Hey, what's TV Guide saying this week? It claims the bumbling {{sidekick}} character is going to have a freak lab accident thwarting the local Mad Scientist. Now she's got superpowers just like the lead-- maybe even more so!

But wait. [[HeroForADay You've seen this plot before.]] Any setting with [[StockSuperpowers superpowers]] not only ''loves'' to bandy them out randomly like it's going out of style, but also loves to ''[[BroughtDownToNormal take them away]]''. Maybe WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity, her powers come from either ToxicPhlebotinum or TheDarkSide, or a power-draining HeroicSacrifice is in the very near future; regardless of the explanation, [[StatusQuoIsGod Status Quo Is Effing God, Dammit]], so the powers have to go by the end of the episode. They all have to hit it eventually: The Sidekick Glass Ceiling. Search your feelings: you know it to be true.

All the reasons why StatusQuoIsGod exists apply here, good and bad: To maintain the premise, a [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking hero and leader]] needs to be better than the {{Sidekick}}, [[MugglePower civilian]] LoveInterests, and pretty much [[SuperPowerLottery all the other good guys]]. The characters may complement each other with different specializations, but the hero, ultimately, has to be tops, or his title is void. Otherwise it'll have to be played for laughs, because the ensemble would be completely unbalanced; you'd end up with an [[HypercompetentSidekick incompetent hero and a bad ass sidekick]] (see WesternAnimation/{{Duckman}} and hyper-competent Cornfed, or WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget and his niece Penny). Or worse, a [[DeusExMachina Sidekick Ex Machina]].

Especially JustForFun/{{egregious}} is when the sidekick [[PowersAsPrograms gets some or all of the hero's powers.]] In these cases, there is absolutely ''no way'' that the sidekick will keep the powers; even if the hero has flat out said "IJustWantToBeNormal", and the powers are BlessedWithSuck, the hero will nonetheless move heaven and Earth to get them back by episode's end. Expect a FamilyUnfriendlyAesop about how seeking power or not wanting to give it back to its owner is bad, and you should NeverBeAHero. (Also a BrokenAesop when the hero ''does'' seek to get his powers back.)

A few typical situations where the sidekick gets empowered can be:
* In a PowersAsPrograms setting like ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' where frakkin' ''everyone'' has gained one of Clark's powers accidentally, or from [[GreenRocks meteor rocks]], ''or'' crotchety {{cryptic|Conversation}} Kryptonians.
* Could be part of a DayInTheLimelight episode where the best friend, [[GreenEyedMonster jealous]] of the hero, makes a DealWithTheDevil for powers or gets PsychoSerum they must be weaned off of.

When this trope is not in use:
* They gain powers permanently via HowToGiveACharacterSuperpowers, and ''[[ContagiousPowers keep them]]''.
* Occasionally, they never get powers per se but work hard ([[HardWorkHardlyWorks or not]]) to develop important support skills to help their hero friend (investigation, engineering, etc), and possibly become a BadassNormal capable of at least handling {{Mooks}}.

In short, a sidekick ''can'' develop powers... [[{{Metaphorgotten}} just so long as they stay solidly behind the hero they kick beside]].

However, there is hope for those sidekicks since once they are ready to strike out on their own, SidekickGraduationsStick. Contrast HypercompetentSidekick and DePower.

The more general case, where it doesn't have to be a sidekick, is SuperpowersForADay. The specific case where a particular sidekick has this happen to them every other issue is SuperpowerSillyPutty. Compare FixedRelativeStrength.


[[folder: ComicBooks]]
* Franchise/{{Superman}}. Comicbook/JimmyOlsen + UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks = [[http://www.superdickery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=29%3Aconfounding-comic-covers-index&id=996%3Athe-jimmy-olsen-drinking-game&Itemid=24#content Superdickery]] [[http://superdickery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=29%3Aconfounding-comic-covers-index&id=998%3Asupermans-kid-brother&Itemid=24#content says]] [[http://superdickery.com/index.php?view=article&catid=29%3Aconfounding-comic-covers-index&id=1009%3Ajimmy-the-wolfman&option=com_content&Itemid=24#content it]] [[http://superdickery.com/index.php?view=article&catid=29%3Aconfounding-comic-covers-index&id=1222%3Athe-world-of-1000-olsens&option=com_content&Itemid=24#content better.]]
** [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] Comicbook/LoisLane got the occasional [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SupermansGirlFriendLoisLane1.jpg#file temporary powers]] as well. Even [[http://superdickery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=29%3Aconfounding-comic-covers-index&id=950%3Alois-and-lana-get-super-powers&Itemid=24#content Lana Lang]] did!
*** However, in their ''Superman Family'' solo stories, both gradually fully develop into {{Badass Normal}}s who are perfectly capable against normal crooks, at least until the ''Comicbook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' reboot.
** And Perry White had ''super-cigars'' that [[http://www.comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/148/74147_20061206013356_large.jpg gave him super-powers]] when smoked. And before that, he became "Masterman" from eating a superpower-giving secretly-sinister-MindControl fruit.
* The ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' arc "ComicBook/SpiderIsland" had the concept of the ENTIRE city of New York hitting the glass ceiling, with Mary Jane in particular getting to play a large part in saving the day.

