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Girl Friday

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Christine Everheart: After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.
Pepper Potts: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including, occasionally, taking out the trash. [still smiling] Will that be all?

The faithful female servant. She's not an Action Girl on the surface, but neither is she a Damsel in Distress; her main job is to help out The Hero (usually her boss) at critical junctures. Sometimes she provides critical information, other times it's just a helping hand or heart, sometimes with a side of Unresolved Sexual Tension. Don't presume the Girl Friday can't fight, however — she can still kick plenty of ass, sometimes turning into a full-fledged Battle Butler.

The trope is a mainstay of both the workplace dramas and the Film Noir. In the latter, the hard-boiled lead relies on his girl Friday as one of the few people he can trust in the world.

The term is the Distaff Counterpart of "Man Friday," an expression that comes from Robinson Crusoe's "man Friday" (man as in manservant, Friday being his name); it was popularized for female office workers by His Girl Friday, a Screw Ball Comedy about a reporter's relationship with her editor/ex-husband.


The Evil Counterpart to this trope is Secretary of Evil. However, despite intelligence superiority being a crucial part of real-life warfare, it's rare for both heroes and villains in a fictional setting to have this type of character.

Compare with The Jeeves, Beleaguered Assistant, Sassy Secretary, and Hyper-Competent Sidekick. A step-up from the Sexy Secretary, with whom she's highly likely to overlap. Contrast Ignored Enamored Underling and Ditzy Secretary.

The 1994 TV movie of this name and the song by the Beat Crusaders are neither the Trope Namer nor examples of the trope.



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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Pepper Potts starts as Tony Stark's personal assistant who takes care of his neglected responsibilities. She then becomes more and more badass; even has her own armor now.
    • As in the movies, Tony has also created an A.I. called F.R.I.D.A.Y, after Civil War II she effectively runs Stark Industries.
  • Both Shellie and Gail have performed this role for Dwight McCarthy in Sin City. Gail does get her hands dirty from time to time, though.
  • Mercy Graves for Lex Luthor—at least, as seen in Batman: No Man's Land. Her duties range from bodyguarding to business to serving dinner. Could be a subversion of sorts—she's not exactly working for the hero.
  • Batgirl: Barbara Gordon would sometimes act like this for Batman when she was Oracle, being his source for communication and intel. Though she would frequently get impatient and sick of his constant thankless demands, and often needed to remind him that she is not his personal secretary. This was lampshaded by Nightwing, who also called on her frequently for communication and intel, while also trading flirty banter.
  • Deliberately subverted in Ed Brubaker's Image series Velvet, which follows Velvet Templeton, the personal secretary to the director of elite espionage organization ARC-7, and a veteran secret agent herself, who after more than 10 years of retirement is still equal than or superior to the all-male James Bond-esque agents the group fields.
  • Street Fighter II has Gibson, Guile's Canon Foreigner assistant.
  • Astro City has Raitha, the Silver Adept's personal secretary, fits this trope to a tee — a typical day's work includes rescheduling the Adept's appointments, plotting the most expedient interdimensional travel routes, and placating angry gods while the boss is out.

    Fan Works 
  • In Street Sharks Redux, Lena serves as this to the sharks. She doesn't officially work for them, but she does do a lot of undercover work for them, sneaking them food and supplies, and working as The Mole by acting as Dr. Paradigm's research assistant to spy on him.
  • In Greyjoy Alla Breve, Amanda Honn is this to Theon Greyjoy. The fact that she is a very smart redhead means Theon has to resist the urge of calling her Pepper Potts.
  • In Flash by Northwest, where the seven founding Justice League members are pulled into a noir detective story, Wally is cast as the detective while Diana is his Girl Friday. The trope itself is discussed between them on a number of occasions, in the context of Humphrey Bogart detective movies.

