Not So “New Girl”: Why People Hate Zooey Deschanel

by: Addison Bell

Everyone knows who she is. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t. Her sitcom “New Girl” debuted this Fall and its success has landed it a full season of episodes. In October, she performed the National Anthem at the World Series (she has been criticized for leaving early, but everyone knew that the Cardinals were going to win, so no big). Her band She & Him, co-founded with M. Ward, just released a holiday album, which debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200. Last Wednesday, she was nominated for a Grammy for the song “So Long” from Winnie the Pooh.

Yes, Zooey Deschanel is everywhere and is making a name for herself. But at what cost?

With the launch of New Girl, many are saying that Zooey’s cuteness is getting old. She’s too quirky, too awkward, too indie-mainstream. Another popular claim is that Zooey is the quintessential Manic Pixie Dream Girl (or MPDG). Film critic Nathan Rabin describes the MPDG as a “bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” [1] Examples of MPDGs are Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown, Natalie Portman in Garden State, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, and, of course, Zooey in (500) Days of Summer.[2]

Maybe people have legitimate arguments, but they’re clearly wrong. First, Zooey’s cuteness will never get old. That’s like saying Julia Roberts’ smile will get ugly. Second, Zooey is awkward and a little weird. But so are you and I (just think about the last conversation you had with a crush). Thirdly, Zooey may well be indeed a MPDG, but riddle me this: Annie Hall is one of the most beloved characters in the history of cinema, so what’s so bad about being a MPDG?

I think there are other reasons why people hate Zooey. Of course, few will really admit it, because hating her is like hating a puppy.

The following is a list of reasons explaining why people hate Zooey Deschanel:

She Ended Up With Buddy

No one knew whom Zooey was when Elf came out in 2003. But she stole hearts during the shower scene in which she and Will Ferrell sing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (by the way, read the lyrics to the song—you’ll never be able to listen to it again).

Millions of people watch Elf every holiday season. Why? Because everyone wants to be Buddy. They also secretly despise Zooey because her character ends up with him. Who doesn’t want to end up in the North Pole? Who doesn’t want to work for Santa? It’s the perfect job. Think of the benefits! And Zooey stole it from us. Sure, maybe not a lot of people want to have sex with Will Ferrel, but that’s not the point.

She Kidnapped Shane

In season two of Weeds, Andy’s ex-girlfriend, Kat (Zooey), shows up at the Botwin house. We find out that Andy practically ran away from Kat after he stepped on her Spirit Turtle. One reason why people hated Zooey after her stint on “Weeds” is because she steals the spotlight. For example:

Kat: Are you attracting lesbian vampires?

Nancy: What?

Kat: Cat having a nose bleed? Big red? Shark week? Aunt Ruby in town?

Nancy: Are you asking me if I’m having my period?

Kat: We’re cycling together! Isn’t that cool?

Clever writing? Yes. Brilliant deliverance? Of course. I’m sure several Weeds fans were annoyed with her character, but she was hella funny.

But then Shane (Nancy’s son), who is infatuated with Kat, runs away with her. People were probably like, “That bitch kidnapped a little kid!” False claim. Shane is a brat. Yeah, he lost his dad and his mom isn’t really there for him. But he had it coming. How about the fact that Kat is being hunted down by an Alaskian bounty hunter? Forget the kid, let’s see that action.

Winter Passing Made Us Want to Slit Our Wrists

Not many people know about this indie sleeper, co-starring Will Ferrel and Ed Harris. Probably because Zooey does not fulfill MPDG standards in it. When I watched it, I stayed in bed for a week because it made me that depressed. Everyone is so used to a happy-go-lucky Zooey, a Zooey that people picture running through a field of daises. Her cuteness is basically an anti-depressant.

Not in this film. Zooey plays Reese, a gloomy girl who smashes her knuckles in drawers, sleeps around and drowns a kitten. Yes. Zooey drowns a kitten. Talk about throwing people over the edge.

