[[quoteright:300:[[ComicBook/CableAndDeadpool http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cable-and-deadpool.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Let's go have an adventure!]]

A specific pair that is especially common to adventure games. TheHero tends to be fairly serious, at least for what world they're in. They usually retain a [[DeadpanSnarker sarcastic sense of humor]] and are quite literal-minded. TheLancer, on the other hand, is weird. They might be neurotic, borderline psychotic (or they are psychotic), naive, [[CowardlySidekick cowardly]], lecherous, treacherous, whatever. They might occasionally act serious when the plot demands, but besides that, they're an oddball.

In regards to video games, the reason for this is so that when TheHero points something out, TheLancer will make a comment about it which is funny, helping the player to remember the clue.

Like SaltAndPepper, but without the racial element. [[TheyFightCrime Occasionally fights crime]]. Often confused with BattleCouple, which is entirely different. Usually. In cases where this trope is inverted, the sidekick might be one that is [[{{HypercompetentSidekick}} hypercompetent]].



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Villainous Example: [[GeniusBruiser Kakuzu]] and [[AxCrazy Hidan]] in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''.
* Sakura and Kero from ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/{{Cable}} and ComicBook/{{Deadpool}}, who provide the page image.
* Havok and Polaris, from the first volume of ''ComicBook/XFactor''. Havok wrings his hands so much over the responsibility of leadership that Polaris has to gently remind him to not be so much like his brother [[Comicbook/XMen Cyclops]]. Polaris has deep-seated insecurities that crop up occasionally, so they have been known to swap roles.
* ''{{ComicBook/Red}}'' features Frank Moses and Marvin Boggs, a pair of ex-CIA operatives who take down a lot of fresh-faced assassins together - Frank with experience and all-rounded combat skills, Marvin with [[HandCannon very large guns]] and the kind of mad survival instincts that eleven straight years of LSD dosing can instill in a man.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Miss Bianca (hero) and Bernard (sidekick) in ''Disney/TheRescuers''.
* Pedro and Nico from ''WesternAnimation/{{Rio}}''.

* ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' has David Wong and his friend John solving supernatural problems. They were originally a PowerTrio, until the third got RetGone'd by TimeTravel-ing LivingShadow monsters.
* Gilgamesh and Enkidu from Myth/MesopotamianMythology.
* The ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' gives us Kalam, a practically-minded, matter-of-fact professional assassin, and his best friend Quick Ben, a wizard who enjoys playing with voodoo dolls, [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu scamming gods]] and [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]] alike and is considered completely mad and a danger to everyone involved by friends and foes alike.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Mal and Zoe of ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' somewhat invert this, where Zoe is the cool, levelheaded and serious one, while Mal is the somewhat weird one despite being the lead character.
* The same thing is done in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', where Aeryn is so in control that she's only ever out of control for one or two ''scenes'' in the entire series, and John starts out spooked by all the alien life and gets progressively crazier as it progresses. Also a BattleCouple.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Sam and Dean Winchester. Played straight in Sam-centric episodes where the more serious Sam is TheHero and Dean is TheLancer. [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in Dean-centric where the goofier (but very [[BreakTheCutie broken]]) Dean is TheHero and Sam is TheLancer.
* Series/{{House}} and Wilson.
* ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'': Arthur and Merlin, at least some of the time. Merlin is serious at times as well, though.
* ''Series/KeenEddie'' has Eddie and Monty.
* Early episodes of ''Series/{{The 100}}'', where Clarke and Finn paired up a lot, used this dynamic, with Clarke always being very focused on keeping everyone alive, while Finn joked around a lot more and liked to treat their time on the ground as an adventure. Gets a LampshadeHanging when Finn refers to himself as the reckless one and Clarke as the responsible one.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' has the (hopefully) more levelheaded player character and Khelgar, the psychotic dwarf.
** Though the game has many possibilities, especially adding in Mask of the Betrayer. You can play the silly one with Elanee, Casavir, Safiya, Kaelyn, or Okku as the serious sidekick; or you can play the serious member of the pair with Bishop, Khelgar, Neeshka, or Gann as the sillier sidekick.
* Depending upon how you play it, the player character can be the silly one with Bastila as the serious counterpart in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''. (A female player character doesn't quite have the same dynamic with TroubledButCute pilot Carth, though she can still tease him mercilessly while he's trying to be serious).
** A similar situation can occur with the player and the Handmaiden in the sequel.
* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' has the potential for the player to be quite silly, with Silk Fox constantly reminding him/her of the seriousness of the situation.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is set up so that the Warden is usually going to be the OnlySaneMan while everyone else in your party, including [[DeadpanSnarker Alistair]] and [[BlackMagicianGirl Morrigan]] who both come closest to playing TheLancer, are at least slightly mad.
* The best example in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' is inverted, with Silly!Hawke as the lead and Aveline as TheLancer.
** Aveline is the best at playing the StraightMan without even knowing it. Varric can do it too, but he knows it. For the rest you're going to have to [[OnlySaneMan step up for sanity]] sooner or later.
** One of the better straight versions is Aggressive!Hawke paired with Isabela, who cheats, backstabs, snarks, and flirts her way through every quest and only gets serious at a few key plot points.
* ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' stars Manny Calavera, a driven, lovestruck GrimReaper, and his sidekick Glottis, an eight-foot-tall gearhead demon with a gambling problem and a weakness for nitroglycerin martinis.
* ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' has Revya, a WideEyedIdealist HeroicMime who wants to save the world, and Gig, the HeroicComedicSociopath OmnicidalManiac who lives inside the former's head and wants to wantonly destroy, corrupt and befoul everything and generally make the world a worse place because he thinks it's funny, but has to come along on the world-saving anyhow and generally snarks about all the plot points and characters.
** This dynamic is a bit different [[spoiler:in the Demon Path, in which ''both'' Revya and Gig are {{Omnicidal Maniac}}s and get on like a house on fire... Or a pair of insane maniacs who like setting fire to houses. And trees. And people. And everything else.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Growlanser}}: Wayfarer of Time'' the protagonist, Crevaniel, travels with a quirky, fairy-like familiar.
* The ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'' games has Sam the sarcastic, literal hero, and Max, who's... er, [[HeroicComedicSociopath Max]].
** Deconstructed in ''Sam and Max Season 3 Episode 4: Beyond The Alley Of The Dolls'', when the Sam clones were made because Sam is 'the perfect straight man', meaning they could be easily controlled by a Funny Guy.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' has Jaheira the wise fighter-druid, and Khalid her neurotic husband. Or Khalid the gentle and cautious fighter and Jaheira his overly wilful wife. Make of that what you will. They're both just slightly weird.
** Depending on how you play the game, the PlayerCharacter can have this relationship with several of the party members. Including his/her love interest.
* Neku and Beat in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'', Neku and Shiki to a lesser extent. Neku is always serious and sarcastic, while Beat is goofy, impulsive, and stubborn. Shiki tries to pretend to be always cheery, but it turns out that she's not exactly what she appears.
* Inverted in ''VisualNovel/{{Snatcher}}''. Gillian, the hero, is a HandsomeLech with an odd way of looking at the world, and Metal is a literal strait-laced snarky robot. However, most of the environmental observations are governed by Metal, and Gillian takes the helm in conversations where his oddness can really shine.
* Mario (hero) and Luigi (sidekick) in the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series when Luigi isn't simply a PaletteSwap of his big brother or a "Player 2" option (for example: the VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi games).
* Banjo (hero) and Kazooie (sidekick) in the ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'' series.
* Rayman (hero) and Globox from (sidekick) The ''VideoGame/{{Rayman}}'' series and ''VideoGame/RaymanOrigins''.
* Jak (hero) and Daxter (sidekick) in the ''Franchise/JakAndDaxter'' series.
* In the freeware adventure game ''VideoGame/BenThereDanThat'' Ben is the more straightforward hero, while Dan is a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} but is [[GeniusDitz crazy good at video games]].
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' trilogy pairs the eponymous character up with [[PluckyComicRelief Sparx the dragonfly]], who compensates for being TheLoad in combat by having wisecracks for every situation. Later on, Sparx [[spoiler: actually K.O.'s one of the more annoying bad guys with a single punch (granted said antagonist wasn't much bigger than Sparx himself, but it was still a cathartic moment).]]
* From ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl'' on, it appears that the player character of the [[DistaffCounterpart opposite gender]] from the PC you choose is your "rival". He/She is more of just a friend than a rival, though.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers'' with Wigglytuff ({{Cloudcuckoolander}}, hero) and Chatot (JerkWithAHeartOfGold, lancer)
* Serious Snake and oddball Otacon from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''.
* Franchise/RatchetAndClank inverts this trope, with main character Ratchet being fun-loving and whimsy, and sidekick Clank being serious and out to save the galaxy.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/SecretOfEvermore'', where it overlaps with [[ABoyAndHisX A Boy And His Dog.]]
* The Courier of ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' and any of their possible companions. There is no 'ordinary' when it comes to who you travel with in the Mojave, and the Courier is the sarcastic StraightMan to your companions, with not a single 'normal' one among them. Most of the Courier's reactions to their Companion is playing off their personality quirks. You also usually only travel with one intelligible individual at a time (you may find some companions who don't speak per se and will join you to make a trio), so there you go.
* Of the four available pairs in ''[[{{VideoGame/Touhou}} Imperishable Night]]'' one (Marisa & Alice) inverts the trope while the others (Sakuya & Remilia, Reimu & Yukari, and Youmu & Yuyuko) play it straight.
* ''Banjo-Kazooie'' {{Spiritual Successor}}s Yooka (hero) and Laylee (sidekick) from the eponymous ''VideoGame/YookaLaylee''.
* Caitlyn (ByTheBookCop hero) with Vi (ReformedCriminal sidekick) in ''Videogame/LeagueOfLegends''. Caitlyn is a ladylike ColdSniper with a polished accent; Vi is TheLadette whose motto is "Punch first; ask questions while punching."

