Last week, the first episode of the last season of New Girl was released. It was a minor speedbump in television history, the final record of a once extremely popular television show given a very sudden and unexpected extra life. It was so sudden, this current season becomes an exercise to answer a rare quandary in episodic entertainment. What does one do after resolving a series every conflict?
Thinking that the previous would be the last, showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether made sure that the main characters of the preceding five seasons ended with not just a seemingly permanent romantic partner, but some form of emotional fulfillment writ large. There was an unlikely pregnancy, a ludicrous book deal and a reuniting with a long lost parent. And all of these things happened before the show was informed that they would be receiving a sixth season. From the episode that has been released to the public, it will be interesting to see how this particular version of formerly must watch tv will handle its irrelevancy.
One of the most famous shows to deal with this issue has just returned to television screens after a hiatus of twenty years. Roseanne, as a dominating market share of a television audience was not finished when it went into its previously last season in 1996. However, as a cultural juggernaut, Roseanne was a bit ragged. So, Roseanne changed its base mythology. Suddenly, the working class heroes, the Connors, won the lottery. Then in a last episode reveal, there was a mostly reviled turn where the season turned out to be a fantasy, and that Dan Connor, John Goodman, was actually dead the entire season due to a heart attack.
When Roseanne was announced to be returning, there were many questions about what the full cast coming back would mean, especially considering that the most iconic character after the title character Roseanne was killed in the show. And the questions were answered with a most resounding shrug. As far as the universe of the show is concerned in 2018, it just didn’t happen.
New Girl handles coming back to their fictional world a little differently. Instead of throwing a hard curveball, Meriwether moves the action forward three years, to where all the characters seem even more secure in their happiness. The first episode was a very strange piece of television, where literally no conflict happens the entire episode. I am unsure if in the history of sitcom television a set of characters have ever done so little. Maybe episode 2 will reveal the entire cast to be psychic projections of a godlike space dog. One can dream.