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Bridge Bunnies

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The Bridge Bunnies in their natural habitat.
"Do I LOOK like I believe in equality for women?" roared Zarkendorf, gesturing at his scantily-clad console operators.

Someone other than The Captain needs to actually run the Cool Starship, which is where the Bridge Bunnies come in. They're a few young, attractive twentysomething women (see Office Lady) who practically live on The Bridge, and deal with opening hailing frequencies, giving orders to the pilots of the Humongous Mecha squadrons, reporting that the Readings Are Off the Scale, activating the Applied Phlebotinum, repeating whatever the computer is saying, warning of Negative Space Wedgies, and the like. A staple of Japanese anime shows that feature large capital ships—technically, said shows will usually include male personnel on the bridge, but the bunnies are much more likely to get names (and fans), unless said others are genuine characters and not scenery (as mentioned below).

Off duty, they're frequently romantically paired with minor characters or can be the Girl of the Week. They're invariably female, although a token male junior bridge officer may be sufficiently intimidated by them to serve as Comic Relief. Token males in this position will also likely be swinging their bat the other way unless someone else on the crew fills that role. Depending on the protagonist's role on the ship, Those Two Guys may also work on the bridge with the Bunnies.

Less common in Western shows these days, where bridge personnel are more likely to be competent professional officers of both sexes. Women on the bridge aren't necessarily Bridge Bunnies per se, nor are junior officers doing menial jobs... but a bridge full of young, pretty female junior officers, and on which all of the senior officers with real authority are male, is a textbook example of the trope (compare Office Lady). Go back far enough, and most western shows will completely lack any sort of female bridge personnel (their inclusion was considered very radical in the original Star Trek) with the understanding of naval warships being an inherently manly profession (look at any major warship on either side of the classic Star Wars films).

A specialized version of Mission Control, with all the twists therein possibly applicable. They occasionally serve as Those Two Girls, commenting on the action and what's going to happen next.

Example subpages:

Other examples

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    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: The Marvel Mangaverse version of the Fantastic Four has Alicia Harkness and Agatha Harkness serving as Bridge Bunnies to Reed Richards.
  • Firefly: Jayne's fantasy sequence in the Serenity comic Better Days involves him commanding a ship crewed entirely by Bridge Bunnies.
  • Superman: The post-Crisis, corporate tycoon version of Lex Luthor surrounded himself with attractive young female staffers whose corporate uniforms were low-cut blouses and blazers, very short mini-skirts and high heels.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): All of the bridge crew on the spaceship Hippolyta are young women with figures that are conventionally attractive, however every single member of the crew in the fleet is a female—though many are not attractive by human standards—and the only time men are ever on the Hippolyta is as prisoners or freed slaves being helped somewhere out of the empire's reach.

