New Girl: “Pilot” (S01E01)

The episode premieres tonight but it’s been available on iTunes for awhile now so I’m posting this early. It contains spoilers but it’s a sitcom, not serialized drama like Breaking Bad or Mad Men. I think you’ll survive.

I went into The New Girl wondering one thing: what would be the mechanism that they use to explain why someone as attractive as Jess (played by indie hipster queen Zooey Deschanel) is perpetually unlucky in love? I’m not saying that attractive people don’t have a hard time with dating and relationships as I have many friends who fit the bill. But this isn’t reality, this is a sitcom so instead of an in-depth examination into how being beautiful and quirky can work against you in the dating scene, we’re going to get a (hopefully) humorous 22 minutes of cute dorky hijinks. But I was curious if the reason Jess would be single and frustrated is that she’s such a dork that a decent guy would find her off-putting or would the guys she tries to date be evil douchebags who are just taking advantage of our sweet, lovable heroine. If the pilot is any indication, thankfully it’s going to be a little bit of both.

I enjoyed the pilot for the most part but I may have wanted to like it more than I actually did. Deschanel got to be cute and dorky as advertised. She makes a Lord of the Rings reference which makes me wonder if she is also going to be a bit nerdy too. (I hope so). Her three male roommates Nick, Schmidt and Coach (Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Damon Wayans Jr. respectively) were all amusing in their own way. The douchiness of Schmidt was a bit grating but it was offset by the “D-Bag Jar”1.

My favorite of the three roommates was Coach who works as a personal trainer (When Schmidt docuhily shows off his body to Jess to display his manhood, he beams with pride calling Schmidt’s abs “the house that Coach built”). His constant yelling at women at his job to get them to work harder has left him unable to talk or listen to women. Jess tries to help him along but this subplot doesn’t matter. Wayans, Jr. won’t be on the next episode because, much to everyone’s surprise based on how they treated this show, Happy Endings was renewed. They aren’t going to recast the role of Coach, just replace him with another Black guy (Lamorne Morris)2.

The most annoying cliched part of the episode is when Jess’ best (only?) friend, Cece (Hannah Simone), gives Jess a nice black dress to wear on her date, all the guys stare at her and comment how beautiful she looks as if to say she wasn’t attractive to them up to this point (I thought she was cuter when they were interviewing her). Then again, I’m hoping there is never any sexual chemistry between her and any of the roommate because that would derail the show.

In regard to how Jess would be treated when it comes to meeting guys, we got a taste of the two approaches they’ll likely take. When they go to a bar to get her a rebound guy, she appears to be incapable of talking to guys or even appearing comfortable around them. She was awkward enough that it’s conceivable that a guy would want to avoid her. I don’t know how long this can go on before it gets annoying but the first time was funny. The second guy she goes after agrees to go out with her after she mentions that she needs “rebound sex.” While the guys are waiting in line for a party they’ve been anticipating all episode, they run into the guy that Jess was supposed to be meeting. He stood her up because she texted him seven times, “like long ones,” and all he wanted was a hookup. he didn’t even bother to call her. What an asshole. While I expect that there will be many assholes that Jess has to deal with in the course of this series, I hope they are mixed in with a bunch of failed dates/relationships that are mostly Jess’ fault as well3.

The guys leave the party they’ve been talking about all episode to meet Jess at the restaurant and serenade her with “(I’ve Had ) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing (Jess spends the first weeks of her stay at the apartment watching Dirty Dancing and crying on the couch).  they’ve decided that she’s their girl and they’ll look after her. It remains to be seen how the chemistry will be with the new roommate but this episode was good enough to not make me feel bad for committing to watch it to the bitter blue-eyed end. Whether I regret decided to review it remains to be seen.

(Don’t worry. The rest of my reviews won’t be this long.)

1. I wish How I Met Your Mother had a D-Bag jar for Ted

2. While I’m glad they didn’t recast the role of Coach, I’m kinda annoyed that they decided to replace him with a whole new Black guy. Like we just happen to know another guy who happens to be Black too. I’ll have to see how they explain it in episode two.

3. I almost wrote “assholes” and “spread out” in the same sentence. Thank God immature Sean started snickering when I read it back to myself.

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