Big Guy, Little Guy

The little one is called Master. He's the brains. He runs Underworld. The other one is Blaster. He's the muscle. Together they can be very powerful.

Don't mess things up again, ya lunkhead.

Two guys who are often Heterosexual Life-Partners, and usually embody the Fat and Skinny trope. That's just the start of the bundle of tropes these two embody.

This trope describes a pair of guys who always fight together, are best friends forever, and have a very obvious hierarchy: The little guy is always in charge - unless, of course, he's a "Mini-Me" to the big guy. The big guy plays the Dumb Muscle role, but there's a catch, and this is important—oftentimes, the big guy will have some pretty good ideas. The little guy always ignores the big guy's suggestion, only to come up with the idea himself just a split second later, as in Timon 'N' Pumbaa. Despite his occasional flashes of insight, the big guy is not obfuscating—He really is just a big dumb lug with occasional brainstorms, and he often doesn't know his own strength.

The Little guy is usually listed first, since he's the leader, and they are always listed together, as if they are one entity. In fact, some episodes may center on the fact that they can't live without each other. Although these guys are seen most often in kid's shows, they are also played seriously.

If this is a case of Brains and Brawn, the Big Guy is usually the Brawn, and the Little Guy the Brains. It's almost never the other way around, but in some cases the Big Guy can be rather smart too.

See also Huge Guy, Tiny Girl; Those Two Guys; Those Two Bad Guys. Little Guy, Big Buddy is where the bigger of the two protects/looks after the smaller.

Examples include:

Anime and Manga
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo: the first people he kills are a giant with a comically oversized hammer and a midget nicknamed "Wind".
  • Baccano! has Jacuzzi Splot's bodyguards, Nick and Donnie. This might be a case of Big Guy, Bigger Guy, Little Guy. And of course Nice.
  • The Butler Zakenna from Futari wa Pretty Cure. The tall one even has a long Forehead of Doom to emphasize his height!
  • Edward Elric (the little guy, but don't tell him I said that) and Alphonse Elric (the big guy) from Fullmetal Alchemist. Notably, Alphonse is only big due to extenuating circumstances and they are both quite consistently smart.
  • Vegeta and Nappa from Dragon Ball Z were this, at least until Vegeta killed him.
    • Pretty much every group after them that showed up together would be this. Though the Big Guy wasn't always Dumb Muscle he was always in a supplementary role, usually an enforcer, bodyguard or sidekick. The Little Guy would be the brains and the leader, and would often be revealed to actually be stronger since Muscles Are Meaningless in this series.
      • Zarbon and Dododia (Big Duo) and Frieza (Little) - King Cold (Big) and Mecha Frieza (Little) - Android 19 (Big) and Android 20 (Little) - Android 16 (Big) and Androids 17 and 18 (Little Duo) - Kibito (Big) and Shin (Little) - Spopovitch (Big) and Yamu (Little) - Dabura (Big) and Babidi (Little) - Fat Buu (Big) and Babidi (Little) - Kibito Kai (Big) and Old Kai (Little)
      • Even heroically during the Other World Tournament arc you had Goku (Big) and North Kai (Little) and Pikkon (Big) and West Kai (Little)
  • Gian and Suneo from Doraemon. Though the leader role usually belong to Gian, since Suneo is scared shitless of him.
  • Meryl Strife and Millie Thompson from Trigun are rare female examples.
  • Waver Velvet and Rider from Fate/Zero. Of course, since Rider is a legendary warrior king on top of being a seven foot bear of a man, he doesn't settle for being the subservient one of the pair and dominates Waver from the moment he's summoned by him.
  • In one episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX there was Ohara and Kohara, two Ra Yellow students who became partners to get revenge upon the Obelisk students by assuming the identity of the "Duel Giant". (Ohara was a big guy who wasn't the best duelist, while Kohara was a real little guy who was good, but had stage fright; so the plan involved Ohara disguisng himself with a mask and Kohara directing his moves with a radio headset.)
    • Also, part of their strategy as duelists mirrored this situation: They used Giant Orc (a big, dumb guy) and Second Goblin (a little guy who helped Giant Orc).
  • Captain Tsubasa Jitou and Sano
  • In Marvel DISK Wars The Avengers, Edward Grant is the youngest of the five kids. His biocode is linked to Power-class heroes, and he's paired up with The Incredible Hulk, who can literally fit Ed's entire torso in one hand.

