We are recruiting a loyal sidekick to assist the protagonist. This is a full-time role with excellent spinoff opportunities, perfect for a quippy orphan or an overlooked best friend looking for a more serious role.
The Sidekick will be expected to do the following:
Laugh at the protagonist’s jokes
Agree to the protagonist’s plan, even if it is demonstrably bad
Drop everything to focus on the protagonist
Bumble into things as appropriate to the plot
Hype up the protagonist at every opportunity
Occasionally get captured for drama
The successful Sidekick will:
Invite the protagonist to plot-critical parties
Be shorter than the protagonist or wear large glasses
Never be braver, smarter or generally better than the protagonist
Join in on the fighting but be bad at it
Wield a comedic weapon, e.g. a frying pan
Maintain high levels of quirkiness
Please note that there is a possibility that the Sidekick may be killed off to underscore the badness of the villain. Should this occur, a full funeral care package will be provided, and the plot will be retconned to make the Sidekick thirty percent less annoying.
The successful candidate will be provided with a suitably quirky wardrobe fitting the aesthetic of their choice, as long as that aesthetic is not too cool. A comfortable starting salary will also be provided, which can be renegotiated after a period of six months should the audience find you charming and funny as opposed to really, really irritating. Please note this role also offers the opportunity to advance to Main Character status long-term, but you will of course be expected to wait for the protagonist to tie up their stuff first.
How to apply: please hang around the offices in your quirkiest outfit and locate a protagonist to attach yourself to. Candidates who can identify someone the plot is clearly going to happen to will be favourably noted, as will those who manage to stage a comedic “bumping into” their future best friend. Should you decide to help with someone else’s application instead of working on your own, you will automatically proceed to interview stage, as you have clearly demonstrated the ability to put yourself last, which is crucial for this role.
We are recruiting a loyal and dependable Henchman to support our villain. This is an entry-level role perfect for those looking to start a career in evil. Due to the high staff turnover in this role, both full- and part-time hours can be provided.
The Henchman will be expected to do the following:
Line up to fight the hero one at a time
Guard things, but not particularly well
Fall for any and all incredibly transparent distractions
Clean up after dramatic fight scenes
Follow the villain’s instructions
The successful henchman will:
Go “hur hur hur” instead of just laughing
Take things excessively literally
Crack their knuckles menacingly
Fall asleep on guard duty at plot-critical moments
Fold their arms in a threatening manner
Chime in with “that’s right, boss” at appropriate points
Note: any candidates with excessive levels of personality will not be considered for this position, but will be encouraged to apply for an alternative evil role.
The successful candidate will be provided with a uniform to match the villain’s aesthetic, comprehensive medical care, and an excellent life insurance package. Should you survive in the role for more than six months, you will automatically be enrolled in our Villain-in-Training programme, as you have clearly demonstrated a level of competence which is not appropriate for this role. Should you not survive in the role for more than six months, a full funeral care package will be provided, and your family will be compensated.
How to apply: please lurk around outside the agency’s offices looking sinister and corner a member of the HR department, telling them that “the boss has a message for you”. Please note that candidates who do not deliver their own application, but instead deliver someone else’s, will be favourably noted.
We are recruiting a naïve and innocent Damsel in Distress to be rescued by our protagonist. This is a full-time role with an excellent set of benefits, perfect for a childhood friend or token minor royal seeking more opportunities for pining.
The Damsel will be expected to do the following:
Pine for their One True Love
Be kidnapped at least once a fortnight
Sigh wistfully while staring from the highest window in the tallest tower
Tend to the hero’s wounds (note: no actual medical training is necessary, you will just need to mop their brow with a damp cloth and fret prettily)
Be extremely hot
The successful damsel will:
Have absolutely no practical skills whatsoever
Be kind to small children, old ladies, and all the animals of the forest
Always look absolutely immaculate even after being kept in a tower for seven years with no laundry, like seriously how do you DO that
Never, ever join in on the fighting
Be rendered completely helpless when grabbed by the upper arm by a suitably dastardly villain
Go from 0 to “and then they lived happily ever after” within ten seconds of meeting the hero
Note: Any candidates inclined to offer their hands in marriage to the villain in exchange for the hero’s safety should mark this on their applications, which will be reviewed by our Shipping Department.
The successful candidate will be provided with an unnecessarily large wardrobe, a protagonist to marry and/or sacrifice themselves for, and a prison to languish in (but, like, a nice prison. It’ll be a suite of rooms at the palace, don’t worry.) In accordance with the classic tropes, this role comes with a salary that is the equivalent to half your father’s kingdom. Please also note that swooning support staff will be provided, guaranteed to catch you before you hit the floor.
Please note we accept applicants of all genders for this role, as long as they meet our twin standards of uselessness and attractiveness.
How to apply: please send your application via a trusted servant, who will plead for the HR department to rescue you from your plight. Candidates who do not contact the HR department about their application, but instead sit at their windows and sigh about it, will be favourably noted. Please do not contact the HR department about your application personally, as that would display a level of competence which is not appropriate to this role.
We are recruiting a dedicated and diabolical Nemesis to oppose our protagonist. This is a full-time job with excellent advancement opportunities, perfect for an overlooked henchman or neglected childhood friend seeking their next role.
The Nemesis will be expected to do the following:
Foil the protagonist’s plans to the best of their ability
Maintain a personal interest in the life of the protagonist (romantic interest is not necessary, but not discouraged)
Engage in rooftop battles
Kidnap and/or menace the protagonist’s friends and allies
Step dramatically out of the shadows at critical moments
The successful nemesis will:
Look good in black
Be an excellent duellist (note: we accept all weapons, including rapiers, pistols at dawn, and a mind honed to a razor’s edge by years of careful planning)
Maintain a steady stream of witty banter
Have an unflinching dedication to taking down the hero, even if it’s in their best interests to focus on something else for a little bit
Have high levels of panache
Commit to a suitable aesthetic of their choice
A tendency towards puns (e.g. tying the hero’s girlfriend to a chair and answering her mobile with “Jane can’t come to the phone, she’s a little tied up right now”) is desirable, but not necessary.
