Jane, I think that you’re on to something here, with your working theory of the Manic Pixie Dream Boy. At the very least, you’ve pinpointed the fact that post-Fey (inclusive, at this time, of the fading Fey herself) sitcomradeship is as interested in carving out textured and occasionally progressive new female archetypes as it is in retro-fitting male archetypes to go along with them. Mindy can’t ultimately hook up with Kevin James, in other words, and Danny, JGL, Schmidt, even, and especially Girls’s Adam, are all very different dream boys custom built as foils for their ladies.
That said, as much as you’ve done to categorize and explain this figure, I think part of the problem of pinpointing it lies in how messily and inconsistently characterized these figures are when they appear onscreen. JGL is a baritone cipher, Danny vacillates wildly from sensitive Billy Joel loving man-child to puff-chested Tool Man Taylor, and Schmidt, well, I think somebody at New Girl lost all the Microsoft Word documents they use to keep consistent information on Schmidt. (Dropbox, guys, it’s easy.) This week’s episode saw a welcome return to form for the Schmidt-Cece dyad, and then an inexplicable foul-up based on Schmidt’s prioritization of work over Cece. There’s that old Schmidt the workaholic. Always climbing the corporate ladder, married to his job, a desk jockey, nothing is more important to Schmidt than… wait a second, this is a new character trait! New this week, and yet Cece greets drunken Schmidt at her door as though it’s the last straw. Honestly, if tomorrow there was a Hollywood Reporter story about how the New Girl writers’ room is controlled by the whims and petty jealousies of impetuous Greek gods, I would not be at all surprised. Then we could blame the travesty of this season on Hera being upset with Poseidon and using Elizabeth Meriwether to accomplish her vengeance or something.
[Before moving on, I just want to throw in a word for Ol’ Winston. First, his meager meth-head impression was cut to a tenth of a second so that we could get to hear Zooey D fully work out the Appalachian Emergency Room character she never got to play on SNL. And, what’s worse, in the absence of any kind of character development, they seem to just be running with this effeminacy angle, as Jane says. It’s a befuddling and troubling turn. Add this to the gay panic Winston gets to indulge in once a week now, and, well, I don’t know what to say anymore. Blame Moun...read more