There’s a big difference between sexist comedy and comedy against sexism. Now, I typically avoid comedies as I find them more offensive than funny. But I finally got around to watching the first episode of New Girl and my initial reaction was a very well thought out meh. Could be better could be worse, but at least I didn’t hate it.
However, although I didn’t find most of the jokes particularly funny, I kept turning them over in my mind trying to figure out if the show used sexist comedy or not. I mean, the pilot perpetuated gender roles with Jess being the “emotional woman” watching Dirty Dancing and crying for a week over her break up with her boyfriend. But the show was more than I expected and had more to it than I initially thought.
I’m not going to analyze the entire pilot right now, but rather look at one of the show’s running gags that shows the pilot of New Girl is using comedy to fight sexism, not perpetuating sexist comedy.
If you have not heard of it already, let me introduce to you: the douchebag jar.
Now, as I have only seen one episode I am not commenting on the series as a whole or how sexism is treated even beyond episode one. This is solely a comment on the pilot and the use of the douchebag jar.
What I loved about this gag is that the humor was not when the character Schmidt did something that was sexist and considered “douchebagery” (which would have been sexist comedy) but when Schimidt’s room mates called him on his behavior and made him put money into the jar (comedy against sexism). We’re not laughing at Schmidt’s antics so much as groaning that he has the audacity to act in such a way as to take off his shirt to show off his abs, for instance. Instead, we’re laughing that he gets punished for his behavior.
In short, sexism isn’t the joke and that is the best comedy this pilot could have brought forth.