This season’s “New Girl” was off to an uncertain start, with its main character Jess (Zooey Deschanel, “(500) Days of Summer”) taking leave for Deschanel’s pregnancy. Though Jess remains the lynchpin that ties the outlandish ensemble together, her absence has left them fending for themselves in one hilariously unprecedented situation after another.
“Bob & Carol & Nick & Schmidt” demonstrates just that. Nick (Jake Johnson, “Jurassic World”) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield, “American Horror Story”) must establish the boundaries of their extremely close friendship when Nick’s cousins come into town and ask Nick to donate his sperm to them. When Nick discovers Schmidt has planned Nick’s life out for him (with charts and timelines, no less), Nick realizes that it’s not his cousins that he must set boundaries with, but Schmidt — who spends most of the time navigating the helplessly dim-witted Nick through situations where his judgement fails him.
Without Jess, who is sequestered for jury duty, Cece (Hannah Simone, “Oldboy”) must prepare for her wedding alone. The well-meaning Winston (Lamorne Morris, “Glitch”) takes over Jess’s role and overenthusiastically goes wedding dress shopping with Cece, only to sway her into buying a hideously bedazzled dress after they both get too drunk off of complimentary champagne.
Full of hysterical one-liners, this episode is no exception to “New Girl” ’s continued ability to elicit endless laughs. Despite initial doubts over the show’s absentee main character and a slow decline in its previous season, the unexpected new boundaries have created an element of surprise that leaves us looking forward to the new ways it will have us laughing this season.