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Stoogebie
topic
03:55:29 PM Aug 19th 2013
edited by 69.172.221.8
I'm a bit confused here as to how this trope works. Does this character necessarily have to be a quirky, perky and energetic Love Interest to an Always Male mopey Unlucky Everydude to "spice up his life"? If the one she's "saving" is also a girl, and their relationship is platonic, and "helping" or "healing" people is a big part of her character in general, (while ironically, she herself is an ADD-riddled Mood-Swinger with a little too much of a fondness for burning things) though she can stand on her own personality-wise, can she still be this trope? Note that this trope is something she actively wants to be, and her online handle (octanePixie) is actually meant as a reference to this trope.
Towersixteen
topic
08:17:58 PM Jun 23rd 2013
edited by 216.99.32.45
Alright, I need some clarification here. First off, the description seems to say that this trope is defined partially by the relationship between the character and their love interest, so unless a characters primary purpose is romantic they don"t really count, correct? Also, shouldn't this trope be for fairly one-dimensional characters who exist primarily for the development of another, a la the magical negro? If I'm right about either of those, this page needs a LOT of pruning. There's too many developed, multidimensional characters on here just because they happen to be female, energetic and off-beat. That's not by itself enough to qualify, right?
johnnye
07:50:30 AM Apr 6th 2014
edited by 85.210.127.128
I agree with you on every count, except for the romantic thing. It can be a platonic or love-from-afar thing: the defining concept is whether she has any goals or development of her own, or just exists to shake up the hero's life
MissKitten
topic
04:40:06 PM Jan 12th 2013
edited by MissKitten
I removed a couple of Zero Context Examples. You are free to restore them as long as you explain why they are this trope. Stuff like "A person is an example of this trope", "This person is this trope to X person", "This person breathes this trope", "This person is a rare inverse of this trope" Or just mentioning the characters name are not very good examples.
trippetaa
topic
12:58:45 AM Dec 19th 2012
Seriously, it seems like every somewhat off-beat female (and often male) character is getting shoehorned into this category, even if she is the lead and even if she doesn't have have any deep romantic connection with a male character.
MissKitten
09:01:38 PM Jan 4th 2013
True there are some examples on this list that I wouldn't really classify as MPDG.
jerodast
07:47:40 PM Jan 5th 2013
I'm removing Shame for this reason. Sissy fits almost nothing here besides the bare bones of being a female artist.
MissKitten
07:50:39 PM Jan 7th 2013
edited by MissKitten
There also seem to be quite a few zero context examples. They list the MPDG without saying why she(or he) is one.
GeekyGothGirl
06:49:29 AM Jan 25th 2013
Seriously-Garcia from Criminal Minds? She's a fully fleshed out, complex female supporting character who happens to be a little wacky and have an odd sense of style. How the hell is that the same as "vacuous, quirky love interest who only exists to make the male protagonist feel better about themselves"? I think some people are seriously using the trope to mean "any character who is a little odd/weird".
Lophotrochozoa
topic
12:54:52 PM Nov 4th 2012
I removed the following Zero-Context Example:
  • Nymphadora Tonks and to a lesser extent Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series are both reasonably clear cut examples of the trope.
To whom? Luna doesn't even have a love interest.
Kanangra
topic
08:05:39 AM Sep 8th 2012
Peppy Miller from 2011's "The Artist". Yes?
saxonwulf
topic
08:07:24 AM Jun 24th 2012
Do characters in a Film/book/other media who exist only (or mostly) in the mind of another fictional character still get treated as a normal Trope? Is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who is the construct of another character, existing just in that characters imagination still a MPDG?

