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Ignored Enamored Underling

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Better not to mention this one's BDSM fantasies.

Mr. Burns: Somebody up there likes me, Smithers.
Smithers: Somebody down here likes you too, sir.
Mr. Burns: Shut up!

When the The Hero or the Big Bad has an underling, potentially The Dragon, an adjutant/secretary or a Paid Harem, it's often the case that she (though flipped genders — or even the same gender — aren't unheard of) goes beyond being loyal and both idolizes and loves him. Her declarations of love will go unrequited because, when he's not Oblivious to Love, he will at best feel no (romantic) affection for her. A hero may try to let her down gently, a callous boss will say so outright, and the cruel one will play Master of the Mixed Message to avoid telling her and string her along. Even if he says he doesn't love her, she'll interpret it as needing to work hard to earn said love.

If her boss is enamored with another woman, she will be positively livid with jealousy and may attempt sabotage or even to murder her rival. If he finds out he will severely punish or kill her. In fact, as minions go she will frequently be the target of You Have Failed Me, You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, and general abuse by her boss when he needs to let off steam. This is played as a sort of Kick the Dog; while she's no dove, the mistreatment's undertones of domestic abuse will make most audiences uncomfortable.

This character can be Played for Laughs and written as a one-note case of Mad Love, who will never waver from her devotion or allow rejection to dampen her Perkiness. More positively, she can be Played for Drama as a misguided and intelligent woman who, once she sees how little she's cared for (abuse optional), is quick to reassess her (romantic) loyalties. Of course, she can be played for tragedy by getting betrayed or even killed by the man she loves, without ever getting a chance to learn from her mistakes. Should the hero kill their boss (or the boss blatantly betray her), expect Woman Scorned to follow.

Sister Trope and contrast to Girl Friday, who is an aide or secretary to the hero (UST optional). Compare Subordinate Excuse, when the underling is using the position to be near their object of affection while avoiding rejection.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The final Big Bad of the original Slayers season, Copy Rezo, has Eris, who loves him enough to find a way to bring him Back from the Dead but is shot In the Back by him the moment when she stops being useful.
  • Karin from Naruto, she used to be part of Taka (or Hebi), a group lead by Sasuke merely out of her infatuation for him. Not only couldn't he care any less for her (or his other teammates for that matter), but also he didn't hesitate to sacrifice her for one second in order to get to Danzo.
  • Excel from Excel♡Saga is this to her boss. All her attempts to woo him are met with Comedic Sociopathy.
  • Misa is one of these to Villain Protagonist Light in Death Note. The only reason he didn't just kill her was that she's useful (and, initially, because Rem would kill him).
  • Last Exile has the XO in love with captain Alex Rowe, who is so dead set on revenge he couldn't care less for her one way or the other, and keeps her around only because she's professional enough to not let it get in the way of her work. This gets even weirder when you consider she's the princess of his nation. And it gets even more tragic when the "sonar" operator hears him call out a dead loves name with his last breath, and lies to the XO that he called out her name instead.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: Selvaria Bles toward Prince Maximillion. She feels deeply indebted to him and eventually fell in love with him, for saving her from the research facility that was turning her and the other Valkyur into living weapons, so she thought. In truth, he uses them for the exact same purposes. What makes it even more tragic is that Selvaria is fully aware Maximillion cares nothing for her and only sees her as a tool. At the same time, it's also implied that Jaeger is in love with her, though she's either unaware of it or chooses to ignore it. Despite all this, she served Maximillion faithfully..... even when he ordered her to die for failing him.
  • Liang Qi of Canaan is quite insanely devoted to her "nee-sama", Alphard Alshaya. Alphard does not return Liang Qi's affection, instead being focused on her enemy, the title character. As you can quite imagine, Liang Qi murderously despises Canaan for this. Near the end of the anime, Liang Qi's mental state takes a turn for the worse when Alphard abandons her, resulting in the most horrific and heartbreaking Villainous Breakdown in the anime.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Both Maya's affection for Ritsuko and Hyuga's for Misato were revealed during Instrumentality.
  • Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar: Emera is madly in love with Dagmyer and serves him even after it becomes clear that he doesn't care about her and he's turning into a lunatic.
  • Deadman Wonderland: The twins are fiercely loyal to a dispassionate madman because he was the only one who didn't pass over the twins as comatose vegetables. They recognize that their master doesn't love him but have accepted this. Also, his sidekick hates his guts but wants to bring back the kid whose body he possessed.
  • In Millennium Actress, Young Genya is this to his beloved film star Chiyoko when he worked in a minor position on her films. She never found out until years later and the now-elderly Chiyoko was being interviewed by him and his assistant.
  • The youma Thetis is blatantly in love with Jadeite in episode 12 of Sailor Moon, but he coldly brushes her off...until she says she has a plan to gather energy. She stays by his side and uses her power all for his benefit, and of course she ends up getting killed for him. Even after that, all he can think about is how much trouble he's in with Queen Beryl for failing again.
  • Raphtalia in The Rising of the Shield Hero is in love with Naofumi, but due to Malty's betrayal, he is incapable of recognizing this. The same holds true for Sadina and Atlas.
  • It's implied that the reason Abelia from Now and Then, Here and There remains so loyal to the psychopathic lunatic King Hamdo is that she's in love with him.
  • The Cat Girl twins Eriya and Nariya from The Vision of Escaflowne are both desperately in love with their leader, Folken, who saved their lives when they were children. After a fate-manipulation procedure where Folken and Nariya were able to force Allen and Hitomi to kiss each other by acting out the kiss themselves, Nariya is heartbroken to realise that, while Folken cares for the two of them, he doesn't love them. They still serve him loyally to the death.
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, the sorceress Alycone- supposed to protect Princess Emeraude- is so infatuated with Big Bad Zagato that she switches sides once he allegedly kidnaps the Princess. In the manga, Zagato allows Alycone to die once she fails one too many times but she lives on in the anime, sticking around to wonder why Zagato doesn't just off Emeraude and is stunned once she figures out it's because Zagato actually loves her.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul:Re, Kanae turns out to be this to his master (and cousin), Shuu Tsukiyama. While his feelings seem to have developed early on, he remains in denial about them until confronted about them. But his growing obsession and jealousy begin spiraling out of control, leading him to try to Murder the Hypotenuse.
    • Mutsuki turns out to be this to Sasaki/Kaneki, his beloved mentor. While Sasaki/Kaneki does care for him he's instead romantically interested in Touka. Mutsuki notices and is revealed to be harboring a more murderously psychotic crush than originally thought on Kaneki which he realizes out of jealousy towards Touka and Kaneki's closeness.
  • The Boarding School Juliet character Somali appears to be this to Aby, her jealousy and impulsive declarations of love going ignored. The truth is more complicated. Aby requites her feelings to some degree, but remaining single gives him social leverage, and in the refined politics of the West, people are judged not only on who they are, but who they date...and Somali does not fit in. They could date, but it would lessen his chances of being elected prefect and gaining the power to "change the world".
  • Hayami of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS is infatuated with her boss, Akira. While Akira respects Hayami as a subordinate and colleague, he's too focused on his sister to bother with romance.
  • Food Wars!: One of Asahi Saiba's subordinates among the Noir Chefs is a woman who goes by Sarge, who is all but stated to be in love with him. Unfortunately, he's too focused on Erina Nakiri to even notice her.
  • Sgt. Frog: Tamama has a worryingly obsessive thing for Keroro. Unfortunately for Tamama, the sergeant is oblivious as he is incompetent at world domination.

