flick chicks & the klutz.

4 Oct

mindy kaling is close to topping my list of favorite hollywood ladies. better watch out tina fey, this girl is movin’ on up. in a recent new yorker article, flick chicks, kaling digresses on her obsession and fascination with romantic comedies, one i’ve similarly harbored for years. she expounds on the characters we encounter in the zany alternate universe in which these stories exist. because, we can all agree, it surely isn’t reality.

kaling says in this article, all those things i’ve been thinking about rom-coms for years. i nearly fell off the bed laughing when the boy read this quote aloud:

    I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from “Alien” and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fakey razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it.


my favorite rom-com character profile, as described by mindy, is most certainly her depiction of “the klutz”:

    When a beautiful actress is cast in a movie, executives rack their brains to find some kind of flaw in the character she plays that will still allow her to be palatable. She can’t be overweight or not perfect-looking, because who would pay to see that? A female who is not one hundred per cent perfect-looking in every way? You might as well film a dead squid decaying on a beach somewhere for two hours.
    So they make her a Klutz.
    The hundred-per-cent-perfect-looking female is perfect in every way except that she constantly bonks her head on things. She trips and falls and spills soup on her affable date (Josh Lucas. Is that his name? I know it’s two first names. Josh George? Brad Mike? Fred Tom? Yes, it’s Fred Tom). The Klutz clangs into stop signs while riding her bike and knocks over giant displays of fine china in department stores. Despite being five feet nine and weighing a hundred and ten pounds, she is basically like a drunk buffalo who has never been a part of human society. But Fred Tom loves her anyway.

this hilarious & articulate description of the most common of rom-com prototypes could not have come at a more perfect time. over the past two weeks i’ve been hemming and hawing over my final call of fox’s new prime-time sitcom, the new girl, starring zooey deschanel.

my poor boyfriend has heard many a dissertation on the subject. i admittedly foster a complicated relationship with ms. deschanel. while i adore her aesthetic & soulful sounds, i can’t seem to stomach her personality, the branded “cuteness”, or the blunt & slightly unfriendly interview demeanor. i’m constantly perplexed when masked rudeness is perceived by journalists as lovable. personality opinions aside, i’ve considered zooey’s new gig with as unbiased opinion as possible.

style icon and indie pop goddess, check. sitcom carrying comedian, she is not. the show is failing me for many reasons, all of which are summarized extremely well in lindsey bahr’s recent post on the subject via the junior varsity. but the most offensive trait of the new girl is the branding of zooey’s character, jess, as an awkward, lewd, geeky, klutz. i’m sorry fox, but i’m just not buying what you’re selling here.

the show is definitely marketed to women just like me, those vintage loving, sundress wearing girls who wish they could exist in the setting of 500 days of summer. but here’s the thing about “those girls”, they are educated. they aren’t just style conscious indie sweethearts, they are intelligent and thoughtful. they will consider the whole picture and formulate their own opinion of the entirety of a piece of work. this is exactly why jess’s character falls completely flat.

we are meant to believe that this gorgeous elementary school teacher has travelled through twenty-odd years of life and education unaware of social norms, etiquette, beauty and femininity. i’m sorry but there is NO WAY IN HELL that jess would have perfectly curled hair during the middle of a week long emotional breakdown spent glued to the couch with tissues & dirty dancing. trust me, i’ve been in this place. there are no curlers & mascara. there are only brownies and edy’s maxx. and as bahr points out, it is inconceivable that this perfectly styled vintage sundress wearing pixie would even dream of donning overalls to a date.

this isn’t a rant, this is a plea. please fox, stop forcing this unbelievable and ridiculously unreal character down our throats. we’re tuning-in to watch zooey. turn her into someone we can side with, who we would befriend rather than grimace at, someone who we want to see find love.

i’ll keep watching, with hope…for now.

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