Gender plays a huge role in New Girl. Part of the show’s appeal is Jess’s dive into the world of men. The whole premise of New Girl relies on the fact that Jess is a girl living with three male roommates and the awkward interactions between the four.
This show allows the audience to the events that may ensue when males and females live under the same roof. Like, when Schmidt explains how he thought living with a girl would be the best thing ever, but it turned out to be terrible because all the bathroom shelves were always full, his towels always damp, and he never got to sleep with Jess.
This show also explores the gender stereotypes in our society. For example, the idea that men only think about sex. This stereotype is clearly projected by Schmidt who constantly tries to get women to sleep with him. Another example is that in the first half of season one, all of Jess’s roommates watch over Jess and come to her rescue.
Another thing to note is that compared to the men, Jess is much more optimistic and has much more faith in humanity. Jess is described in the show as a sweet and naive girl who always tries to do the right thing. In episode eleven of the show, it’s mentioned that Jess is really girly and likes feminine things like ribbon hats and polka dots.
Another aspect of Jess being a girl is the age-old questions: can (attractive) men and women really have platonic friendships. Only this show takes it further to see if men and women can live in the same apartment without having romantic feelings for each other. The show constantly plays with the idea that men and women rarely interact with each other unless they want to sleep with each other.
Case and point: when the landlord only helped Jess fix the house because he thought Jess wanted to sleep with him.
Furthermore, the amount of character development and complexity is also influenced by gender. For instance, the only other female character of importance is Cece, yet there isn’t much to Cece besides the fact that she really attractive. Winston, Nick, and Schmidt get much more character development than Cece, who just remains flat. Literally, the whole purpose of Cece is to serve as a love interest for Schmidt and a female friend for Jess.
However, it should be mentioned that the show gives pretty equal representation to women and men, and portrays both genders’ point of view. Another key theme in this show is the romantic interest between Nick and Jess, and Schmidt and Cece.
Final note: for anyone who watched the show, why do you think Jess is made out to be such a quirky and, at times, unbearably embarrassing character?