Tuesday, April 10, 2018

New Girl 7x01 Review: "About Three Years Later" (Everything Old is New Again) [Contributor: Jenn]

"About Three Years Later"
Original Airdate: April 10, 2018

I've loved New Girl since the first moment I saw promos for it. Truthfully, the first few episodes were rocky — I have adored the pilot and always will, but Jessica Day was a bit insufferable in her naivete until the show learned how to navigate her personality and refrain from using descriptors such as "adorkable."  

The thing I've always admired about this FOX comedy is that it does character development so darn well and so darn right. There's a slow pacing to it that can often lead us to frustration — won't Nick ever grow up? Won't Schmidt stop caring what others think? Won't Jess find love already? But the frustration, I think, stems from the realism of the comedy. New Girl does have episodes where absurd things happen that would probably never occur in real life. But it also suspends our disbelief far enough to pull us back to the ground when it needs to. "Eggs" is startlingly realistic for women. "Re-Launch" is a perfect example of the fact that often, we don't have our lives together — even when we really, really want to. And, of course, "Girl Fight" is the most perfect example of an actual girl fight.

New Girl will probably stay in the Jenn Hall of Fame as one of my favorite comedies of all-time. And having seen six out of the eight final episodes, I feel even more certain of its place there. While I can tell you that the next few episodes will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions — and a few trips down memory lane — I can also tell you that this show's writing has never been tighter. When you only have eight episodes in which to conclude a story, it can feel daunting. Often, the result of a limited quantity of episodes is sloppy, frenzied pacing or odd decision-making. (Remember, this show is used to 22-23 episode seasons.)

But every episode in the final season builds on the previous one, and the stories themselves are propelled by the character pairings and groupings, not on the hijinks that occur. That makes the episodes even stronger because it allows us to connect even further with our favorite characters as we watch them step into a brand new — and final — chapter of their journeys. So I'll do my best to capture, in a critical way, what I love about each episode in my reviews... but bear in mind that they will also probably get a little more "feels"-y as we head into the series' home stretch.

For now, just kick back, relax, and press the fast forward button with me because we're about to head (about) three years into the future!


Betcha never thought you'd see that elevator again, did you? Betcha never thought that we'd see Bob Day in the premiere either, right? Even though we've flashed forward, we still need to take a little trip backward in the premiere — six months, specifically.

Six months prior to Ruth's birthday party, Nick asked Bob for his blessing to propose to Jess. And he still hasn't done it. But his reasoning isn't out of fear or lack of commitment. He actually had an elaborate plan that was set in motion during his European book tour. It's cute: Nick mailed the ring from Europe back to the loft. That evening, his plan is to open the mail with Jess, where she'll discover the ring in an envelope. Of course, this is New Girl and so shenanigans prevent Nick from actually being able to propose to Jess.

But it is not because he's afraid. For once in this series, Nick is absolutely sure of what he wants in life and what he wants is to spend forever with Jessica Day. It's Jess who is more on the hesitant end of the spectrum. Remembering what happened the last time they discussed the future, Jess assures Nick that she is happy with their life as is. She doesn't need a ring or a marriage in order to know that she wants to spend forever with Nick. It's not that this comment deters Nick from proposing, as it would have a few years ago. Instead, he is still committed to proposing to Jess — he just needs to make it perfect. And in his heart, he knows that Jess wants a ring and marriage; he's known her long enough to know that. He's also known her long enough to know that the only reason she would say she didn't is because she loves Nick that much.

I kind of love the character growth we see in Nick and Jess when they return three years later. They've been together since their kiss in the finale and have presumably gone through a lot over the past few years. A lot of their growth happened in those lost years, but when you remember "Mars Landing" in light of "About Three Years Later," the development is evident. Back in season three, Jess had her life planned out and was unwilling to compromise her vision of the future; meanwhile, Nick had no clue what he wanted out of life and just coasted day by day (with absurd futuristic scenarios to boot).

Now, Nick is sure of what he wants in his future and Jess is learning to loosen the reins on her life. What a beautiful role reversal.

And unlike other shows, which would put Russell — Jess' ex — into a season to stir drama or tension between our main couple, New Girl steers away from that tired, overused, and terrible cliche (THANK GOD) and allows Russell to simply exist in the couples' life, not dictate their emotional journey or serve as a road block. The most important thing we learn about Nick and Jess in the season premiere is that they love and support one another, want to be with each other, and nothing can or will change that fact.

That's the Nick/Jess I fell in love with.


My favorite thing about season seven is that we get to see Schmidt and Cece's relationship evolve and deepen as they raise a daughter together. She is the perfect mix of both her parents — sweet and sassy like her mother and hilariously precocious like her father. There is no unrealistic tension between the couple; they are really just trying their best to raise their child. And though we don't get a really big glimpse into Schmidt and Cece's marriage and home life in this episode (that will come in a few episodes, don't worry), what we DO witness is these two being the supportive besties to Nick and Jess, just like they always have been.