  • His Girl Friday: Hildy is the titular woman, in an intentional comparison to Robinson Crusoe. She married to and worked for Walter as an Intrepid Reporter before they got divorced and she decided to settle down to a bland, quiet life with an insurance salesman.
  • 88 Minutes: Gramm's secretary Shelly, who is a loyal friend and helps throughout the film when Gramm needs it the most.
  • Big Fat Liar: Kaylee is essential for all of Jason's scams. She fakes voices, helps out the legwork, strategizes, etc.
  • The Cheap Detective: In this noir spoof Bess (Stockard Channing) is the Girl Next Door secretary to Peter Falk’s Lou Peckinpaugh (more or less reprising his role from Murder by Death). Bess assists Lou in solving the crime and waits patiently to admit her feelings while an array of female stock characters throw themselves at him.
  • D.O.A.: When accountant and notary public Frank Bigelow (Edmond O’Brien) is mysteriously poisoned it’s his confidential secretary and Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold girlfriend Paula (Pamela Britton) who reveals the first clue during his investigation.
  • In Cactus Flower Miss Dickinson can convincingly pose as her employer's wife because she knows every detail of his life (his tastes, his house,his family) and she basically runs his office.
  • The Dark Corner: Lucille Ball plays Kathleen, loyal and competent secretary to private investigator Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens). He enlists her help in exposing a stalker and then a murder.
  • Shelley Barnes, the lesbian assistant of Jack Gramm, in 88 Minutes.
  • In A Face in the Crowd, Lonesome Rhodes calls Marcia Jeffries "my little ol' gal Friday, not to mention Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, n' Thursday."
  • Father of the Bride (2022): Gender Inverted. The female wedding planner Natalie has a chirpy effeminate man as her dutiful right-hand assistant.
  • The version of Pepper Potts portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow (shown in the page image) in the Iron Man movies very much applies. In Iron Man 2, Tony realizes she already basically runs Stark Industries so he makes her CEO, with her own Girl Friday, Natalie Rushman.
    • When JARVIS is integrated into The Vision in Age of Ultron, Tony's backup AI is actually named FRIDAY, complete with a female voice.
  • James Bond:
    • Miss Moneypenny. "Oh, James! Do be careful!" Note that Moneypenny is technically one of these to M, rather than to Bond himself.
    • In the novels, Mary Goodnight was Bond's Girl Friday, and unlike the film adaptation of The Man with the Golden Gun, she was actually competent. She was the secretary for the 00 agents and they had a wager to see which one of them would seduce her.
  • Kiss Me Deadly: Velda (Maxine Cooper) is the secretary to private investigator Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker). She runs Mike's business affairs, acts as Honey Pot for his divorce cases, and becomes embroiled with her employer/lover in a dangerous case involving murder, Cold War espionage, and a nuclear device.
  • Murder by Death: In another mystery parody Eileen Brennan plays long-suffering, tough-as-nails secretary Tess Skeffington to Peter Faulk’s hard-boiled detective Sam Diamond (a take on Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade).
  • Phantom Lady. In a rare case of a film noir with a female protagonist, secretary Carol Richman (Ella Raines) sets out on her own investigation to prove the innocence of her boss, engineer Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis), after he is framed for murder, tried, and sentenced to death.
  • Lisa from Rear Window refers to herself as this while helping Jeff try to figure out if Thorwald killed his own wife. She proceeds to send a letter from Jeff to Thorwald, inspect the courtyard for any body parts, and even break into the accused's apartment to search for clues.
  • In Sin Takes a Holiday, Sylvia is a loyal secretary who waits up for her boss when he's out partying and stays up at all hours to get his dictation done.
  • Though the character of Lucy wasn't George's secretary in Two Weeks Notice, he certainly treated her like one so much that she was pretty much a personal nanny to him.
  • Videodrome: Max's main secretary at Channel 83, Bridey James, actually describes herself as his "Girl Friday" in the opening. Since Max is slovenly and easily distracted, she's constantly running errands for him, even recording daily wake-up tapes so he doesn't forget his schedule. She's about the only person who's actually concerned as Max's grip on reality starts to falter thanks to the Videodrome signal.
  • Wife vs. Secretary: Whitey is more an overall assistant than a simple secretary. When Van decides to buy Underwood's magazine, Whitey is the only person in the office he tells, and she helps him assemble the deal.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Etta is a non-romantic version for Steve. She has enough know-how in Steve's line of work to have her spy-sense tingle at the german agents trailing Steve, and rushed in to block off the leader's escape at the end of the alleyway scuffle.

