While the French Maid costume has some basis in the black and white uniforms once worn by actual maids in the 19th century, the original costumes were almost never as fan servicy
as those found in modern times. The attitude is also part of the package, inasmuch as she is essentially the soubrette
of the old French comedy: she will be extremely flirty, often with a feather duster. She also acts snippy, pert and cheeky to everyone who isn't her employer (and sometimes him)
and superior to any of the other servants except the butler and maybe the cook. The French Maid will speak with an over-exaggerated French accent and use Gratuitous French
Contrast to Meido
, which is a Japanese concept developed from this one. The key difference being that a Meido
is intended to be Moe
and subservient, while a French Maid is sexy and saucy. Contrast even further to the Scullery Maid
, who is decidedly less sexy, but has much more power in the plot.
For the costume rather than the character, see French Maid Outfit
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- "Yvette, The French Maid" (pictured above) in the movie Clue. She also wore a relatively modest version of the sexy French Maid's outfit. Although she apparently wasn't REALLY French, or a maid...
- Given that you could use her... assets as a place to set your drink down, provided you didn't mind a little spillage from the bounce and jiggle, the fact that her French maid uniform is considered "modest" should tell you something about this trope.
- The maid from Beauty and the Beast, who was transformed into a feather duster. Even moreso in the stage show, where her role is greatly expanded. She was named Babette in the stage adaptation, and named Fifi in the midquel Belle's Magical World.
- Louise from 8 Women fits here as well, though she's not as blatantly sexual (usually).
- The Maids, who take the whole Perverse Sexual Lust thing too far.
- The 1943 movie Heaven Can Wait 1943, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, features a prime example of this trope, with the character of "Madame". She lacks the classic black and white maid uniform, but acts very flirtatiously with the main character, and has one of the most over the top (fake) french accents you're ever likely to hear.
- You'd expect this trope a lot in porn, and there is, although it's more common in softcore erotica. The mainstream, tame soft-core Young Lady Chatterley from the 1980s includes two examples of this type, slightly averted since the maids are Cockney, not French. But the trope is definitely played up for its erotic appeal, as the maids flirt, flounce, and repeatedly lose their uniforms.
- In Ninotchka we get to see three, sexy French maids.
Live Action TV
- In a long ago Tonight Show with Johnny Carson skit, Juliet Prowse portrayed a spy pretending to be a French Maid.
- In 'Allo 'Allo! Yvette and Mimi might technically have been waitresses, but they were the incarnation of this trope in everything except name.
- In an episode of Scrubs, Turk fantasizes about being married to Elliot. Carla (Turk's wife) is portrayed in the same fantasy as being the maid, complete with uniform, with whom Turk is having an affair.
- The French TV show Palace averts this. Since it is set in a five-star hotel, there are of course a whole bunch of French maids around, but every time (Once per Episode) characters comment that the shows need a Ms. Fanservice or the viewers will stop watching, the girl they bring in is not wearing a maid outfit. Actually, she only wears a thong most of the time.
- An episode of CSI: NY involved an expensive New York maid service that supplied maids who met the requirements of this trope.
- In American Horror Story: Murder House, the maid seems to be this trope. She is indeed Ms. Fanservice, to all of the males in the house. The women see her as a much older, more matronly maid. There turns out to be a very good reason for this later in the season. She also is depicted as a (relatively) Only Sane Man and is quick to point out her independence despite her job and unique predicament.
- Jeanette the maid in the murder mystery episode of Saved by the Bell. Turns out she's also a Clingy Jealous Girl and is a brief suspect in the game.
- Used for the obligatory Double Entendre in The Goodies.
- "This car has parts from all over the world. British made, German made..." (Bill removes girl in a French Maid Outfit from the car) "French maid."
- Butler enters with two hot maids bearing tea trays. "While you are waiting sir, I thought you'd like tea and crumpets."
- Give me a Rap Music Video and when discussing the man's influence, he may or may not have playboy french maids cleaning his house or servicing the guests.
- In Laura Bow: The Colonel's Bequest, there is a stereotypical French maid named Fifi who exemplifies all of these traits.
- Be Trapped has Juliette, a maid very similar to Yvette.
- In PvP, Robbie hires a French maid called Suitecannes (pronounced Sweet Can) to staff his mansion. It turns out she was a call girl who dressed as a maid because she thought it was his fetish.
- In Held Within Strip #27 Susie accidentally wishes that her genie girlfriend Jenny summon a teacher that has been giving Susie a hard time, and turn her into a French Maid. Jenny, of course, does so. When the teacher admits to blackmailing students into having sex with her for passing grades Susie also makes her speak only (bad) French.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode Invasion of the Ferb Snatchers, Major Monogram hired two French Maids to clean the secret lair.
- Hello, Nurse! of Animaniacs once dressed this way. (Why? To give the Warner siblings a lesson in table manners. What can you say, she's the Trope Namer.)
- Squidward forces SpongeBob to dress like this in "Can You Spare a Dine?"