New Girl is a new sitcom on Fox that I really didn't want to like. The trailer that played all summer was obnoxious. It looked like they were telling lead actress Zooey Deschanel to be as awkward and obnoxious as possible at all times. She was to be on and nothing but on so long as the show should live. Her character Jes is a nerdy elementary school teacher who got dumped and moved in with three male roommates she found online. There didn't seem to be anything particularly positive going for it.
Something magical happened in the pilot episode. The show proved that it wasn't just some annoying rehash of old sitcom cliches. All those super awkward things from the trailer were all of the awkward things in the episode. The rest of the time, the characters acted like normal people. There were even awkward snippets from the trailer that were funny in the context of the scene. They're not annoying characters; they're just silly.
The second episode aired last night and it looks like the show already found its voice. There's continuity from the pilot but it doesn't feel forced. The characters were defined so quickly and clearly that they feel familiar already. Schmidt will be a douche, Jes will be nerdy, CeCe will be the voice of reason, and Nick will go along with anything. The characters already feel real in the context of the show.
New Girl does seem to be leaning toward sitcom cliches reinvented. Last night's episode, for example, kicked into action because Jes accidentally broke the TV. Her roommates told her she had to replace it. The twist came from how the got it back. Jes left almost everything at her ex-boyfriend's apartment, including the TV she bought for both of them. The roommates have to get Jes to stand up for herself and demand all of her property back. It's sweet, it's funny, and it takes some really surprising twists that only work because the cast sells them.
What we have here is a sitcom that features a strong cast of actors. The reason the awkward things seem believable is because the actors are able to make them work. Zooey Deschanel is really playing against type as this weird little nerd girl and it doesn't feel like a put-on. She's not trying to play ugly (like how most sitcoms take a beautiful woman, slap some glasses on her, and pretend she's plain and boring); she's playing goofball. The other characters acknowledge that she's beautiful woman but can look past that to be confused by her behavior that must make her the most popular teacher in the elementary school.
If you haven't given New Girl a try, you should. The show has legs and will easily make it through its first season without seeming tired or old.
Have you watched the show yet? What do you think? Sound off below.