Created By: johnnye on December 14, 2011 Last Edited By: johnnye on June 23, 2014

One Of Us And One Of Them

An Odd Couple made up of a Super and a Muggle.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
Muggles and Differently Powered Individuals have learnt to live alongside each other, but there's still not a lot of trust. Rather than have a separate squad of Cape Busters, the authorities make sure that their operatives work as duos made up of one of "us" and one of "them".

In The Unmasqued World, even the regular police (or a specialist section thereof) may have this policy. If The Masquerade is still in place, the M.I.B. may do it instead.

Usually this is motivated partly by pragmatism (the supers have powers that mundane humans can't hope to deal with on their own) and part Fantastic Racism - either the authorities themselves don't trust the supers to work without supervision, or they think the public on both sides will be more comfortable dealing with one of "their own kind".

The Mundane Fantastic equivalent of Salt and Pepper, which some works will hint at more Anviliciously than others.

Sub-Trope of Odd Couple and sometimes Buddy Cop Show.

Super Trope of Androids and Detectives, where the unusual partner is robotic, and of Sword and Sorcerer, a Heroic Fantasy version that pairs up a wizard with a fighter.

Examples:

Film
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit has the eponymous character (a toon rabbit, since toons are an actual ethnic minority in that universe) and Eddie Valiant (a human).
    • Bonkers (which was originally going to be a spin-off of Roger Rabbit) has the LAPD forming a Toon Squad, made up of Bonkers and Lucky Piquel (Miranda Wright in the early episodes).

Literature
  • In the Discworld series this is part of the focus of Thud!, where dwarf-troll relations are tense.
  • In Dragon's Luck, a novel by Robert Asprin, the main character discovers a ghost of a dead Wiccan Priestess who was married to a mundane cop when she was alive. The cop insists on having the Masquerade ended for him by the protagonist when he discovers the protagonist has withheld valuable information.

Anime and Manga:

Live-Action Television:
  • Heroes is the trope namer; in the first few series The Company sends out teams of one "Special" and one Normal to bring in rogue Specials.
  • Alien Nation features a human cop who is partnered with an alien.
  • Something Is Out There. Human police officer Jack Breslin and a beautiful alien named Ta'Ra (Maryam D'Abo) team up to hunt a dangerous Shape Shifter alien. Ta'Ra has powers including Telepathy and superhuman agility.

Web Comics:

Unknown Medium
  • The Breed has a human cop and vampire cop team.
Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • December 14, 2011
    johnnye
    I've written this as being about cops, but on reflection it might be better to expand it to be about any duo. Feel free to provide non-police examples, we'll see how many turn up.
  • December 14, 2011
    Bisected8
  • December 14, 2011
    TonyG
    Bonkers (which was originally going to be a spin-off of Roger Rabbit) has the LAPD forming a Toon Squad, made up of Bonkers and Lucky Piquel (Miranda Wright in the early episodes).
  • December 14, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    In Ghost In The Shell, Major Kusanagi alludes to this when telling Togusa (who is almost entirely human) why she requested he join their unit. His contribution is expected to be unique, and this is meant to avoid having the unit become over-specialized.
  • December 14, 2011
    Lysythe
    Appears in the Discworld series and is part of the focus in Thud, where dwarf-troll relations are tense.
  • December 14, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Anime and Manga:

    Live Action Television:
    • Alien Nation features a human cop who is partnered with an alien.

    Webcomics:
  • December 14, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Mann And Machine. Buddy Cop Show about a man and an female-looking android. The police force always pairs a human and a non-human.
  • December 14, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    I could've sworn we had this or someone suggested it. Maybe I'm wrong.
  • December 14, 2011
    arromdee
    Holmes And Yoyo was a 1970's comedy version with a man and an android (cops).
  • December 14, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    In Dragon's Luck, a novel by Robert Asprin, the main character discovers a ghost of a dead Wiccan Priestess who was married to a mundane cop when she was alive. The cop insists on having the Masquerade ended for him by the protagonist when he discovers the protagonist has withheld valuable information.
  • December 14, 2011
    moocow1452
    It's not just you Wanderlust, it was floating around the YKTTW for a while before it passed. Chuck has Sarah and Casey shift off as his handler in earlier episodes, the two being superspies for the CIA and NSA respectfully, and Chuck being an everyman having the aggregate knowledge of both three letter agencies put together via the Intersect.

    Should we expand this to one person on the side of the law, and one either in deep undercover or a reformed gangster or something?
  • December 14, 2011
    chicagomel
    The Breed has a definite one...human cop and vampire cop.
  • December 14, 2011
    Wolfenmaus
    In the book EATEN, the main hero troupe constantly find themselves ambushed by civilians, believing the group is there to rob them instead of protect them.
  • December 14, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Androids and Detectives, an old ykttw with similar (but not identical) premise.

    EDIT: Huh, odd that I found the ykttw and not the launched trope page.
  • December 15, 2011
    Loquacia
    That Mitchell And Webb Look had Angel Summoner and BMX Kid. Guess which was which. And guess who was more powerful.
  • December 19, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    Badly written example. Tell us which character was the normal one.
  • December 19, 2011
    ScanVisor
  • January 11, 2012
    johnnye
    ^I don't remember this film well enough to say if it's an example - was she teamed up with a human as a crime-fighting partner, or was she just dating one?
  • January 11, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    The name doesn't really tell us this is a cop trope. It feels more generic than that. What about Human Cop And Odd Cop ?
  • January 11, 2012
    johnnye
    I'm not sure if it shouldn't be more generic than just cops. I know it's written that way, but there are several examples that aren't about cops.
  • January 11, 2012
    jbrecken
    In "Theodore Rex" Whoopi Goldberg was a cop with a dinosaur for a partner.
  • January 11, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ if it was in trope repair shop, the two non-cop examples would be taken out.
  • January 11, 2012
    johnnye
    I count four non-cop examples out of eleven. The question is whether this trope as applied to police is substantially different to this trope as applied to any other duo. For example, in the Heroes example the Cape Busters are a secret, off-the-grid private organisation attempting to uphold the Masquerade in a world where the authorities don't even know about powers yet, but it's a deliberately Invoked Trope designed to keep the powered members supervised while still exploiting their powers. It would be weird to declare it not an example because they aren't cops.

