Don’t get me wrong, I loved a manic pixie dream girl as much as the rest of them. Give me Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, being beautiful but complex. Or Zooey Deschanel, in Yes Man! riding a scooter and teaching jogging photography. Pretty much Zooey Deschanel in anything. A manic pixie dream girl is the one who astounds the guy, is more than they expect, acting in crazy and unusual ways, because they’re just so damn cool.
Except, well, they’re not real women, are they? Often, what this is, is the misrepresentation of some poor sod, putting all his hopes and dreams into one quirky girl who is probably just as confused about her own life and everything else. Oh, you like The Smiths? Well, we must be soul mates.
So, when writing Ruby, I had to make sure she had the allure of an MPDG without doing the disservice of making her one. Yes, she makes magical stuff happen, and her friends can’t often tell what she’s going to do next, but that’s because her intentions are good and her methods are madness. She wants fun and destruction and excitement (because, hey, she’s seventeen and living in a tiny, crappy town) and she wants stardom because she’s an unloved foster-child who has already realised she’s pretty enough to make men do things for her.
The difference with an MPDG and a regular, but flawed and interesting male character, is that MPDG don’t seem to have any purpose, beyond being a love interest. They’re there to be adored, to inspire a man to be his best self, and then *poof*, they’re gone, off to live a life of adventure and excitement (read: loneliness because they’re only ever the muse, and when men take them off the pedestal, they’re just human, shock horror). They’re never allowed their own storyline.
So Ruby Tuesday, whilst we only get snaps of her in this series, is the driving force behind the whole thing, even in death, she’s brought her friends together and effected change. And whilst the rest of the world knows her as a bit of a pixie, her true friends remember the times she made them laugh, made them mad and made them cry.