Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Zooey Deschanel Effect

Adorable?
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.
Show surprise, Miss Deschanel.

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.
Now, show anger...

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."
Show sorrow....
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.
Now, please show passion...

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.
Hi, I'm Nigella.

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.

Sigh.

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.

54 comments:

  1. I'm a straight girl and I've loved her since I saw her in almost famous.. love the new show too... To each his own I guess

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  2. Girls love her, too...I will insert that somewhere in teh post. And thanks for not insulting me!!

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  3. You are a snarky, jealous bitch.

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  4. Even though I don't agree, i will defend your right to say it. But how can you not love her?

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  5. I'm a woman. I liked Zooey when I first saw her on Weeds. Her character was funny, cute and fairly crazy. I began, however, to grow a little tired of her when I realized she plays slight variations of the same character in nearly everything she does. "The New Girl" bothers me because of the dynamic between her and her all male roommates. Yes, she's playing her typical zainey, off beat, slightly spacey character, but her roommates find little to no charm in it. At the beginning they near despise her and only allow her to live with them because she's friends with models whom the men assume they'll have a shot at sleeping with. I've seen a few episodes and as the relationships progress, the men continue to speak to Zooey's character Jess as one would speak to a child or, more accurately, the way one would speak to someone he or she thought was an idiot if the speaker didn't care that the "idiot" knew. Yes, the men all tease and make fun of each other, but they only use that condescending "I can't believe I even have to say this" tone with Jess--the only woman I've seen them interact with that wasn't a potential sexual partner. I have yet to see Jess stand up for herself or ask to be treated with more respect. Why, then, is this show and the actress who supports the portrayal of such an awful male/female dynamic so popular? Am I the only one that's made uncomfortable by this?

    I can't believe she's playing Janis, that's way off the mark! I'd feel that way even if I had nothing against Zooey. They all too frequently mis-cast biopics.

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  6. Hi,Jackie..I braced myself when I first began to read your comment...I thought I was going to get really scolded but upon reading it, without even being a regular watcher of the new show, can recognize the formula you describe. It's a popular one and I will give the show another watching with your words in my ears.

    At first glance, she is the quirky, lovable heroine but if you look a liottle closer...Hmmmm.

    Thanks for reading and for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. Please visit again.

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  7. I don't know her, or her work at all - but, I agree that she did a good job of your national anthem (which must be one of the more difficult anthems to sing??)

    And... don't you love that snarky, nasty comments are left by people who don't have the balls to put their name on them?
    If you don't like the blog 'anonymous' - go someplace else!

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  8. I think she is very cute. And I think you are very bitter. Did I hit the nail on the head?

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    1. I don't think she sounds bitter at all.....just looking at it from a different perspective. Not everyone is gaga over the ditzy, goofy girls....at least she owns it.

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    2. You sound jelous in many of your statements

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  9. Yes, I am very bitter. But not about Zooey. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. The other Deschanel - Emily ("Bones") - also has built a career on playing attractive but quirky women. I have watched only one episode of "New Girl." Its premise is ridiculous. The characters and plots are too thinly written.

    SHG

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  11. I agree, SHG. The other Deschanel is less childlike, too.

    Thanks for reading!

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  12. Use of photo's throughout this article is GENIUS, and hysterical.

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  13. I LOVE it when people use the term "genius" while facing in my direction...so thrilled you enjoyed the post!!!

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  14. I totally agree with Jackie, that show is a mess... it is almost painful to watch. I kept thinking its gonna get better but I just gave up, she acts like an idiot and she is treated like one. I don't know her from any other show so I can't comment on those but this particular show is just too much. Love your responses to all of the "anonymous" posts.

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  15. Zooey is the female real life equivalent of Zoolander. Coincidence that both names start with Zoo? I think not.

    Oh, and the stroke comment...genius!

    WG
    http://itsmynd.blogspot.com

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  16. Janet, you aren't missing much, my friend. And thank you for defending me. The Nigella attacks were very mean and personal while these were quite gentle...just like Zooey.

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  17. Thank you, JL. It's an amazing coincidence that so many people are named Anonymous, isn't it?

