Can Zooey Deschanel’s quirky adorableness translate to the small screen? Does Poppy Montgomery’s return to television stir anyone’s interest? Let’s find out when Kelly Stitzel reviews Fox’s New Girl, and Scott Malchus tries to recall CBS’s new crime drama, Unforgettable.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been dreading reviewing New Girl because I have recently started to dislike Zooey Deschanel. I used to really love her. But recently, the “grown-ass-woman-as-non-
And it did. But not because I didn’t like it — because I did. I was fully expecting to hate this show — what woman in her right mind would be excited about a show with a tagline that describes the main female character using the stupid, made-up word “adorkable”? No woman, that’s the answer. But the truth is, the marketing campaign for this show is bullshit. It’s actually a funny, relatable show that is in no way “adorkable.” And Zooey Deschanel, goddammit, has won me over (again). I still hate the hipster bullshit that surrounds her, but she turns in a genuinely great performance as the titular character.
If you haven’t read one of the eleventy million articles about this show and its pilot, which Fox made available via iTunes and Hulu well well before its premiere Tuesday, let me fill you in on its premise. Deschanel plays Jess, a teacher who recently broke up with her boyfriend after catching him with another woman as she tried to surprise him with a mid-day, sexy strip tease. Because of the break up, she answers a “roommate needed” ad on Craigslist and winds up moving in with three single guys (Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans, Jr. and Jake M. Johnson), all of whom question the intelligence of letting a recently dumped woman, who randomly breaks into song, invade their dude space.
What I anticipated as being a too-precious, cloying, annoying hipster comedy is actually smart, funny and genuinely great. Deschanel is charming without making you want to puke because she’s so cute. And the dudes — while being very, very dude-ish — are also sweet and empathetic and just good friends to the mess that is Jess. And NO ONE in this show is adorkable. I just want that word to go away right now. Seriously, Fox. Stop it with that dumb shit. Now. Stop.
Do I think this show will succeed? Yes. It has a great time slot (sandwiched between Glee and Raising Hope), a bankable star (Deschanel), and it’s genuinely well-written and well-acted. I think the hipsters (and those who claim to hate hipsters but secretly don’t mind them so much) have found a new comedy to champion. And I’m happy to eat crow and say I will be someone who will watch and, most likely, enjoy this show’s first season. Dammit.
Do we really need another routine cop show? That’s the first thing I asked myself as soon as Poppy Montgomery’s character began piecing together the case of a dead woman. Montgomery (Without a Trace) plays Carrie Wells, a former Syracuse Homicide Detective who has hyperthymesia, a rare condition that allows her to recall almost every detail of her life. It’s an interesting premise and the show started out with promise, showing Carrie using her condition to cheat in blackjack. But when she finds her neighbor’s body in an alley, Unforgettable becomes just another procedural.
Carrie feels compelled to help the NYPD (where she’s located after quitting the force) solve the crime. Wouldn’t you just know it, her ex-lover, recently relocated from Syracuse, is heading up the case. He would be Al Burns (Dylan Walsh of Nip/Tuck) and immediately we can tell that his heart never completely healed after Carrie left him.
Having total recall like Carrie does certainly does come in handy when trying to solve murders. She can place herself in the scene of the crime anytime she likes after she’s been there, remembering even the smallest details, such as the shadow on the fence the night of the murder she didn’t realize was there until she rewound the event in her head. Al’s fellow detectives can’t believe the powerful tool Carrie has at her disposal. However, Al understands that her gift is also a curse.
Lurking around in her memory banks is the vivid childhood tragedy of the death of her older sister. It’s an unsolved homicide that drove Carrie to become a detective in the first place. From what we gather, Al was helping Carrie try and solve the crime, but gave up, leading to their breakup and Carrie ditching him. Her loss of faith in Al, plus the wear on her soul of recalling every dead body she’s seen, lead Carrie to leave.
Unforgettable follows the dots of most cop shop pilots, which makes it very routine. This is a shame because Carrie’s condition is anything but routine. By the end of the first episode, you are sure of the following things: Carrie is going to wind up back as a detective. She and Al are going to become romantically involved at some point. She’s going to keep coming up with more memories that will help solve the murder of her sister. And at some point she is going to have an emotional connection with the elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s that she visits every day. The only mystery that remains is who is the shadowy figure that stood over her sister’s body on that fateful day?
Tell you what, I don’t care. I lost interest the moment Al and Carrie had their first argument. Once this show falls into the same old “crime of the week” type of stories, I can’t imagine anyone else retaining much interest in Unforgettable, or remembering anything that happens on the show.