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TV Reviews

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Cast
Zooey Deschanel as Jess; Max Greenfield as Schmidt; Hannah Simone as Cece; Jake M. Johnson as Nick; Lamorne Morris as Winston; Damon Wayans Jr. as Coach
Channel
Fox
Reviewer
Paul Asay
New Girl

New Girl

Zooey Deschanel isn't exactly a "new" girl. Not anymore. After being an indie-comedy "it" girl for a few years (Our Idiot Brother, Your Highness, (500) Days of Summer), she bounced over to the broader world of situation comedy to serve as the doe-eyed cornerstone of Fox's sex-drenched laugher.

Deschanel plays Jess, a buoyant free spirit who, after breaking up with her boyfriend, begins rooming with a trio of self-absorbed dudes. (There's sad sack Nick; Schmidt, a slimy womanizer; and Winston Bishop, a semipro basketball player who just returned from a stint in Latvia.) It's a premise that seems to owe a lot to long-gone Three's Company—a show that, in its day, was considered fairly racy. But it wasn't even in New Girl's zip code.

Guys and gals sharing close space soon turns into Nick and Jess sharing a bed. And Schmidt—with his Charlie Harper-level libido in tow—has moved to his own flat in an effort to bring his wanton lovemaking to a new sordid level. Indeed, everybody fixates on sex here, with about the same sort of fervor that quilters obsess over stitches.

It's a shame, really. Because if you could somehow expunge all the sexual situations, jokes and discussions, New Girl feels—like its star—charming and goofy. There's a certain disarming innocence here—not sexual innocence, obviously, but rather a sense that it's OK to make up your own goofy "funky chicken" dance at a wedding or enjoy, without irony, old Saturday morning cartoons. It suggests that while friendship might not make bad days better, reliable relationships can at least make them survivable. It tells us that the best things in life—companionship, humor, love—really are free.

That makes me wish I could welcome this New Girl, and makes its braid of childlike innocence, juvenile humor and immature hedonism all the more frustrating.

Episode Reviews

"Exes"

When Nick runs into his old girlfriend, Jess encourages him to talk with her so they can be friends. Nick says the only reason exes ever stay friends is for the possibility of sex—a statement both Coach and Winston agree with (and the show aptly illustrates). Schmidt encourages Winston and Coach to hang out at his place anytime they want. And so they do—bringing sexual partners over and snagging his bedrooms, leaving Schmidt and his own sexual conquest in an awkward position.

Speaking of which, Schmidt points to various pieces of furniture in his living room, saying each one is made to handle a different sexual position. (He refers to them as "bang spots.") We hear about sex games, group sex, nudity and several crass phrases that either reference a sexual position or partner. Jess' old boyfriend offers to leave his wife and child to be with her again. Jess and Nick kiss twice. We see Winston in bed with (and on top of) a woman.

Nick's ex sends a text to him, "quoting scripture but using tons of cuss words." Jess said that her old boyfriend wrote a book that discussed God (in ways Jess thought unnecessary). A reference is made to the Greek god Poseidon. God's name is misused a handful of times. Nick wishes for a beer and whiskey; he mentions he's buzzed. Scenes take place in a bar. Characters say "b‑‑ch" and "d‑‑n" twice each, and "h‑‑‑" a half-dozen times.

"Wedding"

Jess masquerades as Nick's girlfriend at a wedding. Schmidt asks her to dress provocatively, then jokes, "Who let the dirty slut out of the slut house?" when she appears in a short, shoulder-baring dress.

Meanwhile, Schmidt tries to pick up a beautiful girl who used to get drunk and pass out on his porch. When he learns she's six months sober, he pretends to be a recovering alcoholic too. But he worries he'll wind up with another woman he habitually has sex with after weddings. In a flashback montage, the two passionately make out in closets. And later we see the woman straddle an apparently naked Schmidt. When Schmidt, wearing clip-on earrings, asks if they should go out on a real date, the woman says, "I'm just using you for your body." Winston grinds with (an unwilling) Jess on the dance floor, shocking onlookers and frightening an 8-year-old boy.

Folks make lewd gestures and crass comments. Nick gets very drunk. Schmidt orders wine and asks the bartender to fill a water bottle with vodka. Jess lies to Nick's girlfriend, bragging about all the sex she and Nick are having. Jess cuts off too-tight bike shorts.

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