On last night’s New Girl fans were in for a rude awakening. Zooey Deschanel’s sweetly crooned intro, the one with the brightly painted set pieces, had disappeared in place of a series of cast photos. Even more distressing, Deschanel’s “who’s that girl?” vocals were also no longer around, just the slightly amended tune remaining. I, for one, will miss it all.
Fox confirmed to EW that last night was the first episode with the new credits, which are the ones that will be used in future episodes. Creator Liz Meriwether tweeted that they were amended to include Damon Wayans, Jr. and Hannah Simone, Coach and Cece, respectively. “Gone are the days of the twee, modular opening that I’d gone from hating to loving to resenting for its now-conspicuous lack of Cece and Coach,” recapper Jenny Jaffe wrote at Vulture. “In its place is a shiny new photo collage that is altogether sleeker, cooler, and more representative of the show at its best: namely, an ensemble piece that once needed Jess Day to get it on the air.”
Jaffe is right. Outside of the fact that two major characters were excluded from it, the old intro hadn’t made much much sense for a while, even though it’s in the show’s DNA. The “who’s that girl?” part of the song is referenced in the pilot, with Jess singing about finding a rebound, and Nick asking incredulously if she just made up her own theme song. The show realized its full potential, however, when it became less about this weird girl that three dude roommates had to tolerate, and more about a loft full of bizarre, sometimes emotionally disturbed people. The episode itself, “Background Check,” found the roommates and Cece attempting to deal with a bag of meth in Jess’s possession while Winston was undergoing a background check to become a cop. It was a great example of what the show can do when it’s on its game, chock full of physical comedy and surprising dialogue. It also featured a recurrence of Nick Miller’s brilliant panic moonwalk. Jake Johnson, you are a true treasure.
But, as I said before, am sad that it’s gone. For background: I like Zooey Deschanel’s voice. I own She & Him albums and have seen them live. The song was not Deschanel’s best, but I’ll miss singing along whenever it came on, something which I did every damn time. I loved that tradition I shared with my couch on Tuesday nights. Now I guess I’ll just have to watch the show on Netflix to get my fix or take solace in belting “Let It Go” or something from Sondheim’s catalog to no one in particular. (I, unlike the characters on New Girl, live alone.)
The other main reason I’ll miss the New Girl theme song was that it actually was a theme song. Regardless of what you thought of it, the sitcom theme song with words is a lost art. And while New Girl‘s theme may not hold a candle to those of Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers, The Golden Girls, or any song that opened a Norman Lear show, the fact that it existed should have given TV fans a little comfort. Alas, it is no longer. Rest in Peace, dear song.