Because Clementine from E Sot SM is just that. The film is shown from the perspective of the Male character played by Jim Carrie and infact takes part almost wholly in his memory. Even before he begins the procedure the films events are out of sequence because they are memories as the character looks back on his relationship. We do not meat the TRUE Clementine until the film comes to a close- we only meat what HE thinks of her as. So does this make her a MPDG or a different Trope (one to do with an imaginary girl or some such thing) or both?
vic5014
09:26:19 AM Jul 4th 2012
edited by vic5014
<moved to the New Girl discussion where it belongs>
koeniginator
topic
09:29:22 AM May 23rd 2012
Is Haruhi the best example character, considering, if anything, she's a deconstruction of MPDG?
Receptor
02:31:58 PM May 29th 2012
edited by Receptor
I think it's debatable whether she cleanly fits this trope or not. On the one hand, she lacks the mono-dimensional hyper-zaniness usually found in these characters but on on the other her relationship with Kyon (romantic or not) definitely follows this trend - the fact that she has lifted him from a hum-drum life is even explicitly stated in Kyon's grand self-revelatory moment towards the climax of "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya". But on the whole I'd say she's a partial match at best and definitely not an ideal poster girl for the trope.

Regardless, I definitely think it's a little harsh to call her a borderline sociopath! She's all about helping others (just sometimes without their really asking for it). It's true that she certainly has more than a touch of megalomania, expecting others to just fall in line with her, though it's notable that she usually constrains herself to doing this with the people who have already fallen into her orbit (all of whom have ulterior motives for doing so, it might be mentioned). Also, sociopaths are almost always practiced liars and manipulators, whereas Haruhi is as blunt and forward a character as you're ever going to come across. Actually, in the narrative she's a standout in this regard — everyone else in the S.O.S. Brigade lies to her every day about themselves and obfuscates the truth about Haruhi herself from her, all while they spy on her for higher powers. Granted they have very reasonable reasons for doing so, but even so, in that light Haruhi being a somewhat self-indulgent but ultimately well-intentioned teenager doesn't seem so bad. Certainly not _sociopath_ bad.

It's also interesting to note that, much as Haruhi is Kyon's MPDG, he also serves a similar role to her, due to some time-travel shenanigans - "John Smith"'s visit to her on the night she tries to signal aliens has a profound effect on her, seemingly encouraging her to stick to her independent-mindedness and to persevere not only in believing in supernatural occurrences but also just generally marching to the beat of her own drum.

Jumpingzombie
topic
02:09:03 PM May 9th 2012
edited by Jumpingzombie
Thinking about taking this example out:
  • In Office Space [Jennifer Aniston] plays a quirky waitress who acts as part of Peter's inspiration to ( rebel against the corporate office system and embezzle money)
    • Really? Joanna isn't that quirky. She's frustrated with her job that sucks and actually has no interest in expressing herself through "flare" because it's kind of a tacky idea. Yes, Peter likes her instead of his initial girlfriend Anne, however, Joanna is just friendly and Anne is probably cheating on him. Not to mention, Joanna does not, in anyway give Peter inspiration to embezzle the company's funds (which is inspired by a male coworker's idea, actually). Asking her out is not because she directly is changing his life, it is to show, on his own, Peter is changing his life and finally has the courage to ask her out. She's actually appalled by him stealing and is even more mature than him (for example telling him to grow up when he makes a big deal over someone she slept with)
NimmerStill
12:55:34 PM Jul 5th 2012
I agree. Take it out.
Geezus92
topic
06:30:26 PM Jan 9th 2012
Could we consider the Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls MPD Gs? They seem to follow the mold.
vmistm
topic
12:28:37 PM Oct 29th 2011
In what way is Jess from New Girl a MPDG? She's basically the opposite: a woman who is a mess and needs help getting her life together and can't help anyone with their problems, because hers have destroyed her.
Horton
04:24:55 PM Jun 30th 2012
She had a bad break-up, but I don't see her as a mess. I think she's optimistic to the point of absurdity - she and Nick were threatened at gunpoint over a parking spot and she thought the gun wielding driver was just a nice guy having a bad day. She sees the best in everyone even when common sense contradicts that inference. She has a child-like na´vatÚ about the nasty complexities of human nature, and when confronted by life's crappiness, she clings to positivity like a life preserver. Sooner or later, something decent happens to validate her optimistic world-view. She thinks that if you give people your trust and the benefit-of-doubt, they'll rise to the challenge of being a better person. Reality continually challenges this outlook, but she persists.

On the surface, her quirky adorableness fit my idea of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but more deeply, her mission in life seems to be to draw the skeptical and cynical into her blissful mental wonderland where everyone is good to each other and where bad life experiences can be ameliorated with a song and a cupcake.
vic5014
09:28:13 AM Jul 4th 2012
edited by vic5014
just wondering, but if this trope is supposed to represent wish fulfillment on the part of the writer and/or director, as stated by the guy on the Onion who came up with it, does that make characters created by women exempt (unless the creator(s) are lesbians or something)? Specifically thinking of Jess.
Ghostea
06:21:55 PM Jan 3rd 2013
edited by Ghostea
Regarding female creators: remember that being idealized can feel rather nice in some ways, and MPDG relationships can be romanticized by straight women too. It's still wish fulfillment, except it's women wishing they could BE the happy, free-spirited beauties capable of brightening up a gloomy sensitive person's world. Plus, the childlike-woman-as-ideal has been peddled for a quite a long time, and not always by men, you know? Here's a much longer article on that bit intersecting with the MPDG trope: [1]
Ilex
topic
04:50:28 AM May 14th 2011
Under Video Games Mystic Maya fits the role of MPDG to Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attourney series.
SomeSortOfTroper
topic
12:09:11 PM Feb 14th 2011
What happened to the trope namer notification? And why are the first examples not at the top? Why is an example I think is younger than the page at the top of its section?
71.169.29.245
topic
06:04:10 PM Jan 31st 2011
edited by 71.169.29.245
So, it strikes me that a disproportionate chunk of the examples in the film section are listed as subversions, aversions, deconstructions, and/or uniquely justifiable partial examples, when the normal definition of the trope broad enough for them to qualify as straight examples.

Our current description might be giving people the impression that it's a subversion or aversion if a Manic Pixie Dream Girl love story doesn't end in death or happily ever after. It isn't. "Too free spirited to ever be tied down" is an extremely common MPDG characterisitic, and a MPDG pulling out some "eccentric" reason why she can't stay with the protagonist in the closing moments of the film is a standard method of wrapping these sorts of stories up — the girl's purpose is fulfilled once she's turned the male protagonist's life around, so off she goes.

Secondly, it's not a subversion or aversion just because the MPGD has issues of her own, or learns something from the male protagonist in the end. It's common for a MPDG to have One Big Issue of her own which is confessed somewhere late in the second reel, then forgiven/forgotten/fixed/healed by the power of love; these are only treated to a significant amount of screen time if they're causing problems in the relationship though.
Rebochan
topic
11:16:03 PM Jan 29th 2011
edited by Rebochan
Took Amelie off because by virtue of the film being about Amelie's own life, which eventually deals with her having the courage to pursue a guy she has a crush on but has trouble expressing, she cannot be a one-dimensional quirky love interest that serves no purpose except to make a male main character's life exciting.
Horton
04:36:46 PM Jun 30th 2012
I disagree. I think Amelie is about the lives of all the other characters in the story. If a manic pixie dream girl is about affecting positive change in others, Amelie is a great example. She gets the courage to meet her crush because she has her own manic pixie in the form of an old painter. Without the love story, she'd do her good then disappear. To me, the love story and her own personal growth (through the intervention of the painter) is the sub-plot, the happy-ending-maker, the coda, to a larger story of a quirky girl spreading optimism, good feelings, positivity, healing, closure, etc., to others and slipping away unseen.
mhuzzell
08:48:11 AM Dec 7th 2012
Just because she slips away unseen after her interventions doesn't make her story the sub-plot. Amelie is definitely the main character of the movie.
theclam5678
topic
07:17:56 PM Dec 9th 2010
Why does it mention leonardo di caprio in the titanic hes hardly manic. i get that there is a double standard but thats hardly an example.
stm177
topic
01:39:44 PM Sep 9th 2010
Here are the questionable examples I deleted. I'll explain each deletion, underneath each:

  • Arguably one of the oldest ones in the book. Eve is this for Adam in the first chapter of the Bible. Even does the petty crime thing.
    • Eve represents lots of things, but not the kind of carefree character of a Manic Pixie.