    Comic Books 
  • Featherstone to Herr Starr in Preacher (and Butt-Monkey Hoover for Featherstone). However, though she declares her love for Starr, he doesn't care and says so outright. Only at the very end does she finally realize what a monster he is.
  • Depending on the Writer, Harley Quinn is this to The Joker. Usually he uses her as a figurative punching bag, counting on her Perky Female Minion nature to bounce back from the grievous Comedic Sociopathy he sends her way. Others, they're a Bonnie-and-Clyde style Unholy Matrimony that are nonetheless Happily Married.
  • In The Mighty Thor, Amora the Enchantress's Dragon, Skurge the Executioner. He eventually despairs of ever receiving a sign of her respect, let alone love, and volunteers for a Heroic Sacrifice; she's been paying so little attention to him that she doesn't find out he's dead for another four issues. When she did find out, she burst into tears and mourned him, much to everybody's surprise.
  • In The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, three-headed dinosaur-dragon thing Tricephalous is revealed to be this to Mole Man. Doreen finally gets her to announce it and him to fall for her, in order to cure Mole Man of his unwelcome crush on her.
  • What If? Vol.2, issue #27note : Sue can tell Reed's lab assistant, Lysette, is head over heels in love with him. She also knows Reed well enough to know he's completely oblivious to it. She makes an Anguished Declaration of Love/High-Heel–Face Turn to an injured Reed at the end of the story (She was a mole for Doctor Doom).note 
  • Ultimate X-Men: Cyclops left the X-Men and joined the Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy. He still loves Jean and does not even notice the Scarlet Witch's explicit advances on him. She's hugging and caressing him, talking about heartbeats... and he's still talking about the way the last mission ended. He eventually returned to the X-Men, and none of this was ever brought up again. Possibly for the best, given the Scarlet Witch's other romantic interest.
  • In issue #3 of Star Wars Vader Dark Visions, an unnamed Imperial nurse develops an obsessive crush on Darth Vader. Vader doesn't seem to be aware of her existence, much less reciprocate. And when the nurse approaches an unmasked Vader in his meditation chamber and professes her love to him, Vader silently ignites his lightsaber through her chest, killing her. Then telling his subordinates over comms to remove the garbage from his quarters.

