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!
PARKER POSEY HEMORRHAGED TO DEATH as Liz on Louie in the same week she appears as Shot Girl in New Girl’s “Re-Launch,” where she plays the Ph.D from MIT who got in a car accident and lost half her brain. As you’ve both hinted, we’re witnessing the curious death of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl at the hands of the small screen.
Party Girl’s gone dark on New Girl. She’s “twenty-six,” she’s an effective (if unnerving) shot girl, and her eyes are as dead as the eyes of the doll Louie gave Lilly for Christmas. “This is the easiest job in the world!” Nick hollers at Jess when she, too, tries to be a shot girl and drops the bottle after nearly choking a patron. In a way, he’s right. When Jess finally climbs up and dances, people shout her name — “Shot Girl! Shot Girl.” Except, of course, that’s not her name. That’s when you see understanding dawn: to be a Shot Girl is to be a deceptively unique cipher, a “T-ball,” in Posey’s words. A “Katie.”
Shot Girl, Party Girl, Manic Pixie Dream Girl
What’s interesting about New Girl’s “Re-Launch” is the way it front-loads how being a woman onstage (or on a table) confers a weird interchangeability. What freaks Jess out about going onstage is the unexpected loss of self. She’s not Jess, or a teacher. She’s just Shot Girl. What was supposed to be just a job has become an identity. (Zooey Deschanel knows something about that, I suspect.) I wonder whether there’s a pun living in “Shot Girl,” and whether we’re supposed to understand her as both the girl who pours shots and also the girl who gets shot. On f...read more