->'''Jay:''' I watched [[WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters the cartoon]] all the time as a kid, but I don't remember it much anymore. But did [[TokenMinority Winston]] have more to do in the cartoon?\\
'''Rich:''' Yeah. I mean, they all kinda had equal screen time in the cartoon.\\
'''Jay:''' Did he have more of a ''character'' in the cartoon?\\
'''Rich:''' ....no.\\
'''Jay:''' He was still 'The Other Ghostbuster' guy?\\
'''Rich:''' The [[TheGenericGuy down-to-earth one]].
-->--'''''[[Creator/RedLetterMedia Half in the Bag]]''''' riffs ''{{Film/Ghostbusters}} II''

A character that receives equal billing but is incidental to the point of irrelevance. Commonly found within RealLife within musical fields, particularly rock bands, that the rhythm section (i.e. bass, drums, sometimes rhythm guitar) is the foundation upon which everything is built, so while many drummers or bassists may not be prolific songwriters or singers, many singer and guitarists acknowledge that the sound would be nothing without them.

The opposite of this, where a character makes an equal (or, at least, necessary) contribution, but remains obscure or overlooked, is StuckInTheirShadow.
Compare and contrast with SecondBanana, BreakupBreakout, FaceOfTheBand, IAmTheBand, MyFriendsAndZoidberg and ThePeteBest.

