New Girl(s) vs. Boys

Hello again, girls and guys! With a title like New Girl, one can’t help but wonder how the show treats its ladies (and men) – does it play on “traditional” gender roles, act as a symbol of female liberation, or treat both sexes equally and not address any gender lines? In today’s post, we are delving into the role of gender in New Girl and what this means for its overall effect as a show (and you can bet that it makes a statement!).

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The Expected

New Girl, being a fresh show that enjoys challenging sitcom customs with its shamelessly quirky lead, unexpected relationship fluctuations, and surprising dialogue, does not always stray from the norm. Jess, like most female leads on television, is beautiful and likable, her main flaw being her klutziness. While some (such as Hi! Magazine) have accused her of being without substance due to Zooey Deschanel’s tendency to fit into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl role with her “ultra-feminine character,” others may find her mannerisms endearing rather than overdone.


Jess_Season_3When a beautiful actress is cast […], executives rack their brains to find some kind of flaw in the character she plays that will still allow her to be palatable. She can’t be overweight or not perfect-looking, because who would [want] to see that? […] So they make her a Klutz. – 
Mindy Kaling

So, what else is expected in New Girl, besides the main characters’ feminine likability (which, let me say, isn’t necessarily a bad thing)?

newgirl-group2It’s noticeable that the females within the show all carry distinctively feminine job titles, Jess being a teacher, and Cece a professional model who is often ridiculed for her “dumbed down” profession (see: Models). These professions, unfortunately, usually of lower pay and “respect” than those of their male counterparts; Schmidt works at a marketing firm (high paying and often emphasized in his expensive tastes), Winston is an ex-professional athlete (very high paying), and Nick is a bartender (perhaps an exception, but he is, however, a law school drop-out).

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This trend of feminine versus masculine professions is found in many popular sitcoms, such as Friends, where Monica is a chef, Phoebe is a masseuse, and Rachel is a barista then professional shopper, all of which sharply contrast from the boys’ roles: Joey is an actor, Ross is a paleontologist, and Chandler is a businessman.

This may seem unnerving, but it ultimately serves to reinforce the “expected” roles of men and women in society (which, let me say, is probably a bad thing). Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.05.04 PM
The Unexpected

gang-crown2New Girl does shine in its play on this initial gender role set-up, though. For example, while Schmidt may work at a top marketing firm, it is run mainly by women, and his boss is often depicted as cruel and sexually abusive, a scenario usually reserved for powerful males and lower-ranked women within a business. Cece, as well, is depicted as a woman of power: she is in complete control of her relationship with Schmidt (with him eventually often trying to prove his worth to her) and she almost always level-headed, stern, and influential. Relatedly, Winston’s girlfriends are often domineering and cause him great heartbreak, bringing him to the point of tears in “Nerd” – this is an obvious, intended gender role switch.  Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.05.04 PM
Growing Up?

growingupReturning to New Girl‘s potential issue of an over-exaggeration of Jess’s character, or displaying the typical “female” role of girly perfection, the show’s creators have apparently recognized this fault and grown to adjust it. As The Atlantic states, “Somewhere along the way, the show that started as a potentially irritating ode to star Zooey Deschanel’s signature quirkiness became one of the more enjoyable sitcoms on television.” So, Zooey Deschanel’s classic feminine role is not appreciate by everyone. New Girl writers took notice of this (or perhaps had it planned all along), as Jess experiences a great deal of character development as the series progresses. “The writing became both warmer and sharper,” says The Atlantic, as it no longer relied on Jess’s cutesy nuances and quirky personality to carry its humor. Rather, by season 2, it intensely focuses on the overall cast and their struggles to deal with the challenges of young adulthood, showcasing genuine yet funny reactions to everyday life situations.

zooey-deschanel-300Early on in the season, Jess was a disappointingly one-note character, all cutesy eccentricity and little substance. In one episode she insisted on wearing fake hillbilly teeth to a wedding, and and in another she became so uncomfortable after accidentally seeing one of her three male roommates naked that she couldn’t bring herself to say the word “penis.”Meghan Lewit

