When Jess started living in the loft back in the beginning of New Girl, it didn’t take long for the group to accept her as one of the family. These first few weeks are where the show coined the obnoxious term “adorkable,” where even though her awkward ways could make her a pain at times, but she still won the guys over. According to “Basketball,” she found the way into each of their hearts quite easily. With Nick, it was food; Schmidt, clothes; and Winston, onesie pajamas (because he likes the butt flap). But now that Coach has moved back into the loft, for the first time Jess truly has to work to earn the affections of one of her roommates.
The third season of New Girl has really focused on how people evolve and grow through their relationships, friends, jobs, etc. Granted, that’s been a major focal point of the entire series, yet this season is really zeroing in on that. Between “Basketball” and last week’s “Clavado En Un Bar,” New Girl is setting up each of its characters to experience major changes in this back half of the season.
The main change going on in “Basketball” is the evolution of Jess and Coach’s relationship. When Coach moved back in, he couldn’t even remember Jess’ name. Now, several weeks later, he still hasn’t warmed up to her much, despite her constant attempts at friendship. So Jess decides to take interest in basketball, pretending to be a fan of the Pistons, which drives Nick—a Bulls fan—insane. This leads him to cut off sex until she quits being a Pistons fan, with the two battling it out at withholding.
Jess’ plan does eventually work, Nick and Jess of course get over their sports conflict, and Nick does eventually give Jess his … ”Vitamin D” … but more than anything, this means Coach is now a fully integrated member of the group once again. Considering that Damon Wayans Jr. is signed on for the rest of the season (and possibly longer), it’s probably a good thing that all of Jess’ friends are on the same page about her.
In “Clavado En Un Bar,” we saw new job prospects for Jess, Cece and Winston, and in “Basketball,” we get a further look at the next step in the careers of these friends. Cece’s new job as a bartender makes her a more natural fit in the group, as she has some reason to be around other than that she’s Jess’ friend or that she’s sleeping around with Schmidt.
Since Schmidt isn’t spending his days pining after Cece as much anymore, he’s throwing himself into his job and letting Winston shadow him for job inspiration. Schmidt also has to show around the new guy, Ed, an older gentleman who ends up stabbing Schmidt in the back. Yet in the end, Schmidt gets the upper hand, showing that Ed is too old to use current technology, a plan he devised after hearing the possibly older Nick talk about how he believes technology works.
The possibility of Schmidt moving up in his company and getting a bigger head about himself could be enjoyable, but the interesting aspect here is Winston, who figured out Ed’s true nature before anyone else. Due to his instincts, his mustache and his “Denzel Washington in Training Day” impression, Winston now plans on attempting to become a cop. I mean, sure, why not. There’s no real reason to think he’d be a good cop until this episode, but I’m fine with seeing how this plays out.
Like “Clavado En Un Bar,” “Basketball” integrates everyone into a closer group while giving us a fun look at what is to come. Along the way, we get the always enjoyably playful arguments of Nick and Jess, Nick being an old man who doesn’t understand how his flip phone works and Schmidt pronouncing avocados “avacadas.” We’re on our way to an interesting second half of a season (WITH PRINCE, GUYS!) and the set up definitely makes the future seem promising.