By Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood Staff
Since the second episode of the first season of New Girl, we have been waiting patiently for the return of Coach. More of a character in his single half-hour onscreen than Winston has managed to be in two and a half seasons, the hypermasculine, stringently monikered meathead left a gaping hole in the show when he parted ways with the loft boys to head into Chicago for his stay on Happy Endings. And yes, Damon Wayans Jr. was immaculate as the dapper, effeminate Brad Williams on the short-lived ABC sitcom, but at the cost of New Girl's thematic symmetry. When Jess entered the lives of Nick, Schmidt, and Coach back in the pilot, she did so as a unique institution of strong, substantial womanhood. Each of the three represented the downfalls of their adherence to gender norm restrictions: Nick was insistently closed off to emotional growth. Schmidt was a diabolical womanizer. And Coach represented the abrasive, athletically-obsessed alpha male bravado as Jess' ultimate foil. But then he left, transformed into Brad, lost that show, and returned. So how was it?