Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Girl: Season 2 DVD Review

The romantic tension between Jess (Emmy Nominee Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (JakeJohnson) escalates in the hilarious, quirky second season of “New Girl” — but will they ever hook up? Meanwhile, Schmidt fails to be hip, Winston isn’t “prepared” for a hot date, and Nick faces a death in his dysfunctional family. While Jess does her best to replace Cece on a modeling job and a drunk Elvis impersonator at a funeral, Schmidt and Winston hope to rearrange Cece’s arranged marriage. Relive all 25 outrageous episodes featuring guest stars like Jamie Lee Curtis, Rob Reiner and Dennis Farina, and enjoy fun bonus material — including the extended version of the hugely popular “Virgins” episode — only available on the DVD.

Show (4 out of 5 stars)
"New Girl" is one of the most original shows on television with a great cast of unknowns led by the lovely Zooey Deschanel as the sweet but odd Jess. When the show started, Jess discovered that her longtime boyfriend has been cheating on her when she comes home early to surprise him.  So she moved out of his house and answers a Craigslist ad to become the fourth roommate in a loft, only to find out that the other three are men and not women like she expected.  

There's the arrogant preppy Schmidt (Max Greenfield) who wants to sleep with every woman he meets, the perpetually morose Nick (Jake Johnson) who has dropped out of law school and is nursing a broken heart, and Winston (Lamorne Morris) an ex-basketball player who returns back to his friends to rebuild his life.  With Jess comes her best friend CeCe (Hannah Simone) who Schmidt instantly falls in love with.

Over the last two seasons their relationships have only gotten stronger as they continue to try to help each other with their problems and occasionally make things worse.  Each of the characters are stuck at different points in their lives and none of them are quite sure how to make the next step.  Jess keeps getting involved with the wrong men, Nick keeps letting the same girl destroy his life, Schmidt's mouth keeps him in trouble, and Winston is afraid to move forward with women and professionally, not to mention he's still afraid of the dark.  Things being to change for all of them this season however as the writers aren't afraid to allow the characters to grow and change.

Jess and Nick discover that they have feelings for each other, which wasn't originally planned but because of their actors' chemistry, the writers decided to see where it might lead.  Schmidt also learns that his feelings for Cece run a lot deeper than he thought, when he's faced with her impending wedding.  Winston grows more weird with each season, either because the writers want him to fit in the group better, or because we keep learning new things about him.  Family is a big theme this season as we see Jess' parents (played very well by Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis) and Nick's family too including his scoundrel of a father (played by the late great Dennis Farina).

Any show that takes as many creative risks as this one is a good one in my book.  Most shows wouldn't dare put two of their main characters into a relationship until many seasons had gone by to avoid the so-called "Moonlighting curse," but "New Girl" does it by the second season unless you count Schmidt and Cece in season one.  The show is emotionally messy and things don't always work out like the characters (or even the viewers) might want which adds a lot of realism to an otherwise out there show.  

The characters get more eccentric with each season but they're still relatable thanks to the actors. There's a lot more drama this season but there's still a ton of laughs too and the show walks that tightrope between the two well.  All of the cast are excellent in their roles and I'm already enjoying the third season on the air right now.  If you are looking for something a little different but funny, then you should check out "New Girl."  

