When New Girl was announced, I was excited to see our lady Zooey in a new role, particularly one that we could enjoy weekly. And when I saw the promotions and teasers, I was intrigued by her character. And when I watched the show, I thought, “Oh my goodness, she is me.”
I can’t lie and tell you guys that I wasn’t completely tickled pink when I had friends and family tell me the exact same thing. “She’s just like you!” I was flattered by the comparison and still am. I know Jess Day isn’t a perfect person and I love that about her, but she’s also completely delightful. Certainly she and I have some qualities that differ (I have a pottier mouth, oops), but there is so much that I relate to (I can’t say the p-word either, Jess!) that I can’t help but feel a real connection with her, and I think a lot of other girls do, too. It’s one of the many brilliant reasons why New Girl is such a great show.
But I feel I need to make something super, duper clear: I’m not trying to be Jessica Day.
I’m also not trying to be Summer Finn. I might view relationships similarly to her, but I’m not doing it on purpose. I’m also not trying to be Meredith Grey, it just so happens that I’m in a dark and twisty place that resembles her’s. And I am really not trying to be Hermione Granger (actually, that’s a lie, I actively try to be Hermione every single day).
While it’s one thing to have someone say, “Hey, you remind me of so-and-so!” or, “Oh em gee, so-and-so was so you in that new ep!”, it’s a whole other thing to have someone tell me, ”LULZ, that was such a so-and-so thing to say!” No, it wasn’t. It was a me thing to say. That’s why I said it.
With millions–billions, maybe?–of characters out there at this point, and so many of them famous and referenced in everyday culture, I’m starting to feel like we as individuals are starting to lose ourselves. In one way, it makes it easy to figure people out: he seems like a Gale, so I want to be his best friend forever; she seems like a Katniss, so I won’t mess with her; he’s a total Peeta, so I want to make-out with him immediately and also he probably bakes bread and mmmmm I loaf him already. But I think when we do this, we gloss over the actual person and try to fit him or her into some weird, author-contrived mold that doesn’t necessarily exist in this world.
The worst is when I find myself putting myself into those molds. “Oh my goodness, Jess would totally wear this dress.” Why do I do this to myself? I should not want to be a character in someone’s fantasy world. I should want to be me. As soon as I start making any decision, from the style of a dress to the way I handle a fight with a friend in the manner that I think a character would handle it, I lose myself entirely. Not only do I cease being honest with myself, but I cease being honest with the entire world. I become something other than real.
I’m not trying to be a character, I swear. When I find myself thinking those things, I put an end to it. I think it’s great that we can find pieces of ourselves in characters (and I fully admit to loving the fact that my father and sister actively look for the moment in New Girl when Jess “pulls a Becca”, it completely fills me with joy), but I hate when people make the accusation that I’m trying to be Jess. No, I’m not. I’m trying to be me. It’s just a very happy coincidence when the two coincide.
(On a side note though, oh my gosh, when Jess and Cece fight? That was so me and my bestie, it made me so happy. Okay, I’m done comparing, I swear.)
featured image courtesy of hollywood reporter