HomeOur ObsessionsBeing quirky with Zooey Deschanel: Why ‘New Girl’ is the absolute worst

Being quirky with Zooey Deschanel: Why ‘New Girl’ is the absolute worst

'New Girl' is bad, folks. Really, really bad. 'New Girl' is the absolute worst and we won’t be sad to see it go. Here’s why.

Being quirky with Zooey Deschanel: Why ‘New Girl’ is the absolute worst

We’re not one to kick a lady while she’s down (or in this case, a TV show currently airing its final ever season), but we’ve been ever so polite about something majorly vexing for a while now – New Girl is bad, folks. Really, really bad.

We aren’t just saying this to kick up a stink (honest); we’re saying it because we checked back in with the show recently after giving up on it a couple of seasons ago and it was like nothing had changed. All time-hopping aside (which, by the way, is a cheap enough final season TV gimmick as it is), the show is still clunking about with the same flaws, bad jokes, stagnant characters, and saccharine tweeness that it was in season one. New Girl is the absolute worst and we won’t be sad to see it go. Here’s why.

New Girl was created to showcase Zooey Deschanel’s skills

We don’t want to get all mean girl about New Girl’s main girl, but we’ve always been of the belief that Zooey Deschanel isn’t quite funny enough to lead a sitcom. For starters, her personal brand has always been extremely onenote, with a skill set that includes her bulging her eyes adorably at things, making cute noises, playing the ukulele when times get tough, and wearing adorkable dresses to grown up functions. None of which is something that we would have ever liked to see a sitcom built around.

Except from the sounds of it, that was exactly how New Girl was created. Speaking to Collider about the show, Deschanel divulged her enormous joy at realizing New Girl was basically all about her.

“Nothing is better than being on a TV show where you have all these great writers, writing for me every week, thinking about what I do best and writing that. There’s nothing more exciting for an actor than that . . . I love doing movies, but there’s something so nice about coming to work every day and knowing that this is something that is being created around you. That’s very exciting.”

Hit Fox show 'New Girl' came to an end last year, so we thought we’d reminisce about some of the most memorable goodbyes in sitcom history.

New Girl tries too hard to be kooky

Speaking of which, we all know “kooky” is Deschanel’s personal brand, but her vibe also smothers the show to the point where it feels like a series of quirks, zany mishaps, and random fun times just slapped together with some glitter glue and unicorn spit.

For instance, the most recent episode of the series featured a classic New Girl scenario that we actually can’t believe hasn’t happened before on the show – a memorial service for a dead cat. This is a show that’s also thrown a bachelor party and sorts of other japes for the feline friend. Unlike those moments, the cat memorial isn’t just a single scene. The majority of the episode revolves around this kooky conceit.

The funeral for Winston’s (Lamorne Morris) cat Ferguson gave us a reasonably heartfelt glimpse of the character dealing with his own struggles and preparing for fatherhood (apparently you can only have a new baby or an old cat, but you can’t have both) but it still felt impossibly kooky.

Said funeral was also peak-New Girl, using a quirky plot device to delve into the deeper emotional depths of a key character. It also sounds like an idea that was pulled out of a big bag of “unused New Girl quirky plot points” that we can only assume is overflowing in the corner of the show’s writing room.

We aren’t saying that was definitely the case, but showrunner Dave Finkel (United States of Tara) did reveal to IndieWire that a “cat funeral” episode has been on the cards for a while now. “This idea for a Ferguson funeral piece, one of our writers, Noah Garfinkel, has been pitching this idea for a couple years now.

“We kept going like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. We can’t do that, we can’t do that.’ And then when we knew we were flashing-forward and we were on our writers’ retreat, he brought it up again. We were like, ‘Yep, now’s the time.’” Explains everything, to be honest. We have nothing further to add.

Jess (Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) are the worst will-they-won’t-they couple ever

Their relationship has been on and off for the duration of New Girl’s existence and honestly? Their romantic coupling is one of the worst on TV. Part of the problem is that the two were paired up far too early in the show’s run and the writers subsequently failed to develop them both as individuals outside of their relationship as and when they split up for upteenth time.

That made Jess into a cutesy caricature of a woman whose brash optimism (even in the face of heartbreak) made her insufferably twee and that turned Nick into an unlovable immature loser who continued to live with his ex-girlfriend for some stupid reason that is completely beyond us. As individuals, they’re awful and as a couple, they’re baffling. And yet the show has continued to pivot around this relationship for the entire stint of the show.

New Girl’s characters have all become Joey from Friends

By which we mean all of the characters have become unbearably rigid over time in a way that makes the show predictable, stiff, and resolutely static. As Uproxx once astutely reasoned, “They’re like Joey Tribbiani, a character that got a laugh one time because of his enthusiasm for sandwiches, and five seasons later, he was practically defined by his love of them.”

