A lot of people, myself included, have toyed with describing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the left’s Donald Trump because they both rely so heavily on exaggerated promises and bluster. There’s something to that, but I think I’ve found a better analogy: she’s the Democratic Party’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. AOC is an MPDG, and if we had political satirists worthy of the name, NBC would already have brought in Zooey Deschanel to play her on Saturday Night Live.
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a stock character first classified by Nathan Rabin in a 2007 review of Elizabethtown, a film he described as “The Bataan Death March of Whimsy.” “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” he wrote, “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.”
In my youth, this sort of character was usually played by Julia Roberts, often opposite Richard Gere. More recently, the trope has been associated with the kind of chirpingly quirky free spirit, chock full of precious hipster mannerisms, often played by Zooey Deschanel (and widely parodied). You get the idea: strumming a ukulele, dancing in the rain, riding an old-fashioned bicycle in a sundress. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the vibrant, attractive young woman who, by the sheer force of her joie de vivre and childlike enthusiasm, rescues the brooding male lead from his cynicism or malaise.
The Democratic Party certainly needs this sort of thing right now as it struggles to break free from the funk of defeat and the grey, hopeless compromises of Clintonism….
Read the rest at The Bulwark.