jess reinforce it seemed like the show was playing for a moment that was already there.
We’ve already learned that the four of them work best when all of them are contained to their loft and forced to deal with their everyday nuances and irritations whether it be Jess on their cases or her need for activity, Schmidt’s absurdity when it comes to relating to other people, Winston’s annoyance with the rest of the group or Nick’s inability to live in the confines of normal adult life. Watching the four of them easily maneuver themselves through the group dynamic is what makes this show so insanely watchable.
We’d already been shown their camaraderie, we didn’t need to be told.
It wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before, and it doesn’t deviate too far from their typical course of action, but it’s only the season premiere and there’s a year of opportunities before us. Otherwise it was an energetic start to a new season and I’m tentatively excited that the writers may actually utilize Winston as a character who gets his own subplots this season rather than being and asset to the others storylines.
And I still love Nick and Jess! So, success!
More than anything I’m excited for my favorite gang to be back together and can’t wait to see what showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether comes up for us this year.