    Fan Works 
  • In the fanfic Twilight Sparkle: History's Greatest Monster, Twilight is transported to an Alternate Universe where she apparently rules with an iron hoof as the Lord Librarian, with Trixie as her enamored underling. While trying to keep appearances while avoiding actually doing evil, she pretends to return Trixie's affection and is briefly horrified at what she might have just set in motion.
  • Homestuck fanfic, Like One Sundered Star uses this to explain why the Draconian Dignitary was always willing to suffer through Jack Noir's paperwork for him and never questioned his leadership among the Midnight Crew. So far, this infatuation does not seem to have carried over to the current universe.
  • Diaval starts out as this in many a Maleficent fanfic, due to the implications mentioned below.
  • This trope is a popular interpretation of Caroline's relationship with her employer Cave Johnson in the Portal games. While the games never make it explicit, it's clear that Caroline was loyal to Cave through and through, with even unwillingly having her brain uploaded into a computer and going crazy being insufficient to snuff out said loyalty. As for Cave, it's obvious that he liked Caroline, but given his...interesting personality, it's unlikely that he picked up on any romantic feelings she might have had for him.
  • The Pokémon oneshot Witchcraft depicts Ariana as being in love with her boss Giovanni. Giovanni seduces Ariana to have her bare his child, but there's no romance to their relationship. It's unrequited on Ariana's side.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Incredibles: Mirage is, by her own words, "attracted to power" and the misunderstood. There is the implication she and Syndrome are in a relationship, but once he gambles with her life when Mr. Incredible threatens to kill her, she sours on the relationship.
  • Megamind: Gender Flipped: Hal Stewart works as a cameraman for news reporter Roxanne. Hal starts out as a personification of this trope for quite a large part of the movie towards her, yet it's downplayed because she doesn't totally ignore him and does show some genuine appreciation for the work he does for her and with her on their job. However, once he realizes that Roxanne will never return the same romantic feelings for him (emphasis on romantic because she will only ever see him as a coworker and employee and nothing more), instead of accepting it and continuing to be overly obsequious to her, he actually starts to become obnoxious towards her. It gets even worse when he realizes she's starting to fall in love with Megamind (who was originally the antagonist of the film and their common enemy but has a Heel–Face Turn and actually becomes a good guy, or more specifically, an affable, classical anti-hero throughout the movie), and he actually has a drastic Face–Heel Turn and becomes the real villain and antagonist in the climax of the film, calling himself Titan.
    • This can also be considered a very rare example of Man Scorned (the male version of the Woman Scorned trope) because once he has his Face–Heel Turn and becomes a supervillain, he actually tries to use her not returning his romantic feelings as a motivator to get revenge and attempts to kill her. Megamind, (mentioned above) because he transforms into the good guy and hero throughout the film, is the one who, of course, ends up saving and rescuing her and who ultimately defeats Hal/Titan.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In American Psycho Patrick Bateman has a relationship a bit like this with his secretary. She isn't aware that he's a serial killer (or just an extremely insane businessman) but he makes very rude comments to her and she still seems to carry a torch.
  • In 3:10 to Yuma (2007), the eyeliner-wearing bandit Charlie Prince is implied to be in love with his boss Ben Wade, who never shows any interest in him.
  • 2014's Maleficent has strong implications that Diaval has this in regards to his mistress. It's played even stronger in the film's novelization.
    Behind her, Diaval let out a sigh. Once, just once, it would be nice if Maleficent were able to see what was really going on. It would be nice to hear her say, “Please come with me, Diaval. We can do anything as long as we’re together.” But Diaval knew those were words he would never hear.
  • Erin in What Women Want is a Plucky Office Girl who is secretly in love with her boss who is oblivious to her affection and ignores her.
  • Sylvia in Sin Takes a Holiday is extremely loyal to her boss, Stanton, and marries him when he asks her to—- not a romantic marriage, of course; he needs to wed her to escape another woman.
  • In Beauty and the Beast (2017), Lefou becomes this to Gaston via Adaptational Sexuality.
  • In The Monster Maker, Maxine has stayed with and assisted Dr. Markoff for years—even helping him adopt his new identity and flee Europe—because she is hopelessly in love with him, and hopes that one day he will return her affection. However, he is still in love with his late wife and then becomes obsessed with Patricia, who is a dead ringer for her. When she finally snaps on learning the full depths of his depravity, Markoff decides that she has to die because She Knows Too Much.
  • In Forty Guns, Sheriff Ned Logan is in love with Jessica Drummond and allows himself to be used as her catspaw; seeing himself as her partner and hoping that one day she will reciprocate his feelings. However, Jessica has no idea of his feelings and sees him only as an employee. On realizing this, and seeing that she has fallen in love with Griff Bonnell, Logan is Driven to Suicide.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has Bunty, the assistant of Newt Scamander. She has a crush on him, but he has feelings for Tina Goldstein.
  • In The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case, Miss Patricia has been Walter Burns' housekeeper for 30, and before that was a dancer in his club. She has been in love with him for that entire time and he never noticed. And then he gets murdered. Could unrequited love be a motive for murder?
  • In Circus of Horrors, Rossiter's nurse Angela is in love with him and stays with him through his years on the run because of this. The egotistical Rossiter is completely unaware of her feelings. When he announces that he is going to marry Melina, she finally snaps and leaves him.
  • Doctor Goldfoot And The Girl Bombs: Supervillain Goldfoot's henchgal Hardjob shows signs being this, but since she's also a Cute Mute, it can't be confirmed. Goldfoot never shows much sign of sexual interest in anyone in the two movies in which he appears, but he does allow Hardjob to escape with him at the end.

  • The young and handsome CEO of a company comes out of his office on Friday evening and goes to his secretary.
    "Margaret, are you doing anything Sunday evening?"
    The secretary blushes furiously.
    "No, Mr. Johnson."
    "Really? No ailing mother to visit, no young man to take to the movies?"
    The secretary brings a ring-less hand into view.
    "None at all, Mr. Johnson."
    "Well then, I'll see you at 8 o'clock sharp on Monday, we have a lot of work next week!"

  • Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter. She definitely fits the requirements about idolization and obsessive loyalty, and, according to Word of God Voldemort "never loved a girl, only valued people he could use to advance his own objectives." (The relevant quote is near the bottom of the linked page.)
    • Prior to Voldemort's demise, Bellatrix had an affair with him and conceived a daughter with him.
  • Brienne is this to Renly in A Clash of Kings. The fact that he's gay means that even if he did notice he'd never return her feelings the way she wants, and she's unaware of his orientation.
  • In Making Money, Chief Cashier Miss Drapes is one to bank manager Mr. Bent, who probably thinks love is silly. They do get together in the end, though.
  • Both the Duchess of Abrantès and General Paul Thiébault agree in their respective Mémoires that General Junot (the Duchess's husband and Thiébault's superior in the Peninsular War) was more or less this to Napoleon.
  • Grantaire from Les Misérables joins the revolution for a cause he doesn't believe in because he "admired, loved, and venerated" their leader Enjolras, who is indifferent to him at best. It's not until they face the firing squad and die hand in hand that Grantaire finally gains approval from Enjolras.
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, Vrinna, captain of the guard to the Emperor of Norland, is clearly infatuated with him, and goes a long way to try to get his approval. He's not interested. Vrinna's unrequited love makes her rather hostile to the Emperor's mistress, Kira.
  • In the Christ Clone Trilogy, Gerard Poupardin has an unrequited love for Albert Moore. When Moore died at the time his sins were exposed by Christopher Goodman in the first book, Poupardin sought revenge in an attempt to kill Goodman, only for Tom Donafin to shoot Goodman first, so Poupardin killed Donafin instead.
  • In one of the Garrett, P.I. novels, Garrett has to point out to queenpin Belinda Contague that her driver/bodyguard Joel is very much smitten with her. She never gets a chance to deal with Joel's feelings, one way or the other, because he dies defending her from an ambush by some rival villains she'd crossed.
  • The Conquerors Saga, And I Darken has an example of a main character being this to another: Radu is infatuated with Mehmed, who only sees him as a friend. And who is in a relationship with his sister. And, while Mehmed talks about how much he loves and trusts Radu, emotionally Radu doesn't appear to mean too much to him—it took him days to notice Radu wasn't even with them during a trip back to his home, for example.
  • Hercule Poirot: "The Lernean Hydra" starts when a doctor is married to a hypochondriac wife, who dies. The doctor insists there was no foul play, but of course the village thinks he murdered her in order to marry the young pharmacist (and he admits to Poirot that he would already have asked her if it wasn't for the suspicion). After it turns out the woman's corpse was full of arsenic, the doctor is arrested... but it wasn't the doctor or the pharmacist, but the nurse, who thought the doctor would marry her after his wife died, and went Woman Scorned when she realized she wasn't the one he loved.
    • In another Agatha Christie novel, Sparkling Cyanide, a secretary who always thought she would eventually marry her boss, George, is a suspect for George's wife's murder, and eventually for George's murder too. Slightly subverting the trope though, many characters believe that George would have eventually fallen in love and married her if he had never met his wife, and in the novel proper, he trusts her more than anyone else. This comes back to bite him, since she would never have been able to kill him and his wife and almost murder his sister-in-law if he didn't trust her to do everything for him.
  • John Putnam Thatcher: In Green Grow the Dollars, secretary Barbara Gunn has been in love with her boss for six years and has some bitterness about how "the woman who had moved into Scott's apartment was named Hilary, not Barbara."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy's assistant Jonathan would do anything, no matter how degrading, to prove his devotion to Jack. Jonathan is frequently hostile to Liz, feeling threatened by her closeness to Jack, though Jack and Liz make it explicitly clear to each other several times throughout the show that they would never see each other in any way other than platonic.
  • American Horror Story, season 5, Hotel, brings us serial killer James Patrick Marsh, who is every stereotype of a new-money early 20th-century industrialist crossed with a discount Hannibal Lecter, and Ms. Evers, his cleaning lady and Psycho Supporter. He treats her kindly as a valued minion but can't see she's so obviously in love with him. They're also both ghosts.
  • Played with in Arrow, Felicity has Ship Tease with Oliver that evolves into a full-blown crush by Season 2. Oliver at first seems oblivious but by Season 3 is shown to return her affections. However, he refuses to explore a relationship with her mostly due to his Cartwright Curse (the first and only time he takes her out on a date, the restaurant gets blown up by an RPG) and It's Not You, It's My Enemies.
  • Ashes of Love: Kuang Lu loves Run Yu, who loves Jin Mi and doesn't even notice Kuang Lu's feelings.
  • Babylon 5 seemed to be into this:
    • Lyta Alexander to both Vorlon ambassadors that she successively works for. Done both ways, as Kosh apparently treated her well, although we don't see much of them interacting alone, but Ulkesh blatantly physically and emotionally abused her.
