By Brent Glass (@BrentAMG)
I must admit something. I have become a viewer – some may even say a fan – of the show New Girl. I’m not sure how it happened. Normally this would be one of the shows I expect myself to castigate; to urge others to stay away like many other sitcoms. I know that I may isolate myself with this statement, but I expected to have a similar resentment towards this show as I have for, say, The Big Bang Theory. Gasp! I may have just committed a cardinal sin to many of you, but I do not see the same merit as others. But I digress. Back to the point. I think New Girl has become my guilty pleasure show.
I began watching the show expecting to confirm my apprehensions. After a few episodes, I found myself wanting more. I didn’t know if it was the show or simply (and the more logical explanation) that it offered a chance to watch Zooey Deschanel be inexorably enchanting. This “good feeling” guided me through the first season. At this point I had to face the facts: it wasn’t just Zooey I liked about the show. I liked other characters too. I hated myself for a while, kept it hidden, but now I am revealing it to you.
The basis for New Girl is that Jess (Zooey Deschanel) had a bad break-up with her cheating longtime-boyfriend, forcing her to find a place of her own. Via Craigslist, she stumbles upon a query for a fourth roommate for a loft in LA. The other tenants happen to be three single guys – Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and, after the first episode, Winston (Lamorne Morris) – who have very different personalities yet share much history. The show capitalizes on typical awkward situations that arise when platonic friends of the opposite sex reside with one another, while sprinkling a healthy dose of popular culture in each episode.
As with most sitcoms, once you make it past the first few episodes everything seems a little funnier. This is mostly because characters have been established and the idiosyncrasies that define them now serve as running gaffs throughout the series. The first season did what it needed to do. Firstly, it created a cult-following; there are plenty of New Girl fans out there. Additionally, it set up endless possibilities for where the show could go. Recently, I scanned an article that made the argument that New Girl is the Friends of this generation. I buy it.
Friends is (obviously) an iconic sitcom that still has its fair share of late-thirty, early-forty year old super-fans. Why are some so attached to a show that first aired in 1994? Because it captures the spirit of the nineties. Friends often referenced popular culture in the show. Naturally, much of those references were lost on later generations but reveled upon by nostalgia-seekers. New Girl employs a similar method. As I mentioned, there are a lot of references to popular culture intertwined within the show, specifically tailored to young adults living now. It captures the attitude young adults have today and, in fifteen to twenty years, it will be accessed to step back into 2013.
I recently finished the second season of New Girl and I was pleasantly surprised; I thought it was better than the first. The second season was different than the first for a few reasons: Relationships between main characters complicated, Jess continued to be reckless and self-serving while Winston progressively became weirder, Nick became a little bit smoother, and Schmidt remained the same except for his proclaimed love for Cece (Hannah Simone); overall conditions became more convoluted and tougher obstacles were presented to the Apartment 4D phalanx. While Jess’ character was still a ditzy, yet lovely young woman, she had to mature a little bit and face some realities of life. The second season ended with tough choices for each member of the crew.
Last week the third season premiered. Yesterday was the second episode of this season and it has a different ethos than the first two. While there are still many slapstick-comedy moments, there is an element of seriousness that eluded the first two seasons, save the last few of the second. Jess’ and Nick’s relationship is now the biggest hurdle. The writers have conditioned viewers to want to see Jess and Nick together, but can that happen? They are best friends but, as was decided in the first episode of the third season, they have no future without Schmidt and Winston. Nick is the glue that connects each of the four residents to each other.
Last night the second episode of third season aired. In concord with the first episode, the season is continuing in its new direction. Love triangles have become the apogee. Schmidt, finally experiencing love, cannot decide to whom he should give his affection completely. Jess and Nick are learning how to coexist as partners and Winston is as batty as ever. Unfortunately, I think New Girl could easily take a turn for the worse this season. While I enjoyed the first two episodes, the current predicaments could prove to be cliché and, consequently, boring and uninteresting. That being said, I will continue watching.
It has been an interesting journey embracing New Girl. It took me awhile to admit it to Blake, but I finally did. Guess what? He just finished the first season.
Brent Glass is a Michigander who graduated from Eureka College in May of 2013. He spent time at the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis, IN (a non-partisan think tank) where he worked on political economy pieces for Detroit, MI and Elkhart, IN. Additionally, he spent the summer of 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, working on social media management. Currently he is working as a freelance writer for Sagamore Institute, creating a social media management business (Connect You Consulting) and working full-time as a Management Assistant to the owner of a car dealership. He plans to further his education in the fall of 2014 in either economics, public policy, political science or business.