Zooey Deschanel

Parker Posey’s guest appearance on the season premiere of “New Girl”—announced earlier this week—will mark the first time that Posey, “indie queen” of the ’90s, has shared a screen with Zooey Deschanel, indie queen of the millennial set. Time magazine gave Posey the title in 1997, after she starred in a string of low-budget independent films such as Party Girl and Dazed and Confused. And Deschanel, in the past few years, has been similarly anointed by outlets from New York magazine’s Vulture blog to NPR. What makes an indie queen?

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I’ve been trying for years to figure out why I don’t like Zooey Deschanel. I’ve always known I’m not alone: A quick Google search will reveal plenty of female writers who take issue with the indie actress, known for her roles in hit movies and—perhaps even more—for her long dark hair, wide blue eyes, and flirty, flouncy style. Their beefs tend to be feminist ones. There’s the acting critique: that she plays hollow characters whose chief characteristics are their beauty and ability to attract men. Critics in this camp often point to the film (500) Days of Summer.

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(500) Days of Summer is a story of boy meets girl, but it is not a love story. We know this because a basso profundo narrator (Richard McGonagle) tells us so in the opening moments of the film. The boy, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), ought to know this, too, because the girl, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), has informed him that she is not interested in having a boyfriend, that she wants to avoid anything “serious,” and that she considers love an illusion. But Tom does not believe Summer, and to a considerable degree neither do we.

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