'New Girl' depends on Zooey Deschanel
September 21st, 2011
11:21 AM ET

'New Girl' depends on Zooey Deschanel

"Adorkable," Fox's summary of Zooey Deschanel's “New Girl,” is pretty spot on.

The new half hour series premiered Tuesday night, and from the first scene - involving stripping, no less - it was hilarious.

Deschanel's Jess Day is a nerdy teacher who was recently dumped by her boyfriend. With nowhere to go, she moves in with three single guys she meets via Craigslist.

Her particular qualities - such as her tendency to sing...a lot - aren't lost on her new roommates Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and (for now) Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.).

Schmidt is the resident lovable jerk while Nick, a bartender, is having a hard time getting over a breakup of his own. Coach, unfortunately, only appears in the pilot and will be replaced by Winston (Lamorne Morris) in the second episode.

Deschanel may be known more for her deadpan humor (“Elf,” “Yes Man”), but she seems very comfortable playing a slightly more animated character than usual. I think she tends to carry most of the comedic weight in the show, and it’s not a bad thing. Some reviewers have said that Jess can be annoying and Deschanel needs to dial it down, but I found her completely likable.

In one of the best scenes, the boys try to give Jess pointers on landing a rebound at the bar, asking her to tone down her natural awkwardness. (She still goes with the "Hey, Sailor" pick-up line, though.)

Eventually, the three wind up being as uncaring about public displays of goofiness as Jess, going so far as to break out into a tone-deaf, broken rendition of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” in the middle of a restaurant. It gets them all kicked out, but it also showed the guys are looking out for Jess. Definitely the icing for the entire episode. Yes, it was a little cheesy, but not cheesy enough to be unappealing. At least there wasn't a laugh track.

The dynamic between Nick, Coach, Schmidt and Jess feels very natural, so it’s a bit of a letdown that Wayans isn't sticking around (his other show “Happy Endings” on ABC was renewed for a second season). Hopefully Lamorne Morris can fill his shoes, if the show continues.

I thought the pilot was well written, but I'm also hoping the focus stays on Deschanel’s character. While there’s also a lot of room for character development for Nick and Schmidt, I don't think they're the show’s strength. If "New Girl" is trying to avoid becoming another sitcom about friends who live together, the series needs to make sure Jess continues to develop. Having Deschanel in the role definitely improves its odds of succeeding, I think.

So if you watched it, what did you think? Can you see this one sticking around for a season?

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Get a New Girlfriend

    I really agree.Most women believe that appearance is important.Thanks for sharing!!
    Get a New Girlfriend

    June 8, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. David

    since demographics are what matter: I'm late 40s and I love the show. My wife and I agree the characterizations are clever, the writing is crisp, and the actors are fun to watch. We'll be tuning in as long as it is able to beat the cancel curse.

    January 30, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jason

    i LOVE it! everyone in holland likes it, best show ever!
    High viewing rates keep on making seasons!!!

    December 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tiffany

    I think the show is pretty funny, though I think the character of Jess CAN get annoying, and I actually rely on the 'Nick' character for most of my giggles.

    November 12, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Britt

    I LOVE this show. It's a simple funny show, so you really can't judge it too seriously. Its just something nice to relax and watch. I have watched all the episodes and found them hilarious. I def. think it is for a certain generation though.

    October 18, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Abby

    I love this show Jess is quirky and adorable and her 3 male roomates have a good thing going on! i can't wait to see more of this show, i laughed a lot.

    October 11, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick L.

    I loved it from the first scene. There's a genuine feel to it that isn't stale or canned. Zooey is the lovable geek man's geek girlfriend you always wanted if you're a geek. The kind of girl I would want. She's hot but real.the guys are pretty good. I will miss Wayans though. The show is like a 2010's That Girl or MTM show, cheesy but funny with a good dose of post modernism. And thank God there is no laugh track! It's firmly dialed into my DVR.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 250ninja

    I saw the pilot and was mildly amused. I saw tonights episode and didn't finish it. I won't be watching this show again. It's okay, but I doubt it will last through the season. There are much more entertaining and funny shows.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jay

    They should have re-shot the pilot with the new character. Blew the second episode for me. Sorry New girl. Fail !

