New Girl – “Pilot”

New Girl – “Pilot

Okay, Zooey Deschanel is simply adorable. That’s the main reason I tuned in to the pilot of New Girl. That’s the main reason I’ll be tuning in again next week. I just love her and her giant anime eyes. When film actors choose to do TV there can be a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re looking for steady employment instead of the gig-to-gig nature of film work. Maybe they don’t want to travel as much as they do for film work. Or maybe they just believe in the material. I’m not betting on the third one. The premise of the show is pretty standard stuff. There have been shows where a girl has been dumped and needed to start over. There have been shows before about a girl who needs to live with a bunch of guys. But you know what those shows didn’t have? Zooey Deschanel.

Zooey plays Jess. Jess is weird. Jess is kind of a dork (Fox has been using the insanely stupid tagline “a-dork-able”). But Jess is played by Zooey Deschanel, and Zooey Deschanel (in case you hadn’t heard) is simply adorable. By the transitive property of actress adorableness means that Jess is simply adorable. Deschanel has been the patron saint of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, and she’s pretty within her comfort zone here. Jess makes up her own theme song in situations and does weird little random dances. Why? Because it’s cute. I don’t think the writers thought out any deep character-based motivations for these action but Zooey Deschanel sells it. Random lines like “Pink wine makes me… slutty.” That line isn’t funny. She makes it funny. She’s more than cuteness and gigantic eyes that have their own zip codes. She’s got comic timing.

Let’s move on from the adorable awesomeness of Zooey Deschanel to the other leads of the show: Jess’ roommates. Max Greenfield (Deputy Leo from Veronica Mars) plays Schwartz, who gets the most to do of the group. He’s a cocky douchebag. That’s all there is to his character so far (and he was so nice on Veronica Mars). It’s a little grating when he does things like take his shirt off to show off, despite having a very average physique (well, not “average” in light of America’s growing obesity problem, but nothing special anyway). This does lead to one of my favorite jokes of the show though involving the Douchebag Jar, which Schwartz has to put money in every time he acts like a douchebag. EVERY PLACE NEEDS A DOUCHEBAG JAR!

The other two roommates are Coach, played by Damon Wayans Jr., and Nick, played by Jake Johnson. The more interesting of the two is Coach. Coach is a personal trainer whose solution to problems is yelling at them. Naturally this has led to problems with women (and work and probably outside work too), so he looks to Jess to help him on that front. He will not be back next week. Wayans appeared in the pilot at a time when the future of his ABC sitcom Happy Endings was uncertain. Happy Endings has been renewed for a second season (thankfully), so no more Coach. From the ads it looks like he’s being replaced with Other Black Guy. Nick is the guy who Jess will probably be romantically paired with at some point (regardless of whether or not that’s a good idea). Like Jess he was recently dumped by his ex (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, the Waitress from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). That’s all we really know about him.

The main strength is Deschanel but some of the writing is pretty clever and more than certain other shows like Up All Night and Free Agents which are buoyed by strong lead performances this show seems like it could improve significantly as it goes on. It could be this year’s Happy Endings (seriously, though, watch Happy Endings). I’ll be hoping for the best.

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