When you’re backed into a corner in some hyper-exaggerated, super enhanced tale of super powers versus super evil…who will certainly swoop down and rescue you at the last second and save the day? That’s right! The faithful neighborhood sidekick. After all, the superhero has better things to do, right?
I never understood the reasoning behind a sidekick. (From the sidekick’s point of view anyway.) I mean…if you were a super hero who is obviously doing well and highly respected, why on earth would you settle for babysitting a second-hand, second-class super hero as a tag-along? You’d spend your precious time narrating city-saving plans in great detail when you could be freeing people from burning buildings. You answer questions that don’t need to be answered. There are two sets of tights to wash now!
Rarely do I think of super-side-kicks without getting rather annoyed about the whole affair. I mean…what’s SUPER about any of them. They’re nothing more that plot devices to further story lines, or joke setter-uppers.
With that said…I pay tribute to the most PATHETIC sidekicks of all time by presenting the TOP 20. Mind you this is my personal opinion…and yes, my list expanded beyond just these 20…so for all of you who are surfing the Internet for a good Mr. Green Jeans ribbing, move along. He’s number 21.
20. CHEWBACCA (Han Solo’s sidekick)
I am totally planning on waking up tomorrow morning to a small army of Star Wars ninjas at my front door ready to slice me in two with their plastic light sabers and over-sized social calenders for even suggesting Chewbacca is pathetic. But, face it…the dude is not very bright. He’s easily distracted, loud and obnoxious…and does anyone really buy the fact that his weapon of choice is a crossbow? (“He’s the hairiest Star Wars character yet. Let’s give him a weapon that would require the exposed firing mechanism to be completely unobstructed. Brilliant!”) On top of that, we never know what he’s saying! Sure, Jabba gets subtitles…but not the overgrown Chinchilla with a crossbow. I think the REAL purpose of Chewbacca is to give Han Solo more sway, you know. He’s cool anyway…but with a giant bodyguard behind him who is fiercely loyal….shoot, I won’t mess with the guy. Would you?
19. ETHEL (Lucy Ricardo’s Sidekick)
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more enjoyable than a blast from the past as we watch Lucy and Ethel cram chocolates into their mouths, or gawk over William Holden…Ethel earns a spot on my elite listing not because she can’t set up a joke for the lead, or because she isn’t remotely sympathetic. More so, I’m mad at her for marrying a man that is clearly her grandfather. Fred Mertz is the walking dead and Ethel is his crypt keeper. The whole situation isn’t the least bit funny. A funny old man is at least “use-able”…then we’re laughing at the situation because it’s just plain dirty. But, what the heck!? The whole thing is played off as totally convincing, and it is SOOOO not. As a result the whole situation just fails, big time. I wind up not liking Ethel because of it. I’m a theatre dude, and I’m cool with the whole suspended reality thing…but, come on. Ethel will always remain an unfortunate CRYPT KEEPER!
18. ROBIN (Batman’s Sidekick)
Now, let me preface this one. I actually like ROBIN as a sidekick in a sense, but ONLY from a Batman television series perspective, for two reasons. One, my wife and I adopted our Great Pyrenees from a rescue shelter in California that is owned by Burt Ward and his wife. (GREAT people, by the way who I wouldn’t say a bad word about.) Secondly, in the realm of hokey television superheros, I think Robin has a place. Without a “Holy Hairspray, Batman” before the ensuing, captioned fist-fight, I think I would feel empty inside. It’s just hokey-pokey silliness, and silly = good in my book when done right. Now, Robin in the freakin’ George Clooney/Uma Thurman Batman remake disaster, that’s just plain dumb, dumb, dumb. (That goes for Silverstone’s pudgy Batgirl…and ANY sidekick that has “boy” or “girl” attached to their moniker.) So, for the record…cheers to Burt Ward’s Robin. Keep on soarin’! To all the other Robin’s out there…I give you the bird.
17. IGOR (Dr. Frankenstein’s Sidekick)
Granted, Marty Feldman can do just about anything and make me laugh, but we’re not talking about the “Eye-Gore” from the Mel Brooks film. Rather, Igor in general. It’s just a lumpy, dumpy, ho-hum character. The subservient, “jump when I say jump” type of character gets old quick, and soon you find yourself wishing he’d just pick up a snow shovel and clobber Dr. Frankenstein…or the monster…or a Bunsen burner….or something! Do something, you humped simpleton!
