New Girl Season One Premiere Recap

New Girl stars Zooey Deschanel as Jess a recently dumped gal seeking a new place to live. Jess’s account of how she caught her boyfriend cheating on her is a terrific comic set piece set off perfectly by the fact that she simply vomit’s the story out entirely unprompted by unrelated question.

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Zooey Deschanel is so adorable it should be illegal. Even when she played flighty and downright mean in the brilliant 500 Days of Summer, she remained wildly appealing in her very unique adorable-ness. Deschanel’s new sitcom, New Girl, takes her adorable-ness and wraps and entire sitcom premise around it. The result is a complete delight.

New Girl stars Zooey Deschanel as Jess, a recently dumped gal seeking a new place to live. Jess’s account of how she caught her boyfriend cheating on her is a terrific comic set piece set off perfectly by the fact that she simply vomits the story out, entirely unprompted by unrelated question.

Right off the bat we find that Jess is living on her own wavelength. Her new roommates are three male strangers which doesn’t seem to phase her at all, even as the Craiglist ad led her to believe that they were women. The guys are Nick (Jake Johnson), a bartender recovering from his own break up, ladies man Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), a trainer who doesn’t know how to talk to women.

Wayans Jr. only appears in the New Girl pilot as his character Coach will be written out by the second episode. The pilot was completed before Wayans Jr’s other sitcom, Happy Endings, received a surprise second season pick up from ABC. Wayans Jr. will be replaced by Lamorne Morris, best known as the host of the Cartoon Network game show Brain Rush.

The pilot plot turns on the guys attempting to get Jess to stop crying, turn off Dirty Dancing and get over her break up by hooking up; not with any of them. One of the unique things about New Girl is that though convention would have one of the roommates be a match for Jess, none of the three guys seems like a romantic match for her. That could change as the series evolves but for now it’s a nice change of pace from the typical sitcom ‘will they or won’t they.’

Zooey Deschanel turns adorable up to 11 with her manic pixie energy, daft references to Lord of the Rings and Dirty Dancing and super-cute singing to herself. Some may find Jess’s quirks irksome but as a long time fan of Deschanel’s unusual attractiveness, I was completely charmed.

If the series can keep finding ways to capitalize on Deschanel’s innate charms, that alone will make New Girl a regular watch for me. I’d like to see the male cast develop a little more but it’s difficult to judge them just yet. Wayans’ Coach was the weakest part of the pilot and changing him out will alter the dynamic enough that for now, the other guys get a pass.

New Girl is available to watch right now on Hulu and is set to premiere on Fox on Tuesday, September 20th.


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Author
Sean Kernan
I have been a film critic online and on the radio for 12 year years. I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association as well as a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association.