So far in this course, I’ve watched a lot of television and tweeted more often than I ever have before, and if I’m being honest I’ve enjoyed it. And as much fun as it is to watch these great shows it’s easy to forget that there is a purpose here, and it is to investigate how feminism is making an impact on modern day television. So let’s get to it, let’s look at the portrayal of gender in New Girl.
Firstly let’s break down the representation of gender within the main character’s. There are a total of 6 main characters as of now: 5 male and 2 female. The four male characters (Nick, Schmidt, Coach and Winston) all live together with Jess. The two female characters (Jess, and Cece) are best friends going through an interesting point in their lives with Jess recently moving in with the guys.
The men do perpetuate the common idea that all guys in their 20’s love to drink beer, go to bars, and watch sports. Schmidt’s stereotypically male character, who is obsessed with hooking up with attractive random girls, is balanced by Nick’s emotionally vulnerable persona. Then there is Coach who’s so guyish that he can’t talk to women (hilariously so).
Then there’s the female characters and for the purpose of this blog we are going to ignore Cece since (two episodes in) she hasn’t contributed much to the plot line. So let’s talk about Jess. Jess is an emotionally unstable grade school teacher who loves to sing to herself and, no matter how hard she tries, can’t seem to be one of the guys. There is a strong dynamic that exists in the show based upon the fact that the guys and Jess are fundamentally very different, but not in the way that I expected. I expected Jess to be an over the top feminine character who struggles to deal with the guys life. Instead, Jess struggles to fit in with the guys, not because she’s girly, but because she’s incredibly awkward (and fun to watch).
Jess stands out as a very unique female character the likes of which I haven’t seen before in a comedy. And perhaps the most interesting part of this show is that Jess and her actions are the driving force of the show. No matter the advice given by other characters or the desires of others, the show relies on Jess to make decisions to move the plot of the story. You might think this is obvious since Jess is the main character, however, in other shows this is not the case. For example, in Jane the Virgin, Jane is the main character but her decisions usually have little effect on the storyline and rather the decisions of those around her drive the plot. New Girl stars a unique female lead who is, without a doubt, making her own decisions and in charge of her own life. An interesting development when looking at feminism in television.