16. SMEE (Capt. Hook’s Sidekick)
Again, props to my friend Paul who played Smee opposite of my Hook. This has nothing to do with you Paul…merely the Smee from versions of the story onscreen. I have a hard time liking Smee, which I think is one of the author’s immediate goals. Smee seems to always be portrayed as a dolt. You know…a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Bob Hoskin’s Smee in “Hook” was the only thing remotely close to an onscreen interpretation I thought was what Smee should have been: a proud man in a coward’s clothing. That’s a struggle. That’s a sub-plot. That’s fun. A dolt is nothing more than a dolt…and that never does anything for me except leave me wondering if that stupid crocodile would like an after-dinner SMINT.
15. PATRICK (Spongebob’s Sidekick)
I want to be very clear: I do not apologize for this one. Patrick is quite possibly the most annoying character I’ve ever watched. He’s like a perfect combination of the most hyperactive ADHD 7-year old you can find…and…just about any methamphetamine. This comment will hurt some people, I know. But if you truly are a die-hard Patrick fan, then you are used to the controversy that surrounds Spongebob in general. The whole show is about as controversial as pre-death Michael Jackson. (Too soon?) This, plus, he looks kinda like a “naughty part” to me. That’s just wrong.
14. WOODSTOCK (Snoopy’s Sidekick)
Snoopy is so freakin’ cool. I love him. Why in the WORLD would he need a complaining, fuzzy sidekick who does nothing but spew forth indecipherable jibber-jabber? Plus, he looks half-drawn half the time. I don’t have anything personal against Woodstock (which begs the question of “Was someone high at the time the bird was drawn?”) it’s just he’s not needed. Trim the fat!
13. SMITHERS (Mr. Burns’ Sidekick)
I love the Simpsons, even if Family Guys continues to fuel the “silly” section of my brain with up-to-date media references and a constant flow of Broadway references, Simpsons is still kinda cool. And to piggy-back that statement, Smithers is kinda cool. But, he’s totally pathetic. This lightweight, light in the loafers personal assistant to Mr. Burns is always shedding light on Burns’ crusty, unfocused attacks. He’s picked on, unappreciated, and unsympathetic because he never does anything about it. Who likes a masochist sidekick?
12. MINI ME (Dr. Evil’s Sidekick)
Okay…before I say that little people are funny (and I refuse to enter the “why the word midget is okay to say” debate)…let me just say that in the performance industry you have to understand your limitations in order to effectively market yourself. Little people have it easy in the sense that the demand is usually a short list. Ahhh…excuse me. What I mean to say is, little people are in demand and take advantage of these acting gigs to heighten their exposure…ah….sorry. Little people are funny!!!! They’re smaller than normal. They’re travel size!
Joking aside, you have to appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves which is exactly what actors do when they accept roles like “Mini Me.” But, beyond the subject of Little People actors (and the fact that those Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Burger at Jack in the Box look good without or without the Little People dancing around them)…Mini Me in general is yet another example of an under appreciated sidekick. Ask anybody why they like Mini Me. You usually get an intelligent response like, “he’s funny” or “cuz he’s smaller…and he’s funny.” It’s just a comedic bit that lasted beyond the normal length of a traditional bit which is one of Mike Myers’ trademarks: overextending himself. (Or, rather “under-extending” himself??)
11. TINKERBELL (Peter Pan’s Sidekick)
I’m assuming we’ve all been to the land of merriment and high marketing called Disneyland. My last trip I had a single goal: bring my wife back something with the Cheshire Cat on it. (Her favorite.) For the love of all that is holy…I couldn’t find anything more than a freakin’ key chain featuring the pink and pesky puss. The stores were infiltrated by floods of Tinkerbells! It was borderline ridiculous. I get it. Little girls wanna be a princess or a fairy. Fine. But, c’mon!!! Do we really need Tinkerbell toilet paper and Tinkerbell elbow pads?? (Both can be gift wrapped.) And what helps me round out the bottom portion of my top 20 list with this green fairy is the simple fact that she’s not very nice. Don’t let that smile fool you. Why Peter chose her as a companion is beyond me. I suppose everyone likes to be fawned over. (But, c’mon. How much fawning can one gal do at two inches tall?) She’s the epitome of that jealous girlfriend you had in high school that told all her friends to be mad and ignore you because you took of breath of the same air Betsy Jones did in math class. She’s mean! She’s the perfect commentary of how WRONG today young ladies are being raised. “Here you go girls….here’s a role model you can be proud of! Now get that tiara on! We’re gonna be late for our Sunny Apple Beauty Pageant. We’ll kill those hussies!”
