You might have never heard of the term “manic pixie dream girl,” but she’s a popular stock character in many of your favorite movies. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The 500 Days of Summer, Almost Famous, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Nathan Rabin, a graduate of UW-Madison who now works for The A.V. Club, coined the term a few years back when he reviewed Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown*. Rabin described the lead female character, played by Kirsten Dunst, as “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.”
This pretty much means that she’s one of those characters that can be described with the following adjectives:
- HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (YET SUICIDAL)!
- (UNIQUELY) BEAUTIFUL (BUT NEVER HOT)!
- FLIRTY (AND SEXUAL BUT NOT REALLY SLUTTY UNTIL MONOGAMY)!
They’re pretty much exactly like Kim Kardashian without being like Kim Kardashian at all. They are the female character that the male characters love because of their quirky sense of style and, like, willingness to just live life, you know? A better example is Zooey Deschanel and EVERY SINGLE character she plays.
So what about the Manic Pixie Dream Boys for us girls? Well, my dear readers, you’re in luck! I have compiled a list, as well as attributes, of the MPDB.
The male version of the MPDG, or the MPDB as I like to call him, is a character kind of like the MPDG. He is of the opposite sex, he is quirky, probably more awkward than the MPDG, not always conventionally attractive, and a hopeless romantic. He was definitely never the football captain, and he could care less about being homecoming king, but he did sit in the back of the classroom scribbling non-sensical doodles and humming an old Van Morrison song. Yeah he likes sex and thinking about sex, but deep down, he’s afraid of it. The MPDB is the kind of guy who likes animals and is best friends with his younger siblings. He is the unreal dreamboat that appeals to every woman deep down, much like the MPDG does to every man. The MPDB suffers from the Peter Pan syndrome usually, and satisfies women with his deep thoughts and true kindness. Examples include, but are not limited to:
HOLDEN CAUFIELD -the immortal character from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
. He is cynical, thoughtful, awkward and contemplative when it comes to sex, and is BFFs with his little sister. (Author’s side note: DAMN YOU J.D. SALINGER! YOU ARE THE REASON WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. AND BY NICE THINGS I MEAN A MOVIE VERSION OF HOLDEN CAUFIELD, PROBABLY PLAYED BY ONE OF THE CULKIN BROTHERS OR…
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (pictured with the queen of MPDGs, Zooey Deschanel) -indie movie darling, the male version of Zooey Deschanel, and a skinny dreamboat. ‘Nuff said.
RYAN GOSLING -not only did this man break up a fight this past week, but he is a known advocate of women’s rights, hunky, funny, and can apparently play a musical instrument (see above).
JIM HALPERT -Jim from The Office has spawned a whole generation of women who believe that they will one day be engaged to an asshole, and then be swept off their feet by their platonic and charming co-worker BFF who really knows how to treat a lady right and is actually not gay. HAHAHAHA. Yeah, like that will ever happen.
MICHAEL CERA STOCK CHARACTER -oh man, what would a MPDB list be without a little bit of the man-boy everyone loves to hate, Michael Cera. His characters are always that awkward guy with no intentions other than finding the girl of his dreams. Also, he has no balls. As in he was probably born sans balls.
SETH COHEN -our favorite Hebrew school hottie, Sethela Ezekiel Cohen was both nerdy, cute, and had a great knowledge of Death Cab for Cutie songs.
I hope this was informational.
FOOT NOTE: Elizabethtown was that movie that everyone thought would be so great because it was by the guy who did Almost Famous and it starred Orlando Bloom (when he was still a heartthrob) and Kirsten Dunst (as the MPDG). Well, as all of us who saw it know, it was a really boring, long movie that just never went anywhere.