FUNNY WOMEN: Manic Pixie Dream Girl, The Spin-Offs


Clinically Depressed Pixie Dream Girl:

After pointing out the futility of climbing the corporate ladder, the Clinically Depressed Pixie Dream Girl invites an uptight businessman into her blanket fort. She plays “Famous Blue Raincoat” on the accordion and teaches him to fold health insurance claim forms into origami doves. When he mentions that they’ve eaten nothing but Cap’n Crunch for a week, she bursts into tears and admits that she doesn’t know she’s beautiful. They make out under the glow of her Seasonal Affective Disorder light box. After a twelve hour nap, she declares her love with a mosaic made from Elmer’s Glue and expired antidepressants.


Manic Pixie Dream Bro:

Time to flip the gender script! Crossing the quad on her way to attend a lecture on Athenian Vase Painting, a conservatively skirted PhD student is knocked unconscious by an errant Frisbee. When she comes to, she is gazing into the sparkling eyes of a tan, shirtless Manic Pixie Dream Bro. The fratty, free-spirited second-year senior insists on buying her a beer by way of apology. Intoxicated by the odor of Apollo Chill body spray and casual sexism, the scholar ditches her seminar and trades her smart-girl glasses for Oakleys. After following the bro on a journey of weight lifting and self-discovery, she pops the collar of her blazer and embraces the spirit of bacchanal that first drew her to Hellenistic Art.


Manic Pixie Dream Wife:

This adorkable matron borrows her third grader’s dresses and fills the baby’s bottle with kombucha. She inspires her husband to dissolve his accounting firm and open a gluten-free dog treat bakery. The MPDW—whose lithe body in no way reflects the ravages of childbirth—is endearingly forgetful, so instead of delivering the family’s tax documents to the corner mailbox, she delivers a singing telegram to a down-on-his-luck drifter. The IRS reclaims the bakery, the house, and the fixed gear bike. Soon, the family is living out of a cardboard box in a cobblestone alley. They adopt a feral dog and name him Ezra Pound Puppy.


Manic Pixie Dream Gran:

In a dreary assisted living facility, a radiant octogenarian catches the eye of a curmudgeon in a buttoned-up cardigan. The impetuous grandma initiates a Jell-O fight in the cafeteria and weaves condolence flowers into crowns. After she cajoles the curmudgeon into a Chopsticks duet on the community room piano, they break into the employee lounge and steal a joint from an orderly’s locker. The odd couple/old couple get high in the broom closet, giggling at the inexorable jaws of death. (The grandma is played by a forty-five-year-old actress. The curmudgeon is played by Robert De Niro.)


Manic Pixie Dream Raccoon:

After a clockmaker is dumped by his materialistic girlfriend, he drinks too many vodka tonics and wakes up in a ditch. He yawns, brushes the pine needles from his hair, and meets the raccoon who will change his life forever. She helps him remember the small joys in life, like drinking out of birdbaths and licking frosting from dumpster cupcakes. Gazing into the raccoon’s glossy eyes, the clockmaker finally understands: a man has not truly lived until he’s picked the latch on a chicken hutch and clawed out the larynx of a panicked Rhode Island Red.


Manic Dream Actual Pixie:

At a writing colony in the bucolic Georgia countryside, a hungover novelist sweats at his desk. “Goddamn it,” he mutters, stubbing out his cigarette. “Writing the Great American Novel is draining!” Sympathetic to his struggle, the Southern breeze carries his lament to a nearby glade. There, a pixie twirls from flower to flower, humming Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.” Alerted to the writer’s need for a muse, the pixie flits through his open window and alights upon his keyboard. Mistaking her for a cicada, the writer crushes her with his loafer. He scrapes the mess off his shoe. He lights another cigarette. He wins the National Book Award.


Manic Pixie Dream Ghost:

An ambitious stockbroker gets an unbelievable deal on a stunning mid-century loft. The catch: the apartment is haunted by the ghost of a free-spirited flapper. While the stockbroker sleeps, this fun-loving spirit plunks the keys of his piano, rattles his silverware drawer, and commands an antique eyeless doll to lurch across his face. Uh-oh—the battle of the sexes is on! The stockbroker burns sage. The flapper scrawls threats in his shower steam. The stockbroker sprinkles holy water. The flapper sends piercing screams down the heating ducts. The stockbroker clutches a crucifix. The flapper fills the elevator with blood. But when the flapper appears in the stockbroker’s mirror and slowly removes her glasses, he realizes something: he’s in love. They celebrate by dancing the Charleston in the charred remains of a deconsecrated church.


Manic Pixie Cancer Girl:

She has cancer.


Rumpus original art by Kaili Doud


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Kathleen Founds is the author of the award-winning novel-in-stories, When Mystical Creatures Attack! and the graphic novel Bipolar Bear & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance: a Fable for Grownups. Her work has been published in The Sun, The Rumpus, Salon, Good Housekeeping, and The New Yorker online. She is also the creator of the website “Depression Whackamole”. More from this author →