‘New Girl’ Pilot Recap: “Pink Wine Makes Me Slutty”

So, I have a crush on Zooey Deschanel. Who doesn’t? When I saw that she was going to be starring in a new comedy this fall, I had no choice but to watch. How’d it turn out? Continue reading to find out.

Usually pilot episodes set up how the whole story got started. Many sitcom pilots are shaky because the creators and writers are trying to give us a sense of the universe we’ve entered. Is this going to be a straight-forward sitcom with a laugh track? Or is it going to be more in the vein of ‘Arrested Development’, with handheld cameras and clever banter? Even more pressing is the matter of getting the main theme of the show across without seeming like too much of a boring origin story.

By the previews, we know that ‘New Girl’ is about a socially inept girl who moves in with three guys. We don’t know why she does this or why the guys allow her to move in, so that’s what the first episode is all about. It sets up the show’s dynamic going forward. This is necessary, but also a hindrance. I’m sure that ‘New Girl’ is going to be much funnier now that we’ve got the storytelling logistics out of the way, but the pilot is overall a little dull, punctuated by glimmers of humoristic hope.

Jess (Deschanel) is socially awkward. She learns that her boyfriend has a fantasy of her coming home naked or something. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was too busy fantasizing about Zooey Deschanel turning up naked at my house, but I digress. She summons the courage to surprise her boyfriend (who by the way looks like a total hipster doofus) by living out this fantasy, only to find that he’s a cheater.

Now Jess must find somewhere else to live. She’s tired of sharing a place with her best friend, the model Cece (Hannah Simone), so she goes apartment hunting. She winds up at a large apartment inhabited by three guys: Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Nick (Jake M. Johnson), and Winston (Lamorne Morris).

One of my favorite running jokes in this episode is the Douchebag Jar. See, Schmidt is a wannabe tough guy. Yeah, he’s a douchebag, and is seemingly oblivious to the fact, even when he removes his shirt apropos of nothing. After doing something douche, Schmidt is ordered to put money in the Douchebag Jar.

Jess informs the guys that she’s getting over her last relationship, and in her fragile state she may end up watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ six or seven times a day. This would be enough for anyone to disqualify her as a roommate, but once the guys find out that Jess has friends who are models, they decide to give her a chance. Jess tries her pick-up skills out at a local bar. After a few tries, she hooks a rebound guy who then ditches her later on. Instead of going to a big party, the guys go back and comfort her, forming a bond that is sure to carry on throughout the series.

I liked the first episode, but all the set-up means that there are quite a few dull moments. Still, the jokes that are there don’t fall flat. Zooey is as cute and charming as ever. She’s laying it on a little thick at times, but it’s easy for me to look past that. I’ll continue to watch ‘New Girl’ to see if it gets better. I have hopes that it will.


  1. HuskerGuy

    Liked this a lot more than I expected. The Douchebag jar certainly helped, but there also seems to be a good chemistry in place already. I think the male roomates were well cast. Hopefully it stays on track with the funny.

  2. The Damon Wayans, Jr. character will be recast starting with the second episode. He shot the pilot assuming that Happy Endings wouldn’t be picked up for a second season. When that show was renewed, he had to leave this one.

  3. My girlfriend really wants to watch this show, which means it’s on the DVR and I’ll be seeing lots of eps. I hope they do get better than the pilot, but a lot of shows that stay around do.

    I did like the Douchebag Jar idea, but I keep waiting for the day when we all stop saying “douchebag”. It’s been slang for about 10 years now, and every time I think it’s gone away, someone resurrects it…..

    • Aaron Peck

      I hate liking new shows that premiere on Fox because you never know what they hell they’re going to do. I was glad when they kept ‘Raising Hope’ around though. Who knows with them.

      • Jane Morgan

        Aaron, you gave ‘No Strings Attached’ 3 stars.

        Do you think ‘New Girl’ will prove that Elizabeth Meriwether, like most playwrights, is more likely to blossom in television than in film?

        Or do you think, being a young showrunner, the suits at Fox are straight-jacketing her potential?

        Either way, I hope Zooey Deschanel’s fanbase is bigger than her paycheck.

  4. Super-VHS

    I watched the pilot early on iTunes. I liked it (for a pilot.) I found myself sorta watching it again between ‘Glee’ and ‘Raising Hope’, and didn’t hate it (D-bag jar is hilarious). So I’ve set up a series recording. Hopefully I’m not tempted to delete it.

    ‘New Girl’ has the potential to be a decent show. I love Zooey when she’s properly cast, and her usual hipster girl schtick is perfect here. But the whole thing is just right on the edge of awful annoyingness. The cast and crew need to tread carefully.

  5. Veronica

    I really like it, and here’s to hoping they don’t ruin it like they ruined glee, by removing any good story lines and perpetuating relationships that should have died a long time ago. And I mean a LONG time.