New Girl: Hipster klutz or clueless clunk?

I was sorry to hear that Zooey Deschanel and Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard had called an end to their two year marriage. There’s always something refreshingly endearing about a maverick indie rocker – whose interest in Jack Kerouac and his work is well-known – getting the photogenic gal. But clearly Zooey, also half of pop duo She & Him with songwriter M. Ward, had moved on and there were, perhaps, other matters on her mind – from Hollywood movie hits to her latest project, the much-discussed TV comedy New Girl.

The Guardian, in previews, conceded that New Girl was the best of a fairly dismal bunch of autumn-launched, US small-screen sitcoms describing Deschanel’s role, in this girl-meets-boys-in-shared-apartment-frolic, as ‘a hipster klutz’, a teasingly attractive sort of trail. But were there enough laughs to be had in this rompish half hour which debuted on Channel 4 on Friday evening? Was the piece more clueless and clunky that we’d been led to believe? So far, not convinced of its charms, I’m afraid.

Maybe one episode isn’t quite enough to judge a season, but loosely-tossed predictions that this piece may have the staying power of a Cheers or a Friends seem highly optimistic at this stage. I remember, back in 2007, The Class being touted as the series to finally supersede the long shadow of the Ross and Rachel show and it seemed quite sharp only to die a death after one solitary year. Keeping audiences chuckling and the advertisers happy is plainly a tricky test for those commissioning execs.

More of a stayer is the chic-to-be-geek Big Bang Theory which has a female lead with more emotional intelligence than all her lab lad rivals, doctorates and all, combined. Penny’s tussles with the IQ-laden boys across the hall are already deemed worthy of another three seasons at least – quite a commitment in the amnesia-liable land of American television. Whether New Girl will have anything like that longevity or will just be any old rubbish within a few months, we’ll have to see.

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