Sunday, 17 December 2017

Who even *is* Winston Bishop?

I warn you now: this post may seem very niche to the majority of you readers. And well, perhaps a little too intense, at least for such a seemingly trivial subject. But guys, I'm really perplexed and passionate about this. Please humour me, and tell me I'm not the only one struggling with this. It's very important to me. 

Okay, here it is.


Who even IS Winston Bishop?!




Right, so, back when 'New Girl' first hit our screens in 2011, they hit a snag almost immediately. The pilot featured Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), a straight-talking sport nut who just liked to get home after work and 'let his beans out'. He asked new roommate and effectively human plot point Jess (our girl Zooey) for help speaking to women as she curled/burned her hair, because he'd been told he was a little harsh (cut to him screaming at a weeping female personal training client 'I'M TRYING TO HELP YOU!'). He seemed like a strong character, a perfect complement to lazy Nick (Jake Johnson) and anal Schmidt (Max Greenfield). We, the audience, were all on board.

But then, he vanished! Coach had to abruptly depart, no doubt for sporty work commitments (and coincidentally actor Damon's series 'Happy Endings' was unexpectedly renewed for another season).

And swooping in to take his place...Winston Bishop.

I'm sure it was irritating as f*ck for the producers, but they were good spirited in the sudden cast change – they even made a joke about Coach's mysterious departure later in the first series, when Drunk Sad Nick gave his future self advice to 'be nicer to Coach, or he'll just go and live with other white people!' Then of course, Coach returned in later series (when his other commitment was finally cancelled).



At first there were some online grumblings that 'the sassy black guy' was clearly being replaced with 'another sassy black guy', but after just one episode we could see that Winston was not another Coach. He was a fab basketball player (well, he went pro in Latvia) and had lived with Nick and Schmidt before flying away temporarily for work (v convenient). In the first episode he featured in, Schmidt made it clear that Winston was 'top dog', and he was convinced that he'd have to relinquish the big room to him now he was back – that was how much of a top dog he was. Winston messed with Schmidt's mind for the whole episode, eventually scoring himself the big room, and he also proved himself as a friend to Jess in the penultimate scene by putting on an absurd woollen hat in her ex's front garden (you had to be there). So basically, we got to know him as a crafty top dog, with a heart of gold. Oh, and we found out that he enjoyed some classic Vanessa Williams - but then, that was the only quirky reveal in his character's debut appearance.

So for the whole first series Winston readjusted to life in central LA, after being in the arse end of nowhere for 2 years, playing ball for Latvia. He binged on the internet to prep for job interviews, struggled with temping, and attempted to rekindle a romance with his casual ex Shelby (Kali Hawk) who it turns out he treated appallingly way back when. His character arc was good – he repented his sins, got a job doing something he quite liked, he apologised to Shelby for being such a d-bag, and his friendships with his flatmates blossomed once again. There were only a few more quirky moments, such as his singing along to the Wicked soundtrack as he drove to Mexico that one time, and his mad panic over wolves going for his 'thick thighs' in the desert (wow, this show is ridiculous at times), and these little bursts of silliness were most welcome – they added another layer to his super cool character.


Then, series 2 began. And suddenly, the quirks became the central focus, not just adorable little blips on his generally cool radar. He still had some cool moments, like when he advised Nick not to be Jess' emotional 'fluffer', and protected his visiting sister from the lecherous Schmidt.

He and Shelby broke up following a miscommunication with coordinating Halloween costumes, and he was of course grieving but instead of recognising that he attributed his crying and pain to having 'sympathy menzies' for Jess.
This is when things start getting a little more quirky. He schemes with Jess to get a secret bathtub on the roof of their apartment. He has a successful one nighter with a woman and the morning after says he's got his mojo back and 'didn't even use his hands'. Then in my favourite episode, the one with the 'first time' stories, it's finally revealed he actually lost his virginity to a prostitute Nick's dad hired ('Dude, she was a nurse! Her nurse hat was in her purse!?').


Series 3 saw Winston struggling in his casual relationship with ex-Disney diva Daisy. One of his highlights in this whole season is his plotting to revenge-kill – and then ending up revenge-adopting – Ferguson, the long-haired scamp of a cat. I feel Winston really shone in this series not just as a cat owner but also as a friend to the gang in the loft. I mean, he sits at a 'communal' table in the coolest restaurant in town for a whole day almost because he wasn't able to book them in!
Series 3 is also when the character of Coach returns! Praise be. 
And then, just as the craziness climaxes with Nick & Jess' relationship and Cece's failed dates with Coach and Prince's delightful appearance (god rest him), Winston decides to enrol in the LAPD.
WHAT>!!??! Winston suddenly has direction in his life, and a new arc for his ever-changing character?! Shock horror! This series ended on a high for him.

We come into series 4 of 'New Girl' a little too excited about Winston's future. Of course, his thrilling new career ambitions are often in danger of being thwarted – mostly by his infuriatingly clueless and adorable roommates. But he carries on, bless him. When he's not policing, he's pranking. I actually love that they keep this quirk in consistently throughout the series, plural: Winston does pranks, big and small. It's a fabulous subplot invention, but only if it remains that – a subplot. Winston deserves a storyline always, he's not just there for the giggles.

