Zooey Deschanel

‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 8 Recap: “Teachers”

First things first: If, prior to watching this episode, someone said that “Teachers” would feature a roommate who doesn’t know how to do laundry and doesn’t know how to use a ruler, who would you guess? Nick, right? Right! Instead, it’s Schmidt and Winston, respectively, and it’s two character decisions that throw me off but… Read More

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‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 7 Recap: “Goldmine”

By rearing back on the Nick/Jess drama that took over much of Season 3 of New Girl, Season 4 has mostly returned to form — it’s been weird as hell, sure, but it’s been goofy, funny, and emotional as well. It has also, definitely, been helped by this season’s commitment to focusing on all of the roommates instead of just our two main characters. This latter development is in play in “Goldmine” as Winston, Coach, Cece, and Schmidt all get fun little storylines but the former has taken a step back with a A-plot that’s a little too focused on Nick and Jess. … Read More

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50 Great Pre-Fame Performances by Famous Actors

This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a double bill of the mid-‘60s Westerns The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, a treat not only for fans of revisionist Westerns and director Monte Hellman, but also for those who admire Jack Nicholson, here seen in two terrific performances that predate his breakthrough in Easy Rider. There’s a specific kind of pleasure in revisiting the early work of actors who would later become famous — not the roles that made them stars, but their earlier, quieter gigs, in which we glimpse an actor just trying to do good work, yet already exhibiting the spark that would mark them for fame. Here are a few of our… Read More

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“Adorkable” Is Officially a Word: Links You Need to See

In today’s links, I seem to have inadvertently compiled a collection of stories (or fragments, or something smaller, perhaps, even) about people who tend to polarize. The name Courtney Love, for example, seems to exist along a virtual tectonic plate that shudders every time it’s uttered (oh look, a rhyme!), creating a fissure that you can count on to divide the internet. … Read More

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She & Him Made a Standards Album

Some say She & Him borrow from the past with a heavy hand. Now they will do it with attribution.… Read More

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The Manic Pixie Dream Girl May Be Dead, But Film’s Shallow Female Characters Live On

Is it a big deal when the person who coined a term disowns it? In Salon, culture journalist Nathan Rabin has penned a piece called “I’m Sorry For Coining the Phrase ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl,’” where he apologizes for naming the archetype in an 2007 A.V. Club review that dissected Kirsten Dunst’s insufferable character in Elizabethtown. Rabin’s moment of insight eventually yielded a million think-pieces, Zooey Deschanel’s Emmy-nominated mainstream brand, John Green’s writing career, and a wave of cultural criticism that took to task — in manners both dismissive and frustrating — the phenomenon of female characters, often young, feeling like shallow, one-dimensional girls there to prop up a male protagonist. … Read More

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Feminist-Minded Critical Memes Like “The Bechdel Test” and “Manic Pixie Dream Girls” Are Losing Their Power

There is something of a thrill the first time that somebody accurately points out just what it is that’s a noxious, recurring theme in pop culture. Certainly there was a frisson of yes, that’s it! when Nathan Rabin, formerly of The A.V. Club and currently of The Dissolve, wrote in 2007 about the cinema’s penchant for manic pixie dream girls, stemming from Kirsten Dunst’s beautifully annoying performance in Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown: half-drawn girlfriend characters from indie-minded cinema in the 2000s, where the girl is quirky and only the lead character can see her beauty and she will heal him with her lust for life. Similarly, the Bechdel test — a test named for Alison Bechdel, which examines whether a work of fiction has two female characters who conduct a conversation about something apart from a male character — has become ubiquitous. But ultimately, are these reductive measurements of feminist cred helpful? … Read More

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‘New Girl’ Season 3 Finale Recap: “Cruise”

Like many third seasons of sitcoms, this season of New Girl has had its ups and downs. It was particularly rough in the beginning and though no episode was straight-up unwatchable, there were a few that were disappointing. Off the top of my head? “The Box,” “Thanksgiving III,” and “Prince” (sorry, Prince fans!) are episodes that I don’t ever need to watch again. Around “Birthday,” a classically funny episode that became an instant favorite for me, New Girl began to reassure me that it hadn’t gone downhill just yet; it was just having some adjustment issues. … Read More

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‘New Girl’ Season 3 Episode 21 Recap: “Big News”

Here is a universal truth: Breakups suck. It doesn’t matter if it’s one-sided or mutual, quiet or explosive, longterm or a shorter fling — whatever the case, breakups will always suck, at least a little bit, no matter how much you try to pretend that they don’t. It’s also a universal life event that’s full of awkwardness, which is why breakups are such great fodder for sitcoms. New Girl is aware of this fact and the show has played around with various approaches in the past (all of the main characters have gone through a breakup at one point or another during these three seasons) but it still manages to tackle the subject in new ways. … Read More

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‘New Girl’ Season 3 Episode 20 Recap: “Mars Landing”

There is so much happening within this half-hour of New Girl that I’m not exactly sure where to begin. There is so much good happening, I should clarify, but there’s also a bit of heartbreak. The first two acts of the episode had me laughing nonstop. It was joke after joke after joke—visual gags, physical comedy, character bits, perfect punchlines—and everything was completely on point. The writing and the acting were all top notch tonight (and, as always with the show, a specific shoutout to the editors) and it was a good reminder of just how far this show has come from its shaky beginnings, how well this cast works together, and how invested we all in Nick and Jess’ relationship. “Mars Landing” took seemingly small bits and blew it up to a stunning conclusion—and it’s one of the best episodes of New Girl to date. … Read More

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