Any woman who has more dimension and texture to her personality than a Communion wafer has probably experienced a version of this: Being reduced to an adorably quirky fetish object, then being discarded once the other person learns that not all of one’s quirks are adorable. Author Emma Forrest summed up the problem in her memoir of bipolar illness, Your Voice In My Head: “Men want you because you’re sexy and broken,” a friend tells her, “and when it gets too tough they can say ‘Hey! This toy is broken!’ and then toss you aside without feeling bad.”
But the Manic Pixie has always been tricky. She has to be strange, without being disturbing; perky, without being grating; lovely, without being appreciable by anyone other than the white male sad-sack in question. These deconstructions—in Ruby, the girl-as-fetish-object is trapped and emotionally maimed by the man’s fetishism; in “Louie,” she escapes it only by becoming undesirable—point to a simple fact: No actual woman can live up to these fantasies. And no woman is truly loved if her partner asks her to try.
Well, I guess I have to jump on a Doyle quote to say that, yes, Ruby Sparks was four-fifths of an amazing horror movie. Shame Kazan copped out at the end… orrrrrr did she?!!?!1