Giving Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl a Fair Shake

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Everybody take a knee, and listen up: Now I know you’re all a little tired of “quirky girl syndrome.” And when the queen bee of emotionally confused girl-women got herself a television show on FOX, you probably rolled your eyes faster than a pixie can weave a dreamcatcher from toothpicks and wishes. Yes, there are people out there who like her – those She & Him albums aren’t half bad! But for many, Zooey Deschanel is the yeast of cute female celebrities – natural, familiar and something you want to go away as quickly as possible.

Well, I want to make a case for Zooey’s upcoming show, New Girl. She plays a sweet, naïve, safe-for-television oddball forced back into the single life. We all know the dating scene is full of sharks, but luckily her character Jess finds protection in three male roommates — who initially invite Jess to live with them because she has supermodel friends. (Men: turns out you CAN live with ‘em… as long the company they keep is smoking hot and Size 0.)

My gut reaction to this promo was “oh, please no.” But upon repeat viewings, I had a change of heart. Sure, it’s annoying that this girl-in-break-up-mode defaults to crying all the time. But to be fair, finding out your live-in boyfriend is cheating on you while you’re butt-naked sounds pretty awful. I’m not sure I would seek solace in something so cliché as Dirty Dancing, but there’d probably be gallons of tears, Hugh Grant and nachos involved.

And even though the promo makes a sexual foursome seem inevitable by Season 3, there’s something sweet about Jess’ relationship with her roommates. They’re more “big brothers,” than “Pygmalions.” I get it, Hollywood; the healing powers of the sisterhood don’t equal sexy television. So thank you for at least planting her in a flower patch of Chandlers instead of Joey Tribbianis.

(Sidenote: I thought we as a collective gender had moved past “Time of My Life,” but I’m nothing if not a sucker for spontaneous restaurant sing-a-longs (see: My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Sweetest Thing). So, I’ll let this one slide.)

The thing that stuck out most to me is Zooey’s overall delivery.It feels incredibly awkward, and not intentionally so. But it’s also kind of charming. If it helps make the character believable, then the end justifies the means. So let’s all hang up our snarky pants for a few episodes, and give New Girl a fair shake. While some might see “trying to hard” I see “eager to please,” and eagerness can be quite endearing. Maybe, New Girl is Zooey’s new chance at redemption. Is it so hard to at least let her try?