Now, don’t get us wrong – there’s a place in the world for the comforts of a TV show that sticks to the familiar and just churns out chuckles to the same formula week in and week out, but New Girl has passed that point. It’s no longer a familiar comfort to watch and is instead a series of recycled jokes the writers keep hoisting out of the proverbial quick sand of sitcom failures in the hopes it’ll see them through for another week.

New Girl made Max Greenfield unattractive

You monsters! This is perhaps the most unforgivable crime New Girl has committed. With the character of Schmidt they took a dreamboat like Greenfield and turned him into a ghastly one-dimensional stereotypical bro. We’ll tell you exactly the moment we officially checked out of New Girl – S4E7. An episode in which Schmidt puts earphones on his girlfriend Cece (Hannah Simone) so he can say goodbye to his two “best friends” – her beautiful tits – as she goes to get a breast reduction. It is horrendous.

There’s obviously something incredibly disconcerting about seeing a man reduce a woman to her “fun bags”, but we’re also insulted on behalf of straight men everywhere. We give you a hard time sometimes dudes, but you deserve way better than to be depicted as a batch of boob brained buffoons so emotionally immature you can’t function without the support of a bosom.

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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer who occasionally moonlights as a hapless punk musician. She’s written about pop culture for websites like Bustle, i-D, and The Mary Sue, and is the co-creator of Clarissa Explains F*ck All. She likes watching horror movies with her cat and eating too much sugar.

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  • Sounds like the writer of this was an overly jaded haater…. and may I guess, a man? As a writer/critic, please learn to recognize that some folks prefer a LIGHT kind of entertainment and at least allow its lightness and fun without picking apart everything that doesn’t fit into your particular brand of comedy/entertainment.

    your hatred of Zooey self-assuredly expressing her gratefulness at having her own show points to your inability to see an actress not catering directly to the male gaze creating her own brand and value.

    February 24, 2020
    • The author is Amy Roberts, so I don’t think is a misogynistic hate piece. Regardless, I agree with your point about the author failing to recognize that this type of show is enjoyed by a large group of people who don’t feel the need to deconstruct every element in a negative way because they don’t like it. Additionally, I think the author fails to realize that the people who are reading articles like this are largely new girl fans (I don’t tend to read articles about show’s I haven’t watched, but perhaps that’s just me) so she is effectively picking a fight against most of her audience from the start. I don’t understand how “Journalism” has morphed into a bunch of counter culture late 20 somethings who only write pieces about things they hate. It’s not politics, it’s entertainment so why bother writing such negative articles in the first place you aren’t creating any value by doing so. I know the industry forces creatives to mass produce content which makes the quality sufficiently lower, just try and be more than what this article makes you seem to be.

      April 2, 2020
    • I agree

      April 3, 2020
      • I don’t. New girl is a boring show, mediocre at best. Deschanel would work better as a quirky side character, not the lead of a show, most of the real talent on the show is wasted, and there’s hardly something interesting about any of the characters.

        May 29, 2020
  • This was written by a woman.. named Amy Roberts.. which is stated at the top of the article and the bottom.

    March 25, 2020
  • Everything doesn’t need to be serious all the time And the show didn’t ruin greenfield’s hotness it made him EVEN HOTTER. men can be neurotic too
    also when was this reviewed & posted

    April 3, 2020
    • I feel like this was written by someone who just cherry picked episodes with themes she didn’t like. For example, in the episode where Schmidt says goodbye to CeCe’s fun bags, his last line is also about how CeCe is the most beautiful woman on Earth. There are many times in the show where Schmidt shows that CeCe means more to him than just looks, but he also finds her incredibly hot (who wouldn’t want their partner to think they are the hottest thing?). It’s cool if you don’t like “zany” and “quirky” sitcoms, but just say that. Don’t pretend like there’s any real, “this is what makes a bad show,” merit behind what you’re saying.

      April 24, 2020
  • I would have to disagree completely with the author of this article. New Girl is a great show. Jess’s character is quirky yes, but it’s not a bad thing at all. Her character development allows Nick, Schmitt, Winston, Coach, and even CeCe to embrace their own choices. We especially see this in Coach when Jess helps him see that it’s okay to fall really hard for someone. Coach then finally lets go of his “coolness” and moves to New York with the love of his life. I think Deschanel’s character grounds the others and allows them to finally find themselves. New Girl is about a bunch of young adults finding what they want in life while at the same time they find friendship in each other. Each character is very different too and yes, they do sometimes do bad things, but that’s part of life. The show is realistic in that it shows mistakes and people are more complex than cartoon characters. Max Greenfield is amazing in New Girl too. I think you have no vision if you find him unattractive after he’s played the role of Schmitt. Schmitt is a complex character and some of the things he does aren’t great but he is very funny. This goes back to my point that the characters are more like real people and they make mistakes. And also, the show is hilarious and it’s suppose to be silly. I feel like if you don’t find New Girl funny, then you don’t have a sense of humor. You also really called yourself out by saying “not to get all mean girl”. You totally singled out Deschanel. She’s great in the show and very funny. The only argument you kept repeating was that the show was “quirky” and you had no real evidence (like plot holes) to back your dislike for the show up. It’s like you turned on the show, started coloring in your coloring book, and didn’t pay attention to the show at all. Grow up and find something that’s actually worth criticizing.

