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4girlensemble

Naive, snarky, sexy, smart

 Meg is the oldest, the smartest of the four.

And Jo has the talent for writing up a storm.

Beth plays piano for all to enjoy.

And Amy is the cutest of them all.
—From the ending theme of the 1981 anime version of Little Women

Related to both The Three Faces of Eve and Four-Temperament Ensemble. Unrelated, however, to Four Is Death. Usually.

This particular ensemble typically consists of:

  • A sweet-naive girl (usually The Ditz)
  • A mannish one (usually a Deadpan Snarker)
  • A sexy one (a Really Gets Around stereotype or perhaps merely a glamour-obsessed pretty one)
  • An admirable but Wild Card kind of character (usually the narrator and wise Team Mom of the group who holds it together).

The wild card might be The Smart Guy or the Cool Big Sis but not the Team Mom. In that case the mother figure will be be doubled up with either the sweet-naive girl, the sexy girl or even the mannish one.

Compare Five-Man Band, where The Lancer roughly correspondes to the sexy one, The Smart Guy, to the admirable one, The Big Guy to the mannish one and The Chick to the sweet-naive one. Beauty, Brains, and Brawn and Town Girls are sweet-naive, admirable, and mannish in that order. In The Three Faces of Eve, the child corresponds to the sweet-naive one, the wife to the admirable one, and the seductress to the sexy one. Betty and Veronica is admirable and sexy, Tomboy and Girly Girl is mannish and sweet-naive, and Light Feminine and Dark Feminine is sweet-naive and sexy. Also there's Freudian Trio.

Examples of Four-Girl Ensemble include:


Anime


Comic Books

  • In Jet Dream, Jet is the leader. Petite is the sexy (stereotypically French) one. Marlene is the big girl who can out-wrestle most men, and Ting-a-Ling is the sweet, naive one.


Film

  • The four girl coven in The Craft: Sarah, the wise one; Nancy, the Deadpan Snarker Goth who doesn't care what other people think of her; Bonnie, who becomes increasingly image-obsessed and vain; and Rochelle, the sweet, quiet one (and Token Minority) who just wants the Alpha Bitch to stop her racist taunts.
  • The four main characters of Now And Then: Roberta is the tomboy, Teeny the diva, Chrissy the sweet naive one and Samantha the observer.
  • The four girls from the Bratz movie, Jade (smart), Sasha (sexy), Cloe (sporty), and Yasmine (preppy). The Alpha Bitch immediately breaks them up due to her obsession with keeping cliques separate for some reason.
  • The four main friends of The Women, an In Name Only Chick Flick of a play, who are basically the Sex and the City girls if Samantha was replaced by a Sassy Black Woman Lesbian(?).
  • The starring D.E.B.S. squad is pretty much a textbook case with promiscuous Dominique, naive Janet, obsessive Max and self searching Amy.


