' ' Cinema Romantico: New Girl: Naked

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Girl: Naked

When your guest star has the best line reading of the whole episode, there's problems.
Let me spin you a scenario: Nick needs to get ready for a date with a bartendress (Lake Bell). So he goes to his bedroom, shuts the door, cranks some music, and starts dancing. (And now the similarities between how "New Girl's" Nick and this Nick get ready for a date end.) Then he removes his clothes - all his clothes - studies himself in the mirror and keeps dancing. His female roommate Jess is trying to get some work done but is unable to on account of the loud music. She goes to his room, opens the door and - ai-yi-yi! - sees his what-have-ya. (I've had female roommates. Two of them, in fact. And neither of them never not knocked. Just sayin'.) She apologizes. Then she laughs. Yikes! And she quickly exits.

Okay, so the setup and the payoff was obvious and predictable. I mean, as soon as his pants came off what did you think was gonna happen? And now we know Nick will feel inadequate and Jess will try desperately, ridiculously to remedy the situation and that it will end with Nick seeing Jess naked. But this isn't an Agatha Christie novel. There aren't always points for shocking the audience. You can roll with predictability and still emerge triumphant. At the same time, it is the bed show creator Elizabeth Meriweather and her writing staff have made, thus they must sleep in it. We, the viewers, need some fresh sheets, a warm pillow, a good night's sleep. "New Girl", unfortunately, doesn't do much beyond the expected with the situation and doesn't do it with much inspiration.

Points need to be given, at least, for the show focusing on the guys, giving not only Nick the main plotline but the other two male roommates Schmidt and Winston (who I think I might have still been calling Coach in previous blog posts because Coach was the name of the character as played by Damon Wayans Jr. before Wayans Jr. was replaced after one episode with Lamorne Morris who - I’m sorry, Morris family members - is just obscenely un-charismatic - seriously, the nameless extras on "Cheers" had more charisma than Morris) the secondary plotline in the form of Winston trying to update himself on pop culture to land a job (?) after being away in Latvia for so long to play basketball. If the main plotline is middling than this second one is re-heated hot dogs from the gas station.

Jess and Nick’s story is resolved by way of Nick getting the female bartendress back to his room, though Jess has slipped into the room in just a towel in order to show herself naked to Nick to level the playing field but a moment earlier (spoiler alert!). And so she climbs around while they mess around and they eventually spot her and she drops the towel and so on and so forth. That’s when it hit me.

So much has been made recently of Zooey Deschanel’s mercurialness but the show isn’t actually playing to her strengths. They don't want her to be the sitcom star for the hipsters, they want her to be a latter day Lucille Ball. They want to show us that everything she’s doing is out of love and that in the end, despite how wrong she made everything, she genuinely only wants it all to be right and this, for better or worse, mainly worse, is the best way she knows to make that happen.

Instead they’re teetering on the edge of making Jess a clueless buffoon.


Wretched Genius said...

"When your guest star has the best line reading of the whole episode, there's problems."

While I have no doubt that the show has problems, I feel obligated to point out that the above rationale is voided when the guest star is Lake Bell. She has some great comedic chops (seriously, you really need to start watching Childrens Hospital), and it's hard to outshine her in that regard.

Also, I've see both Bell and Deschanel sans clothing. And despite the fact that she is indeed quite fetching, Zooey's towel gambit never had a chance.

Nick Prigge said...

I didn't mean it as a poor reflection on Lake Bell. She was really, really funny, the writers (surprise!) just didn't follow through with her enough. I meant it more as an indictment of the show itself because she swooped in and made me laugh harder than I have for all 5 episodes because of HOW she says her line. The line: "So do you, like, want to take it slow or something?"

And you're right. I have no idea why I'm not watching "Children's Hospital" regularly. Probably because I'm an idiot. I'm going to write myself 25 post-it notes to make sure I DVR it.

Anonymous said...

I'm just not a fan of them playing through the exact same storylines as in Friends in every episode. I might watch it again few times but if the originality fades even more, I might stop.

Nick Prigge said...

It is a bit "Friends"-ish, isn't it? And whereas those characters were at least well defined, these characters (particularly the guys) are just....blah, blah, blah.

Would I have checked out by this point? Probably. But I commited to blogging about every episode! And I will! I'm not backing down from my commitment!