The New Girl in Oz

I don’t want to be one of those people who sees phantom patterns in everything — like those over-active minds that perceive Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” as a secret sound track for “The Wizard of Oz”. But speaking of Frank L. Baum’s classic tale, I recently saw some on-line episodes of the new Fox TV show “The New Girl”, and was surprised by how closely it echoes “The Wizard of Oz”.

The main character is a rather lost and clueless child-woman, clearly out of her element, who is trying to make sense of a world she is out of sync with, a world whose rules mystify her. She is not even remotely aware of her own potential power in that world, although everyone else is. On her quest to find a place she can call home, she ends up hanging out with three charmingly eccentric guys. Between her and them a sweet relationship emerges, which sometimes contains hints of romance, but is always innocent.

Each of the three guys represents a particular emotional issue that our heroine must deal with. One guy is all about his tender broken heart (the Tinman). Another is all about being both strangely smart and strangely stupid at the same time (the Scarecrow). Finally the third guy is all about his unresolved anger issues, and his feeling that he’s supposed to be a warrior but is not up to the challenge (the Cowardly Lion).

I wonder whether any of this is connected to the fact that Zooey Deschanel also starred in the 2007 Syfy mini-series “Tin Man” — an alternate Steam Punk take on “The Wizard of Oz”. Perhaps some bright eyed producer saw that and said “Hey cool, let’s put Zooey back in Oz, only this time let’s make it a wacky sitcom!”

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