As TV audiences become more genre-savvy, tropes like The Smurfette Principle
are becoming increasingly more obvious. Naturally, the quicker people pick up on this the more complaints the show is likely to get. So how do modern writers address this problem? Give the Five-Man Band two
girls early on. Although this may not seem like much of an improvement, it does signify a (small) shift in how females are portrayed in media. For one, a 3:2 male-female ratio is far closer to the actual male-female population than 4:1. Similarly, it also shows that being a female in a male-majority group does not instantly relegate one to the position of The Chick
or The Heart
(though those positions will usually be filled by a female). It also acts as a happy medium for writers who want the group to seem "equal", but don't want the show to be mistaken as "for girls". (Note that having a mostly male team is still perfectly unisex.
Also note that while two girls in a Five-Man Band
are where they're the most common, they're also seen in groups of 6-8 as well (rarely ever in groups of 4, because then the split would actually be even
). If it's two girls and one guy then it's Two Girls and a Guy
, which is usually only present in female-targeted shows. This trope is about two females in unisex or male-targeted shows.
This trope gained prominence in the '90s and is still very common (especially in children's works) today. Frequently the second female will be the Smart Guy
of the group, due to tropes like Women Are Wiser
, or The Lancer
. See also Tomboy and Girly Girl
and Red Oni, Blue Oni
, which is often what the two girls will be towards each other. Affirmative Action Girl
is when the second girl is specifically added later on; this trope applies both to series that started out with two girls and girls that were added.
Also see Girl's Night Out Episode
. At least once in the series, there will be an episode where the boys are incapacitated, forcing the two girls to work together and possibly bond, despite any differences they might have.
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- For a long time, M&M had mascots for the Red, Yellow, Blue, Orange and Green M&Ms, with the Green M&M standing as the lone female and no Brown M&M representative. However, as of 2012, a female mascot has been added for the Brown M&Ms, making for a team of six characters with two females.
Anime & Manga
- Occurred in Digimon Adventure and its sequel Digimon Adventure 02: Sora and Mimi prior to Hikari/Kari joining followed by Miyako/Yolei and Hikari/Kari in 02.
- Genshiken was this until Ogiue joined. Ironically, the club is now almost all-girls.
- Rukia Kuchiki and Orihime Inoue (with Uryu Ishida, Ichigo Kurosaki, and Yasutora Sado). They also function more or less in a Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast.
- Also Soifon and Unohana among the captains.
- InuYasha: Kagome and Sango (with Shippo, Inuyasha, and Miroku). It becomes 3-3 if Kirara (who is a non-talking but still fully sentient cat demon) is counted.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! made keeping the number of girls on the show practically an art. Season one had Tea and Mai. Season two, they got a little crazy and had Tea, Mai, Ishizu, and Serenity all involved, although only rarely all in the same episode, as Ishizu wasn't really a member of "the gang". So, they sent Mai to the Shadow Realm, and then left Ishizu behind when they shuffled the cast off to the filler arc, leaving just Tea and Serenity for half of Season three. Season four had Tea and Rebecca, and also for the first half of season five. The final arc had two different five man bands, one modern, one ancient, with the ancient one having both Isis and Mana.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Asuka/Alexis and Rei/Blair are this in season 3 and season 4.
- Camula and Tania are the only female Seven Stars Assassins/Shadow Riders. Interestingly, these two are among the four best duelist of the Seven Stars Assassins, and they are two of three duelists who who won spirit keys.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Aki/Akiza and Ruka/Luna are the only females of Team 5Ds.
- Eyeshield 21 has Mamori and Suzuna who are both the chick (though only Mamori is the heart).
- In One Piece, Nami and Nico Robin. And before that, Nami and Vivi.
- In Tiger & Bunny we have the Blue Rose and Dragon Kid. Played with in that Camp Gay member Fire Emblem also considers himself "one of the girls", to the others' chagrin.
- During the first seasons UFO Robo Grendizer followed the example of the series it was a sequel to (Great Mazinger and Mazinger Z), and Hikaru was the only female on the team. However Maria joined the group at the third season, and the series began to play this trope together with several others.
