Like many in my age bracket, I find it hard to like something that seemingly everyone adores. Take, for instance, Zooey Deschanel. While I recognize her adorability and appreciate her good set of bangs, I often find her ever-whimsical quirkiness nauseating (hi, have you seen this Siri commercial?). So when New Girl premiered on Fox in September of 2011, I refused to tune in. Less persnickety friends of mine did. Soon I began to hear how truly hilarious the show was, how Zooey wasn’t as bad as you’d expect and how the ensemble cast was brilliant, energetic, chock full of well-timed one-liners, and always good for laugh. I couldn’t believe my ears! Armed with a Hulu Plus account and time to kill, I marathoned the first season and a half over a weekend. I was hooked.
And so I became a loyal New Girl fan, excitedly tuning in week after week to see what kind of shenanigans the gang would get up to next. I’d been so thrilled to have a show about post-college life for the modern early 30-something. A Friends for today, if you will. But suddenly, and without warning, the show I grew to love took a turn.
Things began to unravel during the show’s second season. At the finale of the first season, sexual tensions between roommates Jess and Nick were at an all time high. The will-they-won’t-they vibe gained serious momentum through the second season and then burst like a big sexy bubble. Nick and Jess gave in to their desires and audiences ate it up, hook, line, and sinker. But where could we go from here?
In October, KQED Pop questioned whether or not this single plot point was enough to signify the beginning of the end for our beloved sitcom and pointed out the show had lost several million viewers between seasons one and two. But as season three trudges onward, it seems the too soon roommate romance may not be the only sign that the show’s once brilliant scripts are getting more difficult for writers to churn out.
Last week, while watching episode 16, “Sister,” I had my “A-ha! This show is going downhill!” moment when I noticed the same obnoxious phrases used twice in one episode. Actually, it was twice in one interaction by two people. Cece and Coach both took a turn recalling something slightly zany that had occurred between them, then barked at one another, “Who does that?!” It hit me all at once. My lip curled into a sneer; my inner laugh track subsided. It just seemed so boring and obvious, like I was overhearing the brunch conversation of a couple of airheads. I’d grown accustomed to New Girl’s brand of witty back-and-forth and this dialogue just appeared jarringly lazy.