    Thanks for the comment!

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  18. Scott, I totally get your Zooey/Zoolander reference...glad you liked the part about the stroke. Seth is always looking, rather too eagerly, for signs of a stroke...

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  19. Susan, I'm not going to attack you, because you make some valid points about Zooey.

    But I absolutely adore her, and her sister Emily (mostly Zooey though). I am stricken by the ZDE. I can't explain it. I've never seen her new show, because I tend to avoid network TV like Cholera, and I could tell as soon as I heard about it that it would likely be beyond stupid. On the other hand, I've seen most of her movies and never been disappointed in one.

    I'm a 41 year old husband and father. I can honestly say that when I see Zooey, I'm not wondering, "Do I want to spank her, protect her, perform a duet with her, help her with her homework... or, well, you know..." It's mostly the YOU KNOW (and maybe the spanking). Just being terribly honest here.

    I admit she has a limited vocal range--and a dramatic range to match. And that "quirky" doesn't always translate to sexy. Neither do bugged-out eyes. But she just has that unexplainable something that I can't help being attracted to.

    As George Clooney said, playing Ulysses Everett McGill in O Brother Where Art Thou, "It's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."

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  20. It's always interesting to see different people's opinions. I'm a huge fan of Zooey's, but I agree with all your comments regarding her acting style, especially when it comes to The New Girl. That show is awful and I have no idea why on Earth anyone would watch it, but there's also a show called "Deal or No Deal", so I guess there's something for everyone.

    As for Miss D, I'm a big fan of her voice, which it seems you may be, too, since you liked her rendition of the national anthem. Check out her band with M. Ward, She & Him. Personally, they're one of my favorites, and is a huge proponent on why exactly I'm such a big fan of hers. Sure, her acting isn't Oscar-worthy (at least, pre-Janice), but for some things, it works, a la "500 Days of Summer", where she does a pretty excellent job portraying the part of Summer, the quirky, cute, and... wait. Ohhhhh....

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  21. I read your article and then looked at your pic and then thought huh?
    You kind of resemble Zooey and are licking an ice cream cone in your profile pic in kind of a silly but trying to be cute way that completely exemplifies what you hate about Zooey's characters. I say characters because none of us actually know Zooey Deschanel- we see her as the quintessential quirky kooky cute girl just like we see Sarah Jessica Parker as the single New York lovin' fashionista- it's a role. And you gotta love Zooey for choosing to become known as a specific type- after all isn't that what Doris Day, Marilyn or even contemp's like Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts have done to advance their career as being the certain go-to girl. I like The New Girl- and what's so wrong with that? Maybe you should save the rants for your diary- or at least save the hate for Scar Jo, Angelina, Blake Lively or an actress that is a cookie cutter annoying. After all, shoulnd' t we be embracing an actress whose goal isn't to be the next Marilyn?

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  22. Okay, I'll take back the you look like her hit since I stopped reading after the pic- then I saw what you really look like and am stunned- aren't you a bit mature to be caring about the twenty something world???

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  23. No, Anon, I am not. I am interested in the current world. I wasn't aware there was a time limit on interests.

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  24. While I love Zooey D. for her quirky characters, I do think you and your readers make some valid points.

    More on why men may find her appealing...google "Manic Pixie Dream Girl." This is a common motif seen in movies, books, and t.v. shows. The innocent, quirky, free-spirited, usually young or childlike female character is used to "rescue" a male character from whatever is bringing him down then disappear-- pretty much the character Zooey Deschanel plays in everything. Maybe the men who are looking for their own MPDGs find her appealing for what she represents.

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  25. I'm also a straight woman about Zooey Deschanel's age and I positively adore her. I love her quirky personality because that's the only way to describe it, she's not someone you often run across. I also agree with another poster that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so while I wholeheartedly disagree with you, I do agree you have every right to evidently loathe the poor girl. However mocking her voice seems wrong. You can't help how you speak. If you have a low pitched voice you can try I guess to speak in a higher tone but it would be a huge waste of time to constantly try to change how you sound, so for you to mock her and try the lower pitched voice seems mean spirited. Just saying. I also find it funny that her voice and range is that big an issue considering the likes of Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, and Christopher Walken have all made careers, amazing careers in fact, playing the same character repeatedly, regardless of the role. They always sound the same, they always project the same persona, so the fact that Deschanel also plays niche roles shouldn't matter. Again, to each his own, but I cannot think of a sweeter, more adorable actress, and what I think men respond to isn't that she's a child-like woman, she's just not a bitch. She likes what she likes, and she's not preoccupied with being "cool" or sexy and she acts like a dork and has fun and enjoys life, and I genuinely think that the fact she seems like she truly is enjoying her life and having fun, damn everyone else, that's what attracts her fans. Maybe instead of mimicking her mannerisms and tone of voice, try embracing the "I'm going to be who I am and act like a spaz even if I look silly doing it" personality, and I bet you won't get "she's having a stroke" comments. I sometimes wonder why anyone likes Kim Kardashian but I realized everyone is different and I can see there are qualities that men find sexy/appealing, and women want to emulate or befriend her for possessing those same qualities. Bottom line, I think you're overthinking it. Yes you can have your own opinion but Zooey Deschanel isn't some huge celeb constantly shoved down everyone's throats, and it does come across as a tad bit jealous to have made the points you made and to have written this article whatsoever. But whatever floats your boat.

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  26. Renee, thank you for that insightful and interesting comment. I appreciate your taking the time to read the post!

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  27. Anon, your point about the actors like DeNiro always playing the same role is both accurate and perceptive...thank you for taking the time to comment. It's thoughful readers, such as yourself, who malke my blog worth writing.

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  28. Her husky deep voice is particularly attractive!

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  29. Clearly, because she is Bones sister.
    Or it was the Zoolander comment of the brilliant and informed reader.
    Likely the brilliant writing, maybe people looking for Zooey having a stroke? (double entendre says that's like Zooey porn)

    WG

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  30. I like her, but I don't think I would like her if she were actually part of my friend group...

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  31. I don't know if you are dried up or wrinkled, but you do sound snarky and jealous. Zooey is lovely and she does show emotion, and her singing voice is lovely. She can't help that she has a gravelly speaking voice-listen to her sister talk too. She isn't your favorite actress...that's a valid opinion. But you equating your non liking her with her having no talent or range...well, that's the snarky jealousy sneaking in. Especially in the way you describe how you tried to act like her...just snarky.

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    1. So because she doesn't like her singing voice, she's jealous? There are many musicians I don't like, but that doesn't mean I want to look or be like them. I don't like Zooey's voice either, something about the pitch is drab. The author is allowed to state she feels like she has no talent or range if she doesn't like her voice. There are people who think Lil Wayne is talented, and I do not. Who is right? Does it matter? I choose not to listen to him, and don't mind those who like his music continuing to do so. Agree to disagree.

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  32. Oh, and I must add I agree with the previous anon who said a big reason people like her is that she just isn't a bitch, which is unusual in our society...where women are encouraged (openly and subliminally) to distrust, judge, trash-talk and tear down and despise each other. To women who have grown up in our culture and are used to dealing with the average woman, this may seem "childlike"...or fake. Her niceness may trigger your snark-button. It's just hard for many of us to accept that a woman can be that genuinely nice...she must have an angle, right? And, again, I think it is your specific complaints and "experiment" that make you sound jealous. She has big eyes (which she admits she plays up, but she clearly has no control over they eyes she was born with) and a gravelly voice-those are physical things she didn't choose. I don't know where you get the stiff-walking thing, but...

    Your comment on how men don't know if they want to "spank her, protect her...." kind of made me laugh because I am a straight 33-year-old homeschooling mother of four who is cynical and expects the worst from most people and I can't decide if I have a crush on her or just want to be like her.

