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New Girl - Episode 3.08 "Menus" - Review

I have a confession to make: Coach is not working for me. *awaits being pelted with rotten food and yanked off the stage* I wasn’t quite as excited as the rest of the internet seemed to be about his imminent return, but I was looking forward to it. They guys have a really long history with Coach as well and I was looking forward to some great flashbacks (cause they’re always awesome). What I wasn’t anticipating was present-day Coach just not working for me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate “Menus.” There were some pretty great moments in it and the ensemble stuff was great. But there were a lot of just ok moments in it as well, most of which involved Coach.

I guess we need to start at the beginning and break things down. Jess is trying to get transportation money to take her class to the ocean, since she’s teaching them about conservation and many of them, even with living in LA, haven’t even seen the ocean (which is a travesty). Nick, always the pessimist (but also right in this case), doesn’t want her to get her hopes up too high so she won’t be so disappointed when it gets shot down. After her proposal is inevitably shot down, Jess does what Jess does best: gets a bit crazy. The target of her ire ends up being a Chinese restaurant that has been sliding an outrageous number of takeout menus under their door. Conservation Girl to the rescue!

The number of takeout menus has also led Nick to ordering Chinese for breakfast. Coach, who has moved back into the loft (and into Schmidt’s old room), decides to get Nick into shape. Nick actually agrees, which makes Schmidt jealous since he’d been trying to get Nick to work out for years. The workout montage was definitely my favorite part of the episode and the only part where I really enjoyed Coach. Nick decides he’s happier being a dumpling-er versus a doer and returns to his Chinese eating ways.

Meanwhile, Jess thinks she had a great conversation with the front man, Brian, at Hop Foo, and the menu issue is taken care of. Alas, a new menu is slid under the door and Jess runs after the Menu Man, to find out that Brian was the manager and he flat out lied to her. Crazy Jess turns into Super Crazy Jess, and threats go a-flying. Ultimately, Winston’s MSG allergy gives Jess the ammo she needs. She storms into the restaurant, proving that they’re lying about being MSG free and promises to be back in every day until the menus stop. Brian agrees to stop distributing the menus and fires Menu Guy right in front of Jess.

Both Jess and Coach are feeling very dejected at this point and are eating their feelings with Hop Foo's food. Nick steps in with a pep talk of sorts, but ultimately figures out a solution to Jess's whole situation - and they manage to get Hop Foo to agree to transport her kids to the beach.

I guess my ultimate problem with Coach stems from this scene – he’s a douche and we already have our douche in Schmidt. Schmidt, however, is a lovable douche for the most part. I don’t have that feeling with Coach. If Schmidt weren’t so lovable, I’d probably really dislike him. They try to make us feel sympathy for Coach by harking everything back to still being down about his breakup, but it’s a lot harder to get that end result when you’re trying to create two of the same character type. Plus, he’s mean to my BFF. Now that’s not to say that with some additional characterization I could grow to love him. Right now, I’m just a little bit skeptical that they can pull off two Schmidt type characters successfully.

I also have been noticing the absence of CeCe throughout these last few episodes. She is another character that could definitely use some additional characterization and/or growth. I understand that a lot of her absence can be attributed to a desire to not be around Schmidt and the breakup situation. However, she’s obviously willing to pick up some food and drop it by, so get her back in the action some more.

In a related note, having Schmidt be isolated from the group is weird. It did lead to some hilarious moments (his workout dance, the nanny cam alarm clock, and his conversation with Outside Dave), but it's still odd. Schmidt isn't ready to grow up that much, and I'm glad that Jess gave him back his key at the end of the episode. Schmidt needs to be a part of the action, even if he thinks he doesn't.

Side Notes:
--- OCD Rules!!!

--- P.E.A.NUTS! That was pretty amusing.

--- Winston finding a wheelchair in a ditch. I love him so.

--- Outside Dave is just awesome.

So with that I turn it over to you. Am I just being really hard on Coach or are other people not feeling him either? Did you enjoy this episode or did it leave you wanting more?

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