  • Agent to the Stars has Miranda to Tom. Their relationship is purely professional, although there is plenty of friendly playfulness going on (as one can expect behind a Hollywood talent agent and his experienced secretary). It's not until halfway through that their mutual experiences cause them to get closer in other ways (although she doesn't know about aliens at that point yet). They get even closer by the end, to the point where she doesn't want Tom to see Joshua "swimming around" in her brain in an attempt to learn how a female human's brain works in order to take over the brain-dead Michelle's body.
  • In C.T. Phipps' Cyberpunk series Agent G this is the role played by Marissa to the titular character. It's an Invoked trope as like all Assistants she's a Brainwashed and Crazy researcher as well a Voice with an Internet Connection designed to help him commit assassinations for their employers. She's also there to serve as an emotional anchor for the Hollywood Cyborg Super Soldier by design. It's subverted by the revelation she's The Mole for the NSA.
  • In the ‘’Donald Westlake’’ novel ‘’Trust Me On This’’, Tabloid reporter served as this to her editor Jack, helping him search for The Mole a rival reporter placed on there team and doing a lot of the legwork in spying and dishing out bribes. This is zigzagged due to aids doing a lot of this for her own career and ambition, and by The Reveal that she’s willing to go to criminal lengths, such as setting fires at buildings a wake is being held in, just to get pictures. Main character Sara Joslyn (Jacks eventual girlfriend) plays this a bit straighter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cordelia Chase begins Angel as one of these before becoming an Action Girl.
  • Natalie and Sharona from Monk. Natalie is even called by the trope name in "Mr. Monk Goes To The Office".
  • Chloe Sullivan from Smallville.
  • In Supergirl (2015), Kara Danvers starts out as Catherine Grant's assistant before becoming a super-hero.
  • Suits has Donna for Harvey, as well as Amy for Mike when he leaves Pearson Specter to become an investment banker at the end of Season 3. Norma also appears to be this for Louis, although she never appears onscreen.
  • Arrow. Felicity Smoak starts out as a bit player but thanks to her tech expertise, discretion, and loyalty, she quickly becomes Oliver Queen's non-action support. As a cover, Oliver promotes her to his personal assistant, a job title she equates to being a secretary and initially does not take well. The trope is name-dropped in said conversation:
    Oliver: I need a Girl Wednesday!
    Felicity: It's Friday, and the answer is no!
  • The West Wing had a whole fleet of these girls: Donna, Margaret, Bonnie, Carol, Cathy, Ginger and Mrs. Landingham (who also had a Girl Friday of her own, Nancy).
  • Gail Koner of Profit, who takes a level in badass in "Chinese Box" to become Jim Profit's Battle Butler.
  • Betty Suarez (Ugly Betty) is this for Daniel Meade.
  • Special Agent Diana Barrigan of White Collar, while a full agent herself, often plays this to Peter.
  • As Veronica Mars has the High Concept of "high-school Noir with all the genders flipped", its Girl Friday role is filled by Wallace Fennell. Veronica also fulfills some of this trope's roles by helping her father, Keith Mars, with his Private Detective business. Her own investigations are technically something she does on her own time, usually (but not always) without his knowing.
  • On Parks and Recreation, April has this type of relationship with Ron as his assistant. But since Ron's job consists of sitting at his desk doing nothing, April's explicitly stated duty is to keep him from ever doing any work. Since she's equally adept at avoiding work, their partnership works out perfectly.
  • On Fringe, Astrid has elements of this in her usual role, but in the Storybook Episode "Brown Betty", Walter casts her as the full-fledged version to Olivia's Hard Boiled Detective.
  • Guinevere from Merlin is often this to Merlin, especially in the first few episodes.
    • Merlin is a genderswapped version of this to Arthur.
  • On Queer as Folk, Brian's assistant Cynthia is clearly the person he depends most on in his work, though he later starts depending more on Ted as well even though he is technically only his accountant (perhaps because he knows Ted privately as well as professionally).
  • Most of the Doctor's female companions in Doctor Who.
  • Miss Lenore Case of The Green Hornet of course, qualifies as this.
  • In the J-Drama adaptation of Death Note, Himura Shoko starts off this way, before it's revealed that she's a double-agent working for Near/Mello
  • Starting in the second series, Lizzie Stark is this for Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders. She's his secretary and willing to look the other way at his extra-legal activities.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Doonesbury, Uncle Duke at one point asks Honey Huan to be his Girl Friday. She replies, "At the risk of sounding forward, sir, I'm free all week." Since they were actually shipwrecked at the time, he apparently meant "Girl Friday" both in the Robinson Crusoe sense, and in the "assistant" sense.