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Wrapping Up

newgirl-foxIn the end, New Girl has progressed quite a bit from season 1, its protagonist no longer a classic female character lacking substance, and its women and men both holding equal grounds in terms of powerful demeanors. Significantly, rather than pinning its females as characters preoccupied with romance (as relationships are a large part of the young adult experience), all of New Girl‘s characters seem to be driven by their romantic interests, or, at least, a large amount of screen time is dedicated to each roommates’ love interests and how they are all deeply, emotionally affected by relationship starts and ruptures. littleheart

A Painful Landing in “Mars Landing”

A Review of Season 3, Episode 20: “Mars Landing”

trueamericanNew Girl‘s season 3 episode “Mars Landing” begins with a familiar takeoff, transporting us back to the nostalgic “True American” drinking game between Jess and friends. This fun segment hasn’t appeared since season 2 (“Cooler“), and it’s almost as if this could ask as a buffer for the dreaded plot occurrences that lie ahead. If you haven’t already watched this episode, beware of the spoiler ahead: the beloved Nick and Jess couple at last breaks up, something that you have possibly (most likely?) been expecting for awhile now. Being a sitcom, New Girl was bound to begin with the “are they or aren’t they?” relationship trauma between the main characters Nick and Jess at the show’s start. In fact, we’ve dealt with their embarrassing sexual tension for the first two seasons of the show, and now, during the season in which they are finally together, we’re given a heart-wrenching breakup. If you watch a lot of sitcoms, this is normal; couples are often put together and broken up multiple times for dramatic effect. For New Girl specifically, however, was this a wise, poor, or inevitable choice by the show’s writers?Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.05.04 PM
The Teasing of the Problem

newgirl-hangoverAfter the cold open of “True American,” Nick and Jess must deal with their hungover consequences and somehow put themselves together in time for Jess’s godson’s birthday party. The two (of course) begin fighting, and Jess is upset that Nick does not share the same vision of their future together as she does. This quarrel is slightly ridiculous – have we not already been through multiple episodes in which Nick and Jess have resolved their communication issues? If after “The Captain” we are expected to believe that the two are now able to talk to each other and share their feelings freely, why would the subject of the future be coming up just now? It seems, unfortunately, to be a bit of a stretch.

marslanding-fightOn the other hand, New Girl deserves an applause on their wonderful use of cliff-hangers in between acts, as usual. When Nick says, “So are you saying we should just break up?,” Jess looks at him quizzically, and we cut to a commercial break. Viewers must have been on the edge of their seats when this episode premiered! Thanks to Netflix, however, I was able to see the two’s comedic reactions immediately after that dreaded dialogue was exchanged: Nick and Jess simply laugh off the idea of them breaking up, and return to the task of building the toy set. As can be expected, however, their relationship issues are prodded at yet again a few scenes later.
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The (Much Needed) Comic Relief

The B and C storylines are, as usual, plodding along to provide us with humorous relief from the serious on-goings between Nick and Jess. This is an excellent, expected choice made by the writers – not due to the necessary humor, but because it shows that they are experts in crafting long-lasting friendships (perhaps not as talented in writing serious relationships). For instance, Cece is able to effortlessly ask the guys for help with her dreaded drunk texts from the night before, despite the harsh breakup between her and Schmidt.

