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Best Comedies of 2012: 3 – New Girl

December 20th, 2012 by Katherine Rea

(The ten best comedies of 2012 will be revealed on Hulu’s homepage each weekday of this week. To view the rest of the list, click here.)

3 – New Girl

Oh, Zooey Deschanel. You and I have such a love/hate relationship. Do I want all your outfits? Yes. Am I secretly jealous of your Twiggy eyes? Duh. But I’ll admit: I wasn’t sure you could carry a major network sitcom.

When New Girl first aired, I was skeptical. The “adorkable” moments were more cringe-worth than funny. (Not in a Michael Scott way, by the way. In an “oh God, make it stop” way.) It was saccharine-sweet and mildly annoying how Jess’s newfound male roommates rallied around our heroine, despite her genuinely psychotic behavior. But the show has come together in a surprising, and very enjoyable, way.

Season 2’s upswing can be attributed in large part to more satisfying narrative arcs for all the characters. The scripts are better. The stories are more cohesive.

But the cast gets ultimate credit for taking New Girl from “that show with Zooey Deschanel” to one of the most enjoyable sitcoms on network TV right now. So, in that spirit, here’s a quick look at the cast.

  • Because of his weird, late entrance in Season 1, Winston should be one of the weakest links on the show. But give a lot of credit to Lamorne Morris: Winston’s now one of the best characters on the show. He still gets weird B-plots. (There are cranberries stuck in his ear! He thinks he has male PMS!) But he makes the most of it.
  • • Hannah Simone’s Cece, with her easy-going confidence and “screw you” attitude, is the perfect best friend for neurotic Jess. Also, if this is a thing, I’d watch Simone watch paint dry. And if it’s not, we’re just saying we’re agreeing with Schmidt on his dream girl criteria.
  • • And, hey, Zooey Deschanel has turned Jess into one of the reasons to like this show, which is something I didn’t see coming after the first season. To the relief of everyone, Jess is much more grounded now. She pulls her weight in the slapstick humor department—no easy feat considering her co-stars’ flair (and flail) for physical comedy. And her acting chops bring home the poignancy of the show’s more emotional moments
  • • Nick Miller, Nick Miller, stone cold killer. He’s had a banner season. He’s made an crotchety, underachieving character far more endearing than one could reasonably expect. We’re crossing our fingers harder than ever that he’ll finally sort out his life and get with Jess. Her unrelenting optimism is the tomato soup to his rainy day cynicism, much like the combination of Deschanel’s bubbliness and Team Coco’s dry humor.
  • • Then, of course, there’s Schmidt, working as a Super PAC for Douchebag Acceptance since 2011. Let’s be honest: Max Greenfield is the main reason we all came stumbling back to New Girl after the first season. I get the feeling that the show’s creators originally envisioned Schmidt as kind of an ass, or that guy you love to hate. But Greenfield’s affability shines through even in Schmidt’s douchiest moments.
  • • Oh, and we’ll never say “chutney” the same way again.
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