I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
With each new season and episode of New Girl I keep wondering whether the creators regret naming it after the central female character – Jess. The main issue with doing this is that she seems to be the focus and unfortunately, she is possibly the worst character in the series. She offers the least to the show when the other characters seem to making it a runaway success, delivering a series which is as close to having Friends back on TV as we’ll ever get.
It isn’t that Zooey Deschanel’s Jess is a bad character, it is just that compared to the unique, hilarious characters that the others have managed to carve out for themselves, her quirky girl next door falls flat.
New Girl’s fourth season is when it clearly runs with the format and becomes a solid season. Some characters continue untouched. Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield as Nick and Schmidt, have always been the driving force behind the series. They are the funniest characters and add the craziest of lines, moments and overall storylines. They could clearly carry a series on their own but luckily have ample support.
This is where the fourth season has started to find it’s grounding. Lamorne Morris’ Winston felt like an outside character, not really fitting into any one area within the cast. This season, he takes on the role of the sensitive, almost patriarch of the group. He has responsibilities as a trainee police officer but still struggles to leave the crazy antics of the loft behind.
This is also the season in which Damon Wayans Jr’s Coach is made a full and proper cast member. His stories are developed further and he got some great moments within the season. It is a shame he seems to have left the show again, with his departure being the main focus of the end of season episodes.
It was a love story which ended Coach’s story and that will always be the main focus of a series like this. Each character had their love story, be it Nick and Kai, Jess and Ryan or Winston and his Cat Ferguson. The main tale will always be of Schmidt and Hannah Simone’s Cece and the way the series has developed this story works very well. The finale brings with it a satisfying conclusion that will hopefully be appropriately built-upon in season 5.
The show isn’t about love though and has to be funny. Luckily it has plenty of those moments too. Stand-outs are Coach, Nick and Cece getting stoned at a Police BBQ or Jess hiding “meth” from a police inspector. Anything involving Nick seems to be a winner and Schmidt seemed to get the best stories, particularly when he begins a relationship with a very funny and controlling senator.
There are episodes that fall flat, as there is with any sitcom. Unfortunately, focusing so much on Jess and making the show primarily about relationships seems to suck the momentum from the series. Hints at rekindling Nick and Jess’ relationship don’t bode well for the future either.
Overall, New Girl is a great sitcom that has found it’s strengths in the fourth season. Nick and Schmidt continue to deliver, Winston and Coach are true, well developed characters and the less Jess the better. Hopefully this can continue into the next season, even if we lose Damon Wayans Jr in the process.
Best Episode – Dice: The stoned gang at a Police BBQ is a great idea and makes for some great Nick and Coach moments.
Best performance – Jake Johnson as Nick Miller
Should there be another season? – Yes, plenty of life left in New Girl but not sure about the lack of Coach again.
Season Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)