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You know this lady. She's portly (or maybe just Hollywood Pudgy), perpetually smiling (or she could be a Servile Snarker, it varies), and always ready to do what you need her to do -- she is always there should you need someone to take out the trash, do the laundry, or be a shoulder to cry on. She'll always have a nice breakfast for you ready in the morning, and will take your coat for you once you come back home. She's the Kindly Housekeeper.

Such ladies can be a Parental Substitute to the children -- if there any -- to substitute for the Disappeared Dad or the Missing Mom. She will also often play Team Mom to the other servants. Can be a Supreme Chef considering that it's all part of the job, or an Apron Matron.

Probably not an Old Retainer, since she usually does not have a high regard for doing things the Proper Way.

Contrast Creepy Housekeeper. Compare Mammy.

Examples of Kindly Housekeeper include:



  • Subverted in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series book Over Sea, Under Stone (1965). Mrs. Palk appears to be one of these, but turns out to be The Mole, an agent of the Dark who sabotages the protagonists.
  • Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler in The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
  • Calpurnia from To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Hannah Gruen in the Nancy Drew books.
  • Jack from Alex Rider. Although she's younger than most of the examples, she still serves as a Parental Substitute for Alex.
  • Ida Jungmann in Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks.
  • Peggotty from David Copperfield.
  • Mrs. Hudson in the Sherlock Holmes canon fits this trope. She was actually Holmes' landlady, and didn't really clean up after him too often, but she did prepare his meals and admit clients in to see him. She even assisted directly in one of his cases, for which he complimented her as being "indispensable."

Live Action TV

  • Mrs. Bridges is the Kindly Queen of Kitchen in Upstairs, Downstairs. She does have something of a temper, but is a caring mother to the servant folks.
  • Alice from The Brady Bunch is portrayed this way.
  • In the Doctor Who serial Ghost Light, the kindly housekeeper leaves at sunset, and once she and the day staff have left the Creepy Housekeeper appears. Guess when the TARDIS arrives.
  • Mrs. Garrett, Edna, and Pearl from Diff'rent Strokes.
  • Carla, the Drapers' black "girl" on Mad Men, who is widely criticized for being confined to this trope and Satellite Character status in a show that has plenty of time to examine the problems of comparatively much more privileged (read: white) people in The Sixties. The only time she broke out of the role at all was during the scene when she was being fired. It's worse with Betty's childhood nanny/maid Viola, who is downright Mammy-like.
  • Mrs Elsie Hughes of Downton Abbey.
  • As noted in the Literature section, Mrs. Hudson. The Granada television adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes canon puts her even more squarely into this trope than the novels themselves, as it illustrates the mother-son type of attachment she shares with her eccentric boarder. This is most clearly seen in the episode in which Holmes returns after being believed dead for three years - he hugs her.

Video Games

  • The player character's mother in Pokémon Black and White. Her reaction to the player character and Bianca trashing the bedroom having Pokemon battles indoors? A cheery "No problem, I'll clean it up. You kids run along now!"

Western Animation

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