Old Hat (New Girl, Channel 4)
To start the New Year, a brief post on New Girl, which is all it deserves. I don’t object (much) to the fact that the basic premise is recycled from numerous other shows (Man About the House, Threes's Company, or, in an Irish context, Bachelor's Walk). Nor need we make much of the fact that the main characters, give or take a couple of traits distributed differently, could have stepped straight out of Scrubs (the soulful and genuine one; the kooky one; the white one who acts like their black; the black one who mostly tolerates this).
I do object (a little) to the fact that it is fraudulently pitched as a sort of indie/alternative comedy, when it is nothing of the sort. This is the kind of programme that could only have been made following the success of shows such as Flight of the Conchords, but which borrows only the most superficial trappings from these predecessors. Just as (500 Days of) Summer, a film so dull its title seemed like its running time, was a faux-indie, ersatz-Woody squib, so too is this old-fashioned sitcom, complete with hugs and lessons learned at the end of each episode. Zooey Deschanel sprinkles glitter and twee about her like a demented Sugar Plum Fairy, but there is absolutely nothing alternative, or indeed interesting, going on here at all. I have nothing against Ms. Deschanel per se (despite having just criticised a recent film of hers and being in process of criticising the television programme she is currently starring in).[i] But she is given little to do here, and does it badly, slipping effortlessly into generic Tweety Pie Princess mode. A traditional sitcom would have been one thing; something genuinely oddball another. This is neither, and the worse for it.