By the time a sitcom hits its fifth season, it knows what it’s all about. Or, it should. The creative forces behind New Girl certainly did, and Season 5 offers up generous portions of what we were already being served. Which is more funny stuff, of course.
Zooey Deschanel was missing for a half-dozen episodes in this season. Jess Day was on jury duty, on the series. In real life, Deschanel was out having a baby. Megan Fox, as bisexual pharmaceutical rep Reagan, fills in as the “new girl” while Jess is absent. The show does suffer a bit for Jess’ absence, but not enough to ruin the show for me. In fact, Reagan creates enough turmoil in our familiar group of friends to keep things interesting until Jess returns. While I’m not a big fan of Miss Fox, I thought she did a good job.
Schmidt and Cece are engaged to be married as the season opens, and their arc culminates in their wedding, where everything that can go wrong goes wrong, which is our tradition. Along the way there is wedding planning, a bachelor party in the desert, cold feet, dress shopping, dress alterations, and the like. You know, the usual sitcom sign posts.
Reagan, naturally, becomes a love interest for Nick. But, she leaves town after Jess returns. She does visit for the wedding. By that time, Jess realizes that she might still have romantic feelings for Nick as well. You know, the whole Ross-Rachel thing.
During the season, Winston develops feelings for his partner Aly. Unfortunately, Aly has a boyfriend, played by Kal Penn, who is a talent agent for animals. Winston and Aly end up dating before the end of the season, but not before Winston dates Rhonda (Sonequa Martin-Green), who enjoys pulling pranks as much as he does. As a “prank,” the two actually get married, which means Winston is a married man when he begins dating Aly.
Other things happen during the season as well.
Nick and Schmidt become co-owners of The Griffin, the bar Nick already worked at. At one point in the season, they face some stiff competition from a trendy bar opened by Connie, played by Busy Phillipps.
Before leaving for jury duty, Jess dates a new guy, Fred (Taran Killam), who she’s not really into, but she loves spending time with his parents, Flip and Nancy (Henry Winkler and Julie Hagerty). Turns out Fred’s parents think he’s boring, too.
Jess, while helping to get champagne for Schmidt and Cece’s wedding, falls for Gavin, a charming wine store owner played by Peter Gallagher. It turns out that Gavin is Schmidt’s father.
While the guys are at the bachelor party, Jess and Cece stay in and smoke marijuana. While still high, they go to a store to try to replace a bread maker given by Schmidt’s mother that they accidentally destroyed. They run into Aly, Winston’s cop partner at the store.
Jess briefly dates Sam again, but only after Sam gets a restraining order on her and then has it lifted. The relationship is doomed from the start, of course, and by the end of the season Sam is with an old medical school colleague who has unresolved romantic feelings for him.
All in all, typical stuff for New Girl. With all the sexual situations and talk, and casual drug use, this is still not a show for the kiddies. Most adults will find things that amuse them.
Firewater’s Season Grade: B+