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New Girl Review: “Menus” Really Misses its Delivery

By on November 13, 2013
Jake Johnson as Nick. Image © FOX

Jake Johnson as Nick. Image © FOX

By Nicole Bozzani
In life everyone has a driving force. Something that makes us feel important. Something that makes us feel they are making a difference. It could be anything from rescuing animals to feeding the homeless. For Jess and co it means ocean conservation and keeping people in their peak physical form.
But what happens when an overload of Chinese menus is thrown into the mix?

In last night’s New Girl episode “Menus,” Nick orders too much Chinese takeout from a menu slipped under the door. Both Coach and Jess take notice of this, and Coach decides he’s going to train Nick in order to keep him from gaining “the boyfriend 15.” Meanwhile, Jess tries to help her students learn about the ocean with Ocean Conservation Day, or OCD, but when rejected turns her fight towards a new enemy: Brian and his flier happy Chinese food restaurant, Hop Foo. Elsewhere Schmidt is still coming to terms with his new solo living situation across the hall. Can Jess win against the overzealous marketing practices of a Chinese restaurant? And what will happen to the boys and their zany workout plan?

Jake Johnson was the true star of this week’s episode. Johnson’s ability to imbue something as simple as jumping rope or eating a dumpling with comedic quality has been a real saving grace on the show in recent episodes.

Let’s get to the real bread and butter of the episode here. Some funny moments aside (Coach and Nick working out to a Britney Spears jam, and the reappearance of Outside Dave), it was hard not to switch channels half way through “Menus.” There were just so many not-so-great things that outweighed the good. Coach puts the moves on Cece because of course that should be a thing. (Can’t wait to see how Schmidt reacts to that.) Speaking of Schmidt, he still hasn’t come to terms with living across the hall, and he’s still living out of boxes and trying to spy on them with alarm clock cams. It’s hard not seeing the classic Nick and Schmidt banter and buddy situations. Characters grow and change. That’s fine, but now Schmidt just seems like some sad old man living alone with his principles. It’s hard to remember why Schmidt is even doing this entire thing in the first place. Jess trying to expose her students to the wonderful ocean ecosystem and teach them how to conserve comes from a great place, but is replaced with a slightly more frivolous cause: takeout menus.

In the end, despite it all, everything seems to work out, and everyone in apartment 4D is one big happy family once again. Where can the gang go from here? Will Coach put the moves on Cece again? Will Nick ever stop eating dumplings? How have some kids in Los Angeles never seen the ocean before? These questions and more to be answered at a later time, but until then the lessons provided in “Menus” seems to be “Wherever you go … there you are!”

Time to get some Chinese takeout.