Fall TV In Review, pt. 3: New Girl

New Girl was probably the new show from this season that I had the highest hopes about. I mean come on: “Zooey Deschanel is in it” is really all I needed to hear. But add to that Max Greenfield from Veronica Mars and Damon Wayans, Jr. from Happy Endings, and I was sold. I basically liked the premiere, though at the time it felt like 90% Zooey and 10% everyone else. I remember saying that the guys felt like caricatures. And I remember saying that Zooey was aggressively awkward, and that it made me uncomfortable.

After the first episode, they got rid of Damon Wayans, Jr. This was because he filmed the pilot before Happy Endings got picked up, and was already committed to that show. His replacement, Lamorne Morris, felt shoehorned in, and inferior to Wayans. And I really wasn’t vibing with the show. There was way too much Jess/Zooey, who despite Fox’s constant assertions, did not seem “adorkable” to me, but genuinely annoying. I found myself liking the guys way more.

Things changed for me a few episodes in, at the wedding. Maybe it was because we got to see Zooey in nice clothes looking sexy. Maybe it was because the guys forced her to calm down. Maybe it was because the show actually started developing the guys. I don’t know, but I liked it. And in general, I’ve liked it since.

My favorite character – by far – is Schmidt. He’s the perfect distillation of every guy I met at the Baylor Business School. He’s good-looking, he wears short-shorts, he says incredibly douchey things, he cares way too much about what others think of him, and he’s surrounded by women who advance ahead of him. Did I mention I didn’t love Baylor OR my major?

But he also feels real. He’s obviously overcompensating for an inferiority complex. And he’s obviously a romantic softie at heart, which makes him really endearing. It also makes his budding relationship with Cecelia vastly more interesting that Jess and Justin Long’s character, or even with Nick.

Speaking of Cece, I really like her too. She has thinly-veiled rage and barely-conceiled weirdness that totally explains her friendship with Jess. She provides a perfect balance to the occasionally oppressive “quirkiness” that is Jess, and the sausage fest that is the rest of the cast.

In short (ha!) the show continues to get better. Jess is over her old boyfriend, thanks to guest-star Justin Long. She can now explore an actual relationship with an actual adult: Nick “Puppy Eyes” Bartender. OK, I know “Bartender” isn’t his last name, but I’m nowhere near invested enough in the show to remember his real last name, let alone look it up. Cece seems to have feelings for Schmidt. Winston will probably be hanging out with more kids. Things are looking up.

My recommendations for this show:

1. Tone down Jess. Reveal that her weirdness is a result of crippling insecurity, then relieve that insecurity.

2. That’s actually it.

In conclusion, I watch a lot of comedies. This is easily the weakest of the bunch. But it’s still better than Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, or that show about fat people.

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