You know this lady. She's portly or Hollywood Pudgy, perpetually smiling and always ready to do what you need her to do—she's always there should you need someone to take out the trash, do the laundry, or just simply be a shoulder to cry on. She'll always have a nice breakfast for you ready in the morning, and will take your coat for you once you come back home. She's the Kindly Housekeeper. Such ladies can be a Parental Substitute to the children (if there are any) to substitute for the Disappeared Dad or the Missing Mom—usually the latter since housekeepers are traditionally women. She will also often play Team Mom to the other servants (assuming she's not the only servant employed). Can be a Supreme Chef considering that it's all part of the job, or an Apron Matron. In the latter case she may also be a Servile Snarker to verbally whip others. Probably not an Old Retainer, since she usually doesn't have a high regard for doing things the Proper Way. Contrast Creepy Housekeeper. Compare Mammy.
open/close all folders
- Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.
- Composite Character Nanny (a stand-in for the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians' Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler) in Disney's 101 Dalmatians.
- The recent movie adaptation of Jane Eyre portrays Mrs. Fairfax this way.
- Mary Poppins had one.
- Chessy in The Parent Trap (newer version with Lindsay Lohan).
- Annie in It's A Wonderful Life. Sure, she snarks, especially with the younger Baileys, but it's clearly based on affection (which is equally clearly reciprocated).
- Mrs. McGregor from The Boxcar Children: She works for Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny's paternal grandfather, James Henry Alden, as a housekeeper/cook, but they see her more as a member of the family than a servant.
- Subverted in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series book Over Sea, Under Stone (1965). Mrs. Palk appears to be one of these, but turns out to be The Mole, an agent of the Dark who sabotages the protagonists.
- Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler in The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
- Calpurnia from To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Nancy Drew: Hannah Gruen, the live-in housekeeper/cook to the Drew family. She had been working for the family since Mrs. Drew, Nancy's mother, passed away when Nancy was only three years old. Nancy and her father, Carson, see Hannah more of as a member of the family than a servant, especially considering Hannah and Nancy have a very close mother/daughter-type of relationship.
- Jack from Alex Rider. Although she's younger than most of the examples, she still serves as a Parental Substitute for Alex.
- Ida Jungmann in Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks.
- Peggotty from David Copperfield.
- Mrs. Hudson in the Sherlock Holmes canon fits this trope. She was actually Holmes' landlady, and didn't really clean up after him too often, but she did prepare his meals and admit clients in to see him. She even assisted directly in one of his cases, for which he complimented her as being "indispensable."
- "Brownie" (Mrs. Brown, first name unknown) from Mary Grant Bruce's series of books (the "Billabong Books") about the fictional Australian cattle station (ranch, in Americanese) named Billabong. After David Linton's wife died, Mrs. Brown, their cook/housekeeper took on the role of surrogate mother to his two very young children with the approval of her employer. She is depicted as kindly but firm, able to induce obedience through sheer love.
- Mrs. Bird from Paddington Bear.
Live Action TV
- Mrs. Bridges is the Kindly Queen of Kitchen in Upstairs Downstairs. She does have something of a temper, but is a caring mother to the servant folks.
- Alice from The Brady Bunch is portrayed this way.
- In the Doctor Who serial Ghost Light, the kindly housekeeper leaves at sunset, and once she and the day staff have left the Creepy Housekeeper appears. Guess when the TARDIS arrives.
- Mrs. Garrett, Edna, and Pearl from Diff'rent Strokes.
- Carla, the Drapers' black "girl" on Mad Men, who is widely criticized for being confined to this trope and Satellite Character status in a show that has plenty of time to examine the problems of comparatively much more privileged (read: white) people in The Sixties. The only time she broke out of the role at all was during the scene when she was being fired. It's worse with Betty's childhood nanny/maid Viola, who is downright Mammy-like.
- Mrs Elsie Hughes of Downton Abbey.
- As noted in the Literature section, Mrs. Hudson. The Granada television adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes canon puts her even more squarely into this trope than the novels themselves, as it illustrates the mother-son type of attachment she shares with her eccentric boarder. This is most clearly seen in the episode in which Holmes returns after being believed dead for three years - he hugs her.
- The BBC adaptation puts her in the same position, with John and Sherlock both very protective of their landlady (not their housekeeper). For the offence of laying hands on Mrs Hudson, Sherlock throws a CIA agent out of a window, and at the end of series 2 Moriarty correctly identifies her as one of the three true friends in his life.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Mila, Tain's gentle and kind housekeeper of thirty years.
- The title character in the comic strip Hazel, as well as the Shirley Booth sitcom adapted from it, is tough-talking but sweet.
- The player character's mother in Pokémon Black and White. Her reaction to the player character and Bianca trashing the bedroom having Pokemon battles indoors? A cheery "No problem, I'll clean it up. You kids run along now!"