The successful candidate will be provided with a lair, a full nemesis wardrobe and a weapon that best fits their aesthetic of choice. In addition to a sufficiently evil salary, this role also comes with an attractive set of benefits, including any trophies that you can take from the hero, the knowledge that they shall never be free of you again, and the certainty that you are forty percent of the audience’s favourite character.
Advancement opportunities, whether for those seeking to command their own set of henchmen or those looking for an enemies-to-lovers romance, can also be provided to the right candidate. For more information please contact our HR department.
How to apply: please send your completed application to the HR department in the most sinister way possible. Note that our offices are locked at midnight, but this should not present a problem to the determined applicant. Should you decide to pin your application to the HR Manager’s desk with a dagger, please note that this will not be returned to you, but any knives vanishing mysteriously in the night will be noted favourably on your application. (Please ensure that your dagger is labelled to prevent confusion.)
So most of you already know about my Strong Female Characters series. That’s over and done with now, and it was a lot of fun, but the series had its drawbacks. The ten-question formula was helpful but didn’t cover everything, and often encouraged me to be a bit on the harsh side. I often wound up being quite harsh about characters I really like in the interest of putting out some sensible criticism.
Well, no more of that! These are the ten female characters I just really like. There’s no real criticism going on here, I just think they’re great.
Miss Phryne Fisher
A.k.a. the female James Bond, Phryne Fisher is the lead character in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, an Australian series about a lady detective in the 1920s. It’s a long-running series of books which was made into a TV series a few years ago and she is just great. There is nothing she can’t do – whether that’s burlesque, directing a movie or being a racecar driver for a little bit. In all honesty she’s probably a Mary Sue but I like her so much I just don’t care. It’s really refreshing to see a female character who can turn her hand to anything in the same vein as male super-spies – with the added bonus that she is so clearly having a great time doing it.
I’ll try and be brief as she’s had a proper blog post. Even though she didn’t pass my test I still love Marion. She certainly has her flaws but that’s never stopped me from liking her as a character. She’s crass and full of life, and when things don’t work out for her she keeps trying anyway. Full credit to Karen Allen for her performance – she provides a lot of Marion’s charm and it wouldn’t be the same without her.
Surely this one shouldn’t come as surprise. Blog post is here for more detail but the crux of the matter is this: I love seeing a crabby old woman save the day on a regular basis. Granny is sharp, spiky and judgemental, but, y’know, in a really good way. She’s the best and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
The Other Mother
I never did a post on the Other Mother – I dressed up as her instead. For the uninitiated: she is the villain in Coraline, where she spends most of the novel trying to persuade a little girl to sew buttons over her eyes. I would’ve liked to have done a blog post on her but I quickly realised it just wasn’t possible – we just don’t know anything about her, apart from the fact that she’s an eldritch abomination. But for me the mystery is part of her charm. What is she? Where did she come from? I want Neil Gaiman to tell me, but not in a way that’s too scary or I’ll get nightmares.
Hands down my favourite Avatar character. I did a blog post on her – do look if you’re interested, as I’ll be keeping this one brief. Toph is loud, rude, boisterous and over-confident and it’s just great. She’s one of the most powerful characters in the series and she knows it, and she’s also consistently hilarious into the bargain.
The best Sailor Scout, hands down. In some ways she’s very traditional: she’s a great cook, cleans and organises her home herself, and wants to get married and open a cake and flower shop when she’s older. But she’s also a badass warrior with electricity powers, a great martial artist and one of the most physically strong characters on the show. She’s a really interesting combination of masculine and feminine traits, which is what I really like about Sailor Moon – being girly doesn’t mean you can’t be strong.
April is one of my favourite characters on Parks and Recreation because she’s just so weird. She’s almost like the missing member of the Addams family – quirky, morbid and immature, which makes her moments of sincerity something really special. I really love how playful she can be while at the same time being really odd. Also, Janet Snakehole and Burt Macklin is the best couple’s costume ever, hands down.
I’ve done a blog post on our Bridget so I’ll try and keep it brief. Long story short I really identify with her particular brand of cringing embarrassment, especially when flirting. She’s the kind of everywoman I can really get behind, which is to say one that’s based on common experiences rather than common traits. As a young woman working in publishing, I relate to her on a molecular level.
Baby Jane Hudson
The creepier female lead in the 1960s classic, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? ‘Baby’ Jane Hudson is a former child star caring for her wheelchair-bound sister, who went on to become a much bigger movie star before getting in a car accident. There’s all sorts of interesting stuff going on in the movie about sisterhood, Hollywood and femininity but the crux of it all comes down to Jane. Her decision to try and restart her career – reviving her old Shirley-Temple-style act when she’s in her fifties or sixties – is a fascinating look at what the pressures of fame can do to someone, and what happens when women get boxed into a particular kind of femininity that they can’t shake off.
The best politician in America. Again, I did a blog post so I’ll be brief, but I just think Leslie is great. She’s enthusiastic, competitive, wholesome in a way that I don’t find irritating – I just love her.
I was originally going to keep this list to ten characters but then I went to see Black Panther. AND IT WAS GREAT. Shuri, Wakanda’s irreverent tech genius, is my favourite character, hands down, but all the female characters in the film are interesting, well-developed and compelling. But Shuri’s the best one. Obviously.
And there you have it! A short list of my favourite female characters – and frankly, it was really difficult to keep it short. There’s just so many to choose from!