Seeing Zooey depressed and being a snarky bitch is liking discovering that Minnie Mouse was secretly cheating on Mickey with Goofy or finding out that Donald went to rehab for a drug addiction or watching Pluto being put down. It’s too much to handle. A lot of people were probably outraged when they watched Winter Passing — because they expected Zooey to fall in love Will Ferrel and sing a jazz number. Not the case. Sneaky, Zooey. Sneaky.

She Made Us Hate Our Sister

In Almost Famous, William’s big sister, Anita (Zooey), is responsible for his journey. When her overbearing mother pushes her over the edge, Anita leaves and becomes a stewardess. But before she goes, she gives William her records, which include Simon and Garfunkle (her mother confiscates it), Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, and the Who’s Tommy. She also says to William, “Listen to Tommy with a burning candle, and you’ll see your entire future.” Of course, William follows his big sister’s instructions and travels with the band Stillwater.

When people watched this movie, they became angry — because they never had Anita as a sister. Did your sister ever give you vinyl gems? Did your sister ever say “feck you” to your mom and become a stewardess? I didn’t think so. Everyone thought they had the best sister in the world, but then they saw Almost Famous.

Zooey Broke Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Heart

In (500) Days of Summer, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls madly in love with Summer. Throughout the course of the film, we see the rise and fall of their relationship. Summer ends things with Tom over pancakes (she even goes as far as comparing them to Sid and Nancy, Summer being Sid). Even as Tom walks away, Summer yells, “You’re sill my best friend!” Lies. Tom becomes miserable, doesn’t get out of bed and loses his job. Depressing? Yes. Realistic. Definitely.

A girl breaks a guy’s heart. Big deal. The problem, however, is that Joseph is hot. Correction: hott. Girls (and boys) cannot handle seeing such hottness being dismantled by a cute girl. One minute, he’s singing Hall & Oates in the park, and the next he’s eating from a can (don’t judge, we’ve all been there).

At one point, Summer says, “There is no such thing as love. It’s a fantasy.” This is reason number as one as to why people hate Zooey Deschanel: they want fantasy. I’m sure hundreds of viewers really wanted Summer and Tom to end up at the end — because hundreds of people still believe in happy endings. But Summer proves that there is no such thing. This is why some people view Summer as Satan. A Satan who loves the Smiths, holding hands in IKEA, loves the word “penis” and shower sex. Tom didn’t even stand a chance.

***

You can hate Zooey for a lot of reasons. She broke your heart, made you relapse with your depression. Or she stole your dream job, made you realize that you really do have a shitty sister. You probably think that Zooey is out to destroy you.

But the number one reason why people hate Zooey Deschanel is because they will never be her. In Almost Famous, she says, “One day you will be cool.” False. You will never be as cool as Zooey. She has exceeded cool and has gone on to something higher, something more superior. So put away your vinyl, your vintage clothing and stop taking Polaroid pictures. There is nothing you can do except dream. So dream on, friend. Dream on.

Addison Bell is a senior at DePaul University where he is studying English Literature. He is the President of Oxfam DePaul and volunteers with Oxfam America, an organization dedicated to ending world hunger, poverty, and social injustice. Follow Jacob on Twitter @boy_1904 and on Tumblr: colourmegreenwich.tumblr.com.

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18 responses to “Not So “New Girl”: Why People Hate Zooey Deschanel

  1. Can we please talk about how offensive the phrase manic pixie dream girl is? Because manic is a medical term to describe Bipolar Disorder… This really makes light of the suffering people with the mental illness have- considering “Between 10 – 15% of patients with bipolar disorder I commit suicide” and some studies have shown people with Bipolar II have a higher rate.
    Zooey Deschanel’s “type” that she is constantly cast as is terrible offensive by taking qualities of mania and making them seem healthy, cute, neurotypical, and desirable. This is harmful and spreads an offensive use of the word “manic”.
    Clearly- I don’t like her. Not as a person so much- but as an actress.

    • since “manic” has meanings outside of the medical world, i don’t see why the word offends you. also, what is “neuro-typical” is really in the eye of the observer. this is coming from someone who is (at least) a bit bipolar. everyone’s “normal” is different- i think it’s offensive to say that everyone should conform to someone else’s idea of ‘normal.’
      that said, zooey annoys the fuck out of me for her sounding&acting like a 4 year old.

