Within the American television networks, there is always the promise of fascinating and clever new shows. Many branch into different genres; comedy, drama, crime, non-fiction and so forth, have amazing actors and are always trying to be on top. With so many shows trying to make an impression upon the people and to compete to gain an audience, it can be seen that many will flop, that is to become unsuccessful and be cancelled. With larger budgets, more writers, and an ever-increasing number of celebrities there have been many instances of this occurring.
Fall 2011 promised the television viewing audience a wide variety of new shows to fulfill any number of desired characteristics. New crime shows, science fiction, reality and adventure shows, each trying to go where none has before. A solid example of this was the short-lived futuristic-yet-has-dinosaurs, adventure show ‘Terra Nova’ which lasted twelve episodes before being taken off the air. This show tried a new recipe for television, mixing time periods (dystopian future and prehistoric past), genre (science fiction, action adventure, romantic comedy, horror) and level of celebrity. Unfortunately this was not successful, perhaps TV audiences were just not ready for such a show.
What TV audiences were ready, and begging for, was the return of the ‘roommate comedy’. Shows that are highly hilarious and feature a cast of characters that live together. They tend to deal with situational comedy involving their personal lives, which they are all a part of each other’s due to their close living proximity. Roommate comedy has never been a stranger to television, it was the feature of such shows as ‘Three’s Company’, ’Ellen ‘, ‘Friends’, and more recently more drama type shows have featured roommate situations to add comic relief to their plots. In the fall of 2011 a new show premiered, which seemed to follow this same premise of the roommate comedy. One single girl, three single guys all trying to become someone in today’s fast paced world while still hanging onto the youthfulness of their twenties. This show had instant mass appeal while being discredited by other television critics and reviewers.
This show is ‘New Girl’. Its key appeal is that when it premiered there was no instance of instant stardom, none of the main actors or producers or writers was well known. They of course had experience, but there was no pressure on them to create some genius show that was going to make it big. There were no pre-assumed roles that would be played, and the actors were not previously known to be associated with another character or acting type. The premise of the show also speaks to the masses, it features a roommate type situation- but these are not typical young roommates, they are in the mid age, cruising into their thirties, but are still not willing to act like the stereotypical grown up which is the character typically created for this age group.
An audience can figure out from the start that they are in for some quirky humour, as the shows theme song features the main character Jess singing a song about herself. This may appear to be annoying, or conceited, but it actually helps in setting the stage for the show and the mood that is to be created. The acting, dialogue and situations are strange, not seen before in the land of television, or reality either for that matter. This was a great risk for the show to take because it would only be a certain audience with a certain type of humour that would respond favourably to this type of new show. Thankfully they seem to have hit all the right notes. For whatever reason, audiences are drawn to this show and justly so, for a multitude of reasons. It is full of hilarious situational comedy, heartwarming friendships and most of all, the best one liners and quips that have not been seen on TV in ages (an example being the title of this piece). This could be the show that turns comedy around. For the past few years comedy shows have been failing due to lack of audience, becoming simply funny based on physical humour or have become simply only able to find humour in raunchy jokes and inappropriate innuendos. This show provides comedy in a way that everyone is free to laugh and creates an environment where the ridiculous is okay and there is no push to become a stereotypical grown up.