    • This occurs with Delenn and her ambassadorial aide, Lennier, in a fairly benign example. He became enamored with her but was afraid to say so, especially as he was fully aware that he was a Hopeless Suitor. She seemed aware of this, at least to some extent, and was heartbroken when he chose to separate himself from her after she became married. Though Delenn tried to handle the situation with grace, and Lennier tried to accept it, it didn't end well for him.
    • Yet another variety of this setup with Marcus Cole and Commander Susan Ivanova. Ivanova was a stern, duty-driven officer, and Marcus something of a free-spirited loner. He makes his feelings toward her very clear, and she spends much of their time together parrying his advances. Part of her problem with him was that as a Ranger (sort of a space-faring warrior monk), he didn't really fit anywhere in the command structure she was familiar with. Their relationship ends tragically as well when Marcus sacrifices his life, literally, to save a mortally wounded Ivanova, leaving her to bitterly reflect that All Love Is Unrequited.
    • Played for Laughs with Julie Musante, a handler from Earth sent to keep Captain Sheridan in line and act as an advisor to him. She attempts to seduce him (Word of God is that this was a ploy by the Political Office to try and control Sheridan who happened to be a widower). For his part, Sheridan has none of it, quickly finding an excuse to leave when he figures out what she's doing, and she is recalled to Earth when a new political crisis breaks out compliments of Commander Ivanova leaking evidence that President Clark had his predecessor assassinated.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's heavily implied that Andrew was this to Warren. It was pretty much made canon with Andrew's Last-Second Word Swap.
  • In the Decoy episode "To Trap a Thief," a secretary covers up her boss's insurance fraud for this reason. She never told him about her feelings because he's married with two kids.
  • Quite a few Doctor Who companions had this with the Doctor, but it becomes really blatant with Tegan and Martha.
  • Agravaine to Morgana in Merlin, even though she's never anything but blatantly scornful and dismissive of him.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 11 introduces mad scientist Kinga Forrester, and her right-hand assistant Max (who prefers to be called TV's Son of TV's Frank). Max is clearly in love with Kinga, but she's casually abusive towards him and unaware that he's even capable of feelings. She even makes plans to marry someone else as a Ratings Stunt, never noticing how unhappy this makes Max.
  • Nirvana in Fire: Gong Yu has a really obvious crush on Mei Changsu. He takes the Cruel to Be Kind approach and never gives her any hope.
  • Once Upon a Time: Sidney Glass (a.k.a. the Magic Mirror) is this to the Evil Queen Regina.
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury has Camille, who seeks Dai Shi's love and appreciation, but of course, "love" and "appreciation" are things Evil Overlords aren't too good at. Evil overlords' human hosts, on the other hand...
  • Princess Silver: Hen Xiang is in love with Fu Chou, and his lack of interest in her combined with his love for Rong Le makes her hate Rong Le.
  • Pushing Daisies subverts it with Olive and Ned, who as a hero is simply too oblivious, nice, and timid (it alternates) to tell Olive he doesn't love her. He later mans up and tells her very explicitly, but she continues to carry a torch for him (despite her own wishes) until she meets a traveling potion salesman (no Love Potion was involved).
  • In Sherlock, Molly Hooper is infatuated with Sherlock, but he ignores and often insults her, only being nice to her when he needs a favor from her (e.g. complimenting her hair when he needs to see a body from the morgue where she works). In the second season, Sherlock undergoes a bit of Character Development to show he genuinely cares about her, in his own way. He even apologizes to her when he accidentally made her look like a fool at a gift exchange. In the season's finale, she's one of the very few people who never lose faith in him and is the one he comes to for help with faking his death. During the events of the third season, the relationship between her and Sherlock grows into an awkward (especially when her new BF is revealed to be a Replacement Goldfish) but genuinely trusting friendship. It helps that Molly is a bit of a conscience to Sherlock, and doesn't mind occasionally chewing him out for his insensitive behaviour towards others or even himself.
  • In the original pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series, Yeoman Colt is implied to have these feelings for Captain Pike, even though their only interaction is Colt bumping into the captain and getting barked at in response. The trope is only revealed when the aliens abduct her for an Adam and Eve Plot, knowing from their mind-reading powers that she is attracted to him. However, at the end of the episode, Captain Pike and Yeoman Colt both revert back to their original behaviour, even repeating their Crash-Into Hello.
    Magistrate: The other new arrival has considered you unreachable but now is realising this has changed.
  • On Whitechapel, Emerson Kent is (increasingly transparently) in love with his boss, Joseph Chandler. Signs include the subtle but open hostility towards any woman who shows affections towards Chandler, to the point that he accuses Joe's love interest of murder in a fit of jealousy.

