Now That 'New Girl' Is Set With Nick & Jess, It Can Finally Get to The Good Stuff
For much of this season, some New Girl fans have hated the Nick and Jess relationship. Starting out Season 3 by running away to Mexico together and being so in love they want to make out until their faces fell off was a little obnoxious, I'll admit. But now that they've made it through Nick getting arrested in Mexico, Hurricane Caroline, and moving in to the same tiny room together, they're good and the show is so much better for it.
While fans of constant romantic tumult may disagree, that's what the CW is for. New Girl has taken the stability of Nick and Jess' rock solid, fated relationship and used it to create a foundation for other lifeline shake-ups, namely in Jess' professional life. Instead of worrying about whether or not her roommates like her boyfriend (Justin Long's dorky Paul) or if a handsome pediatrician was really into her (David Walton's dreamy Sam) or if a fancy pants adult could really fall for a work-in-progress like Jess (Dermot Mulroney's Russell), and instead of wondering how this would all impact her eventual romantic union with Nick, we can focus wholly on Jess' future and her job. And that is a beautiful, rich storyline — even if it doesn't come with dramatic romantic gestures and salacious make-outs.
This week, Jess is all settled with Nick and moves onto her one of her life goals: becoming principal of a school. She's recently hired Coach onto the teaching staff and with no other narrative road blocks, the episode becomes all about Coach coaching her into getting what she wants. They have a spike session on the volleyball courts and next thing we know, by-the-book Jessica Day is marching into the principal's office and demanding the vice principal job.
Now, normally Jess would be right about being a little more timid. A job like VP would go to someone older, with more experience, but this is aspirationland, where losery guys are actually incredible souls whose real-life issues become adorable quirks and romantic bonuses. Of course Jess would get the job upon first ask. But when she gets it, the problems start and that's where the episode gets good. Jess is required, as her first duty as VP, to balance the school budget. At first, the only option she's given is to fire the last two teachers they added on — Coach and some other teacher who's deemed to be terrible and totally disposable. The problem is that Coach is actually a great coach and her decision haunts her.
Instead of letting her new job own her, Jess takes a stand against the status quo of public school budget woes and finds a creative solution, demanding that Coach comes back to teach because the kids love him. She finds another way to solve the budget crisis and Nick comes home after his semi-aspirational first day as a "lawyer" to find Jess asleep in a pile of paperwork. It's this moment that solidifies the new tone of the show now that Nick and Jess are happy.
We still get sweet little moments of togetherness and happiness. They will occasionally fight and eventually, because it's network television, the show will find a reason to break them up or separate them temporarily. However, if this show wanted to make them the Monica and Chandler of this bunch, and have them simply be happy for the rest of time, that'd be fine with me.
Watching Jess, who struggled so greatly last season with being fired from her perfect teaching job, succeed and wrestle with the duties of a higher position is actually really satisfying. The woman floated from fast food gig to fast food gig last season, working her way back up to adult school teaching and then to a teaching job at a real public school again. She earned her life back and while Nick and Jess' tumultuous romance has been entertaining and their first kiss is certainly in my top three favorite TV kisses ever, the part where her life fell apart and she pieced it back together fell to the wayside.
I have to constantly defend the character to people who have a problem with adorable dresses and glasses that perfectly highlight Deschanel's button nose, but now, I not only have my own adoration of her should-be annoying personality, I have a real storyline as well. Not just a chemistry-based, hot-people-about-to-make-out-on-TV sort of plot, but a real one that reflects life — if we could put it through a sitcom filter where things worked out a little better and a little more easily. They've only got a half hour a week, after all.
This may not be a popular opinion, because even as I'm writing it is sounds dry, but if Jess chasing her career dreams continues to be the plot that replaces her romantic troubles with Nick, I will be one happy camper. I may even forgive the show for ever using and inventing the phrase "adorkable."