English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Author: Anika Islam

Moving forward: Goodbye Coach -Topic 6

Not every person we like gets to stay in our lives. Often, we have to leave behind a majority of our friends, family members, and acquaintances. The episode of New Girl titled “Clean Break”, really explores this concept. This episode focuses on the idea of leaving people behind, and whether you should try to take things that remind you of them.

One of the main characters and roommates, Coach, is moving away with his girlfriend May.

Coach and May

Coach explains to Jess that whenever he moves, he “makes a clean break”, and does not like to get sentimental. The episode starts off with Coach only wanting to take the essentials with him and leaving everything else behind. Coach then convinces the rest of his roommates to do the same thing and get rid of unnecessary things in their lives and clean up their rooms. Nick, who is basically a hoarder, is unable to and claims that everything he owns has significance. I really like this episode because it contrasts the different ways people deal with moving. Coach tries to be completely apathetic and only wants to pack essential items, whereas Nick hoards everything including candy wrappers.

I can really relate with Nick since I like to keep mementos from every milestone in my life and have a really hard time throwing away sentimental things.

Later, Coach who is adamant about leaving all memories behind, argues with Winston- another roommate- about what he should and shouldn’t pack. Winston insists that Couch keep a frying pan they bought when they were really drunk because it symbolizes their friendship and pancakes. However, Coach refuses to take it with him. But before Coach leaves, he accidentally hits his suitcase, and it is revealed that Coach took memories of his friends with him and that he wasn’t truly able to just pack the essentials.

When Coach leaves, a song played in the background, that solidifies this as one of my favorite episodes. The lyrics of the song goes “a year from now we’ll all be gone. All our friends will move away. And they’re going to better places. But our friends will be gone away”. This line from the song really impacts me because of all the people in life I left behind to be where I am right now.

This episode really resonates with me because I have moved so many times in my life. I have this desire to keep every friend I ever had in my life, however, that is just not realistic. At the end of the day, the people in your life change and evolve and most the people you love can’t stay by your side forever. You have to move on and meet new people, as hard as that may be.

The message of this episode

Facing your kryptonite-Theme of New Girl (Topic 4)

The overarching theme of New Girl is about the importance of friendship and being true to one’s self and desires. For this blog, I am going to be only looking at the episode Kryptonite’s theme. This episode focused on one’s ability to overcome ones “Kryptonite”. Jess is unable to face her ex-boyfriend who is the equivalent of a human toilet paper. The episode centers around the fact that Jess is too afraid to get her things from her ex-boyfriend house.

Side note: I seriously hated Spencer, and I know the show purposefully makes him dislikable, but I genuinely don’t see how someone could be deluded-or desperate- enough to date him.

However, Jess is unable to see the flaws of her ex-boyfriend -Spencer- and is constantly being pushed over by him. Her ex-boyfriend mercilessly takes advantage of her and her possessions, using her even after the break-up.
But when Jess sees that her Spencer ignored her request to water the plants, she finally snaps. She realizes that she has the right to her own belongings and that now she has friends that will support her. Jess realizes that Spencer cheating on her was really a blessing in disguise because otherwise, she would have probably married that sorry excuse for a person.

Jess gets her things back including her TV!

She had to muster up the self-respect and confidence to stand up to someone she once idolized and loved.

I felt this episode’s theme was probably one of the most important because this is Jess truly matures as a person. She starts off being too afraid to even drive to Spencer’s house and finally has the confidence to yell “Suck it, Mr. Crabs” to a man she was once hopelessly in love with. I think a theme in this episode is also the fact that sometimes negative events in our life may actually improve our lives in the long run. Cheating on Jess may have been the best thing Spencer ever did for her because it allowed her to move on from that toxic relationship.

Jess getting ready to approach Spencer

Quite honestly, I really liked how this episode expressed the importance of facing your past and moving on from it. I felt that this episode contributed to the overall theme of the show because, in order for Jess to confront Spencer, she first had to find her self-respect and self-worth, and realize that she deserved to be treated better.

Seeing the real New Girl-Topic 3

Overall, New Girl utilizes a lot of bright and happy colors, this allows the show to maintain its light-hearted and humorous tone. The show is very aware of the fact that New Girl is supposed to be an escape from reality for many people and offer them good light-hearted laughs. The colors, especially ones around Jess, is incredibly fun and energetic. This is because, as a person, Jess is the most bubbly and energetic; she is always in a good mood even in Armageddon.

The lighting in the show is very bright during the happy times. However, there is a noticeable shift in both color and lighting during gloomier moods, the lighting is more dimly lit, and the colors are more browns and grays. Like for example, when Nick was contemplating moving in with Caroline the color scheme is very depressing and consists of a lot of beige and grays. The colors signify how the main characters feel, the colors tend to shift with the atmosphere of the room. In Nick’s case, he was feeling confused, upset, and lost.

