[Contains child-labour chain-gangs and SPOILERS!!!]
Fox’s announcement that the upcoming season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine would crossover with New Girl inspired me to revisit the latter sitcom, which I’d dropped from my rotation shortly after the godawful “Girl Fight” fudge-up of 2014. Although there were some other rocky moments during the back half of that (fourth) season, there were also a lot of big laughs, great guest stars, and a genuinely tear-jerking finale… so I’m glad I got back on the bike, despite all the wobbles and grazed knees.
First of all, I’d somehow forgotten how insanely adorable Zooey Deschanel can be in the lead role of quirky vice-principal ‘Jess’, and how funny Hannah Simone can be as her savvy BFF ‘Cece’… the scene where she gets super-drunk during a bar crawl (ep #4.15) and keeps raspily obsessing about chicken-wings was a memorable highlight, as was her silent-but-supportive reactions to Jess’s lengthy diatribe about life-choices in ep #4.18. Meanwhile, the guys’ recurring love interests this season included: Greta Lee as ‘Kai’, the secretly-wealthy slacker who ends up dumping ‘Nick’ (Jake Johnson) for being “too ambitious” (eps #4.9-10/12-14)… Meaghan Rath as ‘May’, the “Army brat” violinist that ‘Coach’ (Damon Wayans, Jr.) manages to charm despite his cheesy pick-up lines (eps #4.15/18/21-22)… and Zoe Lister-Jones as ‘Fawn Moscato’, the hilariously self-centred and controlling councilwoman who tries to spin ‘Schmidt’ (Max Greenfield) as her ideal arm-candy (eps #4.12/15/17/20-21). Although I was obviously pulling for Schmidt and Cece to get back together in the end, because they’re such a ship-worthy couple, I was also a big fan of Fawn’s… her constant electioneering was a great running gag, and Lister-Jones managed to make her remarkably sympathetic, despite her ruthless opportunism.
Other notable supporting actresses included: Nasim Pedrad as ‘Aly’, the petite police training-officer assigned to whip ‘Winston’ (Lamorne Morris) into shape (eps #4.12/19)… Michaela Watkins as Schmidt’s callous boss ‘Gina’, and Erinn Hayes as ‘Ruth’, a facile school nurse (ep #4.13)… Jamie Lee Curtis as Jess’s acid-tripping mom ‘Joan’, and Jaidan Jiron as the perfectly-cast ‘Young Cece’ in a flashback (ep #4.16)… Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s passive-aggressive nit-picking mother ‘Louise’ (ep #4.19)… and Kiersey Clemons as ‘KC’, a random cutie that Winston tries to pick-up outside a coffee shop, before realising that she’s an anti-cop protester on her way to a rally (ep #4.20) (which was co-written by Morris, and is easily one of the best/deepest this show has ever produced). Oh, and I also want to give a shout-out to Bianca Collins, who played the un-named ‘Short Latina’ dancing with Coach in the bar, who the other characters derisively referred to as “Dora the Explorer” (ep #4.21). Harsh.
P.S. Vote Moscato!!!