4 Reasons Zooey Deschanel Can Stop Pretending She's a Dork
If you're anything like me, you track rising movie starlets through a patented system of chicken bone voodoo and Precog upkeep. It's a good system but sometimes people fall through the cracks. Like when the lil' water baldies began rolling out the name 'Zooey' over and over again, I had to consult other sources to get a reading of what was up. Turns out there's this girl that everyone is love with. This is her:
She doesn't even know how she can be so adorable.
Her name is Zooey Deschanel (sounds like Da' Chanel, which is coincidentally what I call my perfume when I'm feeling sassy) and she's the new 'It' girl. Or old 'It' girl, depending on how quickly you get tired of 'It' girls. If 'cute' was a commodity Zooey would be the Federal Reserve. Scratch that. She'd be China and the rest of us girls would be used food stamps that once doubled as Clue scorecards. THANK GOD cute is not a commodity is what I'm saying.
"HEY GUYS, WHAT'S UP?"
Do you remember back when Friends was big, and every girl you knew had Rachel's haircut? (AC)ZD is the Rachel of girl people right now. If you're of the female persuasion and you don't want to dress like syphilis in a tube top, this is who you're probably getting some fashion cues from. And if you're a guy, a reasonable facsimile of this girl is who you're trying to meet, not to have dirty, filthy sex with, but to marry and make babies and dirty, filthy noodle casseroles with.
But you never, ever will. Everevereverever. You have a better chance of meeting a meatball lady and making SpaghettiO babies with her. Here's why.
Setting Up the Myth: Zooey's Accessibility
Every generation gets a couple of sex symbols, and most are as accessible as riding shotgun on a mission to Mars; Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Mary Lou Retton, for example. But Zooey, we're told, is one of us. She's goofy. She's awkward. She doesn't dress like a hooker. She's a Polaroid snapshot of your mother back before the saddlebags and nipple-high jeans ate her body. Watch this and tell me you're not in love. I'm in love and I don't even like girls unless there's a chance I can get a friendship bracelet out of the relationship. The best part? About ten years ago Sweet Zee was an altogether different person:
A dye job and a trip to Goodwill transformed Zooey into an indie darling.
PS, 'indie' doesn't mean what it sounds like!
If some vintage clothes and a bucket full of bangs were all it took for Zooey to capture America, anyone could do it, right? Sheeewwwwwt, I have access to a Goodwill. Here's what I look like after I shop there:
The clothes compel me to sleep between trash cans under a blue light. This vintage stuff is harder than it looks. Speaking of...
Myth BUSTED: Looking Like That is Harder Than it Looks
Clear your booths, padres, because I've got a confession: I've been trying to get my hair to look like Zooey Deschanel's since the mid-2000s. It turns out when you have a cowlick on the widow's peak of your hairline, your bangs will never lay flat and indie. Here's a picture of me after attempting to get bangs:
Talkin' 'bout a sad girl.
Here's a picture of me and my girlfriends at the club in 2006 after attempt number two:
Zooey Ramone! Ha ha, sorry.
The point is that there's a specific formula to looking like you just walked out of a Mad Men audition and Zooey's found it. And unfortunately, If you don't follow the formula or a slight variation of it you just end up looking like you walked out of Mama's Family reunion party instead. Accessorizing with a sweet potato pie probably didn't help your case, either. Here's how Zooey pulls it off:
Got all that? It's the clothes, plus the hair, plus the very round eyes that have been stapled open by a cruel and terrible god who had no idea how adorable his creation would turn out:
Joke's on you, Omnipotent Creator!
It's a very hard thing to pull off. But don't tell that to all the girls and grown women who are trying to look like this as we speak. Or all of the famous lookalikes out there, not counting Katy Perry, because I'm probably going to make that joke later. There are Zooey make-up tutorials and hair lessons and heartbreakingly obsessive fashion guides. There are fan sites, obviously, but not just the run of a mill, too-much-time-on-your-hands kind. This poor girl has a Facebook page dedicated to her eyeballs. I'm starting to wonder how she sleeps at night.
Not in a creepy way. I mean, I'm not thinking about her sleeping. Not really, I mean, wait -
What's really easy for her isn't so easy for everyone else, is what I'm trying to say without sounding like a creep.
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.
Here's Zooey's New Show New Girl on Hulu
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.