In New Girl, the camera usually focuses on only the person talking. This is done so the audience focuses on only the person talking and doesn’t get distracted by the rest of the actors. When there is some major revelation or something bizarre happens, however, almost everyone is in the shot. This is so the audience can see everyone’s reaction.

The set for the show is also very quirky like the characters in the show, and it really does look like four young adults live there, adding to the realism of the show.

I appreciate that there isn’t any laugh-track, it makes the show more realistic. I feel like the soundtrack also complements the visual aspects of the show well. For example, during the sad moments of the show, the sad music creates an atmosphere where you feel what the characters are going through, and the moment is further enhanced by the music. The music also gives cues as to what the audience should feel at the moment.

Example of the bright color themes in New Girl

New Girl: Re-writing what humor is:Topic 2

New Girl is a show that has relatively light-hearted humor that really registers with the target audience.

The writers of New Girl don’t like to take anything too seriously. This is obvious when Nick has a cancer scare and everyone acts in a humorous way, and Schmidt even uses this as an opportunity to hit on Cece. The show writers are very aware of the fact that this show is a comedy, not a sob story or a philosophy 101 class.  The writers make the audience have laughs by creating characters that are ridiculous and eccentric yet oddly relatable and loveable. The characters have a lot of flaws, all of which surprisingly make them more likable not less.

Elizabeth Meriwether and Berkley Johnson are both credited for writing episodes of New Girl. Both people also wrote for other comedy works including Conan and No String Attached.

The references the writers make are also funny because of how out there they are. Like for example “‘Cece: I really felt that Gavin was different. Didn’t you feel like Gavin was different?

Jess: Yeah, I mean he seemed like a really nice…European DJ with a face tattoo.'”

But I have also noticed the writers also assign certain types of jokes to certain characters. For example, Schmidt mostly gets jokes making fun of how he’s into some really exotic or peculiar things like when he told his roommate ” Can someone please get my towel? It’s in my room next to my Irish walking cape.” Jess also says the more nerdy, awkward or naive jokes, like the line in the screenshot below.

Screen-shot of the types of jokes Jess usually makes

Another thing that I have noticed is that the writers base almost all the plots in season one about relationships. I think what happens with the couples is a great way to create more drama and keep viewers around for the next episode. Almost all new characters introduced end up becoming someone’s love interest.

The final and most important aspect of the writing in New Girl to me is the sense of camaraderie. The writers create a real sense of community between Jess and her roommates. You know that no matter what they have each other’s back- and you root for all of them to be happy- which is what makes the show so enjoyable. This was shown in the episode titled “Injured”, where everyone helps Nick pay for his treatment. The characters are written out to be both emotional support and reason for emotional insanity for each other.

Women in Crime TV works cited

Works Cited

Cavender, Gray, et al. “The construction of gender in reality crime TV.” Gender & Society, vol. 13, no. 5, 1999, p. 643+. Gender Studies Collection, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A56460855/PPGB?u=gainstoftech&sid=PPGB&xid=2305cd53. Accessed 20 Sept. 2018.

This article talks about how women are often depicted as the victims of crime. The article also analysis that these shows may also help women talk about their experiences as victims. This article shows that men ultimately made the narrative and spoke for often than the women. An important note about this article is that it is very old. The article truly offers a new perspective on whether women are actually empowered by crime television or just made out to be victims. The source appears to be trustworthy and uses a lot of other research to back up its argument. This was published in the SAGE Journals. I think I will be using this article a lot in my research paper.


Crampton, Caroline. “Why Crime Dramas are Hooked on Rape.” New Statesman 143.5192 (2014): 19. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Aug. 2014.

This article explores why crime drama often explores the topic of rape.  The article specifically targets CSI and NCIS. This article mentions how it is hard to get through one episode of crime television without hearing about rape. This article further expands its scope by talking about Game of Thrones and how it also references rape often. The article then talks about a Danish movie that has a rape scene in the first few minutes of the movie. This article is not peer-reviewed. This article was clearly written by someone who upset about the frequent reference of women getting rapes in crime television. This article was published in NewStatesmanAmerica magazine.

Jurik, Nancy C., and Gray Cavender. “Feminist Themes in Television Crime Dramas.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology.  June 28, 2017. Oxford University Press,. Date of access 20 Sep. 2018, <http://criminology.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.001.0001/acrefore-9780190264079-e-17>

This article focused mostly on fictional crime television. This article explained how men were more likely to be shown as the criminal than women. Women were much more likely to be the victim of violence. This article was published in a reputable journal and was peer-reviewed. I felt that the article really tied to race and gender because it mentioned how white men and women were more likely to be the victim of crimes than minorities. The article also explains what a large impact television has on people’s perspectives. I felt that the article took a very scientific approach and was very unbiased. The article was also published in 2015, which is recent compared to some of my other sources. I feel that this article would be very useful in citing how Crime Television may create the narrative that women tend to be the victims of crimes.

