The Anti-Jess is the New Girl on ‘New Girl’

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To use a timeless Schmidt quote that for some reason still doesn’t have a gif, I was madder than a dad in traffic when it was announced that Megan Fox would step in for Zooey Deschanel on New Girl while the latter was on maternity leave. (congrats, btw!) Sure, Jess as the titular “girl” was once the putty that held the show together, but the four supporting characters have been able to stand on their own since at least season three. Shoving in a new character to fill in a Jess-sized void seemed superfluous. Now that Megan Fox’s episode “Reagan” has aired, was it indeed superfluous?

Yes. Yes it was.

Now, that’s not to say that Ms. Fox’s performance is bad; offically not the case. But her character, a no-nonsense pharmaceutical rep, is essentially a mix of the self-serious Fawn Moscato and the super-aloof Daisy. I appreciate the show’s reluctance to substitute another nerdcute loftmate, but Reagan is the antithesis of Jessica Day. And that’s just not as fun.

Did Reagan have some fun lines? Sure. My personal favorites were “It sounds like there’s a dishwasher in his face,” as well as a running list of dubious drug symptoms that include butt sneezing, unwelcomed night running, and dusty semen. But were they funny because of her character? Would they have been just as funny if Winston’s work buddy Aly or Outside Dave said them? (The answer is “yes” and “holyshitabsolutely,” respectively.)

Reagan’s involvement thus far is to make Nick stammer and believe in “relationship magic” again, and to cause-then-solve a Schmidt/Cece fight, and it’s not hard to imagine her several episode arc including much more depth. Even still, there’s something to be said for how totally New Girl this episode was. It was plenty goofy, full of meta jokes, and it even snuck in a touch of its socially tolerant ethics. It was refreshing for them to not play up Cece and Reagan’s past make out sesh as a hot girl-on-girl fantasy (at least until the very end), and to make Schmidt’s scruples with Reagan one of non-gendered, sexually fluid jealousy.

So while it seems that Reagan will fit right in, it would’ve been nice for the show to flesh out an existing character instead of introducing a new one (could they fully explore a Winston romantic storyline just ONCE?!) and to have faith that the other loftmates could’ve carried the show in Jess’s absense. Even if Megan Fox is not spectacular in this role that seems to provide little in the way of lighthearted fare, she’ll at least act as a wall onto which Nick, Schmidt, Winston and Cece can bounce their jokes. A redundant, austere, stupid pretty, unreasonably sexy wall.

 

 

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