As of writing this, New Girl is currently making its debut on UK television. It tells the story of Zooey Deschanel, once again reprising the role of a kooky, bright eyed, larger-than-life babe. She has just finished with her boyfriend, and needs to find a new home. So she moves in with three single, male jerk-offs who make it their mission to find her a new boyfriend. It is one of those shows which advertisers describe as "the hip, new, laugh-out-loud comedy of the year!" comfortable in the knowledge that comedies can't be sued for false advertising.
The first thing I notice about this show is the lack of a laugh track
. Normally that would be a blessing, but I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that on this occasion, without the prompting of canned laughter I didn't know when
I was expected to laugh. Was I supposed to laugh when Deschanel described a date as "dinner - with food!", or when she decides dungarees are the appropriate dinner date attire? Actually, for all I know, this was filmed before a live studio audience, and the stony silence was simply their genuine response to such thigh-slapping material. It isn't the thighs that need slapping. I'm actually astonished that even with a whole team of writers, this pilot episode couldn't garner a single titter.
As for the premise itself, I want to make it clear that I don't have a problem with crazy females
.Some of my favourite films
feature those tropes in spades. But there is a knack to writing a good manic pixie dream girl. Chiefly, they need method to their madness. In Bringing up Baby
, Katherine Hepburn's character was crazy enough to steal cars and sic leopards on people, but she did so because she was so in love with Cary Grant's character, she was willing to do literally anything
to get him. In the case of Breakfast at Tiffanys
, Audrey Hepburn's manic lifestyle was an affectation to lure rich men.
That is the chief failing of New Girl
: The writers created a crazy lady
, when really they should have focussed on making a lady who does crazy things.
The craziness shouldn't define the character, it should just be the character's methods of getting things done.