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New Girl is better than "Table 34"

New Girl poster

Written by : published Thursday 7th February 2013

FOX's New Girl has changed direction for two of its leads right as February sweeps begins in their sophomore year. Last week, Nick (Jake Johnson) finally kisses Jess (Zooey Deschanel), releasing some of the long pent-up tension between the roomies. Jess, being in a relationship doesn't take it well, and neither does Nick, as what he does scares him.

Jess and Nick are not fully baked characters. They are in a state of flux, with Jess struggling to right herself during a career change, and Nick lacking, well, any direction. They aren't ready to be in a serious, committed relationship with each other. It's why they've been dancing around one another, instead of dating long ago. It's also the reason this can't work right now.

And yet, emotion is often messy. Love doesn't have to subscribe to a set of rules, nor fit in a predetermined box. Who's to say that these two crazy kids can't make things work, despite all of the odds stacked against them? Maybe deep affection is enough.

No, it's not. But it will sure be funny to watch them try to figure it out.

In this week's episode, "Table 34," much of the half hour is spent with Jess debating whether to tell her boyfriend, Sam (David Walton), about the kiss. The fact that she doesn't come right out and say it proves that she feels something in return for Nick. But Sam finds out anyway because Nick feels guilty, and in an attempt to make sure Jess is happy, blurts the confession, trying to reassure Sam that it meant nothing to Jess. Sam sees right through the lie, which Jess seems to be telling to herself as much as to Sam, and breaks things off.

It will be interesting to see exactly how this story develops in the next couple of weeks. Jess has some justifiable anger at Nick for ruining the good relationship she was in that won't just disappear. Nick may be totally in love with Jess, but he's not mature enough to lay things on the line. With Sam out of the picture, though, there isn't a huge barrier between them, and they may have to actually deal with their feelings in one way or another, either though that isn't a strong suit for either of them.

Or they may just hilariously avoid one another until it blows over. For now.

I love that Winston's (Lamorne Morris) reaction to hearing the news is to threaten Nick, telling Nick that he will be the one removed from the apartment, should the whole mess blow up. Winston and Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Jess's other two roommates, aren't crushing on her. They are simply protective big brothers, and they are willing to go to bat for her, even against their closest friend. It's a very sweet element of New Girl, and one played especially well this week.

Meanwhile, the other large arc unfolding is Cece's (Hannah Simone) quest to find an Indian husband, and Schmidt's attempts, despite his best intentions, to sabotage her mission. After all, he is still in love with her, and he cannot help himself trying to win her back.

The good news is, Cece appears to be softening. She loves Schmidt just as much as Schmidt loves her, but Schmidt hurt her. It wasn't on purpose, and Schmidt thought he was doing what was right for Cece, but the fact remains that he wronged her quite severely, and it's not something that she can just let go of. Given time, though, she probably eventually will.

The fact that Cece and Schmidt fall into bed at the end of "Table 34" is not a sign that their drama is over. Cece still wants an Indian husband, and hasn't fully forgiven Schmidt. But it is a move in the right direction, re-stoking the coals of their passion before they can burn out. I figure this will get stretched until the season finale, and then they'll be a united couple forever.

It does suck for Cece that she is placed at Table 34 because of her lack of education and full-time employment. It worries me that this is setting her up to settle for Schmidt because she doesn't think that she can do better. But hopefully that will pass, and she'll be with Schmidt for the right reasons again.

All of the antics at the Indiana marriage convention in "Table 34" are pretty darn funny. Yes, it doesn't quite gel that the Indians would allow their event to be invaded by a bunch of white (and one black) people, who clearly aren't there to engage in the spirit of the occasion. But it's a unique setting I can't remember ever seeing before on television, and it allows things to play out in a place ripe for comedy. Plus, how great is Jess and Nick's newspaper-tape table?

New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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