The third season of New Girl was, for the most part, not as well-received as prior seasons. Some had issues with the relationship between Jess and Nick. Others thought the re-addition of Coach left them with too many characters to service. Well, the former of those “problems” has been resolved, as the fourth season begins with everybody, even Cece, single. The latter, however, is still prevalent, and that rears its head in “The Last Wedding.”
In standard sitcom fashion, this season premiere episode lets New Girl fans know what the gang has been up to during the summer. Mostly, they’ve been going to weddings, as people their age often do, but now winter is coming, and this is the last chance they will have to engage in a bit of sexy fun time—a staple of any wedding. It seemed like a great opportunity for the main characters to get into all sort of wacky antics, but, in truth, it was really only Jess who got to do much of anything.
Guest star Jessica Biel is, arguably, the second most prominently featured person in this episode, playing Jess’ rival for the affections of Reid Scott (better known as Dan from Veep). The gist of the premise is that Biel is attractive, smart, and the all-around perfect woman, while Jess is, you know, Jess—the woman who doesn’t get why all her talk about the five roommates forming a “sex fist” is disconcerting.
While there is plenty of funny material with this rivalry, the storyline just sort of peters out, which is the case with this entire episode. Nick and Schmidt’s bit about a potential four-way just ends abruptly. Coach’s little run doesn’t even have an ending. Winston is just there, and not even in his usual fun way. Of course, New Girl’s strength has never really been in storytelling. The series relies on jokes, and there are plenty of funny jokes here. Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, and Max Greenfield haven’t lost any of their excellence from one season to the next.
This episode does have a particular quality that works. New Girl would be better off if it embraced its inner Seinfeld more often, and recognized that these characters are—by and large—awful people, who say and do very funny things and have excellent chemistry together. Nevertheless, you still need to have some sort of plot momentum, which does not exist in “The Last Wedding.” A series of jokes can lead to a fine episode of TV like this one, but New Girl should do a little something more in the future. There’s still hope.
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.