English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: New Girl (Page 2 of 3)

New Girl, Old Archetypes

     From the very first episode, New Girl has a clear and direct focus on the experiences of a modern, young, single female in a typical US city. As a result of the main character Jess living in an apartment with three males, the show quickly establishes the relationship between the two genders as a focal point of both the story and comedy of the show.

The main cast of New Girl

     While the main cast (pictured above) has only one more male than female, the focus of the show on Jess’ life shifts the spread of the show closer to the experiences of young women. As demonstrated in the pilot, the struggle of Jess moving in with Schmidt, Nick, and Winston is analogous to her struggle to regain her independence after ending a long and committed relationship. Thus, the writers’ attention to Jess’ life concentrates the spread of gender representation towards the female experience, regardless of the physical representation of gender with actors.

     While the show explores the relationship between males and females, and while there are a few jokes made about Cece and Winston’s races, there is very little intersectionality. Despite the various ethnicities of the cast members, their typical, middle-class, heterosexual lives leaves little room for the show to explore or show more complex struggles with identity. However, though the characters may be limited to only heterosexual gender relationships, the extensive exploration of this facet still gives the show depth in its writing and humor.

     The cast and writing of New Girl dives into the humor and conversations that commonly arises between straight males and females to which the majority of the TV-viewing demographic can relate. Though the limited diversity of the main cast may not reflect a deep exploration of intersectional minorities, the light tone of the show ultimately demonstrates a focus on comedy and story-telling over social commentary.

Netflix. “New Girl S1:E1 ‘Pilot’.” Online Video Clip. Netflix. Netflix, 2018. Web.                16 October 2018.

The New Girl Feel

While New Girl highlights significant matters regarding gender and relationships, the series rarely dwells on a particular topic for too long or with too much depth.  Like Jess, New Girl has been lighthearted and optimistic throughout each episode so far.  While the episodes have touched on issues such as body image and gender roles, there are merely threads of these issues, rather than ropes, maintained through the episodes.  Part of New Girl’s charm is that there is no real overarching plot or end goal that the characters are trying to reach.  As a result, each episode has little continuation from the one before except the same main characters and their daily lives.

Elizabeth Meriwether is the creator and executive producer of the show, while Luvh Rakhe is credited as the writer for the most recent episode I watched.  Meriwether’s most notable works include New Girl and No Strings Attached, a rom-com starring Natalie Portman and Aston Kutcher.  Luvh Rakhe is known for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, New Girl, and A.P. Bio, a new comedy TV series released this year about a philosophy professor teaching AP Biology.

Dialogue in New Girl episodes generally flow pretty well with little pauses or silences except when to prove a point or to generate some awkwardness.  The writers often include flashbacks to fill in the backstories of characters or explore the lives of the guys before Jess came to live with them.  In episode four, there was a flashback to a chubby, young Schmidt in a bunny suit trying to get his mother’s attention, which highlights his desire for attention and warmth, as well as his body image issues that have continued into adulthood.  Episode seven’s flashbacks regarding Nick’s handyman role hints at a socioeconomic difference between Schmidt and Nick through their views on when to spend money and when to put in the work yourself.

Nick fancy-fixing the toilet

With the series set in modern times and meant to feel relatable to its audience, it makes sense that the writers include snippets of witty quips and pop culture references to appeal to its young adult audience.  With the main characters in about their thirties, though, some of those references admittedly go completely over my head.  Regardless, part of what makes New Girl entertaining and relatable across generations are the situations that the main characters find themselves in and how they interact to solve those problems.  For example, Schmidt and Nick provide models for problems of class and financial discord in relationships, while Schmidt’s characterization magnifies issues of self-confidence and gender roles.

Unlike shows with more drama, such as Jane the Virgin, New Girl draws in its audience with quirky Jess and its more or less realistic experiences and struggles of four(ish) young adults trying to figure their lives out.

The Cinematography of “Merry Christmas Season”

The episode “Christmas Eve Eve” on New Girl is the sixth season’s Christmas episode. It begins with a scene of Jess, Cece, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt worn out and tired after a long Halloween. The cinematography follows the same halloween vibe: it is dimly lit and the characters are in costume. This somber and spooky scene sets the stage for Winston to announce the news that Jess dreads most: no one wants to celebrate Christmas at the loft. A dreary background for dreary news.

