The recent trend in transitioning silver screen stars to the small screen is part of No Strings Attached screenwriter Elizabeth Meriwether's formula for The New Girl. With Zooey Deschanel as lead character Jessica Day (Jess for short), the show might actually have a chance of surviving the curse of airing on the Fox network.
Because both Meriwether and Deschanel come from a film background, the pilot episode has a notably cinematic feel. They even have Jake Kasdan (of Bad Teacher and Orange County fame) directing. With this trifecta, overtones of the filmic technique are especially evident in the opening scene in which Jess stares straight into the camera and delves into the following monologue:
"So you know in horror movies when the girl's like, 'Oh my God, there's something in the basement. Let me just run down there in my underwear and see what's going on in the dark.' And you're like 'What is your problem? Call the police.' And she's like, 'Okay,' but it's too late because she's already getting murdered. Well, uh, my story's kind of like that."
Jess then rehashes how she made the mistake of coming home early from a trip to find her longtime boyfriend, Spencer (Ian Wolterstorff), with another woman. This is, lamentably, after she has already begun her awkward stripper act--one of the moments that makes Deschanel come across as more annoying than charmingly quirky.
Once her prospective roommates, Nick (Johnson), Schmidt (Greenfield), and Coach (Wayans Jr.) are done listening to Jess' tale of woe, they're pretty much ready to say, "Next!" That is, until Jess mentions that her best friend, Cece (Simone), is a model and is constantly surrounded by models so she would really rather not live in that atmosphere. This immediately prompts Schmidt (the resident douche bag of the group--he actually has to put money into a "Douche Bag Jar" when he starts to act or say something that falls into that category) to encourage his fellow roommates to let her move in.
Upon moving in, Jess is not shy about displaying her normal behavior, which consists of crying as she watches Dirty Dancing on a loop as a part of her grieving process. Not quite sure how to handle such womanly problems, Schmidt decides to take charge and insist that they all go out so that she can find a rebound guy. Naturally, they choose to go to the bar where Nick works--discounted drinks always help boost confidence.
From there, the gist of how the dynamic between the four of them is going to work becomes more pronounced. Basically, Jess' whimsicality and unintentionally refreshing frankness is a source of inspiration for how Coach, Nick, and Schmidt (well, maybe not Schmidt) interact with women. While The New Girl is enjoyable enough, chiefly when you take into account some of the other upcoming new series this fall (Charlie's Angels and Free Agents being amid some of the more distinguished riffraff), its main downfall is when the contrivances of the Zooey Deschanel "Ooh I'm so weird but I'm also really beguiling" shtick are too glaring to ignore.