Hypercompetent Sidekick / Western Animation

  • Swedish Murder Machine Brock Samson, the bodyguard on The Venture Bros..
    • Dr. Girlfriend (later Dr. Mrs. The Monarch) as well. It's explicitly stated at one point that she designed most of the Monarch's technology, and his entire operation goes to hell after she dumps him.
    • Dr. Henry Killinger. He makes wonders for those he helps, though his true calling is to make them realize just how far they can go without him.
  • Cornfed from Duckman. It becomes a plot point in the Adventure Game where while Cornfed does make a plan for Duckman to save the day, he decides that this time he needs to learn how to do things himself and doesn't help him directly outside of that.
  • Itchy Itchiford, (Itchy for short) from All Dogs Go to Heaven has this in spades, especially in the first movie and more so in the TV series. Charlie usually doesn't follow the phrase "think before you do" very well. Itchy prevents Charlie from going too far with his intentions for the most part, but even if he is unsuccessful in doing so, he always knows what is going to happen. Also, in the first movie, Itchy built Charlie's new casino.
  • South Park has "Coon and Friends", the pairing of Eric Cartman as the "hero" and C'thulhu as his erstwhile companion.
  • Inspector Gadget:
    • Penny and Brain help out the titular inspector from behind the scenes.
    • Penny's dog, Brain, is Penny's hypercompetent sidekick.
    • Parodied in Robot Chicken, where Dr. Claw uploads Skynet into Gadget to eliminate his true nemesis: That 12-year old girl and her dog.
  • In a similar vein, Spot from Hong Kong Phooey. There are two ways Hong Kong Phooey defeats a villain. Either by luck (when he's alone), or by his cat sidekick, who usually takes advantage of the villain being distracted by the hero screwing up.
  • Stan is Xander Crews' hypercompetent sidekick in Frisky Dingo. Likewise, Sin is Killface's.
  • The Simpsons: Although Mr. Burns is not incompetent so much as out of touch with the times, Waylon Smithers arguably serves this role.
    • Parodied in "Simpson and Delilah" when Homer is briefly made an executive at the nuclear power plant. His secretary Karl (as opposed to Carl) immediately realises that Homer is just some lucky buffoon and isn't suited to his new job. He proceeds to help Homer act the part, resolving every problem in Homer's professional and personal life without so much as being asked. He later gets fired protecting Homer's job and still writes a presentation to aid him. Homer does brilliantly even without him, but because he's bald again no one takes him seriously.
  • Transformers:
    • In Transformers: Generation 1 we have Cyclonus. He was sane, calculating, dangerous... everything Galvatron was not. Well, Galvatron was dangerous, but to his troops just as much as the Autobots.
    • Jazz to Sentinel Prime in Transformers Animated. While Sentinel Prime is technically second in command to Ultra Magnus, Jazz is usually the one who keeps a handle on Sentinel and tries to steer him towards good judgment. Jazz eventually realized this was a lost cause and left to join the Autobots on Earth.
    • Soundwave and Shockwave, whom are effectively two-thirds of Megatron's Dragons, in Transformers Prime. Soundwave doesn't fight or talk much, but is feared by almost everyone. Megatron wouldn't be nearly as effective without Soundwave's eye for detail and Starscream knew he couldn't replace Megatron without gaining Soundwave's approval. Airachnid learned first hand not to cross him. It's very clear that as long as Soundwave is around, no one can come close to taking Megatron down. Unless you count Predacons. Shockwave, meanwhile, has skills that Megatron values so much, that he orders him to remain in his lab to finish Project Preadacon. Shockwave also notably manages to avoid making Megatron angry despite Predaking failing to kill the Autobots in his first two appearances.
  • Porky Pig when he's depicted as Daffy Duck's sidekick (in numerous Chuck Jones movie parody shorts, perhaps mostly famously Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century) — in most of these cases, Daffy breaks the fourth wall to insist that Porky's character is supposed to be the Plucky Comic Relief, so this character type may be a subversion.
    • This holds especially true in the series Duck Dodgers, where Dodgers doesn't so much hold the Idiot Ball as have it surgically implanted in place of his actual brain. Apparently, the Cadet is so competent that he singlehandedly cured world hunger in his younger days.
    • It should be noted however this interpretation is mostly exclusive to the Chuck Jones shorts (or later ones based on his work specifically), with alternate interpretations often portraying Porky as somewhat a bumbling Butt-Monkey to a more apt trickster Daffy. It was also subtly implied that Porky's enormous deviation from his usual character was due to Jones' Daffy playing the Straw Loser of the series (similarly Bugs's Rogues Gallery were often Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains until they played against Daffy), perhaps why Jones played Porky as The Fool in non-Daffy shorts, with Sylvester playing his Hyper-Competent Sidekick.
