38 Things I Love About “New Girl”

In which I take a leaf from a fictional Cece’s book and try being a little spontaneous

So in between, you know, momentous global events of late, I am in fact catching the odd episode of a show or two. Having recently finished New Girl (again), I just had to expound on what makes it a sitcom all its successors should strive to emulate and the criminally underrated classic it is.

To enumerate but a few:

1. A nuanced, sensitive, evolved depiction of male friendship that is also hilarious

2. The increased visibility of characters named Cecilia—okay, or Cecelia

3. Speaking of, Cece’s career arc from model to modeling agent

4. The principal characters’ substantial romances with people you know they aren’t going to end up with…and root for anyway

5. Schmidt efficiently (some might say ruthlessly) coaching Jess in the science of online dating

6. “I’ve never been an inspiration before. I don’t like it, it’s too much responsibility.” : Nick

7. Jamie Lee Curtis being Jess’s mom

8. Winston and the rest of Schmidt’s bachelor party singing “Alison” in a parking lot

9. The subsequent resurfacing of the song in multiple contexts

10. The Jar

11. A range of ethnicities being portrayed as attractive and desirable (but not fetishized)

12. A pair of unlikely mutuals blossoming into the Classic Winston-and-Cece Mess-Around

13. The reveal of Schmidt’s first name—a flawless moment in TV history

14. Jess getting excited about jury duty, because of course she would

15. The sponge pitch

16. The frankly very Lennon-McCartney vibe between Nick and Schmidt—Nick is lazy until finding his passion, writes a lot, and uses humor as a defense mechanism; Schmidt is ambitious, persnickety, and dramatic, and needs more hugs than Nick is comfortable giving; and they bond over having come from chaotic families

17. True American, where the rules always have a twist and no one ever truly wins

18. Coach’s absurd yet endearing self-confidence

19. The large-looming Julius Pepperwood

20. Jess’s baffled one-night stand describing Schmidt as “a stereotypical gay”

21. Various characters choosing, and feeling empowered, to leave toxic workplaces

22. Also the array of types of workplaces portrayed

23. Nick’s…admiration for Russell

24. Schmidt performing a traditional Indian dance in a spirited bid to impress Cece’s mom

25. Winston’s deep emotional connection with Furguson the cat

26. The Jewish heritage which Winston confers on Furguson, and Schmidt’s uncharacteristic willingness to go along with it

27. Multitalented enigma Robby McFerrin (yes, that’s his name)

28. Elaine reuniting with her soulmate

29. Jess and Cece’s well-intentioned but ultimately disastrous traipse across the college campuses of L.A. in an attempt to get the vote out for Hillary Clinton (whom Schmidt, a conservative who hates everyone on the ballot, refers to as “Hubbardy Bubby”)

30. The representation of local politics

31. Two women over fifty finding love

32. The episode where the whole gang catch a cold—and predict the Quarantine Age by cordoning off a “sick room” with plastic wrap

33. Winston’s impressively inept alter ego, Prank Sinatra

34. Jess hurting her eye and wearing an eyepatch to her wedding

35. Schmidt’s insistence on separating the Tahitian vanilla from the non-Tahitian

36. The fact that Jess is introduced as the quirky one, but her three roommates are proven the bona-fide weirdos by show’s end

37. “I can get a tetanus shot, but I can’t cure damaged suede.” : Schmidt

38. Gave me cookie, got you cookie

All relayed, need I add, by a stellar cast. Each of them embodies their role so perfectly—the removal of anyone would (and, occasionally, does) disrupt the balance. It’s a show where you are too focused on the things that make you laugh out loud to realize your cold heart is being steadily thawed out, your faith in humanity restored. Watching a group of such different people learn and express and accept one another’s ways of caring…if that isn’t just what the COVID-preoccupied doctor ordered.

Oh, and say what you will about Zooey Deschanel—people tend to let their preconceived notions invade everything she does—but she creates in Jessica Day, slight cutesy-ness notwithstanding, a real empathetic character with problems and needs. I like her in and out of character. And not only because I wear glasses and am a brunette with bangs and play the ukulele. Some of those are coincidences.

ALL DAY.

Image: from the finale

Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti is a freelance writer and editor living in Berlin, Germany, with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. Her free time goes toward singing, dancing, drawing cartoons, trying to finish her Netflix queue, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her artist-heroes. Follow her on Twitter (@CeciliaGelato), Instagram (@c_m_giglio), and YouTube (Lia Lio).

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