TV review: I admit, I was wrong about “New Girl”

By Columbus Alive
From the October 31, 2013 edition

When I’m wrong I’ll admit it. I made a mistake on “New Girl.” I harshly panned the pilot when the series premiered in 2011, and while I still don’t like that episode, “New Girl” has grown to become one of the best shows on television.

Initially, “New Girl” was dominated by Zooey Deschanel’s cutesy, randomly singing pixie girl, Jess. It was way too over-the-top and turned me off. Jess has been toned down since. The character has become more realistic while still offering laughs.

While I appreciate the course-correct on Jess, the men on “New Girl” present three of the funniest, strangest and most likable characters on television.

Lamorne Morris’ Winston is a big upgrade to the pilot’s Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.). Hopefully, Wayans Jr.’s return Tuesday doesn’t hinder this trio’s chemistry.

Max Greenfield was nominated for an Emmy in the first season for his portrayal of douchebag-with-a-heart-of-gold Schmidt. Greenfield really does a lot to round out Schmidt and deserves awards recognition.

But Jake Johnson’s Nick Miller is the reason I’ve come to love “New Girl.” His surly, often drunken, persona is utterly hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking. As his relationships continually failed in the first two seasons, Nick became an amazingly sad, but hilarious and wonderful character.

[SPOILER ALERT]

When Nick finally kissed Jess — and they eventually became a couple — I thought it could ruin the series’ dynamic. It hasn’t. This current season hasn’t hit the heights of Season 2, but it’s been strong.

Last week’s Halloween episode was one of my favorites this season because it was another fine moment in the show’s best relationship: Nick and Schmidt. As best friends, the two are obviously close. But when they fight (and eventually make-up), it’s brilliant — Nick’s “Gave me cookie, got you cookie!” may be the funniest (and most oddly heartwarming) thing I’ve seen in years.

So yes, I was wrong about “New Girl.” If there are any of you who’ve missed out on this show for whatever reason, start marathon-ing it on Netflix. Now!