Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming 'Mad Men' Has Ended Four Episodes in a Row With the Same Shot 'Mad Men' Has Ended Four Episodes in a Row With the Same Shot First Reviews of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' First Reviews of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' "Mad Men" Probably Won't End the Way You Want It To. Get Used to It "Mad Men" Probably Won't End the Way You Want It To. Get Used to It The Only Oral History of 'Mad Men' You Ever Need to Read. Ever. The Only Oral History of 'Mad Men' You Ever Need to Read. Ever. Daily Reads: 'Ex Machina's Feminist Sci-Fi, Native American Actors Call Adam Sandler's Movie Racist, and More Daily Reads: 'Ex Machina's Feminist Sci-Fi, Native American Actors Call Adam Sandler's Movie Racist, and More The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit L.A. Times' Mary McNamara Wins Pulitzer for Criticism L.A. Times' Mary McNamara Wins Pulitzer for Criticism Criticwire Survey: 'Star Wars' Memories Criticwire Survey: 'Star Wars' Memories The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Daily Reads: 'Wonder Woman' and the State of Female Directors in Hollywood, A Grimdark 'Daredevil,' and More Daily Reads: 'Wonder Woman' and the State of Female Directors in Hollywood, A Grimdark 'Daredevil,' and More Daily Reads: How The Hype Machine Is Ruining Movies, Why Kevin James Movies Have a Kevin James Problem, and More Daily Reads: How The Hype Machine Is Ruining Movies, Why Kevin James Movies Have a Kevin James Problem, and More Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more Daily Reads: 'Full House' and the Dead End of Nostalgia, How the Children of the '70s Killed the Movies, and More Daily Reads: 'Full House' and the Dead End of Nostalgia, How the Children of the '70s Killed the Movies, and More The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood'

A Manic Pixie Sales Pitch: 'MPDG' Used to Sell Zooey Deschanel Merchandise

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire September 5, 2012 at 12:56PM

"Now you can take everyone's favorite manic pixie dream girl home" boasts the ad copy for a Zooey Deschanel cardboard cutout.
0
"The New Girl."
"The New Girl."

As someone once said, history repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce. And then, finally, as sales pitch.

The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin coined the term "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" (or MPDG) in an article about Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown," in order to describe onscreen women -- typified in that case by Kirsten Dunst's absurdly supportive flight attendant -- who 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." The phrase, useful and perceptive, caught on. It became a thing. It even has its own Wikipedia page. And now it is being used to hawk cardboard cutouts of occasional Manic Pixie Dream Girl Zooey Deschanel.

As observed by Rabin himself on his Twitter page, FoxShop.com is using the MPDG to advertise its "'New Girl' Jess Cardboard Standup." The description, in full, reads:

"Gaze upon the 'New Girl' Jess Cardboard Standup and sing with us now, 'Hey Girl, whatcha doin'? Hey girl, where ya goin'? Who's that Girl? Who's that Girl?' Now you can take everyone's favorite manic pixie dream girl home. The Zooey Deschanel standup deposits that sunny disposition wherever she goes."

On Twitter, Rabin called the sight "fucking surreal," and it certainly is. If an expression can jump the shark, this might be that moment for the MPDG; somehow this term of insightful critique has been defanged into cutesy ad copy. Then again, there is a certain kind of deranged logic in using a phrase invented to describe male screenwriters' flat, superficial characterization of women to sell a two-dimensional cardboard cutout.

Read more of "The Bataan Death March of Whimsy Case File #1: 'Elizabethtown'" or buy your own 'New Girl' Jess.

This article is related to: Nathan Rabin, Zooey Deschanel


E-Mail Updates



Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome