Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hating on Zooey Deschanel (or: on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Complex)

Like most people I know, I was watching the Oscars on Sunday. And seeing Anne Hathaway take home the award for Best Supporting Actress was priceless!
I must say: I've got the hugest girl crush on Hathaway. She's pretty, charming and sexy without being aggressively so, she's a great and versatile actress, smart, well spoken - but above all else, she has this "funny and down-to-earth" vibe going on. Whenever I see her being herself, I just wanna hang out with her.

I like celebrities who strike me as nice, unpretentious people with a sense of humor. Another excellent example is Helen Hunt: she's just so refreshingly NORMAL! And I mean it in the best possible way. She doesn't put on airs. And this is why I'm deeply annoyed by Zooey Deschanel.

Whenever I announce my dislike for her, people (men) say I'm simply jealous. True, I do wish I were as beautiful as she is, but that's not the problem. What I do not like about Zooey Deschanel (ZD) is the air she puts on. Allow me to build my case:

Have you seen her in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Here's a picture:
Her character is what you see above: "I'm a dork, but adorable at the same time. Adorkable, if you will".

What about the awesome 500 Days (of Summer), have you seen it? Here's a pic of her in it:
In this movie, she's the "adorkable, alternative, spontaneous, indie kinda girl, who lives in the moment and can pull off an Alice bow".

Yes Sir:
She's the "adorkable, alternative, spontaneous kinda girl, who lives in the moment".

The TV show New Girl:
She's the "If I put these hipster glasses on, my male roommates can act as if I were ugly, but in fact I'm super adorkable" girl.

In a nutshell, she's always the same.
Bear in mind that I have no problems with actors who always play the same role. Tom Cruise is always Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt, Jennifer Aniston always plays Rachel Green, and George Clooney is always Daniel Ocean. However, they seem to be aware that they're NOT those characters off the set. Take Tom Cruise, for example: he acts like a normal person in movies, but he's batshit insane in real life. And George Clooney doesn't go around robbing casinos. That we know of.

What I do not care for in ZD is the adorkable card. Or, as film critics will have it, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl complex. Once again, allow me.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) is, according to Wikipedia: "that 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."
Most famous cases: Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's; Kate Hudson in Almost Famous; Kirsten Dunst in Elizabeth Town; Natalie Portman in Garden State; Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Those women are full of "fairy wisdom": they live for the present, without needlessly worrying about tomorrow's needs, they sing out loud while standing in line at the supermarket, not giving a crap about what other people might think, and they smile when they should be crying.


They are bubbly, insubstantial, ethereal like fairies - i.e., totally unreal and imaginary. Full of "fairy wisdom" = full of shit.

I mean, what's wrong with crying? Or worrying about the future? Sure, it is bad for one to be constantly worried - but not worrying about it at all is just as wrong. Is it so ridiculously mundane to worry about your next pay check? I need to eat!

I feed on sunshine and fairy dust. And my name is Honeyblossom Petal. Welcome to the 70's.

These characters are idealized and infantilized, completely incapable of dealing with the world and complex matters as adults. Their answer for everything is always something "off-beat", like crazy dancing.

I'm behind my mortgage payments. Time to CRAAAAAZY DANCE!!!!

But hey: they're just characters, right? Yeah, except for the fact that ZD acts like that in real life. She's got the pixie vibe on all the time. "I'm a nymph who listens to Indie music, and I have no idea what a kitchen is for. And when I open my eyes really wide, I call it acting". 

But let me tell you something: if she looked like Tilda Swinton, she wouldn't be able to pull it off.

I'm so ethereal, let's dance in the rain! No? Okay.

MPDGs only get away with it because they're gorgeous. If they didn't look the way they do, they'd be called annoying.


I'll like ZD when I see her playing something else; maybe a girl who's flunked out of college, and now she's got to work at McDonald's to support her drunk father and little sister with Down syndrome. No fairy talk, no indie music, just everyday life. Like the rest of us.
And if she could stop pretending she's Disney's Snow White, that'd be great.


Ricademus said...

I loved ZD in Elf--and not because she was a blond.

She is annoying when she's being "herself". I don't know why she gets paid for doing that. John Wayne is the only actor who deserved to make money that way. +)

Rml said...

Exactly! See Rick, that's why I like you so much, you get me! ^^

Ricademus said...

"R" is for the way you Read my mind.
"O" is for a girl who's One of a kind.
"B" is bery, bery, extraordinary...


Rml said...


Nashe^ said...

High-5. I can't stand it when my friends glorify ZD. She can't act well, really. Especially in New Girl. But she knows she won't have to work on it coz she'll have her big blue eyes to fall back on somehow.

Nicole said...

Ugh, I fully agree with all of this. Does it ever occur to these types that, hey, your presence isn't the number one priority in everyone else's lives? I think that may actually be my least favourite thing about MPDG types, and I just realized how sad it is that I have enough dislikes about them to warrant a least favourite. Sigh.

And you know what? I think I'd like her better if she looked like Tilda Swinton. I don't think she's as cute as everyone else seems to. (Cute for me is, like, short-haired Ester Dean.) At least when I look at Swinton's face, my blood sugar level doesn't go through the roof.

Anonymous said...

The worst, I heard that she was mad because all the parts she was getting were "being someone's girlfriend" (as most MPDG are just side characters created for help the protagonist develop) and blamed the industry for misogyny.

Then I remembered her sister Emily Deschanel landed on Bones, one of the most "women empowering" on TV right now (the show still reinforces some of the old and male and female societal roles, but will only really annoy extreme feminists).