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Wild Card Round 1 – Division 3
Episode Match-Up: “Panty Gate” vs. “Elaine’s Big Day”
This is one of the harder wild card round match-ups. I really like both of these episodes and both are pivotal in terms of story. “Panty Gate” is certainly the best Coach episode and the emotional culmination of his story (despite the next episode being his departure). “Elaine’s Big Day” finally brings Nick and Jess together and includes the most random Taylor Swift cameo. And while “Elaine’s Big Day” probably has the highest high, it’s a bit of a slog to get there. I think this is a big upset, but I’m picking “Panty Gate” to advance.
Winner: “Panty Gate”
Episode Match-Up: “The Last Wedding” vs. “Bully”
“The Last Wedding” is the Season 4 premiere, but I never found it to be that strong of an episode. I don’t think the story of the indecisive best man picking which woman to sleep with has aged well. There are some great moments between Nick and Schmidt, but the episode as a whole can’t keep up with Season 1’s “Bully”.
Episode Match-Up: “Models” vs. “Dice”
“Models” is a great early New Girl episode. “You give me cookie I give you cookie!” has entered my lexicon. And Jess’s attempt to model a car has some classic slapstick humor. “Dice” has its moments, both with half the crew being high and the other half exploring the world of online dating. But taken as a complete episode, “Models” is superior.
Episode Match-Up: “Godparents” vs. “Menzies”
Most episodes from Season 7 are perfectly fine episodes worth watching, but never really coalesce into something great. “Godparents” is one of those episodes. It has some laughs and some heart, but it’s also just kind of there. “Menzies” on the other hand is strong all the way through. Every character has a great story, but Nick especially steals the episode with his battle against anger.
Episode Match-Up: “Helmet” vs. “Keaton”
These are two really funny episodes. “Helmet” provides for some great throwback moments between Nick and Jess while also sending Schmidt and Winston on a cat audition. “Keaton” feels like the completion of Schmidt’s redemption arc and is an absurd story with just enough grounding in reality that it feels like it could be true. I think that “Keaton” edges out “Helmet” because the emotional aspect is just a bit stronger in the former.
Wild Card Round 1 – Division 4
Episode Match-Up: “Normal” vs. “Bachelorette Party”
Division 4 starts off with another tough match-up. “Normal” and “Bachelorette Party” are both great episodes. “Normal” features some great lines, like Nick and Schmidt pitching “Real Apps” to Russell. Or Winston discovering that dipping “his beans” into his boss’s milkshake actually helped gain his respect. “Bachelorette Party” of course features the insane plotline of Nick and Winston trying to get a picture of Shivrang’s penis. A lot of hilarity to go around, but I am going with “Bachelorette Party”.
Winner: “Bachelorette Party”
Episode Match-Up: “Dance” vs. “Double Date”
I always felt like “Dance” was an odd episode of New Girl. It’s basically an excuse to put all the characters into a school dance setting and let it unfold. And a lot of funny things do unfold, but to me it always felt like an episode that was just, well, there. “Double Date” is a pretty heavy episode, with Schmidt doing his best to conceal his romantic affairs with two different women. Even so, there are still a lot of laughs and one of the biggest “serious” moments of the series. “Dance” can’t beat that.
Winner: “Double Date”
Episode Match-Up: “The Captain” vs. “San Diego”
Talk about two very different episodes. Comparing the two almost feels like comparing two different shows. “San Diego” is the end of the Nick/Reagan storyline and the beginning of the end for the show. And let’s not forget we finally learn Schmidt’s first name! “The Captain” is placed firmly within Nick and Jess’s relationship with Schmidt doing his best to ruin it. It’s hard for any of the later episodes to beat the quality earlier episodes, so “The Captain” is moving on.
Winner: “The Captain”
Episode Match-Up: “Injured” vs. “Chicago”
And this is a surprisingly apt pairing of episodes. Both are Nick-centric episodes that carry some emotional weight. “Injured” focuses on Nick’s health scare and might be the first episode of the series to really dive into some heavier subjects about life. “Chicago” places the gang in Chicago for the funeral of Nick’s father. Both are great episodes, but I always found “Injured” to be the stronger of the two.
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