  • Orsino in Twelfth Night is painfully oblivious to "Cesario's" infatuation.
  • LaGuardia in Fiorello! was so ignorant of his assistant Marie's attraction to him that when he finally realized at the end that he was attracted to her he started babbling on about how he hoped she could "learn to love" him.
  • Aumerle in Richard II is often played this way.
  • To an extent, Shawn in Bubble Boy


    Video Games 
  • In Akane the Kunoichi, Akane's love for her master Goro is not reciprocated, and even rescuing him doesn't necessarily do the trick. Only if you've got all the collectibles first does Goro return Akane's affection.
  • In Asura's Wrath Olga is fanatically loyal to Deus even when he telekinetically slams her into the ceiling, preferring the traitorous Yasha to her.
  • Cyber Shadow: It is gradually revealed through flashbacks that Apparitor is actually a former member of your ninja clan who betrayed you because of this trope; he was in love with Master and devoted his life to serving her, only for you to come along and be adopted into the clan, quickly upstaging him and gaining Master's favor/affection. Filled with jealousy and resentful of Master not acknowledging his devotion, he sold the clan out to the Big Bad out of spite, subsequently being upgraded into a cybernetic enforcer of the new regime.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: House Redoran Councillor Hlaren Ramoran's female bodyguard secretly harbors strong feelings of adoration for her master. During his favor quest to track down an old flame of his, instead of wasting time tracking down his ex only to have her flatly reject Ramoran's advances anyway, you can instead just tell Ramoran of those feelings and break the ice for her. He'll thank you for opening his eyes to what's right in front of him and grant you his support, before going on to court his bodyguard.
  • Cordelia from Fire Emblem: Awakening is completely enamored with Chrom. Oddly enough, in a game where romance is a major element, she is one of the few early female characters who can't be married to Chrom, much to many a shipper's dismay.
  • Hubert from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is pretty obviously in love with his liege, Edelgard. He'll outright tell her in their A support conversation, but despite her surprise, she still doesn't seem to see him as more than a trusted friend. Even in their paired ending, should the player go for it, states that they never pursued a romance despite spending the rest of their lives together. Hubert doesn't mind if those feelings are unrequited, however, and simply wants Edelgard's dreams and happiness to come to pass. On Crimson Flower, he'll take steps to make sure Byleth becomes Edelgard's emotional anchor and possible romantic partner, simply because he knows how Edelgard treasures them.
  • In Galaxy Angel, Almo Blueberry, one of the Elsior's Bridge Bunnies, is in love with the ship's subcommander, Lester Coolduras. He's of course completely oblivious to this. Her partner Coco Nutmilk in turn gains one when Tapio Ca becomes her subordinate in the Galaxy Angel II trilogy.
  • Belial of Granblue Fantasy is in love with and fanatically loyal to his creator, Lucilius, who has no interest in romance or sex and treats him as coldly and dismissively as he does nearly everyone else. Belial has spent the two thousand years since Lucilius's death continuing Lucilius's plan to destroy creation, and it's implied that he would have succeeded if he hadn't taken the time to resurrect Lucilius first so they could watch their scheme come to fruition together, though one of the first things Lucilius does after reviving is kick Belial in his abdominal wound. Despite this, when Lucilius is ultimately defeated and about to be trapped between dimensions, Belial willingly follows him through the rift so they can be together for eternity.
  • Halo 5: Guardians: The Warden Eternal makes it quite clear via dialogue that he is in love with Cortana, but she ignores his affections because she herself is in love with the Master Chief.
  • Apparently, Tali from Mass Effect had a crush on Shepard since the first game, in which she was not a romance option. You learn this if you romance her in the second game, potentially subverting it.
    • Liara as well, considering her devotion to you regardless of if you return her affection or not. Shepard can subvert this early on, as she's romanceable in all three games.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, it's hinted through Codec conversations and her own dialog that Mistral is in love with Senator Armstrong, the man who gave her ideals to fight for. However, the game never reveals what exactly Armstrong thinks of her.
    • And her underling would have liked to date her... except they're both dead minutes after Raiden arrives, with the underling blowing himself up after thinking her words were for him. So yeah, low chance of enamourment there.
    Raiden: She's not talking to you, idiot.
  • Courtney Gears from Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal almost perfectly mirrors the usual relationship between Harley Quinn and The Joker in her interactions with Dr. Nefarious.
    Courtney: I have a present for you, snooky-wookums.
    Nefarious: AAAARGH! I told you to stop calling me that! Just bring me Agent Clank!
    Courtney: Of course, darling.
  • Resident Evil 5: Excella Gionne makes the mistake of falling in love with Wesker. She tries to get him to feel the same way, mostly by dressing in a Sexy Backless Outfit with a Navel-Deep Neckline. She also says "I have my eyes set on something much... bigger" when he tells her her position at Tricell is secured, with a very obvious gaze downwards. He pushes her away when she puts her hands all over him, and eventually betrays and kills her.
    • The "underling" part isn't quite played straight as she is actually the CEO (hence why he didn't get rid of her years ago, given that he's clearly not just uninterested but disgusted by her attention: he needs her on his side for his Evil Plan to succeed) but he's the one with the plan while she is going along with it.
  • Belleza in Skies of Arcadia towards Galcian. Downplayed in that she's pretty much aware that he feels nothing for her but can't help loving him, and Galcian treats their relationship as entirely professional with one exception (he uses her crush as motivation to undertake a personal mission for him). When it turns out said personal mission was intended to get her killed, she turns face and kills Galcian in a Taking You with Me Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Super Paper Mario: Nastasia has a rather obvious crush on her boss, Count Bleck, though she must know that it could never possibly be anything but unrequited, since Count Bleck has an extreme case of Single-Target Sexuality, and losing the woman he loved was his entire reason for becoming an Omnicidal Maniac in the first place. O'Chunks' crush on Nastasia also counts, since as Bleck's Dragon, she outranks him.
  • The adult-oriented Taimanin Asagi franchise brings us Ingrid, a Hell Knight whom serves as both secretary and right-hand woman to Edwin Black, the vampiric Big Bad of the series. While Ingrid makes it explicitly clear of her affections towards her boss, his attentions are squarely focused on Asagi herself, given his interest in her powers (and the fact that at least in one spin-off he already has a daughter). However, it is clear that Edwin values Ingrid dearly — when the traitorous Taimanin Oboro abducts and tortures Ingrid for several days, Edwin personally steps in to beat Oboro within an inch of her life and oversee Ingrid's recovery afterwards.
  • Izebel in Tears to Tiara 2 was personal secretary to the Governor-General of Hispania Hasdrubal, and also guardian to his son. She was very much in love with him. Hasdrubal actually has feelings for her but wants to follow his late wife's wishes by raising Hamil first. Unfortunately, The Empire messed everything up while Hamil was still a very young child.
  • Selvaria from Valkyria Chronicles, is a very straight and tragic example of this trope. She fell in love with her boss, Maximillian, because he saved her from a life of being a lab rat and took her in as one of his generals. The moment Maximillian caught on to her feelings for him, he began using emotional and psychological manipulation to keep her in his service and make her believe that he would return her affections if she performed her role to her utmost. And in the end, said love and devotion is rewarded with Maximillian ordering her to use her Final Flame so he can win the war he started. And she goes through with it because the revelation that she was and had always been nothing to him but a means to an end is enough to make her cross the Despair Event Horizon, so she has nothing more to live for, and even still loves him in spite of it.

