Is “New Girl” the Funniest Show on Television?

8 Oct

New Girl

The great thing about the title of this post is that it implies that I think New Girl is the funniest show on television. But really, I’m just asking a question, therefore I am not confirming or denying that New Girl is funnier than, say, the new fall sitcom, Dads.*

*Full disclosure: this entire post is about how I think New Girl is the funniest program currently on television. I have not seen Dads, but I imagine that it’s absolutely horrific and not funny at all. Punny, maybe, but not funny.

The maybe not so great thing about the title of this post is that it could very well be polarizing for those Zooey Deschanel haters out there (you know who you are. You make up about 88% of the population). People either really love or really hate Zooey, and I’m sure that has affected the willingness for many to give New Girl a fair chance. For the remaining 22% of the population that finds Zooey tolerable (Why not 12%, you ask? Because I always like to give 110%. If we were in person, I’d wink at you right now), you are as obsessed with New Girl as I am, and this is a welcome topic. For the rest of you, just read this and I’m sure you’ll change your minds.

Teresa Guidice

I should preface this post by saying that I have tried very hard, over the course of my life, to dislike Zooey Deschanel. For instance, when I saw 500 Days of Summer (which you should all see because it is darling and sad and because it is Joseph Gordon Levitt, and if you’re a human being, you’re in love with him), I went into it pre-annoyed. And while I will admit that there are one million irritating Zooey characteristics to choose from (her quirky mannerisms, her quirky voice, her quirky dresses and quirky ballet flats, her quirky this, her quirky that, etc., etc.), I’m still always drawn to her. I appreciate that she’s a little goofy, a little nerdy, a little too cool, and a little uncool, all at the same time.

So, when the first promo began to air for New Girl, back in good ol’ 2011, I remember thinking, “Oh, Zooey with two o’s, you are going to fail, fail, fail and I will laugh all the way to your next cotton commercial.” But then about 20 seconds into it I thought, “You’re already obsessed with this show, aren’t you Alex. It hasn’t even been 30 seconds, and you’ve already laughed, cried, set your DVR to record the series, and downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes.” That’s also when I angrily threw my fist up in the air and cursed Zooey’s good name. Once I actually started watching New Girl, I was so relieved that the promos weren’t the best thing about the show. I was also beyond thrilled and surprised that not only did Zooey maintain her endearing qualities (that not everyone sees, and I completely respect that), but that the supporting cast is what makes this show really special and so unbelievably hilarious. I’m not one to laugh out loud (or LOL, as you kids might say), but consistently, I release a body shaking guffaw (sorry, that sounds really gross), and I can’t say that I have that reaction with any other show right now. I realize this might be over your heads, but here is my very scientific way of choosing the funniest program: if I laugh, it’s funny. If I don’t, it’s probably not that funny. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, I’m done.

Jess in a nutshell: Jess is a school teacher who likes to awkwardly sing her thoughts, wear cute little dresses, and have bangs. Like, some real bangs.


The story of New Girl begins with Jess breaking up with her cheating boyfriend, and needing a new place to live. She responds to an ad and moves into an apartment with three random guys: Nick, Schmidt, and Winston. Hilarity and antics ensue. While Jess has a million funny moments, and she is clearly the cornerstone of all the main plots, it’s the supporting cast that makes the show what it is. With that in mind, here is the rest of the cast, some of their funniest bits, and, of course, their nutshells.

Nick in a nutshell: Nick is a lost soul who dropped out of law school, and took a job as a bartender to make ends meet. He’s working on his first novel, and it’s horrible.

nick dancing

Nick started off as the apathetic, over-life kind of guy, who was constantly being dejected by the world. He seemed a little too smart for everybody and his disinterest in all things was intriguing. But when Nick’s ex-girlfriend Caroline comes back into the picture at the end of Season 1, Nick transformed into the character we all know and love, and have an unexplainable giant crush on. He shifted from a know-it-all, into this goofy, vulnerable, slightly dumb, grumpy old man in a young person’s body that you root for. I don’t know what it is about Nick’s character that has made women all over the country fall for him (and neither does Jake Johnson). Maybe it’s his repeated failures, even with the best intentions, or maybe it’s his adorable friendships with Schmidt and Winston. I think it might be his funny dances, or how he moonwalks away from uncomfortable situations, or how he regularly sought the advice of a silent old Asian man at a bus stop. Thanks to some YouTube video maker, probably named DogLover8000 or some such creative moniker, here is a tidy compilation of Nick Miller’s funniest moments:

