Released by: 20th Century Fox
Released on: 10/2/2012
Cast: Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris
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After catching her live-in boyfriend with his pants down, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) leaves him and moves in with three men she met on the internet. The four live together in an apartment in Los Angeles like a reverse Three’s Company
, minus the homophobic landlord. And of course all four have distinct personalities and life-baggage to provide plenty of side stories throughout the season. Jess is a grade school teacher and a complete nerd/dork who likes to make up songs about what’s happening at that moment. She’s in her early 30s, only had one real boyfriend, and is struggling to find herself. Nick (Jake Johnson) is a law-school dropout who’s too old before his time (also early 30s), hates everything, and earns his living as a bar tender. He got his heart broken and can’t get over it, and is struggling to find himself. Winston (Lamorne Morris), away for the last two years playing basketball overseas, needs a job, needs a steady woman, and is struggling to find himself. He’s a bit selfish, and needs to adjust his outlook on things as he rockets into his 30s. Schmidt (Max Greenfield) is an over-confident under-achieving guy in his early 30s who does everything to have an edge up on everyone else, but still gets nowhere. His heart’s in the right place, but he’s a douche. Oh and he’s struggling to find himself. They are all at a crossroads in life struggling to find themselves. That connecting thread is the fabric of the show.
A fifth player comes into the scheme of things, a lifelong friend of Jess’s named Cece (Hannah Simone). She’s a model, smoking hot, and doesn’t like seeing her friend Jess get stomped on by guys. And while she doesn’t live with them, she sure does stop by a lot. The rest of the gang warms up to her quickly, one more than the rest, and together the five friends work together to help each other out and, well, find themselves.
It sounds awful doesn’t it? Like something sandwiched between two equally horrid network shit-coms in a Family Fun Laff Fest-or-ama Friday. Or some trendy crap looking to be the next Friends-type drek. That’s at least what someone with a closed mind might think (present party definitely falls into that group) upon first glance. Even giving this a first glance might only be because said party finds Zooey Dashanel to be very pretty, and why not stare at her and at least enjoy that much of it. But quickly it becomes evident that this is not simply some crap show, but is actually pretty funny. Dachanel is really charming as the main character, and aside from being gorgeous before this show came out, she’s even hotter as the nerdy Jess. Her dark hair and bangs, the big glasses, the quirky way of talking (similar to the old MTV veejay Kennedy’s look and style… she was also hot in that same geeky way…probably still is). One of the funniest things she does in the show involves her trying to say “penis” without saying it in a silly voice. Not sure what she’s like in real life, but a Jess she’s sweet, sexy, and silly. It’s a combination that she does well. The rest of the cast members have plenty of time in the spotlight, and have some of the best moments is the series, but let’s be real. This is Zooey’s show.
One of the things the show has going for it is that it never goes in the direction you expect it will. It sets itself up for some absolute Hallmark Moments, but steers right away from it and goes somewhere else. Aside from the underlying attraction that you know is there between Jess and Nick, and something that they so far haven’t gone too far with, they really stay away from anything too sappy. The Thanksgiving episode jumps to mind. Just when it looks like its going to be an “aw shucks” event, the story takes a 90-degree turn and goes for the unexpected. The same with an episode where Jess tries to win over the divorced and grumpy landlord: not what you expect. And it’s for that reason this show works, at least for this viewer. It’s typical in its formula, but not so much in its execution.
Fox delivers the first season of New Girl
on DVD (no Blu-ray as yet, which is odd), with an aspect of 1.78:1, anamorphic widescreen. Presumably shot on HD, the picture quality is as great as can be expected when transferred to DVD. The colors are fantastic (Jess wears lots of colors), plenty of fine detail, great clarity…its all there. Black levels are nice and deep and the skin tones look absolutely natural. Its too bad it’s not on BD though. Artifacts were not noticed, nor any other authoring issues. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital track, and sounds pretty typical. Most of the sound seems in the front, and the only time the subwoofer kicks in is when music plays (which is often). The balance between the dialogue and music seems right, and as with the visual, no authoring issues to mention.
They put on a good dose of extras on the set, spread out over three discs (8 episodes on each disc). Three episodes have commentary by various cast members and crew, and three is just about enough. Deleted scenes, extended scenes, and alternate jokes can be found on the discs, all worthy of a look. A gag reel that is actually worth watching is included and also a couple of featurettes: “Dress Like Jess” which focuses on the wardrobe, and “New Girl: Evolution of an Episode”, discussing the script writing process. All features run less than 10 minutes in length each and never overstay their welcome. Just enough stuff here to keep one interested, but sparse enough to keep from being bored with it. In fact, more alternate joke sequences could have been included without bogging things down. The one complaint…the obnoxious music they chose to play during the main menu. No clue where that song came from and why someone thought it would fit. It doesn’t.
The Final Word:
Say what you will, this is a good show to watch with your other half. It quickly grows on you and just as quickly shows you this is not some feel-good light-hearted comedy half-hour. And if the show by chance doesn’t make you laugh, at least there are some hot chicks to look at.