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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PILOT REVIEW: New Girl

NEW GIRL










Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr. (Pilot Only), Hannah Simone
Created by Elizabeth Meriwether
Written by Elizabeth Meriwether, Directed by Jake Kasdan

New Girl is FOX's newest live action sitcom starring film star and, according to the press, TV's new "it" girl for the fall season Zooey Deschanel as the nerdy Jessica Day. The show is good but the "it" girl isn't the best part. The best part are the guys she moves in with after a breakup - Nick (Jake Johnson) who is also getting out of a relationship, Schmidt (Max Greenfield) the "douchebag," and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) who will only be in the pilot since Wayans' sitcom Happy Endings got picked up for a second season. Replacing him in episode 2 will be Lamorne Morris. Rounding out the cast is Jessica's best friend, model CeCe (Hannah Simone).

THE GOOD: New Girl is full of potential. There's a good plot with naturally written dialogue and some truly funny moments. The standouts were the three guys and their interactions with each other. The "douchebag jar" and their reactions to every time Schmidt says something worthy of the jar was great. Other funny moments and sight gags including the pulling down of the hoodie and the Lord of the Rings discussion with Jessica. The show seems to have witty and snappy dialogue that isn't just joke after joke. It's a shame that Damon Wayans Jr. could only be in the pilot thanks to the overrated Happy Endings' pick-up. He had some good moments including when he was trying to learn how to talk to a girl by practicing with Jessica. Hopefully Lamorne Morris will have the same type of chemistry with the roommates as Wayans did because that was the show's strength coming out of the gate. It also had a sentimental ending which helped us attach to the characters more.

THE BAD: When I read about the new fall season, I sometimes feel like I am the only one who doesn't get the whole Zooey Deschanel thing. While the guys were hilarious, I found her a little annoying to be honest. The character always seems a little bit drunk and Deschanel always seems like she's overacting just a little bit. I just didn't find her that funny and didn't find her that cute. The breaking out into songs was annoying and her only good scenes were when she was playing straight girl to one of the guys. She is not the breakout star here, the guys are. But apparently many don't see things the same way as me. My only other complaint (because despite not liking the lead, I do like the show) is that they already were falling into the trap of too many flashbacks which is becoming too common in single camera and hybrid shows. The more sparingly used, the funnier.

BOTTOM LINE: Viewers are going to like this, I think. It's more broadly appealing than Raising Hope and should be able to find a broader audience as a result. Plus apparently I'm the only one who doesn't think Zooey Deschanel is just the most adorable thing to hit our TV screen. This show would be getting a much worse review from me for that reason if the guys weren't so strong and the writing wasn't there. But they are strong and the writing has a lot of promise. So I'll give it another chance and maybe Zooey can win me over.

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