Zooey Deschanel has been confusing me for some time now.
It appears that her deer-in-the-headlights, childlike yet deadpan delivery and perpetually popping eyes have an intense effect on the male species.
Ever since I took Sociology 101 and our highly educated professor delivered the earth shattering news that "different people react to things in different ways" suggesting that, as an assignment, we crawl across the floor of a subway car and monitor the variety of reactions from other riders, I have been interested in this sort of thing.
And, no, I never crawled across the floor of a subway car...not a single girl in the class even considered it but several guys did and were completely ignored by New Yorkers who had, more than likely, been subjected to this type of experiment before.
After all, there are a lot of colleges in NYC.
But, in any case, here comes Zooey with a big head of hair extensions, wearing very short skirts but trying not to be overtly sexy. Apparently, however, she is very sexy in that avantgarde, icky child/woman way that makes adult women gag slightly but makes men a little too happy.
Case in point: My sons and husband really like her.
Her stumbling dorky innocence, her well-intentioned but ill-fated hijinks plus that voice (interpreted differently by the male ear than the female) that seems to emanate from under a pile of wet leaves at the back of her throat, cause men to fall under some sort of spell.
"Do I want to spank her, protect her, perform a duet with her, help her with her homework...or, well, you know..." they wonder aloud as they stand in tight circles by water coolers all over the American continent.
The words quirky, cute and different are used when describing Zooey. She typically appears in roles where she is the droll, best friend or the oddball ingenue who bewitches the slightly cerebral leading man.
Fair enough...someone's got to do it.
In order to get to the bottom of the "Zooey Deschanel Effect" (known from this point as the "ZDE"), I watched a few episodes of "The New Girl."
and decided to try out her style at home to see if it would have any affect on Seth.
I spent a good part of a Saturday morning with my eyes really wide open, walking with slightly stiff legs and trying to talk in a deep voice but cut it short when I overheard Seth place a quiet phone call to tell Charlie, "I think Mom may have had a slight stroke."
I also read a little about her before writing this and learned that she will be appearing in a bio pic as Janis Joplin in the near future.
Janis Joplin--a woman of intense, if drug-fueled, musical range, known for genuine emotion which she channeled into some of the most memorable performances ever recorded?
That Janis Joplin? Sure, that makes sense.
Director: I'm making a film about Janis Joplin, man.
Casting Agent: Wow, you'll need someone really authentic and capable of great and varied emotion, dude.
Director: Nah, I'm taking an alternate approach to depicting her character, man.
Casting Agent: Wow, great idea, dude.
Director: I think I'd like to hire a deadpan actress with a limited vocal range who rarely blinks and appears really robotic, man.
Casting Agent: That's Zooey Deschanel! She's incredible, dude.
Director: You are so right, I love her, man.
I am sure that this post will elicit angery responses from those experiencing the ZDE as well as from females who are trying to emulate her. *
I will be compared to Scrooge, accused of being a snarky, wrinkled, dried-up, cat-hoarding bitch who is twisted with jealousy now that my estrogen levels no longer leave a foot print in the mudroom.
I will be attacked as I was by many (all men) after I dared question Nigella Lawson's erotic approach to cooking and it will be suggested that I might likely harm a puppy or knock an ice cream come from the sticky hands of a toddler.
And, this is often the point where I come around and agree that I actually do find --fill in the blank -- kind of appealing and admit that I am really possessed with affable jealousy over so and so's charm....but I'm not really feeling it with Miss Deschanel.
I do think, based on the responses of the slobbering men around me, that she has a solid career ahead of her and, judging by Hollywood's overreaction to bio pics, will receive an Academy Award for the film about Janis, enchanting America as she stumbles adorably down the red carpet wearing a pinafore with stilettos.
In all fairness, she did a pretty good job, singing the National Anthem at a recent World Series game...
*It was pointed out to me a few moments ago by a reader that girls genuinely love her, too. This expands the ZDE dramatically. Plus, I want to thank the reader for not verbally abusing me.