Literature

  • Little Women is the Trope Codifier: Meg, the oldest, is the lecturer and mature example-setter who wants a husband and family; Jo is the tomboy who wants a career, fame, and fortune; Beth is The Quiet One; Amy is the artistic, flirty young lady.
  • The Chalet School has the Quartet in the early books. Joey is the tomboy and the leader, Simone is the temperamental Clingy Jealous Girl, Frieda is the Team Mom and the best-behaved, and Marie is the pretty one.
  • The original four members of The Babysitters Club: Kristy is the tomboy, Mary Anne is shy and gentle, Claudia is The Ditz, fashionable and boy-crazy, and Stacey who is like Claudia but a more sophisticated math genius who is looked up to because she's from New York.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants starts out with Defrosting Ice Queen Lena, Genki Girl Bridget, Tsundere Carmen and Deadpan Snarker Tibby before their Character Development.
  • Marylin Kaye's Sisters series: Activist Lydia is the Team Mom figure, Cassie is the fashionista, Daphne is the shy and sweet one, Phoebe is the tomboy.
  • Are You There God Its Me Margaret has the "Four Pre-Teen Sensations" -- Gretchen is the somewhat mannish one, Janie is shy and sweet, Nancy is a bit of a slut wannabe, and Margaret is the narrator who sees everything.
  • The V. C. Andrews miniseries, Orphans
    • Butterfly: Naive, sweet, childlike.
    • Brooke: Mannish (not really, but she is a tomboy)
    • Raven: Sexy one.
    • Crystal: Team Mom, responsible.
  • The American Girl books have the Montoya sisters: Ana, the oldest and the Team Mom (almost literally, since their mother is dead and she's already married with two kids); Francisca, the beautiful, fashionable, rebellious one; Clara, the diligent, prudent, preachy one; and Josefina, the youngest and the main character, who's chirpy and cheerful and tries to keep the peace between Francesca and Clara when Ana's not around.
  • J. Courtney Sullivan's novel Commencement, about a group of Smith students who become friends after sharing a floor their freshmen year, has: Celia, who probably fulfills the role of the "sexy one" as she is a Bottle Fairy who Really Gets Around, even though she's not the prettiest of the group; Bree, who is the "sweet naive one" - she starts out as an engaged Southern Belle; Sally, a Neat Freak who serves as the Team Mom; and April, who fits the role of the "tomboy" as a Straw Feminist, Granola Girl and Deadpan Snarker.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Emily is the sweet and sporty one, Hanna is glamorous and popular, Aria's the artistic hipster Deadpan Snarker, and Spencer sort of replaces 'wise' with 'perfectionist.'
  • In The Gallagher Girls series, there's Cammie, Liz, Bex, and Macey. The latter three fill out the roles for Beauty, Brains, and Brawn (Macey is the beauty, Liz is the brains, and Bex is the brawn), while Macey is more of a Girl Next Door.
  • The Poisonwood Bible has the Price sisters: Rachel, the pretty one and the Rich Bitch who becomes "the sexy one" who Really Gets Around as she grows up; Leah, the wise and motherly one; Adah, the intellectual and Deadpan Snarker; and Ruth May, the sweet, naive baby of the family and The Heart. This book being the kind of book it is, Ruth May, naturally, gets killed off.
  • The Babysitters Club-esque Girl Talk books had Sabrina, the ditzy, bubbly everygirl; Katie, the perfect, blonde-haired, blue-eyed athlete; Allison, the quiet, bookish Token Minority; and Randy, the "cool" one, who was from New York and had a skateboard and played the drums and was probably intended to be the Deadpan Snarker.
  • The Red Tent features Leah the Team Mom and domestic goddess; Rachel the beauty who compensates for her infertility by becoming a midwife; Zilpah the self-proclaimed priestess/storyteller who Does Not Like Men, and Bilhah the sweet, quiet empath
  • The four Cullens women of Twilight are the snarky Bella, pixie-like Alice, elegant Rosalie, and the motherly Esme.