Even though they are parents, Schmidt and Cece don't quite have their lives figured out. They still have their own personality quirks (see: Schmidt planning Ruth's birthday, chastising a kid's outfit, and fixing the braids that Cece did on Ruth), but they are figuring the parenting thing out as they go along. They make mistakes and they make good choices and honestly, watching them parent the cutest little child in the world — their caramel miracle — and loving her well was a perfect start to the season.


Aly is my favorite character in season seven, and I don't even think I am joking about that. Somehow while pregnant, Aly has become the most hilarious character — and Nasim Pedrad is absolutely killing it. It's fun to remember season three, even though I know a lot of fans hated that particular year (and critics weren't too fond of it either). But I think season three is incredibly significant to contrast with season seven for all of our characters. Nick and Jess were together but didn't communicate well. Schmidt was the antagonist most of the season. And Winston? Well, Winston was just being a cartoonish goofball who occasionally dropped some words of wisdom.

In season seven, Winston is prepping to be a father. And though he hasn't lost the hilarious quirks that make him Winston (if you managed not to laugh during the flashbacks to Ruth's previous birthday parties, you're probably a robot), he's grown up into a person who's taken on more responsibility in life and is a supportive partner to his wife. We always hoped Winston would find love and it seemed, at every turn, like all he got was terrible women.

Aly is amazing. She's hilarious and serves as the perfect counterpart to her silly husband... but she's also silly herself. I mean, obviously the two take pregnancy photos together so they're THAT couple. But I love that they're THAT couple. I love that Winston and Aly will be more at the forefront of the season, and that we'll continue to get to know these two as a married couple.


"Have our lives changed? Sure they have."

And with that, Schmidt sums up what's different about New Girl this year: A lot, but also nothing. I love that I can re-watch the pilot episode of the series and the characters are still recognizable — some with the same quirks and temperaments. But years later, even though their circumstances have changed, these are the same characters we fell in love with. They're just better and different versions of themselves. I often refer back to the quote from How I Met Your Mother where Ted explains that "eventually, over time, we all become our own doppelgangers — you know, these completely different people who just happen to look like us."

You're going to see, over the next few episodes, examples of this. A lot of the things that made New Girl what it was are still here — hijinks and silly plots and witty one-liners and Schmidt pronouncing things weirdly. Things will be different though too: we spend more time at Winston/Aly's, and Schmidt/Cece's, in pre-schools and office buildings, and not as frequently at the loft. There's also now a little girl who calls Nick "Uncle Nick," which is the cutest thing ever.

You're going to see the same characters you know and love, just three years older and a little bit wiser. Their lives have changed... and yet sometimes things never change, like how the gang will convene in the loft for a celebration. Only this time, it's celebrating a three-year old's birthday.

The more things change, the more they stay the same sometimes. New Girl is back and it's going to be better than ever.

And now, bonus points:
  • WE'RE BACK, YOU GUYS. How excited are you?!
  • Things that will never get old: recurring gags on this show like the doorbell to Schmidt and Cece's house playing "La Cucaracha."
  • Of COURSE Ruth Bader Parekh-Schmidt's birthday party would be themed after women of history. I'm so down for all of the Schmidt, Cece, and Ruth scenes that you guys will get to see in the coming episodes.
  • I'll admit that I could not stop laughing at the flashbacks to Ruth's first birthday and second birthday.
  • "My butt is sore, my back is sore. I spend most of my day holding in farts."
  • Winston's impression of Schmidt was hilarious and spot-on.
  • Does anyone remember what Russell did? Did the show ever explicitly say? Also, how do you feel about Russell returning?
  • Let's see if I can name all of the pun drinks that they served at the birthday party: Vodka Sotomayor, Rosé the Riveter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • "I've been to Europe. I can do anything."
  • "How'd you even know we still lived here?" "I just knew."
  • "Oh my God. I am beautiful. Mother earth, creator. Giver of life. I'm a walking miracle with magic inside. Look at that body. And there is a HUMAN inside of it?! Why have you been so casual about that? This is crazy!"
  • I love that Nick copied Russell's home office.
  • Did everyone else melt at the little speech Nick gave to Bob? "Bob, I am in love with your daughter and I will be for the rest of my life. I want to ask her to marry me, but only with your blessing."
What did you think of "About Three Years Later"? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. I loved this review! And I LOVED the episode. While I was sad when I heard that this last season was only 8 episodes long, tonight showed me that this season will be the perfect close to a wonderful series and the best farewell to the fans.

  2. The episode was amazing! I really liked that even though we had a time jump, it didn't feel like we missed out on too many important things during the break. Also, yes Nick's speech to Bob was beautiful, and really allowed us to see how much he has grown. I am a little sad that the series is almost over, but I can tell that the final episodes, (and your reviews) are going to be really great!

  3. This is such a lovely review. I'm a massive New Girl and Nick and Jess fan and am so glad with the direction the show seems to be taking this season. Seeing all the characters in committed, loving and supportive relationships is refreshing and I can't wait to see where the series goes!