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Is this maybe foreshadowing the future, indicating the Nick and Jess will be able to pick up the remains of their romance and form a friendship? Well, maybe, but…
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The (Ridiculous) Breakup Explanation

nick-jessJess tells Nick that if she was always honest with him, they would never stop fighting. Ouch. You’d think Nick’s unrealistic dreams of becoming an intergalactic truck driver versus Jess’s hopes of family life would be the cause of their split, but no, they’re able to reach a compromise over their future together pretty quickly. Instead, Jess’s hurtful comment is brushed aside but causes Nick to address the two’s actual problem, telling her, “I miss my friend” and her replying, “I really miss my friend too.” So, apparently, the conclusion of their breakup is that they simply miss…being friends?

nick-jess2This could be a nice wrap-up, but when compared with the reality of the two’s friendship (as demonstrated all throughout seasons 1 and 2), it does not seem to fit. If you’ve dedicated any amount of time to watching the first two seasons, you’ll quickly realize that the very basis of Nick and Jess’s friendship is their sexual tension. Them avoiding confrontation of their true feelings, having awkward encounters, and making off-hand, tense comments all aided in building the supposed “friendship” between the two, which was, obviously, always bound to lead to romance.

marslanding-articleIn conclusion, the reasoning behind the significant breakup in “Mars Landing” is weak. Other dedicated fans, such as writer Jenny Jaffe of The Vultureseem to agree. Jaffe, for example, points out that the episode most likely hit us with the Jess and Nick breakup the way that it did in order to prevent shaping one of the beloved characters into the “bad guy.” They end on a mutual note in the only way the show knew how.

However, I also agree with Jaffe’s comment on how the parting hug between Nick and Jess (an obvious parallel of the two’s first kiss) was beautifully written and a very touching part of the episode. It reminds us of the scene where we first fell in love with Nick and Jess as a real couple, yet supports my point that their romance has far from dissolved since then (and they most likely do not truly miss their previous “friendship”).

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The Promise of a Future 

Though the reasoning behind the breakup was mediocre, perhaps New Girl writers were running out of ideas of where to take Nick and Jess as a couple, or, more than likely, they missed writing in the hilarious sexual tension between the two, and think audiences would better enjoy additional innocent encounters before the couple is at last sealed as “end game.” Because, of course, we all know that the two are meant to be by the show’s conclusion. littleheart

Still feeling nostalgic? You can rant about the breakup in the comments below, or rewatch this scene to remind you of better times between Nick and Jess (please excuse the poor quality):

Romance, Outbursts, Flashbacks, & Bars

Romance, outbursts, flashbacks, and bars – what else is new?

newgirlcrewIn New Girl, there are certain elements that make the show what it is. Whether it is the recurrence of scenes involving on-screen relationships or hints at romantic interests, sudden dialogue tantrums filled with strange humor, flashbacks, or familiar set locations, New Girl‘s common occurrences help shape each episode into a comfortable set-up that is easily recognizable by steady fans.

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The Never-Ending Relationship Perils

newgirls3New Girl wouldn’t be New Girl without the constant “are they or aren’t they?” plot technique that is familiar to many sitcoms. New Girl offers its own spin on classic romance dilemmas by consistently complicating things between main characters Nick and Jess, as well as Schmidt and Cece. I’ve mentioned these two couples many times in my past posts, and that just goes to show that relationships make up a large portion of the show; from the dialogue to the overall structure, New Girl needs its relationship drama to survive. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the quarrels between the two pairs are interesting and appear natural throughout the seasons. Sources such as The Wire, however, would disagree – a common critique of the series is that Nick and Jess’s relationship throughout season 3 seems slightly forced, and leaves the show’s familiar humor (the beloved Nick/Jess arguments and awkward encounters) behind.

No worries, though! After season 3 amps up the heat by allowing Nick and Jess to truly test the waters of their romance, season 4 shifts back to the “implied” romance between the two (as well as Shmidt and Cece) once both couples endure inevitable break-ups. Even show’s writer Elizabeth Meriwether (read more about her here) seems to agree:

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The Strange (& unExpected) Outbursts/Behaviors

doubledateOn top of the ever-present relationship drama is the quirky, random outbursts and behaviors of each character. Characters interact in a seemingly natural way, though normal dialogue is often interrupted by loud comments. A good example is in the season 3 episode “Double Date,” when Schmidt shouts, “Double double double double daaaate!” after setting up an outing with Cece, Nick, and Jess. The expressions of the other characters within the scene (namely Nick and Jess, see left) acknowledge that this is off-putting, but the trend of random outbursts is so common at this point in the series that audiences should register the comment as seamless (rather than awkward) and obvious, intended humor.

