New Girl Review: "Nerd" (Episode 3.02)
New Girl is currently in the honeymoon phase of its relationship with Jess and Nick. It pulled off bringing these two together in a fantastic way and it wants to share this couple and their exploits. The writers have made sure not to overload the show with the happy pair, but even when an episode doesn’t seem like it’s about them—like Cece’s wedding season finale—the Nick and Jess story still becomes the memorable segment. While Nick and Jess understandable got the majority of time in the season premiere “All In,” the second episode “Nerd” gives us a welcome update on the relationships of the other two roommates and gives the new couple the weakest story.
Winston always gets the short end of the stick, especially when it comes to ladies and screen time, so it’s no surprise that his relationship with Daisy comes in third place in comparison to the other roommates. In fact before this episode, I just figured Brenda Song’s Daisy had mysteriously disappeared, relegating Song to dressing like Sailor Moon in the comedy purgatory that is Dads. But no, Daisy still is in the picture, as she wants Winston to watch her cat Ferguson and Winston wants the two of them to be exclusive to each other. Winston hears another man in Daisy’s apartment, yet still takes Ferguson, with Winston once again going into horrible plan mode—he’s going to kill the cat and then break up with Daisy.
Schmidt is also in the middle of a love triangle, but this one is of his own creation, as he still hasn’t chosen between Cece or Elizabeth. There’s a party at Schmidt’s office and thanks to Beth, Schmidt’s jealous co-worker played by Eva Amurri, both of his love interests have received invites. This places Schmidt right in the middle of a classic sitcom trope—two dates, one night.
For some reason, whenever Jess has a story that revolves around her teaching, it never really resonates as well as it should, and this remains true in “Nerd.” At Jess’ new school, she’s trying to fit in with the cool teachers, played by Angela Kinsey, Dreama Walker and Curtis Armstrong. Nick decides to help Jess fit in by offering the teachers free alcohol at his bar, which immediately brings her into the new clique.
After a few hilarious aborted attempts at felinicide, Winston decides he deserves better than Daisy, kicks her to the curb and keeps the still-alive Ferguson. Schmidt goes through the rigmarole of dating two women in one night, yet the Cece and Elizabeth end up seeing each other, each believing the other one to be there for another reason other than being Schmidt’s date. They both clearly love Schmidt and he loves them, which is only making his decision harder.
Even though Jess starts to fit in with the cool teachers, she eventually falls back out of their favor when a break-in to the principal’s “jacooz” doesn’t work out as planned. Armstrong, Walker and Kinsey had the potential to be great guest stars, but there isn’t much for them to do besides becoming an evil trio, each without any individual identity. Yet what shines here aren’t the moments at the school or with the teachers, but the moments when Nick and Jess work together, showing that they are a damn adorable couple.
Nick and Jess are still the strongest couple on New Girl, but it’s nice for the show to balance things out a bit, putting the brakes on their importance even if it is only for one week. Now the show has the happy, working relationship of Nick and Jess, Schmidt’s troublesome juggling of the two women he cares about and the newfound freedom and cat ownership of Winston. New Girl has had trouble balancing its stories in the past, but is off to a strong start this season.