Wednesday, September 21, 2011
TV PILOT REVIEW: FOX's "New Girl"
Since the end of "Friends," very few shows have successfully befriended its viewers, making them apart of the gang. Those that have set themselves apart by adding a twist. "How I Met Your Mother" (2005 - ) is telling a (really long) love story from the guy's point of view. "Community" (2009 - ) has theme episodes that make community college—actually, college in general—seem a lot more eventful than it actually is. "My Boys" (2006-2010) focused on beer-loving, poker-playing, sports lovers, one of which happened to be a girl. And "Happy Endings" (2011- ) starts off with a breakup mid-wedding, throwing the group dynamic off balance.
The reason it's so difficult to recreate the magic that was "Friends" is that it's not like a romantic comedy where you have to manufacture chemistry between two people, or a family/office comedy where sometimes it's funnier when the characters don't like each other. In order for a series like "Friends" to last, the entire cast has to seem like they've been good friends for a long time, all of their personalities and backstories have to be interesting, and, most importantly, at least two of the characters have to be likable enough for the audience to want to be friends with. The way a family sitcom allows viewers to laugh at a family that's worse than theirs and an office sitcom allows viewers to commiserate with an equally underappreciated employee, the ensemble sitcom should allow viewers to feel initiated into a private club—albeit along with millions of other viewers. It's what's called a post-modern family, made up of people who want to love each other vs. people who have to love each other.