New Girl: Pilot Review

I don’t often watch comedies, ‘cos usually I don’t find them funny. I decided to give New Girl (no The) a chance because it’s apparently hilarious and the best comedy of the season. It’s also got Zooey Deschanel who I find intriguing because she’s got giant eyes and is the sister of the woman from Bones. Here, have a trailer, although it’s basically the first 2/3 of the pilot edited into 160 seconds so maybe skip it if you’re allergic to spoilers.

The pilot episode wasn’t horrible and while I didn’t laugh out loud, I did smile several times and there were even a couple of those little sort of snorty chuckle things. Unfortunately there were also a fair number of embarrassed cringes and more than one moment that nearly had me reaching for the off button. It didn’t get off to a strong start with a hideously clumsy collection of bits of exposition, and a theme song that I think was trying for ironic, but just ended up being jaw droppingly horrific.

The four main characters all fall onto the sitcom idiot spectrum. Zooey Deschanel is perfectly cast as the sweet but dippy eponymous heroine, unfortunately she was just slightly too annoying and un-self-aware and I spent most of the episode wanting to smother her with a pillow. Nick is the nice one, not particularly remarkable except for the fact that compared to his housemates, the caricature physical trainer and the obnoxious show-off, he’s a bright ray of sunshine. The only thing that gives a tiny bit of hope is that they do occasionally call each other out for their dumb behaviour, indicating some small shred of humanity.

Overall, not awful by any stretch. The moments of humour outnumbered the moments of pain, but not by a great deal. However as most comedies make me want to poke my eyes out, this is high praise. I may even try out the second episode.

New Girl is on Channel 4 Fridays 8.30pm, and is available on 4OD

Other reviews
The Guardian – Approach with an open mind though and it’s a show you might end up liking. Unlike most of the new batch of misfiring US sitcoms it’s a comedy that knows what it wants to do with its characters, has uniformly strong performances and a consistent writing ethic. Yes, it can get twee but it knows what it’s doing. Give it a shot.

CliqueClack – It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected. Jess’ lilt? Lo and behold, used to good effect. Her dorky intonations? Not so dorkified after all. Her odd facial expressions? Surprisingly and recurrently funny.


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