newgirlcatRelatedly, the five main characters (Jess, Nick, Schmidt, Cece, and Winston) are present in every segment of New Girl, and their unique nuances reappear in each episode. I’m not going to go into too much detail of each character’s quirks (if you haven’t already, you can read more about this here), but in every episode, you can pretty much expect references to Nick’s anger issues, Schmidt’s implied OCD/excessive neatness, Winston’s insecurity, Cece’s confidence and serious/wise remarks, and of course, Jess’s shameless quirkiness. Additionally, if you’re well into season 3, there’s no doubt that you will witness similar scenes between Winston and his new cat, Ferguson, in nearly every episode. Ferguson quickly becomes a trend of humor within the series, and easy comic relief from the show’s more dramatic concepts (sort of like Winston himself). Again referencing “Double Date,” Winston and Ferguson arrive just in time when things become tense due to Schmidt’s strange behavior as he deals with juggling two girlfriends.
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The Blasts from the Past

newgirlhsAnother recurring trait in New Girl is flashbacks that accentuate story details in nearly every episode. These sometimes offer glimpses of characters in their childhoods, or details from more recent, past occurences. This is best illustrated in the “Virgins” episode from season 2, in which the characters tell of their experiences with losing their virginities. Its always interesting to see the main characters in their younger days, however, and New Girl loves using this technique to highlight certain lines or points in the plot. In the season 3 episode “Nerd,” for example, Jess insists to Nick that she was “cool” in high school, but to highlight the fact that Jess is, in fact, not cool, there is a sudden flash to a scene of Jess’s awkward school performance. Similarly, in “Double Date,” after Nick’s line of, “I was there for you when you fell off the deck at Chester’s graduation!”, we are given a flashback that acts out this humorous scene to emphasize the dialogue point. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.05.04 PM
The Bar and the Apartment

friends-newgirlLastly, New Girl wouldn’t be New Girl without, of course, the apartment shared by Jess, Nick, Schmidt, and Winston, as well as Clyde’s Bar where Nick works. Most of the scenes within the show center around the gang’s apartment, with the occasional outing to the bar, where characters typically discuss ongoing issues, meet up with other friends (such as when Jess hangs out with her new teacher friends in “Nerd”), or have a fun night out. This is similar to the Friends setting structure: most scenes between a group of friends are filmed in the home, and when they do venture out, it is usually at a local drinks place. Perhaps the bar within New Girl acts as a reference to “Central Perk” in Friends…Well played, FOX.
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How do you feel about these common elements of New Girl? Did I miss any? Tell me below in the comments!

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The ‘New Girl’ Masterminds

LizMeriwetherEver wonder about the identities of the clever masterminds behind the writings of New Girl? In the first season, there were 11 contributors to the show’s writing staff, and even more (15) in the second season. That’s a lot of creative ideas in one writing room! With so many script/story concepts floating around, it’s no wonder the show’s head writer and creator, Elizabeth Meriwether, must be an expert in terms of leading a writing staff – right?

Nope!

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According to a Writers Guild of America (WGA) article, New Girl is essentially Meriwether’s “baby” (she did birth the original idea, after all), but she has no previous experience in a writing room prior to this show. That’s pretty impressive, seeing as she helped lead her writing staff to several WGA and Golden Globe nominations.

Meriwether claims it is all thanks to Jonathan David, executive V.P. of comedy development for 20th Century Fox Television, that she was given a shot into the TV writing world. After receiving a call from David, Meriwether was able to pitch her fresh, quirky New Girl concept, and the show that we all know and love was at last born.

