Fall TV First Impression: Check Out the New Girl

The broadcast networks have more than 30 shows debuting this fall, including Charlie’s reborn Angels, homecomings for Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rachel Bilson, and no less than two series set in the ’60s. To help you prep for fall, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next up….

THE SHOW | Fox’s New Girl (Tuesdays at 9/8c, leading into Raising Hope; premieres Sept.20)

THE COMPETITION | Dancing with the Stars results show (ABC), NCIS: LA (CBS), The Biggest Loser (NBC) and Ringer (new on The CW)

THE CAST | Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), Max Greenfield (Ugly Betty), Jake Johnson (No Strings Attached), Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings) and Hannah Simone (WCG Ultimate Gamer). Lamorne Morris (Brain Rush) joins the series in Episode 2, essentially replacing Wayans’ character.

Fall 2011 TV Grid: Where Did Your Favorite Shows Land?

THE SET-UP | Deschanel is Jess, a cute but spectacularly awkward/geeky gal who, in the wake of an epic break-up, interviews to move in  Schmidt, Nick and Coach (played by Greenfield, Johnson and Wayans, respectively). Despite having some misgivings about bringing a female — namely, one who readily references Lord of the Rings and frequently spontaneously breaks out into self-made songs — into their loft apartment, the guys give Jess the green light. Cue the despondent gal’s marathon Dirty Dancing rewatches.

Fall Preview: TVLine’s Guide to All the New Shows

THE GOOD | One of the new TV season’s most promising freshman comedies, New Girl had me grinning wide both times I screened the pilot. Deschanel is an expected delight, and Jess’ myriad quirks (including her ever-evolving personal theme song and ghastly flirting techniques) are very endearing. The three male roles are well cast, and Simone (as Jess’ fashion model BFF) would seem to be Marsha Thomason’s long-lost sister. Speaking of siblings, Deschanel’s eyes, expressions and the way she slides out some dialogue will totally remind you of her big sis Emily (of Fox’s Bones).

THE… COULD-BE-BETTER | Schmidt is immediately and repeatedly established as a lecherous, lingo-slinging douchebag — there’s even a jar he must drop a dollar into each time he acts up — and that could stand to be dialed down a bit, lest the character come off as wholly unlikeable. I hope the show doesn’t dive too fast into the obvious Jess/Nick/”Will they, won’t they?” thing; it’s a marathon not a sprint. The jury is out on Morris, who was slotted into the cast after the pilot got picked up, due to Wayans’ Happy commitment on ABC.

Read TVLine’s First Impressions of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, The CW’s Ringer, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NBC’s The Playboy Club

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Like The CW’s Ringer, New Girl will have its hands full trying to coax some viewers away from perennial heavyweights DWTS and NCIS: LA, though lead-in Glee will set the table better than any other Fox series. Like Happy Endings, this is one of those “mixed nuts” ensemble comedies you will want (and we need) to see succeed.

Watch a video preview for New Girl, then vote in our poll below.


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45 Comments
  1. thom says:

    WHY OH WHY are Ringer and New Girl on at the same time?>!?!?!?

  2. Sharada says:

    This better be awesome

  3. nitemar says:

    No way! Im all for Ringer, but also really like Zoey ever since I saw her on Bones. DVR! :)

  4. Amy says:

    Based on the previews, this is the show I am looking forward to most. I hope it finds a great audience! I love Zooey Deschanel and love the geeky/awkwardness of the character.

    • Liz says:

      I agree…feels like a switch of roles of Big Bang. Plus I feel like I can relate seeing as I too can talk Lord of the Rings

  5. Gretchen says:

    Am I the only one who kind of wishes Happy Endings wasn’t picked up so Wayans Jr. could do this show instead? I mean, I watched every ep of Happy, but it never made me LOL like I’ve done at just the trailer of this show. Happy seems to try too hard to me and this show seems like it will be more effortless and rely more on the actors’ abilities rather than trying to come up with a new catchphrase and getting it to stick.

    • kc says:

      I agree.. Happy Endings shouldn’t have been picked up… Better With You was MUCH better, they picked this up after only about 2 airings.
      Any way, Love Zoey, The entire family already watches Raising Hope (still miss Earl) and 3/5 of the family watches Glee. So I know where I’ll be Tuesday 8-10.

    • Ace says:

      I was just thinking the same thing! I like him in this, and I have zero interest in watching Happy Endings.

    • fernando says:

      I am not in your ball park, Happy Endings is LOL,or more like LMAO, so im happy hes with Happy Ending and this season will go up in ratings snice it’s after Modren Family and not on at 10/9pm which is the dead zone on Wed. Night.

    • Leah says:

      I am. :(

  6. Sourabh says:

    I just knew you hadn’t watched it before you made your top 10 list.

  7. Matt says:

    Looks good but ouch at the competition. One and done?

  8. Luisa says:

    I’m beyond then excited to see this show! I’m HUGE Zooey’s fan and see her every week it’s like a dream come true!

