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Rock the Drop, 2015

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paper Towns: John Green on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Little Willow remembered a discussion that went on a little while ago that centered around an article in Onion A.V. Club about the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" (MPDG), girls like Natalie Portman in Garden State (shown) who--according to writer Nathan Rabin--"exist solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." Jezebel weighed in too, and so did our featured author John Green, in regards to Margo of Paper Towns:

"Margo is certainly presented by Q as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl at the beginning of PT. Absolutely. But that only acknowledges that some boys believe in Manic Pixie Dream Girls; it doesn't argue that MPDGs actually exist, or that Margo is one." --JG

Read John's full post here. What do you think of the MPDG?


Little Willow said...

Let's hear it for the MPDGs of the world! Back when this was first posted, I commented:

The title of this piece alone makes them sound as though they are the offspring of Tinker Bell and Beckett from Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn - both of whom ROCK! - and I agree with much of what you've said here. Speaking as someone highly favors narrator Nick in The Great Gatsby - that character, his viewpoint, why he was the one telling the story - and as someone who sees a great deal of good in letting the 'secondary' character be the narrator (though some misuse it and/or make everything 'happily ever after'), I salute you.

elfarmy17 said...

John, you once told me in an email that every book is a conversation, and Paper Town's isn't finished for you until I (reader's in general) read it. Isn't that true in life as well?
If a guy chooses to interpret a girl as a MPDG and therefore she has that effect on him, regardless of whether or not she objectively IS one, then don't they exist? The universe is relative, regardless of whether it's time and space you're talking about.

Shelby Ostergaard said...

I'd never heard of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and was flabbergasted by the whole concept. Then, I started looking at my favorite books. And movies. And songs. I also read the Onion article and a couple of other articles on it (summer gives me wayyyyy too much time on my hands.)However, I could not find a list of Manic Pixie Dream Boys. You said that you could think of a few. If you could, would you mind composing a list? Or possibly a list of Mysterious Philanthropic Dream Boys as there is just something inherently unattractive about a pixie boy.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I'd like to see a list of Manic Pixie Dream Boys, or Mysterious Philanthropic Dream Boys, Shelby. :~)

I don't know. I'm resisting the Pixie Dream Girl idea a bit. Can't there be an amazing, influential female character, like Barbara Streisand plays in What's Up Doc, and her entire motivation just isn't revealed? The movie is about an intersection of two lives. And it just happens that the female has her act together more than the male. That can be reality, folks.

Lauren said...

In regard to Green's books, I can see how Margo (or, more appropriately, Alaska in LOOKING FOR ALASKA) could be seen as a MPDG at first, but I don't think they take on that role primarily. Sure, they do bring out the adventurer in the main character, but they're so much more than that. They have other levels, and other motives, and I like that. It makes them more real, and less dream-girl.

Little WIllow, I really like your comment, regarding using a secondary character to be the narrator in a way.

Kendal said...

The Doctor (from Doctor Who) is definitely a Manic Pixie Dream Boy (or can be, depending on his current personality; the last two definitely have been and before that I think it's up for debate). He shows up and suddenly the girl (and/or boy) of the year-or-so is off on all sorts of crazy adventures.

Heh, I just looped back to elfarmy17's mention of time and space...

elfarmy17 said...

Lol, yes, The Doctor is the most Manic Pixie Dream Boy ever! That would be why I love him.

Katie Hirtz said...

I'm in the middle of re-reading A Separate Peace and I'm convinced that Finny is a Manic Pixie Dream Boy.