Sunday, September 25, 2011

REVIEW: New Girl

Thursdays - 9 pm ET

Existing as a vehicle for Zooey Deschanel, New Girl works precisely because of Zooey Deschanel, starring as the titular character who has even made up her own theme song, something we have all wanted to do (and possibly have done). The cast of characters is comprised of a few nobodies, who all range from sweetness to dopey, but they all also have room to grow as characters and as actors.

1. Does it entertain me?
I do admit, I find this show fairly entertaining. Pilots are difficult to judge, because we do not know a thing about the characters or the world in which they inhabit. We don't know the rules and we don't know how we got here. New Girl gets in and gets out, and establishes early that Jess is a sweet, naive and mostly nerdy girl who just needs a little help. And if that means watching Dirty Dancing repeatedly so she doesn't carry any more watermelons, then by gum, these three guys (Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans, Jr) are going to help her do it.

It has its problems, of course, mostly that the 3 guys aren't fleshed out and lack a certain relateability that is necessary in what will most likely be a romantic comedy sitcom. But I chalk this up to the pilot nature of the show, and will allow this to fix itself.

2. Is it realistic?
As far as a show about a single girl breaking up with her boyfriend, needing a change, finding 3 dudes looking for a roommate on craigslist and the girl not ending up dead, yes the show is realistic. Nick is a bartender, Coach (horribly named, cast and soon to be replaced) is a personal trainer, and Schmidt is a douchebag, while we're still unsure of what Jess does. That's fine, that doesn't matter. No one knew what Kramer did on Seinfeld for 5 seasons.

The realism you're looking for in this genre is, do the friends stick up for each other? Do they discuss issues, do they talk like normal people would, do they engage in social situations? The answer to all of this is yes.

Maybe someone wouldn't be as awkward as Jess is in public, or talking to boys, but Zooey Deschanel is able to play it off well enough that we believe Jess is this way.

3. Are immoral actions defended?
The opening scene of the show has Jess going over to her boyfriend's house with just a trenchcoat on, only to find said boyfriend already with some other woman. That serves to set the rest of the episode and series in motion, leading to Jess finding a new place to live. Done. Print.

It's unfortunate that that sort of behavior is not only common-place but is also expected. That's the society we live in, and in no way am I condoning such behavior.

But that is by far the worst of the immoralities, as well as the only one in the entire episode. There are references to rebound sex and hooking up that parents should be aware of, but that, too, is a small part of the episode.

4. How does the show deal with the family and traditional family values?
The above mentioned scene and references are the only indications of traditional family values in the show.

There are good instances of friendship, loyalty and helping out others that is important to life in society.

And the three guys have a "douchebag jar" for Schmidt that gets used frequently, much to my delight, since we need less of those in society. They can be productive members, they just need some coaching and some tough love.
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Above all, New Girl is certainly entertaining and dabbles in the sweet. Time will tell if Jess' naivete and charm hold up, and if the show can flesh out the other main characters. If it does, this will be a show that is worth watching.

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