    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: The commanding center in the Distler Base is managed by a bunch of technicians. Maya Ibuki is the most prominent of them, and Makoto and Shigeru seldom show up, but most of them are not given names, distinctive faces or personalities.
  • HERZ: After the battle of 2015, NERV's Bridge Bunnies were promoted and replaced with new operators. They are introduced in chapter 1:
    "That big bald fellow with the beard is Col Peter Strasser. Used to be from the Third Branch in Germany. He's our deputy commander and concurrently chief of Section 3, that is, Operations. Those three are our bridge operators. From the right - 2nd Lt Mochida, 1st Lt Igarashi, and 2nd Lt Ito. I used to sit where Ito is working now. The lady in the lab coat is Dr Ibuki Maya. She's our Chief Scientific Officer."
  • A Running Gag in Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space involves the Space Rangers being Mistaken for Gay due to their campy hero costumes. When Captain Proton cites the large number of glamorous babes working in every alien-fighting organisation, reporter Buster Kincaid says that only proves the men are gay, as otherwise they'd be too Distracted by the Sexy to work.
  • In Nepeta Quest 2011, Scoria is placed in a simulation of an Alternian admiral, and notes with glee that she now has these, even calling them "bridge bunnies".
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide adds Haruna Ieil to the usual rooster of Maya, Hyūga, and Aoba. She is mainly there to function as New Meat, as she reacts with panic and/or horror to situations surrounding Evangelion and Angel combat that the more experienced main trio has gotten rather desensitized to.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Galaxy Quest plays this trope snarkily straight. Gwen DeMarco's official capacity is inherited from her character in the Show Within a Show, Tawny Madison. Her job is to repeat everything the ship's computer says, word-for-word and order it to do everything. And they need her to do it, as the computer only obeys her. Lampshaded into a pile of smoking ash about three-quarters of the way through the movie:
    Gwen: Listen - I have one job to do on this ship, and it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it!
  • In the Bond parody Our Man Flint the leaders of Z.O.W.I.E., all of them men, decide to consult their Master Computer on who should take on the mission to save the world. They then enter the computer room which is entirely staffed by pretty WACs.
  • Likewise in the Star Trek parody Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, where the primary job of the helmswoman is to look darn good and make fun of the Captain/Emperor. The extras at the back of the bridge are also all female (and all in high heels).
  • Despite having been a clear Bridge Bunny in the original TV series (and subsequent movies), Uhura in Star Trek (2009) is portrayed as smart, competent, and an aversion to this trope.
  • In Arena, the control room of Logan's illegal gladiator combat broadcast is operated by Kawaii and Kaneko, a pair of attractive young women who spend half their time responding to barked orders by hitting buttons on consoles and the other half of the time being eye candy.
  • Marlene and Charlene from Spaceballs. "Chew your gum!"
  • Lampshaded in Carry On Spying. The captured heroes are taken to the villain's Elaborate Underground Base, which is full of women in Spy Catsuits bustling about.
    Villain: This is our headquarters.
    Charlie Bind: [eyeing a bridge bunny's posterior] Looks more like hindquarters to me!
  • Space Mutiny had Bridge Bunnies who were downright Playboy Bunnies. They were wearing singlets and everything. (Granted, some other bridge staff wore actual uniforms, but still...)