- Haruko and Ayako of Slam Dunk
- Captain Tsubasa had Sanae and Kumi, and later Yoshiko and Machiko.
- Team Natsu in Fairy Tail has the exact gender ratio of 3:2, the two girls being Lucy and Erza. Not counting Happy who is not a human, the ratio is actually 2:2.
- And considering Wendy has joined Team Natsu in all but name, the ratio has tipped into the girls' favor... Even if you count Happy, Wendy brings Carla, a female of the same race, with her.
- Cowboy Bebop has Faye and Ed (despite the name, she's a girl). Take note that there's only two more people on the Bebop, Jet and Spike, which makes the gender ratio even.
- If you count Ein, the dog, it's 3 males, 2 females, playing it even straighter.
- While Naruto for most of its run enforced the Smurfette Principle almost religiously, Kishimoto got better about this towards the end; there's Tsunade and Mei Terumi of the Five Kages, and Fuu and Yugito Nii of the nine jinchuuriki.
- The villain organizations of the Pretty Cure franchise have usually the Smurfette Principle, but sometimes also Two Girls to a Team. However, they may work for the same organization, but not in the same team.
- In Futari wa Pretty Cure, we have Poisonny of the Dark Five, and Regine of the Seeds of Darkness. The Seeds of Darkness are introduced after the deaths of the Dark Five.
- In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, we have Arachnea and Hadenya, both are working for different divisions of Nightmare, also the latter is introduced after the former's death.
- In Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!, we have Anacondy and Shibiretta. Neither of them replace the other one, but they hate each other and they are working against each other, despite working for the same boss.
- In Fresh Pretty Cure!, we have Eas and Northa. However, Eas pulls a Heel-Face Turn and Northa shows up much later in the series.
- In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, we have Dark Precure and Sasorina... who are rarely seen together, since Dark Precure is the superior one.
- In Doki Doki Pretty Cure, we have Marmo and Regina. And Regina is the superior one.
- This happened in the 1960s with The Avengers, with the Scarlet Witch being joined by the Wasp or the Black Widow, and later on the X-Men, Polaris joining Jean Grey. In the All-New, All-Different team, Jean Grey soon returned to the X-Men to join Storm, and after the Phoenix' death she was replaced by Kitty Pryde. In the 1970s, the originally all-male Defenders evolved into a team with a gender-balanced core of two males (Nighthawk and the Hulk) and two females (Valkyrie and Hellcat).
- Young Avengers starts with four guys, but introduces two girls in the first couple of issues. After the The Children's Crusade ends with Cassie and Vision dead and Eli seemingly retired, the reformed team has the same dynamic with Kate / Hawkeye and Miss America.
- Warren Ellis deliberately intended to reverse this trope when he created Nextwave; they're three women and two guys.
- Although by that time it was nothing new, Chris Claremont having done it two decades earlier with the original lineups of the New Mutants and Excalibur.
- Averted with the Runaways, who have always had more girls than boys in their ranks.
Films — Live Action
- The Breakfast Club has Allison and Claire.
- In Alien there are two female characters: Ripley and Lambert.
- In Aliens there is Vaquez and Ripley.
- In Alien: Resurrection there is Call and Ripley.
- In Prometheus, which is set in the same universe their are also two major female characters: Meredith Vickers and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.
- Though technically there were actually three women on board- the third being Ford, who was for the most part a fairly minor character.
- The two girls, three (or sometimes four) guys setup is becoming very common in horror films involving teens or early twenty somethings. Recent examples include Cabin Fever, the 2010 version of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Storage 24, My Little Eye and House of Wax (2005). The fact is (obviously) lampshaded in The Cabin in the Woods.
- The Thing prequel, unlike the famously all-male cast of the 1982 film has two women in the camp- both scientists though Juliette is assimilated early on, leaving Kate the only female for the rest of the film.
- Scream (1996): The film starts out with a 5-person friend group made up of Sidney and Tatum (two girls) with Billy, Stu and Randy (3 guys). Tatum is the red to Sidney's blue. Gale Weathers is also a prominent character, but she has little interaction with the teens for the first half of the film. About halfway through the film, when Tatum dies, and all of the protagonists come together against the killer, Gale Weathers takes Tatum's place as the second girl.
