In the first season of New Girl, the show laid out the elements of who these characters are: their intricacies and quirks. We learned so much about who they are, but not why they are the way they are. But in this second season, New Girl has started to unravel each character with explanations as to why they act they way they do. First we met Jess’ parents and Schmidt’s brother, and we’ve heard hints about Cece’s mother and her traditions, but now it’s Nick’s turn. Nick has so much anger, a lazy attitude and a downright dislike for anything breathing, so what could make such a man this way? With “A Father’s Love,” we get to see the father that helped make Nick the man he is today.
Like in “Parents,” New Girl is smart to not make its main characters just a combination of the parents who brought them up. It would be too easy for New Girl to make things that cut and dry. Rather, there were elements of Jess’ parents that she took on, but she was much more than just a combination of two separate attitudes. Nick’s father, played by Dennis Farina, has made Nick go in a completely different direction. Rather than having much similarity to his father, it almost seems like Nick has intentionally tried to become a different person because of his father.
Mr. Miller is a con man who always uses his charm to get what he wants and sneak out when things get close enough to hurt him, which usually hurts his son instead. It’s easy to see how Nick could become the pessimist that he is today, never trusting anyone since they will let him down. Before leaving Nick at the end of the episode, sneaking off after promising a day of father-son bonding time, he tells Jess that she needs to keep an eye on him now. This has always been New Girl’s statement: your real family is the one you create on your own.
Jess and Winston are along for the ride as Nick’s father purchases a horse as part of a con he gets Jess and Nick in on. But during this, Schmidt is spying on Cece, as she is dating someone her mother has hooked her up with. The great reveal here is that Robbie, Cece’s ex, is also stalking Cece. Robbie and Schmidt team up to create a team of white guys to stalk and stop Cece from dating someone else, or as Robbie puts it, “White Guy Power!”
“A Father’s Love” just seems a bit too jumbled throughout. The con involving the horse is somewhat muddled, and once again Winston is relegated to commenting on the actions of others. But Winston still gets some of the episode’s best moments, such as praising the Chicago Bulls hats Nick’s father brought home when they were kids that were misprinted to read, “Chica Go Bills.”
So far, it’s been interesting to see what the families of these main characters look like and how that has impacted them. It would be great to get more of this, in particular with Winston, who we know grew up with his mother, and to see the insane family that created Schmidt. We see again that season two of New Girl isn’t just about where you come from, but also that this season in the Nick Show, as we further learn more about him and as he steals the spotlight from everyone else, but in a good way. But in “A Father’s Love,” it’s a shame that the story gets in the way of being as effective in both of these aspects as it could have been.