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Characters on the UPN sitcom Girlfriends.

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     Joan 

Joan Carol Clayton, Esq.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/joan_carol_clayton.png

The defacto "den mother" of the group. A high-strung lawyer who frequently looks out for her friends even at the expense of dealing with her own problems, which are plentiful throughout the series run.


  • Amoral Attorney: Averted for the most part as Joan is a very law-abiding person and tries her hardest to help her clients in the most legal way possible.
  • Benevolent Boss: For the first half of the series, Maya was her assistant and she treated her like one of her closest friends and hung out with her outside of work hours.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: She ends up unintentionally slipping her friends secrets several times, such as telling Sharon she knows about her and William and inadvertently revealing Toni's cheating to Greg.
  • Control Freak: One of Joan's biggest issues as she feels the need to be in complete control or make herself involve in any of her friend's drama since she deep down believes she is the "glue" that keeps her friends from falling apart.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has moments of these, especially in later seasons.
  • Extreme Doormat: Is this to Toni and Lynn, who aren't above taking advantage of her generosity, until she went to therapy to learn how to stand up for herself.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: One of Joan's biggest dating issues (aside from her controlling ways) is that she has very high expectation of the men she dates, is very inflexible with their flaws such as when she dated Marcus and couldn't get past the fact that he had "girly" hips or nearly screwed up her relationship with Aaron after one date, when she saw that he lived in a cheap apartment. Lynn was quick to call her out on the later.
  • Old Maid: Joan makes it clear that she is insecure over the fact that she is over a certain age and is still single. She does want to settle down and get married.
  • The Perfectionist: Most of her issues comes from her need to have everything perfect and flawless while having very dysfunctional friends.
  • The Reliable One Always dependable and there for her friends through all their shenanigans.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Not to the same extent as her girlfriends but Joan has her moments.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Catches a case of this shortly after gaining some success with the J-Spot, much to the detriment of her friendships, especially with Toni.
  • Team Mom: She sees herself as this for her friends.

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     Maya 

Maya Denise Wilkes

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maya_denise_wilkes.png
Played by Golden Brooks

Joan's assistant who later quits to become an author. She has a son named Jabari whom she had at a young age with her high school sweetheart Darnell. She is easily the sassiest member of the girls, as she came from "the hood".


  • All Women Are Lustful: It's because of this that ends with her and Darnell getting divorced, due to her cheating on him in the end.
  • Beta Couple: She and Darrel have a consistent on-and-off relationship throughout the series, but it usually takes a backseat to Joan's love life.
  • Catchphrase: Maya says "Oh, hell no!" at least once an episode.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Maya subscribes to a bunch of them, including the one about Tupac being alive and hiding out in Cuba.
  • It's All About Me: Not to the extent of Toni but she does have moments of being a little self-centered.
  • Mama Bear: She loves her son Jabari and is very protective of him and doesn't like it when Toni gets his name wrong.
  • Motor Mouth: When she's riled up enough, her mouth will run a mile a minute.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Easily the sassiest member of the girls, with Toni as close competition.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She got pregnant with her son Jabari when she was 16 and had to drop out and marry her baby daddy Darnell.
  • Working-Class Hero: Compared to Joan and Toni's wealth and Lynn's wealthy background, she has a regular 9-5 job and married her high school sweetheart after she ended up pregnant at 16.

     Lynn 

Lynn Ann Searcy

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lynn_ann_searcy.png
Played by Persia White

Joan and Toni's roommate from college, a biracial, jobless bohemian who lived with Joan for 8 years before getting kicked out. She has 8 degrees but is too lazy to actually even try to look for a job, preferring to mooch off her friends and follow whatever whim she has.


