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Cracking gum and cracking wise. Often with a very nasal voice, usually with a Joisey or Brooklyn accent.

Dates back to the 1930s at least, with Sam Spade's secretary and Joan Blondell in any number of movies, making this Older Than Television.

May also be a Sexy Secretary or a Plucky Office Girl. Due to the interpersonal nature of the role, they may be The Face of their group.

Examples of Sassy Secretary include:


Film

  • Moneypenny from the James Bond movies. She only fits the "cracking wise" personality though.
  • Janine Melnitz in every incarnation of the Ghostbusters series, including both movies.
  • Grosse Pointe Blank might be considered a subversion, as while John Cusack's character has such a secretary (played by his sister, Joan), he is an amoral assassin.
    • Moreover she herself is an effective operative, rattling off info from dossiers, dressing down people over the phone, and nonchalantly dousing the office in gasoline when it's time to move on.
  • Pamela Finklestein from UHF.
  • Skinner's secretary in Hot Fuzz.
  • Not a secretary, but Birdie from All About Eve acts as Margo's valet - and boy, is she a wisecracker...
  • Rockwell's mayor's secretary in The Iron Giant.

Literature

  • Classic literary example: Velda from Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels.
  • Cathy, John Taylor's secretary in the Nightside series of books.
  • Connie in the Stephanie Plum series of novels. She has Mob connections, an impressive collection of weapons in her desk (on at least one occasion, she threatens to use one on lecherous boss Vinnie), and a "take no crap" attitude that serves her very well dealing with her colleagues.
  • Effie Perine from the Sam Spade novels by Dashiell Hammett. Probably the Trope Maker.
  • Sir John's clerk Mrs Pound from Darkness Visible is sassy enough to deliberately wind up Lewis when she has information he needs to prevent the end of the world. Of course she's going to give it to him, but not until he realises how damned hard it was to get...

Live Action TV

  • Vicki Lewis ("Beth") on News Radio reportedly feuded with Kathy Griffin because of her similar redheaded character on Suddenly Susan. It is worth noting that Griffin's character, while a complete ripoff of Lewis's from the standpoint of personality, is not actually a secretary.
    • And Vicki Lewis is actually talented and funny.

 Beth: Mention that there's a spunky redhead in this office.

Joe: I don't know how to tell you this, but there's a spunky redhead in every office.

Beth: Tell me about it.

  • Flo the waitress from Alice, another non-secretary example.
  • Karen on Will and Grace.
  • Carol from The Bob Newhart Show.
  • Jennifer from WKRP in Cincinnati.
  • Sam (played by Mary Tyler Moore's legs and voice) in Richard Diamond, Private Detective.
  • Frannie Vecchio on Due South.
  • Christina Hendricks' character Joan on Mad Men.
    • Ditto (more or less) for the Sterling Cooper phone switchboard operators, Lois, Marge, Ivy, and Nannette. Kinda makes sense, particularly given that Marge and Nannette are both played by comedians: Marge by Stephanie Courtney, a member of The Groundlings best known as Flo of the Progressive Insurance commercials and Nannette by Kristen Schaal, who is, well, Kristen Schaal.
  • Patti from Eli Stone.
  • Amanda the receptionist from Ugly Betty.
  • Saeko Mizuki from Glass Mask.
  • Greg's secretary on Dharma and Greg. (Played by Yeardley Smith, natch.)
  • On The West Wing, Leo McGarry's secretary, Margaret, and Josh's assistant, Donna Moss, have elements of this.
  • Whenever Picard adopts the persona of Dixon Hill in the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he gets his own Sassy Secretary.
  • A rare male example: Dennis Finch (David Spade) on Just Shoot Me (though he denies being a secretary, at least at first).

 Finch: (answering phone) Blush magazine, underpaid phone monkey speaking.

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

 Manny Calavera: It's my boss's secretary, Eva.

Eva: It's my boss's whipping boy, Manny.

 Manuel Calavera:: Any messages for me?

Eva:: No, calls stopped coming for you the day you left. They're STILL sending you that lingerie catalog, though.

 Manuel Calavera:: Busy as ever, I see.

Eva:: I'd have more work to do if you had more clients.

Western Animation

Theatre

  • Miss Marmelstein (who hates being on a last name basis with everybody) from the musical I Can Get It For You Wholesale. (The role was created by Barbra Streisand in her first appearance on Broadway.)
  • Molly Grant from One Touch of Venus.
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