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!
TO ECHO PHIL, I am so very chuffed to be talking television with you on the LARB. While I’ve adored our prior discussions on Girls and Louie, it does seem more than appropriate to begin this season with adorkability — for what else marks the early years of television but exactly that? Phil, I loved reading your first impressions of New Girl, especially since nearly every fan of the show I’ve met also began as a skeptic. Once New Girl “found its voice,” “picking up speed” around mid-season, it started delivering the emotional goods. Such phrases have been used to describe the arc of shows now deemed inarguably solid (The Office and Parks and Recreation, for instance, were both seen as having slow starts), which is why I caution those irritated by The Mindy Project pilot to give it another month, at least. No one should judge serial television by one episode.
For New Girl, the start of season one might have felt like a cloying embrace of the cotton-loving, banjo-playing, tights-wearing ingénue everybody loved to deride. Sure, Zooey Deschanel might have been darling in Elf, but by 500 Days of Summer, she was most categorically a tired rehash of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Only after continued viewing did most viewers begin to see New Girl as not a continuation — but as an expansion, complication, and sometimes even a mocking — of Deschan...read more