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TV Review: New Girl

Zooey Deschanel embraces the dork within in Fox's tenacious comedy, New Girl.

Written by
Jessica Johnson

Hollywood starlet Zooey Deschanel's arrival on Fox's fall schedule has caused more chatter than Terra Nova's dinosaurs, as if everyone is mystified as to why a film actress would sully herself on the small screen. A peek at New Girl's lead character, Jess Day, supplies all the answers as she's a culmination of everything that has made Deschanel a name.

Jess has recently found herself without a place to live, after awkwardly walking in on her boyfriend's afternoon tryst with another woman. She answers a Craigslist ad, and is surprised to find that her prospective roomies are three single guys. The fellas, Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Nick (Jake M. Johnson) are put off a little by Jess's unique personality, but when they hear that she has best friend who's a model, all is forgotten and she's instantly invited to live with them. Of course, before any models come prancing about the apartment, they first have to endure her mourning over the demise of her relationship, which includes excessive watching of Dirty Dancing while weeping. At the point, the boys decide to take her out to help find a rebound and thus, the bonding begins.

Deschanel's charms are not universally agreed upon and it's hard to imagine this character converting any of her naysayers. Jess's wildly inappropriate impulses and tendency to sing her thoughts can come off cloying, just as easily as endearing. The three roomies have this problem, too. Nick is the most normal, though he has a bad habit of obsessing over and drunk dialing his ex, while Schmidt and Coach play two different sides of the excessively macho coin. Wayans will not be appearing in the show after the pilot, due to Happy Endings being picked up for another season, replaced by Chicago-native Lamorne Morris, so we can overlook his character's weird habit of yelling at women and hope that his successor doesn't inherit it.

New Girl has a lot of great qualities but, like Jess, it needs to learn when to hold back and stop trying so hard to make a good first impression. There's clearly a show worth cozying up to here, if it will just settle down and let us get to know the characters in it.

New Girl premieres Tuesday 8pm on Fox.

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