TV Recap: New Girl, ‘Party Time’ (Super Bowl Special)

NEW GIRL: Logo.

Photo Credit:  Alexei Hay/FOX
Photo Credit: Alexei Hay/FOX

For years I refused to watch New Girl. The show’s trailers never appealed to me. Maybe it was my lack of faith that network television could create a sitcom that would jive with my sense of humor. Maybe I was burnt out from the non-stop love-fest that the media and, most importantly, those dreaded hipsters had for the show’s “adorkable” star Zooey Deschanel. Whatever the reason, I adamantly was against watching this show.

My stubborn refusal and unreasonable aversion towards the show ended the moment I caught this season’s premiere after Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s debut. New Girl isn’t some hipster’s delight or some heady situational comedy that only the critics would dig — this was a fun, sometimes silly, side splitter of a sitcom that revels in its own randomness.

Photo Credit: FOX
Photo Credit: FOX

Tonight’s post-Super Bowl episode, “Party Time,” which featured a very rare network television appearance by the legendary Prince, was the crown jewel in New Girl’s crown of random, silly comedy. It was an episode that fired on all comedic cylinders and if you didn’t laugh at this episode, there might be something legitimately be wrong with you.

The plot of the episode revolves around Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and CeCe (Hannah Simone) scoring two spots on a guest list to an exclusive shindig at Prince’s house. As the ladies get into their limo to head out to the Purple One’s party, Nick (Jake Johnson) blurts out that he loves Jess. Her response? The dreaded “finger guns” and the limo pulls away. Not “I Love You Too” but Finger Guns. Nick and Jess are both stunned at the revelation and spend the episode trying to figure out how to resolve the situation. Luckily, Prince is there to save the day.

Prince actually makes the entire episode. Yes, there are so many funny moments in the episode, but they are driven by the fact the gang might meet Prince. It’s like they’ve lost their minds and will stop at no lengths to get into the party — including Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Coach’s (Damon Wayans Jr.) “Fire and “Ice” routine (which might be the best part of the episode), Nick’s Trojan Horse inside a group of models and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) climbing trees and discovering Prince’s discarded purple frisbees.

Photo Credit: FOX
Photo Credit: FOX

Yet, it’s Prince that makes it all work. Usually when a popular musician, whether of the moment or of iconic status, appears on a TV show the results are usually stiff, awkward and usually embarrassing (there are some exceptions — Sinatra on Magnum P.I. comes to mind). But the legendary singer/guitarist kills it, embracing his own “Prince-ness” by often poking fun at himself. Yes, he does ask Jess if she wants pancakes. He has a great five minute montage with Jess that’s just too good for words. Also, The musical number he orchestrates with the cast, which could’ve come off really sloppy (which it was in reality) came off genuine and touching as you know the gang’s starstruck mentality comes from the fact that this is Prince damn it! When does this guy ever make an appearance…anywhere?

New Girl knocked it out of the park tonight. From a random cameo from L.A. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw to Coach getting turned on by his car’s MPG efficiency, this episode was near tear-inducingly funny. Some have criticized this show as not being as strong as previous years, but as a first-timer this show is just a terrifically hilarious show that keeps me in stitches for a good 30 minutes. If you’re like this reviewer was and have avoided New Girl, tonight’s episode is a great jump-off point. You don’t need any backstory to catch you up — you just need to sit back, relax and let this show work its hilarious magic on you.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites