New Girl Executive Producer Liz Meriwether on Jess as Feminist Symbol

New Girl Excecutive Producer Liz Meriwether on Jess as Feminist Symbol

In a February 19th interview by Forbes‘ Dana Gachman, New Girl executive producer, Liz Meriwether, was asked to clarify the position she presented in a recent New York Times article that funny female characters should not be considered feminist role models. In the Forbes interview, Meriwether argues that Jess, New Girl’s female lead played by Zooey Deschanel, should not be looked at as an example of the way women currently are. Meriwether goes on to say that it seems that while male characters are often “just characters” female characters are supposed to “be representative of something larger than we are.”

I agree with Meriwether’s stance that we should not be looking for deeper meaning in female characters, especially when it comes to comedy. Comedy is all about getting the audience to laugh. Absurd characters, such as Jess, are a great way to inject humor into a comedy. While the character of Jess has been lampooned as everything that is wrong with our “post-feminism” culture. In a February 2012 article for Notes on Metamodernism, Gry Rustad argues that Jess is an anti-feminist female character. By so harshly criticizing the character of Jess instead of accepting it for what it is, a trope created to garner laughs, many critics are making a bold statement that we as consumers of culture should pick apart even the most superficial fluff in search of a deeper meaning that just isn’t there.


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