Wednesday, July 03, 2013


I actually in only two sittings managed to read this. I wouldn't call Manic Pixie Dream Girls the bane of my existence but they are a reliable source of annoyance. So I'm glad the feminist critique exists about how one dimensional, superficial and shallow they are, if this critique could be made non-gender specific we'd be in much better shape as a society.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl is now a fortified trope, easily diagnosed, and the trope predates the name. For me my aversion to the trope occurred much earlier when my much less culturally influential friend Sam and I were in a theater sports team and he coined a standard phrase for rejecting suggestions - 'that's a drama students are kooky' he would remark, and it was a fundamentally correct and easy rule to follow.

Basically, if you are playing an improv game and need a scenario 'the beach' is a great suggestion as it is full of opportunities and places the participants can take it. A scenario that is 'my mothers head is made of puppy chow that wants to eat my girlfriend the martian kitten' is fucking shithouse suggestion to have to deal with, it smacks of an effort to be creative, it is a 'drama students are kooky' suggestion. The comedy improv equivalent of cramming your life story and political views into a shitty question at a writers festival.

Implicit though is a distinction between 'kooky' and 'funny' and further more that 'kooky' is in fact shit, and 'funny' is good. Manic Pixie Dream Girls are kooky.

I feel it's important to distinguish this notion from the argument 'women aren't funny' to say that the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope has more in common with being Jerry Lewis, than it does with being a woman.

And the problem being that the MPDG's role is to lift a brooding male counterpart in a movie out of their doldrums and teach them a lust for life.

In reality, it's more like Bill Hicks' bit on nightclubs. You know where he stands at the darkest furthest exit from the dance floor and stands there with a drink in hand until a girl asks him 'you wanna dance?' and he replies 'oh yeah you read my mind.' His last statement is of course sarcastic.

The article I linked to at the start of this post indicates that there are men that are into this kind of lady, but for me I would have thought the reality obvious that a wisecracking snark like Juno just never stacks up against those friends who would never need to ever check urban dictionary for anything ever.

What a MPDG brings into your life is slapstick and kookiness where I would hope most people have actual comedy. Perhaps like the vast array of white males into submissive stepford Japanese girls, the real appeal of the MPDG is just another 'birds with broken wings', somebody whose questionable attire, dorky interests and pun driven humor speak of low self esteem ready for exploitation.

Thus it was quite insightful to read an article where the archetype was adopted out of a desire to rescue brooding boys.

Perhaps the flipside of this hollywood legacy, is the characterisation of males that is so far from reality. In high school movies, the jocks are dumb and belligerent football heroes manicured and attired to make them repulsively attractive while the awkward Michael Ceras and Joseph Gordon whatshisface offer the real heart of gold sensitivity.

I don't know what your highschool was like, but mine tended to be the exact inverse. The high performers tended to dominate all fields, sports, drama, music and academia. These were jocks, and they tended to have their shit together. The dumb and belligerent guys were just dumb and belligerent guys, lacking the personal discipline or insight to succeed at anything. And the awkward guys were just creepy, the Nice Guys of OKCupid, obsessed with pornography and resorting to dating emotionally disturbed girls 4 year levels down into the statutory rape charges.

To me, MPDG as a dating strategy is just the closest thing to synthesizing being a Japanese girl. Creepy white guys (and admittedly, less creepy guys of other ethnicities) are into Japanese girls because they come from a glamour brand obsessed patriarchal society that still equivocates them with chattel whilst simultaneously exposing them to the romantic notions of shows like 'Friends'. Thus regrettably they are sought after by the very men that make poor companions in their own cultural context.

So to and thus unto you, it probably cuts both ways, guys with no social intelligence are the gene pool you can tap into as a subculture simply by disguising yourself as somebody 'too weird' for the mainstream dating culture. You are if you will, that coveted op-shop find, you just have to chuck yourself into the bargain bin first, so the creeps don't think they have to compete against the jocular.

And I might end it there, because I have dog shit to pick up, with perhaps the best phrase from the whole article:

Firstly, averagely pretty white women in their late teens and twenties are not the biggest, most profoundly unsolvable mystery in the universe.  Trust me. I should know. Those of us with an ounce of lust for life are almost universally less interesting than we will be in our thirties and forties.

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