Not-so-new girl Zooey Deschanel faces new challenges as series two opens at 9pm with her losing the teaching job she loves, leading inevitably to a stint as a shotgirl at Schmidt’s ‘welcome back to my functioning penis’ party. Puerile, yes, but also hugely funny, not least for some whip-smart one-liners, surreal sight gags, Jess’s continued characterisation as just the right side of off-whack, and beautifully played ensemble scenes between the four flatmates. It’s the trademark understated narrative of top US sitcoms that really makes ‘New Girl’ as endearing as it is, and it shows no signs of flagging.
Still, tonight it’s edged out by Mindy Kaling’s glorious new sitcom ‘The Mindy Project’ (9.30pm). Fans of the US version of ‘The Office’ will recognise her as Kelly Kapoor, but here the eponymous Mindy takes centre stage as a 30-year-old doctor addicted to romcoms, casual sex with suave English colleague Jeremy, and sparring with macho colleague Danny. Having found and lost the man of her dreams to a Serbian bagel girl with bad teeth, she gets drunk at their wedding, steals a bike and ends up in a swimming pool talking to a mean Barbie doll. Life, she decides, has to change. Cue a barrage of great one-liners and fun cultural references, from Michael Fassbender’s penis (clearly the big new joke word in US sitcoms) to MIA’s ‘Bad Girls’. It’s a winner.