Best of the Small Screen, Comedies No. 9


Over the next 19 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today comedies continue with one that might be a bit of a stretch to the original rules.

New Girl (2011-2017)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 6/138
Network: FOX
Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, and Hannah Simone
Creator: Elizabeth Meriwether
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season One; 1.01 "Pilot," 1.15 "Injured," 1.20 "Normal," 2.15 "Cooler"
About: Some might call this cheating. Clearly in the rules I outlined I said no current run series, and "New Girl" was clearly on the air this season. So what gives? First off, this could blow up in my face, but I'm taking a chance here. Reports surfaced recently that the series is done. In fact, Jake Johnson said they'd done their last episode. FOX hasn't officially commented, but seeing as how the season finale had the feel of a series ender, and the ratings seem to trend toward a non-renwal, I'm buying it. Then I asked myself, if the show was done, would it be on this list? The answer was yes. And so, since I expect official word in a month, I pulled the trigger. "New Girl" felt to me from the beginning of its run like a show that in a lot of ways was a successor to the kind of 20-something friends as family concept that made "Friends" such a smash success. But at times, I loved this show a lot more than I ever loved "Friends," so it naturally has to make this list. "New Girl" hit a bit of a lull in its more recent seasons, though season six felt like the show found a creative groove again. But the first two seasons of this show are among my favorite ever. I especially loved the first season, and I believe the show easily crested into my top 10 for the year. That's no small feat for a traditional network comedy. But I would argue this show's never been traditional. Still probably my single favorite episode is the pilot, which was unlike anything I'd seen. From the moment it hit the screen, I was hooked and couldn't wait to see the series continue. It was wild and weird, but it was also charming and endearing, which is a great mark of quality. The rest of the first season was a great build to that. I have always had a soft spot for Schmidt (Greenfield) and his classic one-liners, but in terms of story I love the Nick (Johnson)-Jess (Deschanel) dynamic. The rest of the episodes I listed fit that. "Injured" was a funny episode where Nick got hurt and Jess helped him, and "Cooler" from the second season marked their first kiss. The other thing I like about the show is the wacky inside jokes, which will be a hallmark of a few other comedies on this list. "Normal" makes the list because it was the first appearance of the game within the show, "True American," which became a classic hallmark of "New Girl." And, being as how I think the finale this season was the end of the series, this is another comedy that got it right and ended in a perfect place. Unless it gets picked up, then this post, and especially that last sentence, is probably a sham.

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