Like the Temporary Love Interest, this is a way to give the hero some romance for the episode while still allowing the focus of the show to be on the plot or the arc, but the Girl of the Week does not have to die at the end. The girl will be gone by the next episode, possibly because of a wacky misunderstanding a la the Three Is Company plotline, or a very minor flaw, but sometimes just not showing up again, with no explanation offered. This relationship will generally be rockier or less passionate than that with the Temporary Love Interest, allowing its end to be less dramatic. If someone is noted for getting extremely passionate about every Girl of the Week, sincerely believing each one in turn to be the love of their life but then forgetting all about them a week later, they're a Serial Romeo. Sometimes, particularly in a Walking the Earth series, there's no relationship, but the girl is shown having an obvious interest in the hero (which may be mutual) before he inevitably moves on.
If she survives longer than her initial appearance, Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome is likely.
Related to Disposable Love Interest.
Changes in social gender roles mean that it is starting to become acceptable for female protagonists to have relations with male guest cast members that fit into this trope, although examples are less likely to lead to actual sex and usually tend to be more emotionally significant than a pure one-night-stand.
If you were looking for Monster of the Week, Well, This Is Not That Trope.
Subverted throughout the Pokémon anime, as Brock generally never has even a slim chance of actually getting the girl. There have been some very rare instances of girls actually being interested in Brock, but they always go their separate ways by the end of the episode, anyway.
Makoto of Sailor Moon usually fell for each minor male character shortly after their introduction.
And they all remind her of an ex-senpai, even Haruka.
Not so much Girl of the Week as Girl of the Movie but the Naruto movies seem to love this trope. Naruto's had at least one older woman giving him a kiss, a Distressed Damsel literally offering to have his babies (which, due to the way she phrased it, Naruto unwittingly accepts), and in the second Shipuuden movie he ends up with the current Girl of the Week clutching him to her chest (it would be Marshmallow Hell if she had bigger... tracts of land) while tearfully claiming that she'd never leave him... Being non-canonical of course, not one of them ever shows up again.
Some of the more cohesive filler arcs during the gap between the end of Part 1 and beginning of Shippuden also brought this into play. This adds two female daimyos, a handful of kunoichi, and one girl with a bad skin condition to Naruto's roster. Of these, exactly one has appeared as a background character since then and she was rooting for Gaara.
Subverted in the final movie, which Kishimoto confirmed to be canon. The film is a bridge between the second-to-last chapter and the Distant Finale epilogue, so the "girl" of the movie is also one of the main love interests and the one Naruto ultimately ends up with in the end: Hinata. The movie is a romantic resolution, a tale of how the two fell in love.
This theme is basically the premise of Golden Boy.
The plot of The World God Only Knows, where the main character's job is to make the Girl of the Week fall in love with him, so he may extract the spirit possessing them from their soul. With his gaming skills.
Increasingly subverted as the story progresses, as he finds himself involved with some of the girls again.
In City Hunter, Ryo Saeba accepts assignments almost exclusively from beautiful young women, most of whom are never seen again in further episodes. During the rare instances when Ryo accepts a job from a man, it would usually involve protecting a young woman.
More of a Girl Of The Year than a Girl of the Week: In any of the Lupin III TV specials, at least one of the newly-introduced characters (whether good, evil or neutral) is female, starts building a relationship with one of the main characters and won't be mentioned in another special ever again.
In Dragon Ball, there are quite a few Girls of the Week during the Walking the Earth segments. Even more are added during the filler episodes. Strangely enough, Goku's wife Chi-Chi is originally introduced as a Girl of the Week and when she makes her second appearance in the manga over a hundred chapters later, there's a Lampshade Hanging where no-one can remember her (except Oolong).
The James Bond film franchise is famous for its Bond Girls, the disposable companions that Bond acquires in each of his various adventures. Bond Girls have a very high mortality rate, and, with some exceptions, never appear in more than one movie. The only exception is "Trench, Sylvia Trench" from the firsttwo movies, who perhaps was spared for giving Bond his catchphrase (though she never "made it" with Bond, either). Unless of course we count Ms. Moneypenny (and Judi Dench's M, since the actress considers herself a "bond Girl"). Despite the mortality rate, almost every film will feature at least one Bond girl surviving, and given how many girls Bond tends to get- even in a single film- versus the amount who actually die, maybe the ratio isn't so bad after all.