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Jess is ready for Christmas Eve Eve!

The scene then shifts to a flashback of a past Christmas, which is happy, colorful, bright, and merry, but then Jess plugs another Christmas tree in, which cuts out the power, and all the Christmas Joy ends. Flashbacks are utilized many times in this episode, often accompanied by elevator-type music, so that the audience can tell it was a flashback rather than current times.

The remainder of the episode takes place two months later than the first scene when it is two days before Christmas, or as Jess says, “Christmas Eve Eve.” Everything from now on is jolly and bright. There are Christmas decorations around the loft, all the characters are wearing Christmas colors, and Jess is pumped for Christmas.

There is an interesting cinematography move that provides comedic effect when Nick puts on his new sunglasses and makes a joke. The show cuts directly to Jess unwrapping the gift she got for Nick- the same exact pair of sunglasses. It is unfortunate for Jess, but a great call on the film side.

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Nick bought himself a lil Christmas gift

Another interesting scene is when Nick is in the bar, and it is bright and filled with joyful Christmas elves, but he is just stressed about going through all the receipts. It is a clever juxtaposition. Another well placed sequence of events is when Nick and Schmidt enter the mail truck and it is filled to the brim with boxes, but when they go to the actual store it is empty. This has the effect of showing the change of the times from when people used to actually shop in stores to the shift towards online shopping.

The episode ends with Jess sad in her room because she accidentally left her name out of the secret Santa drawing. However, the scene brightens up when Nick comes in to talk to her, and then brightens even more when Ferguson comes in with a Christmas hat on. This foreshadows that something bright and happy is about to happen. Nick brings Jess out to a snowy and jolly winter wonderland with singers and elves and happiness. This ending scene and Christmas theme throughout really sets this episode apart from the others because of the many allusions to Christmas and the cheers brought because of it!

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A happy ending featuring Darlene Love

Makin’ Babies: A New Girl Story

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a little Schmidt in a baby carriage. Have I scared you New Girl watchers off yet? No? Good, New Girl‘s S1E21 “Kids” addresses the reality of the relationships of the characters on the show, following the Theme of the complications in love, pregnancy, and the general relationships in the show.

Cece being asked if she used birth control after missing her period S1E21

This episode runs through some relationship issues of the characters of the show. Jess has to babysit her older boyfriend’s preteen daughter, Sarah, who happens to be her student in school as well. Meanwhile, Nick is figuring out his insecurity with having a long-lasting relationship with a mature adult, and Cece must deal with the troubling thought of whether or not she is pregnant with Schmidt’s child. Of course, there is plenty of cringy drama through the episode to ruin every character’s plans, as it also serves to further the topic of the episode.

While at the beginning of the episode everything seems to be working straightforward, as Nick’s current fling girlfriend seems smarter than he is, Jess’ boyfriend’s daughter is the average curious and rude preteen, Cece is the normal rambling mess when it regards her relationship with Schmidt, and Schmidt is his average douchy self. However, this quickly changes as the complicated nature of relationships is revealed. Nick’s girlfriend is 19 and just graduated highschool, as Jess was once even her teacher. The girl that Jess is babysitting has a confusing crush on Nick. And Cece has a total emotional breakdown about possibly being pregnant with a mini-Schmidt.

Cece got her period! Yay!

The episode as a whole serves to explain the fact that relationships are beautiful but confusing by nature. Love is not simple, and it is an emotion that needs processing. Sarah thinks that she is immediately in love with Nick, while despite having a several month long relationship, Schmidt and Cece still will not acknowledge their feelings for each other, while Nick, in general, does not understand his own feelings about what he is seeking in his life in a relationship. The show is arguing throughout this entire chapter of episodes, but specifically, in S1E21 that relationships are difficult, and knowing what someone wants in life regarding love is confusing.