Liz Meriwether, creator of new comedy series 'The New Girl', takes questions during a panel session at the FOX Summer TCA Press Tour in Beverly HillsI’d never written on a show before this, so for me, it was all really new. I didn’t go into it with a system in mind. I had no experience in a writers’ room. – Meriwether

Interesting, Meriwether says that the show’s varying stories are developed in a collaborative effort, but they try to allow the show to flow naturally, or they (as writers), “try to go where the show wants to go.” Some of the notable faces that have been in the show’s writing room include:

  • Berkley Johnson: TV writer/producer, known for his work with on the Conan O’Brien writing staff.
  • Luvh Rakhe: TV drama/comedy writer, known for his work on Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
  • Kim Rosenstock: Writer, known for her play Tigers Be Still and co-writing of the musical Fly By Night.
  • J.J. Philibin: TV writer/producer, known for her work on The O.C. and Saturday Night Live.
  • Josh Malmuth: Writer, known for his work on Mad Love.

The variation between each of the writers’ backgrounds allows for a nice collection of ideas in the writing room. Since Johnson and Malmuth have histories in writing TV comedy, which contrasts with Rosenstock’s theatre writings and Philibin’s experiences with drama, its easy for New Girl to shift from serious plots to odd storylines. From the dramatic “are they or aren’t they?” relationships of Nick/Jess and Schmidt/Cece, to the funny mini-dramas such as the interactions between Winston and his new cat Ferguson, New Girl‘s writers are able to successfully collaborate to form a hilarious sitcom that is embedded with some intriguing, relationship-centered themes.

producersSimilarly, the show’s producers all have significant backgrounds in comedic television, which has helped steer the New Girl story towards situations that are at times serious but, at their core, meant to invoke laughter. The show has seen a handful of producers, including Erin O’Malley (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Pavun Shetty (Allen Gregory), David Iserson (Saturday Night Live), and Zooey Deschanel herself, all who have most likely called upon their backgrounds in comedic media to bring fresh, humor-filled ideas to New Girl. Others, like executive producers Dave Finkel and Brett Baer (often considered the “showrunners” along with Meriwether), have also worked on notable comedies, like George Lopez and United States of Tara.


So, what does Meriwether have to say about New Girl‘s writing coming to life on-screen? Find out below:

What about you? What do you have to say about the show’s writing? Do you have an exciting story idea for the newest episode of season 4, or do you think that the current writing could use some work? Tell me below in the comments!

Talk of Heated Fights and Odd Humor

Season 2 Finale, “Elaine’s Big Day”

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Shown above, from just the first minute and eight seconds of this episode, we are given an immediate grasp on the typical dialogue of New Girl as a whole. Like usual, characters make quirky, humorous remarks (Nick’s initial attempt at a Miami Vice joke), which another will respond to with equal awkwardness (Jess’s “what?” to call out his failed humor). The characters’ interactions are extremely quick, but never to the point of seeming too rushed or incomprehensible. For instance, Schmidt’s sudden comment of “Winston, please. Your belly’s on my hip” is random but understandable by the audience, for it easily fits into the flutter of dialogue that is already occurring. Most notably, characters frequently interrupt each other to maintain the expected fast pace of their lines, such as when Nick fights with Jess’s father while the others express their equal frustration with a rush of lines.

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fight3The roommate quarrels found in “Elaine’s Big Day” reappear within countless New Girl episodes, for the arguments amongst characters are what consistently drive the dialogue forward in each segment. From Schmidt and Cece’s consistent disagreements and inability to form a steady relationship, to Nick and Jess’s ongoing “sexy” and “affectionate” teasing, it’s as if fighting seems to draw New Girl characters closer and reveal the hot-tempered aspects of nearly everyone’s personality. Such disputes are most often used for comedic effect, or in Nick and Jess’s case, to set romantic tensions alight. This is first seen in “Tomatoes,” when Jess realizes that she desires the heated passion between her and Nick in a relationship (rather than the relaxed, gentle demeanor of Russel), is developed further in “Quick Hardening Caulk,” when one of the two’s frequent screaming sessions escalates to their most passionate kiss to date.

fight2Tuning into the show early on or mid-season, you are pretty much guaranteed to witness a friendly, dialogue-packed brawl between your favorites. In fact, all of the characters seem to develop a feisty attitude at one point or another (even easy-going Winston becomes fed up with his friends’ ignorance from time to time), meaning New Girl writers stray away from creating reserved characters without much to say. Even Schmidt’s ex-girlfriend Elizabeth, whom he attempts to rekindle a relationship with, possesses an outspoken, bold persona, and she (like many other ladies in his life) frequently calls him out on his faults.

