TV: New Girl—Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.


I was pleasantly surprised to see New Girl seemingly dealing with the hullabaloo surrounding Zooey Deschanel’s manic pixie dream girl status and the feminist media uproar that occurred late last year.

Now, New Girl has touched on some pertinent issues in its past episodes, but I’m wondering if this was done intentionally. Writer Liz Meriwether is part of the feminist writing “fempire”, so who knows if this was something she incorporated into the show consciously, or if it’s just a meditation on “how girls can be”.

Nick’s new girlfriend Julia, played by Mean Girls alum Lizzy Caplan, can’t stand Jess and makes it very clear when she criticises her “blankie”, the (manic pixie dream girl) “thing” Jess has going on, and the cupcakes Jess bakes, saying she’s “not a dessert person”. Jess takes issue with this, finding it hard to believe that anyone (much less a woman!) “isn’t a dessert person” and doesn’t like her ribbon hats. I have to say I don’t find it that hard to believe…

When Jess brings up Julia’s dislike of her to Nick, he rationalises it by saying Julia’s never had many girl friends and she’s not really a “girly girl”. Jess’ girl friends, CeCe and June, whom we’ve never met up til now, get on the defensive, marveling at how she couldn’t like Jess (again, not that hard to believe…).

By episode’s end, Julia has come around (both literally and figuratively) and joins Jess et al in a yarn group, lamenting how she’s never been good with girls. CeCe says her and Jess used to hide in the bathroom throughout high school because “girls can be so mean to each other”. Um, wasn’t it CeCe who just five minutes before was saying Julia was a bitch for not liking Jess?

Just because someone doesn’t like someone else doesn’t make them a bitch. It makes the two non-compatible. Isn’t it bitchier of CeCe to say things behind Julia’s back and then welcome her into the fold when Julia changes her opinion of Jess? I’m all for loyalty, but…

So, did you watch New Girl? What did you think about Jess’ struggle to find acceptance from Julia as a metaphor for Deschanel to find acceptance in the feminist blogosphere? Or don’t you think that’s what the episode was trying to get across?

Related: Manic Pixie Dream Girl Bitch.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s The New Girl.

Image via Wet Paint.

8 thoughts on “TV: New Girl—Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

  1. Gah! I keep missing these episodes! Torrenting like mad!
    Anyways, I love me some Lizzie Caplan. But what were we talking about again? Ah, yes. New Girl. I think women have it socially conditioned into them that there are no other relationships other than friend or enemy. I was in the exact same situation at Lizzie Caplan’s character a year ago. I used to work with this really nice girl, but we had absolutely nothing in common except we both breathed oxygen. And she would not. Leave. Me. Alone. She would practically harass me into being her friend, sending me texts, calling me, msging me on facebook, telling me she wouldn’t stop “until I cracked”. Eventually I had to say to her I didn’t want to be her friend, and she got very, very upset. She’d ask what she’d done for me to not want to be her friend, and the fact of the matter is she just didn’t get that a mutual love for Harry Potter does not a friendship make.

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  7. I HATE this term Manic Pixie Dream Girl and cannot believe you would even use it in feminist writing. I really liked this episode because it dealt with issue’s of girl on girl hate, and the type of internalized misogyny that has women dislike women, or ‘girly girls’ aka women who like expressing their femininity. other wise known as being ‘femme’, there is a lot of ‘femme-phobia- that has it roots in misogyny. And despite being labeled as a ‘tomboy’ or looking ‘androgynous’, I love the freedom i have as a female-bodied women to express my femininity, however sometimes i am taken less seriously, not just from men, but from feminists aswell. especially the type who take on a male-aesthetic or qualities to be taken more seriously… Zooey Deschanel has alot to say about being feminine and retaining her power. and how people associate being girlie with weakness.

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