'''[[Administrivia/InUniverseExamplesOnly In-Universe examples only, please]].''' It is almost always controversial to list any real-life musician here.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Tenchi of ''TenchiMuyo'' gets a bit of this. He's the title character, but the show is really all about the girls; Tenchi himself is primarily relevant as a MacGuffin for them to fight over. Of course, one translation of the title is "No Need For Tenchi". How much of this he has depends on the series, and how far through the series one progresses. In the main OAV series, for example, he ends up [[spoiler:being revealed as the reason all known universes were created, not to mention more powerful than the beings responsible for their creation]].
* Despite being Second in command of the [[SuzumiyaHaruhi SOS-Dan]], Itsuki Koizumi is the least developed of the five. As far as purpose goes, Yuki usually gives out most of the 'facts', explaining what's going on, whereas Itsuki usually mused on ideas and philosophy. As the story went on, Itsuki had said about all of value he could say, so only Yuki was left to offer any real exposition. As far as what they bring to individual adventures, Yuki is the most useful as a RealityWarper, Mikuru herself is almost completely useless, but her adult self is the driving force of several plots (almost always those involving time travel), and Itsuki... uh... knows rich people.
* Sakura Haruno from ''{{Naruto}}'' was introduced as the third member of the PowerTrio, but her plotlines were rarely tied to the main conflict and themselves diminish in frequency over time.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* There were issues of ''Comicbook/CableAndDeadpool'' in which Cable's entire role was basically to appear at the beginning and give Deadpool a mission. And a stretch of issues about Deadpool trying to find Cable in different dimensions. Eventually they literally crossed Cable's name off the [[http://mercwithamouth.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/cabledeadpool49.jpg cover]] and replaced it with the name of a random guest star. Some of it was merely due to [[ExecutiveMeddling editorial mandate]] that allowed Cable to be busy, missing, or even killed off in the ComicBook/{{X-Men}} titles, leaving the writers of the book he was nominally headlining little recourse but to work around him, but even when Cable was available it often seemed like they were more interested in writing a Deadpool book that Cable was shoehorned into by, you guessed it, [[ExecutiveMeddling editorial mandate]].
* Similarly, in most ''BlakeAndMortimer'' stories, the former has a much smaller role than the latter, with some even having him barely show up at all (''The Time Trap'' for example only has him appear on panel in the very last page visiting Mortimer in the hospital).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Turner of ''Film/TurnerAndHooch''.
* The film ''MusicAndLyrics'' features an in-universe example: the lead character was part of an 80's pop duo named [=PoP=]!, heavily based off Wham!, with him playing the Andrew Ridgeley role.
* Fanny in ''Fanny and Alexander''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Travis Mayweather on ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. Since TNG, Trek has always had a problem with its CastCalculus. Tradition requires that there always be a PowerTrio to mirror Kirk/Spock/Bones. Tradition ''also'' requires there always be a helmsman, a security chief, a fanservice character, an engineer, a doctor and ship's counselor on the show. Mayweather represents this contradiction at its apogee.
-->'''Website/TheAgonyBooth:''' Oh, right—that's Travis Mayweather, the ship's helmsman. He gets zero lines in this episode. On this show, it's kind of a motif.
* Parodied on ''ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' with the superhero duo Angel Summoner & BMX Bandit. Angel Summoner is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, while BMX Bandit [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway is good at riding a BMX]].
* Mindy of ''MorkAndMindy''.
* Greg of ''Series/DharmaAndGreg''
* In-Universe example, the plot of one ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' episode involves one member of a writing partnership killing off the other - because he threatened to expose the fact that his partner did not do any of the actual writing.
* Sometimes happens in ''SuperSentai'' and ''PowerRangers'' where the SixthRanger will be introduced to be as powerful as, or even more powerful, than the hero; but after his introductory arc tends to be [[DeusExitMachina increasingly sidelined]]. This is known in the fandom as "Sixth Ranger Syndrome."
** Also, sometimes, the Red Ranger is given so much plot focus, {{Mid Season Upgrade}}s, and screentime that you get a ''KamenRider'' series that has five other characters standing around just because it's habit. ''Rangers'' has an ''s,'' and ''sentai'' means "squad" or "task force," but in ''Mystic Force'' and ''Samurai[=/=]Shinkenger,'' it's as if nobody told that to ThePowersThatBe and ''everyone'' gets Sixth Ranger Syndrome, getting the spotlight in an early {{Filler}} episode or two but never being relevant again.
* Greta on the TV version of ''How to Marry a Millionaire''. When Lori Nelson complained about this, it essentially led to the fall of the series... and [[IDreamOfJeannie the rise of Barbara Eden]], another cast member on the show.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* [[JerkAss Rat]] claims he is going to do this to [[TheWoobie Pig]] in one edition of the comic strip ''PearlsBeforeSwine''. In commentary in his treasuries, author Stephen Pastis asserts that he was the first person to have used the word "Garfunkel" as a verb, referring to the second member of Music/SimonAndGarfunkel who was the former namesake of this trope. (He was wrong, incidentally; Simon himself did it first on one of their tracks.)
* Anyone remember the last time Barney Google actually appeared in ''[[Comicstrip/SnuffySmith Barney Google & Snuffy Smith]]''? Heck, the average Troper probably wasn't even ''born'' yet.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''MagicTheGathering'' players have a tradition of saying there are four colors: White, blue, black, and red. This isn't to say that green hasn't had some good cards; in fact, the [[http://www.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Resources.aspx?x=judge/resources/sfrvintage Vintage restricted list]] has three green cards from the original base set on it. It's just that green has a bad history with this.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: TV Tropes ]]