Comic Books
  • Astérix and Obelix. As in the asterisk sign and Obelisk,
  • Messrs. Shlubb and Klump from Sin City.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police. Possible inversion, since Sam is the Big Guy but still the voice of reason holding Max (the Little Guy) back from indulging in "unnecessary violence" (loosely defined, since both Sam and Max are quite fond of solving problems with violence and gunplay).
  • Franky and The Goon. As in Sam and Max, Goon is the big guy but also the more sensible leader who reigns in his manic little partner(sometimes).
  • Newspaper Comic Jumpstart has a big guy who has nearly a dozen other big guy brothers, one of whom is in the NFL. Their highly intimidating (single!) father is at least 200 pounds lighter and one head smaller.
  • Hercules and Amadeus Cho from The Incredible Hercules.
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: Idget the Midget and Dangerous Dan McBoo. Idget is slightly smarter than Dan, but they in general seem equal partners in crime — sometimes employed by others, sometimes working on their own.
  • Tom Poes: Bul Super and Hiep Hieper.
  • Suske en Wiske: Lambik is one head taller than Jerom.
  • Jommeke: Kwak, who is short and fat, and Boemel, who is tall and slender.

Films — Animation

Films — Live-Action
  • Rosewood and Taggart from Beverly Hills Cop.
  • Master and Blaster from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome! TOGETHER ... they FORM ... MASTERBLASTER!!! Master is an engineer suffering from dwarfism(played by Angelo Rossitto) and Blaster is his mentally-impaired bodyguard.
  • Star Wars: C3-P0 and R2-D2.
  • The Princess Bride: Inigo Montoya and Fezzik.
  • Groot and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy; Rocket is a three-foot-tall alien raccoon, while his partner Groot is a ten foot tall alien tree-creature.
  • Back to the Future: Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

  • Of the H.I.V.E. Series, morbidly obese teenager Franz Argentblum and his scrawny, geeky roommate Nigel Darkdoom demonstrate. May be subverted later as we know Nigel's father, Diabolus Darkdoom is tall and handsome, and Nigel may lose his sickly appearance as he ages.
  • George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men are a good serious example.
  • Discworld has Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs, and Mr Pin and Mr Tulip.
    • Note that Colon actually outranks Nobby, which inverts the usual ranking of this trope. The puny Nobby is somewhat less dumb than the overweight Colon, however.
    • Vimes and Carrot too, although it's more a case of big guy, normal guy.
  • Fletcher and Red in Half Moon Investigations to almost an extreme point, Fletcher "Half" Moon being small for his age and Red having been held back a year.
  • Freak and Max in Freak the Mighty.
  • Lousewort and Sneezewort, the Punch Clock Villain duo in The Long Patrol.
  • In Dougal Dixon's Man After Man, some of the large, yeti-like tundra-dwellers evolve a partnership with small, nimble forest omnivores. The clever little omnivores scout out terrain and catch small game for their lumbering partners, and the tundra-dwellers carry their smaller companions across vast distances, hugging them close so they're kept warm by their big friends' thick fur.
  • Locke and Jean in the Gentleman Bastard Sequence, though Jean is a Genius Bruiser and has just as important a role as Locke in the brains area of their operation.
  • Inverted in The Dark Tower by the Hitler Brothers. The bigger brother, "George" is the brains compared to "Lennie" who is impatient and fairly stupid.
  • Mack and his friend/bossman Eddie Lui in the Emberverse. Also John Hordle and Alleyne Loring.
  • Vandemar and Croup, "the fox and the wolf", from Neverwhere.