  • It might not count, but a character in one of the X-wing novels was once in love with an actress who played manic pixie dream girls, and was shocked to learn that she was married and had children. This comes to bear on his crush on a squadronmate, as he learns to accept that she's more than a pretty face.
    • It doesn't count.

  • A gender-inverted, not-quite-romantic version of this trope features heavily in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland; Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter is, by and large, there to help Alice figure out what's really important in her life, and then he gets left behind in Wonderland, while she goes on to become a successful businesswoman.
    • Male, not romantic interest, no petty crimes, it just doesn't fit.

  • In Firefly the insanely happy Wrench Wench Kaylee to Fish out of Water Simon, a stuffy, fugitive, kid genius doctor.
    • She's a happy girl but she isn't

  • Although she's more of a Genki Girl, Lorelai Gilmore often shows shades of this whenever she's talking to Luke.
    • She isn't one.

  • Subverted in Don Quixote. The love interest Aldonza is often mused about by the titular character as beautiful and deeply attractive, though she is a plain peasant girl who he has only seen in passing on occasion. Further subverted in that she ends up neither with him, nor dead.
    • Subversions of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl are.... a regular girl? It just doesn't fit, for me.

  • Dory in Finding Nemo. While, a romantic relationship with Marlin isn't suggested, she does teach him to love in a paternal way: the creators of the film stated on the DVD's audio commentary that she was meant to be a surrogate child figure for Marlin while he tried to find his own son.
    • She's brain damaged, not manic.
PuffyTreat
topic
11:06:14 AM Sep 4th 2010
To whoever removed Shirley Maclaine's character from Billy Wilder's night perfect classic The Apartment from the example list: THANK YOU. Her character was so much more in the film than a mere love interest for Lemmon's, and the AV Club list really did a disservice to her and one of the most perfect movies ever made by including it.
137.104.82.99
topic
09:12:40 AM Aug 31st 2010
Why does the edits to the Chasing Amy example keep getting reverted?
shimaspawn
moderator
09:17:53 AM Aug 31st 2010
Nothing is showing up in the edit history. What are you trying to change it to?
137.104.224.245
02:53:41 PM Aug 31st 2010
I'm adding a second line saying that it isn't a straight example since she doesn't end up as his girlfriend nor dies by the end of the movie. I know my entry may sound too much like arguing on the main page, but I wish someone would tell me what's wrong instead of removing it. But looking through the edit history someone seems to be very protective of that entry...
shimaspawn
moderator
03:33:06 PM Aug 31st 2010
Ah, the head mod Fast Eddie is removing it because what you're doing is nattering. Read Repair, Don't Respond. It's better to modify the original bullet than add edits under it.
137.104.224.245
06:59:23 AM Sep 2nd 2010
That's what I figured. I'll see if I'll kind figure out a good edit instead. But as I said, someone seems a bit protective of that entry.
BritBllt
topic
07:18:01 AM Aug 26th 2010
edited by BritBllt
I'll work on finding a new quote to demonstrate the MPDG concept, but this old one has to go. The one and only page quote for a trope shouldn't be a character furiously railing about them not being that trope. O.o

Looking on the Quotes page, the Isaac Asimov or Ricky Martin one would both work better as straight examples, rather than the bitter deconstruction of the Eternal Sunshine example (which really doesn't demonstrate the character type at all). The Ricky Martin one's really the most straightforward, but La Vida Loca is also Deader Than Disco, so I get the feeling listing it would just spark a quote-swapping frenzy. So Isaac Asimov it is!

