Everybody’s favourite indie boy crush has been given her own sitcom! It’s been a meandering career for Zooey Deschanel since she turned up as the cool older sister in 2000’s Almost Famous.
The journey has taken her through bleach-blonde leading roles; M. Night-Shyamalan boo boos and She & Him sing-songs. She may not be in all the magazines like some of her contemporaries but Zooey is as cool as her name and has been working hard for the last 12 years. I was as pleased as punch when Deschanel popped up as my new Friday night 30mins of fun….actually I think I’m the one with the indie boy crush.
Pilot episodes have a lot riding on them so I don’t expect too much too soon. They’ve got first date nerves, trying a bit too hard. You don’t know the characters and you have to try to get to know them quickly in order to be interested in anything that might happen to them ever.
The best way to think about it is to compare it to The Spice Girls or Friends, you need Scary Spice to be scary and Phoebe to be kooky because that’s what they do. I am still not quite sure what new girl Jess is supposed to do and I don’t think it’s because I’m missing some sophisticated comedy device; I know how it goes, I’ve watched Frasier.
I got the male characters’ one and a half dimensions, in case you need it spelling out ‘Coach’ is macho and can’t speak to women, ‘Schmidt’ is a douchebag who deep down isn’t a douchebag and ‘Nick’ is ‘the-guy-who’s-been-hurt-before’ and will, in the end, fall for Jess.
Sadly you can kiss Coach Goodbye because he will never be seen again. Wayans Jr. must’ve done this pilot before he landed the part of ‘Brad’ in ‘Happy Endings’ which is good news because he will always be ‘Brad’ to me and I got distracted by the idea he might be in two successful American sitcoms at once. So make way for ‘episode-two-and-beyond-Winston’ – I am intrigued to know how he makes his entrance which may be the only reason I watch the second episode.
But let’s get back to ‘Jess’ who is the focal point of this comedy. She’s funny because she sings at inappropriate times, she’s funny because she likes dungarees – yeah the only grown woman in New York who’s never heard of the LBD, put on your LBD stoopid! Oh, and she’s funny because LIKE EVERY WOMAN ON THE PLANET she watches Dirty Dancing and criiiies. I know, you’re identifying already. Oh those crazy women with their clothes and romantic films and those dates they inadvertently make with guys who just want to sleep with them and never call them again. Jess is SO funny because she’s a silly little girl, maybe 5 years of age, don’t let the fact she has the body of a 31 year old fool you.
I wanted to have a Friday night comedy with a great funny, witty, pretty character in it but I guess if the word girl is in the title then she must act like someone who is incapable of functioning without boys screwing up their faces at her. But, gee, she’s Jess and they love her! I may be slagging this off quite heavy handily but that is just because this character should have more to offer and not be riding on myths about ‘Dirty Dancing’ – which is a well structured, well researched film about an American teen sub-culture that owes a lot of its success due to the timely marriage of its sixties backdrop and 80’s production values. But friends, that’s a whole other article.
This first episode is what we in the business call ‘a pilot’ – That. Somehow. Got. Commissioned. Now let’s hope that the writers find some plot ideas at the bottom of their cliché barrel because the rest of the series needs some character/brain development if this girl is to mature into a woman and this pilot into a series.