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Creator / Zooey Deschanel

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"We don't need to look like men or dress like men or talk like men to be powerful. We can be powerful in our own way, our own feminine way."

Zooey Claire Deschanel (born January 17, 1980) is an American actress, and if you're watching one of her performances, chances are she's either playing a Deadpan Snarker, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or both.

She's acted in such films as Mumford, Almost Famous, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Elf, Tin Man, Failure to Launch, The Happening, Bridge to Terabithia, Yes-Man, (500) Days of Summer, and Our Idiot Brother. She also had a starring role in the Fox sitcom New Girl for seven seasons. In 2013 she guest starred in an episode of Fox's American Dad!, playing a parody of the types of characters she's usually typecast as.

In addition to acting, Deschanel is also a talented singer, songwriter and keyboardist, and is one half of the indie folk / indie pop (or as she once described it, "arena folk") duo She & Him (the other half being singer / guitarist / producer M. Ward), and a couple of her movies include at least one scene where she sings. She & Him have made six albums, one EP, and thirteen singles to date. Four of the albums charted in the Billboard 200 (one in the Top 10).

Her father Caleb is an award-winning cinematographer (best known for his work on such films as Being There and The Passion of the Christ), and her mother Mary Jo and sister Emily are both actresses as well, the former best known for playing Annie Glenn in The Right Stuff and the latter as Bones. (Zooey appeared as Bones' cousin in an episode of the latter.) She was married to Death Cab for Cutie lead singer/Face of the Band Ben Gibbard from 2009 until 2011. In 2015 she and her current boyfriend and fiancé, film producer Jacob Pechenik, announced they were expecting a baby together. The two got married before the birth of their daughter, Elsie Otter, in July. She gave birth to their son, named Charlie Wolf, in May 2017. Deschanel also converted to Judaism, Pechenik's religion. They have since divorced and as of 2021 Deschanel is dating Jonathan Scott of Property Brothers.


Discography (as part of She & Him)

  • Volume One (March 18, 2008)
  • Volume Two (March 23, 2010) - Peaked at number 6 in the Billboard 200, her highest-charting album
  • A Very She & Him Christmas (October 24, 2011)
  • Volume 3 (May 7, 2013)
  • Classics (December 2, 2014)
  • Christmas Party (October 28, 2016)

She provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Her guest starring role in the American Dad! episode "Independent Movie" had her basically playing a parody of the types of characters she's prone to play. Lampshaded outright in the episode itself where Steve actually calls Zooey's character a "Manic Pixie Dream Girl."
  • Brainless Beauty: While she rarely plays these roles, her very first role was one of these, playing an empty-headed teenage model on Veronica's Closet. She also portrayed herself as one in this iPhone commercial.
  • The Cast Showoff: Several of her movies let her show off her singing voice.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: She looks a lot like Katy Perry. This is lampshaded when she appeared in the music video for Katy's song "Not the End of the World", where the aliens abduct Zooey, mistaking her for Katy.
  • Christmas Songs: She's recorded two Christmas albums as part of She & Him.
  • Clark Kenting: A number of people get freaked out about how utterly unrecognizable she looks just by not having her signature bangs.
  • Creator Backlash: Meta. While it’s almost always the first word people use to describe her, she doesn’t like being called “quirky”. She has said in interviews that it’s a polite way of calling someone weird, and that if she weren’t pretty, people would just call her weird.
  • Endearingly Dorky: She's built her career on this trope. Her New Girl character is even referred to as "adorkable" in promotional material. Abby Elliott's SNL parody of her overuses the the term, too.
  • Girly Girl: A big part of her usual persona.
  • Hipster: Zooey has a reputation as being a "hipster sex symbol" due to her appearing in several independent films as well as the fact that she married indie rock musician Ben Gibbard. Although it should be noted that she's not crazy about being every hipster boy's dream girl.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: She's famous for playing this character type. Deconstructed in (500) Days of Summer.
  • Typecasting: In Manic Pixie Dream Girl and/or Deadpan Snarker roles.