TV Review: New Girl

I’m going to start this post by committing some internet blasphemy: I don’t like Zooey Deschanel.  In fact, I really, really don’t like Zooey Deschanel.  I think I used to like her, and I like the movies she’s been in.  But her whole Manic Pixie Dream Girl act has worn thin on me, and she doesn’t do much beyond smile awkwardly and skip around.  I’m also annoyed by the way most everyone fawns over her, as evidenced when during upfronts in the spring, she was given questions like “Do you know you’re adorable?,” while Sarah Michelle Gellar was being asked if she’s “too old to be on TV.”

I say this because I want you to understand where I’m coming from in regards to New Girl, Deschanel’s new show on FOX.  I’ll fully admit that I’m not coming into this show from a very open place.  Like anyone, I have biases, but I’ve been wrong before (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Parks and Recreation, Perfect Couples to some extent), and I’m never unhappy to find a new show I enjoy.  I tried really hard to keep an open mind, but I just didn’t like this show.

Before I elaborate, let’s go over the premise.  FOX has been pushing it pretty hard, so it’s likely you’ve seen it, but just in case…  New Girl follows Jess, an “adorkable” (their word, not mine) twentysomething who moves in with three guys following the discovery that her boyfriend was cheating on her.  The guys have to learn to live with their quirky new roommate, and hilarious misadventures ensue.  It’s more original than some of the other premises out there this season, but it’s still an idea that’s been covered a bit elsewhere.  Co-ed roommates is not a super novel concept in this day and age anyway, but it still has potential if handled well.

The thing is, it’s really not.  Jess is a cardboard cutout nerd fantasy girl, a shapely, pretty waif with bangs and glasses who somehow still lacks the self-confidence to avoid being babied by everyone around her.  SWOON as she makes Lord of the Rings references, boys!!  QUIVER as she sings little theme songs to herself!!  She’s pretty and shares your interests, but she’s still naive enough to give you a shot!!

The supporting cast is pretty one dimensional too.  The roommates include a black athletic trainer known only as “Coach” and a would-be casanova who is regularly forced to put money in the “Douchebag Jar” for showing off his abs.  Their guy banter ranges from innocuous to grating, and their interactions with Deschanel lack the subtle chemistry required to make a premise like this great.  The later bits once they’re grown closer are unpleasantly reminiscent of “three men and a baby” type comedies.

I’m sure most of the Hollywood press disagrees with me, but New Girl is just not a very good show.  It demonstrates that there are other ways to pander besides Michael Bay’s ass shots, and it’s not very funny besides.  Deschanel fans may enjoy it, but as someone outside of that group, it left me cold.



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