Films — Animation
- Susan (Ginormica) and Insectosaurus from a group of five monsters from Monsters vs. Aliens.
- Tigress and Viper of Kung Fu Panda.
- Astrid and Ruffnut of How to Train Your Dragon.
- Ducky and Cera in The Land Before Time. Although it could have been worse. In the original script Cera was actually going to be a male character, but George Lucas, who was a producer on the film, suggested changing the gender for a little extra diversity.
- Jessie and Mrs. Potato Head among Andy's (and later Bonnie's) toys in Toy Story 3.
- Chronicles of Narnia: Susan and Lucy in Prince Caspian.
- Rachel and Cassie in Animorphs, a group with four guys.
- The Famous Five has Julian, Dick and Timmy to Georgina and Anne. But only counting the humans, it's a Gender Equal Ensemble.
- This trope is Older Than Print. In Geoffery Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the only two women on the Pilgrimage are The Prioress and the Wife of Bath.
- Star Risk, Ltd. has M'chel Riss and Jasmine King. Riss, a former Alliance Marine, does double duty as The Hero and The Lancer, while King, formerly an office manager and research specialist with a rival PMC, is The Smart Guy.
- The main team (of four) from the Mediochre Q Seth Series has Charlotte and Dhampinella. However, if you take into account the fringe members Desra, Melz and Rowan, not to mention Queen MAB, then Mediochre and Joseph seem to count as an inversion.
- Shows in both the Super Sentai and Power Rangers franchises have featured two female rangers instead of just one depending on the year. Super Sentai in particular have started featuring two female rangers on each team since its 1984 incarnation Choudenshi Bioman, with periods where the franchise would switch back and forth between having just one female ranger per team (1988-1989, 1992-1994 and 1998-2003) and then going back to having two girls again (1990-1991, 1995-1997 and almost all the current teams since 2004). Usually the two girls will wear Pink & Yellow, but other pairings have been used as well such as Pink & White, White & Blue and Blue & Pink.
- Power Rangers would try to enforce this trope in its early incarnations by gender flipping the yellow ranger if the Super Sentai counterpart was male. In fact, the Yellow Ranger from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was based on the male Tiger Ranger from Zyuranger, while four later Yellows (namely the ones in Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force and Wild Force) all had male counterparts in Super Sentai. No genders were changed for Ninja Storm and Dino Thunder, since those teams started with three Rangers instead of the usual five and none of the extra rangers were androgynous enough to get away with converting any of them into females.
- It was pretty obvious when they made English-language footage for the characters out of costume and then used the Japanese battle footage. For some reason Trini in ranger mode didn't have a little skirt like Kimberly did. Or breasts, for that matter.
- Gekiranger is the only team that had only one female ranger since the tradition of two female rangers per team was brought back to Sentai. However, a female villain named Mele switches sides during the final story arc and helps out the heroes, providing the show with a second heroine of sort. This was naturally carried over to Jungle Fury, since the gender switching practice was abandoned by that point.
- In Go-onger/RPM, the second female ranger was not a starting member, but an extra ranger who joins the team mid-series with her twin brother, giving us another unusual color combination for the female rangers (Yellow and Silver).
- Kyoryuger has it similar to the above, except the extra ranger in this case is not the main sixth ranger, and is violet in colour.
- in Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, Blue and Yellow are girls, out of the three-person team.
- Star Trek:
- For most of Star Trek: The Original Series, there were two women in the core cast: Lt. Uhura and Nurse Chapel. Initially, Yeoman Rand was part of the cast as well, but the actress was let go in the middle of the first season. Only one episode ("The Naked Time") features all three women; Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand never interact with each other, but Uhura seems to be on fairly good terms with the both of them.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation has Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher, after Tasha's death. Both had maternal and supportive roles, being the ship's head counselor and Chief Medical Officer respectively, but Troi was more exotic while Crusher was more of a down-to-earth character.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Kira and Jadzia, contrasting Kira's emotional performances with Jadzia's much more grounded and calm nature.