Vesper Lynd, in the 2006 version of Casino Royale, is the only character to have a direct effect on the plot of a second film (Quantum of Solace, in which she casts a long shadow but appears onscreen for all of two seconds).
Teresa would have appeared in the film after On Her Majestys Secret Service and be killed early in the film. Before filming of Lazenby's first film ended he had already decided not to do another, so she was killed at the end of the film.
So far, just about every girl that Daniel Craig's Bond has had sex with has died before the closing credits. The only two Daniel Craig-era Bond girls to survive so far are Camille Montes (who Bond doesn't even get in bed with) in "Quantum of Solace" and the random woman he is seen with at the beginning of Skyfall.
It's even revealed that her son is also his son and they get married at the end of the film.
There's also a line that justifies why it was played straight in the first three films. Indiana tells the love interest that it didn't last with any of the other girls because they all had the same problem: "They weren't you."
Not to mention the fact that when they meet in the first movie, they've already had a past relationship, making "Kingdom" the third and final(?) time they hook up!"
Then, there is a story where they set out, full of vim, certain that they would bump into someone from their old adventures — and owing to the wrath of certain gods, meet up with girl of the week after girl of the week, and everyone of them had made her own life and rejects them both. (Until the very end, where abject humiliation succeeds in winning the two they least wanted to meet.)
Though The Twain both end up more or less as faithful (more or less) married husbands in the last stories, set on Rime Isle.
The Gor novels (when Tarl isn't pining for Talena or Vella) tend to have a Slave Girl Of The Book, who Tarl teaches to love her slavery. By the next book she's either in his slave harem and (almost) never mentioned again or sold off to someone who is her "ideal master."
Deconstructed in Tales of an Mazing Girl Story X of the week, in which Mazing Girl rapidly falls in love and looses him. The villan gave her a drug to make her fall in love with him, then killed him for the sole purpose of making it personal.
Justified in that there are huge gaps in time between many stories, and that they weren't written in chronological order. Conan had several lengthy relationships, and eventually married. Also before his marriage Conan is specified to run out of money a lot.
Thomas Lewellyn, of Will Thomas's Barker and Lewellyn Victorian-era mysteries, will fall in love at least once a book, but it never works out. (Then again, it never gets far- twice he's warned off by the young lady's father or guardian and immediately gives up on the matte and twice it turns out she's seeing someone else and lied about it. The one time he manages to entertain serious thoughts of a relationship until the end of the book? Turns out she's the Big Bad. Oops.)
The Jennifer Morgue discusses, lampshades, and generally plays hell with this trope: the opposition is using a Hero-trap geas, meaning that all efforts to oppose him will be funneled into the Theory of Narrative Causality; since he cast himself as the villain, he can only be successfully resisted by a James Bond archetype, which is played by Bob. He is quickly paired up with a female Black Chamber agent, making her a Bond girl. And then the trope is turned completely upside down: it turns out that Angleton was able to successfully end-run the geas by making Bob's girlfriend, Mo, the true Bond-figure in the geas, meaning that Bob is the actual Bond girl, allowing Mo to save the day in a Bond-worthy Big Damn Heroes moment. The narrative also notes that there's almost always two Bond girls, one "light", one "dark", thus making room for the Black Chamber agent in the geas.
Bernie Rhodenbarr, Lawrence Block's Gentleman Thief protagonist, sleeps with at least one female love interest per novel, and none of them reappear or are mentioned again after that. The closest person in Bernie's life is Carolyn Kaiser, a lesbian pet-groomer who describes herself as his "minion", and is Platonic Life Partners with him.
Bertie Wooster runs through love interests quickly and frequently ends up engaged (often against his will), but never actually gets married because Status Quo Is God.
The pre-WWII The Saint novels and short stories switch randomly between having Simon dating his long-term love interest Patricia Holm and having Girls Of The Week (some of which he is clearly indicated to have sex with). It is implied that he and Patricia have an open relationship.
Live Action TV
CHiPs: Ponch often had one (or more) of these per episode, and they were the hottest, most babelicious girls you could ever feast your eyes on.