  • Starships in David Weber's Honor Harrington cycle tend to have a high number of females aboard, but the author usually avoids invoking it as this trope. One female character, however, is called out in-story on the disproportionally high number of Pretty Boys in her bridge crews.
  • The Past Doctor Adventures novel The Indestructible Man by Simon Messingham is a deconstruction of Gerry Anderson's work, including UFO (1970). The bridge bunnies of SILHOET (an expy of SHADO) are the daughters of the rich and powerful — women who'd normally be models, actresses or trophy wives, but as much of Earth is a dystopia, SILHOET gives them a secure position in an influential organisation to curry favour with their parents.
  • In The Dresden Files, Molly Carpenter's mindscape is presented as being the bridge of the old USS Enterprise, complete with these. And a Red Shirt Molly whose job is to die at the first sign of trouble, because old habits die hard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: There are numerous "Dome Techs" in the station's Command and Control (C&C) Center, but the most memorable of all is David Corwin, portrayed by Joshua Cox. Later in the show he becomes an Ascended Extra.
  • UFO (1970):
    • Lt. Gay Ellis, the Moon Base commander, becomes more like an office assistant when any male cast members visit the base. Partly justified because these men outrank her, but you'd think they could let her continue doing her job...
    • When no superior officers are present, the Moon Base personnel subvert this trope: the Mission Control is staffed exclusively by women, who (despite their skin-tight outfits and purple wigs) are portrayed as being very competent at their jobs and give orders to the male pilots.
    • Played straight at the subterranean SHADO headquarters on Earth, which has a largish number of young female staff in skintight uniforms. Their main function seems to be acting as a backdrop for the male cast.
  • Space: 1999: Moonbase Alpha has a large number of female crewmembers, but in the first season only two of them, Dr. Russell and Sandra Benes, were recurring characters with any real part in the story, and Sandra mostly acted as a subordinate assistant to the male officers. The second season also added the shape shifter Maya as a recurring character.
  • Star Trek
    • It's worth pointing out how much this was an Unbuilt Trope when the Original Series first aired, as the science fiction stories which inspired the series (see Forbidden Planet or The Voyage of the Space Beagle) would invariably have an all-male crew. This is why in the original pilot "The Cage", the presence of Yeoman Colt makes Captain Pike uncomfortable as he's not used to having a woman on the bridge. The competent Number One being the exception that proves the rule (to her visible annoyance).
    • Yeoman Rand from Season One is there mainly to bring Captain Kirk his meals and paperwork.
    • Uhura started under this trope. Short skirt and the old-timey phone operator headset. In the animated version her character started to show signs of breaking out of this role, handing off her Bridge Bunny duties to M'ress, the Bridge Kitty; and once the movies roll around, she ditches this completely and takes multiple levels in badass.
    • Lt. Tasha Yar in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation became this after a few episodes, much to the chagrin of her actress, Denise Crosby. Crosby eventually quit and energized herself off of production, leading to her character getting easily killed by a slime creature in the episode "Skin of Evil", which aired a few episodes prior to the first season finale; Crosby did make additional cameos in later seasons, though, one of which, "Yesterday's Enterprise", gave Yar a better sendoff. The trope was still played through the entire series, though. There is usually an attractive female extra manning one of the forward stations.
  • Quark: The Bettys, played by two of the Doublemint Gum twins. One of them was a clone (the pretty one) and they both lusted after The Captain Quark.
  • Battlestar Galactica - Flight Corporal Rigel (played by Sarah Rush), though Athena tends to work in the bridge as well.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003)
    • The three main bridge operators are a woman and two men, Dualla, Gaeta, and Hoshi, respectively. The male bridge officers, Gaeta and Hoshi, are eventually revealed to be in a relationship . . . with each other. Fans of these three characters have enthusiastically claimed the "bridge bunny" moniker.
    • Lt. Dualla is a classic Bridge Bunny being young pretty and subordinate.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • Major Kevin Marks, who always seems to be around the currently visited ship. He was present on every US-made ship so far — even being in two places at once. His role is a bit hazy; due to the Daedalus-class' bridge configuration, it's unknown if he's pilot, weapons officer or something else. In addition to his multifarious roles, he also seems to be the ship's XO, that is, second in command. The only time he's shown doing anything else is when he's hacking his own console to regain control of the Daedalus before it crashes. He fails. Sort of. Sheppard dives in with a Traveler ship and jumps through the planet with both ships in hyperspace; Marks finishes hacking a few seconds after that.
    • Walter Harriman. He has one job, consisting of repeating which Chevron is encoded and locked, and damn, does he do it well. He also opens and closes the stargate's iris. Lampshaded in the seventh season episode "Heroes".
  • Doctor Who: In "The Day Of The Daleks", future-Earth is run by a male Controller. All the technicians who report to him appear to be blonde young women. Given that he's The Quisling in a Vichy Earth, this may well be a perk of the job.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. The hiring practices of UNCLE include a lot of beautiful women communications experts, all of them openly armed with pistols.
    • Lampshaded in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E, a TV movie made fifteen years after the series, when our heroes gripe over the lack of pretty girls working in U.N.C.L.E's new headquarters. Either they didn't have the budget for Fanservice Extras or the trope was assumed to be a Dead Horse Trope in The '80s.
  • "Mish con" in the ill-fated 70's sitcom Come Back Mrs. Noah is populated entirely by middle-aged Stuffy Brits wearing ties, and beautiful women with SciFi Bob Haircuts wearing Space Clothes that show off their legs and cleavage.
  • Almost every incarnation of the Ultra Series has used this trope beginning with the original Ultraman's Akiko Fuji. The series has her as the sole female member who usually stays behind at base (sometimes with the team captain) while the Monster of the Week is out and about. Later series play with it a little, adding a male communications expert in place of or alongside the Bridge Bunny, as well as the introduction of more Action Girl-oriented characters to supplement the Bridge Bunny and avoid the Smurfette Principle.
  • Blake's 7. Subverted with Servalan who has an Amazon Brigade of mutoids (creepy female cyborgs) to provide this function, as she's quite glamorous in her own right, thank you. Though one character notes sardonically that she has a tendency to surround herself with handsome male staff.
  • Raumpatrouille is an early aversion of this trope, as the members of the Orion's crew are frequently forced to fulfill each other's jobs when certain crewmembers are not available due to being on a surface or space mission. Outside of the crew, General Lydia van Dyke is also the only frontline commander among the otherwise male generals and also McLane's superior, until McLane gets himself reassigned to space patrol duty for two years as a punishment for refusing to follow orders. These examples also show that substantial female roles on TV were actually possible in 1966.
  • Red Dwarf. Subverted in "Back in the Red". Our heroes are trying to steal a Blue Midget, but Ground Control won't give them take-off clearance. When the Cat gets a look at the hot babe in Ground Control however, he puts on a dance that causes her to change her mind and also accept a date. Then they discover they're actually in a virtual reality program. When they try the same stunt in the real world, the Ground Control officer is a middle-aged fat woman, and the Cat can't muster the same performance.
    Cat: Man, reality sucks!

