When I started watching New Girl last summer, the good writing and great cast hooked me. But what kept me there was Cece Parekh. She’s Jess’s best friend, an openhearted, kind woman who makes the transition from being a model to following her dreams, falls in love with Schmidt, and just happens to be Indian. As an American-born, Indian woman, Cece was the representation I have been searching for my entire life. Her Indian heritage is inherently part of her, but it is not all she is. Of course, the more I watched the show, the more I realized just how phenomenally diverse and representative the entire show is. Below are a few reasons why New Girl is the show everybody needs to start watching.
Diversity of Characters
Aside from Cece, the show features characters from all backgrounds, including Winston and Coach, two black men, and Schmidt, a Jewish man.
Rejection of Gender Roles
In a recent episode, Nick is arguing with his girlfriend Reagan (Megan Fox), when she tells him to stop being such a girl in their relationship. Nick Miller, my hero, straight up tells her to stop being heteronormative. Yes. On television, in 2017, on a Tuesday night, the word heteronormative was used. This is the subtle, yet impactful, progress we need to see on TV.
Cece and Schmidt: She’s Indian and he’s white; yet nobody’s ever made a big deal about it. Winston and Aly: He’s black, she’s Iranian. Earlier in the show, he dated a Korean girl, played by Brenda Song.
Nick and Tai: Remember her? A few seasons ago Nick was in a relationship with a Vietnamese girl named Tai who was the granddaughter of a friend he made in a park one day (because it’s Nick Miller). To make this even better, she was more successful than he was, but he didn’t mind.
Authentic Cultural Representation
When Schmidt and Cece get married at the end of season five, they hold a Jewish and Hindu wedding ceremony. Building up to it, there’s a scene where Schmidt and their friends dance to a short Bollywood number. While this has been attempted, rather insensitively, in other shows on television, it was appropriate in New Girl because it wasn’t trying to be special. It wasn’t a, “look at how diverse we are,” moment. Schmidt wanted to learn a Bollywood dance for his Indian wife because it is customary in many Indian weddings for guests or members of the wedding party to choreograph and perform a dance number to a hit Bollywood song for the guests’ entertainment. When Schmidt put it all together, he was letting his Indian fiancee know that he cared about her culture enough to integrate it into his own.
Positive Female Friendships
Cece and Jess are you and your best friend. They’re always there for each other, no matter what. They support each other! But the best part is that they call each other out when the other is wrong. To me, a strong female friendship isn’t about being catty, but it is about making calls for the other one that they might not see. It’s about taking control of a situation when your best friend isn’t in the mindset to do so herself. If she can’t see it at that time, tough, but she will thank you later.
Positive Male Friendships
As much as I love positive female friendships, I always feel better seeing positive male relationships being represented. Nick and Schmidt have been best friends since the first day of college, and have been through everything together. Because of this, they allow themselves to be emotional in front of each other. This dynamic extends to Winston and Coach. They cry in front of each other, they do stupid things together, and they trust each other. These aren’t shallow, let’s drink beer and watch sports together friendships. This isn’t are they or aren’t they gay speculation; these men are friends who love each other, because it’s possible, healthy, and encouraged for men to show emotion in front of each other.
You better be opening a new Netflix tab and starting New Girl right after reading this sentence. It deserves so much love, and you will end every episode laughing your head off.