‘New Girl’: The Similarities Between Jess Day and Zooey Deschanel

“New Girl” is all about a teacher who experiences a nasty breakup and moves in with three male roommates. Protagonist Jess Day is a semi-autobiographical character of the actor who portrays her — fan favorite Zooey Deschanel. Recently, events in Deschanel’s real life seem even more in line with “New Girl” than usual.

Big Breakup

After “New Girl” premiered, Deschanel called it quits with Ben Gibbard, her husband of two years and Death Cab for Cutie front man. The breakup was mutual, and as far as celebrity breakups go, free of drama and scandal. While the reasons for the real-life breakup are unknown, it doesn’t seem like Deschanel faced as much drama as that which Jess experiences on “New Girl,” when she awkwardly discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her.

The Real Zooey

Zooey Deschanel is adored by hipsters, geek girls who see themselves in Deschanel’s quirky habits, and those attracted to “adorkable” women. Like many celebrities, Deschanel’s personality is her brand; her brand is what sells “New Girl.” The similarities between Deschanel and her fictional counterpart become achingly obvious as the series goes on and life imitates art. Deschanel’s December 2011 “Conan” interview exemplifies her quirky personality, which is practically indistinguishable from that of her character.

Spoof Show

In November 2010, web comedienne Noel Kristi Wells started producing a spoof series called “Hey! The Zooey Deschanel Show,” in which Wells portrays Deschanel rambling on about her favorite things. After the web series grew in popularity, “New Girl” was announced, and Wells started to question the uncanny similarities between the two shows, particularly in the series introductions. Could producers have viewed this show and seen the value in creating a series in which Deschanel simply acted like herself, or was it merely a coincidence?

Song and Look

Deschanel’s personality isn’t the only trait she shares with her “New Girl” character. The actress is also a professional singer, half of the She & Him duo. Her alter ego is a music teacher who makes up quirky songs about herself and her peculiar life situations.

Deschanel’s real-life vintage-inspired fashion sense often carries over in her portrayal of Jess Day as well. The everyday clothes Jess wears might be a bit geekier, but when the character wears a dress, one can easily wonder whether it came from wardrobe or straight out of Deschanel’s closet.

Both Deschanel and her character have a “fresh on the scene” quality, but face challenges in the future. Both character and counterpart are refreshing as their quirky selves, and fans eagerly anticipate the ways in which they’ll tackle everything life throws at them with the help of accident prone behaviors and teacher clothing.

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