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Lovely Assistant

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"Watch in wonder as I pass this hoop completely around her!"

"Not much experience, but she knows the basics. She knows how to present herself, and a pretty assistant’s the most effective form of misdirection."
Cutter, The Prestige

In showbiz, you have the male performer and his lovely assistant.

A Lovely Assistant is just that, an attractive young woman who assists the performer or primary host. This can be by fetching things, being the object of whatever the performer is to do, giving out prizes, handling the lottery equipment, distracting the audience's attention away from a magician's skullduggery, or doing minor performances herself. They are almost Always Female (even if the magician is female herself).

But primarily, her job is to look good, strike attractive poses, and give the performer room to do his thing. The clothing can vary from modest but sexy to outright Stripperiffic.

A variation appears in a Stage Magician's show, where there are practical reasons for small, female assistants in tight-fitting clothes. Some physical-displacement type tricks (moving boxes, sawing a person in half) require the person to be quite small in order to fit into the device (most magic equipment is designed for an assistant who's 5′2″ tall). The same is true of quick-change acts, where the model must be small enough to wear many layers of trick clothing without appearing bulky. In these cases the "assistant" is an integral part of the act who requires skill and training, but plays off the audience expectations that she is nothing but eye candy in order to set up the trick and make the magician look impressive. A lot of them are also twins, for various purposes.

Some common roles of the Lovely Assistant are as co-host of a game show, a Stage Magician's assistant or object for tricks, or the target of a Knife-Throwing Act.

A Sub-Trope of Distracted by the Sexy.

A Sister Trope to Chorus Girls.

Compare Bridge Bunnies, Foil. Not to be confused with Science Hero's Babe Assistant.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Death Parade, Kurokami Onna (Black-haired Woman) serves as this to Decim.
  • In Pokémon: The Original Series, Misty/Kasumi gets roped once into becoming this after the former assistant quit. Look what she wore, a Goldeen leotard.
  • They're not magicians, but one of the recurring characters in Sket Dance, Enigman, is a Quiz master who is always accompanied by his beautiful assistant, Quecchon.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Stage Magician Arkana was in love with his Lovely Assistant, Catherine, and they were engaged—before his disfiguring accident. Although Catherine still loved him, Arkana pushed her away. He later regretted his choice and fell in with Marik when he promised he could restore Catherine to him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Bob Banter (Tsugio Kanda) has a deck that turns the duel into a game show with himself as the host and his opponent as the contestant. Two copies of the monster Gamble Angel Bunny appear as the gameshow's lovely assistants.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Modesty Blaise: Willie Garvin sometimes takes a holiday by joining the circus he owns and doing a Knife-Throwing Act under the alias "El Casador". Sometimes Modesty joins him as his lovely assistant "Conchita".

  • From Rowan Atkinson's bit "The Amazing Jesus":
    And there came unto him a woman called Mary who had seen the Lord and believed, and Jesus said unto her, "Put on a tutu and lie down in this box." And then took he forth a saw and cleft her in twain, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. But Jesus said, "O ye of little faith," and he threw open the box and lo, Mary was whole. And the crowd went absolutely bananas. And Jesus and Mary took a big bow, and he said unto her, "From now on you shall be known as Sharon, for that is a good name for an assistant."

