"Jess, is a classic manic-pixie-dream-girl archetype, but traditionally the manic pixie dream girl’s story is told from a male point of view. Here is a chance to reverse the equation, like those novels that retell The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from Jim’s P.O.V., or Gone with the Wind from Prissy’s. What is the toll of manic-pixie-dream-girlishness on a woman’s psyche? Is manic pixie dream girlishness merely a function of the hipster male gaze, or is it a form of self-objectification on the manic pixie dream girl’s part? Or is it a form of self-realization, an embrace of bohemian gender stereotype analogous to, say, queer identity politics? These are the questions I’d like to see New Girl examine. The series could represent a radical rethinking of a key contemporary genre. Or there could just be an episode where Jess gets drunk at a party and makes out with her hot model girlfriend, to her three male roommates’ delight."-
Juli Weiner and Bruce Handy (hello? Are those their real names?), the Vanity Fair recappers of The New Girl, which I have actually not watched very much, are the best thing about this show.
It goes on to say this, which may or may not be facetious - I can’t tell, but I do agree:
”I would argue, Bruce, that New Girl is no more from Jess’s perspective than The Iliad is from the perspective of the Trojan Horse. Jess is an empty vessel whose existence is a mere catalyst for change in the lives of the three male roommates, Chad, Brad, and Tad—or whatever. Take the title, New Girl. Already we feel the oppression of the male gaze. Jess is only ‘new’ in the sense that she has just moved into the loft and met the men. Jess was not recently born; her defining characteristic, her ‘newness,’ is true only in the context of her relationship to the roommates. Without the men, she is simply ‘girl’—not even ‘woman’—and even then, she is identified by her biology (lack of male genitalia) and nothing else.”
I just looked again. Bruce Handy? Seriously? Am I twelve, or is that a crazy name?
A list by Mindy Kaling (a.k.a. Kelly from The Office). My favorite:
The Ethereal Weirdo
The smart and funny writer Nathan Rabin coined the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl to describe this archetype after seeing Kirsten Dunst in the movie “Elizabethtown.” This girl can’t be pinned down and may or may not show up when you make concrete plans with her. She wears gauzy blouses and braids. She likes to dance in the rain and she weeps uncontrollably if she sees a sign for a missing dog or cat. She might spin a globe, place her finger on a random spot, and decide to move there. The Ethereal Weirdo appears a lot in movies, but nowhere else. If she were from real life, people would think she was a homeless woman and would cross the street to avoid her. But she is essential to the male fantasy that even if a guy is boring he deserves a woman who will find him fascinating and perk up his dreary life by forcing him to go skinny-dipping in a stranger’s pool.