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New Girl’s “Coach” Doesn’t Quite Reach the Endzone

By on November 6, 2013
Pictured: Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) Co.  Cr:  Greg Gayne/FOX

Pictured: Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

By Nicole Bozzani

When audiences first met Jessica Day two seasons ago she was attempting to secure a place as the new roommate in apartment 4D. There was Schmidt and Nick and then there was Coach. Coach who had a bit of a problem relating and talking to women, and who wore bike shorts to a Cowboys and Indians themed charity event. And just like that…Coach disappeared. That is until now.

Coach returns for a visit after his relationship has ended and he’s ready to party his troubles away. Unfortunately for Nick, Schmidt, Winston, and even Jess, that’s not exactly what they had in mind. Nick and Jess get into a disagreement about whether they are boyfriend and girlfriend because they haven’t had “the discussion.” A discussion that leads Jess, with a push from Cece, to try out the single life with Artie, the owner of a coffee shop she frequents. Meanwhile the boys, Coach, and a reluctant Nick, head off to a strip club for a night of partying. Will Cece realize what she has pushed Jess into? Will the loft dynamic survive a little shaking up from Coach?

After two years, “Coach” drafts a character viewers only met for a short time. One episode to be exact. There’s not much to know or remember about Coach leading up to his return to the big game. He was here one minute and gone the next, but one thing is known: he can’t remember Jess. It’s a funny moment playing on the simple fact some people won’t even remember Coach. It’s helplessly self aware. It’s no fault of Damon Wayne’s Jr who is, at times, very entertaining as Coach. At other times it’s hard not to feel like he’s there almost as a “remember this was a thing”  cue to the audience. In fact, the dynamic of the cast of characters in New Girl has become so engrained in the lives of its viewers it’s easy to forget he ever existed. That said, the revisit from the ghost of roommates past made for an interesting shake up and not in the way one might expect.

 Co.  Cr:  Greg Gayne/FOX

Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

Highlights from “Coach” range from more growth in this new “relationship Nick” and the appearance of a new form of currency: Bunny Money. Let’s start with Bunny Money. Who knew that a strip club could be its own tiny city with an economy? It has an ATM which takes real dollars and dispenses them as it’s own form of spendable currency. Sadly, for lovable Winston, his two thousand dollars in Bunny Money are only redeemable at the bar, the gift shop, or their sister club in Florida. Yes, a gift shop. FYI to fashionistas everywhere, they sell pants with snaps. Meanwhile, Schmidt is still struggling with his emotions. He may have moved across the hall but he’s constantly at the loft and finally admits how miserable he is not living there. It’s hard deciding whether to hug him or scream at him for being so ridiculous and not moving back in with his loft family. Finally, there’s the developments in “relationship Nick.” He wants nothing more than to be with Jess and he respects her. He’s acting (somewhat) grown up and even is being responsible where he normally wouldn’t. Even when Jess puts him to the test, while unnecessary, he becomes defensive, takes charge, and gets what he wants.

On the other hand, the fact Nick and Jess haven’t had the “boyfriend/girlfriend” discussion is sort of a moot point. It’s clear they want nothing more than each other, and it feels fairly unnecessary to bring up an official conversation. Coach makes everyone act differently than they normally would. Seeing how much they have moved in two years in comparison with him is uncomfortable and sad. In a span of a few minutes, Coach’s life seems disappointing, but suddenly Nick Miller, voice of reason, speaks the truth and then there’s a campy resolution. And like a buddy comedy from the 80s and despite all their newfound differences they can still run away from cops in a zig zag formation? It’s surprising there wasn’t a group high five in there somewhere. Another let down was Jess’ behavior through the entire episode. She is, and has been, continuing to tell Nick to grow up and be an adult. She’s annoyed he is in his thirties and out drinking at a strip club on a Tuesday, yet, not only is she also drinking but she’s being just as immature as he is. Any referee would call a flag on this play. Adult relationships aren’t like junior high, and some elaborate plan to get back at him for not calling her his girlfriend is just really annoying.

After a two year absence of Coach, and his bike shorts, his latest visit shook things up for the gang in apartment 4D. Will Winston ever be able to spend his 2,000 dollars in Bunny Money? Why does a strip club have a restaurant with take out? Can Schmidt and Cece ever stop hating on the opposite sex? Will Schmidt finally leave his “room of vacancy” and return to the loft? As for this week’s New Girl lessons remember relationships are not a prison but work trumps girls because jobs are forever. Oh, and it’s probably best not to order take out from a strip club restaurant. If those exist …