How many times can you say a show’s back before those words are rendered meaningless? I strapped on my rose-colored glasses at least three times last season, but my optimism ultimately proved futile. And yet, like White Snake, here I go again… New Girl‘s season 4 premiere was really good, y’all. Creator Liz Meriwether promised to sex things up after a lackluster third season, and even EW’s Jeff Jensen urged (in his A review), “Whatever you did over the summer, New Girl, do it every week.” As an avowed roomfriend, I truly hope the show will “do it every week”—just like a sex fist, tearing its way through season 4.
Yes, folks, Jess chose to liken the five loftmates to a “sex fist” in light of their Schmidt-enforced pact to attend their 12th and final wedding of the summer and get lucky by hook(-up) or by crook. Because this is Jess, there was an accompanying jabbing motion and a shared sense of mortification among the guys (and likely the majority of viewers).
Mission, as stated by Schmidt
“We are hooking up tonight—all five of us, including the gimp [Winston]. This is the last wedding of summer, which means it’s the last chance. Nobody meets anybody in fall or winter. What, are you gonna gamble on the unknown contents of a bulky sweater? Do you know how important this is?! Winter. Is coming.“
Designation: Summer of Sex Ringleader
Track record: According to Nick, killing it (Schmidt: “mostly hand stuff”)—”had sex with a bridesmaid on a 45-minute flight to San Jose. (“You were boarding group D; she was B,” recalls Nick, asking, “How’s that even possible?”)
Motto: “How do I look? Good Jewish or bad Jewish?” (Nick: “Oh, that feel like that’s a trap.”)
Target: A bridesmaid who looks like “the girl from a commercial playing tennis with a tampon.”
Obstacles: Name-dropping his friendship with Tom of Toms shoes; Nick; turned off by rough hands; distracted by learning Cece broke up with Aussie boy toy Buster.
Designation: Reluctant Four-Way Participant
Track record: Made out with a bridesmaid whom Coach described as “wearing a hospital bracelet and carrying a dead goldfish in a bag…She looked like the snowman from Frozen.“
Motto: “Aim for the middle. The ride’s rough at first, but the body adjusts.”
Alternate motto: “When did one-on-one sex become old-fashioned? America’s gotta take a hard look in the mirror at herself—we used to make things.”
Target: The bridesmaid hanging out with the bridesmaid who looks like “the girl from a commercial playing tennis with a tampon.”
Obstacles: Poor decision-making (on wearing tap shoes with his suit: “I got ’em at the Good Will. I thought they were just really shiny dress shoes [starts clackin’ away].”); thinking the compliment “You’ve got a… uh… pretty good face” will seduce a woman; running away when propositioned for a four-way; terror that Schmidt’s salt might get “shoved into his tiny, tiny pepper hole.”; hands feel like hooves.
Designation: Strangely Sage (he’s asked by Jess, “Do guys still like
an L.A. face with an Oakland booty an Oakland face with an L.A. booty?” and by Schmidt, “Do you think that two men can engage in group sex without compromising their friendship?” Cue the salt-and-pepper visual metaphor.)
Track record: Undisclosed
Motto: “Be there. Just be there. No matter where he goes, be there. If he gets a drink, be there. If he talks to his friends, be there. At the end of the night, be there. It’s called the Joe Biden.”
Target: “I am so sore; I can’t have sex tonight. The only thing I want in my mouth is Mr. and Mrs. Ibuprofen—minus the Mister.”
Obstacle: Sidelined by intense police academy-induced physical pain (“I can’t close my ass!”).
Designation: Our Last Hope (per Nick) / Sex Finger (self-designated)
Track record: “Wedding No. 7—an un-neutered dog chased after me.”
Motto: “We’ll be like a sex fish, tearing our way through the reception…It’s a metaphor for togetherness.”
Target: “No-bra stuff” with cornball cutie Best Man Ted (Veep‘s Reid Scott).
Obstacles: Sexy genius Kat (Jessica Biel), who lost her virginity to Malcolm Gladwell and cured pluxotic syndrome; uncontrollable urge to talk in vagina voice; “halfie”-killing dance moves; briefly trapped in the men’s room after pulling an Extreme Biden; currently a toilet person, not a fridge person (a.k.a. the kind of person who gets her name on a wedding announcement on a refrigerator); Tina Turner impression; counters Kat’s naked selfie with a picture of herself (fully dressed) with a guy she “thought was Larry King”; tells Ted, “My first crush was on a Batman cake, but my first sexual feelings were about teenage Simba… and I still actually find him hot”; Ted’s crippling indecision.
Designation: Serial Offender
Track record: Hooked up at consistently throughout the summer
Motto: “[My strategy is] bein’ a gorgeous black man with the body of an action figure.”
Target: Anyone to whom he hasn’t already shown said action-figure body.
Obstacle: He appears to have hooked up with literally every woman at this wedding, including a sexagenarian who calls him out on a lie: “I rented Best Man Holiday—you’re not in it.”
Designation: Model Ex-Girlfriend
Track record: N/A (just returned from Australia with now ex-boyfriend Buster)
Motto: “Guys think that the way you dance is the way you have sex.”
Target: See “Track record.”
Obstacle: Schmidt’s undying love for her (or, as Jess warned, “You might have to tell Schmidt [you broke up with Buster] outside a hospital—you know, like when you give a baby peanut butter for the first time”).
“God I hate knitting. It makes me angry and afraid all at the same time—just like when I hear the phrase ‘Academy Award winner Anna Paquin.'”
On a potential four-way with Nick: “It’s the last helicopter out of Saigon, my man; Charlie won. You won’t even know it’s me. Look, at this point it’s all skin and shapes. It’s the fog of war. There’s so much stuff going on, you’re just here, you don’t even know what’s happening…I’m soft like a lady, you won’t even know…If you go north, I go south, you know what I’m saying? I’m in steerage, and I’m rowin’, and I’m rowin’, and I’m rowin’; you’re up in the crow’s nest—fresh air up there, man! And I’m in the trenches, you know, I’m diggin’ for coal, I’m breathin’ in those fumes, and you’re [on deck] takin’ in sights, you’re spottin’ dolphins. You’re just the handsome prince, covered in salty sea spray.”
Upon learning that Nick will participate in the four-way: “Yes! Okay, I’m gonna go book the room. You go to housekeeping [and] have them give you as many shower caps as they’ll give you. This is gonna be big for us, my man. [Shakes Nick’s hand and gets a disgusted look on his face] What’s that on your hand? It’s like a hoof [pronounced ‘who’ve’]—I’m out!”
Final score (or lack thereof): No hook-ups, BUT! “We’re not going home alone,” Jess affirmed. And home they all went—together, just like they have in so many of their best moments. They set about tearing up wedding invitations, including Cece and Shivrang’s, while making fun of their now-married friends and even ripped up the invite for unlucky No. 13 in a few weeks’ time.
Setting the season 4 premiere at a wedding—the event where New Girl found its footing as an ensemble comedy, and the event where the show was (arguably) last legitimately good—felt rather symbolic. Is it a wiping-clean of the slate? Does that mean the series has actually reset itself and is promising, much like the Jaws and X-Men franchises, to basically disregard most of the developments from its disappointing third installment? Well, if you take the play-out music—Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better”—at face value, it would seem that’s what New Girl is doing: Mocking its past, tearing like a sex fist through to a new era akin to its prime, and, in doing so, striving to “Get Better.”