The life and times of Jessica Christopher Day was on full display this week, as the whole gang headed to her hometown of Portland, Oregon in order to celebrate the wedding of her dad (played by Rob Reiner) to her soon-to-be stepmother (Kaitlin Olson). It is a journey through her past, while her present takes a blow.
Ryan is gone. For good. This is not a surprise after the events of last week. It’s anticlimactic, sure, but that’s better than some clumsy attempt to make a big to do of the end of Jess and Ryan’s romantic relationship. We don’t even hear him on the telephone, and he doesn’t show up to Portland for the wedding. So, while her dad finds love, she loses it. She cares, but does the viewer care?
Thus, we get the whole crew joining Jess on a tour of the city, all sunshine and smiles (Winston is the sunshine). We get Jess and her mom (Jamie Lee Curtis) crying over Ryan not showing up. We see Jess’ childhood bedroom, which apparently has been preserved just as it was when she was a child, which is weird. Get yourself some storage space, Jamie Lee Curtis. However, it leads to funny jokes about Lilith Fair and Jordan Catalano, so in the end it’s worth it.
Everything culminates in Jess stalling for time at a big public event. Before, this led to her dressing as Elvis and singing “In the Ghetto,” which is probably the greatest moment in the history of New Girl. This time, she sings “Ave Maria” very slowly, and then does it again as Cookie Monster. Which, you know, is pretty good, but it’s not “In the Ghetto.”
There’s also a bunch of middle-aged ladies doing acid and dancing around. It was very much sitcom drug trip type stuff, and it’s all a bit silly, but oh well. The marriage does go off without a hitch, and that’s that. More importantly, it feels like the show is teasing some Jess and Nick rekindling. It’s subtle, especially compared to the overt stuff going on with Schmidt and Cece, which somehow only Winston can see. This is concerning, if only out of fear it could be repetitive and just a bad cover version of the original romances for both these couples. Sure, Sam and Diane worked, but if New Girl felt that Jess and Nick didn’t work as a couple before, why try it again so soon? Of course, at the moment this is all rumor and innuendo. Be advised. Be on edge.
The Cece and Schmidt stuff plays out with Cece meeting her school girl crush, and he’s all dreamy, but Cece says she has feelings for somebody else—that somebody being Schmidt. Schmidt is still dating Fawn Moscato, a delightful character who will hopefully stay around a little while. Also, Winston feels a bit off in this episode, even by his standards.
By the end of “Oregon,” when everybody is at Crush Pond throwing their rocks into the pond to try and ensure true love’s kiss or whatever, it had been a pleasant episode of New Girl. Still, for an episode that involved a trip out of town, and a wedding, and a breakup, it felt somewhat uneventful. It had its moments, and those lovers of love will probably be happy with it. Everybody else, though, probably could have used a few more jokes, and a few less moments spent on Jamie Lee Curtis straight tripping.
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.)