However, at the end of the episode, every character understands themselves and what they want better, as Sarah stops heavily crushing on Nick, Nick realises that he cannot date a 19-year-old out of highschool, and Cece is content with not being pregnant. Though even in the conclusion, Cece and Schmidt’s relationship is not secured, demonstrating again that relationships are never logical or straight, as they depend on the emotions of two people who need to work through what they want themselves. This episode is arguing that no one ever truly knows what they want, but by making mistakes, they can work through and figure out at least what they may want.

Jess goes to the Party held by Prince

For the third Blog Entry, I am focusing on the theme of the “Prince”, the fourteenth episode of season 3 of New Girl. In this episode, Jess and her best friend Cece were invited to a party held at Prince’s house. When Jess’s boyfriend Nick tells her he loves her, she replies him with a finger gun hand gesture. Nick and his roommates crashed Prince’s party, so Nick can talk to Jess. At the party, Prince gives Jess a makeover and helps her to tell Nick she loves him back.

Jess replying Nick with a finger gun hand gesture

I discovered a couple of arguments that this episode is trying to make. It is arguing that being honest with your feeling is important in a relationship with others and yourself. Also, telling the other person how you feel is the best way to obtain a good relationship. Lastly, it argues that we can gain something very precious by overcome our fears.

The show makes this argument by first setting the scene where Nick accidentally tells Jess he loves her for the first time and Jess gives an awkward reaction and leaves for a party. At the party, Jess told Prince that she is scared to admit her feeling and is worried that it will be painful if something goes wrong. After talking to Prince about her fears, she overcomes it and tells Nick that she loves her too. After being honest with their feelings, telling the other about it, and overcoming their fear brought out the best result for their relationship.

I believe the theme in this episode relates to the show overall because this episode and the overall show argues that being honest with yourself and the other is essential. I also think that this episode relates to a greater cultural conversation how being honest is important in our culture. Also, how we need to overcome our fears to gain something fruitful.

New Girl’s Nitty Gritty Witty Writing

What would television be without masterful writing? Each television show has a different style of writing that makes it unique, and it is ultimately up to the writers (along with the director) to create a show that resonates with viewers. New Girl does just that, through its witty writing and attention to nitty gritty details that ultimately add a relatable humor to the show.

In the writers’ room for New Girl

In season 6’s “Last Thanksgiving” episode, the gang gets together for a holiday (because they are ~family~). However, chaos ensues as Jess tries to tell Robby, her handicapped friend, that he needs to stay in the friend zone. Schmidt’s father’s cheating scandals make matters worse, and Nick’s girlfriend bales at the last minute. In “James Wonder”, Winston takes on the alias ‘James Wonder’ for no apparent reason other than that he was bored. So while lying about his personal and professional life to Jess’ coworkers, Winston finds himself in a bit of a pickle, but he manages to get himself out of it and help Jess gain the trust and respect of the parents at the elementary school she works at. Are these plot lines ridiculous? Definitely. But, they are written in such a raw, witty way that the viewer can’t help but look past the absurdity and empathize with the characters.

“Last Thanksgiving” was written by Elizabeth Meriwether and Joni Lefkowitz. Meriwether is most well known for her writing for New Girl, No Strings Attached, and The Squid and the Whale. Lefkowitz is best known for Saw, Chasing Life, and Life Partners. Writer Ethan Sandler wrote season 6 episode 8, “James Wonder”. Sandler is known for his writing in Meet the Robinsons, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Princess Diaries. The dialogue is fast paced; jokes are quick, so the viewer either gets it or doesn’t. There is no voice-over, the viewer is intended to be a part of the gang. The writing reflects how the plot is heavily based upon the relationships between the main five characters.

Liz Meriwether, creator, writer and executive producer of new comedy series ‘The New Girl’, takes questions during a panel session at the FOX Summer TCA Press Tour.

Silence is used in many meaningful ways in these two episodes. In “James Wonder”, silence is used to show anticipation and the unknown after Jess made her ‘running for principal’ speech. She clearly thought the audience would not like her speech, and the silence included served to emphasize that point. However, what is most prominent about the writing is its wittiness. The writing in these episodes had a quick and inventive humor that is distinct to the show and its aesthetic. In “Last Thanksgiving”, Schmidt acted very similarly to Buddy the Elf, wanting to spend a ridiculous amount of time with his father participating in holiday festivities. The spats of dialogue and spars between father and son exemplify this wittiness in the writing.

