Raina Deerwater ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
It wasn’t until the third episode of the fourth season of New Girl that a huge plot point at the end of season three is mentioned: Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) are sharing a room. It’s surprising that New Girl took three episodes to get to this point, because it’s comedic gold. Being the Type A neat freak that he is, Schmidt would obviously have a major issue living with resident slob Nick Miller.
The episode tackles this with Schmidt having to snag a sponge account for his marketing firm. That’s right, a sponge. If any three people could be unhelpful about sponges and general cleanliness, it’s Nick, Winston (Lamorne Morris), and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.). One of New Girl‘s greatest strengths has always been the Odd Couple relationship that Nick and Schmidt share. “Julie Beckman’s Older Sister,” takes this relationship out of the apartment and into Schmidt’s workplace for an exciting new twist. The stakes are higher as well, because Schmidt blew all his money last year, and really needs to bag the sponge account.
Though the audience knows for the whole half hour that Schmidt is going to get the sponge account, it is still refreshing to actually see the character have something real at stake. This combined with Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield getting to play off each other and use the word sponge repeatedly, made for many laughs.
Meanwhile Jess’s dad, Bob, is in town again, which is great because it means we get to see Rob Reiner again. This time, it’s even better because he’s brought his new girlfriend Ashley (Kaitlin Olson) aka “Trashley” aka “Julie Beckman’s Older Sister.” Olsen is known for portraying Sweet Dee on FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so her playing a former sex addict dating a man twice her age is almost tame for the actress. She works well in the setting of New Girl, making Zooey Deschanel‘s eyes get wider upon counting how many times she’s been to rehab.
“Julie Beckman’s Older Sister” is also good at exploring the relationship Jess has with her father. It’s nice to see that bond in the forefront of this episode. Jess, being the kind hearted idiot she is, has her father’s best interests at heart, but always ends up messing up his relationships because of this. When she finds out that he intends to marry Ashley, she is not thrilled, to say the least.
It’s very refreshing to see Jess’s genuine care be directed toward her father, as opposed to one of her roommates. It is also refreshing to see Jess cross moral boundaries a little, when looking at Ashley’s phone to break up the happy couple. Eventually, of course, Jess realizes that Bob and Ashley are actually happy together, and she has to let him make his own decisions. It’s a twist on the classic father/daughter trope, where in this case it’s the daughter that has to let her father go. Just in case it gets too sappy though, Jess gets caught in a gaggle of cyclists before making Bob and Ashley reunite.
The biggest flaw in this episode was once again the lack of Winston. Him and Coach did have small roles in the sponge saga, but there should always be more Winston. Despite this, “Julie Beckman’s Older Sister” does a great job with balancing the comedic and the emotional, in true New Girl fashion. Many fans complained about season three losing something of the voice of New Girl, and hopefully, with more episodes like this, it can find it’s voice again. Or, at the very least, a sexy commercial about sponges.
Overall Episode Grade: B+