The 10 Best Administrative Assistants in TV History

It's administrative assistants week, and to express our appreciation for all the admins who use eVenues to book meeting space we decided to take a look at administrative professionals from television history who kept everything running smoothly.

Although all of these admins are likeable in their own way, we thought it would be cool to rate each of them on their ability to do their job. We invited Bonnie Low-Kramen, former assistant to Academy award winning actress Olympia Dukakis to rate the administrative assistants based on these five criteria:

1. Ability to Put Out Fires

2. Handle of Office Politics

3. Level of Organization

4. Ability to Anticipate Needs

5. Ability to Multitask

Without further ado, here are the admins:

#10 - April Ludgate

April Ludgate from NBC's Parks and Recreation

April Ludgate is probably one of the last people you'd pick for a personal assistant. You however, are not Ron Swanson, the director of Pawnee's Parks and Recreation Department. Since Ron doesn't actually want to see anyone in his office, she's the perfect pick. She's surly, sarcastic and apathetic and no matter what business you have with Ron you can pretty much count on the fact that she won't let you see him, as evidenced by this clip (45 seconds in):

#9 - Betty Suarez

Betty Suarez from ABC's Ugly Betty

Betty is the personal assistant to womanizing and often irresponsible Daniel Meade, the Editor-in-Chief of the fashion magazine "Mode". We like Betty, she's diligent, conscientious and hard-working. If you were to pick an administrative assistant, you could certainly do worse. While Betty gets points for character, it always seems like she's rushing around putting out fires rather than preventing them before they happen. Although some might call her naïve, victim to the machinations of her rival assitant Marc and Mode's receptionist Amanda Tannen, her strong moral compass has managed keep her above the petty squabbles and schemes in her office.

Betty, like any great assistant, essentially runs her boss' life, as shown in this clip below:

 #8 - Waylon Smithers

Waylon Smithers from Fox's The Simpsons

Smithers is the personal assistant to Montgomery Burns a man who, According to Forbes Magazine, is the one of the richest men in the country, with a net worth of over $1.3 Billion.  Anyone who has watched the Simpsons knows that Smithers is nothing if not devoted to Mr. Burns, mainly due to the fact that he harbors a secret crush for his employer. He is an excellent personal assistant, highly organized and hard-working. His feelings for Mr. Burns, however, may have a tendency to get in the way of him doing is job.

Here's a few clips of Mr. Smithers:

#7 Pam Beesly Halpert

Pam Beesly Hapert from NBC's The Office

For the first four seasons of The Office, Pam was receptionist for the paper company Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch. This wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the fact that she often had to act as the Branch Manager Michael Scott's personal assistant. For this, and this alone, she deserves a medal. Pam started off as passive early in the show, but she grows to be more assertive and manipulative, especially when she tricks a fellow employee into promoting her into the salaried position of "Office Manager."

In this clip below, Pam shows off a bit of her assertiveness:

#6 - Jennifer Marlowe

Jennifer Marlowe from the CBS show WKRP in Cincinnati

Jennifer the smart and attractive receptionist at the WKRP radio station in Cincinnati. She also acts as an ad-hoc personal assistant to the general manager, Arthur Carlson. Her ability to keep her cool even in the most trying of situations gives her high marks for her handle of office politics, but her refusal to do anything but answer the phone leaves her wanting in the "anticipating needs" department. 

Clip of Jennifer:

#5 - Kenneth Parcell

Kenneth Parcell from NBC's 30 Rock

Kenneth is an NBC page, who often runs errands for the staff of "The Girly Show with Tracy Jordan"

It's really hard not to like Kenneth. He's unceasingly cheerful and has the uncanny ability to accomplish any task set out for him, no matter how difficult or ridiculous it may be. The only thing that really keeps him from being an exceptional assistant is his naivete, which makes him easy to manipulate.

Here's a clip of Kenneth:

#4 - Joan Halloway

Joan Holloway from AMC's MadMen

Joan Holloway starts out in Mad Men as the Office Manager for Sterling-Cooper, the fictional ad agency in the show. Joan is sultry, sassy, and a little dangerous. She's not afraid of speaking her mind and putting people in their place. While she gets more overall points for her incredible ability to anticipate needs and to put out fires than Donna Moss or "Radar" O'Reilly, she takes the #4 spot because of her manipulative personality. Still, it might be worth hiring her considering the other skills she brings to the table.

Here's a clip of Joan giving Peggy, a new arrival to the office the 411:

#3 - Donna Moss

Donna from NBC's The West Wing

Donna Moss starts out on the show as Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman's assistant, and later progresses through the show to become the chief of staff to the first lady.

Here's a clip of when Donna and Josh first meet:

#2 - "Radar" O'Reilly

"Radar" O'Reilly from the CBS show M*A*SH

Radar starts off in the show as Colonel Blake's assistant, and then later becomes Colonel potters. If we could give 6 points to Radar for the ability to anticipate needs, we would. Not only does he have extremely perceptive hearing (he's able to hear helicopters come in before anyone else) but he can practically predict what his commanding officer is going to say before he says it, (as evidenced in the clip below):

#1 - Miss Jane Hathaway

Miss Jane Hathaway from the CBS Show The Beverly Hillbillies

Miss Jane Hathaway is the personal assistant to Mr. Drysdale, the money grubbing banker who constantly thinks up schemes to keep the Clampett family's newly found wealth in his bank. Our Judge Bonnie says of Jane that while "All the [admins in this list] have qualities that are important as an administrative professional...Jane has them all. She is experienced, smart, has a do-whatever-it-takes attitude, always looks professional, and speaks up to her manager, Mr. Drysdale, when necessary. She is not a manipulator and uses her brain to get ahead, even though she does have a little crush on Jethro.

Check out Miss Jane in action (jump to 14:10):

About our judge:

Bonnie Low-Kramen is a celebrity assistant, speaker, and author of "Be the Ultimate Assistant, A celebrity assistant's secrets to working with any high-powered employer." For 25 years, she worked as the Personal Assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis and now teaches workshops around the country. She is the co-founder of New York Celebrity Assistants (NYCA), a networking professional association.


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