By SARAH KELLY
Zooey Deschanel is adorable. Her dresses are adorable, her hairstyle is adorable and her smile is adorable. Ever since she appeared in the popular romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer,” her career has taken flight. Her appeal stems not from any real acting or musical ability, but instead from the idea that if we imitate her and emulate her style, we can one day be just as cute and quirky. A girl can dream. This is the premise of her sitcom “New Girl” on FOX, a show that seems like an undisguised ploy to market the actress’s charm.
In her first sitcom venture , Deschanel plays Jess, a loveably awkward girl who has recently decided to get a fresh start on her life. After an impromptu encounter with her cheating boyfriend, Jess puts a quick end to the relationship and ends up moving into an apartment with three guys looking for a roommate. Hilarity is bound to ensue and, in part, it does. The mix of characters between Jess and her roommates creates an interesting dynamic. There’s Schmidt (Max Greenfield), a typical alpha male apt at the art of misogyny who turns out to be a good guy. There’s Coach (Damon Wayans), a one-dimensional personal trainer who has something of a problem dealing with his aggression, and lastly, there’s Nick (Jake Johnson), an intelligent and sensitive counterpart to Schmidt, who like Jess, is recovering from a bad break-up. In the pilot episode, they all work together to get Jess a date, stepping in to rescue her from her flailing incompetence in the dating world.
Although Deschanel is not quite believable as gawky Jess, the writing on the show is fast-paced and provides a few moments of laughter. For instance, the roommates have all put in place a “douchebag jar” for Schmidt, in which he places a dollar when he gets out of line. Just when you think he’s made a turnaround in a heart-rending moment as he comforts Jess, he confesses “I would totally do you,” to which they all reply in unison, “jar.”
“New Girl” does show some potential, however, in the character of Nick. Once Jess manages to get a date, Schmidt and Nick find out that she has been texting this guy before they go out. “You’ve been texting him?” Schmidt says, outraged by the idea that she’s not playing hard to get. Nick replies. “That’s, that’s nice.” The camera pans back between Jess and Nick as they smile at each other. The promise entailed in this one moment is enough to prove that being adorable really might be all it takes for FOX to make “New Girl” a hit.
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