    • True to their Spin-Off Babies nature, in Tiny Toon Adventures Hampton J. Pig has more than once been Hypercompetent Sidekick to Plucky Duck, most notably in Batduck where Hampton was "Decoy, the Pig Hostage."
      • Humorously, Plucky himself has once has served this role to Daffy in a Duck Dodgers short where he was "the eager young space cadet." Somewhat odd, since Plucky is a child version of Daffy and normally suffers the same defeat-by-hubris role that Daffy does.
      • This situation was reversed for Hampton and Plucky all of once. In the movie special, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, the Pig family picks up a hitchhiker - who turns out to be a (and this is quoted directly from the radio report that only Plucky seemed to note the importance of) "mass-murderer with a psychotic aversion to pork." Said "hitchhiker" then expanded his range of targets later as he pulled out a hockey mask and chainsaw and proclaimed, "I hate duck, too!" Insanity then Ensued.
  • Kif Kroker from Futurama is often shown to be far more intelligent and quick-witted than his boss, Zapp Brannigan, but on the rare occasions that Kif overcomes his shyness to speak up, Brannigan invariably ignores him, and often later blames Kif for his own mistakes.
    • "Be prepared to take the blame in three, two, one...Now!"
  • Shego from Kim Possible. She fights all the battles for Dr. Drakken, she tries to keep his evil plans in line, she even provides Drakken with the Unobtainium / Applied Phlebotinum needed for his capers (either by stealing them, or actually buying them). Add her being very cunning to the list, and one wonders why she doesn't do anything on her own. However, it's shown that she has a clear lack of motivation. She's content to just kick back, lounge and read magazines while enjoying the occasional fight with Kim while following a more driven and motivated parnter,much like fellow sidekick Ron Stoppable. Shego is by far the best example of this on the show, particularly later on as Drakken became more and more silly and she became more clearly the only reason he gets anything done at all.
    • The one time she acted on her own, during A Sitch in Time, she actually succeeded in taking over the world. But even then, she had to be talked into it by her future self.
    • Team Pet Rufus is often this to Ron, sometimes appearing to be smarter than his owner and much more mechanically adept. Many times has the day has been saved by Rufus running off and interfering on his own while Kim and Ron keep the villains busy. Lampshaded in "The Ron Factor."
    • Depending on the episode Ron himself may occasionally approach this, though as KP is barely ever inept and his moments tend to be one-offs he never actually makes it. "Roachie" is a fairly decent example.
  • The Modifyers: If it weren't for Lacey Shadows, the Baron would be harmless, since he's too much of a goofball to actually get anything done. Which is where Lacey comes in. She's his right-hand because she's quick-witted and resourceful. So much so, that she's really Agent Xero, in disguise.
  • Ms. Sara Bellum, assistant to the Mayor of Townsville, from The Powerpuff Girls. She's the one who truly keeps things running around in Townsville and is okay with her position.
  • Similarly, Deputy Mayor Calico "Callie" Briggs from SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. Besides motivating lazy Mayor Manx, she also has a good relationship with the SWAT Kats and ready to help them out.
  • Interpoll the pet parrot from "Victor & Hugo -Bunglers in Crime" seems to be a lot smarter than his owners. Mind you, that's not saying much.
  • Peter Puppy from the Earthworm Jim cartoon was like this at times. In fact, because of this one episode featured a council of superheroes that ordered Jim to hand over his super suit to Peter, who at the end gave it back.
  • Charles Foster Ofdensen in Metalocalypse. Clever, take-charge, and literally DEADLY CFO, manager, and laywer who has more brainpower in one pinky than his metalhead employers have between them.
    • Proven after he died, when their wild, compulsive spending sprees and horrible business practices pretty much drive them to bankruptcy.
  • Princess Azula of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fire Lord Ozai does have the edge in personal power, but young Azula already outstrips him in cunning, to the point where if she wanted him out of the way as opposed to proud of her, the only question would be who to frame.
    • The answer is obviously Zuko. The real question is why hasn't she done that already?
    • And the answer to that is that for all her cunning, guile and manipulation, Azula is deep down a very screwed up individual who believes her mother did not love her while she feels compelled to make her father proud. After she's more or less discarded by Ozai (and betrayed by her friends when they no longer fear her in a previous episode,) she spirals down very quickly (especially as new responsabilities get to her) and left a broken and unstable individual.
    • Also, Ty Lee for Azula. Ty Lee has the highest KO count in the series, because her fighting style is largely nonlethal and her victims recover pretty quickly. The other two-thirds of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, Azula and Mai, can't take anyone out without burning/electrocuting/stabbing them, which they really can't show on what is nominally a kids' show.
    • Iroh serves as this for Zuko in season one. He's arguably one of the most formidable characters in the series, but is content to sip tea. Granted, he does see his real duty of ridding his nephew of Ozai's toxic teachings.