In New Girl, it is clear that fiery dialogue not only runs the show through side-splitting comedy, but also by providing necessary momentum for the on-screen relationships. Without Nick and Jess’s steamy fights, or Schmidt’s constant arguments with love interests Elizabeth and Cece, the show’s main romances would be unable to progress past road bumps or hold interest and suspense.


Along with being extremely heated, New Girl‘s dialogue is known for its quick-witted, quirky humor and awkward punch lines. I have tried to emphasize this as much as possible throughout my blogging journey, as New Girl‘s intriguing sense of comedy is what I consider one of its best characteristics that helps is stand out within the sitcom crowd. In case you are in need of a reminder of just how oddly humorous this show is, you can check out the video below, which compiles some of its funniest moments and offers a glimpse at its expert use of discomforting (yet entertaining) dialogue:

jesslaughEven more, unlike traditional sitcoms, New Girl chooses to present its dialogue as raw humor, without the familiar “laugh track” in the background. To some, this may increase the awkwardness of the characters’ lines – so they’re expecting us to giggle at Jess’s strange sex euphemisms and Nick’s socially awkward moments on our own? – but ultimately, it serves to add to the slightly uncomfortable, yet uniquely amusing, atmosphere. Other recently successful sitcoms such as The Office, Modern Family, and Arrested Development are also following this anti-laugh track trend, taking note that audiences do not require cues for when to recognize a show’s intended humor, thus relying on witty dialogue and character interactions alone to produce comedic effect.


fight1From abrupt, random remarks that keep the laughs rolling, to heated (yet generally playful) fights that build relationships between characters, New Girl‘s dialogue is fresh, hilarious, and steers a large portion of the show onward. The actors, notably Zooey Deschanel (Jess), Jake Johnson (Nick), Max Greenfield (Schmidt), Lamorne Morris (Winston), and Hannah Simone (Cece), all do excellent jobs of carrying the show’s quirky lines, which is a difficult feat since the writing differs so greatly from typical television shows.

Are you a fan of New Girl‘s dialogue? Or does its weird structure drive you insane? Feel free to discuss below in the comments!

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The Structure of “Quick Hardening Caulk”

Season 2, Episode 19 of New Girl (cleverly titled “Quick Hardening Caulk”) is a perfect example of the typical structure that forms this show – two plot-central storylines surround different main characters (typically 2 or 3), with approximately the same amount of time dedicated to each one. This particular episode centers around Schmidt’s distress concerning Cece’s upcoming marriage, which begins his lemon-vodka woes at the bar and ends with him pursuing the unobtainable, majestic lionfish, a metaphor for his unrequited love…

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…as well as the budding relationship between Nick and Jess, particularly her sudden attraction to him when he begins adopting responsibility, like doing laundry and making trips to the hardware store.

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Schmidt/Cece vs. Nick/Jess

percentsBoth storylines are of equal importance to the overall plot of the show, which is reflected in the amount of time dedicated to each one. Schmidt and Cece’s off-and-on relationship is a popular storyline that has existed since season 1, so it makes sense that 6 out of the episode’s 14 scenes (43%) are dedicated to his emotional struggle and fishy pursuits. Likewise, Nick and Jess’s romance is a bit fresher but just as intriguing, so the episode is sure to spend a good amount of its run-time (specifically, 8 out of the 14 scenes, or 57%) focusing on their interactions. If you want to get really technical, the exact amount of time spent on each storyline within the episode’s 4 acts varies, so in the end, it feels as if an equal amount of showtime was given to both couples.