  • Fiorello! has Marie, Fiorello's incorruptibly faithful assistant. She suffers through fifteen years of unrequited love for him until he finally makes her his second wife.

    Video Games 
  • Cortana from Halo is an interesting variation, given that she's a military AI.
  • Another (quite literal) Girl Friday is Nigel's Fairy Companion Friday from Landstalker.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Maya Fey/Ema Skye and Trucy Wright for Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice, respectively.
    • Miles Edgeworth unwillingly gets one in his own game, in the form of Lady Thief Kay Faraday.
    • To some extent, the detectives are these to their prosecutors. So Ema Skye is also one to Klavier seven years onward.
  • Yeoman Kelly Chambers serves in this role in Mass Effect 2, with Specialist Traynor taking over in Mass Effect 3. EDI is no slacker in this role either, often being the one to trawl through local data feeds to give Shepard fresh intel whenever s/he leaves the ship.
  • Ingrid Hunnigan in Resident Evil 4.
  • Jenny (to the player, and despite actively trying to be awful at her job) and Alexa (to Dr. F., in a more straightforward example) in MySims Agents.
  • Snow White to Bigby throughout a good portion of The Wolf Among Us.
  • Literally the name of Stenchler's assistant in Sewer Shark.
  • In Animal Crossing New Leaf, your character is made the mayor of the town upon arrival, and Isabelle is right there from the start to assist you with it as your secretary. She has some shades of the Ditzy Secretary, but she seems to handle most of the paperwork behind the scenes, even working on holidays.
  • Miss Pauling from Team Fortress 2 is this to the Administrator, though she has many, many other responsibilities as well.
  • Diana Burnwood of the Hitman series is definitively Agent 47's closest ally, acting as his handler in the ICA and general Mission Control. If 47 is a far deadlier, more serious James Bond, Diana is a deadlier, more serious Moneypenny in her Posh accent and quasi-sexual relationship with the lead, and one who operates on a much more sophisticated list of personal motivations and schemes, to a point where it's often muddy as to who's the sidekick in their dynamic.
  • Roll Casket's role in Mega Man Legends is effectively this to MegaMan, although they are partners. She serves as Mission Control when he is Dungeon Crawling and upgrades his gear with what he collects, while also bussing him around in her Cool Airship. This pair a common setup in the setting, referred to as Diggers (or Main Divers) and Spotters (or Operators).
  • In Portal 2, Caroline serves as one of these to Cave Johnson, the CEO of Aperture. She keeps him sane and runs the whole company, to the point where Cave outright says she's the one person he genuinely trusts. Unfortunately for Caroline, that trust made Cave decide that she was the only person capable of keeping Aperture functioning after his own death, and so he arranged to upload Caroline's consciousness into the organization's computers, writing off her desperate request to NOT do so as mere modesty. And so GLaDOS was born...

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Right Hand Woman