On “Kryptonite,” the second episode of Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl, her character Jess deals with a new beginning by trying to get her stuff back from her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. But with only their second episode, New Girl also seems to be setting up a new beginning, by already replacing one character and using a new opening and a plot that reinforces the ideas of the pilot.
Let’s start with the newest character, Winston. Last week, Schmidt and Nick lived with Coach, played by Damon Wayans Jr., but this week we find out that Coach was only subletting the apartment while Winston was playing pro basketball…in Latvia. In reality, Wayans’ other show Happy Endings was unexpectedly picked up for a second season, hence the “return” of Winston.
Winston’s return begins a fight for power with Schmidt over who is the top dog of the apartment, and essentially a battle for who gets the biggest room. When the three guys get together, it is easy to see that even though we know just as much about Winston as we did about Coach, he still is playing catch-up compared to the other two actors, as the least fleshed-out character and at this point, the least interesting one.
This all occurs while Jess is quickly running out of weather-appropriate clothes, due to her stuff still being at her cheating ex’s place. In an effort to cheer Jess up, the guys throw her a basketball. Big mistake, as Jess goes for a chest pass and ends up with a basketball in the apartment’s flat screen. The guys find out that Jess also has another TV at her ex-boyfiend’s, prompting the four of them into action.
The only problem is that Jess has a weakness when it comes to her ex: his flowing locks of hair. When she sees it, she goes along with whatever he suggests, including driving him and his new girlfriend to the airport. TV-less and desperate, Jess attempts to steal a TV from a pawn shop, but in such an unthreatening, Jess-like way that the pawn shop worker doesn’t move an inch.
Forced to watch TV on their phones, the gang helps Jess go to her ex’s place to retrieve her stuff and the TV. After a few practice laps driving around his block, Jess goes to confront her ex. She starts off strong and then sees the hair again. She goes in for a hug, but quickly breaks his spell by smashing a plant he refused to water for her. She runs into the house, grabbing everything of hers, except for one T-shirt: a shirt commemorating a jam making session, or JAM-boree, which her boyfriend is wearing. When he refuses to give it back, her three new roommates back her up, threatening him until he eventually gives in, causing Jess to admit that she loves her new roommates as they leave, TV and JAM-boree shirt in hand.
“Kryptonite” lets Schmidt settle into his douchebag role and really do some hilarious things with it. A majority of the night’s great moments came from Schmidt, with his thumb ring and love for “Curly Sue”. “Kryptonite” also sets up once again that Nick is the lovelorn guy who will help Jess in any way he can. Jess tones down the “adorkability” that FOX advertises, while still staying true to her character.
With only the second episode, it seems like the show is trying to give the guys more to do. Last week I said that hopefully the show wouldn’t de-evolve into a show about how Jess can’t be happy without guys, but instead it seems like the guys can’t have a story that isn’t resolved without Jess in tow. This may seem unfair in the second episode, but if it becomes a trend, the show’s formula could get old faster than it deserves. Thankfully it seems like New Girl is finding its comedic core, focusing less on the antics of Jess to rely on laughs and more on the awkward dynamics between the four roommates. If the following episodes can fall out of the similar story structure and keep the great comedy coming, New Girl could become much more than it appears on the surface.