Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Go To

Basic Trope: A zany girl makes The Everyman's life more interesting.

  • Straight: Bob's life is pretty typical until he meets Alice, a happy-go-lucky artist with a wacky sense of humor.
  • Exaggerated: Bob is a Ridiculously Average Guy and Alice is an outright Magical Girlfriend.
  • Downplayed: Instead of a whirlwind girlfriend who sweeps Bob off his feet, Alice is a new friend who helps him think outside the box, and gives him a bit of help with his problems — and he can return the favor, because Alice has a life outside of Bob.
  • Justified:
    • Bob actually has Hidden Depths that Alice manages to detect and bring out.
    • Alice has a zany personality because she's a child.
    • Alice is a manic pixie dream girl, who often helps Bob out, but she does get her own story line and development so no one can say her character exists solely for Bob.
  • Inverted:
  • Gender inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • It turns out Bob doesn't want chaos and fun in his life; he's a content Creature of Habit, and wants Alice to just leave him alone.
    • Alice is a con woman who's just stringing Bob along for all she can get.
    • Alice seems happy and cheerful, but she's actually dead inside.
    • Alice points out that if Bob wants to find meaning in his life, he should find it himself instead of using her.
    • Bob is actually the one chasing Alice, thinking she'll help him and give his life meaning. Alice wants him and every other guy who thinks she can fix them to just leave her alone.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Except all that was just an act, and he eventually caves in.
    • Alice is a con woman who plans to string Bob along for all she can get, but she falls in love with Bob instead.
    • Advertisement:
    • Spending time with Bob helps Alice overcome her past pain and she embraces her persona because it helped her feel alive again.
    • Bob does something spontaneous of his own accord to liven up his life, and Alice reveals that was her goal all along.
  • Parodied: Alice is a Chaotic Stupid literal pixie, and Bob is a Schedule Fanatic. They've been married for years.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice shows perky, optimistic Bob that life isn't really all it's cracked up to be, but through this Bob re-defines his values and finds true happiness and has a stronger sense of self.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: The author loves these types of girls, and isn't afraid of showing it.
  • Lampshaded: "What did an ordinary guy like me do to deserve you?"
  • Invoked: Charlie, hoping to make Bob's life more interesting, hooks him up with Alice.
  • Exploited: Unknown to Alice, Bob is actually a thief. When he and Alice go around town, he provokes her into public stunts which distract his marks while he robs them.
  • Defied: Soon after meeting, Bob and Alice end up despising each other; Bob considers Alice a loud, unpredictable pest, and Alice considers Bob unbearably dull. When somebody suggests they should date, it's hard to tell who is more disgusted.
  • Discussed: Charlie is of two minds about a girl like this. His Uncle Bob tells him how he met Alice and she turned his life upside down in a good (or bad) way.
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice brings a lot of excitement into Bob's life. Unfortunately, this is because she is seriously mentally disturbed: a yandere, a Stepford Smiler, or otherwise in need of serious psychological help. Bob is portrayed as either the poor bastard whose life goes to hell because of her, or a bastard who is taking advantage of her.
    • Alice tries to make Bob's life more interesting, but instead, he gradually wears her down until she becomes just as ordinary as he is.
    • Alice and Bob start dating, but her wild personality proves too much for his Straight Man personality to handle and they break up.
    • Bob becomes quite emotionally dependant on Alice, to the point he can't do anything without her. And when/if she leaves...
    • Alice feels that she has to make Bob's life better, but Bob is just fine with his life and considers Alice an annoyance.
    • Alice purposefully seeks out guys who have problems, brings them out of their slumps, and makes them totally dependent on her in a sick All Take and No Give relationship.
    • Alice sees Bob as her latest "project" and dates him to "make him better" and gratify her hero complex.
    • Alice tries to liven Bob's life up, but only ends up ruining it, causing him to hate her.
    • Alice and Bob are just not compatible, and each tires of the others' crazy/reclusive behavior.
    • Alice has dated several guys like Bob who use her to make their lives feel meaningful and dump her once they feel they have outgrown her. By the time Bob has come around, Alice is a Broken Bird who believes that love doesn't exist.
  • Reconstructed: Alice and Bob eventually develop as people, and reach an agreeable compromise; Bob breaks out of his shell and becomes more willing to try new things out, while Alice settles down and becomes a mature (but still fun-loving) woman.
  • Played For Drama: Alice acts like there's no tomorrow and does random crazy things on a whim... because she has 6 months to live and is trying to fulfill her bucket list.

Back to Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: