Who's the latest hot/attainable combo?

A movie star...and the rest. With that immortal intro ("the rest" being a whopping two more names) one of the 1960s classic sitcoms was launched.

And with that sitcom came one of the great debates from the 60s: Ginger or Maryanne? (As a fun aside, the pilot episode didn't mention Ginger either).

Ginger, as played by the real-life crotchety Tina Louise, a movie starlet torn from the Marilyn Monroe mold. She had style, she had flair, she...wait, wrong character. Anyways she was the gorgeous voluptuous celebrity who every man wanted. Maryanne/Mary Ann/Marianne, played by the late Dawn Wells, was just a girl, y'know? She was just another girl to add to the cast, nothing particularly special about her, she was the plain ordinary one to bounce the movie star plots off of (don't forget, Ginger in the original concept was the main character).

So naturally the audiences...oh, wait, all flocked to Mary Ann. Given the choice between the hot model that everybody in the world should want and just the sort of girl you might bump into at the supermarket, the audiences defied the well-laid plans of the producers and soon Wells' fan mail far dwarfed Louise's.

“All the other folks were extreme characters,” Schwartz, who is the son of Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz, said. “But Mary Ann seemed like the girl next door. The girls loved her because she was like their best friend. And the guys loved her because she was cute and accessible to them. Ginger (Tina Louise) was a voluptuous movie star. She almost seemed untouchable to mere mortals. But Mary Ann was the cute one who you could easily be friends with.”

This wasn't the first time this happened. The UR-example, as they say is Betty Cooper vs. Veronica Lodge (TV Trope references them). Do you choose the sweet and loyal girl next door in Betty? Or the flashy gorgeous and high society girl who will drain your bank account at the same time she drains certain spherical parts of your anatomy?

Betty or Veronica was the 50's version. The 60's had, of course, Ginger and Mary Ann. Did it happen again in the 70's?

The late 60s/early 70s sort of got this with Velma vs. Daphne on Scooby Doo. For live action you have to wait until 1978, when a little TV show about a wacky radio station in southern Ohio lept into our collective imaginations thanks to a lovable cast of characters plus one woman who was so unbelievably gorgeous you'd murder your Deputy Prime Minister just to go on a date with her.

Jennifer, as portrayed by Loni Anderson (unlike Tina Louise, she actually resembled Marilyn as well after dyeing her hair), was the ditzy buxom blonde who didn't care about her job, knowing that her looks were all she needed to get ahead in life. By contrast, the only other female at the radio station was the goodnatured but driven Bailey, a plain dark haired girl who had to work for everything she wanted since the boys didn't give her a second glance.

This time, generally the audience behaved as the producers would have expected: Loni Anderson got all the fan mail, became the subject of posters and rumours, and was front and centre on all the advertising for the series. All poor Jan Smithers got for playing Bailey Quarters was a marriage to James Brolin and a house in Halifax Nova Scotia. There is some "Bailey vs. Jennifer" back and forth, but the blonde won out this time.

The fracturing of the media landscape has made this particular media trope (it doesn't have a name: Betty and Veronica is specifically about love triangles) less and less culturally relevant. Faith vs. Buffy maybe in the 90s?

The early 2000s do have a fairly decent example courtesy of Brannon Braga's sex drive. When Star Trek: Enterprise debuted just a couple weeks after 9/11, Jolene Blalock was carted around in a skintight catsuit just as they had done with Jeri Ryan a half decade earlier. She was pushed onto all the magazine covers, she was front and centre in the media blitzes, she got all the "everybody wants to have sex with her" storylines (that also generally were Jennifer's WKRP plots)...and how did fans react?

"It looks like someone beat the sh*t out of her...and then starved her for three weeks. Poor girl."

Yes, it was Linda Park's Hoshi Sato that the nerdy Star Trek fans were paying attention to (surprise surprise). Like Bailey she was shy, cute, and not trying so bloody hard all of the time. However after that....I got nothing.

Is this even still a thing in media? Do teenagers today watch One Tree Hill or Ms Marvel or whatever and have to choose between two women of which one is conventionally hot and supposed to be the fan favourite only to have a second less flashy character take her place?

Or does woke Hollywood have trouble even creating that combination?