One of Haruhi's more upbeat "save the world by overloading it with fun" rants might work even better, but that'd probably trigger still more of a backlash, even if she really is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
macroscopic
topic
01:13:34 AM Jul 3rd 2010
edited by macroscopic
Iffy examples:

    ? 

Anime & Manga

(Would this count?)

  • The title character of Nodame Cantabile, though her status as a citizen of Cloud Cuckooland is as much a liability to herself as an asset.
  • Nino from Arakawa Under the Bridge. And she's one of the saner ones amongst her folks.
  • In Princess Tutu, the protagonist is deconstruction she wasn't the chosen one of the boy's heart of this to Mythoand in a more straight form to Fakir, well kind of ...[1]?

Comic books

Literature

  • Hermine in Hesse's Der Steppenwolf.
  • Alice from Twilight is SO a MPDG, to the point that she literally uses Bella as a doll, kisses everyone, sprints and dances instead of walks, etc. To be fair she's already dead.
    • Actually, Edward Cullen is more morbid than manic, but he sort of plays the role for Bella.
  • Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia. And then ... yes, you guessed it. She dies.
  • (Paper Towns example)

Live Action TV

  • Amy Pond, companion to the 11th Doctor in BBC's Doctor Who may qualify. Though the Doctor would be her Raggedy Bonkers In A Box Alien, and he would be alone in that trope.
  • In Dollhouse, Topher makes himself one of these to play with every year on his birthday.
  • Krysten Ritter is this in just about every role she has had:
  • Natasha seems to be one for Andrei and Pierre in the 1972 miniseries version of War and Peace.
  • Punky Brewster is a platonic version of this for Henry Warnimont.
  • Taylor Townsend is this for Ryan on The O.C.

Theatre
  • Variants are present, or at least played with, in other plays of the same era. In August Strindberg's Miss Julie and arguably Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (the latter is a much darker variant, as Hedda is downright vicious at times), the titular characters at least resemble the type, but their free-spirited ways have severe consequences: both plays end with the title character's suicide. Or they're critiques of 19th Century gender roles. Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Rent is very fond of this trope. Mimi and Maureen are both MPDGs for brooding Roger and uptight Joanne, respectively. And then there's Angel, who acts as MPDG for the entire group as Collins is quite the free spirit himself.
    • Joanne, however, winds up more and more annoyed with Maureen as the show goes on, culminating in the duet "Take Me Or Leave Me" where they hash out their incompatible differences.
    • By the end, however, it seems they've learned to accept those differences.

Film
  • Goldie Hawn as Toni in Cactus Flower.
  • Goldie Hawn as Marion in There's a Girl in My Soup.
  • Goldie Hawn as Dawn Divine in $.
  • Goldie Hawn as Jill in Butterflies Are Free.
  • Goldie Hawn as Lou Jean in The Sugarland Express.
  • Goldie Hawn as Oktyabrina in The Girl from Petrovka.
  • Goldie Hawn as Jill in Shampoo.
  • Goldie Hawn as Gloria Mundy in Foul Play.
  • Judy Maxwell in What's Up, Doc?.
  • Ariel (Ann-Margret) in Grumpy Old Men.
  • JenniferAniston's character Polly in Along Came Polly.
  • Zach Braff is a magnet for Manic Pixie Dream Girls. Some of the women who taught him how to love:
    • Natalie Portman in Garden State.
    • Heather Graham on Scrubs.
    • Rachel Bilson in The Last Kiss, who is something of a subversion in that he tires of her immaturity and returns to his pregnant girlfriend.
  • Young Winona Ryder heals Richard Gere's broken heart in Autumn in New York. And then she dies.
  • Charlize Theron changes Keanu Reeves's life forever in Sweet November. And then she dies.
  • Juliette Lewis' character in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? may qualify as this.
  • Sandra Bullock in Forces of Nature. Subverted in that Ben Affleck goes back to his fiancee at the end.
  • Arguably, Maria in The Sound of Music, at least initially.
  • Most definitely (descriptions of) Evan Rachel Wood's runaway Southern girl, Melodie, in Whatever Works, especially considering the man she's influencing is ultimate misanthrope Larry David (they get married).
    • This might qualify as a partial subversion, since Yelnikoff changes her more than she changes him.
  • The wacky character SanDeE* played by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Steve Martin movie L.A.Story.

