The 2012-2013 Refrigerator Rants End-of-Season Awards

It’s time to (belatedly) celebrate the end of the television season by giving out meaningless awards!

Sorry for being so late with this. I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t had much time to reflect on the TV season that just passed. But more importantly, I had a lot of frustrations with TV dramas this past season, which sapped my motivation to do these awards. But this has become somewhat of a tradition at the blog, so despite the drama categories being even thinner than last year (based on what I watched), I’m still going to pick my favourite performers and TV shows. The awards can be found after the jump. Continue reading “The 2012-2013 Refrigerator Rants End-of-Season Awards”

New Girl Versus the Will-They/Won’t-They Trope

I don’t have time to post an extensive essay this week (Internet life, meet real life), but I wanted to share some thoughts on what one my favourite comedies, New Girl, has been doing this season. In particular, I wanted to talk about what the show has been doing with Nick and Jess, who are currently in the midst of one of the most interesting romantic sitcom subplots in recent memory. Continue reading “New Girl Versus the Will-They/Won’t-They Trope”

New Girl and the Misuse of TV Tropes

Fox’s new sitcom, New Girl, has been marketed with the kind of tagline that just invites mockery: “Simply adorkable.” It’s as if the network was telling potential viewers, “Hey, don’t take this show too seriously.” Perhaps that’s why so much of the pre-air and post-air conversation about the show, from both critics and regular viewers, has been dismissive, pigeonholing its central character, Jess (Zooey Deschanel), as a manic-pixie-dream-girl (MPDG) fantasy for male hipsters, without further analysis.

Full disclosure: I enjoyed New Girl. That is to say, I liked it, but I didn’t adore it. (Adork it?) But I’m not leaping to the show’s defense here. People are allowed to like what they like and dislike what they dislike. What concerns me is that aforementioned dismissive attitude towards the show. It’s disconcerting when it comes from viewers and even more so when it comes from critics. When the conversation about New Girl has been reduced to talking about whether or not it fits a TV trope, we’re not really discussing the show anymore. Instead, we’re discussing the validity of a trope, trying to lend false objectivity to what should really be a matter of opinion. It’s not even a clear conversation, because there doesn’t seem to be agreement about what a “manic pixie dream girl” is. If this “reductio ad tropium” – pardon my Dog Latin – becomes the new norm, then it has profoundly disturbing implications for the state of television criticism and online television discussion as a whole. Continue reading “New Girl and the Misuse of TV Tropes”