In Happy Endings, Penny, is usually breaking up or having problems with a new guy each week, although mostly off screen. Also happens sometimes with Dave.
Virtually every Dom Com with teen-aged characters has or has had stories where one of the male or female teen-aged characters would become involved in a (almost always, temporary) relationship. The catalyst to the relationship's failure — usually by episode's end — provided that episode's Aesop.
Other times, the date would be successful, but — since most of the family sitcoms didn't have story arcs — the relationship would end without explanation and never be referred to again.
The guys in The Professionals never have the same girl for more than one episode. Generally, if Girl of the Week is blonde, she will be dumb and annoying. If she's brunette, she will be mildly intelligent, but still in need of looking after. Most notable Girls of the Week are Ann in "Involvement" (Doyle's girlfriend) and Marikka in "Fall Girl" (Bodie's girlfriend).
Hogan's Heroes did this a lot. The women could be German civilians, members of the underground, foreigners, or even German officers, and the Heroes would still go for them. However, the only recurring women were Tiger and Marya. Even Klink got a few women, although the one non-spy lady wound up leaving with Burkhalter by the end of the episode.
Billy from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had enough of these to give almost any other character on this list a run for their money. He got more romantic subplots than any other Ranger and probably still holds the record as the franchise's biggest in-canon stud.
Every romantic interest on Silver Spoons for anyone besides Kate and Ricky's father Edward.
Sometimes this would flirt with "Very Special Episode" territory, since most of the girls Brandon hooked up with had some kind of "issue" connected to them, eg., the girl with the baby, the black girl, the racist girl—never let it be said Brandon wasn't an equal opportunity dater.
The repeated use of Girls of the Week in later seasons of Sliders was criticized by fans, although they were usually temporary love interests since most of the time they died tragically at the end of the episode.
Most early seasons of Frasier rarely had Frasier Crane with a girlfriend who stayed around longer than an episode; sometimes they didn't even break up, she simply wasn't there any more an episode later. In later seasons, the girlfriend might stay for a mini-arc but would likely be gone after. Often a focus of Lampshade Hanging as Frasier obsessed about his inability to commit. In one memorable episode, most of the former love interests made a cameo in a Dream Sequence on the subject.
All of the main male characters of the Star Trek spinoffs (even including thatmain male character, who actually is the reigning champion of TNG) got at least one Girl of the Week (and occasionally Crusher and Troi would get a Guy Of The Week). As for the original? They were all hogged by Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Mostly Kirk.
Lies! Chekov once got a girl. She didn't even die.
Scotty once got a girl too. Really, the only regular male character on TOS who never got a Girl of the Week was Sulu.
This was such a common event that characters who keep getting the Girl of the Week in a TV series are sometimes referred to as 'Kirk' or 'a Kirk', either as criticism or compliment, often by geeky characters. See various episodes of Stargate Atlantis as an example, with Rodney McKay calling John Shepherd 'Kirk' after he has met and conquered the Girl of the Week - but then he's jealous! The epitome of this was when Shephard tried to hit on Rodney's married sister in the episode 'McKay and Mrs Miller' (S3 E08).
This specific example was hilariously lampshaded in the In Living Color! skit The Wrath of Farrakhan: 'You even take the ugly ones, Captain!'
The Saint, especially during Ian Ogilvy's time as the hero.
Bergerac (the detective from the island of Jersey, not Cyrano) was a more constant type of chap. He went through a girlfriend per season.
Quantum Leap loved this trope - justifying it in that Sam's scrambled brain would pick up on the feelings of the person he replaced and that his pursuit would set the GOTW and the person Sam leapt into "on the right path".
Besides which, unless it was a two-parter Sam would be forcibly "leaped" out of the situation, therefore he couldn't have an ongoing relationship with any of them. (He had a wife in his "present" but didn't remember her. She decided that was for the best: because if he knew, she knew he'd feel obliged not to pursue any GOTW no matter how right it would be for the person he leaped in to. Ironically, his wife originally was a GOTW from an earlier episode, but because Sam helped her solve her commitment issues in the past she didn't leave him at the altar like she had originally, a fact we don't find out until nearly four seasons later.)
They did Lampshade it from time to time, though. "Well well, he's in love, for the very first time today!"