Friendship is what ties this show together! They love each other!

New Girl is its writing. The viewer quickly realizes that friendship is what ties this show together. The viewer wants to be a member of the gang with Cece, Schmidt, Winston, Nick, and, of course, Jess. But it is the writers that make that occur.

Thanksgiving with Jess: Themes in New Girl

This episode of ‘New Girl’  is centered on one of everyone’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. The theme of the episode is Jess and all her friends plus a new guy that she’s crushing on: Paul. By inviting Paul to their house, the day just turns into chaos. The episode goes over all the issues they have during the day such as Nick being irritated, all of the food preparation going wary (the turkey gets WAY too burned) and ends up with them finding a dead body in their neighbor’s house. Regardless of all of these scary and chaotic events, the group of friends still manage to have a meaningful and fun Thanksgiving day together.

Jess going all out for Paul and her roommates.

The show makes this argument by starting the episode with all of Jess’ roommates hating on Paul, but in the end, they all warm up to him and welcome him into their small family. This relates to the overall theme that despite issues and differences, people can still come together and enjoy a holiday together. This theme relates to the show as a whole because every episode, the characters have conflict but still manage to come together and realize their love and care for each other at the end of the day.

I think this episode, in particular, relates to a greater cultural meaning as it shows the importance of holiday’s, especially Thanksgiving, where in America it’s a holiday where you’re supposed to be thankful for the people regardless of the circumstances. Besides this, a lot of what happened in the episode was extreme, and would normally not occur in normal life, but it was done for humor purposes. Also, I have a feeling that Nick likes Jess, which I also think was the purpose of this episode – to overlay this fact. That is why I think Nick dealt with Paul, to make her happy. The things you do for someone you love are endless.

The Visuals of Elaine’s Big Day

For the second Blog Entry, I am focusing on the Cinematography and direction of the “Elaine’s Big Day”, the last episode of season 2 of New Girl.

In this episode, there are a lot of major plot twists. For example, Jess’s best friend, Elaine cancels her wedding, and Jess and Nick decide to call their relationship off. These big changes are well represented by the cinematography and direction.

This episode is shot in lots of quick cuts. These quick cuts allow the show to jump from one scene to another in a short time. It matters because these sudden switches of scenes allow two plots to proceed at the same time. This means that the quick cuts add to the dramatic effect of the two huge events, sabotaging the wedding and the conflict between Jess and Nick, that are occurring in this episode.

The color scheme of this episode is red and gold. Since it tries to portray a traditional Indian wedding, it has bright colors involved. Especially the red color indicates passionate love or anger. It correlates with the fact that Elaine admits that her true love is Schmidt and the feeling that Jess or Nick felt when they decided to break up.

Elaine walks down the aisle. The main color is red.

I believe this episode stands out because it had many different bright colors such as red and gold. It defines the importance of the finale of this season and indicates the major changes in their relationships. Also, the lighting of this episode stood out from other episodes of this season. When the wedding was in process, the lighting was very bright. However, after the wedding, the lighting became dull in the scene where Jess and Nick ended their relationship. This dull lighting was also observed when Nick goes to the bartender for a beer. This lighting helps the viewer to interpret the feelings of characters.

Nick is depressed after the break up. Dull lighting is noticed.

Treachery and Forgiveness: the ups and Downs of Friendship

     In the episode of New Girl titled “Secrets” (S1E19), the theme of the story is very clearly about the consequences of keeping secrets from close and dear friends. The main focus of the episode is on the fact that Cece and Nick, Jess’ best friend and roommate, have been romantically involved form months without telling her about their relationship. When Jess’ other roommate Winston discovers this relationship, news quickly spreads to the small group of friends and infuriates Jess over the betrayal of the supposedly open friendship she has with Cece. However, ultimately Jess comes to understand that Cece was trying to hide from her own emotions and subsequently forgives her.

