New Girl, We Need to Talk About Winston

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, I watch New Girl. No, my girlfriend does not force me to. I genuinely like the show, and it’s probably the only half-hour comedy outside of NBC’s Thursday night or FX that’s worth a damn. It’s consistently funny, and Zooey Deschanel is just too adorable. No, it’ s not Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or Dexter, but that doesn’t mean I can’t like it all the same.

Now let’s get this out of the way: Winston is black. Yes, I know this. This also has ZERO bearing on what I’m about to discuss, even if it looks a little weird that he’s the one circled above and I’m labeling him the “odd man out.”

Simply put, the show is great because it has great characters. Jess, Nick, Cece and especially Schmidt are all very unique and very distinctive personalities, and they play well off each other. Then there’s Winston. Originally, there was a macho man character named “Coach” who was in the pilot, but his other show got picked up for a second season so they subbed in Winston instead. The problem with Winston is that I’ve never seen a character so disconnected from the main show before. It’s like if in Friends, five of them always had funny plotlines together, but Ross was just off on his own each week doing nothing that related to the group.

This week’s episode for example was probably the most egregious. Jess was put in charge of babysitting her new boyfriend’s daughter, who just happened to fall in love with Nick. Meanwhile, Cece stormed around the apartment thinking that she was pregnant with Schmidt’s baby, as he speculated what kind of bone structure a Jewish-Indian baby might have. The problems overlapped and it was all around hilarious chaos.

So where was Winston? He was driving his boss around in three, twenty second long scenes, acting out a loose parody of Fear and Loathing as his boss came down from a drug trip. And this happens ALL the time. He’s constantly given plotlines that have literally nothing to do with the main show, and he doesn’t feel like he belongs in the least. His personality isn’t developed enough because of this, nor is his relationship with the other roommates.

New Girl is one of the best shows on TV, but it really needs to fix its Winston problems. He’s like an extra appendage that just sort hangs there without a specific purpose. Hopefully we’ll see him included more, or the character replaced altogether. I might almost prefer the second option frankly.

  • Joe

    Sigh I feel like shooting myself everytime someone says New Girl is one of the best shows on TV!!! Really is TV this crappy now that New Girl automatically gets raised to the top… well poop does float…. I mean I get it Zoey is cute but is that all that is needed these days to make it to the top?? I mean really she can’t ACT!!!

    It can’t just be me that can’t stand her acting much less this show can it?!?!?!

  • Gale

    I don’t know, on the rare occasions they do actual put Winston into the main plot I love him. His Wicked sing-a-long in the car was brilliant. If they used him properly I think he could be just as strong as the others, but off the top of my head I can’t actually name many scenes where he’s even spoken to Jess other than the hand bells. It’s just bad writing really that hopefully they’ll notice and fix

  • XenoIrish

    His “Saturday is for Sleeping” Monologue was pretty good too.

  • Rob

    I completely agree, the writers have no idea what to do with him. The original character was Damon Wayans Jr. and he is on Happy Endings, which is also a very good show. It too struggled in the beginning, but found itself about 1/2 way through the first season. I recommend checking it out.
    Anyway, they need to figure Winston out soon as his lack of development is really hurting the show.
    Something else that has bothered me from the beginning, in no way shape or form does Winston look like he has played even 1 minute of pro ball (Euro league or otherwise).

  • Ripley

    His other show!?!? We are talking about Happy Endings here my man. Stand up straight and glorify it! The second greatest comedy on TV was picked was for a second season you mean!

  • you are SOOOOO right about this. i am from Latvia, by the way, so i should love this character – but i don’t. he is just an annoying actor with annoying face. first black guy was so much better for this. send him back to Europe FAST!!!

  • cyranoone

    Always Sunny in Phili rip off (pg version.)

  • Malcolm

    As a black man, I hate to admit that you’re right about this. It’s as if Winston is an afterthought to the writers. Maybe if they’d put him and CeCe together it would have given him more screen time or lines of something…
    I thought this dude was hilarious in that Twix commercial and was anxious to see him in a show but this is not working for me.

  • Bert

    Damon Jr. would have been MUCH better. But thankfully he’s on Happy Endings, where he belongs. Rob and Ripley are spot on – it’s pretty fantastic.