Most of the episodes of Flight of the Conchords, mainly because most of the duo's songs are love songs. Mel is the only regular female character, and she's a stalker that they cannot stand. The only recurring girlfriends are Sally (3 episodes) and Coco (2).
Possibly lampshaded with the song "Carol Brown", in which Jemaine imagines being sung at by a choir of his ex-girlfriends...all of whom we've never seen before.
Drake from Drake & Josh. There eventually came an episode where Drake does wish and attempts to have a committed relationship, but we never see this girl again either. The guy's pick-ups change so much that Josh has even commented and/or mixed up some names to remember.
Josh: Lucy might end up being the girl you date for more than three weeks!
Used extensively in the Spiritual SequeliCarly. Many of these can't imply anything other than that Spencer basically has sex with the girl and she slinks off the next day never to be seen again.
The rest of the gang have had: Valerie, Melanie, Griffin, Jake, Jonah, Shane, Pete and even Carly/Freddie (to each other) show up like this. Spencer has more than the Power Trio combined. One notable example was Pete, whom Sam could be argued to have succeeded in getting him, only for it to Snap Back next week.
A few episodes of the Lee Van Cleef/Timothy Van Patten series The Master that appeared on MST3K followed this trope to a tee, the first featuring a young Demi Moore. They weren't all pining for Tim, but there was always a young woman or two, of variable relevance to the plot.
Any of Zack's love interests on Saved by the Bell that wasn't Kelly, Tori, or Stacy. Including Lisa, even though she was a main character for the entire run of the series, Slater's sister (never seen before or after), and the homeless girl that moved into his house with her father.
Little Joe on Bonanza was an early example of this.
The cast of Buffy has a handful of these for both genders: Buffy's one date with Owen, who she has to dump because living in her world would get him killed; Cordelia has several of these in seasons 1 and 2. Not to mention Xander's tendency to have possible love interests turn out to be demons trying to kill him - one of the few instances where Girl of the Week and Monster of the Week are actually one and the same.
The A-Team had tons of these, and they almost always ended up with Face, except for a handful of times when they ended up with Murdock.
In the last couple of series of the original run of Doctor Who, Ace seemed to find a new young female best friend to hang out with almost everywhere (and everywhen) they went. The level of subtext varied, but was later confirmed to be deliberate with at least some of them.
Happened not infrequently in the first season, before the iconic Doctor WhoNo Hugging, No Kissing was in effect. A notable example is an elderly Aztec woman named Cameca, the first love interest the Doctor is ever given. An odder example is a male Thal who Barbara apparently had an offscreen romance with in "The Daleks", although we see no indication of this beyond an extremely sexual goodbye kiss and he is never mentioned again. The expanded universe suggests that she had been sleeping with him but it wasn't a big deal.
Samantha in "The Faceless Ones", a Plucky Girl with a Scouse accent who Jamie Honey Traps in order to steal her plane tickets. The director wanted her to stay on as a companion to replace the departing Ben and Polly, but the actress declined.
Two and a Half Men: Girl of the week is probably an understatement, seeing how Charlie has even had more than one per day.
A few characters on Babylon 5 had partners-of-the-week, generally justified by a mix of the characters being career military or politicians, or by the space station being a major travel junction.
Jeffrey Sinclair, the first commander, had Carolyn Sykes in The Pilot, with Catherine Sakai being another on-again-off-again girlfriend in the series propernote interestingly enough, both had the same job, being prospectors IN SPACE. Sakai notably had the ability to recite Tennyson and make it sound incredibly sexy.
Catherine Sakai doesn't meet the strict definition of a Girl of the Week, as she appeared in 3 episodes and their story was continued in a novel.
Dr. Stephen Franklin had several one-off romantic interests, though it is implied that at least a few of these relationships continued Out of Focus after they were no longer important to the plot.
Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari not only had a Girl of the Week, but he also had three wives (all at once, perfectly legal on his homeworld). He ends up divorcing two of the wives and then the girlfriend gets Stuffed into the Fridge as part of an a plan.
Carmen on The George Lopez Show averted this in that most of her boyfriends lasted for two episodes or more, and the break-up was usually explained.