  • Zhu Li for Varrick in The Legend of Korra. Unlike Bolin, she actually knows what Varrick means by "Do the thing!". She is consistently by his side for much of the whole series and now for the rest of their lives when they get married.
  • Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick, is usually able to pull off more competent comedy-themed crimes without him - and once beat Batman so bad the only way Batman could escape was getting her to invite the Joker over, knowing that the Joker's ego wouldn't let anyone else kill him.
    Batman (to Joker): "...though I have to admit, she came a lot closer than you ever did, puddin'!
  • Arthur of The Tick is many times more intelligent than his partner, The Tick, but he's got nowhere near the combat prowess (or Nigh-Invulnerability) of him, so he's content to play second fiddle to the big blue superhero as it allows him to help people superhero-style while avoiding the punishment.
  • Baba Looey to Quick Draw McGraw I teenk. Pointed out by a third party (possibly a criminal they had just busted?) at least once.
    • Confirmed. It was the very first El Kabong cartoon where the villain, Don Chilada, had El Kabong's guitar (which he uses to bash villains on the head) while the hero was incapacitated, but Baba Looey was inside the guitar and put a gun to Don Chilada's noggin.
  • Mr. Big's secretary/assistant/minion, from WordGirl. She wanders into Beleaguered Assistant territory, though, often asking for raises.
  • Slinkman of Camp Lazlo is this to Scoutmaster Lumpus. When Lumpus isn't being a mad dictator, he's lying in a lawn chair making Slinkman do all the work. As Lumpus deteriorated, Slinkman gained more control over camp. Slinkman secretly dreams of being scoutmaster, but by the time the show ends, he pretty much is already.
  • Owen Burnett alias Puck from Gargoyles shows how dangerous one of these is when paired with a boss who's already a Magnificent Bastard in his own right (enough of one to get a couple of tropes named for him!). It's not that Owen is the smarter of the two, but that they're smart in different ways- Xanatos is a truly brilliant schemer, but it's Owen's cool efficiency and eye for details that make sure all the bases are covered, while occasionally acting as Xanatos's conscience. Both parties have genuine liking and respect for each other, and it's heavily implied that neither would be quite sure what they'd do without the other.
    • For the record, in "The Gathering: Part II", Puck mentions that he offered Xanatos the choice between a lifetime of loyal service form Owen or granting one no-fingers-crossed wish. Xanatos is smart enough to know the better choice.
      • And Puck respects him for that. Though one wonders if Xanatos decided to be cute about it and wish for Owen as his permanent sidekick.
    • And of course Preston Vogel is exactly the same way for Fox's father - without the aid of also being a magical being.
      • In fact, Puck based his Owen Burnett persona off of Preston's.
  • While he's supposedly more of a partner instead of a sidekick, Phineas and Ferb's Ferb fits this trope pretty well. Phineas is the idea guy and the spokesman of the two, but Ferb tends to have more mechanical expertise. He does most of the work building all their crazy contraptions and does all the menial jobs. He doesn't seem to mind, though.
    • Even more so in the episode where he's helping his crush Vanessa Doofenshmirtz get a component for her supervillain father. She shows herself to be somewhat resourceful and very agile, but Ferb shows that his capability dwarfs that of everyone except Perry.
    • Also Isabella, who's a hybrid of The Chick and The Smart Guy. Shows strongest if he's in danger.
    • Speaking of, Agent P. Major Monogram and Carl tend to spend much of their screentime goofing off and generally just being Those Two Guys, leaving Perry to stop Doofenshmirtz's plans with pretty much no help. Half the time, they don't even give him the slightest bit of information to go on, simply telling him to "Go find Doofenshmirtz and stop him"; this tendency is lampshaded when Perry has to work with a (human) British spy.
      Agent Double 0-0: What, that's it? No files, no location, no contact; what kind of a mission is this?
      Major Monogram: It was enough for the mammal.
  • Ray the Firefly in The Princess and the Frog, who keeps the show going until his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • GIR from Invader Zim is far more competent than Zim himself... but only in duty mode. Which only lasts a few seconds.
    • An example of how much more competent GIR is, is when Zim decides to lock GIR in duty mode. GIR captures humans, absorbs huge amounts of knowledge, and determines Zim to be the reason that they haven't taken over the planet yet.
    • Even outside of duty mode, there are times GIR is more rational than ZIM.
    • And according to the unused scripts, had the show continued, Skoodge would have become this as well.
  • Genie in Aladdin.
    • Haroud serves this function (and combines it with Deadpan Snarker as usual) for Abis Mal in Aladdin: The Series. A classic example of this is Abis Mal explaining (for exposition) his plan to attack the heroes. Haroud politely replies "I know what the plan is, master. Why are you telling me this?"
