Created By: arksJuly 13, 2008
Nuked

The Three Hens

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Trope
A group of (usually three) women whose sole purpose within the work is to gossip about the other characters. Sometimes can be used for exposition, but usually is used for comedic effect.

They are most common in Victorian and school dramas. Often they'll have no personality traits which make them distinct from each other. They are always together, and can at times be rather mean.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • July 13, 2008
    foxley
    The women's committe in The Music Man who sing the ensemble piece "Pick a Little, Talk a Little".
  • July 13, 2008
    SchrodingersDuck
    The three little maids from school of The Mikado. While one, Yum Yum, is a main character, the other two are just for comic effect and as a chorus for some of the songs.
  • July 13, 2008
    HorridRedThings
    In Mean Girls, before Lindsay Lohan joins the group, there were three Plastics, who basically fit the description above. Maybe.
  • July 13, 2008
    arks
    I think Patty and Selma from The Simpsons count, too, but it's borderline so I wasn't sure whether I should add it.
  • July 13, 2008
    ShayGuy
    The first episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a scene early on with a pod of these who make fun of Simon.
  • July 14, 2008
    Duncan
    Seen in UnderMilkWood.
  • July 14, 2008
    KenHitokiri
    Though there are not three of them (or women), the crows from Dumbo.
  • July 14, 2008
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Jane Austen does this a lot. Her heroines tend to get stuck in the company of a bunch of gossipy {{Flat Character}}s who spout exposition in as rude and ill-mannered a way as possible.
  • July 14, 2008
    arks
    Does this trope NeedsABetterTitle? It seems having three of them is not as common as I initially thought.
  • July 14, 2008
    Duncan
    Maybe GossipyHens as a title?
  • July 14, 2008
    arks
    Pecking Order? Um.. Idle Hens?

    Are there any more examples?
  • July 14, 2008
    Sackett
    The Gossip Gang? Also is this connected to the Group Of Giggling Girls?

    I suppose this is a female form of Those Two Guys?
  • July 14, 2008
    arks
    Maybe, except they are usually of a negative stereotype and rarely reflect the author's views. They aren't meant to provide a Greek Chorus. They're meant to gossip, and arrive at wrong conclusions and sometimes complicate the main characters lives for the sake of their gossip.

    The people that made me think of this are three women who I can't be bothered to remember their names from Victorian Romance Emma. They do get one pretty interesting conversation early on, where when discussing who to marry one of them decides to turn one of her female friends (not from the group) male and marry her, gaining status in the process.
  • July 15, 2008
    Prfnoff
    Mrs. Fiorentino, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Olsen in Street Scene. In the opera, they sing a "Gossip Trio." Their husbands sometimes join them in tsk-tsking gossip (so you can stop going on about Double Standard now).
  • July 15, 2008
    Meems
    There's a group of three NP Cs in Shadow Of Destiny who fill this role: two older women and a ten year old girl (the daughter of one of the women).
  • July 15, 2008
    Scooter007
    "The Posse" in comic strip Zits

    Oh hey, what about Gossip Girls? Nah...
  • July 15, 2008
    SKJAM!
    The minor characters from Kaleido Star's first season who are constantly gossiping/griping/insulting Sora until their late-season Heel Face Turn once they actually bother talking directly to Sora.
  • July 15, 2008
    Conqueso
    The musical of The Color Purple had a trio of church ladies who would provide exposition by gossiping throughout the musical.

    The Sondheim show Sunday in the Park With George has the two Celestes, who gossip with (when they're together) and about (when separated) each other whenever they're onstage.
  • July 15, 2008
    Sackett
  • July 15, 2008
    Wulf
    Isn't this like... Those Two Guys or something?

    "Two characters, usually in a school setting, to be the mundane Greek Chorus. They're completely ordinary... "
  • July 15, 2008
    arks
    Um... No.

    Just wondering. Would old people sitting on a porch be a variation or a different trope?
  • July 16, 2008
    Wulf
    A variation. It doesn't have to exactly fit the trope, just enough to keep the main point. The only difference between this and Those Two Guys I see is that this specifies the characters gossiping instead of Greek chorus...ing. Background characters simply providing exposition is Those Two Guys.
  • July 16, 2008
    arks
    I'd agree with that assessment. It is a different trope, though, as evidenced by the fact that there is no overlap between the examples given in these two categories.
  • July 16, 2008
    Sackett
    I suppose we could stop with the clever naming and just say The Gossisp
  • July 16, 2008
    webrunner
    An episode of Paranoia Agent focused on these (and a 4th who desperately wanted in)
  • July 17, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    monty python called these the "pepper pots" quite funny, worth a look
  • July 17, 2008
    Kinitawowi
    Gossipy Hens works - didn't Family Guy do a parody where they were watching some show involving this sort of thing and they spent the whole time just clucking (and one of them may actually have laid an egg)?

    Real life example - Loose Women, ITV's weekday lunchtime garbage.
  • July 17, 2008
    Darkdata
    A certain 3 witches from Discworld...

    Subversion being they are usually main characters.
  • July 18, 2008
    foxley
    The hens in the old Disney Chicken Little short.
  • July 18, 2008
    Quillpaw
    A group of gossiping ladies leads to the main character explaining all of Their Eyes Were Watching God to a friend.

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