Picking On This “New Girl” is Just Too Easy

    So when I approached Fox’s new fall comedy “New Girl,” starring everyone’s favorite Deschanel (sorry Emily), I did so with caution. I tried not to judge too hard, not to flare my nostrils every single time Jess tried to dance or attempt to pronounce the word “penis.” And in the end, I made up my mind: “New Girl” isn’t the worst show in the history of television.

    For one, the supporting characters actually make me laugh from week to week. Schmidt (Max Greenfield), the overconfident, rarely successful lothario of the “boys” nails every line while never losing a straight face. And Schmidt’s foil, the almost-characterless Winston, provides much needed filler dialogue between Schmidt’s douchey rants and Jess’ fleeting bouts of insanity.

    The final two characters don’t fare as well. Jake M. Johnson, who plays the puppy dog, down-in-luck Nick, whimpers and generally acts pathetic in front of his ex-girlfriend. Of course, he is predestined to eventually get together with Jess — every episode acts as a horrible sort of relationship foreplay for the pair. First, Jess learns how to act like an adult in front of a restaurant. Next, Nick learns how to act
    like an adult in front of a wedding. Then, Jess sees Nick naked and learns how to say the word “penis.” I imagine great things in the future for the two. I just don’t want to see it.

    And Zooey Deschanel, well, she’s “New Girl”’s crowning glory, the reason behind a thousand hipster dreams. For some fans of the show, she is utter perfection — her big blue eyes and eccentricities keep them entertained far more than any joke on the show could. But for me, when I watch Deschanel on screen, I just see an actress trying way too hard to play a role that isn’t even enjoyable. She is simply an overgrown child in an Anthropologie mannequin’s body, trying her best to say the darndest things at the quirkiest times.

    In fact, the more I watch Deschanel prance on-screen, the more I enjoy the “30 Rock” version of the character, Liz Lemon. Tina Fey does everything Deschanel tries to do, but in an actually entertaining fashion. Lemon is a character that basks in her intelligence, yet lacks the social skills to meander through the terrible lifelong challenges of finnicky writers, insane boyfriends and her impending midlife crisis.

    Her fantastic repartee with her boss-mentor, Jack Donaghy, is a type of social interaction that Jess lacks on “New Girl.” Instead of giving her direction, her brood of man-boys propels Jess to never-ending levels of stupidity and awkwardness (Singing “I Had the Time of My Life” in the middle of a crowded restaurant comes to mind.)

    But still, the show actually makes me laugh from time to time, though usually when Zooey Deschanel is off-screen — a fact that is unfortunately not enough to keep me watching.

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