  • Bobby

    I kind of liked the Winston character, although I will admit he hasn’t been interweaved in any of the main plots recently, and his current job seems like it is going nowhere plot-wise. I’d prefer they work him in better, although I could live with a good send-off instead of being introduced at various times to fill time.

  • VileThings

    I love the show for it’s few episodes that are really funny, but I hate it for its inconsistency. It’s like riding a rollercoaster. One episode may be great, but then the next just awful. Out of the 20 episodes there were maybe four episodes that really made me laugh, a few more that were as bad as the others were good and the rest is just mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being mediocre, but all this up and down is just annoying.

  • BenC

    I agree with the people who have stated that when Winston is involved in the main plot it works, but when he’s not its like a slow motion trainwreck.

    • Thor

      You literally just described why he’s funny: a slow motion trainwreck. It’s nuanced and delightful; the man’s a genius.

  • Kat

    The Coach character was so much better, and honestly Winston was subbed in and it never stopped feeling like he was a last minute throw in for someone better. I hate to say, “write him out”…. but, Do it.

  • Kat

    Also, I can’t be the only one constantly bothered by how little he looks like a professional basketball player. It was painfully obvious when they had Kareem on… It’s not even that he’s freaking short… he doesn’t look remotely athletic. Look at him standing next to FREAKING NICK and tell me this man had a career as a pro-athlete! AGH.

  • Gil

    My wife and I both love the show and I don’t know if it makes a difference but we both missed the pilot episode so neither of us saw coach. I don’t know if I can call it the best comedy out there but it is definitely better than most. I actually have more issues with Nick than Winston. I at least can understand who Winston is and what’s going on with him and his life. Nick on the other hand irritates me sometimes with the idiotic way he handles things. I haven’t seen this weeks episode yet so I’m off to do that now.

  • Charlie Ward

    This kind of reminds me of Malcolm in the Middle with Francis. That worked, though.

  • Hubert

    On the contrary; I kind of like the fact that Wiston is doing something a bit different from the others, it gave more interested in the whole series, besides I think is quite good to act and is very funny (like everybody in this show!)

  • Ted

    I’m gonna have to agree with the other Happy Endings fans here. The second season was absolutely killer, competing only with Parks and Rec for most consistently funny show on TV.

  • Dick

    If it were just the Schmidt, CeCe, and Jess show, I wouldn’t complain. Winston is, admittedly, completely superfluous. And I feel like the writers are trying too hard to make Nick and Jess happen. That screaming/booty shake contest they had was obviously supposed to make us think that they have PASSION. But Nick is just… a sad, annoying, unfunny character.

  • Afan

    He’s the second best character on the show after Jess.

  • valentina

    I disagree! He is honestly probably the funniest character on the show, whenever he is given time and lines on the show, and especially recently in the second season when he is hilarious! When he gets all weird when Nick makes those fruity drinks, I have never laughed so hard in my life!

    Also…like Ross…you need an anchor (who, in a way is Nick, but often becomes the laughing stock).

  • lin

    I LOVE WINSTON! he is actually my favorite character!

    but i agree that they need to give him more interaction with the group. it seems like he is either doing his own thing or helping one of them with something… they NEVER get involved with his concerns!

    but the moments where he is giving proper screen time are golden!

  • Laura

    Winston looks NOTHING like a pro basketball player to me. plus, it seems like his character has no confidence which is not what i picture a professional athlete to be like.

    i also think it’s unclear to the audience who Winston is supposed to be. these are comedic characters, not real people, so i think you should be able to pick out one dominant quality about them which winston doesn’t have–like jess is cutesy, nick is the lovable curmudgeon, cece is the sexy one, and schmidt is the bro.

    • Thor

      You’re missing the point. It’s ironic that he doesn’t look like pro basketball player. The character / actor is a genius; he’s the actual ring leader of the show (the ring leader doesn’t have an act).

  • Jacko Ashel

    Do you live under a rock?! Winston is hands down the funniest guy there!

    • Thor

      Most def.

  • Milly

    I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH THIS ARTICLE 100 PERCENT!!! I cannot stand Winston’s face, personality and voice. I don’t know him from any other movie or show, but I don’t think there’s place for his character on New Girl. I actually think Cece should have just become one of the roommates, I would rather see much more of her than of Winston.

  • Jeramy Elliott

    Winston sucks.

    • Erik Anderson

      Yeah seriously, he’s boring and not funny in the slightest.