Up to this point, Season 3 of New Girl has been, to put it simply, a huge bummer. After building up the inevitable coupling of Nick and Jess for two seasons, their romance fizzled within 20 episodes. But, it wasn't the inevitable Nick and Jess split that put a damper on the once-hilarious series (Nick and Jess did work better as friends than lovers), it's that their relationship drama made everyone and everything around them just so damn serious. Fans noticed the quality shift in New Girl, and apparently, so did the people making the show.
During a chat with Vulture, New Girl creator Liz Meriwether assured that the sitcom will go back to being... you know, a sitcom. "I think this year we got a little heavy, we got a little into that emotional arc, and I think this show completely exists without all that heaviness,” Meriwether admitted. “We’re having a chance to get back to basics and sort of reset the show, and kind of go back to the dynamics of the first season and the pilot, where it’s just this group of friends who are having fun... I think it might actually be good for the show to return to the kind of fun of it.”
Big deal indeed, Jess! While New Girl had been able to find a balance of tragedy and big comedy in the past (case in point: stellar episodes like "Chicago" and "Eggs"), it lost its way in Season 3. Here's where it went wrong and how Meriwether and the New Girl writers can improve things for Season 4. (New Girl's third season wraps up on May 13 and the renewed series will return in the fall.) And hey, it's not just a Nick and Jess issue!
Friends Without Benefits
As it turned out, sexual and romantic tension, not actual sex and romance was what created the magic between Nick and Jess. When these two made it official, every single episode had a heavy conversation about where their relationship was going or if they were ultimately doomed. (Jeez, couldn't these two have had a little bit of fun during their relationship?) Unless these two rekindle their relationship in the Season 3 finale (fingers crossed that that does not happen), this gives the show the chance to return to the old days, as well as exploring new territory. Nick and Jess will still be sexually attracted to one another, and living in close quarters. Plus, one of them is bound to start dating again, which should conjure up some good old fashioned Season 1 and 2 pangs of jealousy. On sitcoms exes always seem to get along perfectly, hang out all the time with very little consequences, and/or backslide. (Thanks a lot, Ross and Rachel.) But wouldn't it be refreshing if New Girl took it to a new place entirely? I believe these two can be friends, but I don't believe the feelings or tension will be gone, which is to the show's benefit.
Wait, what was the point of bringing back the tremendously talented and funny Damon Wayans Jr. if you're going to give him nothing to do with a pretty useless character? Wayans was a comic firecracker on Happy Endings (RIP) but on New Girl he's sanctioned to being an afterthought that's being pawned off as the second coming of Schmidt. Sorry, but we've already seen a goofy douche try and attempt to woo Cece and how that turns out. Coach barely had his own story lines this season, let alone a memorable presence. The first thing New Girl must do is make Coach a character we care about and know. Fans can name a Schmidt-ism ("Chut-a-ney") immediately and recognize a Jess scream when they hear it, so Coach needs his own catch phrases or back stories that we can identify with. And, please, forever put the kibosh on that DOA Cece romance.
Find Literally Anything to Do With Winston
Even more egregious than the misuse of Coach is the misuse of Winston. But while Coach has only had one season of misdirection (or no direction at all), poor Winnie has been enduring this for three entire seasons. You know what they gave Winston to do this season? They gave him a creepy girlfriend, a cat he became obsessed with, and yet another career misfire. Winston tends to work better when he's around the gang (in fact, Season 4 should really work harder at having them all together more often, rather than pair them off), but he still deserves at least one decent solo plot line.
Now, we can finally say, we're looking forward to Season 4.