Zooey Deschanel

‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 13 Recap: “Coming Out”

Like most other single-camera, niche-audience TV comedies in this age of the serialized drama, New Girl‘s challenge is to make every episode laugh-out-loud funny while also advancing the multiple season-long storylines that ensure the growth of its characters and the progression of their relationships. Whereas Seinfeld and Friends could thread two dozen self-contained 22-minute stories together with little more than a few in-jokes or one on-again-off-again romance (you know which one I mean), now we expect every major player to have his or her own compelling trajectory. (Imagine if we’d demanded that of Kramer!) And while New Girl often does a great job seamlessly integrating character development and big laughs, last night’s episode was almost entirely devoted to the former — and forgot to give us almost any of the latter. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 50 Gifts for 50 Cultural Icons

It’s that time of year again: the season of the holiday gift guide. And in keeping with tradition, if you’re looking for a present for that special cultural icon of yours (or just someone who reminds you of a certain famous face), Flavorwire has you covered. Here are our gift recommendations for some of the year’s biggest names in culture, whether they be naughty, nice, or lurking somewhere in… Read More

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‘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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