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Girl Friday

Christine Everheart: After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.
Pepper Potts: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including, occasionally, taking out the trash. [still smiling] Will that be all?

The faithful female servant. She's not an Action Girl, but neither is she a Damsel in Distress; her main job is to help The Hero (her boss) out at critical junctures. Sometimes she provides critical information, other times it's just a helping hand or heart, sometimes with a side of Unresolved Sexual Tension. Don't presume the Girl Friday can't fight however — she can still kick plenty of ass, sometimes turning into a full-fledged Battle Butler.

The term is the Distaff Counterpart of "Man Friday," an expression that comes from Robinson Crusoe's "man Friday" (man as in servant, Friday being his name); it was popularized for female office workers by His Girl Friday, a Screw Ball Comedy about a reporter's relationship with her editor/ex-husband.

Compare with The Jeeves, Beleaguered Assistant, and Hyper Competent Sidekick. A step up from the Sexy Secretary. Contrast Ignored Enamored Underling.

Neither the 1994 TV movie of this name, or the song by the Beat Crusaders are the Trope Namer, nor are they examples of the trope.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comicbooks 
  • Pepper Potts, who is becoming more and more badass. She even has her own armor now.
  • Both Shellie and Gail have performed this role for Dwight McCarthy in Sin City. Gail does get her hands dirty from time to time, though.
  • Mercy Graves for Lex Luthor—at least, as seen in Batman: No Man's Land. Her duties range from bodyguarding to business to serving dinner. Could be a subversion of sorts—she's not exactly working for the hero.
  • Oracle would sometimes act as this for Batman, being his source for communication and intel. Though she would frequently get impatient and sick of his constant thankless demands, and often needed to remind him that she is not his personal secretary.
  • Deliberately subverted in Ed Brubaker's Image series Velvet, which follows Velvet Templeton, the personal secretary to the director of elite espionage organization ARC-7, and a veteran secret agent herself, who after more than 10 years of retirement is still equal than or superior to the all-male James Bond-esque agents the group fields.
  • Street Fighter II has Gibson, Guile's Canon Foreigner assistant.

    Films 
  • Big Fat Liar: Kaylee is essential for all of Jason's scams. She fakes voices, helps out the legwork, strategizes etc.
  • The version of Pepper Potts portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow in the Iron Man movies very much applies. In Iron Man 2, Tony realizes she already basically runs Stark Industries so he makes her CEO, with her own Girl Friday, Natalie Rushman.
  • Shelley Barnes, the lesbian assistant of Jack Gramm, in 88 Minutes.
  • Though the character of Lucy wasn't George's secretary in Two Weeks Notice, he certainly treated her like one so much that she was pretty much a personal nanny to him.
  • James Bond:
    • Miss Moneypenny. "Oh, James! Do be careful!" Note that Moneypenny is technically one of these to M, rather than to Bond himself.
    • In the novels, Mary Goodnight was Bond's Girl Friday, and unlike the film of The Man with the Golden Gun, she was actually competent. She was the secretary for the 00 agents and they had a wager to see which one of them would seduce her.
  • Lisa from Rear Window refers to herself as this while helping Jeff try to figure out if Thorwald killed his own wife. She proceeds to send a letter from Jeff to Thorwald, inspect the courtyard for any body parts, and even break into the accused's apartment to search for clues.
  • In A Face in the Crowd, Lonesome Rhodes calls Marcia Jeffries "my little ol' gal Friday, not to mention Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, n' Thursday."

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cordelia Chase begins Angel as one of these before becoming an Action Girl.
  • Natalie and Sharona from Monk. Natalie is even called by the trope name in "Mr. Monk Goes To The Office".
  • Chloe from Smallville.
  • Suits has Donna for Harvey, as well as Amy for Mike when he leaves Pearson Specter to become an investment banker at the end of Season 3. Norma also appears to be this for Louis, although she never appears onscreen.
  • On Arrow, Felicity starts out as a bit player but thanks to her tech expertise, discretion, and loyalty, quickly becomes Oliver's non-action support. Oliver even promotes her to personal secretary in his company.
    • It got to the point where it was lampshaded in one episode
      Oliver: I need a girl Wednesday
      Felicity: (annoyed) It's FRIDAY!
  • The West Wing had a whole fleet of these girls: Donna, Margaret, Bonnie, Carol, Cathy, Ginger and Mrs Landingham (who also had a Girl Friday of her own, Nancy).
  • Gail Koner of Profit, who takes a level in badass in "Chinese Box" to become Jim Profit's Battle Butler.
  • Betty Suarez (Ugly Betty) is this for Daniel Meade.
  • Special Agent Diana Barrigan of White Collar, while a full agent herself, often plays this to Peter.
  • As Veronica Mars has the High Concept of "high-school Noir with all the genders flipped", its Girl Friday role is filled by Wallace Fennell. Veronica also fulfills some of this trope's roles by helping her father, Keith Mars, with his Private Detective business. Her own investigations are technically something she does on her own time, usually (but not always) without his knowing.
  • On Parks and Recreation, April has this type of relationship with Ron as his assistant. But since Ron's job consists of sitting at his desk doing nothing, April's explicitly stated duty is to keep him from ever doing any work. Since she's equally adept at avoiding work, their partnership works out perfectly.
  • On Fringe, Astrid has elements of this in her usual role, but in the Storybook Episode "Brown Betty", Walter casts her as the full-fledged version to Olivia's Hard Boiled Detective.
  • Guinevere from Merlin is often this to Merlin, especially in the first few episodes.
    • Merlin is a genderswapped version of this to Arthur.
  • On Queer as Folk, Brian's assistant Cynthia is clearly the person he depends most on in his work, though he later starts depending more on Ted as well even though he is technically only his accountant (perhaps because he knows Ted privately as well as professionally).
  • Most of the Doctor's female companions in Doctor Who.
  • Miss Lenore Case of The Green Hornet of course, qualifies as this.

    Videogames 
  • Cortana from Halo is an interesting variation.
  • Another (quite literal) Girl Friday is Nigel's Fairy Companion Friday from Landstalker.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Maya Fey/Ema Skye and Trucy Wright for the Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice, respectively.
    • Miles Edgeworth unwillingly gets one in his own game, in the form of Lady Thief Kay Faraday.
    • To some extent, the detectives are these to their prosecutors. So Ema Skye is also one to Klavier seven years onward.
  • Yeoman Kelly Chambers serves in this role in Mass Effect 2, with Specialist Traynor taking over in Mass Effect 3. EDI is no slacker in this role either, often being the one to trawl through local data feeds to give Shepard fresh intel whenever s/he leaves the ship.
  • Ingrid Hunnigan in Resident Evil 4.
  • Jenny (to the player, and despite actively trying to be awful at her job) and Alexa (to Dr. F., in a more straightforward example) in MySims Agents.
  • Literally the name of Stenchler's assistant in Sewer Shark.

    Western Animation 


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alternative title(s): Right Hand Woman
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