    Fan Works 
  • In the Discworld as envisioned by A.A. Pessimal, the Guild of Fools and Clowns is forced to accept that it must go co-educational and accept women as members. The key for this seismic shift was when the Guild took over the Guild of Conjurors. As Vetinari pointed out, every stage magician comes with his Doris, the lovely assistant in spangled tights and leotard. Therefore the Dorises should also be Guild members too. And while you're about it... The Fools' Guild now trains Dorises, tightrope artistes, knife-throwers' assistants, lion-tamers, and all categories of women whose working lives involve leotards and spangly tights. After a civil war provoked by the issue of women Fools, it is reluctantly accepted that the girl students should be able to study Troubador, Jester and even Clowning skills, but only as a minor course and strictly in a non-performing sort of way.
  • Gender Flipped in Disney High School, with Esmeralda as the magician and Hercules as the assistant.
  • Empathy: Riley serves this role for Hiro during his demonstration of the microbots.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The song "Eglantine" in Bedknobs and Broomsticks is Mr. Browne asking Miss Price to be his lovely assistant for magic shows... and the one actually doing the magic. Not only does she realize he's trying to exploit her, she's a bit annoyed with his casual use of her first name.
  • Subverted — or at least complicated — in the early scenes of Gun Crazy. Laurie uses a female assistant in her sharpshooting act; the assistant wears a more feminine costume than Laurie, but is older than her and less conventionally attractive.
  • Leprechaun 3: Tammy works as one for Fazio in order to learn the ropes so that she can become a magician herself one day. Though much like everyone else, she holds him in very little regard.
  • On Now You See Me Henly used to be this for Daniel until he called her fat and she left and started her own solo act as an Escape Artist.
  • In Outlaw Women, Snake Oil Salesman Uncle Barney travels with three beautiful women as part of his Medicine Show to help him peddle his Blackfoot Balm. On arriving in Las Mujeres, Iron Mae steals the three beauties away to work in her saloon.
  • Olivia in The Prestige is this to both of the stage magicians involved (and has affairs with both of them). Angier's wife was also this. Michael Caine's character specifically mentions their importance as an on-stage distraction.
  • In Shredder Orpheus, Persephone takes this role in Hades' game shows, showing what Orpheus could win when he goes to rescue Eurydice the first time and presenting the two sliding doors crucial to his second attempt.
  • In The Unknown, Nanon (Joan Crawford) is Alonzo's (Lon Chaney) lovely assistant in his Knife-Throwing Act. As part of the act, he uses his knives to strip away the veils that make up her costume.

    Game Shows (Fictional and Nonfictional) 
  • Subverted by Avanti Un Altro for Rule of Funny; a random person is selected from the audience each episode to be the assistant (more precisely, a "valet").
  • Roxanne on the original CBS version of Beat the Clock.
  • The original Concentration had Paola Diva as its prize model, and Classic Concentration had Diana Taylor and Marjorie Goodson-Cutt.
  • Some shows had male Vannas, such as Joe Alaskey on Couch Potatoes and Dan the Centurian on Caesar's Challenge.
  • Carol Vorderman from Countdown was picked for her ability to solve the Numbers Game in her head practically every time as much as for her ability to stand around pinning letters to boards.
    • In the British comedy Panel Show Would I Lie to You?, Carol stated that she played games for most of the 30 seconds of the Numbers Round because she'd already solved it.
    • Since Carol left the show, her (younger, taller, blonder and cheaper) replacement Rachel Riley has taken the role.
    • Though many years before, back in the '80s, solving the numbers game and checking the contestants' answers was Carol's only job. There were other assistants there to put up the letters and numbers tiles note - initially each of the games was done by two separate ladies but it soon became apparent this was too many...
  • Parodied by David Letterman's Show Within a Show "Will It Float?", with the hula-hoop girl and that chick wearing a steel bustier and a working metal grinder.
  • The American version of Deal or No Deal featured twenty-six models (down to two in syndication).
  • The American version of Duel had "chip girls" whose only job was to walk to the players' podium after each question to collect chips spent on incorrect answers.
  • Since the 2001-02 season, Jeopardy! has had the Clue Crew, a team of assistants (two female, one male) who present pre-recorded visuals on some clues.
  • Predating Vanna White in the United States was Carol Merrill, the sole model on the original Let's Make a Deal. The new version of Deal with Wayne Brady originally had Alison Fiori as the assistant, then Tiffany Coyne.
  • Lingo tried to subvert this by having main host Chuck Woolery act The Fool and set up beautiful co-host Shandi Finnessey as the smart one. It... didn't really work.
  • In a Married... with Children episode, where Al and Peggy compete in a game show:
    Host: Hello there, and welcome to How Do I Love Thee?! The game show that dares to ask; "How do I love thee?" For those of you who're totally ignorant of today's superstars, I'm Bink Winkleman. [one person applauds] Thank you! And here's our own little piece of fluff that the network thrust upon me, The Lovely Zelda. [great applause]
  • A rare male example: Richard Osman on Pointless.
  • Barker's Beauties in The Price Is Right (after Drew Carey took Bob Barker's place, they started simply being referred to by name).
    • In late 2012 the show broke its Always Female mold by hiring their first male model — although they had been having male celebrities as "guest" models for some time prior (including a contestant who joked about being one on his shirt), as well as occasions where the male announcer would model certain prizes.
  • MTV's Remote Control had a new one for just about every season.
  • First Jenny McCarthy and then Carmen Electra on MTV's dating game show Singled Out.
  • Bruce Forsyth has had many of these over the years; including in Strictly Come Dancing with Tess Daly. Since he semi-retired from that show, Tess has become the main host, with Claudia Winkleman taking on her role, although the emphasis is is less on the 'lovely' and more on the 'slightly mad' part of the role.
  • Temptation: The New Sale of the Century, used male models in an attempt to attract a middle-aged female demographic to the show. It didn't help that 99% of its contestants were female.
  • Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune, and the former Trope Namer. She wasn't the first letter-turner on the show (Susan Stafford was), but her iconic nature in the wake of Wheel's 1980s success has made her a quintessential example of this trope.
  • Similarly, the late Adriana Xenides, "co-host" of the Australian Wheel from the first episode in July 1981 until November 1996, when due to severe illness, she had to leave; and from July 1997 until June 1999 after recovering. When she left, Adri was the longest-serving female co-host of a game show; now Vanna holds that record.
  • WinTuition subverted this with a short, bald male assistant named "Gorgeous George", who acted as if he would rather be anywhere else whenever he hauled in props for a question.

