It has been said that you either love Zooey Deschanel or you don’t. I disagree because I am firmly stuck in the middle. I neither love her nor hate her. I can however see how her brand of quirky can wear thin and become gimmicky or worse yet annoying. Luckily for those of us in the middle New Girl is saved from veering too far to the annoying side by her supporting cast played by Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, and Damon Wayans (soon to be replaced by Lamorne Morris playing Winston Bishop).
Zooey Deschanel plays Jessica Day, a quirky (a word you will probably read to describe her more than once) and yes, borderline annoying, woman in her late 20s who finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her after showing up at their apartment sans clothes save for a strategically placed bow. After hanging out at her best friend’s house who just happens to be a model Jessica answers an ad placed by 3 single men. Oh geez, I just had a Guttenberg, Selleck, & Danson flashback. Thanks a lot Fox for that disturbing mental image. For those of you who are wondering why a single woman would answer a roommate ad placed by 3 men the answer is simple…she thought they were women. Listen up guys if writing an ad do not use the words beigey (which isn’t a word) or sun-soaked if you don’t want people thinking you are a female.
At first I thought it was strange that a good percentage of Zooey’s scenes were played in the promos before the show even premiered until I realized that someone in the promotional department had the right idea by putting the more recognizable of the group front and center. It also doesn’t hurt that she is coming off of her 500 Days of Summer high; while the remaining cast are less known by the general public and therefore come off fresh and new. On any other show the guys would be cast as the comic relief whereas on New Girl they serve as the comic foil and it works. In fact not only does it work they are desperately needed because 28 minutes of nonstop quirkiness can get old, fast.
I went in to the premiere episode expecting to love “Ladies Love Schmidt” played by Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars, gotta love my stalker rule) and after spending the better part of the 2011 mid-season getting to know Damon Wayans’ style on ABC’s Happy Endings I had come to love him as well. However I knew nothing of Jake Johnson and therefore did not know what to expect. As it turns out he was my favorite of the group. Coach (played by Wayans) felt under used and under developed and Greenfield’s Schmidt shares the same potential problem as Zooey’s Jessica does and that is they both walk a fine line between being comically sympathetic and annoying. Johnson’s Nick Miller on the other hand is the show’s grounding force. He is what allows Schmidt to be a douche-bag with low self-esteem and Jessica to be an overall-wearing, theme song-singing little ball of freak show sunshine. I do believe I have my first crush of the season. My final rating for New Girl is watch….
It’s not worth wasting DVR space, but definitely worth wasting a few hours a month playing Saturday night catch-up.