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In showbiz, you have the male performer and his lovely assistant.
A Lovely Assistant is just that, an attractive girl or 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, or doing minor performances 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.
Anime and Manga
- 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.
- In the original Pokémon series, Misty/Kasumi gets roped once into become this. The white outfit she wore is now featured as one of the pictures for Getting Crap Past the Radar... well, see the reason why.
- 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.
Game Shows (Fictional and Nonfictional):
- 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, Adriana was the longest-serving female co-host of a game show; now Vanna holds that record.
- In a variation, Jeopardy! has the Clue Crew, a team of assistants who present pre-recorded visuals on some clues.
- Some shows had male Vannas, such as Joe Alaskey on Couch Potatoes and Dan the Centurian on Caesars Challenge.
- 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.
- Barker's Beauties in The Price Is Right (after Drew Carey took Bob Barker's place, they started simply being referred to by name).
- 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.
- Subverted in Temptation: The New Sale Of The Century, where many of the models are male.
- 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.
- 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.
- Roxanne on the original CBS version of Beat the Clock.
- 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.
- The original Concentration had Paola Diva as its prize model, and Classic Concentration had Diana Taylor and Marjorie Goodson-Cutt.
- 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]
- 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.
- A rare male example: Richard Osman on Pointless.
- Win Tuition 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.
- Nynaeve gets this job at Valan Luca's circus in The Wheel of Time.
- 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).
- 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.
Live Action TV
- In Monty Python, The Amazing Mystico and Janet put up housing blocks by hypnosis. (Janet is the Lovely Assistant.)
- 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?"
- 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.
- Beakman's World had three lovely assistants (Josie, Liza and Phoebe, depending on season), and one not-so-lovely assistant (Lester).
- Tool Time, the Show Within a Show on Home Improvement, had Lisa and her replacement Heidi, the latter becoming an Ascended Extra.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gypsy Moth from A Bugs Life is this to her praying mantis husband, Manny.
- Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is this to Clopin.
- In the Yogi's Treasure Hunt episode "Goodbye, Mr. Chump", Penelope Pitstop was a lovely assistant to Hokey Wolf.
- In Dinosaucers Sarah is a willing assistant for her friends' magic show. Later on, Quackpot puts on his own show with the good guys captive, except for Sarah, who he Hypnotizes to be his assistant.