image: Mindy and Danny
THE THING ABOUT NEW GIRL is that I keep backsliding and thinking it’s just an updated version of Friends. For you, Jane, Seinfeld is the first relevant starting point, and so I’m going to collide our worlds and say that the show is an amalgam of both: the roommatehood of the one combines with the three guys to one girl ratio of the other. At my grouchiest, though, I feel that the actors are too glossy for Seinfeld — a point the show itself made last week when CeCe was dating a “Normal” — and nobody is actually weird. There are no Kramers or Costanzas. New Girl is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves where the dwarves have been attenuated: Nick is Slightly Grumpy, Schmidt is Slightly Dopey, and Winston is Kinda Doc.
I keep wanting to write the show off, is what I’m saying. Last week, when Jess left Schmidt’s party and Nick knew that she went to the school and went and found her, I was sitting on my couch going THERE IS NO SCENARIO IN WHICH THOSE TWO CHARACTERS SITTING ON THE HOOD OF THE CAR DO NOT MAKE OUT. NONE. Jane, you’re right to worry about Jess and Nick dating — no show survives that unless it’s willing to pull the Sam and Diane, and New Girl won’t go that bleak — but my feeling about that scene was that they did go there and then pulled out, so to speak, for the simple reason that they know the makeout’s a bad strategy. They’ve stopped writing the characters realistically, I thought. They’re too afraid of collapsing into convention. Instead of a makeout, a fakeout. TIMID STORYTELLING.
But then the show does something pretty smart: it labels its own strategy as Emotional Fluffing. I’m not sold on the concept, and the show doesn’t do much with it (yet?), but at least it calls out the fact that last week a line was crossed. (Thanks for saying that, Winston.) I’m not sure whether we’re supposed to understand Nick’s speech at the end — in which he says he’ll build a dresser if he damn well wants to, roles be damned — as a rejection of Fluffing or as a denial of his True Feelings. I’m hoping for the former....read more