My Favorite TV Sidekicks
Yeah, sidekicks — you know, like the partners in crime, the partners in fighting crime, the “not marquee enough to steal the show” guy, the “not pretty enough to get the guy” girl, the whipping boy, the supporting role, the court jester and the like. I love sidekicks.
Maybe because they never get the glory.
Maybe because my heart bleeds for underdogs.
Maybe because I’ve always been the sidekick.
It’s true. And I know that probably comes as a heart-stopping shock to your system. Like you totally thought I had enough charm going for me that I couldn’t possibly be the impish character providing the sympathetic audience guffaw, didn’t you?
But then you’re probably forgetting that I didn’t look like this:
So much as this:
Here are a few of my favorite TV sidekicks.
Squiggy (Laverne & Shirley). Squiggy was like an unneutered Jack Russell dog bathed in pomade. He made even Lenny look good. Even Backseat Laverne wouldn’t have him. Hell, Shirley found even the Big Ragu more appealing. Yet how could you not feel sorry for this little guy and want to adopt him and take him home from the shelter? After he’s been dewormed.
Al (Quantum Leap). In the face of uncertainty that comes with time-travel, Al always made me feel safe, like good things would happen if we only found our way into the future, all the while wearing crap like this:
Velma (Scooby-Doo). While Shaggy and Scooby were off getting high and Fred and Daphne were off getting pregnant, you could always count on the smart, loyal, practical Velma to keep her head about her and meddle her way into cracking the case, all the while wearing crap like this:
Boner (Growing Pains). The fact that he was so naive, so nonthreatening, so lame and asexual that he made the network censors completely forget how the word “boner” translated to the show’s teenage fans is nothing short of a Christmas miracle!
Natalie & Tootie (The Facts of Life). Was Natalie a sidekick to Tootie or was Tootie a sidekick to Natalie? And does their dual-sidekick status somehow cancel out that they were sidekicks to everyone else on the show, including Mrs. Garrett? Could they be some type of super-sidekick duo, thereby making them more powerful than Blair? I cannot begin to work through that mind-bending conundrum for you today.
Derek (Silver Spoons). Derek was the first bad boy I ever loved. And even though he’s an unconventional choice, I thought I’d throw him on my list as a sort of tribute to my good pal Jason Bateman and the other unappreciated, overlooked sidekicks everywhere. Who’s the sidekick now, huh, Ricky?
Other famous sidekicks who almost made my list: Kimmy Gibbler, Cousin Oliver, Mr. McFeely, Barney Rubble, George W. Bush and Balki Bartokomous.
*** Who’s your favorite TV sidekick? ***