Wrench Wench

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Winry Rockbell laughs at your puny 5/8ths.


"I just said that you're pretty. Even when you're covered in... engine grease, you're... No, especially, especially when you're covered in engine grease."
Simon Tam to Kaylee, Firefly

Mechanical inclinations have, for various reasons, traditionally been forte of men. The Wrench Wench is a girl who sets out to change all that. This can sometimes extend to pure electronic devices, but a Wrench Wench is more likely to be found with a blowtorch and ratchet set. She will always be confident about her own work, but because she's technically an enormous Geek she sometimes has trouble with other things. She might also have Machine Empathy and can diagnose problems just by listening to the motor. She has been known to be Curious as a Monkey in the presence of new and interesting machines—or Constantly Curious, if inspection is impossible.

Usually too self confident to ever need a Beautiful All Along plot, but very likely to have at least one She Cleans Up Nicely moment even though she's often an Unkempt Beauty anyway.

Can be used as a contrast to show that she's not as feminine as she first appears. She's often a MsFixIt. Can also be The Blacksmith. When a Wrench Wench's talents go above and beyond the practical or realistic, she's also a Gadgeteer Genius. If it's computers and the Internet instead of mechanics, she's a Hackette.

The less objectifying version of Hood Ornament Hottie, where the woman may be dressed or posed as if she was the mechanic, but actually isn't.

Examples of Wrench Wench include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Betty Cooper, from Archie Comics, can be considered one in some comics.
  • Agent Boysenberry in Donald Duck comic books (the "Tamers of Nonhuman Threats" subseries featured in Gemstone's Donald Duck Adventures).
  • "Ma" Hunkel, the original Red Tornado from the Golden Age of The DCU, worked as a riveter during WWII. All that heavy labor probably helped with her right hook.
  • Maggie Chascarrillo, a.k.a. Maggie the Mechanic, from Jaime Hernandez's half of Love and Rockets.
  • P.J., who ran her own garage in Y: The Last Man.
  • Kat Pryde in Exiles, even more so than her X-Men counterpart.
  • Angie from PS238.
  • Sharri Barrnett from Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool is the computer-programming version of this trope.
  • Chassis was more of driver, but she certainly knew her way around the underside of a bonnet.
  • Courtney "Cover Girl" Krieger from G.I. Joe was a former high-fashion model who enlisted and became a missile-tank driver. Who does the upkeep and repair work on her own tank.


Film[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Cord in Anathem.
  • To an extent, Rosalie in Twilight.
  • The main character of C. E. Murphy's Urban Shaman trilogy is one of these, being a dedicated car enthusiast who restored a 1969 Mustang all by herself, and worked as a mechanic for the Seattle Police Dept. She even continues to use the idea of fixing a car to work her healing magics (fixing a broken windshield, replacing a flat tire, using windshield wipers to clear her vision, etc.).
  • Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events is also a Gadgeteer Genius, while she is only fifteen.
  • Nadia Chernyshevski of the Red Mars Trilogy was a nuclear engineer in Siberia before her job building mankind's first base on Mars. Her skills in solving technological problems earned her the nickname "Universal Solvent".
  • Mercy Thompson, a.k.a. Mercedes the Volkswagen mechanic. She got started at 16 when she was sent to do community service fixing up cars, and now she owns and runs her own garage.
  • Samella Connel from Douglas Hill's Col Sec Trilogy, although her particular talent seems to be mostly with computer hardware and programming.
  • The eponymous Tinker of Wen Spencer's book
  • Dagny Taggart, the main heroine of Atlas Shrugged, can't live without her railroad, is not too keen on pointless parties that other rich girls go to and has a very masculine dress code.
  • Ellie Linton, from The Tomorrow Series, is quite competent at fixing machinery, which, considering that she's a ranch-raised country girl, is Truth in Television.
  • Linda Connor, from Swedish SF author Anders Blixt's dieselpunk spy adventure Iskriget (The Ice War), is a trained mechanic with a solid professional reputation in her home town. She "saves the day" with her skills at several occasions during the story. She usually wears workmen's clothes and has a male haircut, both for purely practical reasons.
  • Although Alice has spent most of her life studying sorcery her real gift is with watches and mechanical things, including her creating The Witch Watch.
  • In 1636: The Viennese Waltz, a young Austrian aristocrat is fascinated by the way a certain "up-timer" girl's face lights up when she talks about engines and building things. Granted she was already a good-looking girl, but that facial expression is what comes back to his mind when he explains to his father that he very seriously wants to marry her....


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Mac on Veronica Mars
  • Kaylee of Firefly and Serenity, as quoted above. Kaylee actually joined the crew because the captain walked in on her having sex with the ship's mechanic in the engine room. She diagnosed the engine's problem while in the act, and fixed it on the spot when Mal showed up. He fired his mechanic and hired her as she was getting dressed.
    • There are numerous hints (including dialog by the first ship's mechanic) that her major motivation in having sex with him there was to get up close and personal with the ship's engine room and grok it, she being a technophilic homebody / ground-pounder up to that point.

