(Published June 14, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Capitalizing on actress-musician Zooey Deschanel’s oddball mystique, the sitcom “New Girl” centers on quirky but lovable Jess, an initially heartbroken teacher befriended by new male roommates.
Jess’ inimitable presence affects the other tenants profoundly, as expected. Sharing a platonic bond with the neat freak Schmidt (Max Greenfield), the secretly talented Winston (Lamorne Morris) and the broke bartender Nick (Jake Johnson), Jess bounces back from her heartaches and introduces her three new friends to her kooky ways.
Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, “New Girl” routinely highlights Jess’ effervescent personality, her geeky coolness an easy draw early on. Deschanel’s enthusiasm for the character is unmistakable; she even gets to sing from time to time, however briefly. Jess has a tendency to burst into song, vibrantly describing various situations she’s in.
Apart from getting into all sorts of silly and strange scenarios, the character gets to grow significantly through the first season. The episodes often tackle more mature topics, including sexuality and complicated romantic relationships.
She hits it off effortlessly with Paul (Justin Long), a teacher who’s similarly bubbly. Later in the season, she finds herself attracted to Russell (Dermot Mulroney), the rich and thoughtful father of her student.
Humor-wise, it’s pretty much a traditional sitcom that revels in its characters’ disparity. It gets to develop the other characters by poking fun at their flaws – Schmidt is too organized; Nick wallows; Winston gets bored with work easily. Structurally, each half-hour episode manages to hit the narrative beats while adequately developing a few arcs.
Accessible enough but predictable at times, “New Girl” nevertheless benefits from its solid and attractive cast. Perpetually bright-eyed Deschanel is also unceasingly endearing as the unapologetic titular character, and it doesn’t look like the shtick will get old any time soon.
(“New Girl” airs Mondays, on
ETC, and on Star World.)