Culture

On The Bandwagon: “New Girl”

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Welcome to the re-debut of On The Bandwagon, Heave’s TV column in which Marissa Morales talks up all the TV that you really should be watching by now. We’ll be running coverage of some of Heave’s favorite returning shows all week, so check back with us on the regular.

It’s astounding to me how many people still refuse to give this show a chance, especially after only watching the first few episodes (which I personally find hilarious, but whatever floats your boat). Fox’s New Girl at its core is about Jess (Zooey Deschanel), a teacher who sees the glass as half-full, and her roommates, Winston (Lamorne Morris), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Nick (Jake Johnson). Jess moves in due to a shady ex, and to give the show proper credit, it doesn’t always go for the obvious laughs when it comes to one girl living with three dudes. It’s a show that deserves a chance in your heart, and it’s one of the better comedies on television right now.

The first few episodes are a bit rocky, as is true with really any show, because everyone is still trying to find their footing and the show leans a bit too heavily on Deschanel. Luckily, before long the show evolves into more of an ensemble comedy. Jess’ best friend CeCe (Hannah Simone) also becomes a larger player on the show, and the guest stars are never a disappointment. The cast has such different brands of comedy, but somehow it all works without being too much.

New Girl is the show you watch and identify with, and it is one of a small handful of shows that accurately portrays the life of a twentysomething. While you may not be living in a beautiful loft in Los Angeles, odds are you’ve had to deal with at least a few of the scenarios the cast has. Whether it be a horrific breakup, the loss of a parent or an arranged marriage, New Girl has you covered.

Even the progression between characters is a wonderful thing to watch and relate to. Most notably, the relationship between Nick and Jess, while there was a lot of “will-they-won’t-they” until (SPOILER) the second season finale, the writers have always handled it well. Every aspect of Nick and Jess’ relationship is a natural progression, especially for their character’s personalities. Beyond that, their characters can stand alone, a rarity for sitcoms building sexual tension.

Jess is the character the show was clearly initially going to be centered around, but as the show progresses, her plotlines don’t always receive A-plot status. With an awareness of her eccentricities, Jess is perfectly happy just doing Jess. This is showcased beautifully during a character arc involving Lizzie Caplan, who plays a girlfriend of Nick’s. Jess is silly, sure, but she knows it and knows when to put her serious face on, which is epically important in such a show.

Nick is the Chicago roommate, and the friend you have that has epic potential but doesn’t really do much about it. You know the friend I’m talking about. At the same time, Nick speaks for all of us. He’s a bit of a pessimist, stubborn, and gets angry at doors. We’ve all been there. His character development doesn’t happen too quickly, and thankfully Johnson plays Nick subtly enough that we can enjoy the angst and bouts of self-destruction.

Schmidt is one of the most unique characters I’ve seen in a comedy, in that he is a blend of all the worst types of people, yet still somehow comes off as one of the most likable characters on the show. Schmidt is a money-centric, narcissistic, bro-type who reminds you of that lovable bro friend. Schmidt’s background is also one of the best on the show: he went from the funny overweight guy in college to the ripped narcissist, yet I’ll say it again: HE IS STILL LIKABLE. Greenfield’s been nominated for awards in this role for a reason, people.

As Winston, Morris is my personal favorite on the show, and definitely its most underrated player. He doesn’t appear until the second episode, and essentially is the “angry black guy” throughout most of that debut, but thankfully the writers go a different route. Winston is trying to figure himself out and what he wants to do with his life after returning from playing basketball in Latvia. Though he ends up with the bulk of the B-and-C-plots, the writers have finally begun to give him more airtime.

Put your preconceived notions of this show (and Deschanel) aside and give it a chance. As always, watch more than five episodes to allow a show to find its footing, and then you’re allowed to say whether you like it or not. So go to Netflix, right now, and enjoy yourself a New Girl marathon, and enjoy what is hands down one of the best comedies currently on television.

(New Girl airs tonight, and every Tuesday night, at 8/7c.)