The Fox upfront presentation began with a pre-taped bit about the cast of New Girl interviewing for a new roommate, and their options were Fox stars ranging from Mr. Schue to Walter to the kid from Touch. Oh, and Emily Deschanel, because they couldn't resist making a sister joke. It was cute and the highlight of the network's hour-long presentation, for sure. Most of the rest focused on clips from this season of New Girl, a live awkward bit of banter between Zooey and Mindy Kaling about who is the most adorkable Fox star of them all, and Ryan Seacrest being Ryan Seacresty. They also made a big deal about The X-Factor and officially introduced new judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, while making a couple of digs at The Voice. I suppose they had to fill the time somehow, because aside from talking about some new random animation domination HD thing that's going to air in the dead of Saturday night (11 PM-12:30 AM), and referencing baseball as much as they could, there really wasn't a lot of new stuff to show off. But here's what we thought of the new programs they did preview:
Fans of New Girl heroine Jess can't give Zooey Deschanel all the credit to bringing this character to life -- after all, Liz Meriwether wrote and created our unlikely protagonist, as well as the entire series. In anticipation of tonight's Thanksgiving episode (aptly titled "Thanksgiving"), which guest stars Justin Long, Meriwether took a media call to talk about the current states of New Girl affairs, and what it's like to write for someone so adorable... and polarizing. Below are the highlights.
One of the fall's most anticipated comedies, Fox's New Girl (which premieres tomorrow night at 9 PM) casts "adorkable" (their word, not ours) Zooey Deschanel as newly single gal, Jess, who recovers from a bad break-up by moving in with a trio of eccentric male roommates. Deschanel, whose previous TV experience includes appearances on Frasier, American Dad! and Weeds, took a moment last week to speak with the press about her first foray into small-screen stardom. Here, she talks about being one of those infernal "manic pixie dream girl," her character's musical ambitions and what she loves the most about her new alter ego.
I wanted to believe that the post-Super Bowl, Prince-guest starring episode of New Girl would be good. After all, the show has been on a little bit of a hot streak after a very dismal start to Season 3 and because Prince is Prince so everything he touches is magic. Unfortunately, not even the magic touch of Prince (which was, by far, the highlight of the episode) could save this from feeling like a forced and overwhelmingly unfunny episode. (That said, Jake Johnson's high-pitched scream after Prince allowed him to freak out, was a thing of comedy beauty.)
New Girl writers, you sneaky little devils, you. In the midst of a slump you figured out a way to get the show back in its late Season 2 groove: instigate sexual tension between Nick and Jess again. Genius. When New Girl hit its creative stride in the second half of Season 2, it was when Nick and Jess were at their will-they-won't-they greatest and since they've settled down, that magic spark has pretty much fizzled. That is, until last night's episode "Basketball," which found the two flirtatiously teasing each other just like the good old days…and dammit, it worked. "Basketball," not only put the wheels in motion for Schmidt and Winston story lines involving their respective careers, but it was the most fun I've had watching Nick and Jess all season. They still don't quite know what to do with Coach, but with this show, there always seems to be an odd man out. Here are the do's and don'ts we learned from "Basketball":
The show may be called New Girl, but for us, it's all about the Schmidt.
Looks like the insanity of Teen Mom didn't end with the series finale.
Was it just us or was the volume on Saturday night's Saturday Night Live turned up to 11? It wasn't just host Sofia Vergara -- whose general approach to comedy on both SNL and Modern Family seems to be to YELL EVERY PUNCHLINE -- the entire cast was noticeably shouty. As it turned out though, the loudness mostly enhanced the comedy. Here were the night's noisiest (and funniest) skits.
Saturday Night Live tried to up its adorkable quotient with decidedly mixed results on this weekend's Zooey "Queen of Adorkability" Deschanel's hosting gig. The walking poster child for manic pixie dream girls everywhere started off the night strong with a cute little ukulele number about Valentine's Day, but she couldn't sustain that momentum for the rest of the night. Here were the episode's least adorkable sketches:
For an already muddled season of New Girl, last night's "Menus" felt even more aimless than most episodes. Not a single story line worked: Coach tried to train a lazy Nick, Schmidt missed being in the apartment, Jess waged war against a Chinese restaurant because of their excessive menu loitering and poor, poor Winston was nothing more than a prop to point and laugh at. My only hope for Season 3 at this point is that it pulls a Season 2 and starts off messy, but ends things on a very high note. Because it's not just a matter of weak plot lines, it's that the chemistry and vibe that made the show so great last year feels all but nonexistent. I don't even feel the spark between Nick and Jess anymore. Maybe that's because Nick has become the grown-up and Jess is regressing back to being a childish girl, and while I appreciate character growth, I'd prefer them to grow into people we actually want to see together. Until Nick and Jess and the rest of New Girl gets its groove back, here are the do's and don'ts from "Menus":
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