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This video discusses the misuse of the term, which is about shallow, one-dimensional satellite characters, for complex, well-developed characters who simply happen to be random, quirky, and superficially appear to be the same thing. I\'m wondering if our usage here meshes with, or contradicts, the original meaning of the term?
There seems to be an inordinate amount of examples on this page citing themselves to be subversions or "rare" male examples. Is this page for the original definition of a poorly developed caricture, or is it about the more evolved idea of general quirky, life changing characters? Because if it's the latter (which seems to be the more common useage and plays more into Tropes are Not Bad, as the original definition was used exclusively to point to poor writing), then a lot of these examples aren't subversions or deconstructions at all (and the male example seems to be way more common than it's getting credit for).
The last paragraph says that the gender flipped version is rare, but aren't MPDG basically just Bad Boys only appealing to masculine sensibilities rather than a rule 63 gender flip.
How can there be real-life examples of this trope? By definition MPDG's are caricatures created by writers for the sole purpose of existing for a single character and not existing for much else. It's practically impossible for someone in real life to be that, seeing as how they have their own life and experiences.
I think that has to do with the fact that this trope refers simultaneously to a type of person *and* the way they interact with another character. The defining characteristics of the MPDG are a set of character traits (quirky, energetic, flirtatious, adventurous, rebellious etc.), but the typical purpose of an MPDG is different. A real person can embody the character traits of an MPDG, but won't embody the trope itself, since the trope not only involves those character traits, but also the relationship between them and another character.
Is it really a subversion for the MPDG to *not* end up with the lead character? Maybe it's changed over the years, but it seems much more to me that MPD Gs are so alluring to stuffy or quiet men that they remain aloof to men's affections, or ignore them for lack of interest. E.g. 500 Days Of Summer would seem to be the rule, not the exception. See also Eleanor Abbott in Inventing The Abbots, Angela Ferilli in October Road, Violet Bick in It's A Wonderful Life, maybe even Jackie Brown in the movie of the same name. It seems to me that at least since the 60s or 70s, unless the MPDG is also portrayed as nerdy (as in Real Genius's Jordan) or shy, the MPDG is in high demand, and the protagonists' odds of entering a long term relationship with her are slim. Perhaps prior to the 60s, an MPDG was widely considered trouble or unsavory because she didn't fit into womanly norms, meaning attraction to an MPDG required a particular latent wanderlust, but that's not the case these days.
I agree MPD Gs seem to more commonly be loved and lost and lead to a stage of growth for the main character. He becomes a little more "fun", but still has life goals incompatable with the MPDG's.
The entry for Almost Perfect is transphobic. The text reads: "Sage from Almost Perfect can be considered this from the moment she's introduced until she tells Logan she's Transsexual."
I haven't read the book yet. But a person's assigned at birth gender should not invalidate their identity. Saying that a character was a qualifying MPDG unitl the point where you don't consider them a real girl anymore is grossly transphobic because it rejects the idea that they were a girl at all. Which means that the entry completely misses the point of the book from the summary I read.
Does Kaylee from Firefly qualify? She doesn't seem to have any desires besides a randy eye for Simon. She's always upbeat, definitely quirky, and the crime bit fits right in with Serenity's crew.
I willingly stipulate that, had the show not been cancelled, character development may have ensued and fleshed the character out.
How is Lake Bell's character in "In a World" a MPDG example? She has goals of her own, she doesn't exist solely to improve the life of a brooding young man. The only MPDG characteristic she has (if any) is being mildly quirky.
Trope misuse, I bet. Feel free to remove it.
Is there a better quote to use? that little speech was Jess' "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her foil Julia who was rude to her for being silly and girly. something more like when he says to Sam in Garden State- "you changed my life in four days. This is the beginning of something really big."
Page quotes have a forum thread here if you want to discuss them.
Is Mamoru Chiba an example of the trope?
From Sailor Moon? His description in the show's wiki doesn't indicate anything in that direction.
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.
Context is everything. In the case of an MPDG, I think she can be just friends with the Mopey Everydude.
Deconstructing and subverting tropes is a thing. In the example you've given, that could be the case. I can think of several examples of stories about girl friend pairs in which one is eccentric and wacky and the other one isn't, I wouldn't consider a character like this an MPDG. I think it especially doesn't count as such if the eccentric character is able to function in the real world to some degree and has a life beyond just the main character. In your example, she sounds self-aware and a character in her own right so she's probably not an MPDG.
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?
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
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.
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.
True there are some examples on this list that I wouldn't really classify as MPDG.
I'm removing Shame for this reason. Sissy fits almost nothing here besides the bare bones of being a female artist.
There also seem to be quite a few zero context examples. They list the MPDG without saying why she(or he) is one.
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".
I'll be removing Clara from "Doctor Who" for similar reasons. She's not even 'that' quirky (at least not any more than her love interest, next to whom she winds up looking like the reasonable one), and this "no developement" canard is mostly rooted in the fact that it's trendy to hate on anything the most recent showrunner puts out these days;
We get tons of detailed background info on her and her family history, and she goes from someone presentable who's shelved her dreams to fulfill her duties to a firm, confident idealist who strives toward realizing all of her ambitions (whom series 8 then shapes into someone with a more pragmatic approach)
To dismiss an articulate, iron-willed, cunning and capable person like Clara as "very cute and feminine" eye candy just because she's vain, wears colorfull dresses and looks after chldren for a living strikes me as prett sexist in itself. This is someone who was mature enough to put her life plans on hold to care for two motherless children, drives motorbikes, was interested in philosphy since she was teenager and was shown to have quite a hard-edge as early as the episode "Hide".
She's one of the few female characters out there who gets to be very dominant (to the point that it's not always a good thing), relish in leadership, act as a mentor figure without maternal associations, fuck up in her love life, and be fully aware of her capabilities without downplaying them or being dismissed as as one-dimensional bitch.
The plot arc in series 7 wasn't about a "pixie dreamgirl" plot, not even about deconstructing it - It was about having those two *equally* mysterious, "powerful" characters trying to make sense of each other, both as entities and as people.
Or, in the words of the actress that played her:
"It’s not very straightforward. I like the idea of the two of them being magnetically attracted to each other but they are also wary of each other at the same time. Kind of like they’re both equally mysterious creatures, so they meet and just instantly get on. And this goes on as the series progresses. This guy has landed on her doorstep and offered her all of time and space, so she’s trying to figure out what he’s about, at the same time he’s always trying to figure out what she’s about”
It will never cease to surprise me how fans of a Sci-Fi show will dismiss 'curiosity about mysterious occurences' as "no motivation", or make a "person charges mystery" (and potentially finds love on the way) situation about "girl runs after man"
For every Damsel or vapid anthropomorphic collection of idealized traits, there is her boyfriend, who somehow manages to be a goal-driven 3D character despite falling in love and pursuing "get girlfriend" as one of his (many) goals. Getting a partner does not immediately make a character "based around them" or "lacking own motivation"
I removed the following Zero Context Example:
Peppy Miller from 2011's "The Artist". Yes?
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?
<moved to the New Girl discussion where it belongs>
Is Haruhi the best example character, considering, if anything, she's a deconstruction of MPDG?
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.
Isn't this supposed to be about "sexistically one-dimensional"/Based around the guy with no motivation/ the genera prevalence of "anthropomorphized collection of ideal attributes" where a female chatacter should be, and not just "any quirky girl who gets a love interest"?
Haruhi's not treated as idealized, but as a difficult, and she brings Kyon more difficulty than free solutions, she gets a journey of her own about learning to be less abrasive and her "I just want to be special" motivation/ profound feeling of insignificance to motivate her.
Nope, this trope is not about that.
Thinking about taking this example out:
I agree. Take it out.
Could we consider the Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls MPD Gs? They seem to follow the mold.
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.
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 naïvaté 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.
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.
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: 
Under Video Games
Mystic Maya fits the role of MPDG to Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attourney series.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are the questionable examples I deleted. I'll explain each deletion, underneath each:
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.
Why does the edits to the Chasing Amy example keep getting reverted?
Nothing is showing up in the edit history. What are you trying to change it to?
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...
Ah, the head mod Fast Eddie is removing it because what you're doing is nattering. Read Repair Dont Respond. It's better to modify the original bullet than add edits under it.
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.
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.
Anime & Manga
(Would this count?)
Live Action TV
I know this is a good example but it needs elaboration and I don't know the movie that well.
There's also this:
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.
-Summer in (500) Days of Summer
-Clementine in Eternal Sunshine (though CK is conscious of this)
Lucy Liu's character in "Watching the Detectives"
Madonna in Who's That Girl
Jody Thelen in Four Friends
Liza Minnelli in Arthur
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?
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?
Removed this line:
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.
Unknown Troper 184.108.40.206 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".
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.
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.
notreallyatroper: Hmmmmm, I guess you're right. Got a better picture in mind, then?
One is here
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How well does it match the trope?