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  33. I think Zooey's playing several variations of the same character is due hollywood's lack of organic screen writers. When Zooey first busted on the scene she was the new "it" girl. She was different and had this strange approach to acting which if course gave off the "effect" on people you speak of. That vulnerability she showcases I think is what appeals to men most. It's not really a sexual thing more so as it is a masculine thing. Most men never admit to it but anything that appears to be cute or innocent is male catnip. It drives us nuts and it instills a sense of being a guardian or protector in us. Its like a natural sense we have that makes people like Zooey stand out so much and is also probably why many women get pissed off at her. Zooey is a very capable actress as she and Joseph Lee Levitt did a very good scene of Cid and Nancy (Zooey was Cid mind you lol) but for some reason she accepts all of these similar roles handed to her. As for her singing- she is obviously classically trained and wether or not someone likes her for that is more so opinion than technicality. Im not too sure where I saw it but there was an interview she had for new girl where she said that her role was literally written for her and that most of the character Jess was based off Zooey's own personality. If that's not saying something I don't know what is.

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  34. I think all your comments are so smart and interesting. I am appreciative thjat you tok the time to write and amnot even upset that somone called me "wrinkly."

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  35. Hey Susan,

    Just came across your blog today, though I SHOULD be doing homework (I'm too old for homework btw lol). Anywho, I like your post. I only know Zoey from New Girl (never even knew her real name). I like the show and I like her character, but you made some really interesting points. I never really thought about how men may be attracted to her, and why. My husband just rolls his eyes whenever he sees her, lol. But he's known to be a little snarky anyway. If someone annoys him (even if they're cute) he's annoyed.

    But anyway, I just really like comedy. I do think it's interesting how you broke her down though. Reading your post made me think of one of my other fav comedies (from waaay back) Three's Company. I loved the whole show, but Chrissy (spelling?) made it really funny, because she was so clueless. And yes, I guess she was clueless in a "I'm-a-sexy-woman-trapped-in-a-little-girls-mind" kind of way. That is a little icky when you think about it.

    Well, THANKS for ruining my two of my fav comedies!! lol

    Candace

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  36. Hi, Candace...it's all meant in fun. Take a look at some of the other comments. People feel vey strongly about ZOe.

    Thanks for reading the blog!
    Susan

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  37. Hey-
    I read your post and I have to say that I really like Zooey for the following reasons: 1) she is an awekward dork and so am I 2) she dresses weird, which is cool 3) her band She and Him is great 4) I think she has a more positive message than these other female celebrities who are always showing off their a$$. (Beyonce, and all of the Kardashians). I also like that she is crafty (knitting) - because I am too. I'm also a teacher with a PhD. So I am not dumb, but for me I relate to her awekwardness. I do agree that her show is terrible, no matter how much I try to love it, but I think that her music and persona is great and I really like that she is just herself instead of trying to be something she isn't.

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  38. I never understood why people are so fascinated by her. (men). And I think I now understand why. I have thought about it extensively not because it is important but because I know when I am jealous (I am jelous/admire of a lot of woman and have crushes on many, there are so many beautiful women), but because I don't want my dislike for her to come off as jelousy.

    I admire women who have strength, who do a lot with a little, who know how to be sexy and use it for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons, who know how to overcome naivety with knowledge and education, who strive to become better and who have overcome difficulty, and who are still cute and beautiful regardless. And classy.

    I know a lot of quirky, awkward, socially challenged, very unique and funny girls who are beautiful, yet somehow they are not considered as charming as Zoey, who's quirkiness and awkwardness seems external rather than internal. That makes me sad because I am really awkward and nobody finds it cute when it's the real thing :( Yet she gets all the credit when quirky is commercialized and sold as a hollywood character.

    secondly, not everyone is born with massive big blue eyes, and I'm sure it is hard for men to resist, but many women make the most of what they have got, by exercising, looking fit, setting goals and reaching them. Not to mention style, it's not easy to look good! It takes a lot of time and effort. And then Zoey comes along, looking cute in a frumpy dress with hardly any effort at all and it's almost unfair.

    Then there is the sex appeal. I wish I could go around acting cute and looking at men with big eye, fake eyleashes and a bunch of makeup, but I can't because I want to be taken seriously as a women, and not use my naivety and childish innocence as a tool to attract men. It is creepy the way men are attracted to youthful faces for a start. Not to mention it would probably annoy people, after a certain age it is not cute anymore.

