It's season 4... is she still a New Girl?
Four years in, the title is a complete misnomer, but after a brutal third season which featured a boring arc with Lindsay Weir and the failure of Nick and Jess (Nickess? Jick?), I'm happy to report that this is a new New Girl.
This episode was a fun (dare I say resonant?) half-hour about the pursuit of happiness. Jess and Mrs. Justin Timberlake (Jessica Biel) battle for the same guy, the charming Best Man, which brought me my absolute favorite cliche, the "Just Be Yourself" speech followed by "Here are some facts about me, if you don't like it, so what?" monologue. While both sitting on one toilet seat, Nick says to Jess, "Just be yourself. If he doesn't like Jessica Day, then there's something wrong with him," which my mom says to me frequently (but with my name, not Jessica Day) so it was fun to see it on TV. Jess proceeds to approach the Best Man and stay stuff like "I'm out of moves, I'm just going to be myself," and highlight some of her cute quirks. Jess delivers a speech in which she says, "My first crush was on a Batman cake, but my first sexual feelings were for teenage Simba." (I think a lot of us can say that. A lion voiced by Ferris Bueller? Hakuna matata.) I find that in earlier episodes of the show, Jess lacked depth as a character and seemed like a mere collection of twee habits, but the show and the character have evolved and have given her depth. While the defining feature of her character in the pilot was a cutesy naivete, the show has been giving her real problems to deal with, like losing her job and navigating an adult relationship, therefore forcing her to "grow up" beyond the raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
That said, the characters of New Girl, despite being in their late twenties, act like college kids, and this episode in particular felt like a Saturday night on campus. The fun of this show, and most sitcoms in general, is that the characters become your friends. Four years in, we like hanging out with these guys and being welcomed into their loft to play True American. The characters remain consistently clever, and unfortunately our real friends don't have a team of writers behind them. While watching this episode, if you replace "wedding" with "party" or "1020," it feels like your weekend, but is luckily funnier.
One thing that surprised me about college is that the cliches of hookup culture that I grew up watching on TV ("How you doin'?"), were actually not far from the truth. Many a party or bar night is a means to an end, and not to sound uber-Freudian, but the end is sexual intercourse. As these events unfold around us in our college years and through our twenties, it is fun to watch similar games be played on TV. With a sitcom, the banter is guaranteed to be witty and quick, and the fictional characters don't require that we comfort them with pep talks or Ben and Jerrys when things don't turn out as planned. Welcome back, New Girl, it's fun seeing the world through Zooey Deschanel's piercing blue eyes.