* Television Tropes ''& Idioms''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Despite the name, the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' games rarely give the two brothers equal billing. In games when Luigi is as important as Mario, both characters are mentioned by name in the title (e.g. ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga]]''). And you have all the characters in game who refer to poor Luigi as "that green mustache guy", somewhat verifying the trope in-universe.
** ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'' references this, having Luigi be a huge wimp who gets knocked out in his first minute onscreen in the campaign. Many of his attacks look dorkier than his brother's, his entrance cry is a depressed "Let's a-go...", [[Franchise/MetalGear Snake's codec on him]] has [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty the false Colonel]] mock him for being stuck in Mario's shadow, and his Final Smash is claimed in its trophy to be formed from his dark desire to be greater than his brother.
** However, Nintendo chose to avert this in 2013, dubbing it "TheYearOfLuigi" and giving him [[VideoGame/LuigisMansionDarkMoon several]] [[VideoGame/NewSuperLuigiU new]] [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam games]].
* There were two pack-in games that came with the [[NintendoEntertainmentSystem NES]]. One was ''SuperMarioBros'', of course. The other? ''DuckHunt'', which is remembered for only two things: Being the ''other'' game that came with the NES, and... ''[[TheScrappy the dog]]''. Speaking of the NES accessories in order of well-known-ness: Control Pad, Zapper, Power Pad, Power Glove, NES Advantage, [[FunWithAcronyms Robotic Operating Buddy]].
** One version of the NES came with a three-game multipack, providing for an even lesser Lesser Star. ''Super Mario Bros.'' and ''Duck Hunt'' were the first two on the cartridge. ''World Class Track Meet'' was the third, a rereleased version of ''Stadium Events''. ''Stadium Events'' is known for being the game that holds the world record for highest price sold for a video game (an eBay auction fetched $41,300 for a factory-sealed copy). ''World Class Track Meet'', more widely released, is known for being "that game you can totally cheat at if you step off the Power Pad and slap the pads with your hands".
* Same with Bob (blun/by) (the blue bubble dragon) from ''VideoGame/BubbleBobble'' who has not been in as many games and ports as his brother Bub (the green bubble dragon) had. Coincidence?
* ''RatchetAndClank'' played with this trope in an interesting way: while in the early series Ratchet is undoubtedly the main character and Clank the sidekick, at the start the third game ''Clank'' is famous galaxy wide for his "Secret Agent Clank" holovid series while ''Ratchet'' (who plays his hapless valet) has faded into obscurity. Since then, they've been getting progressively more equal billing, with Clank getting more substantial solo gameplay portions as well as his own spinoff game... based on the aforementioned secret agent persona.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': Starring Ashe, Balthier, Basch, Fran - with Penelo and Vaan, [[FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator the main character]].
* Teddy in EarthBoundZero. Is branded as one of the main characters, can be named manually before the game begins, but only joins the party briefly, very late in the game.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Parodied, of course, on ''TheSimpsons'' episode ''"Lisa's Rival"''. Lisa takes solace in that there's nothing wrong being the second-best at anything. She then imagines a future in which she, Art Garfunkel, Jim Messina, and John Oates play their #2 song ''"Born To Be Runners Up"''. The concert is sponsored by (#2 car rental company) Avis. They get booed off the stage, and she wakes up [[LampShade lampshading]] the FridgeLogic of why people would show up to their concert just to boo them.
* ''{{Metalocalypse}}'':
** An in-universe example, the bassist Murderface is definitely considered a main character and major player in the band Dethklok. However, numerous episodes have shown that 1) he sucks at playing bass, 2) all the bass parts are written by lead guitarist Skwisgaar, 3) the bass parts are usually mixed to near-inaudible levels on the albums, if 4) Murderface is even allowed to play on the record at all.
*** Murderface is shown in an episode to contribute to the band with ''dickish behavior''. In the absence of his negativity, Dethklok loses its brutal edge.
*** When Murderface records solo singing parts for Planet Piss, producer Dick Knubler (who describes him as "almost part of Dethklok") can be seen actively brickwalling the sound montage to drown out his voice.
** Similarly, rhythm guitarist Toki Wartooth also has no input into the band's creative process. His parts on the album are written AND performed by Skwisgaar.
* In the ''FamilyGuy'' episode "The Big Bang Theory", when Stewie's time machine whisks him and Brian out of the space-time continuum, he releases the machine's energy and as it turns out ''created the universe''. When Brian attempts to get some of the credit from Stewie, he tells Brian that he's the "Art Garfunkel" of the universe.
* Dale Armatre from ''WesternAnimation/MoralOrel''. When his band, The Crucifolk, break up, its other two members (who happen to be married) leave him out to dry, and reduced to doing middle school plays.
* Rocky of ''{{WesternAnimation/Rocky and Bullwinkle}}''.

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