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NEW GIRL Goes "All In"

New Girl poster

Written by : published Wednesday 18th September 2013

FOX's New Girl begins its third season with "All In," picking up right where last spring's finale left off. Romantic entanglements are the subject at hand, and who can make it work with whom? It takes the full half hour before the dust even begins to settle, reveling in the chaos that began in May.

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) are finally together! But they quickly decide that going back to the apartment will kill their relationship. That is the place of old habits and busybody friends. They have to get away from that to give themselves time to figure things out and allow their love to bloom. So they go to Mexico, even though they have very little money.

Of course, they are only fooling themselves. Lots of people would love to run away with a special somebody, but most don't because it's not a realistic scenario. For this pair, it doesn't take too long for the world to right itself and their glow to be beaten away. As such, Nick ends up in "jail" for trespassing at a hotel, and Jess runs home to get the guys to help her.

What Nick and Jess don't seem to realize is, if they're meant to be, it'll work out no matter where they are. If they can't stay together in the apartment, their home, the place where they're most comfortable, they certainly can't do so on vacation for long. They are driven by fear, not logic.

Nick and Jess have messy lives and are unstable people. Perhaps putting them together is just asking for a combustion. Yet, sometimes the scales will balance when the chemistry starts, and I do think these two crazy kids have a chance. They just have to put effort into it, not give into their doubts and not be so scared.

Jess and Nick's absence affects Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris) more than expected, the latter having issues with a puzzle, and the former toying with two women. It turns out, although it always seems like Nick is the lost one in the apartment, he also is necessary to keep the others on track. Part of it is that Schmidt and Winston have a purpose in helping Nick, focusing them, and part of it is likely that Nick does give sound advice for others, even if he can't heed such wisdom himself.

Winston's situation is the funniest part of "All In." He loves puzzles, but is really terrible at them, perhaps owing to the color blindness he doesn't know he has. The result is him going naked and kooky in frustration, forcing pieces where they don't belong, and even adding nuts to the mix. I don't know why, but this strangeness is amusing, especially when surrounded by the turmoil of everyone else.

Schmidt, on the other hand, is at a real "man up" crisis point. Unable to choose between Cece (Hannah Simone) and Elizabeth (Merritt Wever), he picks both, telling each that they are the one for him. I understand that it will be really hard to hurt a woman he loves, but instead he's causing both pain with his schtick, as neither will be the least bit understanding when they find out about his charade.

Juggling two gals is an old tale, yet somehow New Girl doesn't feel like a retread. Perhaps it's the rawness of Schmidt's emotional state, the way Greenfield makes you root for the man-child even when he's doing wrong, still hoping he can find a way to score a happy ending. We don't want to see this blow up in his face because he's not malicious, just too tenderhearted. He's not doing this for himself, he's doing it for them, as twisted as that is.

"All In" isn't particularly funny, other than the Winston subplot, but I liked it anyway, and here's why. It's an installment that picks at the group dynamics and helps us learn more about the characters. There are no distracting guest stars or outside plots. We see some of their vulnerabilities laid bare, and they do move us, even when doing stupid things. As the series ages into a third year, it's important to work on these elements, and not just try to deliver jokes. I'm glad to see the writers are on top of it.

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

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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