New Girl is a new half hour comedy series on FOX premiering on September 20th. The series was created by Elizabeth Meriweather who previously wrote the film No Strings Attached starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. Meriweather is credited with scripting duties on the the pilot as well, which is directed by Jake Kasdan (director of movies like Bad Teacher, Walk Hard and Orange County). I was able to see the pilot episode in advance through my cable provider and am here to share my initial thoughts on it.
The show follows Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel), an offbeat girl in her late 20s, after she has broken up with her boyfriend and is looking for a new place to live. She responds to a craigslist ad and finds herself rooming with three guys she barely knows. But being that Jess is a bit of an awkward but happy-go-lucky type person, she is perfectly content with her new situation. Her new roommates, however, don’t quite know what they are in for.
Upon viewing the pilot episode, I think New Girl has potential of being something I will watch regularly. I thought the pilot was entertaining and Deschanel, who has a wonderful girl-next-door charm, did a pretty good job at playing a quirky girl who is unafraid to do and say (or sing) whatever comes to mind. Her new roommates all seem to be likeable characters and have personality traits that I can see being exploited for comedy purposes. Nick (Jake M. Johnson) is probably the most grounded character out of the three roommates. He’s the every man of the group and helps balance out the rest of the other characters’ eccentricities. Schmidt (Max Greenfield, previously seen on Veronica Mars) is the guy that is always after the girls. The only thing is when he gets around attractive women, he starts saying douchey things in his misguided attempt at wooing women. The trio keep a douchebag jar in the apartment just for him and has to put a dollar in it each time he says something a douchebag would say. The final roommate, Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), works at a gym and is a bit socially awkward himself. He means well but doesn’t know what to say around women and often finds himself spouting words as if he were a friendly drill sargeant. Coach was actually one of my favorite characters in the pilot but sadly the first episode of the series is all we will see of the character. Wayans was replaced by Lamorne Morris because of Wayans’ commitment to his other show, Happy Endings, on ABC. Instead of recasting the character of Coach, the writers/producers have instead written a new character that will take Coach’s place starting on the second episode.
I think that New Girl is a fun but slightly awkward show so far. After the first few episodes the show may find its footing and the writing, characters and pacing will gel more cohesively I believe. I hope the show continues to exploit its quirky leading lady and retains the examination of people’s relationships, friendly or romantic, that it seems to hint at wanting to explore. If the show develops the characters further and doesn’t ever fall into becoming too broad with its comedy, I think New Girl could be a series worth watching. So set your DVR to FOX on Sept. 20th at 9/8c and check out the show.