When the The Hero
or the Big Bad
has an underling, potentially The Dragon
, an adjutant/secretary
or a Paid Harem
, it's often the case that she (though flipped genders aren't unheard of) goes beyond being loyal and both idolizes and
loves him. Her declarations of love will go unrequited
because, when he's not Oblivious to Love
, he will at best feel no (romantic) affection for her. A hero may try to let her down gently, a callous boss will say so outright, and the cruel one will play Master of the Mixed Message
to avoid telling her and string her along. Even if he says he doesn't love her, she'll interpret it as needing to work hard to earn said love.
If her boss is enamored with another woman, she will be positively livid with jealousy and may attempt sabotage or even to murder her rival.
If he finds out he will severely punish or kill her. In fact, as minions go she will frequently be the target of You Have Failed Me
, You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
and general abuse by her boss when he needs to let off steam. This is played as a sort of Kick the Dog
, while she's no dove, the mistreatment's undertones of domestic abuse will make most audiences uncomfortable.
This character can be Played for Laughs
and written either as a one note Mad Love
, who will never waver from her devotion
or allow rejection to dampen her Perkiness
. More positive˝y she can be Played for Drama
as a misguided and intelligent woman who, once she sees how little she's cared for (abuse optional), is quick to reasses her (romantic) loyalties. Of course, she can be played for tragedy by getting betrayed or even killed by the man she loves, without ever getting a chance to learn from her mistakes. Should the hero kill their boss, expect Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned
and contrast to Girl Friday
, who is an aide or secretary to the hero. Compare Subordinate Excuse
, when the underling is using the position to be near their object of affection while avoiding rejection.
Anime and Manga
- The final Big Bad of the original Slayers season, Copy Rezo, has Eris, who loves him enough to find a way to bring him Back from the Dead but is shot In the Back by him the moment when she stops being useful.
- Karin from Naruto, she use to be part of Taka (or Hebi), a group leaded by Sasuke merely out of her infatuation for him, not only, couldn't he care any less for her (of his other teammates for that matter), but also he didn't doubt to sacrifice her for one second in order to get to Danzo
- Excel from Excel Saga is this to her boss. All her attempts to woo him are met with Comedic Sociopathy.
- Misa is one of these to Villain Protagonist Light in Death Note. The only reason he didn't just kill her was that she's useful (and, initially, because Rem would kill him).
- Last Exile has the XO in love with captain Alex Rowe, who is so dead set on revenge he couldn't care less for her one way or the other, and keeps her around only because she's professional enough to not let it get in the way of her work. This gets even weirder when you consider she's the princess of his nation. And it gets even more tragic when the "sonar" operator hears him call out a dead loves name with his last breath, and lies to the XO that he called out her name instead.
- In The Incredibles Mirage is, by her own words, "attracted to power" and the misunderstood. There is the implication she and Syndrome are in a relationship, but once he gambles with her life when Mr. incredible threatens to kill her she sours on the relationship. When he reveals the extent of his villainy she switches sides.
- In American Psycho Patrick Bateman has a relationship a bit like this with his secretary. She isn't aware that he's a serial killer but he makes very rude comments to her and she still seems to carry a torch.
- Pushing Daisies subverts it with Olive and Ned, who as a hero is simply too oblivious, nice and timid (it alternates) to tell Olive he doesn't love her. He later mans up and tells her very explicitly, but she continues to carry a torch for him (despite her own wishes) until she meets a travelling potion salesman (no Love Potion was involved).
- In Sherlock, Molly Hooper is infatuated with Sherlock, but he ignores and often insults her, only being nice to her when he need s favor from her (e.g. complimenting her hair when he needs to see a body from the morgue where she works).
- In Magick Chicks, Sandy is hopelessly in love with Faith, but never receives any attention. It's even more of an insult, as Faith regularly womanizes the entire student body.
- Lakshmi in Kaijudo is incredibly devoted to the Chotun, even as he becomes increasingly condescending to her due to her failures.
- Page in TRON: Uprising is non-romantically fanatically devoted to General Tessler, which is understandable since she believes he saved her life from ISO's, when in fact he was responsible for the massacre that killed her friends.
- Smithers to Mr. Burns in The Simpsons.
- Wuya to Chase Young in Xiaolin Showdown, for a while. Then she lost interest in him and betrayed him.
- In Asura's Wrath Olga is fanatically loyal to Deus even when he telekinetically slams her into the ceiling, preferring the traitorous Yasha to her.
- Selvaria from Valkyria Chronicles, towards Maximilian. To the point that she blows up herself after she has a failure and she wants to redeem herself.
- Courtney Gears from Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is a good example, almost perfectly mirroring the usual relationship between Harley Quinn and The Joker.