Coming to Terms with Being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl

As a Man, Whatever That Means

Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore
10 min readJul 15, 2021


Not pictured: half a dozen more accessories or the box of cookies I got on my way to the museum.

I grew up on Power Rangers (and Animorphs — they’re interchangeable for this metaphor). It turns out that prepared me well for dealing with literature writ large. This is a vast oversimplification, but most stories, in order to be appealing but not too challenging, have a handful of simplified characters who, when combined, make up one deeply flawed, realistic personality.

Choose an ensemble cast in any show or movie. Choose one you like. Odds are, you sympathize to different degrees with EVERYONE in that show. You probably have your favorite, you probably have one that you like least, but if it’s a halfway decently written show/movie/book with even a shallow attempt to make its characters different from each other, you’ve nodded along with the trials of each of the characters at different points and seen a bit of yourself in them.

That’s because a fictional character is simpler than a real person. Has to be. A fictional person goes through less. The only way to write a fictional person who’s compelling is to choose a few character traits and make those the traits defining the character. In real life, even the simplest human has more going on than the most complex fictional character.

Which is kind of the reason why people are more boring than fictional characters. People are too complicated. We’re like if the Cirque du Soleil teamed up with DeadMau5 to do a show over the Grand Canyon during a snow storm.

That’s a real person.

There’s just too much to pay attention to. Whereas, a really good fictional character is like a cup of coffee: complex, but it’s one thing.

Not like a real person. Real people contain messes.

I read that in a poem once.

Warning: Ignorant Spice Girls Metaphor Ahead

In my late teens, though, because of being a fan of the ensemble style of storytelling, I found it interesting to reduce my friends to one character trait. You remember that about early The Power Rangers? They all had just one character trait. You had the smart one, and you had the streetwise one, and you had the athlete, and you had the “good kid”…



Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore

The best part of being a mime is never having to say I’m sorry.