    Web Comics 
  • In Bandette, Inspector BD Belgique's sidekick Heloise is definitely in love with him, but never does anything about it.
  • In Cucumber Quest, Lettuce to Tomato. For once, she just wants her beloved to be happy. The problem arises in that she doesn't care that he's harassing a helpless prisoner who's in love with someone else; she thinks Princess Parfait should be honored by his attentions.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Mr. Verres's assistant Lavender is less than subtle in expressing her attraction to her boss. She has used her species' natural shapeshifting powers to take a form, that the author has described as, "heavily inspired by Jessica Rabbit" in the hopes of getting his attention. She likes to sit on his desk. She has accidentally let slip to him that, "I would be anything for you," before awkwardly backpedaling. She has even been seen surreptitiously putting her tail over his shoulder. He seemed oblivious... but it seems that they've gotten together offscreen.
  • In Erfworld, Maggie the Thinkamancer eventually falls "rather desperately" in love with her commander, Parson, as revealed to Parson by the Hippiemancer Janis. The revelation troubles him considerably because, while he likes her well enough, he simply doesn't love her back that way. He at one point seriously considers taking a Love Potion to resolve the issue.
  • In Homestuck, Nepeta has been shown several times to have a crush on Karkat, though she's too shy to make the first move. Given Karkat's expertise with relationships and romance, there's pretty much no chance he's unaware of this. He later admits to "tiptoeing around it" due to there just being too much else going on to deal with it, not least his own confused relationship with Terezi.
  • In Magick Chicks, Sandy is hopelessly in love with Faith, who's known for having slept with much of the student body at Artemis - excluding Sandi, who's been permanently "friend-zoned".
  • In The Order of the Stick:
    • Tsukiko serves Xykon because she thinks undead are good love interests. He finds it as unsettling as the rest of Team Evil does since she's lusting over a friggin lich — and besides, he's been completely asexual since he died. When Redcloak kills her with her own wights, Xykon doesn't hold it against him, and only expresses annoyance at the prospect of losing a useful minion; even then, he doesn't even remember her name.
    • Thrym, demigod and Lord of the Frost Giants, is a key supporter of Hel in her plot to force the gods to unmake the world so she can rule over the new one. Before he's introduced on-panel, his motives as revealed through his Frost Giant minions are kept deliberately hazy and enigmatic, and the PCs speculate about what they might be... only for a Description Cut to reveal him for the first time, making lovey-dovey advances to a clearly uninterested and irritated Hel, who only keeps him around for the mortal armies he can muster. He's also rather willingly blind to the fact that she has zero interest in him.
    Thrym: Is that all I am to you? A resource to be used in your scheme?
    Hel: Yes! And I explicitly told you that from the start!
    Thrym: Yeah, but I didn't think you meant it.
  • In The Rock Cocks, Elizabeth Santos has a major crush on Seth Sterling, her oblivious boss. Justified since he's gay.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Elf has a short-lived crush on Tagon. Tagon, being in the middle of figuring out how to make payroll, is less than concerned.
    Elf: Captain, there's a beautiful girl in a bikini standing behind you.
    Tagon: Where?
    Tagon: Oh, did you mean you?
    -Smash Cut-
    Elf: Doc, I think the captain needs an ice pack and a clue implant.
  • In Sandra on the Rocks, Tatiana is a textbook case (albeit to a boss who's merely a Cloudcuckoolander, not a master villain), with the small extra quirk of bondage fantasies.

    Web Original 
  • In Less is Morgue, there's Brother Puddonius, the second in command to cult leader Thackery Boggs. He also really, really wants to slather his body with various substances, and those feelings are not reciprocated.
    Brother Puddonius: What the exalted one means to say is that we all must slather each other with gravy!
    Thackery Boggs: No, it doesn’t! Brother, you must stop.''

