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Every successful person at the office wears crisp expensive suits and projects an air of unwavering confidence. The plucky office girl doesn't. She is very talented and clever, has great ideas, and wonderful potential but nobody notices. She is often the butt of jokes, and the rest of the time is just invisible. So, she occupies a low ranking level at the company and seems to have no hope of a promotion despite her great potential. She is very sad and depressed, and often pretty complex but nobody is close enough to her to realize. Usually tasked with gopher (Go-For) jobs such as fetching coffee and notes, and so forth.
More cynical versions have the higher-ups profiting off her talent but never crediting it.
This will go one of two ways. First, she will get noticed by someone higher up on the food chain, get a makeover and learn to show confidence which gets her noticed (and thus become a Romance Genre Heroine). Or, second (and much more common these days), she'll forever remain the Plucky Comic Relief, with only the occasional Day in The Limelight episode concentrating on her and her problems, wants, and dreams.
They're almost always Hollywood Homely, too.
Overlaps with The Woobie if the Plucky Office Girl is the lead character. In black comedies, this often overlaps with the Chew Toy. Always Female, because the same behavior and treatment in a man comes across differently. In Anime, the Office Lady tends to be a Plucky Office Girl. Related to Badass Bureaucrat.
Anime & Manga
- Linna Yamazaki in Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040.
- The superheroine in Re Cutey Honey is this in her Secret Identity.
- Hataraki Man focuses on the slice-of-life adventures of a Plucky Office Girl who works as a magazine editor.
- Riho from Nightwalker.
- Erin the File Girl in What Women Want.
- The main character in Nine to Five.
- Jean in American Psycho.
- Andy in The Devil Wears Prada.
- Tess McGill, Melanie Griffith's character in Working Girl.
Live Action TV
- Mary Richards basically starts out as one of these. She's got spunk, though.
- While Mary is given the seemingly-prestigious title of associate producer of the Six O'Clock News in the very first episode, it's initially established that the job itself is no great shakes, and actually pays less than the secretarial position she'd planned to apply for. In fact, when she eagerly accepts the alternate job offer, Lou even offers to make her a full producer in exchange for an additional pay cut; she declines, sheepishly admitting that she can barely afford being an associate. She does come to take on more responsibility as the show progresses.
- Kristy in the Cupid episode, "Botched Makeover".
- Peggy in Mad Men, justified by it being the early Sixties.
- Although being gradually subverted as she pushes her way up the ladder.
- Ugly Betty
- Spaced: Daisy predicts she will end up something like this, but it doesn't happen.
- Kitty from Arrested Development is sort of an insane one of these who has enough knowledge to manipulate everyone, but is crazy and all she really wants is George Sr. (and to have a baby with him).
- Liz Lemon from 30 Rock definitely qualifies.
- Except for the part about the low-ranking position. Liz is, after all, the head writer of a TV show and her job is basically managing crazy people. But other than that, she fits this to a tee.
- Karen Billings, Pam Dawber's character in the New Twilight Zone episode "But Can She Type".
- Baily Quarters from WKRP in Cincinnati would count, but Jennifer Marlowe wouldn't.
- Greek: In stark contrast to her appearance in the previous chapter (where she was a Bait and Switch Tyrant to the CRU ZBZ house), Lizzi fulfills this trope to the rest of ZBZ Nationals at the convention.
- Pam on The Office. She begins the series as the epitome of this trope, a tired woman who has long ago given up her dream to be an artist and engaged to her high school boyfriend who doesn't appreciate her. She basically has to be a receptionist, take care of her boss Michael and put up with the craziest co-workers ever. However season 3 gave her major Character Development and a confidence boost. In season 5 she asserts herself and ends up going to art school and later gets promoted to a salesman. In season 7, when it becomes obvious that sales just aren't for her, she successfully uses a Batman Gambit to get herself promoted to Office Administrator, a job she (so far) seems to love. Oh, and she ends up Happily Married and Babies Ever After.
- When Lucy Coe first appeared on General Hospital, she was a plucky librarian girl. After a run-in with bad boy Kevin O'Connor, she ditched the mousy trappings and became one of the more celebrated bad girls in the show's history.
- Torchwood's Toshiko, to a certain extent, who often seems to be having a lot less fun than the rest of the team. Rather than going out into the field and doing thrilling things, she's the Voice with an Internet Connection. Rather than having lots of sex, she has a Cartwright Curse. And when she gets some Applied Phlebotinum that allows her to read minds, she's shocked and hurt to discover that she's everybody's Butt Monkey. Still, she's extremely clever. Sadly, she dies. Ianto is a bit of a Gender Flipped variant. He's secretly a dangerous volcano of angst, at least at first, but nobody cares enough to notice as long as he keeps bringing them coffee, and before he gets to know him, Jack appreciates him more for his dress sense than his talents and personality. Sadly, he dies too.
- Sachiko in the "Koi no Dance Site" level of the first Ouendan Game. Whether she has the first or second kind of ending is whether you win or lose the level.
- Gaia Online's Meredith is one. She mentions during Ian's trial that she graduated from college at the age of fifteen, proving that she has the intelligence and motivation to do greater things, but after all these years she's still just a half-forgotten bank teller. Much to the dismay of her multitude of fans.
- When the bank had a store setup and Meredith was effectively a Shop Keeper, she had a line indicating that carrying large amounts of gold around had given her Super Strength. This received a Call Back when...
- A Chance Item (pay-for-play random item generator) gives Meredith a Day in The Limelight in which she's revealed to moonlight as super-heroine Alpha Girl.