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Fat and Skinny

Bones: Hey Lumpy, you know how we were talking about the other day how we're in every single solitary movie ever, the fat guy and the skinny guy who are both thugs?
Lumpy: Yeah?
Bones: Do you think that's a throwback to classic character development, or just really shitty writing?
Lumpy: I pick the latter.

This is where a fat and a skinny character make up a two-character ensemble. This is usually a comedy trope, usually with the skinny character being the Straight Man, although inversions of this are seen as well. Sometimes both characters are silly and this is often seen in the Terrible Trio type of villains, although there are also examples of heroic, or at least not villainous, pairs who fit this description. They often fit into the tropes of Those Two Guys or Those Two Bad Guys.

These two guys usually (but not always) have some specific characteristics that tropify their relationship: The skinny one has all of the ideas, and the fat one is also the strong man. The fat one is usually a dopey optimist, while the skinny one is cynical and refined. This pair, even in villain form, are devoted to each other. If on the rare occasion the fat guy has a brilliant idea, either the skinny guy will express extreme surprise at the fat guy's ability to rub two brain cells together or the idea will be waved away as unworkable, and then re-appropriated two seconds later as the skinny guy's idea.

If these characteristics are not followed, then it's usually because the fat one is a brute who beats up the whiny skinny dude a lot. This behavior is rarely seen in protagonist pairings of fat and skinny.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Tonzler and Boyacky, Doronjo's henchmen from Yatterman. Well, strictly speaking Tonzler is a muscular Top-Heavy Guy, but the effect is the same. Ditto their many Expy counterparts from the other Time Bokan series.
  • Nuk and Mok in Kemono no Souja Erin.
  • Horizontal Guy and Vertical Guy, who appear in Comic Party.
  • Misato and Kawahama from Moyashimon.
  • Hiruma and Kurita of Eyeshield 21.
  • Sanson and Hanson, Grandis' cronies in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, invert the mold. The tall, skinny Sanson is incredibly strong (because he's named after the legendary Mighty Samson), while the short, rotund Hanson is a peerless genius.
  • Decoe and Bocoe in Sonic X.
  • Tom and Tab from Kimba the White Lion.
  • Dia and Pearl from the Pokémon Adventures manga. Pearl is the scrawny fast-talking idea man, Dia is the chubby good-natured dimwit buffoon. Slight subversion in that Dia is revealed to be only Obfuscating Stupidity and sometimes makes borderline snark comments that Pearl chooses to ignore. (In one scene, Platinum observes the boys practicing and asks if the Dope Slap hurt Dia. Pearl insists that he has to brutally slap Dia so the audience will hear the smack-like sound effect, and this is necessary to convey emotion. Dia then mutters that Pearl could hit him a little softer, and still get the message across.) May also be somewhat inverted in that Pearl is physically the stronger of the 2 boys (even capable of having the heavier Dia stand on his shoulders throughout an entire gym match when they covertly help Platinum. Pearl does finally pass out from exhaustion a short while later.) Played straight in their manzai comedy routines, all of which are written by Pearl.
  • Leeva and Gula in Doki Doki Pretty Cure. They even have Ho Yay moments.
  • * Lumis and Umbra from the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!; Umbra is tall and thin, Lumis is short, squat, and chubby (but actually a rather good runner and jumper.)