  • Elemental Masters series:
  • Referenced in Equal Rites, which says that members of the Guild of Conjurers are accompanied by "sad thin women in spangly tights" (as in The Amazing Bunko and Doris).
  • Esther Diamond: The first book's mystery is how six magicians' assistants disappear from vanishing cabinets for real. Four of the six are glamorous young women who are assisting struggling magicians (or in one case, an actor playing a magician) who take their work seriously. One is an older woman who vanishes from a party her boyfriend is hosting and providing the entertainment for. The sixth is a man who performs in a drag show wearing nothing but a thong.
  • Subverted in Lovely Assistant by Geoph Essex: Jenny is both a magician's lovely assistant and the main protagonist. Even in the magic act, Jenny is more than just a pretty thing to look at. (She's also one of Calvin's most effective props, and does some tricks herself.) As the plot develops, this trope zig-zags: as a Grim Reaper, Jenny "assists" death by sending the recently departed off to their next journey; but she's still not just eye candy, as the Angels of Death don't seem to have any defined employer and are a pretty mixed lot.
  • Nynaeve gets this job at Valan Luca's circus in The Wheel of Time.
  • In Stranger in a Strange Land Valentine Michael Smith does a carnival magic show with Jill as his lovely assistant. Despite his real powers, the show flops.]