Jess confronts Cece and Schmidt about the truth. #awks

 

     While Jess’ initially responds to the situation with anger, the reason for which she forgives her best friend demonstrates the complexity behind the seemingly ill-intentioned decision to keep a secret from friends. By saving the revelation of Cece’s obliviousness to her own emotions until the last few minutes of the show, the show emphasizes to the viewers that the primary source of Cece’s secret stems from insecurity rather than some disdain for Jess. Therefore, the way in which the general arc of the plot for this episode accentuates this theme demonstrates the care taken in the narrative to substantiate and support the exploration of secret-keeping among the friends in the show.

     Within the greater context of the entire show, this episode is yet another facet of the intricate interactions that friends often have with one another. In an attempt to create believable characters in a believable reality, such an exploration of this common problem among friends further develops Jess, Winston, Nick, Schmidt, and Cece into real people and not just characters in a sitcom. While not a grandiose commentary on the problems in society, the characters and their struggles in New Girl still relate to the daily lives, problems, and relationships of real people one secret at a time.

 

 

Netflix. “New Girl S1:E19 ‘Secrets’.” Online Video Clip. Netflix. Netflix, 2018. Web.                25 September 2018.

Gender, Relationships, Stereotypes: Being Single and Sufficient

New Girl does a great job of representing gender equally. In the episode, “Single and Sufficient” the concept of gender can be explored in many ways. This episode is about the “couple’s retreat” that many characters attend, regardless of their relationship status. I believe this would have been a great episode to introduce characters that were homosexual or of genders other than male or female, but the writers of New Girl still did a great job of breaking the stereotypes between the two.

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Both genders react similarly to being single in this epsiode

Equality in Agency: This episode of New Girl gives equal amounts of power to both genders. Robbie, a male, is the leader of his own social group. Jess supports his leadership and is more of a “supporting woman” in terms of the group dynamics. She sends Robbie to do the hard work in separating members who are flirting. However, this male dominant relationship is contrasted by Cece and Schmidt’s decisions throughout the show. Schmidt is often dramatic and angry and Cece is the one thinking logically, making decisions, and calming him down. This is the opposite of the “dramatic female” stereotype. Though the gender spread of this episode is 6 males and 4 females, 3 of the females are strong and important in this episode, as well as 3 males. So the true spread is about even.

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Classic Schmidt, sassy as ever

Breaking Gender Stereotypes: New Girl’s characterization often defies normal gender stereotypes, especially in the character Schmidt. He is very dramatic and feminine. In this episode, Schmidt obsesses over Nick’s romance novel, talks about the advantages of glamping and how he will never use a sleeping bag, and goes to the spa. These are all stereotypical female activities, and it is good of New Girl to show that straight males can enjoy these activities as well. In this episode, Winston also breaks a gender norm by telling he wants to “be the mermaid” in their activities, even though mermaids are often women.

Race and Gender: There is many interracial couples within the show and not the slightest bit of stigma associated with it. Their race also does not determine their level or femininity.


Gender and Love: There is a lot of talk about relationships in this episode because of the involvement of the group “single and sufficient.” Jess is a part of this group, but the she clearly does not enjoy being single as she struggles to do many couples activities, such as playing badminton, alone. However, there is not a strong correlation between gender and desperation within the group, as all members seem desperate. The stereotype is that women are always looking for love, but Jess tries to defy this stereotype by being “single and sufficient.” In the end, however, the group begins to find love interests, with equal representation in gender, and including Jess and Robbie.

New Girl: Are Men Too Competitive?

New Girl is a show based on the experience of an awkward girl moving into an apartment with 3 guys. As a result, we the audience get to see exaggerations of the amazing (-ly awkward and hilarious) differences between the boys and the girls. This is especially emphasised in Season 1 Episode 7 of New Girl “Bells” when the writers show off the more petty and competitive sides of Nick, Schmidt, and Winston, contrasting this to the more gentle and accepting femininity of Jess.