    Comic Books 
  • Astérix and Obelix, though Obelix insists his chest has just slipped a bit.
  • Douglas Klump and Burt Shlubb, "Fat Man and Little Boy" from Sin City
  • Plastic Man and Woozy Winks.
  • Kel-Matu and Ko-Chonu in Les Légendaires. A rare example to not be played for comedy.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
  • Fred and Nobby, as well as Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, from the Discworld books.
  • Lenny and George from Of Mice and Men
  • Bragg and Larkin certainly count. Although that's more Freakishly Huge and Skinny than Fat and Skinny. (Bragg is at least 8 feet 8 inches and probably bigger.)
  • Miles Vorkosigan and his clone-brother Mark. Miles is notably skinny until he acquires a cook in one of the later books; Mark, whose metabolism is intended for a man six foot tall, has been surgically reduced to Miles' dwarfish height and decides to gain a great deal of weight to distinguish himself from his progenitor/brother. One character refers to them as "The Chance Brothers" - Slim and Fat.
  • Finney and Mudd from Tad Williams' Otherland sci-fi series. Servants to the main villain, the skinny one, Finney, is brilliant and manipulative, and Mudd, the fat one, is described as "Almost subhuman". Copies of them exist within a massive VR simulation network where these characteristics are played up even more by the intelligence controlling the system, which essentially constructs it's understanding of the universe from stories, almost making these copies a reference to the trope itself..
  • Depending on the artist or screen portrayal, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson sometimes get this treatment.
  • The lazy and horrid Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge of James and the Giant Peach who both have Meaningful Names.
  • Locke Lamora (Skinny) and Jean Tannen (Fat) from Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards series. While Lamora embodies the classic 'brains and sarcasm' role of the skinny one (and main protagonist), Tannen is, somewhat unusually for the fat one, the voice of reason, the conscience, and the badass, instead of merely the foil.
  • Fattypuffs & Thinifers begins with Edmund's skinny brother Terry calling him a Fattypuff. They then ride down a long escalator to a fantasy world which is entirely divided between a fat half and a thin half.
  • The main characters of the Italian novel for children Sussi e Biribissi by Paolo Lorenzini (aka Collodi Nipote). Sussi is rosy, short, with blond curly hair and looks like a lump of butter, Biribissi is tall, skinny, dark haired and quite dirty. Later in the novel they swap roles.
  • Donegan Bane and Gracious O'Callahan, the Monster Hunters, in The Maleficent Seven. Donegan is described as a "tall, skinny Englishman" while Gracious is "the short, powerfully built Irishman".
  • In Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Christopher Drawlight and Henry Lascelles seem to fit this trope, with Drawlight being plump and rather dim-witted, while Lascelles (the taller of the two) is brutally sarcastic and, in a darker take on the trope manages to effectively scheme against Norrell and Strange, and murders Drawlight. Based on body type alone, Norrell and Strange themselves fit this trope, but do not qualify in other ways.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel (and later, Richard Roeper) from Siskel And Ebert.
  • Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.
  • Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show, and maybe Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker as well.
  • Kenan & Kel, with fat Kenan as the Straight Man to skinny Kel.
  • Yick and Arthur from Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High
  • Drake & Josh, until Josh lost his puppy fat.
  • El Chompiras and Botija from Chespirito.
  • Manolo and Benito from Manos A La Obra. Benito may not be that skinny, but he's obviously not as fat as Manolo.
  • The Mexican entertainers Viruta and Capulina.
  • Pictured above: Bulk and Skull from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and the following seasons; in this case, however, the fat one is The Schemer.
    • Also Squatt and Baboo from the same series.
    • In Power Rangers Samurai, Bulk forms a similar pair with Skull's son Spike.
  • Barney and Junior from Far Out Space Nuts.
  • Jamie and Vicki from Small Wonder.
  • Earl and Randy from My Name Is Earl.
  • Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton on The Honeymooners.
  • Hurley and various skinny partners (most commonly Charlie, now Miles, occasionally Sawyer) from LOST.
    • Even more so with his old buddy on the mainland, Johnny, aka DJ Quallis.
  • Ace Of Cakes has Duff Goldman and Geof Manthorne, two Heterosexual Life-Partners who make cakes and take names. Inverted, however, in that Duff is the brazen one of the two, while Geof tends to sit back and spout wisdom/ineffably dry humor for the most part.
  • Penn & Teller
  • Jake and the Fatman.
  • Gilligan... the Skipper too.
  • Nico and Grady from Sonny With A Chance.
  • Filmations Ghostbusters (the original live action series) featured two gangsters called Fat Man and The Rabbit in the episode, "The Maltese Monkey." This example goes one further in that The Rabbit is played by dwarf actor Billy Barty.
  • The Doctor Who episode "A Good Man Goes to War" brought us the thin and fat (and tall and short) gay married Anglican Marines. The characters themselves claimed that with a title like that, they don't even need names.
  • Noah's Arc: Alex and Noah when they're seen one on one; their personalities also fit the silly vs. Straight Man (no pun intended) qualities of the trope.
  • Presumably the Spanish-language show El Gordo y la Flaca.
  • Penhall and Hanson toward the end of their partnership in 21 Jump Street.
  • R.J. and Miles in The Hard Times of RJ Berger.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Crow is all articulated lamp arms, and Tom Servo is barrel-shaped, literally.
  • David Mitchell and Robert Webb - one bit, for instance, has Rob mocking David for asking whether a shirt made him look fat.
  • James Corden and Mathew Horne, in Gavin and Stacey and "Horne and Corden".
  • Shultz and Klink from Hogan's Heroes
  • Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter, although Andy Richter is the straight man.
  • UK 1980s comedy duo Syd Little and Eddie Large (not their real names).
  • Bert and Al from Doc Martin. Bert being the short Fat Idiot and his son Al is the sensible Straight Man.
  • From Heroes, Hiro is short, goofy, optimistically idealistic, and a little on the chubby side, while his best friend Ando is more serious, worldly, and taller and thinner; they're only rarely seen apart from each other. They seem to be on equal footing as far as intelligence goes, though, and take turns being the one who actually comes up with an idea.