    Live-Action TV 
  • The episode of ALF wherein ALF decides to become a stage magician and accidentally breaks a flowerpot with his magic wand as part of his first trick:
    ALF: Uh, my lovely assistant will clean that up for me.
    Willie: [sighs] I guess I'm the lovely assistant. [gets a whisk broom]
  • Banacek: In "Now You See Me, Now You Don't", the vanishing Stage Magician was using his daughter as his lovely assistant. She is seemingly as much in the dark about what happens to her father as everyone else.
  • Beakman's World had three lovely assistants (Josie, Liza and Phoebe, depending on season), and one not-so-lovely assistant (Lester). He even used Phoebe as the Lovely Assistant for the magic trick displayed in the page image.
  • The Brady Bunch: Peter has magic as a Fleeting Passionate Hobby and does the Disappearing Girl trick with Jan as his lovely assistant, which freaks Cindy out. Even when they try to explain the trick to her she is still terrified. Then on the day of the Talent Show Jan twists her ankle and can't perform with Peter, so Cindy steps up and takes her place. Once she's been in the cabinet and sees how it's done she gets very enthusiastic, even wanting to do the trick again.
  • On Brainiac: Science Abuse we get Professor Myang Li, who determines "Does this fruit float?" You do doubt her academic credentials given her Stripperiffic outfit.
  • Quite common in Brazilian TV. The Trope Codifier was Chacrinha and his "chacretes" (pun on vedette), to the point the suffix -ete is quite common: Hzetes, Panicats... the lightest version were kids TV host Xuxa and her Paquitas, which even had male versions.
  • Tool Time, the Show Within a Show on Home Improvement, had Lisa and her replacement Heidi, the latter becoming an Ascended Extra.
  • Parodied in How I Met Your Mother ("False Positive"), when news anchor Robin suffers a crisis of confidence and auditions to be the "coin-flip bimbo" (or "currency rotation specialist") on Million-Dollar Heads Or Tails.
  • The Late Show with David Letterman: The recurring segments "Will it Float?" and "Is this anything?" have 2-4 lovely assistants: "Float" has two Vanna types who drop an item in a tank of water to see whether it will float or not. Both "Float" and "anything" have the Grinder Girl (a woman who holds a metal grinder to a piece of metal on her costume's thorax) and the Hula Hoop Girl (a woman who hulas a lot of hoops) doing their thing to either side during the segment. Both GG and HHG were originally "discovered" on previous installments of "Is this anything?"
  • On Leverage Parker is this in the episode "The Top Hat Job" as the team is infiltrating a company by posing as the entertainment, a stage magic show. Interestingly her main role in the team is also similar to this in that she is often underestimated and often serves to make her boss look good. Throughout the episode, Sophie (who loves to be on stage) sulks that she has actual experience as this trope and it's not fair that she doesn't get to play the part just because her skills as The Face are needed elsewhere on the job.
  • Tony Blake used a variety of lovely assistants over the course of The Magician; seemingly hiring a new one in each city he performed in. When the format of the show changed to give him a permanent base of operation, he gained a permanent lovely assistant named Kathy. He sometimes also used a male assistant named Larry.
  • Parodied in The Mighty Boosh episode "The Chokes". For Naboo's Stage Magician act, he introduces his "lovely assistant" Bollo, who is a male Gorilla. Bollo does a sexy dance in the style of a typical lovely assistant until Naboo cuts him off. The same act also uses an actual attractive woman for their Saw a Woman in Half trick.
  • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Amazing Mystico and Janet put up housing blocks by hypnosis. (Janet is the Lovely Assistant.)
    • In an earlier sketch, Janet also assists the Amazing Kargol, who is a consultant psychiatrist.
    • In the sketch "Prejudice", the Lovely Assistant Carol presents the winning entries for a contest to find a derogatory term for the Belgians.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Journalist Ruby Ogden works as one of these for a young Harry Houdini in "Houdini Whodunit".
  • Only Fools and Horses: Raquel is working as a magician's assistant what Del reencounters her in The Jolly Boys' Outing.
  • One episode of Power Rangers S.P.D. had the Villain of the Week being a failed magician named Mysticon who's given a real magic wand by Morgana in exchange for his help in committing crimes. Syd dresses up as the lovely assistant to try and get close to him, but ends up being under mind control.
  • One sketch written by Ronnie Barker revolves around a stage magician having an affair with his Lovely Assistant, and trying to hide the evidence from his suspicious wife by passing it off as conjuring tricks he was practising.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the "Magic Joel" episode, Sabrina takes a job as the assistant to the titular Stage Magician and uses her magical powers to help him when he gets Stage Fright. She did this before with Harvey in the comics.
  • In an episode of The Suite Life on Deck, London falls in love with a magician but is jealous of his lovely assistant.
  • The Tales from the Crypt episode "Well Cooked Hams" has Greta Kreutzel, played by Maryam d'Abo (the Bond Girl from The Living Daylights).
  • Taskmaster has Alex Horne, who is co-host and Greg's personal assistant.
  • During Johnny Carson's run as host of The Tonight Show, one of his regular skits was playing Art Fern, a sleazy huckstering daytime-movie host. Fern was "assisted" by a comely but rather dimwitted gal who was simply known as The Matinee Lady, and who was most memorably played by Carol Wayne until her untimely death.
  • The hosts of The Sunny Side Up Show are this to Chica.
  • WandaVision: The second episode features a town talent show, where Wanda wears a sequined corset and fishnet stockings and fetches props for magician Vision. During the actual show however, Wanda ends up having to pull most of the weight, because Vision's works are literally gummed up. He keeps using his superpowers and she has to find ways to make them appear as mere magic tricks (like conjuring a rope and pulley to make his flying look fake, and hiding his superstrength by turning a piano into a cardboard cutout).
  • Whodunnit? (UK):
    • The Victim of the Week in "Before Your Very Eyes" is a Stage Magician's lovely assistant who is murdered when the killer sabotages the sword cabinet, causing her to be fatally stabbed on stage.
    • One of the suspects in "Final Trumpet" is Nola, the target girl for the knife-thrower Mad Wolfgang. Part of the act involves Wolfgang throwing a knife to cut off her skirt and expose the spangly bikini she is wearing underneath.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The National Wrestling Alliance features "Magic" Jake Dumas, a heel wrestling magician. Naturally, his valet/manager is his Lovely Assistant, CJ. For her part, whenever CJ isn't posing and making "ta-dah" gestures, she's actively distracting Dumas's opponents, the precise function of a real Stage Magician's Lovely Assistant.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: Convincing John, who can convince anyone to do anything, has a trio of female backup singers, the Fragglettes, who accompany him almost everywhere. Besides singing backup, they advertise the self-improvement courses Convincing John offers and make sure John actually gets up in the morning instead of wembling over which foot to put out of bed first.


