|Synonyms:||Babe of the Week, Bimbo of the Week, Chick of the Week|
|See also:||MOTW, FOTW, UGLI, Story Arc, Reset Button, Women in Refrigerators|
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In media sources such as Star Trek:TOS, The Professionals, Starsky & Hutch and other episodic television shows, the protagonists frequently have love interests who appeared for one episode and are never seen again. This was to ensure that the characters and situations remained internally consistent.
Before the mid-1970s, story arcs rarely existed except for the continuing story lines of soap operas. Absolute continuity between episodes was required. The personalities and behavior of the main characters were not allowed to change or develop. The idea was that newcomers to the show should be able to tune in at any point in the series (including second-run syndication) and understand what is going on without the need to be filled in on any backstory. One of the reasons for the popularity of shows about doctors and hospitals, police, lawyers and so on, is that stories about dramatic, life-changing events can be enacted by various guest stars, leaving the main cast unchanged from one episode to the next.
Today, these vanishing women may be intended to show the hyper-masculinity of the main characters, as in the show Rescue Me. However, slash fans see such stories as creating an environment where the only stable relationship in the characters' lives is their male partner. The fact that two men are the characters most frequently seen together in the show may very well have been part of the origin of K/S slash writing as well as homosexual "vidding".  
A female protagonist's one-shot (male) love interest may also be a BOTW.
Some fans feel extremely negatively about the BOTW, if it breaks up one of their preferred pairings or OTP. BOTW-type Original Female Characters may be written off as Mary Sue even if they're created with consistency with the show's themes (e.g., Captain Kirk's many dalliances). Other fans [who?] feel that the slashiest episodes are those with a BOTW, emphasizing, rather than disproving, their preferred slash pairing, since she goes away at the end and the two men are left together. Women guest stars can also be explained away as a "red herring" to pacify adults, network execs, religious fanatics, etc., so that the show won't seem to promote homosexuality.
Fans may also find BOTW pairings desirable and interesting, such as the popular Sam/Sarah pairing in the Supernatural fandom. After the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" was aired, numerous stories were written about the mirror Kirk and his relationship with Marlena, the "Captain's Woman". There are also many stories about Dr. McCoy's relationship with Natira from "For The World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky", Spock's with Zarabeth from "All Our Yesterdays" and Leila Kalomi from "This Side of Paradise", and so on.
- Francesca Coppa. Women, "Star Trek," and the early development of fannish vidding. Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol. 1, 2008. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
- This aspect was also discussed as part of an ongoing debate about slash in S and H (Starsky and Hutch letterzine) in the late 70s and early 80s.