Here are the episodes included in this season:
  1. Re-launchJess is laid off from her teaching job and volunteers to be a shot girl at Schmidt's "rebranding" party in the Season 2 opener. Also: Cece introduces the gang to her new beau; and Winston shows a different side of his personality after drinking some of Nicky's fruity concoctions. Parker Posey guest stars as a jaded cocktail waitress.
  2. KatieJess pretends she's someone else when a handsome stranger mistakes her for his blind date. Meanwhile, a patron at Nick's bar claims to be Nick from the future, and Winston's disapproving mother pays him a visit.
  3. FlufferJess and Nick examine their friendship. Elsewhere, Schmidt hopes to impress an attractive Republican by pretending to be one of Mitt Romney's sons.
  4. NeighborsJess and Schmidt try to befriend a group of young twenty-somethings who have moved in across the hall. Meanwhile, Nick pulls a series of pranks on Schmidt to make him feel like he's getting old.
  5. ModelsJess takes Cece's modeling gig at a car show. Elsewhere, Schmidt buys Nick a cookie, prompting the guys to examine the rules of male friendship.
  6. HalloweenJess gets hired as a zombie at a haunted house. Mineanwhile, romantic complications abound when Schmidt and Cece's Halloween costumes match—but Winston and Shelby's don't; Jess tries to sort out her changing feelings toward Sam; and Nick gets a visit from an old college flame. 
  7. MenziesJess' search for a new job gets intense. Meanwhile, her time of the month affects the guys; Schmidt starts a relationship with his boss; and Nick acquires insight from a silent source.
  8. ParentsJess enlists help for a "Parent Trap"-type scheme when her divorced parents (Jamie Lee Curtis, Rob Reiner) visit for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Schmidt must deal with family drama of his own when Winston pits him against his visiting cousin, Big Schmidt. 
  9. EggsJess and Cece begin to worry about their biological clocks when they learn that a friend is pregnant. Meanwhile, Schmidt wants to please Emma; Nick and Winston look for inspiration for Nick's zombie-theme novel at the zoo.
  10. BathtubJess and Winston want to get a bathtub for the loft; Nick encounters a beautiful customer at the bar; Schmidt must decide between his boss and Cece. 
  11. SantaWhile attending multiple holiday parties in one night, Jess tries to avoid Sam, Nick tries to keep up with his adventurous date and Winston gets a cranberry stuck in his ear.
  12. CabinThings get complicated when Jess invites Nick and Angie to spend a weekend away with her and Sam. Meanwhile, Winston teaches Schmidt about race relations.
  13. A Father's LoveJess tries to help Nick repair his relationship with his con-man father, but Nick worries that his dad is only using him in a scheme. Elsewhere, Schmidt and Robby team up to try to win back Cece.
  14. PepperwoodNick suspects that one of Jess' night-school students is hiding something; Winston and Cece have an embarrassing encounter.
  15. CoolerNick and Schmidt are both attracted to the same beautiful woman during a guys' night out. Elsewhere, Winston falls for a girl, but she doesn't return his affections; and Jess' evening involves a round of the drinking game True American and a new development in her relationship with one of her roommates.
  16. Table 34Cece hopes to find a prospective husband at a dating convention for East Indians. Meanwhile, Jess and Nick find themselves in a compromising position in front of Sam; and Winston gets his groove back.
  17. Parking Spot Schmidt discovers a primo parking spot, which the roommates then fight over. Meanwhile, Winston searches for a condom after receiving an unexpected invitation from Daisy.
  18. TinFinityWinston interviews a professional football player, who shows an interest in Jess. Elsewhere, Nick and Schmidt butt heads while planning a party to celebrate 10 years of being roommates; and Cece receives a surprise offer. 
  19. Quick Hardening Caulk - Jess admits how she feels about Nick, but soon after coming clean, she learns that he may have been hiding something. Elsewhere, Schmidt becomes preoccupied with buying a fish; and Nick tries to impress his boss by planning a promotion at the bar.
  20. ChicagoAfter a death occurs in Nick's family, the gang travel with him to Chicago, where they help with funeral plans and meet his family.
  21. First DateJess and Nick attempt to break out of relationship limbo by going on a date. But when Schmidt and Winston catch wind of their plans, they try to sabotage the romantic outing.
  22. Bachelorette PartyTo celebrate Cece's upcoming nuptials, Jess throws a bachelorette party while Nick and Winston take her fiancé out for a guys' night. Meanwhile, Schmidt needs to find a date to bring to the wedding, so he seeks out his old college girlfriend.
  23. VirginsThe gang share stories about how they each lost their virginity in a series of flashbacks.
  24. Winston's BirthdayJess' father (Rob Reiner) visits at an inopportune time, forcing Nick to spend time alone with him. Meanwhile, Jess gets a new job opportunity; Schmidt deals with his feelings about Elizabeth; and Winston expects a surprise birthday party, but no one remembers to throw one. 
  25. Elaine's Big DayThe second season ends with Jess and Nick making a decision about their relationship. Meanwhile, Schmidt and Winston plan to sabotage Cece's wedding, but a surprise announcement throws an additional wrench into the plans. Taylor Swift appears as a wedding guest.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)

For a DVD this anamorphic widescreen transfer looks really good but I wish it had been released on Blu-ray.  Colors look distinct and appropriate and detail is fairly good although the show has a tendency to look a little soft.  I didn't see any noticeable defects or blemishes  to mar the picture quality.  This is one of the better television DVD transfers I've seen. 

Audio (4 out of 5 stars)

New Girl's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is also very good with the dialogue coming across clear and intelligible from the center channel while the rear channels provide some atmosphere and music. There's not a lot of directionality in this mix as it's a dialogue driven show but it works for a comedic show.  There's no audio issues to speak of either.

Extras (3 out of 5 stars)

There's some interesting extras here but there isn't a whole lot included.  I wish they had included a lot more than this, but at least these are entertaining.
  • Audio Commentary for “Cooler” - We hear from creator Elizabeth Meriwether, Brett Baer and Dave Finkel who talk about how the episode came about, how improv is incorporated, and what else was originally in the episode before being cut.  This is am entertaining commentary that fans will enjoy.
  • Deleted Scenes - There are nine deleted scenes that total almost seven minutes worth of cut footage.
  • Full of Schmidt - A collection of Schmidt scenes and alternate cuts.
  • Gag Reel - If you suspected that the cast has a lot of fun making this show, you'd be proven right by this collection of flubbed lines and their fooling around.
  • Extended Version of the “Virgins” episode - This is pretty much the same as the original episode but there's almost three minutes of extra footage in this version.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)

New Girl is a very funny show with a great cast and this is a very good DVD set with an excellent picture and sound and some decent extras too.  While I would have preferred to have this show on Blu-ray, this is still an easy season set to recommend.

Order your copy today! 

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