    April 21, 2020
    • “ I feel like if you don’t find New Girl funny, then you don’t have a sense of humor. ” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA now THAT is funny

      September 1, 2020
  • I just feel pity for this “Author”. New Girl is a light hearted show similar to Brooklyn 99. I don’t see why the “writer” of this article got so bothered that they had to type up a failed rant here on this website nobody ever knew existed.

    Again, your life is sad and I pity you.

    May 4, 2020
    • You MONSTER! Comparing New Girl (GROSS) to Brooklyn 99. How could you bring down Brooklyn 99 that way? Go stand in the corner and think about what you did.

      May 30, 2020
  • New Girl isn’t light hearted at all. It has a lot of sexist jokes and a lack of empathy to get a joke out of stereotypes. It aged pretty badly. I do not agree about the lack of chemistry between Jess and Nick but all the jokes seems to be sarcastic comments undermining specific groups of people.

    May 28, 2020
  • What is worse than a critic criticizing a beloved TV show? That show’s fans criticizing the critic for having an opinion that doesn’t match theirs..

    May 29, 2020
    • The critic isn’t criticizing the show, they’re criticizing the trope they think the show represents. People are responding by saying “actually, no, that’s not what’s happened over the course of it, have you even watched it?” because the author is demonstrating that they’ve speed-read it, not watched it. It’s fine to say “not my type of humor” but to tear it down while showcasing you haven’t actually paid attention to anything you’ve criticized is what people are calling out. Don’t like it? Cool. Don’t want to give it a shot? Cool. Just be honest – don’t falsify the origins of your disdain.

      June 20, 2020
  • I agree 100% with this article…. what an insufferable character Jess is… I actually like most of the cast… but I can’t stand how ridiculous and just simply unbearable Jess is… couldn’t go past season 1.

    Those saying is a wholehearted show… go check yourself.

    May 30, 2020
    • …but you didn’t get past Season 1, so you’re eradicating everyone’s opinion who’ve seen it in its entirety because of the one season you’re saying you’ve watched? Seems odd.

      June 20, 2020
  • Well I think Zooey Deschanel is adorable and I lover her character on the show. In fact I like all the characters. The issue (or non-issue to most people) is that the writing is just okay. I maybe laugh out loud like once every 4 episodes. Also, the episodes are just random stories that usually don’t progress the show. It didn’t start out this way, but it became stale after a few seasons.

    Take The Office for instance, where you can see the relationships and drama building each episode. New Girl is more like SpongeBob, where the memory is erased and each episode starts fresh except when the writers randomly decide they want 2 people to get together. It just doesn’t work like that. It feels very unnatural – but not because of the acting. The Office felt very real in comparison, and the writing has a lot to do with it imo. Even if it’s just a comedy, each episode needs to either have a purpose or it needs to be really really funny to make up for the pointless plot.

    June 9, 2020
  • I agree.. this show was so annoying. I had a hard time not cringing because it was constant they hard quirky scenes. I just can’t get into it. And everyone complaining about the author of this article.. people are allowed to have negative opinions the same way people are allowed to love a show. It might be for you and you may consider it “light” and “easy to watch” but for me and many others it’s cheesy and too much. I love a good light and easy show or movie but this isn’t it for me..

    June 17, 2020
  • I don’t understand all the hate. I have this show a chance after being recommended by a family member. I did not think I was going to like it. I’m a 26 year old male and I thought the show was pretty good. Super funny. I watch a lot of shows too. Nick was the greatest. I don’t understand why you felt the need to pick this show apart. The show lasted 7 seasons so obviously the author’s opinion is an unpopular one. The only thing that I couldn’t stand watching was Hannah Simone’s acting’s. Especially when she would be “drunk.”

    July 8, 2020
  • Personally I just don’t like Deschanel, the show was great without her. I think she is a one trick pony, that gets stale, and when you dont laugh at her jokes, “I’m going to awkwardly sing and back away. Laugh at me!!!” When Regan hopped in it was a great show, I had forgotten about Jess completely, but then Jess pops back in and I Immediately Started to not like her character Even more…

    July 15, 2020
  • I have to say this author doesn’t know humor at all. This show is hilarious. I’ve literally laughed out loud at every episode. I’ve watched it 9 times already. LOVE IT!!!!