Karen. “Gender Portrayals in Crime Dramas through the History of Television.” Karenlovestv, 18 June 2017, karenlovestv.com/2017/06/18/gender-portrayals-in-crime-dramas-through-the-history-of-television/.

This article is very informal and is a blog. The author does not mention her real name and only goes by the name Karenlovestv. The article was very informative and entertaining and included many sources, despite this I find this blog to be untrustworthy because the author has no credibility because she chooses to remain anonymous. This blog mentions that some of the issues in crime television stem from the fact that there are not enough women working backstage. She mentions that in the world of crime television older women are obsolete, and women often tend to be the victim of crimes. She also mentions that how that in crime television, there is a prevalent belief that both men have to be cops. I did feel that the author was a bit biased and maybe sacrificed accuracy for humor.

Nolan, Justin M., and Gery W. Ryan. “Fear and Loathing at the Cineplex: Gender Differences in Descriptions and Perceptions of Slasher Films.” Sex Roles, vol. 42, no. 1, 2000, pp. 39-56. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/225376458?accountid=11107. This article analyzes research on gender differences in perception of slasher films.

This article is peer reviewed and is published on a trustworthy website. I will most likely not use much from this source because it talks about movies, not television shows. The article also talks about how different genders perceive slasher films. The article mentioned how women were more likely to fear reactions, while the men were more likely to have reactions of anger and frustration. However, this article could be used to give my research paper more context outside the realm of violent television shows. I personally don’t think the article will be very useful because it did not really mention much about how men and women are stereotyped on television. I do, however, feel that the approach used to do the study in the research paper was a good method of seeing the differences in gender when they viewed horror slasher films.

“Reality Crime TV: Perpetuating ‘Women-as-Victim’ Fears.” Media Report to Women, vol. 28, no. 3, 2000, pp. 4-5. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/210169431?accountid=11107. This article looks at the show Cops.

This article deals with intersectionality and mentioned how race also affected who the criminals and victims were. The article mentioned how the cops were almost always white males.  I felt that the article took a very scientific approach and was very unbiased. The article mentioned how no minority women were given important roles in the show. This article shows how crime-based reality television further enforces people’s gender and racial stereotypes. I really found this sources useful and will felt that it did an excellent job of dissecting the show Cops. I felt that the article really tied in race and gender. This article could be used to compare the portrayal of women in crime television to the portrayal of other minorities. This article was published in a reputable journal and was peer-reviewed.


Jess puts the girl in “New Girl”-Gender analysis (topic 5)

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.

Screenshot from New Girl-
How I feel when I realize midterms are next week for me

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?

New Girl: the show that proves death by second-hand embarrassment is real

My name is Anika, I am currently a biochem major, and I am hoping to graduate by 2022.

English 1102 is my first English class at Gatech, and I really enjoy writing creative short stories or answering hypothetical prompts. I really hope to improve my non-verbal communication skills, especially how I convey my facial expressions.

I am TV binger, and once I start a new show I race to finish it. That’s why, for the sake of my mental sanity, I try not to start new shows.

I took Ap euro and APUSH so I have some experience with the topic of feminism.


Our main character is Jess: the living definition of quirky. Although her heart is in the right place, she makes the very act of breathing awkward.

This promo poster features all the main characters of New Girl for season one

To exemplify, my favorite quote from the first episode is when Jess says “…but wouldn’t it be better to find a girl who you really care about to motorboat? Then maybe, if you’re super lucky, you might find a girl who’ll motorboat you right back”. To which Nick replied, “I don’t think she knows what motorboating is”.
To further prove Jess is the dictionary definition of awkward, we start the series with Jess being broken up with while she was naked. The new girl is at times far too much to handle for someone who suffers from second-hand embarrassment, like I do. Jess does things that at times makes you wonder how she has not yet died of embarrassment.

We first start the show with our Jess’s new roommates Nick, Schmidt, and Bill interviewing her. In the first episode, we find out that both Nick and Jess just recently broke up. The first episode acts as a comparison with how Jess and Nick both deal with breakups they didn’t want to happen. How well they handled it, or didn’t handle it, also displays how mentally unstable these two characters are. Jess is super depressed that Spencer broke up with her, and the movie Dirty Dancing basically became her replacement boyfriend. Winston, my favorite character and final roommate, is only introduced in the second episode.

I chose to review new girl because what really makes this show hilarious and loveable is the friendship dynamic between the roommates. The roommates always help each other out, meddle where they shouldn’t, and make each other insane, which not only drives the plot of the show, but also the emotions of the audience. Even at the end of the first episode, Coach, Schmidt, and Nick rescue Jess when her date ditched her. One of the biggest things to note about this show is the all the main characters are drastically different, yet you can’t help but like and root for all of them. Even when Jess is a weird pushover and Schmidt acts like the douchebag of the house; actually, the corporate douchebag.


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