jason stives goes to the races…
I’m not too sure where New Girl was going in this week’s episode “A Father’s Love” but it wasn’t the most gratifying sign of the show’s direction right now. I know I have stayed positive in the direction that the show is taking but I would be very modest if I thought the show was in perfect working condition. The show has come a long way in almost two seasons and storylines have started and stopped at varying rates but the characters continue to prosper into new territories and the bond becomes stronger. That being said, certain aspects of each character need to be put to rest and some need to be further explored and this week was definitely pivoted on both those notions.
At the heart of the story’s title we had the re emergence of Nick’s father, Walt into his life. The casting director of the show was smart in casting Dennis Farina as Nick’s con man papa but what sets up well ultimately falls flat when Jess gets roped into one of Walt’s schemes involving the buying of a race horse and passing it off as a stud. Nick knows damn well of his father’s past and despite Walt’s plea of sincerity to Jess it never fully wins over the viewer and Nick’s reservations are justified. What this does, and thankfully Nick’s arc of recent has been perfect in his development, is provide us with a look into why Nick is the grouchy man he is. As he beats up the kitchen on a routine fix he explains exactly why he is the angry person he is and it’s because of mistrust of people like Walt and their inability to change.
It’s a bit of a stretch to go with Nick’s assumption that no one ever changes even after Jess realizes this after trying her best to mend Nick and Walt’s fences. The only reason it makes sense here is Nick really doesn’t change who he is he just gets a little better and much like last week’s episode his mild acceptance of the events that have happened feel positive even if deep down you know this is Nick suppressing his feelings. The Nick/Walt dynamic feels like a natural fit with Nick not being allowed to come along on deals because he sweats profusely when he lies but you wanted a little more on the comedy end and minus Jess and Walt’s shtick in trying to get the horse and Winston’s connection of referring to Walt as ‘papa’ there wasn’t much highlighted here.
In a complete reversal we get the emergence of a team between Schmidt and Robbie, who we find out is sort of stalking CeCe as she begins dating again. We are provided with some great comedic high points but also the poorest development of any storyline. Weeks ago I said CeCe and Schmidt needed to be back together but the trouble is Schmidt really hasn’t showcased much to show he is worth the time other than being Schmidt. I love Schmidt but his quirks and pension for being a revolving stereotype really doesn’t help in advancing his love life. It makes sense on some level to have them team up and this was definitely solidified with them marching to her apartment yelling about their united front. I loved the various ideas they came up with on how to win CeCe over and the rationality they tried to put with each one (Schmidt: We should build a Trojan horse/Robbie: In this economy?) and in the end having them be each other’s shoulders to cry on felt rather amusing but still very forced. Robbie to me never felt like much of a character and in truth felt like a reactionary for CeCe to the extreme nature of Schmidt. Having someone as dull as Robbie for a boyfriend just felt completely against character even if she proclaimed to want to break away from dating douche bags. The fact that they are still chipping away at Robbie feels unwarranted and like most storylines on New Girl I see this petering out after a few more episodes.
With every strength that New Girl has retained after almost two seasons there is always room for improvement and “A Father’s Love” felt like an example of where to start. Throw away the continuing storylines and put some rational thinking into these crazy characters. I’m not saying Hallmark gold or comedy with a logical end but something that doesn’t feel random. I don’t see this being a sign of things to come because with a varying room of staff writers on this show New Girl can always go places it’s just finding the constant groove that will allow the show to continue on for more seasons.
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Very Disappointing)