    The way I feel about zoey is the way a hard working student feels about a slacker who comes along and aces the test with no effort alone and nobody can see how much harder you have worked.

    It further re-iterates the concept that I have fought to overcome and don't want to believe: That men only want a pretty pretty easy-go, spacey girl. Which puts all my efforts and countless female role-models to shame.

    I do sound jealous :P But I know how I feel. It's just hard to explain.

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    1. Disliking someone because they dont have it as hard as others is stupid.

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    2. Disliking someone because they dont have it as hard as others is stupid.

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  39. LOL...its women like you who hold women back by bringing down other women. If you don't like her, don't pay her any mind. What you see as childish and "perverted", most, including plenty of women, see as a girl with ADHD being herself and not giving a fuck what Susan Zold has to say on her blog. Life is pretty shitty if you view it through your negativity lens.

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  40. Also, this post is incredibly sexist, why don't you break down male comedians who make a living off being a "man-child"? I'm pretty sure for every Zooey, breaking the mold of the stick thin big titted moronic actress, there are 5 male actors making a pretty penny off being a "man-child", much more overtly than Zooey. Does that make every woman who thinks those men are funny or attractive a pedophile too? What about all the middle aged women gasping in the theater every time Jacob or Edward disrobes...aren't they technically 17? At least Zooey is 32. Anyway, I've spent enough time commenting here, this isn't even what I was searching for. But I, like Zooey, have ADHD and tend to get passionate and distracted. I hope you can channel some positivity into your life girlfriend! You sure could use it. Anything can be what you want it to be if you let your mind wander freely. I would suggest a hobby....or maybe a little therapy to help channel your misdirected anger. And smile! You only have one life, why waste it hating on people you will never truly know.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies
    http://www.goodtherapy.org

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  41. Sarah, comments rarely annoy me but you have succeeded. If I need therapy, so do you for assuming I am "angry." Thanks for the tip on how to spend my "one life." The Dalai Lama needs a speech writer...send him a resume.

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  42. Susan! Thanks you for addressing my debate points in such a reasonable and intellectual manner! Your response opens my eyes to your point of view and makes me see that you clearly do not hold any anger and resentment for human kind, or women.

    P.S. While I have you here, I did think of more actresses who are successful with the whole "woman-child" thing. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two very respectful feminists who broke through in male dominated fields.

    P.P.S I can not tell you how flattered I am that you truly think I could be a viable candidate to write speeches for the Dalai Lama. May I list you as a reference on my application?

    Thank you for the compliment and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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  43. I think she has a great singing voice. I loved the songs she sang for the movie Yes Man. I also think she's cute, but one thing does bug me....why did she have to over-enhance herself with so many hair extensions? Why is that necessary? She looked better in Elf...more natural. Everyone knows the hair is FAKE (well, everyone except MEN)!

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  44. Good point. And I also like her voice, MsQuestion. A man I know (he is directly related to me and, may even be my son) recently commented on her great hair. I just sighed (because I have already explained her hair extensions to them). Thanks for the comment....and for not being mean to me in any way.

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  45. Exactly, Susan, why should anyone be mean to you when your blog is so nice to everyone else? You know what they say, treat others how you would like to be treated. Don't dish it if you can't take it.

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  46. Anon, I am a little scared now...are you being sarcastic and I have lost my ability to tell?

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  47. i actually think her persona is fake. at first she looks cute, adorable and all that but when i started to look closer she just seems the opposite. you can definately tell from her interviews and the way she talk in talk show

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  48. @Anonymous 7/25/14 -That's what I picked up on, too.

    Re-watch her old interviews on Craig Ferguson. It's like she's trying to put-on the same fake character even in her off-hours.

    Most people on talk shows seem at least a tiny bit more real than their acting roles. Even though talk shows are still somewhat fake.

    Either that, or her agents figured out she's a terrible actress, got roles for her being her all the time & she's not acting on the LLS w/ Craig.

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