Zooey Deschanel’s character of Jess on the amazingly awesome “New Girl” is no Mary Tyler Moore. In fact she’s more of a throwback to Gidget or Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island, and that’s fine by me.
Jess isn’t kicking butt and taking names like Buffy did so many years ago, nor is she healing the sick and making strides in medical research like Meredith Grey and her bestie do every Thursday night on Grey’s Anatomy. Nope, you won’t find Jess doing any of these things. She’s too busy prancing around in bright, printed dresses, teaching America’s youth. She’s awkward, witty, doe-eyed, always there for her friends, and seems like she enjoys Anthropologie and J. Crew. Which is quite strange since a wardrobe consisting of those is pretty impossible on a teacher’s salary, but I digress.
I’ve often been called militant, feminist, so why do I like Jess so much? Jess is the antithesis of what women are told they have to be these days, yet she has also balked at tradition. She lives with three male roommates that are always looking out for her, but she’s also looking out for them, and surprisingly not many of the storylines on the show involve her and other guys. Sure she has a boyfriend now, on last night’s episode she tried not to fight with him, but the show is funny because Deschanel and the rest of the cast is funny, it’s not based on her relationship with one particular guy. Isn’t that the same reason Liz Lemon is so great?
Another reason I love it, Jess has style. Girly style. I love a good A-line dress. A brightly colored cardigan. A print with platforms. Jess has bangs. Not sexy bangs. Bangs that are curled the way yours were in elementary school. Best of all, she’s not apologizing for being herself. Not every woman wants to be a surgeon or lawyer. Some still want to be teachers.
Though I have seen some articles in various publications claiming Jess is something of a caricature and that the show is sexist, I beg to differ. If anything, it is something I needed. She doesn’t have it all together and is still happy just being her. I think women benefit from seeing this type of image on TV. Also, the show is not just funny, it’s fun. So I raise a glass to Jess. We’ve all had parties not turn out the way we want. We’ve all attended weddings solo. We’ve all had hot friends that are horrible drinkers. Shit happens, but Jess proves that if it is happening in a cute dress you might just find a little more humor in it.