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The girl next door is used to indicate what is seen as general and 'wholesome' femininity. She is neither masculine nor overtly feminine, not promiscuous, but might be a foil to one who is, like the down town girl in Town Girls. Typically pretty in a generalised way, although since it's essentially about her personality, there are several girls of this trope that are considered beautiful in the narrative.
She's the kind of girl the male main character might have known and been friends with all his life. She's easy to talk to, like a Tomboy, but she doesn't force her presence on anybody – or she keeps to herself, like a Naive Everygirl, while not rejecting social interaction. Naturally, the girl next door is every bad boy's fantasy because he is drawn to her "good girl" image, since she has the 'goodness' of the light feminine in Light Feminine and Dark Feminine. Not only is she good, she doesn't act like she's all that.
Often when the Girl Next Door is involved you have one of three types of plots: she is the Unlucky Childhood Friend to the male lead (usually a jock); she has a male Unlucky Childhood Friend that is chasing after her; or she is the Betty in a Betty and Veronica Love Triangle. Occasionally, all three combine in a huge mess. This was used more or less in several movies by John Hughes.
The Spear Counterpart, Boy Next Door, is pretty much the same, only, you know, male. Compare with Tomboy and Contrast with Femme Fatale. Also compare with The All-American Boy, who might of course be her High School Sweetheart.
Anime and Manga
- The sisters Wakaba and Aoba in Cross Game
- In Naruto, Tsunade describes Naruto's mother with several "Girl Next Door" traits.
- Winry Rockbell in Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Haru Nishimura from Xam'd: Lost Memories.
- Aoi Sakuraba in Ai Yori Aoshi.
- Naruko "Anaru" Anjou from Ano Hana is a beautifully well-rounded character of this type.
- Shirley Fenette of Code Geass.
- Orihime Inoue in Bleach is classic example of the trope.
- Though also a bit subverted here since her appearance looks more like Femme Fatale despite her sweet ingenue personality. Ichigo and the other male characters certainly take notice of this and it's source of a lot of humor in many scenes, for example when she is in bikini at the beach.
- Archie Comics: Betty Cooper.
- Spider-Man: Played with, with regards to Gwen Stacy. As portrayed in the comics, Gwen was more of an exotic flower whom Peter only met after he left Forest Hill and "went out into the world", i. e. Manhattan and college. She came from an upper-class background, her first boyfriend, Harry, was the son of a millionaire and in her first appearance she was introduced as a high-school beauty queen. However, as she became the Betty to Mary Jane's Veronica, she moved into this.
- Sin City: Shellie is sassy, but meek enough to qualify.
- Another Cinderella Story — Selena Gomez's character, Mary Santiago.
- Bran Nue Dae — Rosie.
- The Devil Wears Prada — Andy was meant to be the kind of girl you could run into on the subway.
- Flipped — Julie is such a friendly neighbor that she regularly gives Bryce her chicken's eggs for his family.
- The Girl Next Door — The film clearly subverts this trope, as said girl is a porn actress played by Elisha Cuthbert.
- He's Just Not That Into You has three: Gigi Phillips, Beth Murphy, who wants a good man and a husband and Mary, a romantic who has been hiding behind technology.
- Ice Princess — Casey Carlyle is a Cool Loser and physics geek.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street — Nancy Thompson lives across the street from her boyfriend.
- Not Another Teen Movie — This was played with like many other tropes.
- The Science of Sleep — Stéphanie is the girl across the hall. Zoé lives there as well but she isn't one of these.
- Secret Admirer — Lori Laughlin plays one.
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants — Shy and beautiful Lena, and writer Carmen.
- Sky High — Layla is Will's Granola Girl best friend.
- Spider-Man — Mary Jane Watson from the movies is an example, arguably due to her being a Composite Character with Liz Allan, who in the comics attended Midtown High together with Peter Parker and Flash Thompson.
- Teen Wolf — Boof
- A Walk to Remember — Jamie Sullivan is a believer in God who doesn't care what anyone else thinks.
- Whatever It Takes — Maggie (Marla Sokoloff).
- Animorphs: For Cassie, high fashion is socks that actually match for once. She's also gentle in being the team's moral center and doing what she must but hating the need to fight.
- The Baby Sitters Club: Kristy and Mary Anne.
- Harry Potter: Harry's best friend's little sister, Ginny Weasley, his helpful intellectual friend, Hermione Granger, and his loyal, optimistic companion, Luna Lovegood.
- Michelle & Debra: Jack Weyland's 1990 book tells the story of teenage best friends where Michelle chooses to be the good, obedient, religious girl while Debra strays.
- Pride and Prejudice: Sweet, shy, and sensible Jane Bennet is this to neighbor Charles Bingley.
- 1632: Julie Sims is a Girl Next Door with a rifle. Because, you know, all small town Americans are really Badass.
- Sunshine has the titular character the vampire-slaying, magic-wielding version.
- Tom Sawyer: Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher is classic and makes this Older Than Radio.
- Twilight: Bella's hometown acquaintance, Jacob.
- Urn Burial: Ruby, Ralph's girlfriend, is literally the Girl Next Door; she's lived in the house next door to him since they were born, and whilst not drop dead gorgeous is plenty attractive enough for being familiar and not having any pretensions.
- Vanishing Acts: In Jodi Picoult's story, Delia is this to Eric, the Victorious Childhood Friend, and Fitz, the Unlucky Childhood Friend. by the end of the book the tables have turned and Eric is the unlucky one.