    September 28, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Matt

    COACH!!!! NOOOOOOO! Bring back coach! He was hilarious! Loved his approach to Jess crying and the help that Jess gave him to help talk to women. Winston is negative and doesn't fit well with the guys! I know Coach can't come back because of "Happy Endings" but please!!!! Hope they cancel stupid happy endings. COACH!!

    September 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Torey

      I completely agree. I didn't like how they never gave a story to why Coach even left, i had to google it. not cool!

      September 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Janet

    I love ZD and I loved the pilot. I liked the guys too. I thought they'd be callous, like they are in a lot of these kinds of shows. But as you said in your review, when they left the party and went to the restaurant – and joined in the singing and got kicked out – it showed they cared about her. She's definitely the show's big strength (for those of us who love that kind of goofy dorkiness), but the guys make good second bananas.

    September 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. zoo

    I did not find the pilot funny at all, it was annoying.

    September 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jd

    go zo

    September 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gracie

    Blah! She can't act (never could) – the script isn't funny.

    September 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick L.

      Seriously? You need some more prune juice. Say good night Gracie!

      October 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DMa

    I was so looking forward to this show, I'm a huge Zooey fan, but I was really dissapointed. I didn't think her character came off as quirky and fun, but rather mentally challenged and inempt. On the other hand I did find both two broke girls and whitney quite promising.

    September 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Me

    I loved it! Laughed out loud both times I watched it. Zooey is lovable as Jess and the guys are well typical guys...even though it may have been done before, nice to see in the midst of the overload of reality TV!!!

    September 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Lois

    It was a pilot, so it was pretty pilot-y. And they did give away most of the show before it actually aired.
    I'm looking forward to the real episodes. I'm a huge fan of Zooey, who in my opinion is WAY more talented than Katy Perry (talkin' to you, Edward^^^ ) and I hope to see her character expand. It'll be interesting to see where it goes without Coach, as well. He added a great dynamic to the cast
    Regardless, it's just the sort of humor I was hoping for and I'm excited to see what's next.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  18. Angela

    It's a feel-good comedy that had me grinning! More Zooey, please!

    September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  19. daphne

    I like to think that women her age, 30ish, have their sh!t together and don't have to rely on being 'adorkable' wow. The men in it were all terrible actors, very one-note. I smiled at "tiger boobs" but that's about it. Maybe if they dial it down a few nothces it'll be better, but after 20 minutes I was over my "quirky & adorable" limit for the year

    September 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  20. swade

    I loved it and watched it twice in a row! The guy-girl dynamic is funny, something we can all relate to, and laughable. It's great to see Zooey in a fresh role and to see a down to earth, honest female character.

    September 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  21. hoosier gal

    I absolutely loved it!!! I love Jess and her dorkiness...will definitely watch again...didn't much care for Schmidt tho. The other 2 guys were great.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  22. janetlaw

    I watched it for the guys – Zooey was just a little TOO precious. The guys were hilarious.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  23. me22

    I thought the show was down right spit my drink in your face funny. From the begining to end nothing but laughs from me. I am sad to see Damon leave because they clicked and I was looking forward to seeing them grow as a cast.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Tiki

    This show was terrible. Too bad it's the intro to Raising Hope, which is one of the best comedies currently on TV, along with Big Bang

    September 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • me22

      Raising Hope is another great show that I was missing out on till I caught a couple of shows during the summer. Now I am totally hooked on the show.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Ange

    It was cute, a bit too silly for me. I am very sad that Wayans will not be sticking around. I loved Emily in Tin Man. And she can really sing (love her version of "Baby it's Cold Outside"), but I saw no evidence of that in the show. I'm not over it yet, will give it another shot.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Shaun

    I thought it had potential. Deschanel's Jess is funny and likeable. But I'm with the others who found it somewhat forced. the gags were good, but the plotline was pretty weak.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Chris

    It was hilarious and I will definitely watch it again.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  28. Elizabeth

    I was very disappointed. It was terrible and not funny at all.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  29. WB

    It was the Pilot. Pilots often contain an overabundance of material. I am sure it will be slightly re-tooled for the rest of the season. Zooey's cute enough to maintain the viewers. The jokes just need to be fine tuned and not spoiled so much in promos.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  30. Doogie

    I enjoyed the show, I am looking forward to watching more episodes. I think that Zooey's character is a bit too animated, over the top... if she could bring it down a notch I would've laughed a bit more instead of rolling my eyes. Otherwise, it's pretty enjoyable!

