TV Club: New Girl: “Shark”

Everyone has the potential to be a shark and a dolphin.

The characters of New Girl believe things are less flexible than that: You’re either a ruthless, perpetual-motion killing machine like Schmidt and Councilwoman Fawn Moscato (guest star Zoe Lister Jones) or an aquatic creature who uses their intelligence to friendlier ends, like Jess or Winston. That’s where the primary conflict of “Shark” comes in, because “Shark” sees things differently from the roommates. The episode concerns people playing predator one minute and prey the next, an outside-the-loft perspective that explains why the councilwoman and Cece perform “Shark”’s most effective manipulations.

For a big-hearted sitcom like New Girl, manipulation is a story element with a high level of difficulty. But “Shark” works because it’s grounded in some series fundamentals: Friendship and vulnerability. The characters of New Girl aren’t manipulative by nature, but each has a good …

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