❆ ❆ 2 Mittens ❆ ❆
Ah, Zooey Deschanal… The many things you bring to our lives. Face-changing Rimmel model, twee singer-songwriter for She & Him, lover of tights and bangs, manic pixie dream girl, and for what will probably be a limited time, manic pixie dream girl on your television screen on The New Girl.
Why do I say “limited time”? Cause I’m not sure this show is gonna make it. At least, I can say with 80% certainty I’m not gonna watch past the second episode unless it gets past “Oh look Zooey is so quirky and funny and weird and sings songs to herself” and the clear “Ross and Rachel” thing they have abrewin’ between Zooey’s Jess and her new roommate Nick. You know, where Nick givers her the googly eyes when she’s not looking and she’s just like, “Oh my life, blah blah blah, thanks for helping me with it new people.” Unfortunately it’s not up to me if it continues. It’s up to all you other tv watchers out there. And if the reviews so far are any indication, it seems that quirky + pretty + nerd = We ♥ Zooey (even if we aren’t sure we like the show).
I guess this is probably my biggest issue with the show, I mean other than the fact that it wasn’t that funny… how it represents the current lovefest for the “nerdy” girl. In one glowing review, Zooey is quoted saying:
“I really love that she’s totally herself, even though she’s awkward at times and kind of nerdy at times,” said Deschanel, who considers herself an underdog type.
When did “awkward” become a positive personality trait as opposed to a social skill issue? Awkward isn’t quirky or funny or intelligent or kind or, even, weird. It’s just awkward. These characters (and real-life hipster girls out there) are trying to get in on the popularity of ‘geek’ and ‘nerd’ by being loud and silly and zany and wearing thick glasses, with or without a prescription. But the thing is, wearing glasses and being silly in public doesn’t mean you actually are a nerd or a geek. It just means you’re “dressed” like one.
The co-opting (and resultant commodification) of ‘geek’ really irks me, as a real life geek. I experienced social ostracization for liking sci fi and comics and for being, well, awkward. I grew into a proud adult geek, with excellent social skills and a great group of friends, but it honestly took a lot of therapy and self-acceptance to get over how my peers treated me growing up. And now? Now, supposedly, I would have been popular for wearing nerd glasses in the 90s and buying vintage clothes and reading YA fantasy books and reenacting Monty Python skits at will (like Patton Oswalt admits to doing in his essay on geek culture). But the truth is, I still would have been bullied and unpopular… The popular kids would have just accused me of copying them and their quirky interests… I would have been left adrift, unable to even claim my formerly pejorative title of ‘geek.’
Anyhow, I know it seems like I’m a Zooey-hater and I’m really not. I’ve loved her for years, especially in Elf. I own several She & Him records and really enjoy some of the songs. But The New Girl, at least last night, left me annoyed at her “adorkableness,” even if it might be authentic to “underdog” Zooey’s experience. It’s just that if quirk is everywhere, it’s no longer quirky. And besides, it belongs to me, not you.
The New Girl special sneak preview on Hulu expired today, but the show premieres on Fox tonight, 9PM Eastern.