We Got Jess On 'New Girl' All Wrong
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a great show, but it's hard not to get the sense that in 2013, you couldn't have a character like Jake Peralta as a woman. They have to either be humorless, repressed Amys and Rosas, or lazy Ginas. Women simply aren't generally allowed to be child-like goofballs who are also smart and competent. Except such a character did exist, and she even showed up in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where she told who she thought was a thug right to his face that she was more scared of damaging her friend's mom's car than she was of him, then demanded a policeman "protect and serve soup" in an admittedly poorly received crossover event.
Jess Day, played by Zooey Deschanel in New Girl, didn't seem to be at all what the Internet had claimed she was, i.e., an insufferable but beautiful airhead who pratfalls her way through life. If you actually watch the show, it's shocking how badly everyone, even us, got it wrong. She's not a collection of superficial traits Hollywood decided constitutes "awkward" stuffed into a supermodel wearing glasses. Jess is a devoted schoolteacher who -- gasp -- likes to have fun. She's not great at interacting with people who aren't children, but she does so with impressive confidence. She wears grotesque prop teeth with fancy dresses for a laugh, but she knows to put them away when the fancy event commences. She gives her boyfriend an anatomical heart plush for Christmas because that's a genuinely sweet and darkly comic gesture. She sings a lot. What a monster! Sure, Jess makes unconventional but very deliberate outfit choices for dates, but far from being incompetent, there are entire episodes about how everyone in her life is rendered catatonically helpless in her absence.
Speaking of whom, it's pretty weird how Jess consistently lands on lists of worst TV characters while those terrible men she lives with get a pass. In the very first episode, Schmidt takes his clothes off to prove his masculinity to a woman he's just met after she mentions that she reasonably concluded she thought the ad for a roommate came from three women ...
... and then does it again to her best friend.
Within the first few episodes, Winston sticks his balls in his co-workers' milkshakes. Nick threw a huge fit because Schmidt bought him a cookie, which must mean he's in love with him. If you wanna talk about people who can't function, that guy literally hides in his hoodie when he doesn't want to deal with something, but it's cute 'cause he's got a beard. Maybe that was Zooey's problem the whole time: She just needed more facial hair.
They all get redeemed to some extent throughout the series, but Jess never needed redeeming, yet she's still the one we chose to crucify on the altar of "annoying." They handed us lady Jake Peralta, but while he gets to be a hilarious badass, she's a hot dummy. This is why we can't have nice things.
Manna has also bought her boyfriend an anatomically correct heart and has a Twitter.
Top image: Fox