Go ahead and ignore the preposterous of the premise of the New Girl pilot (available now for free on iTunes), which basically asserts that Zooey Deschanel, a woman whose eyes are carved out of luminous moon rock and whose hair makes me want to lock her in a tower forever, would ever need the help of three hetero dudes to get a date. Puh-leazzzzze, forever. However, once Deschanel’s Jess finds out about her boyfriend’s infidelity and is forced to move in with Craigslist roomies Nick, Schmidt and (for this episode only) Coach, Zooey’s effervescent, awkward charisma outshines her obvious loveliness. As it should be.
Once Jess settles into her new digs, the guys are baffled by this weeping sack of despair which has planted itself on their couch, watching Dirty Dancing on infinite repeat (On a side note: just watch it on your laptop, woman!). “Pink wine makes me slutty,” Jess declares happily after the guys take her out to look for a rebound. Later, having scored dinner plans with a new guy, she dances with glee, her gigantic granny panties unwittingly exposed for miles above her jeans. As much as the show’s male leads wince and roll their eyes at Jess’s inability to reign in her exuberant mawkishness, Jess’s charm originates from the fine line between naive and idiotic, hopeful and foolish, awkward and slapstick, and Deschanel clearly has dem chops in spades. May her enormous underpants forever wave.
Other than Deschanel, the best part of the show is her three man-friend’s weird waltz between bro-speak, critique of said bro-speak, and the existence of the Douchebag Jar, a literal jar in their apartment where they must put their change if they said something idiotic/sexist. Max Greenfield’s Schmidt spends so much times slobbering over boobies, he might as well just wear the jar around his neck at all times. I already miss Damon Wayans Jr. as Coach (he’s been replaced with Lamorne Morris), though I take heart that we will see him on Happy Endings. Wayans’ Coach is a good-looking personal trainer who’s social awkwardness has him wearing bike shorts to a party and unable to interact with women. “WHO CARES?” Coach screams at one point, exploding in an impotent rage while Jess tries to teach him how to make small talk. Jake M. Johnson’s Nick is the nicest and most functional roommate, still emotionally vulnerable from his recent break-up with Mary Elizabeth Ellis of It’s Always Sunny, so almost certainly the first one to fall in love with Jess or vice versa.
In a nutshell, as pilots go, this is a pretty good one. With a solid supporting cast, the issue of whether or not you will enjoy New Girl seems to come down to one question: does Zooey Deschanel charm you, or make you want to smash your TV screen in with a ukulele? As long as they knock it off with the constant singing, I’m going with the former.