A sidekick is a close companion who is generally regarded as subordinate to the one he accompanies. Some well-known fictional sidekicks are Don Quixote's Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes' Doctor Watson, The Lone Ranger's Tonto and Batman's Robin.
One of the earliest recorded sidekicks may be Enkidu, who adopted a sidekick role to Gilgamesh after they became allies in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Other early examples include Achilles and Patroclus from the Iliad, and Moses and Aaron from the Bible.
Function of the sidekick
Sidekicks can provide one or multiple functions, such as a counterpoint to the hero, an alternate point of view, or knowledge, skills, or anything else the hero does not have. They often function as comic relief, and/or the straight man to the hero's comedic actions. A sidekick can also act as someone that the audience can relate to better than the hero, or whom the audience can imagine themselves as being (such as teen sidekicks).
It is typical for the character and sidekick to be of the same gender — otherwise, the term "sidekick" is replaced with "partner" or "companion". Whenever there is a team of more than two characters, the term sidekick is generally reserved for another team member of the same sex. It is rare for the relationship between a character and an opposite-sex sidekick to lack romantic or sexual overtones of any kind — though there are examples, like Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin, and Encyclopedia Brown and Sally Kimball. The original Doctor Who series intentionally avoided any explicit onscreen indications of romantic or sexual attraction between the Doctor and his female companions.
Incorporating material from Wikipedia
- Hay, Noelle. "Evolution of a sidekick," SFFWorld.com (2002).
- McNamera, Mary. "Critic's Notebook: Sidekicks are second bananas no more," Los Angeles Times (May 5, 2008).