- Ace Lightning: Samantha Thompson before she got Put on a Bus.
- Arrow: Laurel Lance.
- Beverly Hills, 90210: Andrea
- Boy Meets World: Topanga
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow is straight up this, while Buffy's toughness mixed with her femininity make her character average out.
- Dawson's Creek: Joey Potter
- Degrassi the Next Generation: There's Liberty, Emma who foils provocative Manny, and Terri who foils queen bee Paige and top dog Ashley.
- The Flash: Iris West.
- Gilligan's Island: Mary Ann
- Gilmore Girls: Rory Gilmore is straight up while her mother Lorelai knows how to put an outfit together, host a fun party and is a role model to Rory making her a double subversion. Rory's first boyfriend Dean was the male version until he Took a Level In Jerkass.
- How I Met Your Mother: Maggie is explicitly described as this.
- iCarly: The titular character, Carly Shay. Cute and feminine but not overtly sexual, Freddie's known her for a long time, and they have the Unlucky Childhood Friend and Just Friends thing going on. Carly is popular at school and with her webshow without being the Alpha Bitch, and will rebel against authority if she perceives unfairness in the treatment of her friends. Carly does have enough aspects of the Genki Girl to qualify her for that as well, but there Aint No Rule that says she can't be The Genki Girl Next Door. See The Chick and Tomboy and Girly Girl.
- Kyle XY: Amanda takes the Betty position with Kyle, who also has the wholesome traits to apply.
- Also Andy and Josh have a very easy time becoming boyfriend and girlfriend because they're each like a typical teenage boy.
- My Babysitter's a Vampire: Sarah. It is the theme song after all.
- One Tree Hill: Haley James.
- Riverdale: The ostensible Trope Namer, Betty Cooper. Also Midge Klump.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Sabrina and each of her friends
- 7th Heaven: Mary starts going out with a neighbor guy who she used to play basketball with. After she breaks up with him he says that playing a game together will help him feel more like they're friends again.
- Smallville: Unlucky Childhood Friend Chloe Sullivan, and Lana Lang, who has an Unlucky Childhood Friend in Clark.
- Supergirl: Kara has those traits, albeit she's hiding her true superhero identity.
- Terra Nova: Maddie.
- That 70s Show: Donna Pinciotti is an excellent example of the Tomboy version of the trope.
- The Wonder Years: Winnie Cooper is a good tv example.
- Saving Jane's "Girl Next Door".
- In Taylor Swift's "Tear Drops On My Guitar", she's the Unlucky Childhood Friend.
- In Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me", she's the nice casual friend as opposed to his demanding girlfriend. (Or that's how she sees her, since girly girls are evil!)
- Patrice in 13. Subverted in that Evan has not known her his whole life, rather he has just moved there and she is the first friend he makes.
- Luna from Lunar: The Silver Star.
- To some extent, Alyx from Half Life as well. Only debatable thing is that when she was living in Black Mesa, she was only a baby. But then came the Combine occupation and she became a rather hot tomboy by the time Gordon returned two decades later. Since then, they've been together for most of the time.
- If by "to an extent" you mean "purposefully designed by Valve to fit this trope in every way". Alyx is essentially designed to provide the player with the "girl next door" kind of experience, and it works; she's an EXCELLENT companion.
- Eileen Galvin in Silent Hill 4 is one.
- Tifa from Final Fantasy VII.
- Refia from Final Fantasy III. Pretty, but not sexy? Check. Features that make her plain? Check. Endearing adorable somehow? Double Check.
- In Kingdom Hearts, there's Kairi.
- Link gets a few of these in the Zelda series. In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time there's Malon; in The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening there's Marin; in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess there's Ilia. However, Ilia is the only one who is Link's lifelong friend — he meets the others in the course of their respective games. And despite being the princess, Zelda herself comes across like this in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past and The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap, particularly the latter as it's explicitly stated she and Link have been friends since they were very small. The same also applies to The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword's Zelda, who, apart from being Link's closest childhood friend, happens not to be a princess this time around.
- Fire Emblem gets a few, though they can be HEAVILY disputed. Counting by appearance, there's Caeda/Sheeda, Lilina, and Tana.
- The titular character of the Sluggy Freelance arc "A Carnivorous Smurf for Kimmy Sue Hasenpfeffer" was one of these. Kimmy Sue, not the Smurf.
- Jean Poule of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob
- The protagonist of Take A Lemon is rather upset when a college physics experiment turns her into a classic Girl Next Door overnight. Especially since He used to be a bit of rock guitar playing lech.
- In The Fairly Odd Parents, Tootie is a geeky girl who lives near Timmy and quite obviously loves him. Although Timmy at first doesn't return her affections, he sympathizes with her since they both have to deal with Tootie's meaner older sister and Timmy's babysitter, Vicky. According to the Live Action movie Many years later, Tootie returns to town a transformed woman, and Timmy falls in love with her.
- In American Dragon Jake Long, Rose, at start of the series, has a lot of this trait.
- Joan to Abe in Clone High.
- Roxanne to Max in A Goofy Movie.
- In a male example, Jeremy to Candace in Phineas and Ferb. There's also Isabella for Phineas, who hasn't noticed her feelings yet.
- Like Buffy, Kim Possible is a double subversion because she's insecure about boys, dating, and the social order, and has very few close friends; however, she's admired by her peers, involved in every school activity, and is an international kung-fu-fighting pro-bono action heroine.
- In another male example, Gil Nexdor to Susan and Mary Test in Johnny Test.