10. PINKY (The Brain’s Sidekick)
There’s a lot to be said for the Anamaniacs series. I thought it was incredibly funny stuff, and they always hugged that line of trying to keep things educational, which I liked. Then there was the secondary storyline of “Pinky and the Brain.” What’s to be said about a Dr. Evil-like rodent and the dim-witted…borderline mentally incapacitated…sidekick. They were certainly funny…but the storyline got really old after the first second. We knew Pinky would mess things up. We knew the Brain would get angry and eventually caught because of Pinky’s shenanigans. We knew it. Plus, his name is first, which makes us think the Brain is the sidekick. So, for me…it was a predictable, abrasive, shove-the-joke-down-your-throat, attempts at bringing together a legit comic team. Leave the honeymooner bits to Ralph and Norton.
#9 VANNA WHITE (Pat Sajak’s Sidekick)
I love Vanna White. That doesn’t mean she’s not a pathetic sidekick. I recall watching a taped interview with Merv Griffin about how Vanna was hired. The good-ol’ boy proceeded to recount how he told his secretary to pick 12 random head shots out of hundreds and lay them on his desk. He walked in a pointed to one and said “that one.” From there, Vanna has lived countless years on television as a household sex symbol. She apparently never ages. She’s constantly in demand. She’s bloody rich and famous and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All she does is walk back and forth and flip letters. (Actually, now all she does is touch the screen and they pop up.) And all this opportunity, recognition, fame and celebrity was brought upon by one old fart’s libido. Gotta love the performance industry. Pathetic, isn’t it.
#8 TATTOO (Mr. Roarke’s Sidekick)
I’ll tell ya…as cheesy as Fantasy Island was, I still found value it the show. But the reason Tattoo is on my list…an rather high on the list…is because I always thought should I ever die after a terrible nightmare, it will be because someone like Herve Villechaize was standing over me with an axe waiting for me to abruptly wake from my shaky slumber. It’ll be like a dream about me being chased by an army of rabid bagels through some Jewish deli. In my frantic attempts to escape I’ll run into Sammy Davis Jr. He’ll be like “Who’s chasing you, baby? The Sesame? The Poppy Seed?” And I’d be like “I DON’T KNOW!!!!” Then I’d wake up! Tattoo, axe in hand, would say “It’s Da Plain! Da Plain!” And then he’d kill me.
#7 MARCIE (Peppermint Patty’s Sidekick)
It seems that every time Marcie and Peppermint Patty come up in conversation the subject of lesbianism is always suggested. I will not exercise lesbian jokes. Marcie was secretly in love with Charlie Brown and every true Peanuts fan will know that. Just because we never saw Peppermint Patty in anything but husky sandals doesn’t mean a thing. I live in the desert, I see that sort of thing all the time. They can’t ALL be lesbians! And it’s not that I’m not fans of sandals or anything. (Heck, I own a pair, doesn’t make me a lesbian….wait a minute….actually, I suppose I am a lesbian. *pondering* Hmmmm. How the heck did I get on this topic!!) Anyway…back to Marcie. She’s the quintessential “follower.” She hangs on Patty’s every word and can’t wait to one-up her in intelligence. She’s the brains behind the brawn you might say, and everyone knows that the brains rarely get the recognition they deserve.
6. AL BORLAND (Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s Sidekick)
What a pathetic sidekick. Behind every funny man is a sidekick who sits frozen with a disapproving smirk on their mug. I used to hate the never ending banter between Al and Tim about the stupidest things. (I can’t believe I watched that show as often as I did. Those are hours I’ll never have again!! Darn you Jonathan Taylor Thomas and your stupid popularity!!) It was just a bad show that flourished in the post Cosby era that should have been cancelled as quickly as Tim Allen used to juggle dime bags. At Least Richard Karn (who played the role) landed a sweet deal with Family Feud after the show ended. “Survey Says? ERRRRRRRRRR!”
