There are many sitcom plots that have appeared time and time again over the years, and this week’s episode of New Girl dug into that bag of tricks pretty deep. Nick basically found himself living in an episode of Three’s Company, as the core six were broken off into two-person pairs to deal with romance in a variety of fashions.
Jess is dating some guy—his existence beyond that is irrelevant, as New Girl has been taking more of a Seinfeld approach to relationships recently. But the fact that she and Nick still live together has scared off many a man and woman in Nick’s case. Naturally, when this begins to scare off Jess’ current beau, the only thing she can do is tell him Nick is gay. Thus, Gay Nick is born.
Fortunately, this was Nick’s idea in the first place, and he’s also really into making pretend. The situation is heightened when Nick brings a woman home, and she’s just too sleazy to care about Nick living with his ex, or, well, anything. Eventually, as is always the case with sitcoms, the lies fall apart, and the guy leaves. At least Nick and Schmidt got to kiss before that happened.
At the end of the episode, Nick and Jess begin to wonder if they are the “weird ass clowns” in all these relationships, and not the people they have been dating. Of course, that’s not true. They are the sitcom stars, and their dates are the wacky characters that show up and create drama. Sure, this dude was different, but only because New Girl wanted to hit a different beat. Are Nick and Jess strange, and morally dubious? Very much so, as this show is more Seinfeld than Friends, at least when it plays to its strong suits. However, they are not the crazy people in a sane world. They live with Winston, after all.
Speaking of which, Winston and Coach are off on their own to try and make their moves on the ladies across the hall we saw that one time before. Winston is playing the long game, doing all sorts of chores for the women. Coach just wants to jump right in. In the end, Winston’s way works out, because these women do need shelves, after all.
Last, and least, Cece is thinking about getting a breast reduction—a storyline that is introduced solely so that Schmidt can be all sad, and go through the five stages of grief. Max Greenfield will always find something funny to do within the stuff he gets to play, but he didn’t get a ton to do here. It was just a small thing to round out the episode.
This feels like the weakest episode of this season of New Girl so far. The wacky antics weren’t as wacky, and the jokes weren’t as funny. Nick trying to get into his Gay Nick character provided some laughs, and Winston’s weirdness was funny on occasion. However, overall, this episode felt a little flat and sparse. For whatever reason, this installment was called “Goldmine,” but, in an odd coincidence, a show that tends to mine gold out of even flimsy premises just couldn’t do it this week.
Chris Morgan is an Internet gadabout who writes on a variety of topics and in a variety of mediums. If he had to select one thing to promote, however, it would be his ’90s blog/podcast, Existential Parachute Pants. (You can also follow him on Twitter.)