Bester: Engine make her hot, you know?
(Later, after Kaylee fixes the engine in two seconds flat:)
Bester: What'd you do?
Mal: She fixed it! Where'd you learn to do that, miss?
Kaylee: Just do it, is all. My daddy says I got natural talent.
Mal: You work for your daddy, do you?
Kaylee: You offering me a job?
Bester: What?
Mal: Believe I just did.
Bester: Mal! Whaddya need two mechanics for?
Mal: I really don't.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA2P_EjR5rw

    • In "Shinding" when Mal and Kaylee go to a ball she cleans up and gets to wear a fancy dress. She becomes an instant hit at the party when the young men present find out that she works on engines and knows almost anything there is to know about them. Despite the fancy clothes, it is still a frontier world and a technical whiz like her is highly respected.
    • Turns into a CMOF when a young man asks her to dance and everyone else tells him to leave her alone, she's talking about engines!
  • Betty Jo Bradley (the youngest daughter) from Petticoat Junction.
  • Gilina Renaez from Farscape.
  • B'Elanna Torres from Star Trek: Voyager. Although Star Trek engine rooms tend to be cleaner than a modern-day operating theatre, she does still manage to get covered in dirt and grease on a fairly regular basis.
  • Bonnie and April in Knight Rider.
  • Cally on Battlestar Galactica would qualify, if her personality didn't make her The Scrappy of the series. And if she didn't smell like boiled cabbage.
    • Seelix starts as one of these, before she becomes a pilot.
  • Theora Jones of Max Headroom is of the high-tech variety rather than the grease-monkey variety.
  • Heather from Jericho.

Heather: Mind if I pitch in?
Jake: Do you know how to strip wires?
Heather: Ever since junior high.
(Jake stares at her)
Heather: Yeah, I was that popular.

  • In CSI, both Sara and Catherine have their moments doing experiments or processing a car. It actually became something of a Running Gag in Television Without Pity that Sara delighted in tearing vehicles apart.
  • Abby Sciuto on NCIS falls into this category, especially when the team is investigating a vehicle-involved crime. Off with the white lab coat, on with the bright red mechanic's coveralls.
  • Charlene in Neighbours. Played by Kylie Minogue, no less.
    • And later Steph Scully in Neighbours. Then Janae Timmons took up the mantle.
  • Bella Banks in Young Americans. She is a high school student who works as a mechanic at her dad's auto repair shop.
  • The series has had several Hot Scientists down the years, but it wasn't until Power Rangers Operation Overdrive's Ronny that it got a Wrench Wench to balance things out. Her tendency for practically fondling new weaponry with an awed smile on her face makes one wonder how the show stayed TV-Y7. Of course, she had to be the first to test out any new gadget. And apparently, being a race car driver who can work on her own cars has left her qualified to work on giant robots. Two seasons later, we got Gemma in RPM.
  • Ashley Hammond in the Power Rangers Turbo episode "The Turn of the Wretched Wrench". Conversely, this was the day job of her Japanese counterpart, Natsumi Shinohara from Gekisou Sentai Carranger: she's good enough to dismount a moving bike.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "Career Day", Jackie, who's a rich, spoiled Valley Girl type teen shows unlikely skill in fixing cars.
  • Barbara in The Good Life
  • Juliette Burke in the 5th season of Lost (in Dharmaville).
  • Lacy Rand in Caprica turns out to be one of these, helping one of the other Soldiers of the One (who is apparently now her Love Interest) fix a motorcycle engine.
  • Played straight in FlashForward with Keiko.
  • Stargate SG-1 has Samantha Carter, who builds Naquada reactors, which are like fusion reactors on steroids, in her office/workshop.
  • Sanctuary has Dr. Helen Magnus, also played by Amanda Tapping, who again falls under this trope. Very obvious in episode 21, where they get stuck in an old oil rig, and need to MacGyver their way out.
  • While we didn't get to see much of it "on panel," DG from Tin Man seemed happiest either drawing or fixing stuff with her robotic foster dad.
  • Kari Byron on MythBusters. Technically also falls under "real life".
  • In one episode of Home Improvement, car enthusiast Tim gets a new mechanic who is one of these, which leads to him becoming slightly attracted to her.
  • In Degrassi Goes Hollywood fashion model Mia, who tags along on the journey to L.A., later ends up helping fix the broken down bus with her expensive leggings, saying it was an old trick her mom taught her.
  • The Audiobooks for The Sarah Jane Adventures make this into Sky's way to assist the team, in a much cuter and less fansevicey way. Her ability to sense and understand energy being part of it, but she just understands machinery.
  • When the family starts fixing up a car for Matt in season 3 of 7th Heaven, it's boy-crazy Lucy who is shown to be an idiot savant when it comes to cars.


