Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FALL TV SEASON: Zooey Deschanel's 'New Girl' Is Easy, Breezy Smash

How could anybody possibly resist those beautiful big doe eyes? Zooey Deschanel—who stars in New Girl, which is looking like the biggest breakout TV show of the fall season—has been a charmer since I first began recognizing her in such flicks as Almost Famous and Yes, Man.

In the Fox comedy, which launched Tuesday night, Zooey plays Jess, who has just gone through a face-slapping break-up and moves in with three (rather cute) guys. With its non-stop parade of knee-slapping punch lines and life-as-80s-hits (like Dirty Dancing), New Girl has all the ingredients of an instant hit.

Deschanel is already being compared to Mary Tyler Moore and—perhaps a bit overreaching—Lucille Ball, with her goofy, sweet, geek-with-a-heart-of-gold persona. And hey, I've already memorized the spelling of her last name. That's huge!

As the show rolls forward, hopefully Jess will be less of a sad sack and more domineering, less a loser and more forward-thinking. One thing's for sure: We'll have the opportunity for find out, because New Girl is most certainly going to be with us for the long haul.

Fun facts: * Deschanel comes from a showbiz family. Her pappy, Caleb Deschanel, is an Oscar-nominated cinematographer, her mammer, Mary Jo Weir, starred in Twin Peaks and her sister is Emily Deschanel from Bones. * She's named for the male character in J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey. * She's a trained singer and did so in the movie Elf. * Married to Death Cab for Cutie's lead singer Ben Gibbard. * Acted in 40 films, including one called The New Guy.