Western Animation
  • Izzy of Total Drama Island is a lot like this, but without the romantic part; she didn't get a love interest until more than halfway through the first season, and she's paired off with Owen, a cheerful but dim-witted Big Eater. And perhaps more realistically than most of these examples, their relationship isn't stable—-while he has a continual crush on her, Izzy is fickle, resulting in a somewhat off-and-on romance.

macroscopic
01:14:03 AM Jul 3rd 2010

I know this is a good example but it needs elaboration and I don't know the movie that well.
macroscopic
01:14:21 AM Jul 3rd 2010
There's also this:

  • Amy in John Dies at the End became this for David. He initially avoided her because she was strange and he figured his life was weird enough, but after she became important to the plot, the single night he spent protecting her made it clear that they complemented each other very well, and she ended up being the only girl mentioned in the book he actually loved rather than lusted after.

David doesn't say a single word about her in the narrative in a romantic or sexual context (and this, the chapter after he spends paragraphs on John's girlfriend's breasts). She's 'the girl that used to vomit all the time' right up to where she's all over him, and later on he's just dependant - and he even admits it.
slimkidtrey
10:19:30 PM Aug 23rd 2012
Obvious ones: -Summer in (500) Days of Summer -Clementine in Eternal Sunshine (though CK is conscious of this)

Random one: Lucy Liu's character in "Watching the Detectives"
sinetag
09:20:08 AM Aug 8th 2013
Madonna in Who's That Girl

Jody Thelen in Four Friends

Liza Minnelli in Arthur
Turtle
topic
12:26:16 PM Jun 22nd 2010
Is it just me, or is seeing a spoiler tag at the end of an example a better indication that the character dies than actually highlighting the spoiler tag?
macroscopic
04:05:19 AM Jul 3rd 2010
It may be worth trimming all the "and then she died" spoilers out. How much would you say dying effects the nature of the trope?
vifetoile
topic
12:50:41 AM Jun 9th 2010
Removed this line:

  • This trope provides the whole basis for the movie / musical Gigi. Which provided the world with Maurice Chevalier singing Thank Heaven for Little Girls. Squee or Squick, take your pick.

Not only is the bit about 'Thank Heaven' unnecessary, but the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope is not the "whole basis" for the film. The film is just as much about Gigi growing up, and growing out of her role of being a shallow, self-centered child (while still retaining her essential spirit), as it is about Gaston realizing he wants more in a companion than a pretty face and a bit of fun.
Lullabee
topic
10:21:43 AM May 18th 2010
edited by Lullabee
Unknown Troper 72.224.133.152 went through and asterisked out all instances of "mad" or "ship" (ie., two each). I'm fixing it, of course, but it seems just bizarre enough to have happened for a reason and I thought I'd ask.

Maybe Unknown Troper is just a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncracies, like a complete antipathy towards the words "mad" and "ship".
Hollerama
topic
12:05:50 PM Mar 26th 2010
Is Giselle from Enchanted really a MPDG? She seems a little more of a classic Mary Sue parody than a MPDG. The whole point of a MPDG is that she isn't the main character, but only exists to help out the main character. Giselle is the main character of her movie, of course.
vifetoile
12:52:25 AM Jun 9th 2010
From the point of view of the character of Robert, she is, and she fits into that role very cleanly. Also, she's not a parody of Mary Sue - more of the Friend to All Living Things kind of Disney Princess. Be careful with the phrase Mary Sue, because it gets quite overused.
67.84.80.243
topic
05:43:59 PM Mar 4th 2010
notreallyatroper: Hmmmmm, I guess you're right. Got a better picture in mind, then?
TBeholder
10:28:12 AM Mar 16th 2010
One is here
back to Main/ManicPixieDreamgirl

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