New Girl Creator on Female Characters: 'There Is a Double Standard'S

Tonight is the season finale of the truly funny/weird/relatable sitcom New Girl, which has been surprisingly enjoyable and amounting to much more than its marketing would lead one to believe. The Fox slogan "simply adorkable" doesn't really reflect what the show is about: Being neurotic, constructing a family from friends, falling in platonic love. But as 30-year-old creator Liz Meriwether reflects to The Daily Beast, this first season has been an interesting ride. It seems, as a writer, Meriwether has grown and changed — "I think I have learned how to let other people into my process," she explains — but also become aware of how female writers are under a different kind of pressure than male writers. When asked why she thinks female-centric comedies (New Girl, Girls) receive harsh criticism from viewers, Meriwether said:

Lena [Dunham] is a really good friend of mine, but I can only really speak to my show. I was definitely surprised by the level of anger or snark in reaction to some of the elements of our show. There is definite snarkiness about male stuff and male-dominated shows and all that, but there is a lot of stuff coming from other girls and women that I found surprising, a pressure that our show was a symbol of something or that we were trying to make some statement or that we represented something bigger in the political landscape that we really didn't. At the end of the day we are making a sitcom. It's not even an HBO show. That was definitely weird for me. It was a new side of the culture wars, or whatever you would call it, that I wasn't that excited to find out about. I have been writing women characters for as long as I could write, and it has been really important to me to make funny women characters.

In addition, Meriwether expressed her frustration with the idea that Zooey Deschanel's character, Jess, is supposed to represent How Women Are:

It feels like there is a double standard there, because there are certainly plenty of male characters where you don't do that. I don't see Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum as emblematic of all museum security guards around the world. Or men.

But anyway, you probably only really want to know if Nick and Jess will ever get together.

I love them together. I love what they bring to each other, what they help each other with. I love crotchety old Nick and Jess's constant optimism that gets under his skin. I want them to be happy, and I feel like they could probably make each other happy, but they have so much to get through before they are able to do that, that I don't know.

‘New Girl' Creator Liz Meriwether on Jess, Sexuality, Schmidt & More [The Daily Beast]