  • Debbie McGee, Lovely Assistant (and wife) of UK magician Paul Daniels. A good example of "also a skilled magician", she went on to have a solo career.
  • The Amazing Jonathan was always accompanied by a "psychic" lovely assistant. Early on it was Psychic Sarah, who mostly just handed him props. Later, he had Psychic Tanya, who played a larger role as a character in the show.

    Video Games 
  • This is the protagonist Dana's job description in the game Contrast. Unlike most Lovely Assistants, she has actual (as in supernatural) magical powers at her disposal.
  • In the Dark Tales game series, the Freemium side game Nightfall provides Dupin with one of these in the form of Anna Fleurs. While it's suggested that she may be the player character from the main series, in Nightfall she mostly handles mundane tasks for Dupin, chiefly providing the player with instructions and rewards.
  • No More Heroes has Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii, an assassin magician. His two silent, lovely "asseestahnts!" are under his loyal command, until Travis blinds him and they provide the wheel saw for his execution.
  • Parodied in Paper Mario with Chuck Quizmo's assistant, a Toad named Vanna T.
  • In Dead Rising 2, sexy twin sisters Crystal and Amber Bailey serve as the assistants of the zombie-killing game show Terror is Reality. They also serve as the Dragons to the Big Bad, TIR host Tyrone "TK" King.

    Web Animation 
  • In Homestar Runner, Strong Mad takes up this role when the Cheat does his magic act as Tito the Tophaticent, by shoving two basketballs down the front of his singlet.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Presto Tina-O", Tina offers to be the lovely assistant for her crush Jimmy Jr.'s magic act for a talent show. But when Jimmy Jr. gets tired of Tina's criticisms of his act (which mostly revolves around showing off his half-assed dancing skills), he ditches her in favor of Tammy, and a jealous Tina plots revenge.
  • On Daria, the B-plot of "Life in the Past Lane" has Stacy become the assistant for Upchuck's escape act. She winds up freaking out when the trick goes wrong and he's put in legitimate danger. Except not, since her crying is just a distraction for his actual escape.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "D&DD", Dee Dee plays the Monty Haul Game Master to Dexter and his friends' RPG group. The Wizard's reward for completing the quest is a Lovely Assistant and a lifetime of sold-out shows in Las Vegas.
  • In a Dinosaucers episode, Sarah is first a willing lovely assistant for her friends' magic show, and then a hypnotized lovely assistant for Quackpot's magic show.
  • In the Family Guy episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein", a Vegas Rabbi had lovely assistants.
  • Gender reversal in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, where Zatanna has a male assistant.
  • Parodied in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Let's Take a Quiz!" While Phineas plays game show host, the role of the Lovely Assistant is taken by Ferb, who appears in several glamorous women's outfits.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Abracadaver", Blossom is basically forced into this position after the titular bad guy puts her in a trance and it nearly results in her demise. Bubbles and Buttercup could possibly fit into this trope as well when the evil magician uses his magic to put them in magician-like scenarios that an assistant would normally do,
  • Discussed in an episode of The Simpsons; Lisa becomes an apprentice to a retired stage magician whose late wife was his assistant; he bonds with Lisa because having a child was "the only magic we couldn't create."
  • In the Yogi's Treasure Hunt episode "Goodbye, Mr. Chump", Penelope Pitstop was a lovely assistant to Hokey Wolf.

Alternative Title(s): Game Show Gal, The Vanna