[[folder: {{Film}}]]
* {{Enforced|Trope}} in ''Film/SkyHigh2005''. A coach ''decides'' whether you are a hero or a sidekick based on a single demonstration. One character ends up a sidekick when she points out the injustice of this and refuses to participate. [[AlmightyJanitor She's more powerful than several in the "hero" category]].

[[folder: LiveActionTV]]
* ''Series/LoisAndClark'' had Clark drained of his powers by bad guys, who also accidentally gave Lois all his powers for the episode. She even got a costume--with an actual mask; take notes, ''[[ClarkKenting Clark]]''-- and fights crime as Ultrawoman. There were several other instances of power transfer in the show.
* On ''Series/BigWolfOnCampus'', Tommy's NonActionGuy sidekick Merton is totally delighted when Tommy accidentally turns him into a werewolf (and Tommy doesn't mind having someone to wolf out with, either). But sadly, becoming a werewolf makes you evil (Tommy is the notable and unexplained exception), so of course Tommy has to cure him of it.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' has often given Lana, Lex, Lois and Pete (damn, ruin[[HeterosexualLifePartners ed the alliteration]]) super powers, but they're always gone by the end of the episode. Chloe is the only exception, and even then, [[HealingHands her costly power]] isn't going to get much use. Lex still ''technically'' has a meteor-freak super-strong immune system, which gave him decidedly temporary HealingFactor when combined with something else.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' season 4 finale "Journey's End," this happens to [[spoiler:Donna; she gets the Doctor's intelligence as part of a freak regeneration accident]], but of course, this is a life-threatening talent that must be cured, [[spoiler:in as tear-jerking a way as possible.]]
** Rusty likes this trope. It happened back in "The Parting of the Ways" as well, to likewise save the day all DeusExMachina-like.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' inverts this ''majorly'' by the end of Volume 3. [[spoiler: Ando gets an ability, and Hiro is BroughtDownToNormal.]] Halfway through the next volume, and still no signs of [[spoiler:his sidekick Ando]] hitting the glass ceiling anytime soon.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
** Averted starting in season five as sidekick Willow is quite capable of upstaging Buffy in terms of power. Averted mostly in theory only, though, as Willow's magic ends up harming her and others almost as much as saving people and her powers are more of a liability than an asset during most of seasons six and seven.
** Xander is a straighter example, since for awhile he had military knowledge lasting from BecomingTheCostume in a HalloweenEpisode. Such knowledge faded after awhile, to leave him the same BadassNormal team member he always was.

[[folder: TabletopRPG]]
* The Leadership feat in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' allows a player to get a number of [[RedShirtArmy followers]], as well as a [[SideKick Cohort]]. The Cohort's maximum level is two levels below the player's. (So, 4th level for a 6th level Character, 5th for a 7th, etc.)
** Although with a different sort of glass ceiling than the standard example of the trope: the Cohort can not become as strong as the player character, but she ''does'' keep what powers she gains; they just happen to be two levels below the player's.
** And thanks to LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards, the cohort can be much more powerful than the player character. Still lower level, though.
* Kind of inverted in ''TabletopGame/BigEyesSmallMouth'' third edition. Though no sane GM would let you do it, a single follower basically has 10 character points for every character point you put in them, plus a starting bonus of 100. Multiple followers have a lower ratio, making it a bit harder to have an army of overpowered followers, but looking strictly at points, if you put half your points into a single follower, they'd be ten times as strong as you, and five times stronger than a character that didn't abuse this.
** There's something similar in ''TabletopGame/MutantsAndMasterminds'', although there it's fifteen points flat per point in the Sidekick feat. So ten points into it, and you can build someone who's just slightly better than you because they can put those ten points you just spent on them into Protection or Strike.

