English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: thanksgiving

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.

Gotta Love Thanksgiving!

Season 2, Episode 9 of Grey’s Anatomy is all about Thanksgiving. It’s pretty simple. This is a day where families typically get together, cook dinner, and eat. However, in Grey’s Anatomy, nothing is ever simple, and this episode reflects that by showing the complex, emotional, and trying day that the many surgeons, residents, and interns face.

Everyone has their own reasons to skip out on dinner. Meredith avoids the dinner because she believes her misery would drag everyone down. Alex didn’t pass his medical exams, and he doesn’t want to tell Izzie. Christina just wants to scrub in or get drunk. Meanwhile, Izzie is upset that she may have to celebrate a day she cherishes so much alone. Thanksgiving is just another complicated day in these surgical interns’ lives.

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Delicious, delicious dinner.

This episode supports the theme by showing everyone’s journeys throughout the day. Whether it’s performing surgery on a turkey, pretending “The Nazi” is giving them orders, or talking about cars, everyone spends the day differently. They all face their own struggles too. A day that’s supposed to be for them to all be together like a family ends up being just as complicated as every day in their lives. But, in the end, most of them meet up for Thanksgiving anyways and spend the rest of the night together. The next day, everything returns to its usual drama-filled chaos.

In this show, it seems like there isn’t a single day without drama, deaths, tension, and complications. This episode is no different. It’s just as messy as the rest. Even though this is a surgical drama with highly exaggerated conflicts, it reflects the fact that everyday life can be messy, complicated, and it doesn’t always go right. Using examples from the show, someone could end up at the hospital, have a miserable day, go to the bar instead of going to dinner, etc. These kinds of things happen.

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