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man:
    • In Mega Man X: Command Mission, you don't start with a base, so one chapter is spent taking someone else's base. When you find that it doesn't come with a Bridge Bunny, the next chapter is spent doing the most logical thing - taking someone else's.
    • Mega Man X8 brought in Layer and Palette as the new bridge bunnies to accompany Alia, who has been in the series since X5.
    • The Resistance Base has a pair in Mega Man Zero; the Guardians' airship base has a full trio in Mega Man ZX.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation:
    • Rio Mei Long and Eita Nadaka for the Hagane and Eun Hyojin for the Hiryu Kai. Rio becomes a pilot early on, and Eita gets a de-facto promotion to second-in-command after Daitetsu's death in Original Generation 2. Poor Eun never gets any spotlight.
    • Bit of trivia, while most nameless human characters (like Mook and Red Shirt) either have their eyes cover with a gear or shade. Nameless Bridge Bunnies are given proper portrait similar to named characters. Super Robot Wars Original Generations given proper portrait to all characters, yet the Bridge Bunnies still get special treatment for there are portraits of two different Bridge Bunnies.
    • The other Original battleship, Super Robot Wars W's Valstork, has Shihomi and Akane Ardygun, and the male Horris Horaian. The Captain in this case happens to be the girls' father. Shihomi later graduates to Captain after her dad gets tossed far far into the past.
  • Star Trek Online gives your character a collection of Bridge Officers who crew the various stations on the ship. Naturally, some players choose to make them Bridge Bunnies. Just like in this video Of course gender equality applies so it's equally possible for a female character to have a collection of male Bridge Bunnies.
  • The Xenosaga Trilogy gives us Mary and Shelly Godwin, made even better since every third phrase out of their mouth is "Little Master". Or, in Mary's case in the first game, "Little Maz-da."
  • The prologue of Xenogears features a cluster of Bridge Bunnies with exotic hair colors shouting about a vaguely-defined catastrophe.
  • WarioWare: Twisted!: Orbulon. It plays the trope as to have literal Bridge bunnies (though they are space bunnies).
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2: Shepard's yeoman Kelly Chambers is a Bridge Bunny. She is a bisexual omnisexual green-eyed redhead. Her secondary duty is as the crew's psychological counselor, and as she puts it, a little passion makes people open up to you.
    • It is confirmed in 3 that Cerberus put Chambers there specifically for Shepard to hit on (she's a possible love interest an can be romanced even if you're with someone else, but won't trigger the "Paramour" achievement), and to keep Shepard and the rest of the crew under control. In other words, to be the perfect Bridge Bunny. A ship the size of the Normandy wouldn't really have any clerical work that can't be done by computer, especially since the ship has an AI on board, and the Normandy Mark I had a conspicuous lack of yeomen/Shepard wranglers.
    • Mass Effect 3 has Samantha Traynor taking over Kelly Chamber's role and a lot more. Unlike Kelly Chambers, who served as Yeoman, Samantha Traynor is the Normandy's Communications Specialist and also manages the War Room's data together with the ship's AI, EDI, who specifically requested her presence on the Normandy. Her role as the secretary that notifies Shepard of any new messages or incoming vid calls is only logical given her job as the ship's Comm Specialist, but it's not her main job aboard the Normandy. She also refuses to feed the Commander's fish. The game also justifies Samantha's presence by the fact that she's not actually part of the ship's official duty register, rather being a retrofit technician who got stuck on board during the evacuation of earth. Her role also intersects with EDI's quite heavily, but EDI successfully argues that a specialist on board would increase your effectiveness (and she's right).
  • In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, there are three ladies in the ranger headquarters who sit before a huge computer monitor on the top floor. They have to keep track of the rangers, they confirm quest completions, and other stuff.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Kodiak and Montauk were commanded by McNeil and Slavik (both male) respectively. But both had one male and one female as their supporting officers. The game split the difference: In Kodiak, Chandra had the speaking roles and in Montauk, it was Oxanna.
  • Almo Blueberry and Coco Nutmilk of the Galaxy Angel gameverse serve as this for the Elsior throughout the entire first trilogy. In Galaxy Angel II, Coco transfers to the Luxiole and becomes Tact's chief operator while Almo remains in the Elsior with Lester. Coco later promotes up to commander of the Luxiole, and her role as operator is taken over by Tapio Ca.
  • Averted in Legacy of the Void, where the Spear of Adun's bridge is crewed by (male) Protoss zealots. They actually serve a purpose: when the leader of the Tal'darim warps aboard, they immediately ignite blades and engage him. It doesn't help, of course, but it's the thought that counts.
  • In Sakura Wars, each of the three known theatre/combat troupes has a set of Bridge Bunnies. The original Tokyo team has the Kaze-gumi, who coordinate the attacks from headquarters with the male general and female major, run the train, airship, and of course serve as bridge crew for the larger airship the Mikasa. The girls also work as office ladies in the theatre, two of them doing paperwork and the third working the gift shop. The Paris team has Mel and Ci (a pun on the French word Merci), who dress in maid uniforms and have the same theatre duties as their Tokyo counterparts and similar battlefield duties. The New York team has the Rainbow Division of Plum/Cherry and Anri, who again serve the same roles as their predecessors.
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 has Marie and Louffe, radio and radar operators for the Centurion. This is a first for the series, as it is the first installment where the protagonists command a vessel large enough to warrant a bridge crew.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Loporrit crew of the aether-powered starship Ragnarok - as they are a small rabbit-like race, they are literally Bridge Bunnies.

