With every September comes a bunch of big choices. Well, big television related choices. What shows will you continue to watch, what will you throw by the wayside and, most importantly, what new shows will become regulars on your now revised 2011-12 viewing schedule? There have been various marketing strategies by the different networks, all trying desperately to get you on-board for their debuts but Fox, took it one step further and made the entire pilot for their New Girl available to watch. For free. That's confidence.
I happened to take the opportunity to watch the pilot episode for the new comedy hopeful and it's pretty solid. Pilots, especially when it comes to comedic series, are notoriously hard to pull off. There is just so much introductory work needed to be done that the comedy is often absent. New Girl does an excellent job of balancing character and setting introductions with comedic set pieces, resulting in a pilot that feels more like a mid-season episode. There are some kinks to work out, but overall I was pretty impressed.
However, and this is a large caveat, if you don't like Zooey Deschanel then don't tune in. I find her absolutely adorable, especially when she's playing Jess, the dorky but lovable 'new girl' who, after a messy break-up, moves into an apartment with three bachelors (played by Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr. and Max Greenfield). Why would these three dudes want a chick who's constantly sobbing, watching Dirty Dancing or singing to herself to move in with them? Jess just happens to be best friends with a model (Hannah Simone) and her model friends. A nice solution.
Deschanel shines as the awkward yet lovable mess that is Jess. She reminds me a little of Kristen Wiig, which is certainly not a bad comparison when we're talking comedic performances. The supporting characters are good, if not a little stock. Hannah Simone just has to look hot (she does this well) and the boys are okay and hopefully will be fleshed out in the coming episodes. Wayans plays Coach, a personal trainer who could use a little help motivating his female clients without making them cry. Greenfield plays the douchey (they actually have a 'douche comment' jar for him) Wall Street type Schmidt and finally Johnson plays the sweet, and also kind of a mess, Nick.
Is there a future for Jess and Nick? Hm. I kind of felt that vibe but the show will need to stick around before it can explore these narratives. And I think it will. Check out the promo below and, if it tickles your fancy, hop over to iTunes and watch the full pilot.
New Girl officially premieres on Fox on Tuesday, September 20 at 9 p.m.