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Dec 23rd 2018 at 11:15:59 PM •••

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?

Feb 12th 2018 at 9:37:36 AM •••

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).

Oct 22nd 2016 at 8:10:04 AM •••

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.

Jan 19th 2016 at 3:04:26 PM •••

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.

Edited by Bioshock Hide/Show Replies
Aug 26th 2016 at 9:50:18 PM •••

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.

Nov 27th 2015 at 12:35:17 AM •••

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.

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Oct 22nd 2016 at 8:01:49 AM •••

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.

Oct 31st 2015 at 5:50:35 AM •••

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.

Jun 30th 2015 at 2:08:09 AM •••

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.

May 21st 2015 at 6:59:43 PM •••

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.

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May 21st 2015 at 11:51:39 PM •••

Trope misuse, I bet. Feel free to remove it.

Oct 1st 2014 at 4:45:50 PM •••

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."

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Oct 2nd 2014 at 1:11:58 AM •••

Page quotes have a forum thread here if you want to discuss them.

Jul 16th 2014 at 2:26:03 PM •••

From Sailor Moon? His description in the show's wiki doesn't indicate anything in that direction.

Aug 19th 2013 at 3:55:29 PM •••

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.

Edited by Hide/Show Replies
Jul 20th 2014 at 8:02:12 PM •••

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.

Jun 23rd 2013 at 8:17:58 PM •••

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?

Edited by Hide/Show Replies
Apr 6th 2014 at 7:50:30 AM •••

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

Edited by
Jan 12th 2013 at 4:40:06 PM •••

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.

Edited by MissKitten
Dec 19th 2012 at 12:58:45 AM •••

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.

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Jan 4th 2013 at 9:01:38 PM •••

True there are some examples on this list that I wouldn't really classify as MPDG.

Jan 5th 2013 at 7:47:40 PM •••

I'm removing Shame for this reason. Sissy fits almost nothing here besides the bare bones of being a female artist.

Jan 7th 2013 at 7:50:39 PM •••

There also seem to be quite a few zero context examples. They list the MPDG without saying why she(or he) is one.

Edited by MissKitten
Jan 25th 2013 at 6:49:29 AM •••

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".

Apr 19th 2015 at 11:20:38 AM •••

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"

Edited by Kendrix
Nov 4th 2012 at 12:54:52 PM •••

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.

Sep 8th 2012 at 8:05:39 AM •••

Peppy Miller from 2011's "The Artist". Yes?

Jun 24th 2012 at 8:07:24 AM •••

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?

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Jul 4th 2012 at 9:26:19 AM •••

<moved to the New Girl discussion where it belongs>

Edited by vic5014
May 23rd 2012 at 9:29:22 AM •••

Is Haruhi the best example character, considering, if anything, she's a deconstruction of MPDG?

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May 29th 2012 at 2:31:58 PM •••

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.

Edited by Receptor
Apr 19th 2015 at 10:48:36 AM •••

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.

Apr 19th 2015 at 11:07:55 AM •••

Nope, this trope is not about that.

May 9th 2012 at 2:09:03 PM •••

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)

Edited by Jumpingzombie Hide/Show Replies
Jan 9th 2012 at 6:30:26 PM •••

Could we consider the Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls MPD Gs? They seem to follow the mold.

Oct 29th 2011 at 12:28:37 PM •••

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.

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Jun 30th 2012 at 4:24:55 PM •••

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.

Jul 4th 2012 at 9:28:13 AM •••

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.

Edited by vic5014
Jan 3rd 2013 at 6:21:55 PM •••

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]

Edited by Ghostea
May 14th 2011 at 4:50:28 AM •••

Under Video Games Mystic Maya fits the role of MPDG to Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attourney series.

Feb 14th 2011 at 12:09:11 PM •••

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?

Jan 31st 2011 at 6:04:10 PM •••

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.

Edited by
Jan 29th 2011 at 11:16:03 PM •••

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.

Edited by Rebochan Hide/Show Replies
Jun 30th 2012 at 4:36:46 PM •••

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.

Dec 7th 2012 at 8:48:11 AM •••

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.

Dec 9th 2010 at 7:17:56 PM •••

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.

Sep 9th 2010 at 1:39:44 PM •••

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.

Sep 4th 2010 at 11:06:14 AM •••

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.

Aug 31st 2010 at 9:12:40 AM •••

Why does the edits to the Chasing Amy example keep getting reverted?

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Aug 31st 2010 at 9:17:53 AM •••

Nothing is showing up in the edit history. What are you trying to change it to?

Aug 31st 2010 at 2:53:41 PM •••

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...

Aug 31st 2010 at 3:33:06 PM •••

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.

Sep 2nd 2010 at 6:59:23 AM •••

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.

Aug 26th 2010 at 7:18:01 AM •••

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.

Edited by BritBllt
Jul 3rd 2010 at 1:13:34 AM •••

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Edited by macroscopic Hide/Show Replies
Jul 3rd 2010 at 1:14:03 AM •••

I know this is a good example but it needs elaboration and I don't know the movie that well.

Jul 3rd 2010 at 1:14:21 AM •••

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.

Aug 23rd 2012 at 10:19:30 PM •••

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"

Aug 8th 2013 at 9:20:08 AM •••

Madonna in Who's That Girl

Jody Thelen in Four Friends

Liza Minnelli in Arthur

Jun 22nd 2010 at 12:26:16 PM •••

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?

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Jul 3rd 2010 at 4:05:19 AM •••

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?

Jun 9th 2010 at 12:50:41 AM •••

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.

May 18th 2010 at 10:21:43 AM •••

Unknown Troper 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".

Edited by Lullabee
Mar 26th 2010 at 12:05:50 PM •••

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.

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Jun 9th 2010 at 12:52:25 AM •••

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.

Mar 4th 2010 at 5:43:59 PM •••

notreallyatroper: Hmmmmm, I guess you're right. Got a better picture in mind, then?

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