Monday, October 20, 2008

Manic Pixie Dream Girls

I saw this great story a couple of weeks ago on and I wanted to share it with the fourth-wavers to see what you all think. Check out the video on NPR then you can see some of the film clips. I wanted to post it after seeing Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist which I found incredibly disappointing. I'm not sure Nora is a MPDG, maybe Nick is, but the shallowness of the characters reminded me of this story.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl was named by Nathan Rabin in a review of Elizabethtown "to describe that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that 'exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.'"
At the Onion AV club you can read about their top 16 MPDG's, films include Garden State, Almost Famous, The Apartment, Joe Vs. the Volcano, and Annie Hall.

As the writers point out the MPDG is a divisive figure, you either love her or hate her, wish you were as impulsive and fabulous as her, or cringe with embarrassment for her. One of the key criteria is the the MPDG serves the usually male protagonist and has no real substantial inner life of her own. For me the best MPDGs are in movies that are about fantasy like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Bringing up Baby. In these films the men don't have very substantial inner lives either, and the film ask us to suspend disbelief and enter the world of these zanny wonderful women. The subject of the inner life of the MPDG is one up for debate, who counts, who doesn't count, and what does it all mean. Who is your favorite or least favorite MPDG? Are there any Manic Pixie Dream Boys? Discuss!

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