nickandjessHow It Compares

This 50-50 (approx) storyline set-up falls in line with the majority of New Girl‘s episodes, so you as a viewer should feel comfortable being immersed into two separate, character-specific struggles. Remember “Tinfinity,” where we were equally intrigued by Winston wanting to advance his career and Schmidt’s and Nick’s “big day” (AKA the slightly disastrous party that celebrated their 10-year roomie anniversary)? Or how about “Parking Spot,” when the entire apartment is fighting over the newfound parking space, yet Winston’s struggle to find a condom is just as hilarious and absorbing? The only difference between the episode structure of “Quick Hardening Caulk” and the rest of the show is that it contains quite a few “big/shocking moments,” or lots of unexpected kissing between Nick and Jess.


It Begins! – & It Ends

Like usual, the opening scene of the episode is what is called a “cold open,” or an immediate jump into the story before the opening credits/theme even rolls. This one starts out at Nick’s bar, with Schmidt expressing his depressed, Cece-induced state  and Nick attempting to be a responsible bar owner, which consequently (and oddly) attracts Jess. Unlike the show’s frequent use of cold opens, there are hardly any “tags,” or short clips that appear at the end of an episode’s final credits, used in New Girl. Instead, at the end of “Quick Hardening Caulk,” we are left with the final scene of act 4, when Schmidt at last releases the angelic lionfish into the sea, “letting go” of both it and Cece. This allows the show to come full circle from the initial opening, where the introductory line was Schmidt saying, “Three more cocktail Johnny” and Winston replying, “Schmidt, no matter how much you get drunk, Cece’s still gonna be engaged.” At the end, Schmidt at last releases his beginning predicament (and the symbolic fish) into the ocean to wash away for good.

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Who needs a follow-up, humorous tag when you have that?


What’s Everyone Else Think?

sitcomarticleTypically, network shows (including popular sitcoms) do not address major plot points or emotional climaxes until points in the year when audience numbers are expected to be high (usually November, February, or May), but New Girl takes a different approach with its show structure, tending to address major storylines (such as Nick and Jess’s relationship) straightaway and maintain their momentum without unnecessary “filler” episodes. This way, characters and storylines are not dragged out over seasons. (If you want to read more about this “breaking out of the typical sitcom structure” idea, you should read this really awesome article on the subject.)

Moreover, according to an article on www.screenplay.comNew Girl usually adopts an A, B, C plot structure, with the C plot being minimal or existing simply as a character note. The A, B structure is more or less what I explained above in the “Schmidt/Cece vs. Nick/Jess” section – most episodes follow two plots identical to the “Schmidt’s Cece woes” and “Jess’s sudden attraction” storylines; the two subjects are equal in importance, interest, detail, and focus time.


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In the end, with it’s two expected, plot-crucial storylines, “Quick Hardening Caulk” fits nearly into the overall structure of New Girl episodes. By its conclusion, you are sure to be just as attached to Schmidt and Winston’s best buds, get-over-the-girl narrative as you are the Nick and Jess’s quirky romance. Don’t believe me? If you haven’t already, head on over and watch this stellar episode right now!

Tell me in the comments if you agree with my equal love for both storylines, or if you preferred one over the other. Even better: Schmidt and Cece or Nick and Jesslittleheart

The Many Faces of New Girl

Believe it or not, New Girl is about a lot more than just the “new girl.” Without the other major characters, namely Nick, Schmidt, Cece, and Winston, the plot wouldn’t be as thick, the jokes not as funny, the apartment not as lively – in fact, there wouldn’t be a show worth watching at all!

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So, who are all these guys?


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jessicadayJess, first and foremost, is the show’s main character, dubbed as the “new girl” in the apartment. She’s a goofy, energetic, kind-hearted schoolteacher who really loves baking and high-waisted skirts. After she is fired from her job at the local school (spoilers), a lot of her motivations shift to becoming more career-based (and the identity she has always attached to her profession), but her primary conflicts are those involving her love life. From an equally quirky teacher to a middle-aged rich man, her collection of relationships are never dull and always hilarious to witness. However, once becoming romantically involved with roommate Nick, things become significantly more complicated and a lot of the focus, namely the driving plot of season 2, involves her relationship with him and how the two struggle to deal with (and conceal from their friends) their feelings for each other.

