Zooey Deschanel’s character in New Girl is appealing for lots of reasons. She’s cute as a button. She lives in a bomb-ass loft in LA and is the den mother to several attractive roommates. She crafts. She bakes. She crochets. Her bangs are full and shiny like a fine mink coat. If Pinterest was a person, it would be Jessica Day, so it’s no wonder that every female between the ages of 16 and 35 is enamored with her.
Her one shortcoming? Her complete social ineptitude, which is a driving comedic force for the show and part of why the character is so endearing. If she was perfect on every front, she would just be annoying, and so her clumsiness and poor timing is a necessity. It is also, for some reason, the only character trait with which young females outwardly identify.
— Nicole Rappe (@nmrappe) February 3, 2014
New Girl makes me feel better about how awkward my life is.
— Brianne Sy (@Brie_Sy) February 3, 2014
At one point last night, I was Zooey Deschanel in New Girl. Not in the cute way, in the awkward stuck between a handshake and a hug way.
— baggiemernard (@maggie_bernard) January 31, 2014
Sometimes I find myself in the most awkward situations and I think…what would Jess from New Girl say to escape the awkward?
Being awkward is en vogue these days. The number of girls who fixate on how awkward they are puzzles me, and since New Girl premiered, they have found themselves a guru, their very own Betty Crocker of awkward, impeccably dressed, perfectly coiffed, and unable to read or adapt to social cues to a degree that’s nearly impossible to match. And so the barrage of Tumblr posts, Facebook statuses and tweets began, the self-proclaimed ugly ducklings rejoicing that they finally have representation on network television.
Of all the girls I know personally who are singing the praises of Jessica Day, none of them are actually that awkward. I guess its an adequate vehicle for humor, uniqueness and self deprecation, but calling yourself awkward is this generation’s, “And me, without a stitch of makeup.” I think what you mean to say is, “Aren’t I quirky and cute, and unassumingly so?” Any girl who is truly, debilitatingly awkward would be repping Winston.
Jessica Day’s cartoon-like clumsiness pairs well with her cartoon-like features, her cartoon-like outfits and her cartoon-like sound effects. Her pratfalls are humanizing; without them she would just be a page from a 1960 McCall’s pattern book, but with an iPhone. The thing is, looking like a baby owl is the only way being that awkward is tolerable. If you’ve ever had a conversation with a truly awkward person, you know, it’s agonizing, and most definitely not something to brag about.
Females searching for their own identity in their favorite T.V. show is not anything new. I went through college listening to every girl I know reason which Sex and the City character she is and why, and it rubbed me the wrong way because the idea of cramming yourself into a pre-existing archetype seems unfair. I used to voice my dissent, but that just got me pegged as a Miranda.
Girls, you are human. You’re well-rounded and complex and cannot be shoved into some archetype designed to be a cutesy pop of color against a male-dominated cast. You are not “Soooo Jess from New Girl,” and if you really love her vibe, at the very least, give yourself some credit and aspire to be like Zooey – a smart, independent, multitalented, financially shrewd, unapologetically feminine feminist who can still rock a denim jumper like nobody’s business. Inability to take a compliment not included.