    • My god but that’s nonsense. I have a mental illness that can be quite acute at times and if I chose to I could link everyday words people use to my condition and spend my days being offended. Zooey is a giddy type of person in New Girl. People like her exist without being mentally ill.

      Please stop being offended on our behalf.

    • “Manic” is simply a state of being, it’s a descriptive and it exists outside of bipolar disorder and mental illness. In fact many people who are not mentally ill show signs of hypomania. It is simply describing a behaviour or state, and while it may be being slightly misused here (she is not actually manic), it has become a colloquial term used to describe overly energetic, bouncy people. It is not negatively reflecting on sufferers of bipolar disorder. In fact, my bipolar girlfriend loves Zooey.

  2. I think nearly everyone can distinguish between an actress and a fictional character. People don’t hate Zooey Deschanel because of the characters she’s played; they hate her because she behaves like an obnoxious four-year-old and reinforces the idea that women should be childlike and weak.

    • playing offensive characters without commentary is her problem as an actress. when you have as much money as she does, your work is a reflection of you. similar to how florence + the machine could have prevented their racist video from being released, zooey could choose other roles. at the least she could speak to the offensive language used to describe her characters.

  3. Pingback: Top 5 Posts of the Week: Dec 5th-9th « In Our Words·

  4. Pingback: Under the Pixie Spell: My Complicated Relationship with Zooey Deschanel « In Our Words·

  5. I don’t know anything about Zooey Deschanel as a celebrity. She’s apparently been in a few movies that I’ve seen, and I’ve just never noticed her due to her being so unremarkable. I’ve never heard any music she’s made, and I’ve never watched any shows she’s been in… I tend to veer away from that genre of thumb-twiddling sleepers and petty quality-of-life complaints written into cynical, obnoxious scripts.

    …Yet I hate her. I hate her so very much that when I sleep at night the hot, passionate tears that I shed while dreaming of beef and whiskey evaporate into underfed, sarcastic pussy-fumes just from being on the same planet as her. What I guess I’m trying to say is that she’s a faceless douche who’s particular set of “talents” (or lack thereof) just happens to check out with the current generation of underfed, sarcastic pussies (aka: the past 2 generations; one of which I’m ashamed to be a member of). She’s the high-duchess of hipsters: they’ve spent years sifting through heaps and mounds of untalented, unremarkable dipshits in hopes of finding their poster girl… and they finally have. Now that they have their unholy queen, they will begin their march across the world in order to scorn ANYONE who doesn’t have the new Iphone, go on Pitchfork, do the Paleo diet, show interest in/practice parkour, believe marijuana can save the world, or know how to talk to people without using sarcasm.

    You REALLY want to know why people hate Zooey? It has nothing to do with whatever dandy boyfriend she ended up holding hands with at the end of “spittlecock & tickletums” or whatever God-awful-waste-of-life-underground-show she’s been on. Remember- people who still have their free will intact never watched that shit in the first place. It’s because all of the sudden, we starting hearing this fucking name pop up everywhere. And if it weren’t pronounced for us, we’d have no idea how to say it. (It looks like it’s pronounced: “Zu-ee,” and that’s pretty fucking irritating in its own right.) It pisses us off to no end that some idiot with a ridiculously spelled variation of a common name suddenly is on top of the world for virtually no reason, since she has no observable, outstanding beauty, nor any remarkable personality or abilities. It pisses us off that even though we would never consciously seek out and attempt to entertain ourselves anything she’s had her paws all over, she still get’s shoved down our throats if we happen to use any form of media. One way or another, we end up talking about her – even if we DON’T want to mention the existence of the soul-crushingly depressing representation of modern sensationalism that is Zooey Deschanel – we still need to, because her name is a staple in the language now.