Live-Action Television
  • Shawn Hunter and Cory Matthews in the first season of Boy Meets World, during which Rider Strong was at least One Head Taller than Ben Savage. However, Savage went through a growth spurt and by late season 3, he was actually taller than Strong.

  • The Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) — "You've got the brawn, I've got the brain; Let's make lots of money"
  • They Might Be Giants - Particle Man "Universe Man, Universe Man, Size of the entire universe man. Usually kind to smaller man. Universe Man.
  • Simon & Garfunkel

Professional Wrestling


Video Games
  • WarCraft III's Goblin Alchemist hero is a goblin riding an ogre.
  • In Arcanum, half-ogres are employed by gnomes as bodyguards (this becomes a plot point later on).
  • Drakengard: Seere (a six-year-old) and Golem (Who's so big his attacks come from the sky)
  • Kimahri and Yuna in Final Fantasy X. Less noticeable now, but Kimahri is over seven feet tall (still short for his race) and probably wasn't much shorter when he traveled with Yuna when she was a child. Also, when summoning Ifrit, she sits on his shoulder for a second, then gives him orders.
  • Zexion and Lexaeus from Kingdom Hearts. They both possess copious amounts of Brains and Brawn, seeing as Lexaeus is a Genius Bruiser and Zexion is a Badass Bookworm.
  • Maloof and Mikhail from Psychonauts.
  • Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong.
  • Pepperoni (a giant fairy) and Goto (who resides in a suit that is barely half of the main characters' height) from Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy.
  • Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight had bosses Gorc and Pic, a Dark Jedi pair consisting of a huge Gamorrean and a tiny Kowakian Monkey-Lizard.
  • Chang Koehan (a large chubby man with a big iron ball on a chain) and Choi Bounge (a midget with Freddy Krueger-esque claws) from The King of Fighters. Most evident in Capcom Vs SNK 2 where you control Chang and Choi together as a single character (with Choi occasionally performing some of his special moves).
  • Ferra/Torr in the upcoming Mortal Kombat X. Torr is the big brute and Ferra is the chirpy little girl. A unique situation in that this is a Fighting Game, but both characters work as a team, Ferra riding on Torr's back most of the time and combining their attacks against their opponent.
  • Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smaugh of Dark Souls infamy show just how deadly these two guys can be. Ultimately subverted, at least in the case of Smaugh as it's strongly suggested that he'd held a hidden disdain for Ornstein as a result of being denied membership into the Knights of Gwyn. If you happen to bring down Ornstein first, Smaugh will finish him off instead.
  • The protagonists of Of Orcs And Men are Arkail, a massive orc barbarian who functions as a tank and Styx, a goblin rogue who functions as the Glass Cannon.

  • Played with in The Bug Pond with Flash and Eldwin. While Flash is the smaller of the two and often orders Eldwin around, Eldwin is obviously the more competent.
  • In S.S.D.D Anne compared Norman and Richard when they were kids to "the big guy ordered around by the little guy in Mad Max three". Richard grew out of it but Norman didn't and still sticks around. To a lesser extent Norm has resumed playing the "big dumb thug" to his lawyer, Gary Hart, when they go out doing dirty work for the Oracle.
  • Mutemaster and Noisemaster from Cucumber Quest are a villainous Big Guy and Little Guy, respectively. They are the two Disaster Masters of the Melody Kingdom, and they were created at the exact same time, meaning that they have a special bond compared to other Disaster Masters. The difference between the two doesn't really seem to be in intelligence, though—rather, it's how many lines they have. Mutemaster (as the name suggests) doesn't really speak as much as talks in "mmm"s and grunts (though Noisemaster seems to have no problem understanding him). Noisemaster (again, as the name suggests) is the talkative one, putting on a DJ-like persona to have fun with people while also talking about leveling cities and killing thousands.
  • School Bully Johnny (small guy) and his sidekick Ollie (big guy) from Paranatural. Note that although Johnny has most of the ideas, Ollie is actually much smarter. Not that that's difficult, with Johnny.
  • № 4 from Hell(p) is dramatically shorter and skinnier than his best friend № 1 who usually steps up when things get dirty. Subverted when we find out that № 1 is actually the leader. It remains to be seen which one of them is smarter, but № 4 has a head start due to being The Quiet One.