[[folder: WebComics]]
* Robin and Ming from ''Webcomic/TheWotch''. Robin most shows this in [[http://www.thewotch.com/index.php?epDate=2003-08-16 a dream.]] Ming has power jealousy in season 3, because lots of her friends have powers and she's ordinary. She doesn't get powers, but she does get [[spoiler: a magical slime woman friend/familiar.]] Robin attempts to counter this by learning Martial Arts. It's helped a little.
* The whole point of ''Webcomic/SidekickGirl'', who's stuck with a superheroine who is TheDitz..

* While Tailgunner, sidekick to [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] superhero Barnstormer in the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' had the same powers ([[FlyingBrick flight, super-strength, and invulnerability]]) as his heroic mentor, they were for the most part lesser versions. The single exception was his flight speed and aerobatic agility (both greater than Barnstormer's).

[[folder: WesternAnimation]]
* The male best friend of the TokenTrio on ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' went through this, rapidly JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope, thanks to a recurring BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor wish-granting ghost, Desiree.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "The Beast Within" lets PluckyComicRelief {{Animorphism}}-powered Beast Boy get more Beast and less Boy. Even while it lasts, his suggestions that his name be changed to Beast Man fall on deaf ears.
-->'''Raven:''' We're [[GoldenMoment having a moment]] here, don't ruin it.
-->'''Beast Boy:''' ... Beast Dude?
* Gwen of ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' gets a magic charm in an early episode and even gets a whole set of charms at the end, only to destroy them all in service of a BrokenAesop. After hitting the Glass Ceiling a few more times she ultimately breaks through and discovers innate magical powers (but she's still a sidekick).
** Some years into the future she'll develop into a full fledged magician, in addition to having restored the charms.
*** [[{{Retcon}} One future anyway.]] Averted in the sequel series, where she's a full member of the show's PowerTrio.
* On ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'', in an early season Richie gets telekinetic abilities from power-granting Bang Baby Ragtag, resulting in him taking up the moniker "Push" and becoming a competing superhero (Virgil and Richie were not getting along too well at the time). Unfortunately, Ragtag's price is too high and Static has to help Push take him and his gang of Super Mooks (including "Run" and "Jump") down, resulting in the loss of Richie's powers. In a later season, however, it turns out that Richie's early exposure to Virgil after he was exposed to the Big Bang mutagen has resulted in the latent power of superintelligence. He designs some gadgets and becomes "Gear" just in time to stop the bad guys from figuring out Static's secret identity (ironically discovered because of Static/Virgil's friendship with him in and out of costume). Gear, unlike Push, would continue on as Static's partner.
* During one episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' the [[ThisLoserIsYou sidekick Ron Stoppable]] got this incredible [[IKnowKarate Mystical Monkey Power Kung Fu]] that made him kick ass while having a badass BattleAura. Yet he forgot about the power before the next episode, so he could stay as the bumbling. It was even {{lampshade|Hanging}}d when some mooks wondered if he isn't supposed to have this Mystical Monkey Power Kung Fu. Except for in The First Movie and The GrandFinale, where he proved to be more of a hero than Kim Possible...
* Mira Nova in ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' gained awesome powers in the VerySpecialEpisode "Super Nova". The power-up turned out to be a GRatedDrug and by the end of the episode she [[GoingColdTurkey overcame her addiction]] through ThePowerOfFriendship.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' episode "Full Tilt Tails", Robotnik decides to make his [[GoldfishPoopGang Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad]] faster via a new super weapon that took years to make- Speedamint gum. It works wonders and during a test drive, Grounder does a full lap of Mobius in record time, but crashes and loses the gum. Tails comes along and steps in it, making him faster than Sonic. He gets so excited about it that he almost gets run over by a train, ruins a parachute free fall event and almost gets beaten up by a biker. At the end of the episode, he loses the gum and learns a lesson about not being ready for what he wants the most.
* Defied in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' where the entire plot is sparked when a bunch of side-kicks decide they're tired of hitting the ceiling and want to become ''real'' heroes.

[[folder: RealLife]]
* There are people who claim that the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Non-Proliferation_Treaty Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]] is an example of this.