#5 TWIGGY (Buck Roger’s Sidekick)
Yeah…I can’t stand this character. “Be-de-be-de-be-de-be-de.” This character found himself on my list strictly because of the voice over. It’s like the Darth Vader thing all over again. Except this time the actor looks like he can’t even move in that suit. Seriously, doesn’t TWIGGY look like he’s gonna fall over half the time!? Just a terrible idea. Yet…people liked him. I don’t get it. It’s like Klingons, I suppose. Armies of people memorize the the Klingon dictionary and find great joy travelling in packs and ordering Big Mac by saying “AGGGKKKPP. GUNNNG, POOOOG YAAAGGG!!!” Just…..WHY???
#4 PAUL SHAFFER (David Letterman’s Sidekick)
I would be remiss to leave Paul Shaffer off of my top ten list. His less-than-sharp, more-than-cheesy segue music for late night guests is just…well…lackluster. His contrived laughter after every twinkle of Letterman’s eye drives me nuts and what’s with the giant, stupid ear plugs? Does he has swimmer’s ear? Does he take on water? Simply put, in a cage fight featuring Ed McMahon and Paul Shaffer…McMahon would be the world champ (and I’m NOT just saying that because he’s dead) and Shaffer would be a bald pile of goo underneath the turnbuckle. A bald pile of goo with gigantic ear plugs. (If the guy is going deaf, I’m going to feel really bad now.)
#3 BOO BOO (Yogi Bear’s Sidekick)
Boo Boo opened the door for any undiagnosed couch potato suffering from depression. He’s the biggest ho-hum on television. Droopy Dog was ho-hum, but at least he was blue and had his OWN cartoon. But, Boo Boo, he’s just a downer. I feel depressed after watching a cartoon with him in it. He’s like, “It’s okay to sponge off of your friends’ picnic baskets. It’s okay to say that you’re worried, or sad, or gloomy. And furthermore, it’s okay to lumber around with a frown on your face and droopy eyes.” Boo Boo is a sad little bear. (And I think he’s a “cutter.”) I feel sorry for him. Now that he’s old and gray, I hope he’s found some happiness in his life. But, truth be told, Boo Boo is quite pathetic and was Hannah Barbara’s biggest boo-boo.
2. ORKO (He-Man’s sidekick.)
Yes, yes…I know, Orko wasn’t officially He-Man’s sidekick. And C-3PO wasn’t Luke Skywalker’s. Whatever. He was “pretty much” his sidekick…so I’m going to count it. And NO, Kringer should not have made my list because as Battle Cat…he’s a freakin’ pimp. Orko is just annoying. He’s like that little nephew that won’t leave you alone at family functions. You know the type. You just can’t wait till he follows you into the backyard for a slice of watermelon so that you can trip him in the doorway. That’s Orko…I just WANT him to get comeuppance. Anytime he gets electrocuted or made fun of…or when one of his tricks doesn’t work…I’m like “yeah! Take that stupid hovering…thing.” ORKO…what a dork-o.
1.) SCRAPPY-DOO (Scooby-Doo’s Sidekick)
Words cannot express my utter hatred for this character. Scooby-Doo has never been, in my book, a television masterpiece. Yet, I watched and enjoyed. I think I was just totally hot for Daphne…but that’s besides the point. The whole show was a hot mess from day one, and it came to a screeching halt when Scrappy hit the scene. What an annoying little bugger. (Kinda like that chicken hawk twirp that bugged Foghorn Leghorn.) You just wanna smack ’em. Scrappy remains the top of not only my Pathetic Sidekicks list, but also my “Most Annoying Television Characters list” and my “People I would Beat to Death with a Garden Weasel” list. Scrappy…”puppy power” your over-sized head off…these Scooby snacks are all mine!
Well, that’s all folks…..there’s my list.
Sure you may think to yourself, “how dare he leave Barney Rubble off.” His laugh makes me laugh. “How dare he leave Fozzie Bear off.” I actually like his sad attempts at jokes. “How dare he leave Ernie off.” I consider Bert and Ernie one puppet. “How dare he leave Sancho Panza off.” Too literal.
I’d love to hear about your LEAST FAVORITE SIDEKICK. Perhaps there are a few out there I haven’t thought about.