I really like New Girl. The Fox show, starring Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson, is about a girl who moves in with three guys and the shenanigans which ensue. It’s your standard sitcom in terms of content and interpersonal relationships and the like, but it’s really funny. The characters are very well written and the chemistry between the actors is great. Like most great sitcoms there are a variety of personalities which makes the show easily relatable. The show is also really funny (not sure if I mentioned that). Of course, anybody who is a fan of the show knows about all of this. If you haven’t watched it, the first three seasons are on Netflix and you should check it out. After all, it brought True American to prominence, and that itself is worth checking out.
Word has leaked out that a change is on the horizon for Girl when it returns for its fifth season in January. The shows titular character, Jess (Deschanel) will be taking a temporary hiatus as Deschanel takes time off for maternity leave. Filling her empty room will be Megan Fox. My knee jerk reaction to this was a common one among the reactions I came across, “well, damn.” Zuckerberg’s dislike button couldn’t get here fast enough. There were several reasons why I reacted this way. First is the absence of Deschanel. Without its star, the show loses much of what its established in terms of plot and character development. Plus Deschanel brings that nerdy awkwardness which is an anchor of the show.
The next reason for my reaction was because this messes with my favorite aspect of the show, its chemistry. I realize that all of the actors are professionals, but chemistry is a special thing. Chemistry is developed through personality, good writing, good timing, and many other factors. The best shows have it, but usually take time to develop it. Girl is no exception, as it took time to develop that chemistry. In season three they (re)introduce a new character which caused some of the chemistry to be reworked, but in the end it added a lot to the show, so there is a precedent in this show that new character introductions can work. Just because it has worked in the past, though, doesn’t make it a guarantee that it will work in the future, which brings me to my third reason for my reaction.
I’m not crazy about Megan Fox being the one to receive the torch. She was funnier than I thought she was capable of in This is 40, which is cause for optimism. That said there is a lot more evidence against this working out. Transformers, TMNT, and Jonah Hex come to mind. She usually comes off as brooding, dispassionate, and unbelievable. She’s also not overly relatable, which helps make the show tick. Perhaps I’ll be wrong in this regard, but my initial feeling was not good.
Despite all of these reasons, I still look forward to the new season. The other regular cast is strong, and will maintain continuity through the change. I also trust the writers to shift the focus appropriately away from Fox and placed on the returning group so that this continuity is stressed. In my enduring optimism, I envision the worst case scenario being this:
For those who have the same reservations I do, the best thing to keep in mind is that this whole set up is temporary. Fox’s stay is currently set to only be for season five, after which Deschanel will return in all her awkward and funny glory. When Jess returns in season six she will no longer be the new girl, and I can’t wait.