From the beginning, Nick and Jess have had obvious sexual chemistry. Now, I am typically VERY opposed to characters in television shows acting on that chemistry, because, inevitably, everything gets ruined. The fantasy of that fictional couple’s relationship is almost always SO much better than the actual thing. And you know why? Because just like in real life, once you’re in a relationship it’s not all daisies and longing looks and goosebumps when you brush up against one another. It’s paying bills (snooze) and fighting (Imma kill you if you don’t take out that motherfucking garbage right now)  and having babies (I haven’t slept in 8 days and I’m so tired that I think I just tried to eat my own hand for dinner) and compromise (barf). Unless you’re me and my husband, then it’s the daisies and goosebumps thing (Hey, honey bunny!). So when there started to be signs in Season 2 that real relationship territory was where Jess and Nick were headed, I became nervous. That is, until this happened:

nick and jess kiss

Oh my god, you guys. This does not do it justice – it was one of the hottest on-screen kisses I’ve ever seen. I even rewound it and watched it a couple of times. Okay, I watched it more than a couple of times. Maybe it was a lot of times. It’s all a blur. This was also the moment that I realized how many of my friends watch New Girl because Facebook was BLOWING UP with talk about this kiss. I think what made it so sexy was that Nick, like I said, is so goofy and disheveled and all over the place that it was incredible to see him be manly and confident and sexy. That kiss is what made me accept their new relationship and I’m doing my best to go along with it in Season 3. So far, so good. But, let’s be honest – they’re going to break up by the end of the season and each date new people next season and shit is going to get dramatic. I’m not naive, TV makers!!

Schmidt in a nutshell: Schmidt is a Jewish gigolo who works in marketing and has to constantly put money into a “Douchebag Jar.” Everything he says or does is funny.


While Nick is my favorite character on the show, most would argue that Schmidt is, by far, the best. Why? Because Schmidt started out as a former fat kid, turned wannabe thug/lady killer, with the best lines. Schmidt transformed quickly into a former fat kid, turned metro-sexual smooth talker with a taste for the finer things in life, who still has the best lines. I don’t know how the writers do it, but they manage to make everything that comes out of Schmidt’s mouth be the douchiest, most hilarious thing you’ve ever heard. Hence, the constant donations to the aforementioned Douchebag Jar.

Schmidt has a very sweet friendship with Nick, who he’s known since they were roommates in college, that teeters on needy. Even though Schmidt is the only dude in the apartment with a regular, well-paying job, and who is sleeping with a model (Cece, who is Jess’s best friend), he’s highly dependent on Nick for guidance and support (side note: how do they live in a such a huge apartment when only two of the four inhabitants seem to have regular income? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Oh wait, no. That’s my 11 month old crying and not sleeping. My bad). He has a love/hate relationship with Winston, which is mostly Schmidt loving and Winston hating. Schmidt was also recently in a love triangle with his girlfriend from college who completely accepted him as an overweight, awkward boy, and Cece, the kind of girl that adult, skinny, playboy Schmidt dreams of being with. Let’s see Schmidt in action, shall we?

Winston in a nutshell: A former pro basketball player, who moved back in with Nick, his childhood friend, and is a little lost in life.

winston new girl

Episode 1 began with Coach, a charming jock with some rage issues. He was also played by Damon Wayans, Jr. Then, mysteriously, Coach left by episode 2 and was replaced with Winston. The “mysterious” part was that Wayans, Jr. was also on a different show called Happy Endings, which he thought was going to be cancelled. When it wasn’t, he left New Girl, and Lamorne Morris stepped in to play Winston. (Fun fact: Happy Endings has now been cancelled, and Coach is returning for the last few episodes of Season 3. To fans of Happy Endings: my deepest apologies, for that was not a fun fact for you. It was a sad fact).

Now, back to Winston. While I think that Winston has the smallest role of the three guys, as he rarely carries major plot lines, he packs a big punch in all of his scenes. I didn’t really think much of Winston throughout the first season because they cast him as an angry guy who is resentful of his lot in life, and I wasn’t sure where they could go with his character. But Season 2 revealed another side of Winston: he is kind of a weirdo, and they finally let his freak flag fly! He likes to put together jigsaw puzzles, very poorly, while naked; he was going to get back at a cheating girlfriend by killing her cat that he was caring for, but instead just refused to return it, as a punishment; he loves fruity alcoholic drinks and gets really insane after he drinks them; and he is comically horrible at pranks, although he always wants to pull them. And, best of all, he knows all the words to the Wicked soundtrack:

New Girl airs Tuesday nights on Fox. I promise you at least one guffaw, and if you don’t have one, then I’ll give you a full refund. With some sort of receipt, of course.

10 Responses to “Is “New Girl” the Funniest Show on Television?”

  1. Emily October 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I love you. Next time I’m home we’re going to watch that kiss over and over and over again.

  2. athed October 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I love you! And hell yeah, we are.

  3. pfutzin December 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    I have never in my life laughed so hard at anything. Ever. Ever. Ever. I am not exaggerating. At all. New Girl is seriously improving my quality of life and I have a pretty great life (that I don’t always appreciate). 12% and proud!

  4. pfutzin December 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    ps. “but consistently, I release a body shaking guffaw (sorry, that sounds really gross)” — EXACTLY.

    And that kiss… unbelievable…

    • athed December 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

      Right?? It was hot like fire!!!

  5. boring show December 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    boring show

    • athed December 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      As soon as I wrote that post, New Girl got less good. I almost wrote a follow-up. I don’t know about boring, but definitely not as funny this season.


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