Still, it’s easy to see the appeal of the lady-journo protagonist. She’s professional and witty enough to be compelling, but doesn’t seem as stuffy as a lawyer or doctor. Her line of work is semi-glamorous (literally, glossy!), but not too intimidating. More often than not, she’s a women’s-mag columnist or assistant who aspires to something more substantive as she fetches coffees for domineering older editors and writes listicles about how to please a man in bed or what to wear on a first date. She’s smart but neutered, ambitious but restrained — the perfect rom-combination.
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures; Courtesy of HBO; Courtesy of 20th Century Fox; Courtesy of CBS.
Starring: Rosalind Russell as a newspaper reporter .
Claim to fame: Set the standard for fast-talking dames — both journalists and non.
Career lesson: You’re smarter than he is. Really.
Starring: Rachel McAdams as a morning-show producer .
Claim to fame: A torrid romance with her job; a not-so-torrid romance with a dude.
Career lesson: Nothing feels better than hearing an old-dude boss say “I underestimated you.”
Starring: Christina Applegate as a news anchor.
Claim to fame: Busting up the ‘70s network boys’ club; surviving sex with Ron Burgundy.
Career lesson: When someone calls you “Tits McGee,” let your vengeance rain down upon them.
Never Been Kissed / He's Just Not That Into You / Going the Distance
Starring: Drew Barrymore as newspaper reporter.
Claim to fame: OH MY GOD, HOW MANY REPORTERS HAS DREW B. PLAYED?
Career lessons: Sometimes he is into you, and you’re undercover, but he thinks you’re in high school. Oops. You should out yourself as a reporter. Also, never sacrifice career for love.
Starring: Meg Ryan as newspaper reporter.
Claim to fame: Using early-‘90s reporting technology to stalk Tom Hanks.
Career lesson: It’s not stalking if you’re a journalist.
Starring: Candice Bergen as a television journalist.
Claim to fame: Shoulder pads and single motherhood.
Career lesson: You really can have it all. If you’re Candy Bergen.
Starring: Anne Hathaway as a fashion magazine editorial assistant .
Claim to fame: Proximity to Meryl Streep playing Miranda Priestly playing Anna Wintour playing God .
Career lesson: Even intimidating boss ladies are human beings.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Starring: Mary Tyler Moore as a TV producer.
Claim to fame: Making it after all.
Career lesson: Find the older guy in the office who doesn’t want to sleep with you, and make him an ally.
Starring: Carrie Bradshaw as a sex columnist .
Claim to fame: Rhetorical questions and bad decisions .
Career lesson: For a few shameless oversharers, personal drama can equal professional success.