Show: New Girl (Fox)
Date: 1/29/2013

When we look at New Girl, we see the future of the network sitcom. Modern Family found success by marshaling what's left of the traditional network audiences together for one last tent-pole show. New Girl, by contrast, might just be what a hit show looks like in the era of network decline and niche programming. A simple survey of #newgirl yields GIFs, emojis, YouTube clips, and memes; the show's fandom speaks Internet.

For the show's audience, it seems that reacting to the show online is as much a part of the viewing experience as watching. Many shows try to do this with invented hashtags and additional content, but New Girl comes by fan engagement naturally. It's no surprise to us that while many sitcoms stage key romantic moments in the midst of "will they or won't they" plots, New Girl has been the only sitcom to stage a kiss heard 'round the Internet in 2013. Much of network programming is retrofitting the old models of multi-cam studio sitcoms and tense melodrama to fit in with the Internet age. We aren't sure exactly what it is about New Girl, whether it's the presence of indie darling Zoey Deschenel, the sharp writing, or it's hip, relevant tone, but Liz Meriwhether's show fits effortlessly into Internet culture.