‘New Girl’ is nothing new

I  like Zooey Deschanel. I’m not obsessed with her the way that certain nerdy, pleasantly overweight white guys seem to be, but I do like her. (Well, as much as I can like a famous actress I don’t know.)

She’s always projected an affable front, such as in this nice profile of her in New York. (Speaking of, the cover shot of her is really freaky. She looks like an airbrushed alien. A rare misstep for a great magazine).

But even I had to cringe when I saw the ads for her new Fox comedy New Girl. Women acting awkward has become the default mode for so many female-driven vehicles. What happened to cool, sardonic Zooey in Almost Famous? Or jaded, blonde Zooey in Elf?

Seriously. What is with the self-deprecating shtick these days? Everyone from Tina Fey  to Sarah Jessica Parker (perhaps the most egregious offender) seem obligated to play hapless, frazzled plain Janes. Can we get some assertive women up in here?

There are a few actresses who are exceptions.  Mila Kunis in Friend with Benefits comes to mind, barring that patently unfunny airport scene. Angelina Jolie, of course, is another. (Perhaps it’s really this fact that makes her the mortal enemy of  so many women.)

Maybe we’re afraid to see women have it all on the big or small screen. It’s bad enough that in real life, these celebrities are richer and more famous than we will ever be. To make up for it, all films targeted to a female audience must have their star trip and fall, say awkward things, be hapless in love so we can feel better about ourselves. Because otherwise we’d be forced to accept the fact that Tina Fey is a happily married mother of two, writing, acting, and producing a critically acclaimed show on a major network. And she’s easy on the eyes too.

But I digress. Back to New Girl. I watched the pilot, thanks to On Demand.

And my fears were confirmed. Best female friend of nonwhite origin giving advice–check. ’80s pop culture references and exaggerated crying–check. One embarrassing scenario after another–check.

There is nothing new under the sun.


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