Did you know that Jess has a sister? No? Well she does, and Linda Cardellini made her come to life this week.
Abby comes off as the anti-Jess at first glance. She’s wild, rebellious, and hey, she doesn’t have a fringe! But as soon as she and Jess start squabbling and laughing about their mother… Everything becomes so easy.
“Sister” is a setting up episode, really, and so while what we see of Abby is good, the awkward things – like the fact that we’ve never heard of Abby before, and that the gang hasn’t met her, only heard about her in the background – have to be mentioned. But beyond that, Jess and Abby seem incredibly natural and are a lot of fun to watch, both of them trying to shrink away from the title of being their mother’s “baby” in different ways. And in the end they both do, Jess making a decision without her mother regarding Abby’s future: she can stay in the loft, instead of being sent back home to Portland.
So while Jess is trying to keep Abby away from the loft, Nick’s busy wondering why Jess is ashamed of him (when really, it’s her sister that she’s embarrassed off, constantly causing chaos wherever she goes) all while trying to help Schmidt pick up a girl at a Bar Mitzvah. She’s the daughter of Schmidt’s Rabbi, the one that hates him, and so yeah, no, the plan doesn’t exactly go smoothly.
But the point of Schmidt’s wingman-mission isn’t actually to get the girl at all. He’s trying to regain something with Nick that he felt had been lost: their friendship. Lately, whenever Schmidt’s been ‘prowling’ for women, all he’s really been doing is trying to connect with his friends. He talks in monologues now, and is clearly, let’s be honest, lonely. He lives across the hall from the gang, but it’s a gang that are all starting to have their own lives, too. Nick, Schmidt’s useless disaster of a friend, has a steady girlfriend, and is starting to have a steady life. He has something more important that his friendship with Schmidt now, and while that’s not a bad thing, it clearly feels a little jarring.
After all of the big talk about change in the beginning of season three for Schmidt, the writers are actually doing it here and now, in subtle, yet impressive ways. Schmidt, ever-vulnerable, insecure Schmidt is feeling lonely and left out, and although I don’t know where it’s heading, it’s interesting to watch. (Funny, too, as Schmidt talks long-windedly of his future wedding, and children, and just far too much, when he and Nick are planning their heist of sorts.)
It’s not just Nick with the girlfriend now either. Bertie invites the gang around for a dinner of, specifically, twelve soups. But despite Winston’s persuading – “Don’t think of it as a chore!” – only Coach and Cece end up going, in what then becomes a heated dinner where they argue about their one-episode, five-minute relationship. And how Cece essentially ended it – or rather, stopped it from ever starting. The two, after attempting to recreate the magic that happened last time and failing grandly, seem to agree on just being friends. For now, at least, anyway.
“Sister” isn’t as funny as the past few New Girl episodes, but it’s certainly got purpose, and the role of Abby in the loft – “For a few weeks… A month.. Six months, tops” – has a lot of promise. Especially when, at the close of the episode, Abby reveals to Nick that it’s her Jess is ashamed of, not him.
Bring on “Sister II,” basically.
- Jess looking for Abby: “Have you seen a girl that looks like me, but with chaos in her eyes?”
- The real reason Cece didn’t text Coach back: “You text me ‘Happy Monday!’ What do I do with that?!”
- Abby Day and Nick Miller are going to have some fun: “Mom was right, he does have an uptown butt.”