Is New Girl Getting Better?

I want to like New Girl. I haven’t missed an episode this season. It is kind of funny. It is original. But Zooey Dechanel, or Jess (though it always sounds like she’s saying “Joss!”), so often comes across as a mentally challenged child, that I find the show to be as unbearable as it is entertaining.

Not only does it feel like a live action version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Jess as the gang’s merry caretaker, but I don’t like how her guy roommates always seems to make her nervous, like they might actually lose it on her at some point. The way she acts around them reminds me of the way people with explosive significant others act. It’s like she has to constantly diffuse every situation so it doesn’t escalate. Also, I hate that her best friend is a vapid model who none of us would actually be best friends with in real life.

So why do I watch it?

I think the thing that intrigues me about New Girl is that the men are written well. My guy friends are not these guys, but I know these guys. Schmidt and Nick, in particular, are types that exist in real life. If we didn’t live in a world where almost every female character everywhere – in TV, movies, everywhere – was made to look like an annoying idiot, New Girl could probably be a terrific show about male relationships. That’s already what it is about. Look at the title, it’s a show about how Jess affects this group of guys, not how they affect her. If the show was about how the guys affect her, it would be called “New Guys.” To her, they are new. She is only a new girl from their perspective.

Also, I’m curious if Jess’s love interest, Paul, will come back. He seems to be the male equivalent of Jess, which could make the show a little less sexist (if the female characters can’t be strong and confident, throw in a male character who’s weak and insecure). When Paul is around, the other guys have to tame their alpha maleness down a little so they can all look like they’re at least part of the same species.

I’ll continue to watch the show because, unfortunately, we don’t live in a world with an abundance of non-annoying female characters on television. I would love to just watch Parks and Recreation all day too, but Parks and Rec provides a measly 25 minutes of entertainment per week. The average American watches upwards of 30 hours of TV per week, and I love this country enough to at least pull my weight on that one. So New Girl it is. Here’s hoping it continues to get better.

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Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Michelle Haimoff is a writer, blogger and activist. Her writing has appeared in, The Huffington Post and The Los Angeles Times. She is a founding member of NOW’s Young Feminist Task Force and blogs about First World Feminism at

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