image: New Girl, FOX
Dear Television is Jane Hu, Lili Loofbourow, and Phillip Maciak. We will be writing epistolary criticism about TV. If Clarissa Harlowe were writing about Girls — and she kind of is, isn’t she? — this is what that would be like. Abridged. This season, we'll be corresponding about FOX's New Girl and The Mindy Project from our new home at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Join us in the comments section!
FIRST OFF, I'M SO GLAD to be writing about these shows with you on the LARB. If there’s one thing that’s been missing from the review so far, it’s adorkability. So, done and done. Second, I want to begin with a disclaimer: when New Girl debuted last year, I was not a fan. For the first couple of episodes, the show felt to me like a half-hour long amateur improv skit performed by the emotionally disturbed. It was a twee Marat/Sade, costumed by Anthropologie. Worse, however, was that, in the midst of the much-ballyhooed “Year of Women in Comedy,” here was a show about a 30-year-old woman who literally can’t say the word “penis” for an entire episode.
That episode, “Naked,” was a low point, I thought, but as the actors grew more comfortable with their roles and, apparently, the writers grew more comfortable with their actors, New Girl began to feel less precious and more lived-in. The whiffed sex comedy of “Naked” was revisited and vastly improved upon five episodes later with “Bad in Bed,” and, a few episodes after that, with the spectacular “Jess and Julia,” New Girl even managed to offer a super-convincing meta-argument for its ethnography of Dork-Americans. By the time Nick (Jake Johnson) had his cancer scare at mid-season, New Girl had not only outgrown its jumpers, it was one of the most humane, funny, and legitimately emotional shows on TV.
All of this is to say that, last night, I think we saw a show that long ago found its footing deliver...read more