  • It may be the case in the space-themed episode "Space Madness" of The Ren & Stimpy Show, where the titular duo's space counterparts, Commander Hoek and Cadet Stimpy, are sent to a mission that is roughly said to take around 36 years. They are exposed to the effects of the space madness, but Ren is the only one to succumb to them, while Stimpy does his job as The Caretaker for him in an unusually competent manner (in most episodes Stimpy's actions are well-intentioned yet careless). However, Stimpy might have been immune to the effects of the space madness due to being too stupid for them to have any effect on him, while Ren is mentally unstable by nature.
  • Boo Boo exhibited this in the Yogi Bear cartoons, often knowing when to stay out of a situation, and warning Yogi, "Mr. Ranger isn't gonna like this."
  • Spike is this for Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While Twilight herself is generally pretty damn competent the number of skills Spike possesses is simply staggering and there are a few episodes where Twilight would have been completely screwed without him.
  • Many artoons of the late 70's and early 80's seemed to have their protagonists be best friends with an irritatingly cute Fairy Companion who could pretty much do anything the plot required. The most bizarre/notorious example would be Rubik, the Amazing Cube, which is the adventures of some kids and their magical talking Rubik's Cube. The only reason Rubik was a sidekick at all is that he could only walk/talk/save the day after he had been "solved", and the young boy he hung around with had the amazing ability to solve him quickly. So every episode Rubik had to be dropped or something, which was apparently enough to mix him up so that he couldn't fix everything in the first two minutes.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy well...
  • Mighty Max has Norman, but the trope is justified in that his job is to be Max's bodyguard until he can fend for himself.
  • The Cartoon Network series Robotboy revolves around Tommy, a short wimp with a giant head, who has been given the good Professor Mushimo's titular robot, whom the evil Dr. Kamikaze is determined to steal and use for evilness... Nessness. Tommy's task is to help Robot Boy become a real boy, while in the process Robot Boy continually saves Tommy and his friends from certain doom by means of unorthodox evil plan.
    • Since the show is named after Robotboy, Tommy is probably meant to be Robotboy's sidekick, not vice versa.
  • In Hanna-Barbera's The Godzilla Power Hour, poor Godzooky gets a lot of grief from fans because he's cute and much tinier than Godzilla. But taken objectively, Zooky is still a twelve-foot tall flying monster who dwarfs the human castmembers, and can handily intimidate humans who aren't expecting him. Apart from being a standard cute cartoon sidekick, he's also there so that even the human-scale filler scenes all Dai Kaiju stories have can still have a cool big monster in them.
  • PJ from Goof Troop is, depending on the episode, either this or a Beleaguered Assistant to Max. While Max isn't really incompetent, he's shortsighted, self-centered, and danger-prone. On some occasions, PJ is the only reason Max is alive. Despite his hard work and consistent helpfulness, even in the face of unreasonable hostility, PJ gets almost no credit, yet he would gladly do anything to help Max out.
  • Soundwave of the Decepticons is probably the only reason the faction keeps running. He's the only one of Megatron's lieutenants who lacks Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, his skillset is extremely varied from being a capable spy and intelligence officer to a powerful warrior, and he has his own platoon of casseticons who alone can potentially be more useful than a lot of the full sized Decepticons.
  • Edd is this to Eddy on Ed, Edd n Eddy, much to Eddy's chargin. Ed will randomly be this for both of them at random moments thanks to Rule of Funny.
  • In an episode of Angela Anaconda, Johnny gets a magic kit and starts doing shows with Gina as his assistant. Angela convinces Johnny to make her his assistant instead and quickly finds out that Gina was doing all the tricks herself, Johnny was just too stupid to realize.
  • Commander Peepers to Lord Hater in Wander over Yonder. The episode "The Axe" has Hater firing him in a fit of pique, only to rehire him upon realizing that Peepers was singlehandedly keeping his entire evil empire together.
  • The Soviet cartoon "A Tale is Told" is about one of these helping a prince rescue a princess from Koshchei the Deathless. The prince himself is an arrogant fool, and actually attempts to run away a couple of times... yet still expects to get the girl at the end. Thankfully, she is too reasonable for that.
  • Lady Lovely Locks had this for the heroines and the villains.
    • The Pixietails have very strong magic and end up doing most of the work themselves, while Lady's only contribution is to summon them by shaking her hair.
    • Shining Glory's magic ends up resolving the plot a lot. In instances where he's out of the picture the solution is usually to save him so he can save the day.
    • Hairball has a wide knowledge of magic and is usually out in the field, while Duchess Ravenwaves is content to sit and watch from afar.
  • A downplayed example in Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero. Sashi is extremely overqualified at her job but she does have flaws and vices, some of which are worse than Penn's, and Penn is usually perfectly capable of keeping up with her during missions.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/HypercompetentSidekick/WesternAnimation