For the first few seasons, Shawn from Boy Meets World had this. Even in episodes where they tried to establish a back story of a serious relationship, you only saw the girl for one episode. Eventually they lampshaded it in the episode where he finally takes a permanent girlfriend who sticks around for most of the rest of the series.
Highlander loved this after the first season. Mac did have Amanda around on and off, but he had a lot of girls of the week too. The series even had a parody song on one of its commercially released outtake reels that lampshaded it. "He'll chop a head, then land in bed with this week's guest star..." It used to make fans complain because Richie and Joe so rarely had girlfriends.
The Golden Girls had the genderflip of this, with most of the girls having frequent *guys* of the week.
Merlin had a milder form of this in the earlier seasons, with several princesses of the week that came at Uther's behest to try and get Arthur married to someone the king approved of. It didn't work.
In Ellery Queen, Ellery had several girlfriends in the series, none of whom appeared in more than one episode.
Friends distinguished between the type of relationship the different characters have. Both Joey and Phoebe have numerous Girl of the Week relationships which last barely an episode. Ross and Monica preferred long-term relationships that lasted for at least a few episodes (Julie, Elizabeth, Mona/Richard and Pete). Rachel switches between Guy Of The Week and long term interests. Chandler intrestingly tried to pick up Girl of the Week one night stands but struggled and was actually happier in his longer relationships. (Janice and Kathy).
The show also had a rather interesting way of using this trope. Often the way relationships worked was that a character would pick up a new love interest, become overly-idealistic and excited about the person. And then some sort of "big reveal" would happen, either immediately ending the relationship (Phoebe and Gary in S5) or gradually ending it throughout the corresponding episode (Rachel and Paul in S6). By the next episode, the character would be totally over it and ready to pursue a new love interest.
Chandler lampshaded this in an episode, where the group discovers a man in an apartment in their building had died lonely. Chandler reads the man's reasons for dumping his girlfriends- all of which were done for petty reasons- and realizes he's been doing the same thing. He resolves not to do that anymore and decides to give his former girlfriends a second chance. The first one he sees, Janice, is pregnant and thus unavailable, but he actually goes on a date with the second one- a girl he dumped for having "big head". He then realizes he actually liked her big head, and the episode ends with him smiling.
Also lampshaded in an episode after Chandler and Monica started dating. After they had their first fight, Chandler assumed the relationship was outright over.
Monica: Why exactly? Chandler: Because of the weekend. We had a fight. Monica: Chandler, that's crazy. If you give up every time you have a fight with someone, you'd never be with anyone longer than... (realizing) Oh...
IreneAdler is the protagonist's Girl Of The Week in episode 4 of Sherlock, though her disappearance from Sherlock's life at the end of the episode is more out of a desire to adhere to the source material than a firm belief in maintaining the status quo.
Played for laughs on Married... with Children. There were many episodes where Bud Bundy brought a girl back to his house, using a fake tough guy persona, only for one of the family members to embarrass him and run her off.
Farscape mainly had shipping within the regular cast, but several regulars had a Boy/Girl of the Week in at least one episode. These ranged from casual sex to love tragically ended by death or betrayal.
At least the radio show of Have Gun — Will Travel has the main character Paladin returning from his adventures to a new Girl of the Week. Subverted in that he wasn't always successful in the attempt.
Harry Lime almost always had one of these (generally some girl he was attempting to scam) in The Lives Of Harry Lime.
Dante from the Devil May Cry series had one for almost each game. The first had Trish, the second had Lucia and the third (a prequel) had Lady. The fourth game brings back Trish and Lady at the same time. However, Dante has not shown explicit romantic interest in any of them, and how exactly they feel about him is up in the air as well.
Solid Snake had a different potential love interest in the earlier Metal Gear games which culminated with Meryl in MGS1 (the previous ones being Diane in MG1 and Holly in MG2). This was subverted in subsequent installments , with Snake having no real love interest in MGS2 (going as far as to dismiss Olga as a potential love interest by claiming that he's "tired of tomboys") and in MGS4 he loses Meryl to Akiba of all people (which upset quite a few Snake/Meryl fans). He still got quite a few ladies after him in the non-canon games, if you count Chris Jenner, Teliko Friedman, and Venus. Out of all these girls, the only ones whose affections are truly reciprocated are Meryl, Chris and (depending on how you interprettheirrelationship) Teliko - Diane won't admit she admires Snake, Venus flirts with Snake but Snake turns her down, and while Snake agrees to go out with Holly he loses interest in her pretty much immediately afterwards and dumps her.