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nickSpeaking of Nick, he’s a slightly air-headed, sarcastically natured, good-meaning guy with a few anger issues. Despite being a law school drop-out, Nick seems relatively confident and satisfied with his job as a bartender, so not many of his conflicts within the show derive from his work. He does, however, have quite the complicated love life, and it’s always hilarious to watch his socially inept self attempt to navigate a relationship. Interestingly, after becoming involved with Jess, his goals progress towards impressing her romantically (remember the “First Date” episode? So cute!) and attempting to build a relationship with his now more-than-roommate. This is quite the breakthrough from his season 1 romantic conflicts, which mostly involved a destructive relationship with his (now permanently) ex-girlfriend Caroline.


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schmidtSticking with the lovey-dovey plot line, Schmidt‘s main problems within the show also stem between him and another major character, Cece. Schmidt, usually the pretentious “ladies’ man,” is immediately enthralled by her strikingly good looks, but over time, his feelings deepen and the two become the trademark “off-and-on” couple of the show. Besides dealing with the stress of keeping Cece around (and then the heartbreak of losing her completely), Schmidt also has quite a few problems at his marketing office, for he is emotionally abused by his initial boss Gina and then sexually harassed by second boss Kim. Moreover, Schmidt’s habits as a health-obsessed prankster who is (fortunately for his roommates) extremely neat and organized never fail to keep the show hilarious and interesting. He’s well known for his substantial contributions to the show’s signature “Douchebag Jar” (see below).


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ceceCece, the apparent love of Schmidt’s life, is most known for her career as a fashion model and status as Jess’s best friend. After becoming romantically involved with Schmidt, she at first attempts to keep their feelings for each other a secret, though their relationship is eventually revealed at the end of the show’s first season. She eventually decides to move on at the beginning of season 2, though her dreams for the future take a dramatic turn upon discovering that she has a limited amount of time to conceive a baby. Unconvinced of Schmidt’s ability to maintain a serious relationship and fed up with his immaturity, Cece decides to have a traditional, arranged marriage in hopes of starting a family immediately. Although it is clear that there is still sharp tension between her and Schmidt (and his pursuits of her do not seem to be faltering), I will have to continue watching up until the end of season 2 to discover if she goes through with the ultimate decision of saying “I do.”


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winstonLast, but certainly not least, is Winston, the ex-basketball player and Nick’s childhood best friend (think: the Cece to Nick’s Jess). In fact, the two are so close that Winston feels as if they shared the same father, for he frequently referred to Walt Miller as “Pop Pop” and grieved heavily upon the character’s sudden death in season 2. Unlike his romantically-inclined roommates, most of his problems stem from his newfound identity crisis upon returning to the States and adjusting to life as a former professional athlete. This issue is exemplified as he experiences several failed jobs, but he eventually settles as a research assistant for a sports radio host, which he seems to greatly enjoy. Although his relationships are never the ultimate center of his individual plot, he does spend a great deal of time rekindling a romance with Shelby, a girl he once treated poorly but now strives to please. This also illustrates a great deal of off-screen character growth for Winston, as he now seems to be a caring and easy-going guy, a sharp contrast from the cruel “player” of his past.


In the end, you just can’t have the entire New Girl cake without the essential ingredients of Jess, Nick, Schmidt, Cece, and Winston. Some of them may be a little too sugary, a bit spicy for your taste, or something you never even imagined putting into a cake, but in the end, you can’t deny that it’s the best damn dessert you’ve ever had.

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Who’s your favorite New Girl character? (Psst, mine’s definitely Schmidt, despite his “Douchebag Jar” tendencies.) Tell me below in the comments!