New Girl Review: It's Jess!

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New Girl is based around a simple premise: Zooey Deschanel is adorable. Sorry, adorkable, as the six million Fox ads that hyped this new sitcom have told us for weeks.

It's a basic concept, and it's one that will likely leave viewers split into two camps after watching the series premiere: those that truly do find Deschanel adorkable, and those who wish to bash a guitar over her head every time she sings.

Me? I am proudly on Team Zooey is Awesome, making New Girl my favorite new comedy of the fall.

Zooey Deschanel as Jess

Come on, Deschanel's Jess has her own theme song, unabashedly references Lord of the Rings and is open about her desire for rebound sex. What's not to love?

Granted, it's impossible not to compare this frumpy, nerdy, dating-challenged character to Liz Lemon, but is it really a bad thing when my biggest criticism is that Jess reminds me of one of TV's funniest women?

It always takes a few episodes - or even a full season, as was the case with Parks and Recreation - to get into a sitcom. Unlike a drama that can hook you with a major mystery or cliffhanger, most laughs for a show of this nature stem from established characters and their quirks or personalities. And there are definitely a few things I'd change about New Girl, most notably the number of times Schmidt acts like a douchebag.

Yes, the series at least acknowledges this change of personality when it occurs, stopping short of making the self-aware roommate an actual douchebag, but still. Lose the jar and tone it down a bit or else I'll start to wonder why Coach (Damon Wayans Jr., who will be replaced with Lamorne Morris going forward) and Nick are actually friends with Schmidt.

Still, that's a small complaint after just one episode. Deschanel is cute and hilarious, whether she's simulating cartoon bug eyes upon spotting a hot guy or trying to come up with a stripper name. Below, I've listed a few of the best New Girl quotes from a strong opener:

Jess: I was going for like a hot farmer's daughter kind of thing, like, oh, I'm gonna go milk my cows. | permalink
Jess: Who's that girl? It's Jess.
Nick: Did you just make up a theme song for yourself? | permalink
Jess: Well, I guess I can't hide my crazy.
Nick: I don't you're trying that hard. | permalink
Jess: Pink wine makes me slutty. | permalink
Schmidt: I'll take you through the whole thing. I'll be like your guide.
Jess: Like Gandolf through Middle Earth?
Schmidt: Probably not like... Okay, first of all, let's take the Lord of the Rings references and put them in a deep, dark cave, where no one's gonna find them. Ever.
Jess: Except Smeagle. He lives in a cave. | permalink
Cece: What's your stripper name?
Jess: Uh, Rebecca Johnson.
Cece: Your stripper name is Rebecca Johnson?
Jess: Boobies Johnson. Two Boobs Johnson. | permalink
Jess: I'm doing sexy things with the pillow. | permalink


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (117 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Jess is too sophisticated for audiences today. Yes, sophisticated, it’s ahead of it’s time.
I am afraid the reviews won’t do it justice. Most men will probably not man-up and admit they like a girl with Jess’s type of personality, it’s not “model like�. The world is still stuck on this ancient idea that girls have to act “right�, even though Zooey looks like a model. Women will be to jealous to like a girl who acts like they wish they could act.


I absolutely love this show can't get enough of it I think Zooey & the guys are effin hilarious! Def had me laughin from start to finish hurry up episode 4!!! :)


I really love zooey deschanel in everything else, and I love She&Him. But New Girl is UNWATCHABLE. What a waste of talent.


I loved the pilot soooooooooooooooo much that i even cried!! And doing so it's not easy with fourteen chewing gums in your mouth!


Not a big Zooey fan, so the constant singing was getting a touch annoying, (like that SNL gag with that woman), but otherwise, it was one of the better comedy pilots.
Nick's face alone is half the joke right their. Schmidt is too much like Ralphio, though.Sad that they're replacing Wayans. They have a nice four musketeers vibe. Like Tina fey with Baldwin cut into three. Hoping it keeps it up!


I felt like the show had its good moments but other scenes were relatively "blah". I guess it's still figuring out its footing and I hope it gets better as the rest of the series progresses. You just can't resist catching the rest of it because Zooey comes out as too irresistible here! Too adorkable to miss out on what's next.


When she sings, she sounds kinda Miranda Sings!


I agree with fortyseven, The show was not coming together (for me) until the very end... So if they can bottle the last 10 minutes of the show and reproduce it.. I will be hooked. I love Zooey "adorkable" qualities, but it was very hit or miss for the first 20 minutes.


Loved the show. I almost died when she came over to tell them she had a date & then turned around & her dress was stuck in her GIANT underwear.


Loved this show. Sad to hear Coach is being replaced (only due to his other show) because his yelling at women, hilarious. My husband laughed a lot at this one so it's a keeper. It will be interesting to see how the show dynamic changes. Overall this is a great start to a funny show.

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New Girl Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Cece: What's your stripper name?
Jess: Uh, Rebecca Johnson.
Cece: Your stripper name is Rebecca Johnson?
Jess: Boobies Johnson. Two Boobs Johnson.

I could pretend to be more like you, Jess, and live on a sparkly rainbow and drive a unicorn around and just sing all the time.