    Music 
  • Williams and Ree.
  • The faces of Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page and Ed Robertson.
  • Insane Clown Posse, Violent J (fat) and Shaggy 2 Dope (skinny).
  • Johns Linnell and Flansburgh, pretty consistently throughout their career. Linnell has always been terribly scrawny, whereas Flansburgh has evolved from being ridiculously buff to rather pudgy, and of course several inches taller. Inverted, however, in that Flansburgh is the idea man, while Linnell broods in the background and plays music, sometimes on stage when you poke him into it.
  • Tupac Shakur and The Notorious BIG, when they were friends.
  • Trout Fishing In America has 7-foot, moderately built Keith Grimwood and 5-foot-5, thicker-built Ezra Idlet.
  • Twiztid from 1997 until 2012 was identifiable thusly: Jamie Madrox was the fat one, and Monoxide was the skinny one. However, Jamie lost a lot of weight and is skinny now.
  • Flo and Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) of The Turtles and Mothers of Invention fame.
  • Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and Papas. (a rare female example)

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Radio 
  • The Navy Lark has skinny and vulture-like C.P.O. Pertwee and Able Seaman "Fatso" Johnson who often pair up on nefarious schemes with poor Johnson usually the butt of the joke or Pertwee's fall guy.

    Theater 
  • Finians Rainbow has Shears and Robust. The former is tall and lean, the latter short and squat.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • One of the main characters in Furthia High is Bruce, a fat red fox, whose best friend is a skinny rabbit named Campy. Both are friends with the last human in the world.
  • Jack Delitt and Mortimer Jones from Newheimburg
  • The first two trolls in "Tails Gets Trolled" are a particularly hilarious example
  • In Sinfest, two bullies like this show up to harrass Crimney.
  • Schlock from Schlock Mercenary and whoever he's pairing off with at the time. The only thing concrete about this is Schlock being the fat one (unless he's with Brad, Elizabeth or Chisulo), since with Schlock's partner almost always being an officer there's the almost inevitable clash of Schlock's street-smart quick-wittedness vs the partner's genuine (although not always particularly great) intelligence.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • G. K. Chesterton saw St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi this way, since, though they never met, they would have been perfect foils for one another—the one big, slow, methodical and focused on his books, the other skinny, active, fiery and not prone to reading. He compared them to both Falstaff and Slender and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

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