  9. Alexis says:

    My ridiculous girl crush on Zooey Deschanel will make it impossible for me not to watch.

  10. Mikaylah says:

    I’ve watched the trailer a bunch of times and it still cracks me up. Can’t wait to watch it!

  11. darclyte says:

    Sorry, but I’m just not a big fan of Zooey. I’ll have to pass on this series. I do wonder when Katy Perry will put Zooey in one of her music videos as like her “evil twin,” or sister, or something.

  12. Sam says:

    Remains to be seen how Zooey handles an extended role. After awhile, audiences will need more than those wide, wide open eyes.

  13. Ashley says:

    Out of all of the new shows this fall, this one is the one I’m most excited about. I crack up every time I watch the preview!

  14. Cass says:

    It stars Zooey Deschanel. I’ll watch anything that stars either Deschanel sister. Definitely looking forward to it.

  15. GeekGirl13 says:

    I don’t normally watch sitcoms, but I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

  16. kimmryan says:

    I’m so excited to see this show but I agree I would rather have Wayans on this show. I love Happy Endings but he’s not the funny part of the show..his character does nothing for me.

  17. murley says:

    max greenfield unlikable? impossible. i love zooey deschanel but i am almost more excited about the return to television of deputy leo! i am so looking forward to this show as is my husband who 1. has a crush on zooey who is 2. playing a character that could be based on me! awkwardness, nerdy references, constantly composing songs to soundtrack her life… seriously, someone at fox MIGHT be stalking me. the only bummer is that it is going up against the ringer.

  18. Leah says:

    Zooey Deschanel AND Max Greenfield? I’m so there. I doubt his character will be unlikable to me.

  19. Mandy says:

    I adore Happy Endings, so I am glad it got picked up, though it makes me sad that Damon Wayans Jr. won’t be on this show.
    I love Zooey Daschenal and am so pumped to get to see her every week.
    I am curious as to the article’s author’s worry about max greenfield’s character being unlikeable. Having watched Greenfield in Veronica Mars and Greek and Happy Endings, I am not sure such a thing is impossible. I imagine him to be the skeevy player we all can’t help but totally fall for.
    Can’t wait for this show. Most anticipated of the fall for sure!

  20. Tiffany says:

    Thank goodness for DVR, because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t choose between Ringer and New Girl! I absolutely love Zooey Deschanel and am thrilled to be having her on my TV every week.

  21. Ted says:

    I like every other dude loves Zooey Deschanel but the whole manic pixie dream girl thing is really pandering in this pilot. Quirk for quirky’s sake never really works, the character is too innocent. People already know Zooey Deschanel as more than this trite character so I think it was a miscast. Audiences are going to have a hard time separating this from her character in 500 Days of Summer, which was a little more well rounded darker and appealing. I guess we’ll see.

  22. lacey says:

    If it wasn’t up against Ringer I would definately check it out. I hope it does well and maybe if I’m lucky I can catch some episodes online.

  23. Kevin says:

    NEW GIRL doesn’t seem NEW to me but not as NEW than HAPPY ENDINGS. I’ll probably watch RINGER instead.

  24. Mike says:

    I’m probably never going to come on this site again, but how exactly is Zoey Deschanel being a delight unexpected? Have you been living under a rock?

  25. Luke says:

    This is either going to be huge hit or a one season wonder. They will have huge numbers at first because everyone likes Zooey Deschanel but her whole one-note “I’m quirky and geeky and complicated and sort of exhausting but absolutely adorable so you love me!” thing will probably not keep a whole lot of viewers tuning in.

  26. Emma says:

    I wish it came on at a different time. I want to see this show but won’t be able to watch it live. I love NCIS LA which is at the same time. Thank god for DVR.

  27. Jodie says:

    I saw the pilot for this and it was awful. I will not be watching this again. I get that her character is supposed to be quirky, but it came off as “special”. I wanted to smack her for most of the show.

  28. Julie says:

    I wasn’t impressed by New Girl’s pilot. Given that the pilot was mostly setting up the series, there’s potential for it to improve. However, I was more annoyed than charmed by Zooey Deschanel’s performance, and I feel like that’s going to be a big dividing line between fans and non-fans.

  29. kat says:

    I agree.. this is such an overrated / overhyped show.. I got to watch the pilot and wasn’t impressed. I love Zooey Deschanel so it pains me to say that her character in this is boarderline annoying. The only upside was that I was drawn to the actor, Damon Wayans Jr (who played Coach) and discovered that he has another sitcom, Happy Endings. After watching the whole first season, I gotta say kudos that he stayed with H.E. … soo much better than New Girl. You’ll love the ensemble. Every actor in there is just great. Some episodes / storylines might have been redundant as we have seen it in say FRIENDS or HIMYM but still this show has so much potential to improve. The cast is what really draws you in anyways. You gotta give em a break. Cant wait for Season 2 on Sept 28!!! =D

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