Critics’ Roundtable: “New Girl”

The New Girl cast (l-r) Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson,
Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield & Hannah Simone

Fans of Fox’s sitcom hit New Girl got what they’ve been wishing for when Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and her roommate Nick (Jake Johnson) finally locked lips. But will the Moonlighting curse strike and ruin the show? And how are their fellow roomies – Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris) – faring with their own romances and stories? More importantly, does New Girl have what it takes for a long, healthy sitcom run?

We rounded up some TV Critics to see what they think of the show and break down what’s working and what isn’t. This week, we have Rob Moynihan (LA Correspondent, TV Guide Magazine), Laura Prudom (Associate TV Editor, HuffPost TV), Scott Huver (LA Editor, NBC National Entertainment), Shaunna Murphy (Staff Editor, and yours truly, Jim Halterman.

The big question: Nick and Jess getting together. Too soon, or what took them so long?

Rob Moynihan: At its core, New Girl has always been about the relationship between Nick and Jess. Even though the pilot focused on how Jess’ presence would affect all three roommates, there was clearly an instant chemistry between Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson. The producers have done an admirable job of exploring the dynamic between the two characters, but it was time they started advancing more a physical relationship. The kiss itself was full of passion, intensity and heart. It made for a very believable expression of feelings between two characters that deep down really love each other.

Scott Huver: I actually feel like the timing is just right. It did feel pretty apparent that this coupling was going to happen eventually, and I think the show took the right path exploring various romantic options for them first while still using those storylines to draw them together. It’s a tricky dance, but had it gone on any longer the effort to keep them from hooking up would start to feel forced.

Shaunna Murphy: I’m okay with them getting together now-ish because the romantic tension was undeniable. The question is, can New Girl‘s writers create a successful comic relationship, or will the fall victim to the Ross/Rachel eternal “will they or won’t they?” curse? Parks in Rec in particular have set the mold with Leslie/Ben and April/Andy lately — I hope that Nick and Jess are still great AFTER they have sex. We shall see.

Should Jess and Nick actually get together or are they better apart? (Who said ‘Moonlighting Curse?”

One of them is bound to mess things up first. Will it be Jess or Nick and why?

Laura Prudom: I vote Nick, since messing stuff up is pretty much his complete MO. Jess might be prone to overthinking things, but it seems more likely that Nick will push her away as soon as things start getting too “real.” 

Scott Huver: Although Nick’s the obvious choice to make the first screw-up, my money’s on Jess – she’s waaaaaay more freaked out about this relationship than he is at this point, and probably much more likely to make a wrong move out of the gate.

Jim Halterman: Definitely feels like this should come from Jess, especially since we know Nick has sabotaged one too many relationships. It would be more like life if just as he’s figuring out how to keep a relationship going, he chooses someone like Jess who suddenly can’t handle it.

Nick has had quite a few ladies this season (Odette Annable, Olivia Munn, Brooklyn Decker). Who has been the best match for him or is it Jess?

Rob Moynihan: Nick might be one of the luckiest characters on television with the amount of love interests he’s had this season. I don’t think he ever looked at any of them as more than a fling. Nick still has to figure out the direction his own life is taking before he settles down. Because Jess is such a large presence in his life, she will continue to be his best match. Their relationship may have some bumps along the way, but their connection cannot be topped by anybody else.

Laura Prudom: Olivia Munn was actually pretty charming, but considering how vehemently the show seemed to be against hooking Nick and Jess up in the beginning, they’re a surprisingly adorable match, and it seems like a totally natural progression for two such nutty characters.

Shaunna Murphy: Oh come on. Those were all silly little distractions. All three of them were a total mess in their own unique way. It’s all about Jess.

Is it time for Schmidt to move from CeCe or should he hang in there to win her heart?

Schmidt still pining for CeCe has been going on for some time. Is it getting old? Should Schmidt truly move on?

Rob Moynihan: It is absolutely time for Schmidt to move on from Cece, but because we are talking about a TV show, I don’t see that happening anytime soon! Cece is engaged and clearly ready to move her life into a different direction, and she’s made it clear that Schmidt is not a part of that life. Let’s not forget it was his decision to “White Fang” her at the end of Season 1, so she shouldn’t feel compelled to go back to a larger relationship with him. I’d like to see Schmidt pair up with somebody as outrageous as he is. Would he be able to handle a woman like Schmidt?

Scott Huver: The minute Schmidt moves on is the minute CeCe starts second-guessing her decision to let him go. And because the comedy prospects in that scenario seem delicious, I hope it happens sooner rather than later,

Jim Halterman: I did like the two of them together in the first season but keeping them apart opens up more possibilities, especially if we’re already going to have Nick/Jess dealing with their relationship. But I wouldn’t be surprised if just as Schmidt truly moves on, CeCe won’t be able to take it and we get to see some great comedy from the underrated Hannah Simone.


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