Created By: frogswimAugust 27, 2012 Last Edited By: ArivneAugust 8, 2014

Modern Sidekick = Caregiver

This is how a lot of Sidekick todays are like care givers because heroes are so dysfunctional

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Trope
In the olden days the role of a side kick was basically to sit there and say to the hero “Wow, you’re so brilliant Holmes” which isn’t very interesting character wise

Also in the olden days heroes use to be more functional and normal but today thanks to things like Rain Man and House we’ve got it into our heads that being brilliant requires you to be barley able to heat up a pot noodle or have a conversation without burning your house down or getting punched. This change has led to the side kick role morphing from that of a fan boy to that of special needs teacher assigned to a autistic guy to make sure he doesn’t starve well he invents cold fusion


Examples

Live Action TV
  • House. Wilson serves a role like this for House especially when they move in together.
  • Monk. Monk's sidekick is his nurse, Sharona, later Natalie.

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    Monk: Monk's sidekick is his nurse, Sharona, later Natalie.

    Hmm, both the examples so far are Sherlock Holmes expies. I'm starting to see a pattern.
  • August 27, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Yeah, I was about to mention the modern remake of Sherlock...in it, Watson definitely has to "manage" Sherlock on various cases, due to Sherlock's general abrasiveness and inability to understand people's emotions.

    There's an upcoming American series that will take a similar premise (modern-day Sherlock) but with Sherlock being more explicity a drug-addict and Watson being his court-mandated doctor.
  • August 27, 2012
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    How about Caregiving Sidekick or Sidekick Caregiver for alternative title suggestions? 'Cause I'm not sure this is limited to modern day settings or works.
  • August 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the two ABC series Cupid Cupid's sidekick/Love Interest is his court-appointed shrink.
  • August 27, 2012
    KarjamP
    Related to the trope Hyper Competent Sidekick.
  • August 28, 2012
    frogswim
    @Threefer FAQ Minority Chick

    it's exaggerated more I think, in the second Sherlock Holmes book Watson tells Holmes not get so high when he's bored
  • August 28, 2012
    jkbeta
    Would Alfred in the newer Batman movies count?
  • August 28, 2012
    frogswim
    yes
  • August 28, 2012
    darkapothem2000
  • August 28, 2012
    Bisected8
  • August 28, 2012
    StrixObscuro
    ^ Definitely a sister trope, but the characters depicted here aren't neccesarily Cloud Cuckoolanders.
  • August 28, 2012
    frogswim
    jkbeta

    a sub more like
  • August 28, 2012
    StrixObscuro
    Debatable. The Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder is not required to be a sidekick, allowing for different team dynamics.
  • August 28, 2012
    frogswim
    this is a sub (at best) I mean
  • August 28, 2012
    StrixObscuro
    See my reply above; I think they address similar concepts under an as-yet-undefined "character minder" supertrope, which is, IMHO, distinct as well: As an example, consider Captain Aubrey's wife in Aubrey Maturin, who manages her husband's affairs on land because he himself is way too trusting. He's not a Cloud Cuckoolander, and although they might somewhat qualify for this trope, I don't think they really fit because he's just a Fish Out Of Water, and not a case of being unable to lead a regular life.

    Anyway, as an example, would the assistants of MadScientists fit, e.g., Igor from Discworld.ThiefOfTime?
  • August 28, 2012
    Psi001
  • August 28, 2012
    darkclaw
    The Robins and Batgirls are often much kinder and sometimes, sane, than Batman. Batman may be a Genius Bruiser, but he often also barely keeps himself sane (even though he can) due to all the traumas in his life. His sidekicks often keep him empathetic and sane.
  • August 28, 2012
    Waterlily
    Isn't Sancho Panza from Don Quixote a lot like this (though not modern)?
  • August 28, 2012
    NightNymph
    Would Al from Quantum Leap qualify? Although Sam's condition is not due to an innate character deficiency or flaw, his time traveling tends to "swiss cheese" his brain, so that Sam can forget important pieces of information that he might need to survive. Al fills a sort of caretaker role in that he supplies Sam with information he needs to know as well as helps him to fill in those memory blanks at crucial times.

    ^(Your Sanch Panza example made me think of Al and Sam, Waterlily, since in one episode where Sam was an actor (playing Don Quixote), he and Al actually alluded to these roles as Al followed him to his next leap.)
  • August 16, 2013
    Downtown
    Diggory from Arrow isn't fraud to tell Oliver he's being an idiot.
  • August 16, 2013
    Marz1200
    ^ It's Diggle.
  • August 16, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^And probably "...isn't afraid...".
  • August 16, 2013
    CluLegacy
  • August 17, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ If it's really older than we think then explain. :/

    Anyways I'd up Caregiver Sidekick.

    ...This reminds me, we already have a YKTTW called "Handicapped and Helper" which might be similar...
  • August 17, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Caregiver Sidekick gets my vote as well.
  • August 17, 2013
    Arivne
  • August 17, 2013
    kjnoren
    I'm somewhat unsure about focusing this on the sidekick. I think the foil concept is better to use here, the sidekick is used as a foil for a hero who needs care in some way. Ie, this is a trope of duo dynamics more than about the sidekick.

    If we are to include a character like Sancho Panza or Alfred, I also would steer clear of Caregiver as a term, since that implies medical care to me. Caretaker would be better.

    I'm also unsure about the feasibility of bringing in John Watson here, since the social dynamic between him and Watson is very much dissimilar to the one between, say, Sancho Panza and Don Quixote.

    See also The Jeeves.
  • August 17, 2013
    randomsurfer
    To expand on a reference above which was written before the show aired:
    • In Elementary a modern version of Sherlock Holmes is assisted by Joan Watson, a sober companion hired by Holmes' father to make sure he doesn't backslide into addiction again. However, in the Mid Season Twist she stops being his companion and starts being his protege in crime-solving.
  • August 17, 2013
    DAN004
    Well "Caretaker" works too.
  • August 6, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Explain the kind of things "Caretaker" entails. Not all care-giving sidekicks do so because their heroes are dysfunctional. Sometimes they're just out of their depth. I tried to sort it out from a previous example. Is this where the hero needs care because of some innate flaw in his personality rather than simply being inexperienced (as might happen if the hero were An Officer And A Gentleman and the sidekick street smart or the hero a non-native with a native sidekick)?
  • August 6, 2014
    DAN004
    Too close to Hypercompetent Sidekick? Sometimes Older Sidekick will do caretaking too.
  • August 6, 2014
    Mr.Movie
    Is this necessarily about people with special needs, or can it be about other things like alcoholism or depression?
  • August 7, 2014
    DAN004
    Sorry, disregard
  • August 7, 2014
    TheHandle
    • Robin is often this for Batman; an anchor and emotional support.
  • August 7, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I just remembered Living Emotional Crutch...
  • August 8, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Changed media section title(s) to our standard style.
      • Blue Linked media section title(s).
      • Namespaced and italicized work name(s).
    • Capitalized (house).
    • Corrected spelling (especial).

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