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'':
** Phoenix Wright (sarcastic, literal hero) and Maya Fey (happy-go-lucky oddball). Eventually he encounters Pearl who is less odd, but only because she's a little girl -- her personality is equally upbeat, but more bolshy than Maya. And Maya's SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute, Ema, is even more happy-go-lucky and even more naive.
** And when Franziska von Karma, the very serious, whip-happy prosecutor, tags along with you in the third game, her general misunderstanding of American/Japanese culture and many things outside her area of expertise lead to much the same effect as if she was Maya.
** And it's taken pretty much to the extreme with ultra-sarcastic, refined Edgeworth and his sidekick Gumshoe, who's like [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} Doctor Zoidberg]] without the lobster.
*** Edgeworth gets multiple sidekicks throughout his own game. Gumshoe and Franziska are the only returning characters to fill this role while the most prominent of the new characters is Kay Faraday, a self proclaimed Great Thief. 2 different stewardess take the role as well during the second case as you are on a plane mid-flight. There's also [[spoiler: 13 year old Franziska and new cop Gumshoe who are paired with Edgeworth during a flashback case while he still strived for perfection leading to a slightly diffrent feeling then their present day selves. Also Franziska is the butt of many short jokes during this time]]
*** Although this relationship is inverted in ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'', where Ema is now [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute substituting]] for Gumshoe, and shows open disdain for new prosecuting attorney Klavier, who she describes repeatedly as a "glimmerous fop". As for Apollo, he regularly works with Trucy Wright in this game and ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies''.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** The webcomic provides us with Roy and Elan (at times, V, Durkon and occasionally Haley play the serious role, while Belkar also plays the goofy role).
** Also provides us with the villainous subversion: Xykon is the main villain, and just likes to goof around, while Redcloak is the serious one who makes all the plans and preparations. Strangely, the "goofy" one is the more powerful one. Xykon is mostly just bored, unable to sleep, and can only spend so many hours working on artifacts, posing him with the problem of how to spend those remaining hours. Up until Xykon gets ticked off when [[spoiler:Redcloak loses Xykon's SoulJar when V attacked]]. Xykon then proceeds to become more serious.
* The title characters from ''Webcomic/TriangleAndRobert.''
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' provides us with [[IdiotHero Fighter]] who is a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} with a ''very'' literal take on things (metaphors don't exist for him), and [[PsychoForHire Black Mage]] who is... ''all'' of TheLancer traits listed at the top of this page.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', there is a villainous variant with Kaizoku who is the snarking and mostly serious fairy pirate and Shuu who is his oddball kitsune companion in a human shape.
* Scrooge and Vegeta take on this dynamic in ''WebAnimation/{{Ducktalez}} 7''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Yet another subversion is that of ''WesternAnimation/{{Bonkers}}'', where the lead character is well, a toon, whereas his partner and arguable sidekick Lucky Piquel is generally more level-headed.
* Chip and Dale, in ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' more than anything, though sometimes in the cartoon shorts they first appeared in.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': two step-brothers who create their own crazy days and live them.
* WesternAnimation/KimPossible and Ron Stoppable before they become an OfficialCouple in ''[[TheMovie So the Drama]]''.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'': While they are both pretty silly, [=SpongeBob=] is the more collected one (DependingOnTheWriter) and Patrick is the crazy sidekick.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' gives us [[TheHero Finn]] and [[BrilliantButLazy Jake]].
* ''WesternAnimati0on/RickAndMorty'' has [[MadScientist Rick]] and his grandson [[MoralityPet Morty]]
* The adventurous Rudy and the intelligent Penny from ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone''.
* Jimmy and Beezy from ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes''.
* Rufus and Amberley in ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone''. Something of an inverted case since [[TheHero Rufus]] is the more buffoonish of the two, with [[TheLancer Amberley]] more often acting as the level-headed leader.
* WesternAnimation/GravityFalls has the "Mystery Twins" Mabel and Dipper. Dipper is serious and focused on the town's mysterious whereas Mabel is more eccentric and out there.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* TruthInTelevision. Josiah and Elanor Creasy HappilyMarried [[TheCaptain captain]] and [[TheSmartGuy navigator]] of the clipper Flying Cloud.
* Samuel Baker and his wife Lady Florence when exploring Africa. She was a Hungarian former slave whose freedom Baker had purchased, then they fell in love and married.