  • In Sluggy Freelance Zoe and Gwynn take on this role during the "Stick Figures in Space" arcs.
  • Subnormality: "I did establish a 50-trillion dollar interstellar fleet of exploration for solely the purpose of viewing thousands of female cadets in jumpsuits of a tightly-fitting nature! And I did personally design those jumpsuits, and your Honor they did hug and cling as though a koala in a windstorm! And I did leer! How I did leer! Never have you seen such leerings!"
  • El Goonish Shive: Tedd decides not to play Star Trek Online since he can't have a crew of bridge squirrels.
  • Outsider: Justified on a species-wide level by the Loroi. Their males are much smaller than the females and only make up about 10% of their population, and are held in protective status on the Loroi worlds, which means the Loroi military is entirely female. Additionally, Loroi females by and large are very attractive by human beauty standards. Thus, every Loroi ship's bridge is going to be staffed by pretty ladies.
  • Gender-Inverted in Grrl Power with Cora's crew of extremely sexy maliens in skintight suits. In case you haven't guessed, she's friends with Dabbler.

    Western Animation 
  • In Legion of Super Heroes (2006), Triplicate Girl serves as a three-person Bridge Bunny team.
  • L'Etranger from Max Steel has his submarine, the Akina, staffed solely by female SIRENS in full-body (yet form-fitting) armor and helmets.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, the Fireside Girls sometimes become this when they have to help pilot inventions.
  • In Wakfu, the bridge of Prince Adale's submarine is filled with almost identical bridge bunnies, also speaking in unison (except for when they're panicking).

    Real Life 
  • Lafayette Ron Hubbard managed to take this to levels reached in few fictional examples: While living as a self-styled Commodore on the "Royal Scotsman", the flag ship of his fleet, he had a Commodore's Messenger Organization (read: errand kids) tasked with duties like lighting his cigarettes, dressing him and repeating his orders to members of the crew. They were mostly young girls dressed in hot pants and halter tops.

Alternative Title(s): Bridge Bunny