    I saw that infuriating commercial for Siri, or the Iphone, or what-the-fuck-ever overpriced apple trinket from hell’s asshole that today’s helpless cunts can’t live without. And when I saw her do that motherfuckng monkey-dance at the end of it, I needed to to turn my imposing, square-jawed countenance supine in hopes of chocking on my own vomit, so that I would pass out before I vehemently romanced everyone on my block to bloody, bloody pieces in a bout of divine anger. Do you know why? Because people think that shithead doing her stupid, stupid dance is just the bee’s knees, and throw millions of dollars at her for it. I used to be a man of the world- but if THAT is what the world wants now, then fuck you, world. I will fuck you.

    • Wow, with a name like Manburger I really don’t think you should be talking. The fact that writing an obscenely long and hateful ‘comment’ (short essay, really) marks high enough on your priority list to validate actual action is truly pathetic. People like you are a filthy stain upon society. Should a woman’s opportunities to shine and create her art really upset you so much? A reasonable conclusion would be no. You aren’t expected as a human to enjoy everything that you come across, but viewing them as a legitimate cause for anger says a lot about the kind of person you are, oh great “man of the world”. Why don’t you just take a step off your high horse and stop judging a woman brainlessly. The world doesn’t give a fuck about your petty complaints.

    • Clearly you didn’t get Manburger’s message. He’s not mad about her success, but angry that she’s everywhere! How annoying is that? But really, I never noticed her in any movie besides The Happening in which I hated her character. I never knew she made music or was apart of a band!? I don’t watch tv so no complaints but, after reading Manburgers rant I imagine she’s the devil himself. LOL No seriously I have no clue into why she is the scorn of many and to what is about her that she is popping up everywhere?

  6. I don’t hate Zooey because I don’t know her, and I am thankful for that. But I do hate the MPDG with a passion. They do a disservice to all women by making men think that they actually exist. There is no such thing as a (basically) perfect woman who exists solely for the purpose of inspiring a man. Yes it’s fiction, and a most people can distinguish between reality and fiction. But I personally believe that the MPDG does as much damage to men as the “Disney Prince” does to women.

  7. I don’t hate Zooey because of her parts in movies, I think she is pretty fun to watch.

    I don’t like the way she is acting in every talk show I saw her. It’s her behavior – spoiled, little girl I don’t like at all. I don’t consider her cute just annoying.

  8. first of all Zooey D. is okay – she is not super hot – she’s just a plain girl who has a great stylist – hair extensions – etc – and gets far too much media coverage for someone so average looking. Bangs look ridiculous on anyone older than 13 (so do pig tails) – Zooey actually has chunky legs – if you look at her legs – especially around the mid-calf area they are like two tree trunks – at the moment she is thin – but this kind of body shape will chunk out when she hits her mid-thirties. She is not even a very good actress – in fact she reminds me if another over-rated actress – Jennifer Aniston – who is also not hot. It behooves me to understand why guys are all over Zooey Deschanel when she simply is just average and I can pull any girl off the street and throw a fringe wig on her and she’d still look 100 times better.

  9. I can’t stand Zooey Deschnel – here’s why: first of all Zooey D. is okay – she is not super hot – she’s just a plain girl who has a great stylist – hair extensions – etc – and gets far too much media coverage for someone so average looking. Bangs look ridiculous on anyone older than 13 (so do pig tails) – Zooey actually has chunky legs – if you look at her legs – especially around the mid-calf area they are like two tree trunks – at the moment she is thin – but this kind of body shape will chunk out when she hits her mid-thirties. She is not even a very good actress – in fact she reminds me if another over-rated actress – Jennifer Aniston – who is also not hot. It behooves me to understand why guys are all over Zooey Deschanel when she simply is just average and I can pull any girl off the street and throw a fringe wig on her and she’d still look 100 times better. Jessica Alba is hot, so is Anglina Jolie, but Deschanel – no way – not even in their league. I’m tired of turning on my tv and seeing yet another New Girl commercial when their are so many better shows – its like the media gods are trying to shove New Girl down our throats – almost as bad when they forced Ugly Betty upon us – and where exactly is America Ferriera now? I hope “Zooey fever” dies out soon so that we don’t have to listen to that tepidly snarky voice and see this Katie Perry wannabe anymore.

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