- When Jadzia died and they had to come up with a new Dax, it was decided early on that the new Dax would have to be female, so Kira wouldn't be the only girl.
- Star Trek: Enterprise has T'Pol and Hoshi.
- How I Met Your Mother has Robin and Lily( the remainder of the five-man band being Barney, Marshall, and Ted.)
- Fringe: Astrid and Olivia (the males Peter, Walter and Broyles, complete the group of five)
- Breakout Kings: Julianne (Mission Control), and con Erica, ( with Shea, Roy, Lloyd and Charlie make up the complete group of six)
- House: While House's team follows The Smurfette Principle as strictly as can be, the overall show always has two women: Cuddy and a female duckling who is pretty much interchangeable.
- Angel: In the third season, Fred was added to the cast of three guys (Angel, Wesley and Gunn) and one girl (Cordelia). Cordelia was The Heart of the group, Fred was both The Smart Guy and The Chick . Although considering Wesley was already used mostly for his brain, Fred's role could be seen as primarily to act as the Damsel in Distress that Cordelia could no longer realistically fulfill. Therefore playing this trope straight. Of course, this only lasted a season and then more men were added.
- NCIS: Abby and Kate in seasons 1 & 2, then Abby and Ziva in later seasons.
- Leverage features this with Parker and Sophie
- Stargate Atlantis for the majority of its run: In Season 1 - 3: Teyla and Elizabeth, in Season 4: Teyla and Sam, in Season 5: Teyla and Jennifer.
- The original "Stargate SG-1" had this in season 10 with Vala and Sam. A case could also be made for recurring character Dr Janet Fraiser being the second girl to Sam for most of the series- although she rarely accompanied SG-1 on missions off-world, she was a fairly consistent presence in the episodes set on Earth.
- On the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for the first eight seasons, Catherine and Sara were the only girls on the team. When Sara left, she was replaced by Riley, and then rejoined the team. Subverted in season 12, when Morgan and later Finn joined the team.
- Dragon's Den (UK) with the introduction of Hilary Devey in series 9.
- Inverted on House of Anubis with the original Sibuna made of 2 guys and 3 girls. In season 3, however, it's played straight as Patricia and KT become the two girls on the team.
- Also works for Team Evil, who (Ammit not included), in terms of the original sinners along with Victor and Robert, have Denby and Patricia as the only two girls on the team.
- The Mentalist has Teresa Lisbon and Grace Van Pelt. Lisbon is even the team leader, but not the show's protagonist.
- Dawsons Creek has Joey and Jen.
- Teen Wolf has Allison and Lydia as the main cast's sole females, with four males (Scott, Stiles, Derek, and Jackson.) However, there are many significant female characters amongst the supporting cast, although still fewer than the men.
- Averted in the Final Fantasy series. Every game since Final Fantasy IV has had three playable female characters. This is when you discount the occasional Guest Star Party Member (and possibly Final Fantasy IX, which also has Quina).
- Final Fantasy II does have only Maria and Leila as playable female characters. Maria is The Heart of a group of three that sticks together for most of the game. Leila is a badass Pirate Girl.
- On that note, Final Fantasy V actually turns this on its head - your initial party looks like three males and one female, but later on Faris is revealed to be a Sweet Polly Oliver, making it turn out to have been balanced. Then Galuf dies, and it becomes a four-person party with only one guy.
- It's worth noting that in Final Fantasy X-2, your party consists three girls... and nobody else.
- Chun-Li and Cammy in Super Street Fighter II.
- Also Chun-Li and Rose in Street Fighter Alpha before the addition of Sakura in Alpha 2 and even more girls in subsequent games.
- Elena and Ibuki in Street Fighter III before Chun-Li's return and the introduction of Makoto in 3rd Strike.
- Chun-Li (again) and Crimson Viper in the arcade version of Street Fighter IV.
- SNK fighting game examples.
- King and Yuri Sakazaki in the first two Art of Fighting games (although Yuri was only an NPC in the first). The third game had three female fighters (Kasumi, Lenny and Sinclair).