Web Original
  • Played with by Welcome to Night Vale, which very much has this dynamic with a pair of shadowy secret-agents who cameo in a couple episodes, and get A Day in the Limelight in "A Story About Them". Except in this case, they're only called 'The Man Who Is Not Short' and 'The Man Who Is Not Tall', so its unclear how big the height difference really is.

Western Animation
  • Pinky and the Brain. It's a little hard to tell who's who: Brain is shorter but has an enormous head, while Pinky is taller but much skinnier, and he's the one who gets hit on the head all the time.
  • Mugsy and Rocky from Looney Tunes, pictured above.
    • Spike and Chester
  • Dragon Hunters: Gwizdo and Lian-Chu.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob and Patrick. Although, especially in later seasons, Spongebob is not much smarter than Patrick.
  • Arguably Buford and Baljeet from Phineas and Ferb, except big/dumb Buford seems to be in charge of their relationship.
  • George and Junior from the Tex Avery shorts.
  • Noah and Owen from Total Drama Island
  • Big and Little, riding Gruesome Twosome in Wacky Races.
  • Yuzu and Nonki from Maryoku Yummy.
  • Mordecai and Rigby as well as Muscle Man and High Five Ghost from Regular Show.
    • Worth noting that Mordecai and Rigby invert the normal dynamic. Mordecai, the taller, is usually the smarter and saner of the two, while Rigby plays the idiot who sports occasional bursts of competence.
  • Ren and Stimpy most of the time play this trope to a T.
  • Mikey and Gus from Recess.
  • In SWAT Kats, T-Bone (Chance Furlong) and Razor (Jake Clawson) play with this as well. T-Bone, the Big Guy, is not just the muscle of the group, though he is portrayed as the more juvenile of the two, and given that Razor's Gadgeteer Genius tendencies make him as smart as he is, T-Bone is definitely the dumber of the two.
    • In a more standard version, the asshole garbagemen, Burke and Murray, who deliver junk to Chance and Jake each day, fit the bill.
  • Niblet and Squirt from Pound Puppies (2010).
  • Knockout and Breakdown from Transformers Prime.
  • Hoppopotamus and Butterbear from The Wuzzles.
  • Bull Gator and Axl from Taz-Mania.
  • Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo. While Yogi is "smarter than the average bear", Boo-Boo seems to have more common sense, often playing Straight Man to his friend.
  • The enormous gorilla Grape Ape is always found with his little canine pal Beegle Beagle. (Also a case of Brains and Brawn, Beegle being the Brains.)
  • Hip-Hip and Hurra from Polish animated series Hip-Hip and Hurra.
  • In Underdog, the hero's Arch-Enemy is the Mad Scientist Simon Bar Sinister, a nasty, green-skinned guy who appears to be only two feet tall. He has a huge, hulking henchman named Cad Lackey. (Who's actually a lot smarter than he looks, often pointing out flaws in his boss' plans.)

Real Life
  • Big Chuck and Li'l John, who hosted movies on TV in Cleveland, OH.
  • Terence Hill and Budd Spencer.
  • Stand up comedians Patton Oswalt (5'7") and Brian Posehn (6'6") joke that they look like something out of a horror movie when they're seen walking together.
  • Magic/comedy duo Penn & Teller features 6'7" Penn Jilette opposite 5'9" Teller. Teller isn't particularly short, but the sheer difference between them causes this effect regardless. It's also an inversion in which the Big Guy (Penn) is seen as the "leader" of the two, generally because he does all the talking.
  • Van Kooten En De Bie: Wim De Bie was the tall one and Kees Van Kooten the smaller one.