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Tropes That Annoy Me: Manic Pixie Dream Girl

This one's been a long time coming. As John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans". But enough of that noise. Onwards with this noise.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a trope dating way back beyond the dawn of fiction. You can even find her in The Tempest as Prospero's daughter. But that's sort of blended with Born Sexy Yesterday [which might not have a trope page just yet] which I will cover at a later date.

What usually happens is that the MPDG turns up to take the authorial insert fantasy persona out of his rut and onwards into the rest of the adventure. Sometimes, she comes along to teach him a few things he needs to learn about life in a non-threatening manner. She's often childlike, easily excited by small things, and generally threatened in act three.

If a MPDG pops up in a serialised drama as the male protagonist's love interest, she can't last. She's either put on the bus for her own good, or Fridged to motivate the hero on a rampage of vengeance.

My most recent encounter with this trope was an episode of Lucifer in which the titular male protagonist turns up with a Manic Pixie Airhead as a fake wife as one of Lucy's gambits to get back on good terms with Decker. Or at least get back to square one because the relationship got too complicated for the writers ...er... him to handle.

In the end, though, the Manic Pixie Airhead is just another person that Lucy managed to help when he ran away for a while. The entire persona of the Manic Pixie Airhead was a ruse. Which just goes to show that you can get away with outright manipulation if you're an entirely fictional white, male, loveable misogynist. And then she's bussed offscreen for what we imagine to be a better life.

I'll get on to that one at a later date, too.

The MPDG exists solely to be fascinating to the male lead in one way or another. She's often a polar opposite to him in most respects, but they find unlikely common ground and use that as a foundation to have a sex scene for a relationship. But she is just a dream. If you spend any time on her character, you find she doesn't have one. She's not complicated. She's not human. She's a fantasy turned into a very slim role for lady actors who also happen to be under 25. If she's over thirty, then she becomes and Aunty Mame who sort of adopts the male protagonist and attempts to shape him into a better man for a young lady she's setting him up with. Often with hilarious results 9_9

Most annoyingly, the MPDG knows one or two things that Girls Shouldn't Know. Manly stuff like how to fix a car or what 'torque' means. Or how to defend herself in a surprise reveal of combat skills. This is most often attributed to having a number of brothers, rather than wanting to learn it herself.

Not a lot can be done to remove the MPDG from our narratives. We have a lot of lonely male authors and scriptwriters who have no idea how to write women as anything else but a shallow wish-fulfilment fantasy for their self-insert persona. They have no idea what it's like to be in a sustainable relationship and they can't really write one because all the Applauded Literature is full of MPDGs who exist to shake up the hero and then vanish without a trace.

My best advice is to find and applaud the few on-screen relationships that (a) last and (b) are functional. And forget about sitcoms. They have no foundation in reality and their humour is still based in the 1950's when divorce was illegal. And when the MPDG pops up, be vocal about the writers being lazy and dropping another cardboard female into the ranks of the temporary cast. The more antagonistic buzz there is about the MPDG, the less likely she is to turn up.

On personal news, I have a flashy new keyboard, but no new PC tower.

Every time I get a new keyboard, my typos increase as I get used to where the keys are and my muscle memory adapts. This one promises to be super distracting as the current program has it lighting up in ripples with every key press. So my desk looks a little like a disco when I'm on a roll.

But... all the lights are blue and I am a happy little nerd. Disco or no disco.

Now all I have to do is get used to where all the keys are so that the typos decrease to the usual two or three. Instead of two or three... hundred.