    I've removed the bits of the description that imply it has to be about cops, anyway.
  • January 11, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    I've been hesitating to add a Deryni example, but since non-cop examples have been requested, I'll submit it for your consideration:

    Alyce deCorwyn (Deryni) and Sir Kenneth Morgan (human) in In The King's Service and Childe Morgan. Their "professional" lives are as courtiers to King Donal Haldane, and Kenneth does provide some cover for Alyce against the anti-Deryni Fantastic Racism by becoming her husband. Their biggest joint project is raising their son Alaric to serve the House of Haldane.
  • January 11, 2012
    Treblain
    If you need a shorter name One Super One Normal might work.
  • January 11, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    I thought the Heroes example was of a police force. Privately funded police are still police. Otherwise, Robocop (on the subtrope) is also misuse, since the Detroit Police are owned by OCP.
  • January 11, 2012
    randomsurfer
    I'm not sure Roger Rabbit fits. While it's true that Roger (a toon) and Eddie (a human) worked together, they weren't partners. Roger hired PI Eddie for one case.

    • Greg The Bunny (the version that was shown on Fox). Greg, a puppet bunny, lives with his human friend Jimmy, and they both work on the show Sweetknuckle Junction.
  • January 13, 2012
    johnnye
    I think this is one of those situations where an idea that seemed very clear in my head either isn't, or I'm just not communicating it very well.

    I think the central idea should be that two people are teaming up specifically so that the Super's strengths cover the Normal's weaknesses and vice versa.

    ^^^Treblain's title idea is pretty good. Clearer and more concise, certainly.
  • January 13, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    ^ I think you started with a specific trope, and it's grown into the supertrope. What is currently being described is any Odd Couple pairing where one of the characters isn't human. Highly tropeable, though. Just need to clean the description.
  • January 13, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Two tropes then, super- and sub-?
  • January 13, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    Yeah... All down from Odd Couple:
    • human & nonhuman
      • human and nonhuman cop buddies
        • human & robot cop buddies
  • January 13, 2012
    IsaacSapphire
    Not the original poster, but clarifying the example from That Mitchell and Webb Look; Angel Summoner and BMX Kid are a superhero team in a show within the show. Angel Summoner summons angels and BMX Kid has a BMX bike and can do awesome BMX stunts. I'm not sure if it counts as an example though, as there's no context given for why they're paired up (at least not in the episodes I've seen) and if I'm getting the trope right, some authority has to have paired them.
  • February 2, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    ^^ Since there's been comments made elsewhere that missing supertropes have contributed to Trope Decay and shoehorning and whatnot, perhaps what you suggest is no bad thing.
  • February 3, 2012
    johnnye
    I agree that it's better to start with more general tropes and work downwards if a specific case turns out to be particularly common, which is why I've tried to make this trope less about cops specifically - I'm not even sure a subtrope about cops would be necessary, but it would always be possible to split one off in the future.

    So if the description is satisfactory and we've got enough examples to be going on with, all that needs doing is some consensus on the name.

    One Super One Normal? It's a little dull, but it's clear and concise.
  • February 3, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    The description is still cop-focused. Just because they aren't public police doesn't mean mean they're not law enforcement. I think you should start a separate trope for the supertrope. One Super One Normal sounds like a start. If it ends up needing to absorb this subtrope, that's fine.
  • February 4, 2012
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
  • February 4, 2012
    Telcontar
    Film: X-Men First Class has human Moira Mac Taggert working with mutant telepath Charles Xavier.
  • February 4, 2012
    Voyd211
    Hellsing has Alucard and Integra.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    Needs A Better Title desperately.
  • February 18, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Hawk And Dove, if one is peaceful by nature and one is a fighter...or one partner has an active power and the other's abilities are more passive. Like, say, a bruised-knuckle brawler falls for a quiet, gentle empath. Expect, too, a Something To Fight For speech from the warrior.
  • February 19, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Can we get a shorter title?

  • January 4, 2013
    johnnye
  • January 4, 2013
    StarSword
    Muggle Super Duo sounds good, maybe custom titled with a forward-slash between Muggle and Super.

    i.e Muggle/Super Duo
  • June 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • I approve of Muggle Super Duo
  • June 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Is this something where the authorities place one with the other to keep him in line, not just a muggle and a super who have decided to hang out together?
  • June 23, 2014
    MorganWick
    Name may need to head off possible misinterpretation for romantic muggle/super pairs (though in my case misreading the laconic for the other meaning of "couple" didn't help).
  • June 23, 2014
    dokatron
    • Almost Human has John Kennex the human cop and Dorian his android partner.
  • June 23, 2014
    SharleeD
    • In the Dan Shamble Zombie PI stories, zombie detective Chambeaux works closely with his business partner, living civil-rights attorney Robin Dyer. As a human/unnatural partnership, their joint business is more successful in attracting clients, as both living and undead can be sure they'll have a sympathetic ear to hear their problems.
  • June 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Uh, so this isn't about romantic couple? D:
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