Music[edit | hide]

  • In her music video to "Why don't you love me", Beyoncé is playing one at the beginning.
  • In The Protomen (a rock opera based on the Mega Man series), Dr. Light's lover works in a factory. Keeping her safe from a dangerous job is part of his motivation for creating the robots central to the series. Of course, Dr. Wily has other plans.
  • The entire first verse from Felt's "Dirty Girl" is about this. Lines include "Standin' there holding that drippin' dipstick/With a firm grip, yet so delicate/And the way you took that orange oil rag and wiped it clean/Its guaranteed to get repeated in my dreams" and "Got so lost in your smile when you asked me what the mileage was"
  • Bananarama in their video for "Cruel Summer."
  • Rinhanna in her "Shut up and drive" MV seem to be this, but she doesn't do much though. Other girls in the MV also count.
  • Steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing have written a song celebrating this sort of woman called Goggles.
  • The girl in Dave Edmunds' "Slipping Away" video. She cleans up nicely at the end, too.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • WOW, a short-lived women's wrestling promotion populated largely with goofy gimmicks, had Wendi Wheels to fill this role.
  • Nora "Molly Holly" Greenwald and Lisa Marie "Victoria/Tara" Varon are both real life versions of this with the latter owning a customs shop.


Theater[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Li Kohran in Sakura Taisen.
  • Roll Casket in the Mega Man Legends series.
    • Also, Tron Bonne combines this with a fancy for designing robots, although generally she tends to design new electronics more often than fix old motors.
    • And then you have Geo Stelar in the second Star Force game, even though the character is a boy.
  • Jessie from Final Fantasy VII, who also displays a fascination with explosives.
  • Led Campbell from Septerra Core.
    • It should be noted that the wrench part applies literally in her case. Her primary means of tinkering, along with beating people up, is a giant, meter-long wrench.
  • From Wing Commander:
  • Maureen Corley from Full Throttle.
  • Tali'Zorah from Mass Effect is a fairly non-sexual example. We never even find out what she looks like under the containment suit, though she does become a romance option in Mass Effect 2. At the very least, Shepard knows what she looks like.
    • Like most character tropes involving the squad, Fem Shep can qualify for this one too - just make her an engineer.
    • They are joined by Samantha Traynor in Mass Effect 3, though she's more the communications officer and spends her time cracking code.
  • Alyx from Half-Life 2 is a Wrench Wench and an Action Girl combined in one. Not only is she a good mechanic, she's also a godly hacker. Where she learned the latter (even touching a Combine computer is punished by summary execution) is a puzzle.
  • Keira from the Jak and Daxter trilogy. Tess is one as well, only her specialty is weaponry, not vehicles.
  • The kappa Nitori Kawashiro from the Touhou Project series; an earlier example is/are Rika/Rikako Asakura.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has Isara Gunther, a rare case of Yamato Nadeshiko Wrench Wench. She's also the one to first appear at a gun fight with her fathers customized heavy tank! Yes, a Moe tank opperator.
  • Lucca from Chrono Trigger, according to some.
  • Luca from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. A little portly (she's a dwarf, and amazingly, one who mostly defies Our Dwarves Are All the Same), but otherwise fits.
  • Rikku from Final Fantasy X.
  • Samanya in Red Faction: Guerrilla.
  • Eva Navarro of Mercenaries 2: World In Flames. She'll build any number of custom PMC vehicles for you, for a price.
  • The original Ann from Harvest Moon and her Magical Melody incarnation.
  • Penelope from Sly Cooper 3; specialises in remote-controlled vehicles, so the gang try to hire her on.
  • Suzette/Crepe from Solatorobo.
  • Moira Brown from Fallout 3, combined with Genki Girl.
  • Veronica has a bit of this going on as well. She can even function as a mobile Workbench that lets you craft items on the spot.
  • In the first Ratchet & Clank, one of these gives Clank an upgrade.
  • Licca Kusunoki in Gods Eater Burst fits this to a tee, complete with oversized gloves and a tendency to hug the protagonist when they do something stupid.
  • Wave the Swallow in Sonic Riders, who is the one responsible for building the boards for the Babylon Rogues.
  • When Starkiller first lays eyes on Juno Eclipse in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, she is working on his ship, The Rogue Shadow. The comics also show her working on other equipment.
  • Robin from The Iconoclasts

Web Comics[edit | hide]

"Oh, I love the smell of oil on a sexy woman."


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Katherine Blanco from Survival of the Fittest version three was the best mechanic in her school until she was killed by a hornet's sting on the island.
    • Holly Chapman of the Spin-Off Evolution was one of these before being abducted, injected with Super Serum, and put into the game.
  • Kilngirl of the CF.netter villains from AH Dot Com the Series.
  • Loophole from Whateley Academy quite comfortably fits this trope.
  • Sharon from Darwins Soldiers used to work in the magnetic materials research division at Pelvanida. After she got fired, she worked as an electrician and a mechanic in Southport.
  • Tex, actually, of Red vs. Blue. She's repaired Sheila at least twice, built a bomb out of spare parts (including some more ... personal items), and even upgraded her own armor while wearing it. Apparently, this was part of her Freelancer training. It tends to be overshadowed by her repeatedly kicking everyones' asses, though.


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]