New Girl: Keaton, Review

New Girl's latest episode dials back on the funny, but the character developments are a good setup for next week...

“Keaton” (as in Michael) features possibly the strangest New Girl synopsis to date. In “Keaton” Jess throws a Halloween party, trying both to enjoy herself and catch up with Cece. Cece has been partying in the wake of her break-up, and Jess wants to reconnect. However, Schmidt has fallen further into his lovelorn depression, shame-eating everything in sight—including chugging mayonnaise—and bullying everyone in the loft. Jess, Nick, and Winston convene in the vacant and possibly haunted apartment on their floor, plotting a way to keep Schmidt from attending the party. Winston, at the end of his rope, suggests to Nick and Jess that they bring back an old friend: Michael Keaton.

Apparently, Schmidt has shaped his life based on the advice gleaned through his letter/e-mail correspondence with Michael Keaton. Unfortunately for Schmidt, the person who he’s been writing to hasn’t ever actually been Michael Keaton…obviously. The montage of Schmidt’s relationship with “Michael Keaton” is particularly hilarious. At learning this, Jess thinks that she can bring Schmidt out of his downward spiral, and starts to write to Schmidt. In true Jess fashion, she fails; apparently “Keaton” hasn’t talked to Schmidt in over three years. His unexpected e-mail and subsequent silence sends Schmidt to his bed, block of cheese in hand, forcing the true Keaton “catfish” out of retirement and to take the reins. With the true ghostwriter at the helm, Schmidt is advised to not attend the party, and Jess can finally breathe easy.

But as any New Girl viewer would expect, calamity ensues. Schmidt learns of the ruse and goes into full-on revenge mode. I’d hate to ruin the fun, so here are some random highlights: Zooey Deschanel doing her Batman impression in full Caped Crusader gear, children beating a costumed Schmidt up with candy, and Schmidt referring to Winston’s David Letterman get-up as a great Maya Angelou.

All in all, “Keaton” is a solid outing from the gang. Schmidt takes a slightly loony but important step at the end of the episode and I like where the show is headed. New Girl has held back on the funny the past two weeks, dialing up the drama, but the progression of the characters allows for really interesting possibilities moving forward.

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