  • Ambiguously Bi: Despite insistently telling people that she's straight, there's a couple of comments and jokes that she makes that seem like she wouldn't be opposed to hooking up with a woman.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Lynn is well educated and intelligent, but has no direction in life and doesn't work or have a place of her own. Her laziness is basically her Fatal Flaw.
  • Casual Kink: Even in the early episodes, she would make offhand remarks about engaging in certain fetishes and kinks, including bondage and orgies.
  • Comic Sutra: The "Lynn Spin", a sex technique of her invention that she considers a "closely guarded secret". She once attempted to teach it to Toni, but Toni founds it far too exhausting.
  • Erudite Stoner: Implied more than once.
  • Ethical Slut: She Really Gets Around and refuses to be shamed for it.
  • Good Bad Girl: Lynn isn't shy about sharing the fact that she's had a lot of sex. She's a lot less judgemental in regards to sex and mistakes and usually helps the other women open their minds. On top of that, of all the girls, she's the only one who HASN'T cheated on their partner before.
  • Granola Girl: A free-spirited and sexually liberated bohemian chick.
  • Happily Adopted: She is close to her (white) adoptive family.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Has a knack for brusquely stating the truth with little malicious intent...but usually at the worst time.
  • Mixed Ancestry: She was born to a black dad and a white mom.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She's often the character that's played up for fanservice and wears a lot of revealing clothes. Practically half of her outfits bare her midriff.
  • Sex Goddess: She's known to be sexually adventurous and is extremely good in bed. She's not even fazed when told that William considers her the best sex he ever had:
    Lynn: Of course I'm his best. I'm everybody's best.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: She has several tattoos around her body, with more being added as the show progresses, which fits with her bohemian free-spirited lifestyle.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: She lived with Joan for over 8 years and even after getting kicked out, she alters between trying to bum a place off the rest of her friends.
  • Unkempt Beauty: She can be a slouch with her appearance at time, doesn't stop her from being considered a Head-Turning Beauty.

     Toni 

Antoinette "Toni" Marie Childs-Garrett

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toni_marie.png

Joan's childhood best friend and the most egotistical and materialistic member of the group. She dreams of marrying a rich man and getting away from her Fresno farm girl roots.


  • Accidental Misnaming: Her being unable to remember or properly pronounce Jabari's name is one the series longest Running Gags.
  • All Take and No Give: She was very demanding in every relationship she has ever had, especially her friendship with Joan which is one of the factors that lead to their friendship ending.
  • All Women Are Lustful: One of her earliest character arcs was about her cheating on her boyfriend Greg with the successful surgeon and catching chlamydia from it.
  • Anorgasmia: She has had only 6 orgasms over her entire life, which seems to be attributed to her being really terrible in bed.
  • Gold Digger: Her goal for most of the series was to marry a rich, successful black man and live a life of luxury.
  • It's All About Me: She has a very high opinion of herself.
  • Mock Millionaire: Even during her broke phase, she wanted to keep up appearances as if she was successful.
  • Narcissist: She can be extremely egotistical and has an incredibly high opinion of herself.
  • Never My Fault: Toni blamed Joan for breaking her and Greg up because she inadvertently told Greg that Toni was planning to break up with him. Never mind that Toni was the one who cheated on Greg and caught an STI and nearly passed it to Greg.
  • Proud Beauty: She's proud of her good looks and likes to flaunt them at any opportunity.
  • Put on a Bus: Toni after the end of season 6, she leaves town after a major rift in her friendship with Joan and to be closer to her ex-husband whom she shares custody of her daughter with.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: The circumstance that she leaves certainly makes it come off as this. Interestingly, an episode discusses that while Joan may not be on good terms with Toni anymore, Maya and Lynn are still Toni's friends and share no such problem. They also call Joan out on trying to make it a problem in the first place.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: She is very self-absorbed and barely cares about the problems of others, thinking that her interests and issues are more important, all the while, always criticizing and complaining to or about Joan until their friendship got ruined.

     William 

William Jerrowme Dent, Esq.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/william_jerrowme.png
Played by: Reggie T Hayes
Joan's colleague at the law firm and the girl's closest platonic male friend. A momma's boy from Kansas City with a love for Star Trek and stamp collecting, he is constantly searching for love of his own.
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