Reviews: New Girl

Pilot episode: Where jokes go to die

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.

Hilarious for target audience

This is my first review here, so I'm going to keep it simple. New Girl is, in my opinion, a well-written and very funny television show. When I say it's hilarious for the target audience, I mean teenage girls and college students who love Zooey Deschanel. Based on my own experience with shows 'across the pond', I suspect the first reviewer didn't find it funny due to differing humor and/or not being in that demographic.

...Or maybe it was the over-quirk factor present in the pilot. Pilots always push too hard. Jess (Zooey) can definitely be abrasive and unfunny if you're not fond of energetic weirdos.

The use of continuity and (subtle) character development are some of my favorite things about New Girl. Jess goes through changes with her job that effect her behavior in the apartment. Schmidt has an ongoing thing with Cece that is slowly building him up. While he's still a sex-hungry self-unaware douche, he's begun to show a little more thought and emotion. Nick is slightly less developed... if anything, we've just been repeatedly reminded how helpless he is. Winston is the straight man and token black character. Nothing to see here.

Although New Girl is primarily a comedy, there are enough heartfelt scenes (mainly dealing with relationships) that are a pleasure to watch. I really feel they add to the depth of the show.

As most comedies, it's either a hit or miss for a lot of people. Do you enjoy pop culture? Do you like cute things? How about sensitive guys and making forts and eating cupcakes and rooting for the obvious couple? Well, you might like New Girl.