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TV Tropes Monday: Manic Pixie Dream Girl


Tweet of the Day: Erotica=Sex Positive 

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This trope is what actresses like Amy Addams, and Zooey Deschanel have built their careers on.  The happy go-lucky, slightly spaced out girl that shatters the solemn sensitive heroes life and teaches him to live and love. It is stereotypical, but this trope does have multiple layers:

  1. Manic: Perfect example of the old adage that opposites attract. She is the fountain of energy to the heroes gloomy world view. She brings the energy the hero needs to break out of his self imposed funk. Her craziness teaches him to learn how to live life on the edge.
  2. Pixie: They tend to be short and magical. Short means that even the shortest of male main characters will look taller by comparison. His 5’5 frame will look gigantic against her 5′ nothing. She is also magically beautiful. The kind of beauty that doesn’t require make up in the morning or fancy dresses.  The perfect way to break through the MC more cynical expectations or others. It also serves as a explanation for her girly-girl attitude.
  3. Dream Girl: Here is where things get downright stereotypical. She is the “dream girl” to the hero. It doesn’t matter how much of a self-absorbed black hole of a man he is, she will always, as if by magic, be attracted to him. She serves, at very least, to prove that he has value, that someone will love him for who is. Ironically she is often employed as the cause of his “awakening” into a fuller life.

Not all tropes are bad. The Manic Pixie Girl can make for an interesting character. But when reduced to a mere love interest to the main character means that this trope is basically a plot device (barely) disguised as character.  You could write an entire story from the male character point of view and not have the MPGC utter a word. Of course, shift the center of the story to a female character, and it would make for a very interesting situation. Why is she manic? Is she really magical? Is he the dream guy for her?

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3 comments on “TV Tropes Monday: Manic Pixie Dream Girl

  1. You do this one often. I always think of this character as the other end to the Katherine Hiegl character type. Peppy where the other is cynical about love.

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