Career Coach: Zooey Deschanel

We’re introducing a new feature: the Pop Culture Has AIDS Career Coach. We’re essentially good people at heart, and we want to help our fellow man. Specifically, we want to help those actors, musicians, directors, writers and athletes who aren’t performing to their full potential. As lifelong consumers of pop culture and purveyors of exquisite taste, we’re uniquely positioned to advise those artists and entertainers that we believe can do better. Today’s protegé: Zooey Deschanel.

Oh, Zooey. Zooey, Zooey, Zooey. Why can’t you be more like the charming characters you play in films like (500) Days of Summer and Almost Famous? Why must you be so human, so…so flawed? Why must you make poor decisions? Like this:


Well, no matter. The PCHA Career Coach is here to fix things. We’ll get you on the path to righteousness yet.

We’ll dissect what’s wrong with Zooey’s career in a moment. But first, some pretty pictures!

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There. Now we can focus.

First of all, New Girl looks fucking terrrrrible. It’s basically an entire TV series build on the hateful interviews supermodels give where they claim they’re huge dorks in real life and were ugly in high school and you should see them without their makeup on. Zooey Deschanel is simply too beautiful to be believable as whatever kind of spaz/nerd combo she’s supposed to be in this show. And she doesn’t have some like Anna Faris’s natural comic ability and timing to help us get past the incredulity.

I have no problem with Zooey starring in a TV show, including sitcoms, but this is just wrong on so many levels. Maybe I’ll be proven incorrect and the trailer is not indicative of New Girl’s true quality, but let’s just say I have my doubts. Nobody who looks like Deschanel is that socially inept. Nobody.

And New Girl is not Zooey’s only career misstep. Looking at her résumé, it’s actually shocking how few decent shows and movies she’s appeared in. She’s one of those actresses who always seems like they should be doing better than they really are. We’ll fix that. Right now.

Action Item #1: Bye Bye, Matt
Zooey Deschanel has a pretty voice. Her albums with M. Ward as She & Him are pretty. I’m glad they exist. But two is enough. I don’t see She & Him developing significantly as an act, nor Deschanel as a musician. She is what she is at this point, and we don’t need more than the 30 or so She & Him songs that are currently out there. Deschanel has proven that she’s more than just a dilettante in the world of pop music, and has more talent that the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Juliette Lewis. But her music career has detracted from her acting career, as she’s focused on songwriting, recording and touring. It’s time for her to pick a path and stay on it — and I’d rather have more good Zooey Deschanel films than I would She & Him albums.

Action Item #2: Bye Bye, Giggles
Have you seen this awful lifestyle website that Zooey started with some pals? Everything from the name (Hello Giggles) to the subject matter (“Movie Clips That Make Me Eternally Hungry”) to the writing (“The best guys are like caramel apples. Really sweet on the outside, but then like, nourishing, no-guilt sweet on the inside, too. With a big hard stick poking out of them, ha ha. Penis joke!”) is flat-out embarrassing. And Zooey’s contributions don’t exactly raise the bar:

  • 10 Tips and Tricks for a Winter Body
  • BFF of the Week
  • If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say… (a complaint about mean Internet comments)

A mean…a fucking lifestyle website? What are you, Gwyneth Paltrow? (Sorry, that was over the line.) I listened to a recent Nerdist podcast interview with Deschanel and she came across as intelligent, charming, enthusiastic and funny — i.e. better than Hello fucking Giggles. And if she doesn’t have time for her music career, she certainly doesn’t have time for this crap.

Action Item #3: Quit New Girl

Action Item #4: Reconsider Your Roles
It’s hard out there for an actress. I get it. Interesting roles for women in film and television are few and far between. But that doesn’t mean Deschanel hasn’t made some awful choices: Yes Man, Failure to Launch, and New Girl most notably. Her indie sensibility has kept her from most outright disasters, but she’s also played it too safe at times. Almost Famous and Weeds showed us what she can do, and (500) Days of Summer was her breakout role. This should be her prime and she needs to take advantage.

Deschanel has a look and charm that’s more old-school ’50s Hollywood than modern celebrity. She’s not the most naturalistic actress in the world, but that can be a strength instead of a weakness if she uses it correctly. The Hepburns and Natalie Wood weren’t exactly Method either. Deschanel is obviously born to play romantic comedies, as her chemistry with Joseph Gordon-Levitt revealed. She would be smart to focus on retro-style films that portray their leads as larger than life — and it wouldn’t hurt her to consistently pair with an actor with whom she shares a similar appeal. Couldn’t Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel make ten romantic comedies together? Couldn’t they be Tracy and Hepburn? (Important: Our Idiot Brother does not count as one of those ten.)

Those scripts are out there, and Deschanel probably has the clout to get them made. She doesn’t need to stretch and try a variety of dramatic roles. She needs to do what she does best and do it often and consistently.

We at PCHA love you Zooey and want the best for you. We are available for future training upon request.


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Filed under Film Has AIDS, Music Has AIDS, Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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