    September 22, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  31. Marilee

    My question to all the rave reviews is, how old are you? This seemed so contrived and targeted for the GLEE demographic. Don't get me wrong, I like GLEE, but I also appreciate the unforced humor of a show like 30 Rock over the fakeness of some Fox shows like Raising Hope. I love Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer and Elf, but unfortunately I don't think this show is funny and unique enough to last.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Brittney

    This show was histarically funny! I absolutely LOVED it!!

    September 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Observer

    This should should really just be called "Friends", but with an ocasional spit roast"...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Angela

    Watched the pilot and guffawed, snorted, laughed loudly. I cannot recall that I have ever had that response to a TV show. I do hope that it does well and continues to genuinely evoke that response from me. For those that did not find it funny, dollar in the jar.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • impatientgirl

      Yep dollar in the jar. I think all the woman thought it was funny because we all know guys like that...

      September 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Rebecca

    I liked it and laughed out loud at lwast twice which is more than I can say for most shows. I am surprised Zooey Deschanel is doing TV because I liked her on the big screen and thought she was really heading in that direction but I like her and hope this show continues to be funny and her character grows as well as the others. I will continue to watch as see what happens.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Anomic Office Drone

    My Y chromosome must take me out of the demographic for this show. It was utterly unwatchable.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Lindsey

    I liked it and laughed out loud more than a few times. Some of it I found easy to relate to, as the dorky girl, who is still cute and funny. I am bummed that Wayans Jr. Is already done after one episode. I usually dislike shows when common characters are replaced. I think this show has potential. I can't wait until next Tuesday.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Comment

    I watched this a couple of weeks ago on a plane ride and loved it. I laughed out loud on the plane (yes, I know that is annoying). I watched it again last night just to make sure it was good. Yep, it was still funny.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Betsy

    I thought it was great! I especially loved Coach's approach to the crying Jess, "Stop it! Just Stop it!" I also loved Jess's self made theme song. I hope the show sticks around.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  40. matt

    love love loved it!

    still singing "time of my life"

    September 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  41. murpis

    This show was like a replica of Happy Endings. I stopped watching Happy Endings by the 3rd episode.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • murpis

      It's a funny show but there's no genuine care for the characters. If I don't care enough about the characters, it's hard for me to keep watching.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • erica

      That's what I thought too! Especially since Damon Wayans Jr. is also in Happy Endings...

      September 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  42. comment

    i have to admit that they did show too many parts of the episode in the promos, but i still LOVED it! and yes, jess' self-made theme song is infectious. can't wait to see more!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Rob

    I laughed more than I expected to. If they can avoid the usual sitcom traps they have a good shot.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Observer

    More liberal hollywood tripe. I will be reading a book instead, thanks very much.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gabby

      Tripe? LOL. Yet you took the time to dwell among the lowly just to read the article and comment? Oooook!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dorienne

      You're Welcome!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • All3Allin

      Yeah. right. But you DID take the time to comment on the article. Get a life.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  45. hanldev

    I thought Deschanel was hilarious and I found myself singing, "who's that girl, it's Jess!" to myself the rest of the night. Hopefully whoever replaces Coach doesn't throw off "the boys" and Jess' charachter develops more other wise it'll be see ya later New Girl!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  46. Disappointed

    I was disappointed, they had showed all the punchlines in promos for it, so there were very few new moments, and the humor seemed really forced, like they had to try to cram as many quirks into Deschanel's character as possible, so everyone else was pretty one-dimensional.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  47. Edward

    New Girl is an absolute waste of time. This plot line has been recycled time and time again. Even Katy Perry, oops, I mean Zooey Deschanel can't pull the weight of this tired, boring, flat storyline.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Gabby

      Really?? Did you even watch it at all or are you going just by what you've read? It was HILARIOUS!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      I was honestly disappointed. It looked good in the promos. I'll probably give it one more try, but if no improvement, that's it.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Jane

      YOU, are an idiot. Or you do not have the capacity to understand humor. I'm sorry you are unable to laugh. Godspeed.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |

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