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Basic Trope: A female character of significant rank or status who exists solely to lose said rank or status to a male character barely five minutes into the story... and long before she can get any decent characterization.

  • Straight: Alice is the current commander of Hawk Squadron. She's gotten pregnant, and is required to take mandatory maternity leave. Alice greets Bob, a fellow officer who's worked his way up the ranks and is ready to take over a squadron, and introduces him to his new subordinates. Although Alice is mentioned a few times in later episodes, and is a Secret Character in the show's videogame, and appears in the trading card game, she never returns.
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  • Exaggerated: Alice is the current commander of Hawk Squadron and she busts the chops of new hotshot pilot Bob for his insubordinate attitude. Then the enemy attacks and Alice turns out to be a Pointy-Haired Boss whose weak feminine emotions leave her unable to make critical decisions in a crisis. Bob's made of sterner stuff, comes up with a plan, and rallies the troops. At the end of the episode, Bob is the acting commander, and Alice is never seen again, never mentioned, and has absolutely no merchandise made in her likeness.
  • Downplayed: Alice is Acting Commander of Hawk Squadron, as she doesn't have enough time in grade for the position. When Bob arrives to be commander, Alice takes up a position as second-in-command. A couple of years later, she's promoted to commander of another squadron and becomes the Hero of Another Story.
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  • Justified: Some women really do choose to leave promising careers to raise a family, or are promoted beyond their level of competence. It's quite possible that their replacement is male.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Bob turns out to be a horrible leader, and Alice is called back from her leave to retake command.
  • Double Subverted: Bob's incompetence was just him feeling guilty for taking Alice's job—once she reassures him that it's okay, Bob's back in the big chair.
  • Parodied: Bob wanders into a meeting of the Ladies' Gardening Club and the members immediately depose President Alice in favor of him, despite Bob having no gardening experience. "Everyone knows that having a penis makes you a natural leader!"
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  • Zig Zagged: Alice and Bob wrest control of the squadron back and forth on a semi-regular basis.
  • Averted: Female characters introduced with significant rank or status tend to keep that status over the course of the series; all promotions and demotions are based on factors other than gender.
  • Enforced: "We want to show that there are female leaders in the future military, but Bob really fits our idea of a squadron commander more. How about we make Alice the previous commander?"
  • Lampshaded: "Why does an XY chromosome pattern seem to trump seniority in this squadron?"
  • Invoked: Bob actively tries to undermine his new boss Alice in hopes of taking over her job.
  • Exploited: The Mole uses resentment caused by Alice's sudden demotion to spread unrest amond the troops.
  • Defied: Bob is informed that he cannot jump into command in this way; the regulations forbid it.
  • Discussed: "What you want to bet Bob is taking over from Alice by the end of the day?"
  • Conversed: "Ooh, Hawk Squadron has a female commander! Too bad it won't last, this kind of show always puts a man in charge."
  • Deconstructed: Hawk Squadron does not respect Bob and see his taking command as a usurpation despite Alice stepping down, orders from the Top Brass etc. This causes tensions to rise in the squadron and ruining teamwork. The female members of The Team especially resent the (in-universe) Unfortunate Implications that come from a woman being demoted solely, as they see it, in order to cede authority to a man who lacks her experience and tenure.
  • Reconstructed:
    • If it's a temporary leave of absence (injury, pregnancy leave etc.), Bob serves as an interim leader and the troops are assured that this is not permanent. The reason he takes the job is because his name was drawn out of a hat of lower ranking officers and this hat included both his male and female teammates. While Bob may be the one doing the on-screen leading from the first episode to the Grand Finale, he's receiving his own orders/"recommendations" from Alice, who is now The Voice. Every episode makes clear who is truly in charge.
    • In the case of a permanent change of leadership (such as retirement, etc.), Bob may have been Alice's Number Two and so the troops knew this might happen. His character arc will involve his belief that he is not good enough to replace Alice, despite successes, and his catchphrase will be "What Would Alice Do?" Finally, his own Number Two will be Cassandra whom he regularly consults.

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