- Mai Shiranui and Blue Mary from Fatal Fury 3 and onward (before the addition of Li Xiang-Fei in Real Bout 2 and Tsugumi Sendo in Wild Ambition).
- B. Jenet and Hotaru in Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- Charlotte and Nakoruru in the first Samurai Shodown
- Nakoruru and Rimururu in Samurai Shodown III
- A literal example with Jill Valentine and Rebecca Chambers in the first Resident Evil, although they technically work for different divisions of S.T.A.R.S.
- Gloria and Sharon in Final Fantasy Legend 3.
- Happens a few times in the Tales Series:
- Blue Dragon has Zola and Kluke to Shu, Jiro and Marumaro.
- Dragon Quest VII has Maribel and Aira out of a group of 6 characters. Maribel is a rebellious mayor's daughter and Aira is a warrior princess.
- In the original Tekken, Nina Williams and Michelle Chang were the only playable female characters in the starting roster.
- In Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, the only two girls in the original roster are Nariko and Fat Princess. Subverted later with Kat as DLC.
- From the Sonic Advance Series, Amy and Cream are the two girls of the 5 members of the heroes, which the rest are Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles.
- Inverted in Odin Sphere. Out of the five playable characters, only Cornelius and Oswald are male.
- (Will soon be) Inverted in Skull Girls with every character other than (forthcoming DLC characters) Big Band and Beowulf being female.
- Played straight only by literal definition in "Disgaea", subverted as the trio is Two Girls and a Guy.
- The white and pink birds Matilda and Stella in Angry Birds. Matilda was there from the beginning, but had an Ambiguous Gender early on. Stella was introduced in Angry Birds Seasons. Matilda serves as the Team Mom, while Stella is The Chick.
- The protagonists of Chrono Trigger are an aversion, with three females (Marle, Lucca, and Ayla) to two males (Chrono and Frog) and one robot (Robo), though the robot is referred to by male pronouns. The optional party member, Magus, is male and thus tips the count to the guys' favor.
- Gameplay-wise, played straight by Skies of Arcadia: as there is indeed a 4 guys: 3 girls ratio. Inverted by its story, however, as only one of those guys is a mandatory party member. The other mandatory party members? The two girls. As such, they have much more screen-time than the other three guys.
- The Eldar campaign of Dawn of War II: Retribution has two female characters alongside two males, Autarch Kayleth and Farseer Elenwe. All the other campaigns have all-male teams, except the Imperial Guard who have Inquisitor Adrastia.
- In Homestuck, the gender ratio of the kids in the Earth Session is completely equal; Two Girls, and Two Guys. The same goes for all other sessions, apparently, with the number of players always being an even number and dividing equally along the gender line. So far we know of a two-player session, a 12-player session, a 48-player session, and an 8-player session partially composed of the four players from the first four-player session.
- This is trope is originally inverted in Our Little Adventure, with three girls in a Five-Man Band. After Pauline died, she was replaced by Emily. However, a third male, Jordie, joined the group, and Emily died, leaving only two girls.
- Looking for Group has Benny and Pella.
- The Mighty Ducks cartoon: one very nerdy duck-girl and one very excited tomboy.
- Not counting the Kanker Sisters (who aren't part of the cul-de-sac), Ed, Edd n Eddy has Nazz and Sarah.
- The Smurfs themselves had this later on with the introduction of Sassette.
- Justice League: Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman, two of seven. While their appearances might suggest a Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic, the actual contrast was in their experience (with Wonder Woman as the Na´ve Newcomer and Hawkgirl as a bit of a cynic) and in their attitudes towards men, with Wonder Woman having a touch of Women Are Wiser at first. Notably, neither was The Chick, as that role was filled by The Flash.
Wonder Woman: You men!
Unless you do it on your own it doesn't count!
- Young Justice: Artemis and Miss Martian. This trope was so enforced in the minds of its demographic that rumors that another female team member (either Wonder Girl or Secret) would be joining the cast launched much speculation that either Artemis or Miss Martian would be outed as The Mole, die, or otherwise leave the team.
