One of my duties at church camp a couple of weeks ago was to assist the secretary with various administrative tasks. We wear nametags all week for identification and security, so I added “M’s Sidekick” to the job description on my nametag. It seemed appropriate, and she rather liked that idea!
That got me thinking (albeit everything gets writers thinking): People love a good sidekick! And even if you don’t like the sidekick, they provide opportunities for the main personality to shine.
Who are some famous fiction sidekicks? My definition of fiction here includes books, movies, comics, television, and more! For this post, fiction is simply the world of make-believe, and any such character counts.
Barbie & Ken – Really, no one would ever buy the Ken doll without having the Barbie doll first. He’s only there to make her look good.
Batman & Robin – Thank goodness for Robin’s “Holy Torpedoes, Batman!” that made Bruce Wayne look smart and strong when he unveiled the plan to defeat the treacherous villain.
Calvin & Hobbes – If you don’t have a sidekick, turn your stuffed animal into one! It’s all the better if your fluffy tiger friend is actually wiser than you.
Captain & Gilligan – If you never saw Bob Denver as the beatnik Maynard in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, you missed a truly great sidekick! On Gilligan’s Island, however, Denver turned sidekick status into main character focus. He was only the first mate, but the action revolved around him.
Don Quixote & Sancho Panza – The Man of La Mancha is not alone in his quest for adventure. He convinces the uneducated Sancho Panza to be his squire. Sancho faithfully discharges his duties, while recognizing that his knight is not exactly as sharp as a sword.
Han Solo & Chewbacca – Without the Wookiee there, Han is a lonely guy smuggling goods and talking to himself. With Chewie, you know that for all his brashness at the beginning, he has a big heart and a good friend. Plus, I love the line, “Laugh it up, furball!”
John Steed & Mrs. Peel – Yes, there were others who played sidekick to Patrick Macnee’s Steed in The Avengers, but Emma Peel (Diana Riggs) was the best. His old-fashioned car and trim dress were nicely contrasted with her Lotus Elan and trendy fashion. Moreover, their word play and chemistry were classic.
Leonard & Sheldon – We can argue this a bit, I suppose – whether Sheldon is actually Leonard’s sidekick. But his character never really grows; he just provides the interesting background and side stories that demonstrate how Leonard is learning to negotiate the world around him. And what a great job actor Jim Parsons does with that!
Lone Ranger & Tonto – Tonto defined “faithful companion” as he rode alongside the Lone Ranger. I don’t know much about this one, but it was my father’s favorite growing up so it goes on the list!
Lucy & Ethel – Lucy wouldn’t have been able to get into so many hilarious fixes if Ethel wasn’t there to accompany her. Let’s face it: We’re all more willing to do something stupid when a friend will do it with you.
Marlin & Dory – Disney loves sidekicks! But the one that stands out to me is the brilliant performance of Ellen Degeneres as Dory, a fish with a short-term memory problem. Her humorous quips are a perfect contrast to Albert Brooks’s worried father character.
Mr. Rourke & Tattoo – Having grown up in the era of Fantasy Island, the image of these two men in white suits welcoming guests to the island of dreams is forever etched in my mind. Imagine Mr. Rourke having no one to tell who was coming onto the island; you wouldn’t know why anyone was there! And Rourke looked even more savvy and wise when Tattoo looked up at him and called him “Boss.”
Shaggy & Scooby-Doo – Or should it be Scooby-Doo & Shaggy? Which one was the sidekick? They hid together, shivered in fear together, took the “other way” from Fred, Daphne, and Velma to encounter ghosts together, and gorged on pizza together. What else can you expect from man’s best friend?
Sherlock Holmes & Mr. Watson – Mr. Watson was our window into observing the genius and challenges of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, it is Mr. Watson who often encourages Sherlock to use his talents to solve crimes.
Wayne & Garth – It was Wayne’s World, but without Garth it’s just a creepy guy in a basement with a video camera. With Garth, it’s two creepy guys in a basement with a video camera! And they were really funny.
So who else would you list in the sidekick category? Who are your favorites in literature, film, comics, etc.? Do you have any favorite scenes with sidekicks?