TV Culture: India’s “New Girl”

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In a recent episode of FOX’s comedy New Girl, culture was placed at the forefront. In “Table 34,” Cece, a beautiful American Indian model, attends an Indian marriage convention hoping to find a man that she can relate to on a cultural level. After breaking up with Schmidt, she convinces herself that she will have an inherent interest in well-to-do Indian men. Schmidt, still in love with Cece, also decides to attend the convention to win her back. In an attempt to fit in he wears a sherwani and an elaborate turban only to find that everyone else is dressed in American business attire.

The episode highlighted the state of multiculturalism in America and questioned the validity of modern intra-racial dating values. Once Cece is placed at Table 34, the lowest academic and professionally ranked table in the room, she quickly finds herself lonely and abandoned. Schmidt stares at her from across the room as an older Indian woman harasses Winston, a relatively young African-American man.

The possible combinations of interracial love saturated the episode and made for some hilarious lines of dialogue. Schmidt defends his right to attend the conference by referencing reverse discrimination and went so far as to condemn India and its people. After seeing how little attention Cece was receiving from Indian men, Schmidt grabs the microphone and says, “When I first came here I thought India was a pretty cool country. You guys are obviously smart…You people could’ve had it all and you shoved her over there in the table of Nick. Get your crap together, India.” This rant not only addressed the stereotypical notions of Indians as a model minority population; Cece discovered that the perfect culture she longed to embrace was too ideal even for her. Her dreams of marrying an Indian man for the sake of cultural compatibility were shattered when she realized she had less in common with her own people than with plain ol’ Schmidt.

This revelation raised interesting questions surrounding cultural identity and expectations. Like many minorities in America, Cece assumes that finding a mate of her own ethnic background is the most logical solution to her romantic discontent.  Though this country has seen an increase in interracial dating over the years, intra-racial dating is still considered as the norm. While there is nothing wrong with desiring a mate from one’s own motherland, it is imperative that the new generation begins to embrace diversity in the most personal way possible. As more multiracial children are brought into the world, less homogeneity will be available in future dating pools. This comedic episode of New Girl highlights the colorless nature of love while still addressing the concerns of an entire generation of young hopefuls who are subconsciously looking for specific shades of happiness.

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