Live-Action TV

  • Beverly Hills, 90210 — Donna, the sweet naive one, Brenda, the Deadpan Snarker, Kelly, the pretty one, and Andrea, the smart one.
  • Big Time Rush — More than a Five-Man Band (despite the fact that they are musicians) or a Four-Temperament Ensemble; naive Carlos, wise leader Kendall, sexy James and snarky/serious Logan.
  • Charmed — Although all four sister were never on the show at the same time (since Prue died before Paige was introduced), the sisters still fit this trope. Paige as The Ditz, Piper as the Deadpan Snarker, Phoebe as the sexy one, and Prue as the wise Cool Big Sis.
    • Before Paige, Phoebe played a combination of the sexy one and The Ditz. Once Prue passed away, Piper took on her role as the wise Cool Big Sis but still had her Deadpan Snarker traits in tact.
  • Designing Women: Charlene, Suzanne, Mary Jo, & Julia (owns the business they all work for)
  • Desperate Housewives: Susan, Lynette, Gabrielle, and Bree
  • Firefly's female characters: always-upbeat Kaylee as the sweet one, Ax Crazy River as the mannish one, jaded war veteran Zoe as wise one, and Inara as the sexy one who has a literal role as a High Class Call Girl.
    • Firefly is an odd one because River and Zoe switch off. Zoe is definitely a mannish Deadpan Snarker, and River's obfuscating craziness masks a lot of wisdom and intelligence.
    • They all seem to fulfill multiple roles in the Four-Girl Ensemble, perhaps because they're so multi-faceted.
  • Girls on Top (Channel 4's Distaff Counterpart to The Young Ones): Jennifer is The Ditz (bordering on Cloudcuckoolander), Amanda is a Straw Feminist, Candice Really Gets Around, and Shelley is the Wild Card who takes charge ... not in a Team Mom way, but in a "I'm the only one who can remotely afford the rent here, so do as I say or else I'll leave" way.
  • Golden Girls: Rose is the ditz, Blanche is the slut, Dorothy is the snarker, & Sophia (Dorothy's mother) the Team Mom.
    • Despite age, Sophia is kind of more the snarker and Dorothy is more the level headed "mother" type.
  • Gossip Girl has Serena (the sexy, freespirited one), Blair (acts as overseer if only to reenforce her image as Queen Bee), Vanessa (the bitter cynic) and Jenny (while not The Ditz in the strictest sense, she is incredibly naive and easily led at times)
  • Living Single: Synclaire, Regine, Max, & Khadijah (owns the apartment).
  • British series Mistresses has this:
    • Trudi: A blend of Team Mom and the "sweet and naive" type. A 9/11 widow with two children; has a tendency to get caught in awkward situations. The most motherly.
    • Katie: A doctor. The "mannish" one; also a Deadpan Snarker.
    • Jessica: The glamour girl who Really Gets Around.
    • Siobhan: Doesn't fit into any of the categories in the trope; is a high-powered careerwoman (she's a lawyer).
  • 90210 (2008): Annie is the sweet naive girl, Silver is the Deadpan Snarker, Adrianna is the one obsessed with glamour and fame, and Naomi serves as the mother figure for the group.
  • Pan Am: Laura is the sweet, naive one, Maggie is self-righteous and free-spirited, Colette is sexy and romantic and Kate is the independent, Team Mom type (and Cool Big Sis to Laura).
  • Privileged: Megan (fulfilling the Team Mom role for both the twins and her own sister), Lily (the sexy one, more towards the Really Gets Around end of the scale), Rose (the well-meaning but not too bright Ditz) and Sage (the cynic and Deadpan Snarker)
  • Related — the Short-lived (due to being lost in the merger) WB series: eldest sister Ginny is the wise one, second-born Ann is the career-focused (least feminine) one, third sister Margie is the flirty one, and Rose is the youngest and most naive.
  • Riverdale:
    • "Sweet" (when she's not blackmailing someone with eg. putting the video of the murder of their brother online) Betty
    • Smart Josie
    • Sexy Cheryl
    • Snarky Veronica
      • After the exit of Josie from the series, Toni Topaz is gradually taken over her ensemble spot.
  • S Club 7 — The girls were portrayed this way on their tv show: Hannah was The Ditz, Jo was the snarky one, Rachel was the glamorous one obsessed with her looks, and Tina was the wise one.
  • Sex and the City: Charlotte (Idealistic, slightly naive, The "Park Avenue Pollyanna"), Samantha (slutty, cynical), Miranda (Deadpan-snarky, career-focused, less glamourous than her friends), & Carrie (romantic and the Narrator who sees everyone's foibles)
  • Skins has this with each of their female casts:
    • Though they fit The Three Faces of Eve better, the three main girls of the first generation of Skins fit this, too: Michelle is the sexy one, Cassie is The Ditz (technically a Ditzy Genius), and Jal combines the Deadpan Snarker and the Team Mom.
    • In the second generation: Effy and Katie split the "sexy" one; Pandora is the sweet, naive one; Naomi is the Deadpan Snarker; and Emily is the wise, nurturing one.
    • The girls of the third generation too: Mini is the sexy one due to her obsession with being pretty; Grace is the sweet and naive one who believes in stories and fairytales; Liv is the closest to the Deadpan Snarker; and Franky is the wise one.
      • Alternately, Mini is the pretty, naive one; Liv is the "sexy one" since she Really Gets Around; Grace is the nurturing Team Mom; and Franky is the mannish one.
    • In the American version, Michelle is the pretty one, Cadie is The Ditz, Tea is the snarky one, and Daisy is the Team Mom.
  • Smallville — In season seven, with the arrival of Supergirl and Clark's love interest being not dead we have, naive Lana, snarky Lois, sexy Kara and wise Chloe.
  • Victorious: Tori is the main character, the jack-of-all-trades in terms of talent and the most "normal" of the group. Tori's sister Trina is obsessed with fashion and quite ditzy and girly, Cat is childlike and naive, and Jade is the snarky bad girl of the group.
  • Women's Murder Club


Music

  • SCANDAL has Haruka, Tomomi, Mami, and Rina.
  • Nina Simone's Four Women more or less describe a more mature and tragic Four Girl Ensemble. First there is Aunt Sarah who is resilient and, perhaps, motherly, then there is Saffronia who may or may not be the naive girl (all we know is that she's bi racial), next there's "Sweet Thing" whose "hips invite you" and to conclude there is Peaches whose "manner is tough".
  • Girl Group Little Mix: Jade is the sweet naive one, Jesy is the Deadpan Snarker, Leigh-Anne is the glamorous one, and Perrie is the Wild Card leader, vocally.


