New Girl, Old Problems: New Girl Returns for its Fourth Season

“The point of dating is just to keep on dating and then never stop, just like burning fossil fuels or seeing a therapist.” It’s a comment made on the second episode on the new season of New Girl, which coincidentally reflects what is going on with the show itself; new episodes continue without ever falling in love and sticking to one relationship. Even in its fourth season, New Girl has yet to settle into itself and stick to one working theme. Instead, each new episode features one or two pop culture references that serve as its theme but do not lead to a progression of any kind or a steady plotline.

Guest starring Jessica Biel, the fourth season of New Girl premiered on September 16 but with almost a fifty percent decrease in viewership. The premiere of the third season had 5.5 million viewers (in America) but season four had only 3.1 million. The problem with New Girl is that it is a show about a girl living with a bunch of guys. It’s not about a young gynecologist living in New York, like The Mindy Project or about a group of people working for local government in Indiana, like Parks and Recreation. A show doesn’t need to be based in a workplace to be captivating, but it does have to have an interesting catch like that, which inspires consistently related plotlines throughout each season. New Girl does not deliver a clear base for its comedy. Instead, each episode barely gets by by keeping up with current social trends and everyday issues for twenty-somethings.

Nevertheless, New Girl retains a huge following of dedicated fans who cannot wait to see what awkward situations Jess, the main character played by Zooey Deschanel, will get into each week. One Facebook user posted: “I cannot believe this episode of New Girl because it’s my life!!!!!!!!” in response to the second episode of the new season. The episode was about Jess’ adventures with an app similar to Tinder, called Dice. Jess is told by one of her roommates, Schmidt, that she is bad at realizing when she is on a bad date so he takes it upon himself to educate her. Surely, many viewers could relate to this. The episode further gave Schmidt the opportunity to make fun of Jess, which is one of the most consistent elements of the show.

It is safe to say that Zooey Deschanel is an attractive woman, it may be those beautiful big blue eyes or that cute haircut framing her face, but she is undeniably pretty. So, why then, is the whole show about her character chasing guys and having a hard time keeping them if she manages to get one? The blame would have to be placed on Jess’s awkwardness and self-proclaimed “dorkiness,” which she cannot hide. Maybe it’s her doubt about whether or not she knows how to have sex. Her awkwardness is not very funny and it doesn’t make you empathize with her. Instead, she’s just whiny and annoying and you agree when her friends make fun of her.

New Girl is like the toned down Girls. It is Girls’ less edgy, more responsible older sister. Replace cocaine with a one time experiment with marijuana and repeated one night stands with one attempted but failed hook up and that’s New Girl. Instead of raw, natural dialogue, New Girl is filled with one-liners and conversations that go from point A to point B efficiently and with no time wasted. In the second episode of the new season Schmidt tells Jess that, “the only acceptable pet for a man to have is a salt water fish,” maybe it’s time for New Girl to adopt a guinea pig.

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