    July 30, 2020
  • I loved this show but we are all see things on different levels . I thought that the character of Jes s was brilliant quirky , inspiring and sending out the message to be who you are. The show had great friendships , connections , and honesty.
    There were no umpteenth break ups between jess and Nick , just fantastic chemistry and a unique love story. Heart warming and laugh out loud show, making mistakes ,being human five great main characters.

    August 2, 2020
  • The New Girl epitomizes what I refer to as “the new lazy comedy writing syndrome” that has infected mainstream Hollywood sitcoms since Judd Apatows films filled with “comic riffing” became mildly to wildly successful. Basically , you no longer need to try to write a funny line , you simply need to get the actors to say the line in a “kooky” or quirky way. & voila! It’s funny! (Even though it’s not). It may be mildly entertaining & amusing for 5 minutes. After that, it heads quickly towards insufferable. If you’re watching a sitcom where literally “nobody talks like that in real life!’, you’re watching a bad, lazy, annoying sitcom where the so called comedy writers simply phone in a formula that has been proven to be a money maker for their bosses. It’s actually pathetic. But hey, I can always just “turn the channel” right? But eventually, everyone runs out of channels. Even in the streaming world. Good luck with that!

    August 5, 2020
  • I agree with this author entirely.

    August 23, 2020
  • Dear author, I’m so sorry you were bombarded with these fans, but I hope you expected it. New Girl sucks. Zooey Deschanel isn’t funny and was just capitalizing on her annoying “quirkiness”. I repeat, NEW GIRL SUCKS. Thank you for this article.

    September 1, 2020
  • Found this show on Netflix last night and binged through 5 episodes… But this is exactly how I feel after that. Jokes are kinda Family Guysh… But in a bad way. Too absurd… Too surreal most of the time… I probably binged it because I wanted to believe in this mitologycal hot/nerd girl… Every episode so far looks the same 1) changes kicks in 2) interpersonal or personal struggle facing that change 3) friends always come over… Are you telling me it’s like this for 7 seasons!? No thanks…

    September 2, 2020
  • The most succinct way to describe this show for me is “pretty good, but also extremely ANNOYING.” I started watching this show during its first season run and couldn’t get past the first ten episodes because I couldn’t stand the character of Jessica Day. (I’m a huge Zooey Deschanel fan, so it takes a lot out of me to admit that.) I decided to try and re-watch the entire show during the pandemic and made it to Season 6 before quitting again because I still can’t stand Jess–AND Nick. I do think that the show evolved from being Jess-centric and beautifully allowed the ensemble cast to develop, which is why I did enjoy some of it and managed to get through nearly all seasons. I honestly love all characters except Jess and Nick (and like the author of this piece, I hate them twice as much as a couple), and I think it’s a shame that the showrunners couldn’t leave the concept of Jess and Nick as a couple behind. It’s not the worst show out there, and it is funny in parts, but I couldn’t go on watching it when half the time I was just gritting my teeth and trying not to roll my eyes in irritation. Maybe I’ll circle back to it in a while and get through it on principle (especially since I inadvertently spoilered myself with the tidbit in this review about Ferguson), but it’ll take a while.

    September 6, 2020
  • Why do we have to bundle all seasons of a show together and call it good or bad? Why can’t we do what we do for music– admire the early work, acknowledge what features or episodes work and which ones don’t. I watched the pilot when it came out with low expectations, and found myself surprised at how I was actually laughing out loud. That’s an accomplishment, it’s actually pretty tough to get some real laughs in a pilot! I continued to crack up to myself in the episodes that followed, and found myself pleasantly surprised by the male characters, and I also felt slightly represented by Zooey and her character–it’s nice to feel like being individualistic as a woman can make you interesting or even cool, rather than a total weirdo. HOWEVER, the show should have ended after season 2, and I found it pretty hard to watch after that, and totally gave up on it somewhere in season 4. Jess was not only static, but she was also incredibly selfish and judgmental in a way that I could not relate to at all, and those personality traits do not mesh well with being quirky. This could have worked if the show acknowledged that she actually kind of sucked, but it didn’t. It seemed like the writers either stopped trying or never really understood her character to begin with and only had been successful initially due to luck. The show seemed “saccharine” because it lacked depth and darkness. I think a good comparison is Crazy Ex Girlfriend, where the female lead’s cheesiness and energy isn’t problematic because we actually see the whole person in a pretty raw way. (And Crazy Ex itself acknowledged this in its last season, with its theme song that parodied New Girl’s.)

    September 7, 2020

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