Move over hapless on-screen Yids, there’s a new Jew in town. He goes by the name of Schmidt and is single-handedly changing what we think when we think of a schlemiel.
One of four main characters on the Fox sitcom “New Girl,” which is in the middle of its second season, Schmidt is the garrulous, metrosexual resident clown who is forced to put a dollar in the “douchebag jar” every time he says something uncouth. If he sounds like an unlikable punch line, well, it is because he should have been — “hair chutney,” driving moccasins and all. But instead he has flipped the whole kvetchy, desperate male Jewish character trope on its head, infusing it with generosity and warmth and attracting a whole lot of love for it.
Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO series “Girls,” told New York Magazine that Schmidt is the one character on TV she wished she had created: “He just tugs at every string I have.” And Gwyneth Paltrow called Max Greenfield, who plays Schmidt, her favorite actor on television and “the kind of guy you lusted after at your cousin’s bar mitzvah.”