Newspaper Comics

  • My Cage: Norm admits everything how knows about women is what he's seen on TV, as depicted in this strip.


Video Games

  • The nurses in the sega brain trainer Brain Assist seem to have this dynamic.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 has Yuna (shy and sweet), Rikku (sexy/cute), and Paine (the tough girl), with former party member Lulu (out of the action due to her pregnancy) serving as the voice of wisdom.
  • A slight stretch, but Valkyria Chronicles fits as well, with Isara as the sweet one, Alicia as the sexy one (she's the romantic interest in the story), Rosie as the tomboy, (though an argument can be made for the reverse), and Ellet as the wise one (she's recording the exploits of Squad Seven).
  • A sidequest in Tales of Symphonia involves a mother asking the party to find her four daughters within the city. The daughters are an obvious Shout-Out to the girls either from Little Women or perhaps Bakuretsu Tenshi - right down to their names and personalities (Jo will be impressed that you could tell she was a girl, regardless of if you really could).
    • The female party members arguably fit this trope as well; Raine is the wise motherly one, Colette is the sweet one, Sheena is the sexy one and Presea (despite having hints of Token Mini-Moe) is the tough one.
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2 (assuming you mod it to get the Handmaiden with a female player) has Visas (naiive), Mira (cynical/sexy), the Handmaiden (mannish), and the player (leader).
  • Riviera the Promised Land and its four Sprite heroines: Fia as Team Mom, Lina as the cute Genki Girl, Cierra as the ditzy but sexy older sister, and Serene as the Tomboy.
  • Normally, the three female party members in Dragon Age: Origins comprise The Hecate Sisters ensemble, but with the DLC-only character Shale they become this: Leliana (sweet, naive), Shale (mannish snarker), Morrigan (sexy, cynical), and Wynne (wise, motherly).
  • Dragon Age 2, assuming female Hawke: Merrill is the naive one, Aveline is mannish in the extreme, Isabela is over-the-top in her sexuality, and Hawke is the Only Sane Man.
  • Female members of your squad in Mass Effect 2 include Tali (Not really naive, but quite sweet), Jack (very mannish), Miranda (sexy, cynical), and Samara (wise, motherly). The addition of Liara as a Guest Star Party Member and Kasumi in DLC mods throws off the dynamic a bit.


Web Animation

  • Homestar Runner's Teen Girl Squad has Cheerleader as the slutty one, So And So as the nerdy naive one, What's Her Face as the wise one (relatively speaking), and The Ugly One as the tomboy.
    • What's Her Face is more of a tomboy than The Ugly One, but then... The Ugly One doesn't really fit any of the categories anyway.
  • Liv world features a Brainy Blonde, a clumsy tomboy, a fashion-savy black girl, and a drama queen (is she hispanic, or asian?).


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • Josie and the Pussy Cats has this when including Alexandra. Melody is a Dumb Blonde, Alexandra is rich and glamorous, and Josie and Valerie kind of trade off the smart and tomboyish roles Depending on the Writer.
  • Sky Dancers brought us Camille (the creative black girl), Jade (the asian ballerina), Angelica (the tomboy teenie-bopper) and Skyla (the wise platenum-blonde leader of the team).
  • Recess gives us the Ashleys. Blonde leader Ashley A., African-American and snarky Ashley B., athletic Fiery Redhead Ashley Q., and Hispanic and quiet Ashley T.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy both in the role of the sweet, naive one, Applejack and Rainbow Dash both in the role of the tomboy, Rarity in the role of the glamour girl, and Twilight Sparkle in the role of the smart one/big sister.
  • Winx Club gives us Musa, Stella, Flora and Tecna working without Bloom temporarily in season 1, giving us a temporary four-girl ensemble. Stella qualifies as the sexy one and The Ditz, Flora is the Team Mom, Musa is the tomboyish one and Tecna is the smart one.
  • Cops has this with the four girls in the series. Nightshade is the sexy one, Mirage is the motherly one, Ms. Demeanor is the brawny one and Mainframe is the smart one!
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