Astrology Signs Increasingly Pop Up in Movies and TV

Astrology-loving “Girls.” (Credit: HBO)

On Monday, on Fox’s hot new drama “The Following,” starring Kevin Bacon, a note written by cult follower Amanda Porter (Marin Ireland) described herself as, among other things, a Pisces. This reference didn’t have quite the impact of the Piscean mention in the decade-old Bend It like Beckham, in which an older relative says, “Lesbian? I thought she was a Pisces.” But it was enough to reach a sizable number of astrology followers who pay attention to these celestial shout-outs.

Also this week, “Access Hollywood” interviewed “The Voice” contestant Judith Hill who turned all four judges’ chairs around with her rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “What A Girl Wants.” When the conversation segued into discussing Hill’s experience working with Michael Jackson, one co-host noted that the King of Pop was a Virgo.

Star signs and astrology lingo are increasingly part of movies and television these days. Even Lena Dunham’s “Girls” got all cosmic on us. Messed up but fronting a wise-beyond-her-years persona, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) waxed knowingly about the desirability of lovers’ having compatible rising signs.

Last year, Lola Versus – starring Greta Gerwig, whose character is dumped by her fiance — contained references to the often sobering and decision-provoking Saturn Return which visits in one’s late 20s. This is 40 saw Desi (Megan Fox) boost the ego of Jason (Jason Segel) and deflate Ronnie’s (Chris O’Dowd), when she talked about star sign compatibility. In Hit and Run, starring Kristen Bell and write-and-co-director Dax Shepard, the two characters – a couple in real life – had fun inserting Libra into a license plate number.

These star-sign interjections don’t eat up running time. But they tell us just enough to make a difference. The Piscean cult follower is even more suggestible than we might have thought, with the blurry Neptunian line between selfless devotion to her leader and reality painfully slim. Virgos, like Jackson, are perfectionists in their outcomes; perhaps “The Voice”’s Hill might have learned valuable artistic lessons from him.

But if these astrological references are so pithy, then what’s the point? The brevity is the point. For aficionados, astrology is a symbolic language that lends itself to astro-speak among both conversant viewers and neophytes. Why write a paragraph when a text message will say it all much more economically? In a time-scarce world, astrological shorthand fits right in.

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