Show Creator Liz Meriwether and star Zooey Deschanel are clearly trying to break out of the typical sitcom box with “New Girl,” a Fox favorite. Of course, much of the comedy’s success rides on its main character Jess (Deschanel), an offbeat goofball who is as smart, silly and “adorkable,” as she has been branded.
What’s unusual about the plot is that the show is based around Jess’s moving in with three charming guys, none of whom is her boyfriend. (With a boyfriend, it becomes another tired, been-there, done-that plot left over from the 1960s.) Instead, these three men agree to have her join their strange loft apartment alliance because she has models for friends (the type of girls any single male would love to have around).
Characters on “New Girl”
Of course the show is held together by Deschanel (Jess), an unusual, bubbly teacher, who found her boyfriend with another woman (hence the need to find a new place to live).
Her roommates include Nick (a cynical, slightly anti-social law school drop-out, played by Jake Johnson), Winston (a former athlete who’s still very competitive, played by Lamorne Morris), and Schmidt (a flashy businessman who cares more about his suits than just about anything else, played by Max Greenfield). There’s also her BFF Cece (a model, played by Hannah Simone).
The new girl herself
Of course, it is Deschanel who really grabs viewers and gives the show its star power. She’s been doing this successfully in other venues for years. Her acting power can be seen in roles she played in movies such as “Elf,” “Almost Famous,” and perhaps the role most like her TV persona, “500 Days of Summer,” an offbeat romance and indie classic.
Deschanel, who sings her own theme song to “New Girl” is also an accomplished musician and singer. She has sung in both movies and on TV, as well as being part of a duo called “She & Him,” which quirkily enough called their first album “Volume One.”
What works with this comedy
While some may have doubted its premise, the show has worked remarkably well. There is good chemistry among the cast members, even with one-show characters (such as when Jess’s divorced parents came for Thanksgiving).
The jokes are often subtle, and as noted by the “Hollywood Reporter,” they frequently “shak[e] up the phrasing of jokes so they don’t feel rote.” Deschanel’s character uses her awkwardness to great effect, and the competitiveness among the guys (as well as calling each other out) frequently provides great fodder for humorous moments. As “Entertainment Weekly” so aptly noted, it is the “warm/funny/eccentric vibe” that “New Girl” exudes that keeps its audience coming back week after week for more.