“You know you’re living right when you wake up, brush your hair, and confetti falls out.”
Katy Perry. She who kissed a girl and liked it, woke up in Vegas, and is every boy’s teenage dream. Okay maybe not, but according to her song lyrics, all of those are true. Perry is also one of the most popular and successful pop artists in the world right. Google her and you’ll see she’s “trending.” Not because she loves glitter and all things cupcakey, but because she will be the half-time entertainment at tomorrow’s Super Bowl, an uber-highly coveted spot by any and all entertainers. Sing maybe less than 10 of my biggest hits on sports’ biggest stage and be seen by more than 100 million viewers? I’m in! In other words, Katy Perry has scored big on this one and is the winner of the “where would I like to sing this year” contest. If she were playing in the big game, she’d probably wear this Nicole Miller Helemt:
Katy Perry is also something else. She is a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Say what? Yep, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or a MPDG. I heard about all this from my amazing niece Tessa months ago and was so intrigued by the concept. What better time to explain it all to my followers and friends than today….thanks to Katy Perry tomorrow.
Coined by Nathan Rabin of The Onion AV Club after seeing the film “Elizabethtown” (one of my all-time favorites BTW), which features actress Kirsten Dunst in a role now dubbed a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. According to Rabin, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a character type in films and TV shows who is forever positive and unabashedly girlish. She is almost always the love interest of a grumpy, unpleasant male who learns he simply can’t resist her charm and allure. These girls love life, love their man, and aren’t afraid to show either.
And before you get your feminist panties in a wad, know that these dream girls do things their way. It’s just a way that others simply can’t or won’t pursue. More power to them. Much like many a Doris Day character, they may seem a little goofy or odd, they are fun and they don’t hurt anyone, and in the end they are tough cookies…albeit probably ones with icing and sprinkles. I think they live by one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Think about it, don’t we all want to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is some way?
Many have “played one on TV” and others like Katy Perry seem to live the Pixie Dream in real life.
“I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the past 24 hours. I find it fundamentally strange that you’re not a dessert person. I hate your pantsuit. I wish it had ribbons.”
Jess on “New Girl”
One of the most often identified MPDG is actress Zooey Deschanel. (the perfect name for a MPDG I must say!) Her characters in films like “Elf” and “Failure to Launch” were spot on and have you seen her in the hit TV series “New Girl?” It’s textbook MPDG. In a way, Deschanel also seems to meld her MPDG characters with her real life. Not only is she a sought out actress but she is a very talented singer. (Remember the scene in “Elf” when she so delicately nailed “Baby, It’s Cold Outside?”) One half of the indie duo “She & Him,” Deschanel sings and plays ukulele (a MPDG instrument if there ever was one!) while M. Ward sings and plays guitar. Yep, she’s got my vote as a solid MPDG. (And has anyone else noticed that Perry and Deschanel look remarkably alike? Coincidence? Creepy? Both?)
“When I first moved to New York I was totally broke. Sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more.”
Carrie Bradshaw, “Sex and the City”
I immediately think of two of my favorites: Doris Day and the Carrie Bradshaw character on “Sex and the City.” Many would say Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was probably the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the quirky character was indeed a MPDG but ironically it’s another famous actress with the surname Hepburn that is credited for originating the MPDG model. And it may surprise you.
Katharine Hepburn, known as Katharine the Great for her immense acting talents, probably does not come to mind when thinking of girly glitter loving roles, but her scatter-brained character opposite the brooding Cary Grant in the 1938 film “Bringing Up Baby” is recognized as being one of the earliest examples of a lovable MPDG. The Hepburn and Hepburn coincidence is one thing, but there’s even a second generation MPDG line with Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn! Who is more MPDG than Goldie?!
Other examples that you might make you say “oh yeah, right” include:
Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot”
Winona Ryder in “Autumn in New York”
Many a Jennifer Aniston role and of course Phoebe on “Friends”
Kate Hudson in “Almost Famous”
Hudson’s mom Goldie Hawn in “Butterflies are Free”
Amy Adams in a number of films
Mila Kunis in “Moving McAllister”
Geena Davis in “The Accidental Tourist” and Grace’s sister on “Will & Grace.”
Jaime Murray on Dexter
Charlize Theron in “Sweet November”
Dharma in the hit TV series “Dharma and Greg”
Natalie Portman in “Garden State”
Even Belle in “Beauty and the Beast!”
Maybe Dr. Seuss was onto something all along when he wrote…
So just when you thought Katy Perry was just a cuh-razy singer with blue hair and a weird wardrobe, now you know she’s more than that. She’s a dream girl!