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Sky is the assistant to Jayce and Viktor with an obvious crush on the latter. Viktor is far too focused on his work to notice, especially since his studies are the only hope to cure his deteriorating health. When he accidentally kills Sky during a Hextech experiment he's stricken with guilt, especially after discovering a love letter she wrote to him hidden in her notebook.
  • Alakshmi in Kaijudo is incredibly devoted to The Choten, even as he becomes increasingly condescending to her due to her failures.
  • Paige in TRON: Uprising is non-romantically fanatically devoted to General Tessler, which is understandable since she believes he saved her life from ISO's, when in fact he was responsible for the massacre that killed her friends.
  • Waylon Smithers to Mr. Burns in The Simpsons, a trait that has received steady Flanderization as the show has gone by. While Burns is completely oblivious to Smithers being both gay and very in love with him, he's usually light on the abuse, with most of it coming from his wealthy, comically out-of-touch eccentricities.
    • Krusty the Clown has one in his secretary Lois Pennycandy.
      Marge: Hello, Mrs. Pennycandy.
      Lois: It's Miss Pennycandy, I can assure you. I'm sorry to inform you that Krusty will not be joining Bart for dinner.
      Marge: This is the fifth time he's cancelled. How can he hurt someone who loves him so?
      Lois: Oh, Mrs. Simpson, I've wasted my womanhood asking that same question.
  • Wuya to Chase Young in Xiaolin Showdown, for a while. Then she lost interest in him and betrayed him... rather unsurprisingly.
  • Mercy Graves to Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated Series. He saved her from an existential gutter and got her undying loyalty, which was broken when, during an attack by Brainiac, Luthor chose to run away rather than save her from some fallen debris. Superman saved her, and she chose to rethink her loyalty to Lex, which panned out in Justice League, where she gains control of Lexcorp and later stops helping Lex altogether. At least until he gets out of prison and makes a fake run for US President.
  • Zhu Li in The Legend of Korra is hinted to have a crush on her overly demanding boss Varrick, who's so self-centered he doesn't notice. Eventually, it's his mistreatment of her that leads her to betray him and pledge her loyalty to Kuvira instead in season 4. Varrick seems genuinely shocked when she lists off all the ways he's mistreated her over the years. At the end this was shown to have been a ruse so she can sabotage Kuvira's plans from within, though it's implied she drew on her real feelings for Varrick to make it more convincing, and they end up getting married after everything's over.
  • Subverted in Total Drama Pahkitew Island: Max claims that his "minion," Scarlett, is "hopelessly in love" with him, but insists that "evil doesn't date." Several other characters seem to think they're dating. Not only did she never feel that way about him, as the season goes on she begins to hate him more and more, and switches between manipulating him and trying to get him eliminated.
  • Commander Peepers' relationship with Lord Hater in Wander over Yonder is frequently played like this. His room is more or less a Stalker Shrine to Hater, which he trashed in "The Buddies" in response to his mistaken impression that Hater had found another best friend (before tearfully fixing everything).
    • Supervising Director Dave Thomas confirms that Peepers being portrayed in this way was intentional.
  • This is one of the common interpretations of Pearl and Rose Quartz's relationship in Steven Universe, with most of their canon portrayal being based around the Lady and Knight dynamic. The other common interpretation is that Rose was in a casual, open relationship with Pearl until Greg came around, with Pearl being an Insecure Love Interest to her 'liege'. (The Alternative Character Interpretation of this interpretation is that Rose actually played along with Pearl's inferiority complex.)
  • Scorpia from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power spends the first three seasons pretty obviously carrying a torch for Catra. She does anything Catra asks, refers to them as "soulmates," is desperate to impress her, and seems to want to be a Morality Chain for her, but Catra barely notices. Or rather, she might, but since she's barely capable of even being a good friend to Scorpia, it doesn't really matter. Plus, regardless of whether Catra actually treated Scorpia with respect, she is ultimately far more romantically interested in her ex-best friend Adora anyway.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Nathalie is in love with her boss Gabriel Agreste, who is very fiercely devoted to his wife Emilie to the point of taking up supervillainy in an effort to heal her from her coma. In fact, said devotion is what made her fall in love with him in the first place. So, being a woman of honor, she assists him in said supervillainy, even sometimes using the broken Peacock Miraculous to do so even though it's heavily implied to be the very thing that caused Emilie's coma in the first place, as its broken state makes its special ability Cast from Hit Points when it isn't supposed to. To be fair, Nathalie is somewhat aware of how fucked up the situation is. The writers have also hinted that Nathalie does have a reason of her own for wanting Emilie back.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, by the episode "Skooled!", it's made abundantly clear that Gemini serves Miss Heinous out of love, yet she treats him with nothing but contempt. After Rasticore rejects her, Gemini offers her his own continued service, only for Heinous to rip out his heart and use it to blow up Rasticore.
    Gemini: If you wanted my heart, all you had to do was ask.
  • Anna from Codename: Kids Next Door is the devoted secretary of Gallagher Elementary's fourth grade president Jimmy. She works tirelessly for him out of love and assumes the feeling is mutual but is heartbroken to learn otherwise in "Operation: S.N.O.W.I.N.G." when Jimmy reveals his plans to make Numbuh 1's girlfriend Lizzie his (unwilling) queen. Anna helps the Kids Next Door defeat Jimmy and finally confesses her love for him. He is both surprised and touched.

Alternative Title(s): Ignored Enamoured Underling