New Girl

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Paul Asay
Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

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 once played 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.

‘Course, even the most eclectic of roomies often settle down over time, even in the world of sitcoms.

Guys and gals sharing close space soon turns into Nick and Jess sharing a bed, and eventually into the two becoming an official couple. Meanwhile, Schmidt—with his Charlie Harper-level libido in tow—has finally settled down and married Cece (Jess’ best friend) and the two now have a daughter. And Winston, now a cop for the Los Angeles Police Department, married his police force partner, Aly, and, in the show’s seventh and reportedly final season, they’re now expecting a child.

But even though many of the characters are married now, this show still fixates on sex 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

New Girl: Apr. 10, 2018 “About Three Years Later.”

Three years have passed since Nick and Jess decided to stick together through all their ups and downs. Now, after Nick’s book tour in Europe, they’re back in the U.S. for Cece and Schmidt’s daughters’ birthday party, which isn’t exactly the perfect place to propose. And as Nick tries desperately to find the perfect moment to pop the question, he’s interrupted by Winston and Aly (who can’t seem to find a good pregnancy photo) and Schmidt, who’s decided to grow a mustache that Nick hates.

We see two men briefly kiss. Other couples also kiss throughout the episode. We hear quite a few sexual jokes and innuendos. Someone says “I’m gay for you like that.” A man has apparently fathered multiple children by multiple women. A large group of parents get drunk, dance and get into a fight (where they punch one another). Schmidt’s mustache is referred to as a “porn star mustache.” There are other violent references (and we see a dead magician lying on the ground) as well as references to the discomfort of pregnancy, divorced parents, flatulence and an adults rear end.

As far as language goes, someone says “suck on that” and “a–.”

NewGirl: 2-4-2014

“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.

NewGirl: 1042011

“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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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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