- This trope, and the anxiety associated with it, has been averted with the inclusion of Zatanna as a long term member without any other character being removed from the team. As for the series's other big team, the Justice League, although there are three female members on the team, which technically means it doesn't count, the full roster is sixteen members so the essential truth of this trope is still in play. Interestingly, Wonder Woman seems to be actively working against this, as one of her stated criteria for an ideal new member to the League is that they be a woman to help shift the gender ratio.
- As of the end of season 1 Rocket and Zatanna have joined the Team, so that the gender ratio is even with four boys and four girls.
- As of season 2, the ratio for the team stands at five males and four females.
- Teen Titans: Starfire and Raven. More of a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic than a straight up Tomboy and Girly Girl situation. The second season added a third girl, Terra, but she was The Mole and didn't last beyond that.
- Gi and Linka from a group of five Planeteers from Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
- On the topic of Gi, the Planeteers also anticipated the "token black guy, token Asian girl" trope. Indeed, one could say the whole show is Token Overdosed.
- Grammi and Sunni Gummi of Adventures of the Gummi Bears
- Daphne and Velma of Scooby-Doo were an early example of the trope.
- Codename: Kids Next Door gave us Tomboy and Girly Girl duo Numbah Three and Numbah Five.
- Avatar The Last Airbender plays with this trope, the first season runs very much on The Smurfette Principle with Katara as the only female out of three, the second season then adds Toph which evens it out exactly, the final season Suki is the Eleventh Hour Ranger to the team... except Zuko already made his Heel-Face Turn and joined... keeping the team even.
- The Legend Of Korra has Korra and Asami (with Mako and Bolin).
- Recess gave the Five-Man Band a super-duper dorky girl Gretchen Grundler and One of the Boys Ashley Spinelli.
- Also the school's "Bad kids" had Sue Bob Murphy and Kurst the Worst.
- The Weekenders followed suit with Tish as the nerd and Lor as the tomboy, though in this case there were only two boys as well.
- Code Lyoko: One of the Boys Yumi Ishiyama and Princesses Prefer Pink Aelita Stones amongst the Lyoko Warriors.
- Wakfu: Rebellious Princess Amalia and her bodyguard, Archer Evangelyne, amongst the Brotherhood of the Tofu.
- Super Why! has Red (Wonder Red) and Princess Pea (Princess Presto) on the main team. Notable as the main team has four characters in it, making this an even split between the male members, Pig (Alpha Pig) and Whyatt (Super Why!) and the female members mentioned. Note that this is a Five-Man Band — it's just that the fifth member is supposed to be the viewer, who of course could be of any gender. Later on, they added a male character named Puppy (Woofster), making this a more typical example of this trope (three male, two female).
- Amy and Leela from Futurama
- Bessie and Abby from Back at the Barnyard.
- Tasha and Uniqua from The Backyardigans.
- Cheetara and WilyKit of Thunder Cats and Thunder Cats 2011. In both series, it became three girls when Sixth Ranger Pumyra showed up.
- Wacky Genki Girl Cathy and down-to-earth Samantha from Monster Buster Club, in a group of four.
- Bunnie and Sally in Sonic Sat AM, before Dulcy showed up.
- Cindy and Libby of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.
- Cookie and Strudel in The Hub's Pound Puppies.
- Sonya and Kitana from Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. They're also the two most famous female protagonists in the video game.
- Gargoyles, after Angela joined the main cast.
- Bright Eyes and Nose Marie among the five main puppies of Hanna-Barbera's Pound Puppies.
- Inverted with The Simpsons family itself, there are two boys (Homer and Bart) to the family (Three female members, two male members).
- Skysurfer Strike Force gives us a villainous example with Lazerette and Cerina of the Bioborgs.
- Classic Disney Shorts had Minnie Mouse and Clarabelle Cow, with Clara Cluck and Daisy Duck being added later.
- Family Guy has Meg and Lois in the Griffin family.
- Inverted with Angelina Ballerina in both the 2002 and 2009 series. William and Henry (Angelina's younger cousin) are the only two boys in Angelina's predominantly female ballet class. The Next Steps has Marco and A.Z. as the only regular boys in the cast.