ByKatie Granger, writer at
MP Staff Writer, come to bargain.
Katie Granger

It was recently announced that Megan Fox would be filling in for Zooey Deschanel for half of the Season 5 run of New Girl whilst Deschanel is off work on maternity leave.

In the context of the show, when Jessica (Jess) Day goes away on jury dury, Fox's character Reagan - a "straight-shooting pharmaceutical sales rep" - will rent her room in the loft and move in with the boys.

The news of Fox's casting has been met with a pretty negative reaction from fans thus far, with some even threatening to boycott the show once Deschanel leaves.

Because of the type of show New Girl is, I can kind of understand why people have reacted this way. Jess is, after all, the sitcom centrepiece. She's the main character and the majority of the narrative revolves around her and, by extension, her friends. Replacing any main character in any show even temporarily is always going to be tricky and how Fox will fill in with an entirely new character could be problematic.

I hope I will be proven wrong, but Megan Fox's "straight-shooting pharmaceutical sales rep" sounds just like a polarising cookie cutter template to Jess. Bringing in a character designed to replace Deschanel whilst making her a polar opposite is a bold, and perhaps risky, move.

The main criticism people seem to have with Fox's casting though is that she's not really proven herself as an established comedic actress, in the same way Deschanel did with the likes of SNL and Funny or Die. Physically Deschanel and Fox are very different too, and a lot of Jess' humour is based in her physicality because she's small and awkward and flails about a lot.

However, given the show's established character portrayals, particularly of Jess and Cece (Hannah Simone), I do have faith that the writers and producers will be able to present us with a nuanced character who fits into the show. Despite the fact that we don't know too much about the role it was apparently written with Fox specifically in mind, so that's something.

New Girl EP Liz Meriwether seems overjoyed to have Fox on board too, saying:

"It's insane to me that such a gorgeous person can be so funny, but I guess we just all have to accept it. I've been a fan of her comedic skills since This is 40, and I'm so excited to have her on the show."

So yes, bringing in Megan Fox will change the dynamic. How could it not?

New Girl can be a problematic show to look at critically. Creatively I really enjoy it, it taps into a vein of light, silly, physical humour sprinkled with enough sobering moments of importance to give it the dramatic edge without going too far in either direction. It's a fun mainstream sitcom for prime time US television, and there are far worse things out there to get annoyed about than New Girl. In fact the most annoying aspect of it for me is the title sequence, even after four seasons it still grates.

Megan Fox is a gorgeous looking woman, and I think because of that people sometimes assume that that's all she is. Admittedly, I've never been impressed by her as an actress. But then again most of the things I've seen her in have been critically flawed for reasons outwit her performance, so it will be interesting to see her appear in a show that I do actually enjoy. Once that happens, then I feel I'll be in more of a position to judge.

It's also worth noting that Fox is essentially typecast as a "sexpot" character, and a lot of the characters she plays are one-dimensional love/sex interests for the male characters. (If you don't understand what I'm talking about, go watch the scene where her character is first introduced in Transformers. Regardless of whether or not it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, it's still incredibly cringey.)

So perhaps we should wait and see what Megan Fox brings to the show, hopefully playing a character with a little more backbone, before we start throwing stones (after all she does have the glowing endorsement of both Deschanel and Meriwether behind her). Or don't, whatever; slinging anonymous hatred at people seems to be what Twitter is there for these days anyway.

What do you want to see in New Girl Season 5? Tell us about in the comments!


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