New Girl Review: Marmite Zooey

NEW GIRL: Friday 6th January, C4, 8.30pm

We’ve all indulged in some post-break up behaviour. You know the sort of thing… drinking too much of the hard stuff and sharing far too much information with your long-suffering friends. Well it’s time to shake out of that onesie and get over it! Alternatively, you might at least find some cheer and sympathy in New Girl; the show which has already been a ratings hit over in the States, having been rather grandly described as one of the best new comedies in years.

Channel 4 will surely breathe a sigh of relief at hearing this critical praise; when they finally let go of the mighty Friends juggernaut they assured us they had stable of new ‘all American’ shows waiting to fill its incredibly large and reliable shoes. But will this one live up to the hype?

This verdict might be based on one simple point, and that is whether or not you like Zooey Deschanel. If you do, you will undoubtedly concur. Big-screen roles in Elf and 500 Days of Summer have previously cemented the actor’s ‘indie’ status, with these typically type-cast portrayals reflecting her real life coolness (she is also half of alternative group She & Him, and was up until recently happily married to indie-rock front man Ben Gibbard). It is undoubtedly true that all these roles have been pretty similar, so it seems a natural progression for her to scoop it all up and stick it in a comedy which perfectly showcases her lovable yet divisive ‘kooky’ charisma. Personally, I happen to be a sucker for her shtick, with her combination of offbeat humour and hipster style frankly making me wish she was my best mate.

Naturally then, I found New Girl rather enjoyable. Zooey plays the recently dumped Jess Daly, a girl looking for some new digs; a place where she can watch Dirty Dancing in peace and sing her own theme song to her heart’s content. Heartbreak evidently leads to rash decisions, and she chooses to respond to an ad by three guys; overconfident Schmidt, personal trainer and aptly named Coach, and fellow dumpee Nick. A little shell-shocked by the opposite sex alien that has landed in their living room, this first episode sees the trio taking it upon themselves to help Jess out of her Patrick Swayze haze (…Swaze?) and take her out on the pull (albeit in a very American ‘awesome/high five!’ way). Good thing they have a ‘douchebag jar’ to keep them all in check.

There are a fair few chuckles to be found in the pilot, and not just from Zooey. The producers have assured that men-folk don’t feel too put off by the female lead, with male banter also being a steady source of wit. Well, I say wit… Schmidt provides laughs with his insanely dim-witted approach to women. His chat up technique involves a double threat; taking off his shirt all the while delivering a Snoop Dogg-esque offering of herbal tea. “Ugh for real, whaaat? A lil P-mint tea?â€? …Smooth, just how could a girl refuse?! Inevitably she does.

Despite the American market coming out with a few satisfyingly funny shows in recent times (How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory etc…), there hasn’t been one for years which has managed to create the type of mega buzz that New Girl has. Channel 4 will be praying that we Brits welcome Zooey Deschanel onto our telly’s in a similar manner to those across the pond. Which I’ve no doubt you will! Just as long as you aren’t irritated by her ‘adorkable’ persona that is…

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