Ratchet from the Ratchet & Clank series, seems to be quite the ladies man for a short fuzzy dude. While Angela Cross from the second game is a debatable case, it really started with Sasha Phyronix in the third game (she made a cameo in the fourth), a character named Hydrogirl offered Ratchet to 'come hook her up' if he was ever near her home planet at the end of the fourth game, the most recent games seem to have Talwyn Apogee in this role.
Clank himself is probably more successful. Hell, the dude literally was a robot James Bond in his big-screen movie role.
He also hooked up a former Girl of the Week with Robotnik's son, which worked because they were both robots.
Completely averted in SEGA's Sonic for obvious reasons, where he has best-friend of the week instead.
The Uncharted series both fits and subverts this trope. In the first game Elena Fisher is the main love interest for Nathan Drake. The second has Elena absent at first and instead has an even older flame, Chloe Frazer supposedly rekindling her relationship with Drake. Halfway through the game, Drake runs into Elena which starts a love triangle of sorts. At the end after Elena has seemingly died (they even show Drake standing next to a Tibetan grave), the game reveals her to actually be alive and well (the grave was for another supporting character), Chloe and Drake go their respective ways and Drake and Elena officially become a couple a last. Awwwwww
Averted in Episode II. Michiru would fit this trope, but Alec refuses to fall for her, still waiting to be with Ivanka again. Although, Alec and Michiru eventually try to make love, but are rudely interrupted by Daisuke.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko, or better yet Sokka, has multiple love interests. However, Zuko ends up with Mai, and Sokka with Suki.
The abridged series has Sokka proudly declare "I got hos in different area codes" when this is brought up.
Interestingly enough, Suki was originally intended to be this, but was brought back and made a permanent love interest due to fandom demand.
Tammy the squirrel and Foxglove the bat in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. There were others too, including Sparky, a rare example of a "Boy of the week", for Gadget. It was a fairly regular trope in the show.
An interesting case, since Foxglove does return in the official (but short-lived) comic revival.
Irene, for Terry in Batman Beyond. Melanie comes off as this in her initial appearance, but came back a few times.
On Daria, Quinn could have a new boyfriend every week, along with her usual harem, the Three J's. Daria herself had one Boy of the Week in Ted Dewitt-Clinton, though it was more of just an Odd Friendship with rather obvious Ship Tease. Jane had one in Nathan the retrophile.
On The Simpsons, Bart and Lisa have occasional love interests, or at least someone romantically interested in them. In Lisa's case, for example, there's Nelson Muntz, Colin from The Simpsons Movie, Thelonious from "Trilogy of Error" ("The esoteric appeal is worth the beatings"), and even Ralph Wiggum.
The same is true for Brian, Stewie, Chris, and even Meg of Family Guy, and Fry and Leela of Futurama, although Fry and Leela have been in an on-again/off-again relationship since the post-movie seasons started (the on-again/off-again part was lampshaded at one point).
Candace got one in "A Hard Day's Knight." Interestingly, he looked almost identical to her usual Love Interest, Jeremy; since that episode takes place while the family is on vacation the writers presumably just realized they needed a replacement.
Subverted with Vanessa's boyfriend Johnny, who seemed like this at first but was revealed to be officially dating Vanessa a season and a half later. Stacy has also had Chad and Coltrane, though the latter is implied to be her on-and-off boyfriend.
Jimmy Two-Shoes gives us Schmeloise and Areanna, both to Jimmy. Justified in that Areanna ran off as soon as she escaped her tower while Schmeloise ended up exploding after Heloise reprogrammed her.
Believe it or not, Meg from Family Guy. There have been a few episodes where she finds a guy who likes her, only for him to vanish.
Mabel of Gravity Falls, due to her wanting an 'epic summer romance'. The very first episode had a montage of her flirting with various guys with no success. This has happened so much that in "Boyz Crazy", she laments that every boy she's met has had to leave her. In "Sock Opera", Dipper refers to her latest crush as her crush-of-the-week.