New Girl

After leaving behind the comfortable familiarity of my suitemates and Yale’s dorms and coming back home where I don’t even leave the house all that often, I found myself missing the companionship and definitiveness of living on campus with friends. I also found myself seeking that same companionship somewhere else. Like many, I turned back to the warmth of sitcoms.

A group of friends navigating life’s many twists and turns together proves to be a reliable heartwarming watch every time. For me, however, there is one sitcom I will never get tired of: “New Girl”. When quarantine started, I finished rewatching the entirety of “New Girl” in five days. The show gets better as it progresses, so every episode makes me want to watch more, and shockingly, this is true no matter how many times I rewatch it.

The show spans seven seasons with five central characters, and explores their relationships with themselves and with each other. It begins with the main character, Jess, meeting the three men living in the loft that she is about to move into. As the show progresses, so does her relationship with them, to the point that they are best friends and would practically do anything for each other. This development reminds me of my relationship with my suitemates and the thrill and beauty of this kind of experience. There is something magnetic about living with close friends and only being a couple doors away from each other. Though the pandemic has taken that away from a lot of us, “New Girl” captures the excitement of this experience perfectly, accentuating it with a loft game that the characters created called True American.

True American is a game that is fully, truly theirs. The rules aren’t ever explicitly explained to the audience, making it clear that even outside the show, this is something that belongs to them. It is this ownership, this sense of belonging, that draws me in to the show. True American exists as a tradition and a symbol of their friendship, one that they never take for granted. After watching them play it in the final episode, it dawned on me just how many traditions we all have with each other, little things that we end up taking for granted. “New Girl” reminds me every time that these traditions are what keep us grounded when the future is unpredictable.

The characters find a home in their loft, but more than that, they find a home in each other. At the end of the day, they are always standing together, and are proud of the people they are with.

“New Girl” is obviously packed with many clever and ridiculous jokes, and while it has grown famous because of its humor, the main reason this show is so close to my heart is because of how every character is unapologetically themselves. Everyone brings something unique to the loft dynamic. For me, the allure of “New Girl” lies in its authenticity and the characters’ unwavering circle of friendship.

Like most sitcoms, each episode runs through a day in their lives as they face the issues that the world throws at them. And like most sitcoms, the issues that arise in the show are exaggerated and often ridiculous. While that is the beauty of these kinds of shows, “New Girl” retains just the right level of authenticity that the scenarios still feel relatable and real. And the simple fact that the characters always manage to overcome those hardships no matter what they are makes me feel hopeful. It reinforces the idea that eventually, things will work out and everything will be okay.

In these times of uncertainty, as we are faced with not only the pandemic, but also being separated from those closest to us, “New Girl” offers a sort of safe haven: a place I can escape to. The magic of this show lies in its ability to make me feel as if I am a part of the “New Girl” family. Even if the rules of True American were never fully explained to me, I am content just watching the characters have fun playing it. Watching “New Girl” feels like coming home. This is because I know that when things get hard, when everything is unpredictable, the comfort that “New Girl” brings me will always be steadfast.

Rena Lin | rena.lin@yale.edu