The episode starts off normal and progresses until the main conflicts happen in two different plot lines between Nick and Schmidt, and Winston and Jess, allowing us to look at just how male competition plays out. This begins with Schmidt and Nick arguing over fixing a completely broken toilet, as Schmidt complains about Nick’s jerry-rigged solution involving a water bottle and needing to turn the faucet on before flushing. Schmidt just hires a plumber. Schmidt’s display of wealth over Nick’s handyman attitude bothers Nick, and the two begin a war that involves Nick refusing to use anything that Schmidt bought, while also breaking everything that he fixed for Schmidt (a basketball hoop that Schmidt tries to dunk on comes to mind). Schmidt in response does not let Nick use any of the objects that he bought such as the freezer, couch, conditioner, or carpet. This leaves them into something of a class dispute of how wealth allows people to ignore their problems with money.

 

Dead Shmidt

Nick Unfixed the Basketball Hoop Se1Ep7

This strange competition is compared then to Jess who has to deal with Winston, to whom competition comes naturally to the point that even Schmidt and Nick ignore their disputes to tell Jess of how competitive Winston gets, specifically with his natural talent at… Everything (man I wish I had that at GT). Unlike the competition between Nick and Schmidt, which escalates until they start a physical fight and have a bro-moment with some beers and agree that they were being stupid, Jess simply confronts Winston about his competitive attitude, rather than trying to out-do him at every turn. This difference points out a clear distinction that the show makes between how men and women deal with competition.

 

Jess is showed to be rational (despite her goofy character) and simply addresses the problem. She determines that it would be better to just confront Winston about his competitive attitude and ask him to relax, solving the issue. On the other hand, Nick and Schmidt seem to do everything in their power to keep the competition going until one gives up (which would never happen), pointing out the irrational and ridiculous nature of arguments and competition that men seem to have for no other reason than because. In the end, this episode criticises a stereotype of male competitiveness taken to the extreme, and uses Jess, the outlier of the group in the apartment, to remind the audience that sometimes the rational approach is also the best one.

Cookie Pouches and Feeling Sticks

As I mentioned last week, New Girl often flips the script on traditional gender roles.  Episode 4 of New Girl centers around Nick’s issues with his body image, an idea traditionally associated with girls and their eating disorders.  Hardly ever do we see men in media feeling insecure about how they look or their weight.  In this episode, Nick is “delicate like a flower” and incredibly self-conscious about his body weight and image after Jess points out his cookie “pouch” where he keeps his extra cookies.

Jess being oblivious, Nick being sensitive

Throughout the episode, Jess is the person in an aggressive/assertive role, trying to get Nick to talk about his feelings, while Nick is generally on the defensive and avoids the conversation topic.  Nick is also passive in that he doesn’t act until he is forced to when someone else acts.  This situation flips the power dynamic in which men are the ones who are aggressively pursuing something while the women are either passive or defensive, just like how Nick only talks to Jess when confronted and finally shows aggression by breaking the feeling stick when Jess gives it to him.  However, there is little to no initiation from Nick to act until Jess corners him to talk about feelings, and he then just tries to escape the situation as fast as possible.

A similar power dynamic is seen with Amanda, his coworker at the bar who Nick has been trying to hook up with.  At one point after another frustrating attempt by Jess to talk about his feelings, Nick shuts her down by saying that what he wants is “meaningless sex”.  When Jess disagrees, Nick insists that he does because he is male (that is, because he has a “bing-bong and chickadees”).  Yet when Nick tries to do so with Amanda, the one who wants to take it slow is the guy with Amanda asking Nick almost derisively about wanting to cuddle.  In traditional portrayals of women in media, they’ve been the people who want to slow down the relationship because it’s going too fast with the guy pressuring them into something they’re not ready for, while the guys have been the ones unsatisfied with mere cuddling that has romantic rather than carnal connotations.  In Nick’s case, he’s the one who is insecure and shy, such as when he’s awkward about taking his shirt off before sex, while Amanda is confident in her body and is going after what she wants.

While presented with the classic New Girl humorous flair, this episode brings up important issues about how body image issues shouldn’t be gendered, and New Girl helps to dispel this stigma and the more general problem of confining gender roles.

Jess teaching valuable lessons

I’ll be honest, the first two episodes of New Girl didn’t quite “hook” me, but episode three both hooked me and taught some valuable lessons in the process.  Any show that can spread a positive message while making me laugh earns my respect as a T.V. viewer.  This episode focuses on two main themes: dealing with past relationships and being true to ones self.  I want to discuss the latter and less obvious theme so let’s go!