Right, so, series 5 is a bit of a shambles. I mean, as shambles go it's a good shambles, but it is generally shambolic nonetheless. Jess is seen to get a little rounder and opt for baggy clothing much more than she ever has before – in fact, this is problematic for her character as she's always been the cutest quirkiest clumsiest gal with the brightest outfits that always perfectly cinch her waist despite her apparent disregard for fashion and preference for funky patterns, but GEEZZZZ I guess I'll forgive her, as her alter ego Zooey was mega preg at the time of filming...

Winston in series 5 competes with Nick for Megan Fox (y'know, the usual flatmate debacles), develops his 'cop voice' which leads to unexpected opportunities, and then he falls in love with his LAPD partner, Aly. Oh yes, that's right my fellow Winston fans, he has finally got himself ANOTHER character arc! Just in time too, the police stuff was getting a little tired.
The typical 'oh no, can't fall in love with my work partner!' flip-flopping occurs, and the comical avoidance techniques have to happen, and when they do get together as we knew they would, they do the 'let's hide this from our detective colleagues (?!)' bit for a whole episode, but by the end of the series they're on track and happy as clams cops. Oh, there was a prank subplot that went a bit far and involved a prankster girlfriend he ended up marrying but let's ignore that, shall we?

And now, finally, here we are. Season 6. This series sees Winston and Aly grappling with coupledom, him and Nick making some fake electronic music for Schmidt, and then it ends with him proposing to his partner in work and in life, Aly. Very lovely, if slightly predictable, plotting.
Also, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast appear in a crossover episode. No biggie.



What an excellent end to the final season. Wait...what? It's not?! But there's a beautiful ending with a pregnancy and a dramatic reveal and kiss and...no? They're gonna drag it out for another 24 episodes next year? Oh, of course. (I'm pretending to be an outraged critic, but really, I'll always want more New Girl. No matter how much the characters dissolve into parodies of themselves.)

Look, I know this post has really been just a massive explosion of fangirl feels and ridiculous analysis BUT I really needed to get all this out.
I think the issue I have is that Nick, Schmidt, Coach, Jess and Cece all have such strong and set characters in this series. Their traits and tendencies are so immediately recognisable, like, you know how each of them would react if aliens landed in the loft or something (Nick would bow down and accommodate, Schmidt would freak out about the mess but find the alien women weirdly sexy, Coach would high-five them all and check out their wheels, Jess would identify strongly with each one and the aliens would probably consider adopting her, Cece would raise her eyebrows but tactfully say nothing). Winston is harder to read; his character's behaviour is much more erratic.

'New Girl' is ending soon, on a high (calling it now: Nick/Jess wedding, season 7 finale) and it's looking like Winston Bishop will be finishing his time on our TVs as a responsible cop and happy hubby. Who is maybe still partial to the odd prank. Very different to the sassy, top dog ex-b ball player we met back in 2011. In all honesty, I sometimes miss the old Winston. But I think this one, the one we have now, is that much better.

Now, it's time for some other opinions on Winnie the Bish. Firstly, my boy Rikki Biss (contributor to this blog in the form of sidebar Twitter humour) sent me this when asked how he felt about the character... 




For those who can't read his scribbles: 
“Reasons Why I Love Winston Bishop: 

  • His relationship with Ferguson
  • His classic mess arounds
  • The way everyone loves him (Nick dedicates his second book to him)
  • Pranks
  • He gets weird with puzzles
  • His bird shirts
  • When he becomes James Wonder
Best Moments: 
  • The wedding ("Bucky cool")
  • "Shawty what that thang do"
  • "Hey Cici [sic], what up fam. It's yo girl Winston."
  • When they find out he is colourblind"

I've got to say, Rikki makes some stellar points. He is, surely, as crazy as all we Winston lovers are. Because really, at the end of the day, whoever the hell this gorgeous character is...we love him. 



But what are your opinions on Winston Bishop (aka Winny the Bish, aka Brown Lightning)? Do you assign a particular identity to him, or just roll with it, whoever he is in that episode - as the fabulous Lamorne Morris (an Instagram boss, btw) no doubt does? Comment below or tweet me with any thoughts.


A post shared by Lamorne Morris (@lamorne) on


"Now, go away. Because I'm...having cereal." 



P.S., In my search for some classic Winston gifs and quotes for this major opinion piece, I found these magical articles on him... 

2 comments

  1. This was an amazing read!! I am obsessed with New Girl myself and Winston is so loveable. My favourite moments are definitely the Cece and Winston mess arounds, I love their friendship in the last couple of seasons and his relationship with Aly is amazing. I really don’t think the show would be the same without him, but I think that with all the characters and that’s something that makes New Girl so good! X

    Erin // Everything Erin

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is Quality Content, I 100% approve. Pranks 4 life.

    Lis / last year's girl x

    ReplyDelete

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