You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Girl

The level of appreciation one extends "New Girl" will be predicated in large part on viewers' reaction to Zooey Deschanel's central character, and whether they find her winsomely quirky and adorable, or intermittently irritating.

With: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Hannah Simone.

The level of appreciation one extends “New Girl” will be predicated in large part on viewers’ reaction to Zooey Deschanel’s central character, and whether they find her winsomely quirky and adorable, or intermittently irritating. In truth she’s a bit of both, but as Jess, the actress does project sweetness and vulnerability to go with her considerable quirks, as do the trio of guys who adopt her as a roommate. Fox hasn’t exactly set the world ablaze with live-action half-hours, but this one feels infused with more “Fox attitude” than most.

Newly broken up after walking in on her boyfriend with another woman, Jess needs a new apartment. Still, she’s an unlikely addition to the digs occupied by Nick (Jake Johnson), still smarting from his own break-up; Schmidt (Max Greenfield), a ladies man who thinks it’s a winning maneuver to remove his shirt at the drop of a hat; and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), a personal trainer with serious anger-management issues.

(Wayans will be replaced in the next episode by Lamorne Morris, after Wayans’ existing program, ABC’s “Happy Endings,” received an unexpected renewal. Or to translate, “We were too cheap to reshoot the pilot.”)

Series creator Elizabeth Meriwether (who wrote the romantic comedy “No Strings Attached”) has peppered the show with nifty touches — including the jaunty title theme (in keeping with the Jess character, who concocts little mini-theme songs about herself); Schmidt’s pals putting out a “douchebag jar” for every time he behaves like one; and Jess consoling herself via repeated viewing of “Dirty Dancing.”

Oh, and did we happen to mention that most of her friends — starting with best pal Cece (Hannah Simone) — are models, which is what wins the dudes over in the first place?

New Girl” possesses ample energy, even if it almost instantly violates “Seinfeld’s” old “No hugging, no learning” rule. Then again, heart is part of its DNA — how much Jess’ eccentricities (got to love a gal who quotes “Lord of the Rings”) and fragility will impact her roomies, and what sort of influence the guys will have on her as she braves the dating scene.

Deschanel (whose sister Emily stars in Fox’s “Bones”) can be an acquired taste, but her wide-eyed zeal — put to especially good use in “500 Days of Summer” — ought to translate well to TV. The guys are less distinctive, with Greenfield possessing the most potential simply by virtue of his character’s amusingly obnoxious streak.

Scheduled Tuesdays, Fox has provided its most promising half-hour with a solid launch pad behind “Glee,” and exhibited some real patience last year by renewing the marginally rated “Raising Hope,” which returns as “Girl’s” running mate.

“New Girl” might require similar benevolence to fully find its stride, but at the very least, it deserves to hang around long enough to fill the douchebag jar.

New Girl

Fox, Tues. Sept. 20, 9 p.m.

Production: Credits: Filmed in Los Angeles by Meriwether Prods., Finkel Baer and Chernin Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producers, Elizabeth Meriwether, Jake Kasdan, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, Dave Finkel, Brett Baer; producer, Bari Halle; director, Kasdan; writer, Meriwether;

Crew: camera, Tim Suhrstedt; production designer, Jeff Sage; editor, Steve Welch; music, Ludwig Goransson; casting, Juel Bestrop, Seth Yanklewitz. 30 MIN.

Cast: With: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Hannah Simone.

More TV

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    WarnerMedia Pulls Out of Audience-Targeting Alliance Open A.P.

    WarnerMedia is going its own way when it comes to helping advertisers find specific groups of TV-watchers. The company, a founding member of the audience-targeting media alliance known as Open A.P., said Friday it would withdraw from the group, citing its desire to pursue its own strategy under owner AT&T. AT&T purchased Time Warner in [...]

  • BLESS THIS MESS - "The Chicken

    Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With 'Bless This Mess'

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday. The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City [...]

  • superstore renewed season 3

    'Superstore' Showrunner Justin Spitzer Steps Down as He, Gabe Miller, Jonathan Green Renew Overall Deals at UTV

    “Superstore” executive producers Justin Spitzer, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green have all renewed their overall deals with Universal Television. In addition, Miller and Green will take over showrunner duties on “Superstore” while Spitzer — who also created the series — will shift to develop new projects for the studio beginning with the 2019-2020 season. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content