Having the confidence to be your self is a theme that naturally come’s along with Jess’s quirky personality, however, this episodes shows her, and Schmidt, struggle to do so.  When the whole gang get’s ready to go to a wedding, Nick requests the help of Jess to be his fake girlfriend to make his ex, Caroline, jealous.  After a couple of drinks Nick begins to fall for Caroline again, Jess begins to make a fool of herself and Winston begins a fight with a child (let’s not dwell on that).  Jess, trying to be a good friend, pushes Caroline away leading to an outburst from Nick where he calls her a “ruiner”.  Jess is now stuck in a place where the guys don’t want her to be herself, but they got mad at her even when she tried to be different… alright now let’s look at the struggles of Schmidt.

Schmidt, the wannabe lady killer, spends the whole night trying to find a way to “get with” a girl he is supposedly crazy for.  But the whole night he ignores the advances of a girl named Gretchen with whom he shares an odd (mainly sexual) connection with.  

The only problem is, this girl isn’t exactly his type.  Schmidt ends up miserably chasing after a girl with whom he doesn’t connect because she would be better for his appearance and confidence.  He ignores his true desires, his true self because he’s worried about the thoughts of others.  Also, I know this might be too deep of an analysis of the womanizer that is Schmidt, but I really do believe it was the writer’s intentions to convey this message in parallel with Jess’s struggles.

So what happened?!  Well once Jess decided to unleash the weirdness that is her personality, she and the guys ended up having a great time blowing bubbles (don’t ask just watch).  And for Schmidt?  He ended up getting with Gretchen and I assume he enjoyed it.  So once our favorite characters decided to do what they really wanted to do, the results are better for everyone.  Sends a pretty clear message and set’s up a theme I think New Girl will relate to in many upcoming episodes.  And I promise to keep you updated.

 

 

Adorkable, Love-Sick, Clueless Jess

Jessica Day has not gotten over her breakup. Despite making a singles-only club in season 6 episode 3 Single and Sufficient, she is still absolutely, irrevocably in love with longtime roommate and best friend Nick Miller. How she decides to deal with this fact, however, is beyond my understanding, and her sad attempts to get over him compose the themes of the beginning of season 6: Jess is adorkable, love-sick, and clueless what to do about it.

Jess does not know what to do about Nick and her one-sided infatuation with him

In episode 5 Jaipur Aviv, Schmidt and Cece start work on their fixer-upper, and naturally everyone else in the gang helps out. While Cece decides what color to paint the bathroom and Winston ponders whether the house was used as the set in an old pornographic film, Nick announces that he wants his new girlfriend to move in. Jess, rather than address the situation like an adult, confronting Nick and telling him about her feelings, decides to spearhead the goal, confronting everyone and pleading with them to let his girlfriend move in. This is central to the theme. Jess loves Nick, and although she cannot love him like she could when they were together, she can show her love by making him happy, allowing and advocating for his new girlfriend to become her new roommate.

You may think: Why would you do this to yourself Jess? Can’t you see this will only make you miserable? Who wants to see their ex-boyfriend that they’re still in love with cozying up to their new girlfriend in the living room?!? Jess’s mind does not work this way, and that’s what makes her adorkable, love-sick, and clueless about how do fix her problems.

This theme continues in episode 6 Ready where Jess announces to the gang that she is “ready” to date other men. It is clear however, that Jess is NOT ready to date other men. Her first date with her singles club friend went so horribly that he ended up in the hospital with missing teeth and stitches.

In episode 6, Jess decides to kiss her new date at the gym, where he ends up knocking 2 teeth out.

The themes of Jess being adorkable, love-sick, and clueless about how to fix her problems are central to the show. Without any of these themes, New Girl would not be nearly as popular, and it would not have Jess and Nick’s relationship be so central to the show and its plot. The premise of the show is that Jess relies on her friends for help and is adorable, clumsy, and makes a massive fool out of herself. The show argues these themes by Jess hiding from Nick physically and emotionally. When will Jess ever be honest with herself and others? Possibly never if these tropes remain true.

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.

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