Myth BUSTED: Awkardness That Isn't Awkward
Subtitled: She's as Awkward as a Gracefully Descending Snowflake on a Deep, Dark Night
Now, I get that in the new show New Girl, Yay!-Zee is playing something those in the theatre like to call a 'character.' Like, I understand she's reading words that did not come into her brain at that moment and that I'm not watching Zooey Deschanel in her actual beautiful apartment with her actual beautiful roommates. I went to college. I get that. But I also understand that In Zooey's world, 'awkward' is singing at inappropriate times while being model-beautiful:
She's so awkward, those generic 20-somethings don't know what to do.
They even made up a new word for her brand of awkward: ADORKABLE. Between the big glasses and monkey faces the audience quickly catches on that this is a girl who will probably watch Star Wars with you but will also dribble a basketball right into your tv like some kind of toddler puppy dummy. The scenes that are supposed to translate as 'awkward' just strike me as 'self confident girl with a good sense of humor' from where I'm sitting. Hey Hollywood/Indie-ana, you got your defining characteristics confused again! Zooey-the-person is the opposite of awkward; negawkward. I know this because she's ALWAYS dancing:
In the real world 'awkward' is ending a conversation with "garble garble," taking off your shirt and squatting like a chola showing off your spinners...when there are no spinners in sight.
Awkward is asking a four-year-old about his day, then somehow informing him about your friend's mastectomy, then telling the story in this very column even though you could have lived your whole life without anyone ever knowing.
Awkward is translating the word 'title' into 'titty' every time. Except it's not your fault, on account of how alike they look. TITLE. TITTY. Titty is just 'title' doing yoga. It's a mistake anyone could make. Guess what? No one's going to give you a movie career for your (alleged) dyslexia, so stop the letter writing campaign already, Kristi.
In other words, awkward is a description of actual discomfort, the kind you get when an old lady stands up and her dress is stuffed between her butt cheeks. Not adorable like a kitty cat, and not dorky like a kitty cat wearing glasses and doing calculations on an adding machine. I'm only going to say this once:
Beautiful is not allowed to be the new awkward.
It's just not. Because at the end of the day an obese one-eyed hunchback isn't going to win your affection for sing-talking through her day, no matter how vintage her dresses are. She's just another one-eyed hunchback in an old dress singing jazz standards and making you wish you didn't have to ride public transportation.
Speaking of one-eyed hunchbacks...
Myth BUSTED: Zooey as Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Zooey Deschanel, as you've probably figured out, is often cast as the MPDG, (or Manic Pixie Dream Girl, for long.) What's interesting is that she's been sustaining this persona for a while now, at least eleven years by my count. Meg Ryan didn't last that long. Neither did Winona or Natalie. So that's one thing. But the other thing is that Zooey got a feature length movie dedicated to her manicpixiegirlness - A WHOLE MOVIE.
Unlike Natalie Portman in Garden State or Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, the whole 500 Days shebang is an ode to the ZooDeeper; what she wears, how she talks, how absolutely unattainably perfect she is. Yes, it was about a failed romance and yes, Joseph Gordon-Handsome was in it, too, but really this was a movie about a girl who who was too good for the universe. And people loved it so hard.
Name a movie where Zooey is ugly or grotesque any way. Do you know how easy it is for a regular girl to not be cute? I just hiccupped and it sounded like a frog burp, but not from a regular frog, from a frog who could play Lurch in the frog version of the Addams Family. Boom. Done. Not cute.
"Hiccuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp!" - Astupidable!
In fact, I don't think she's a manic pixie dream girl at all - she's just a regular ol' dream girl. She's a Marilyn or an Elizabeth Taylor or a James Franco. Oh, did you know she sings, too? Or that she plays all the instruments ever? Or that she launched a lady comedy website? Or that she cured cancer with her eyelashes but hasn't told anyone yet on account of her modesty? So the question is:
What made the nerds of the world ever think she was one of them?
At what point did ordinary guys who were maaaaaybe a little too into video games or anime or not-sports look at a girl with perfect skin, a tiny little figure, a face that's pretty by every measurable standard we've got and say, "Yeah, that's attainable." Why is she in a show where three single guys are acting like she's some kind of helpless subhuman when you and I both know that in the real world every one of those guys would probably be calling old high school rivals to brag about the hot girl who sleeps a room away? Look at the face on the black guy below. All he wants is for that troll on his right to get her filthy hands off his body.
Pictured: Nuh uh.
If Zooey Deschanel is a dork's dream come true, what does that make all the other girls? Google 'geek sex symbol' and you get pictures like:
and, I swear on all that's holy...
Oh, one more....
Right. Not that Daniel Radcliffe isn't an adorable little person, he is. But clearly, there's been some kind of disconnect between what men and women think is within the realm of possibility. And maybe there always has been, but at least in the past no one was holding up Audrey Hepburn up as the queen of the nerd boys. And if they were, it was because 'nerd' meant something altogether different back then.
So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to agree, that yes, guy geeks need their own separate sex symbols. It's important, apparently. But with one caveat; when it comes to defining guy geeks, we've got one standard and one standard only:
I feel so much better now.
Kristi Harrison is an editor here and nobody's manic pixie dream girl over at Twitter.