"The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites."The insertion of an animal sidekick into a property that normally wouldn't be expected to have one. Often an example of Executive Meddling, particularly on Animated Series, in an attempt to have a Kid-Appeal Character. May be a Heroic Dog as well. Compare with Cousin Oliver, Team Pet. TV Tropes has Tropey the Wonder Dog.
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Anime & Manga
- Classicaloid: In a show about modern versions of composers, Hashie the (blue scarf-wearing) shoebill is completely unexpected.
- Superboy had Krypto in his Silver Age comics, who also appeared in the 1960s Superman/Batman animated series. In 2005, the Last Dog of Krypton made his move to center stage on TV in Krypto the Superdog. Recurring heroes were Streaky the Supercat and Ace the Bat-Hound. Robbie the Robin occasionally worked alongside Ace, being an animal sidekick to a guy who's usually an animal sidekick. Krypto also got a Shout-Out in one episode of Justice League (though it was All Just a Dream). Krypto himself has recently been reintroduced to the comics, and it works.
- Not to be outdone, Batman had Ace the Bathound back during the Silver Age.
- In Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne has a dog named Ace, but he's an Angry Guard Dog. Nevertheless he makes for a pretty good sidekick in the episode "Good bad dog". He also came in handy in The Movie, "Return of the Joker."
- The Fully Absorbed Finale of Batman Beyond in Justice League Unlimited gives us the possibility that Ace is named after a member of the Royal Flush Gang who died in Batman's arms. Since the Justice League Unlimited episode was the last thing to ever be shown of the Batman Beyond universe, it's still definitely a nod to the old Bat-Hound.
- Ace is pretty badass in Batman: The Brave and the Bold as well.
- A version of Ace appeared in the '90s Batman comics, this time as a seeing-eye dog Batman had inherited from a blind Native American medicine man. He mostly hung around the cave with Harold, Batman's mute hunchback assistant.
- In the ''Batman Unlimited" movies, one of the bad guys' horde of robot dogs gets reprogrammed, and eventually given the name Ace. While in modern comics and a show or two Bruce has a normal dog who is named Ace as a Mythology Gag, this is the closest you're ever getting in the modern era to the actual Golden and Silver Age crime-fighting version. What's cooler than a robo-dog sidekick? One that turns into a motorcycle, that's what!
- The DCnU has introduced Titus (Damian Wayne's pet Great Dane) and the Batcow.
- In one comic Ace was originally a viscous attack dog tormented by the Joker. He was called "Ace" for the sole reason to make the joke "Aces High" as he killed the other two dogs, a King and a Queen, by ripping their throats out. Obivously the only person that could rehabilitate the German Shepard was Alfred and that took several months and several uses of a dog bite suit until Ace gave Alfred his respect and started listening to him (shown with a simple "sit" command). Ace winds up becoming a part of the Bat-family as he eventually comes around to Bruce.
- In 1948, the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, was suddenly given a canine sidekick in Streak, the Wonder Dog. Not only did Streak share GL's title, but the dog actually became the top-billed star of the series! Streak also served as the prototype for DC's other, subsequent wonder dog (Rex the Wonder Dog), who would operate without a superhero partner.
- After being rescued from a band of grisly poachers, a white tiger named Ruarc becomes the loyal sidekick of Erin O'Shea, the hero and main protagonist of Shamrock.
- The Falcon has a pet falcon called Redwing that is psychically linked to him.
- Most adaptations ditch the bird but pay homage to him: the Redwing of TV and film is a remote-controlled spy drone (sorta bird-shaped but not the point that you'd mistake it for a real bird.) that comes out of his wing pack. In Avengers, Assemble!, "Redwing Mode" is when the entire wing pack detaches and is remote-controlled, though this of course leaves Sam himself grounded until he calls it back.
Films — Animation
- Spoofed mercilessly in the The Incredibles followup short film Mr. Incredible and Pals, a parody of '50s-'60s Saturday morning cartoons. It's a pilot to an In-Universe show about Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and Mr. Skipperdoo, a rabbit (who is original to the cartoon) that does nothing but bounce up and down. He annoys the real Mr. Incredible and Frozone in their commentary on the cartoon (which provides the page quote)
Frozone: And that rabbit is getting on my last nerve!
Mr. Incredible: The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites.
- Thoroughly lampshaded, spoofed, gnawed on, buried and piddled upon by Discworld's "Gaspode the Wonder Dog".
- One of the CBS Executive memos to the producers of Gilligan's Island was that Gilligan should acquire a pet dinosaur. Seriously.
- Punky Brewster got Glomer, a "magical friend from the end of the rainbow", in her Animated Adaptation. Never mind the fact that she already had her dog Brandon.
- The Robot Dog K-9 was a one-shot Doctor Who character who Executive Meddling made into a permanent companion, to serve as a Kid-Appeal Character and to hopefully make the tone of the show (as well as the personality of his owner, the Doctor) Lighter and Softer, as the show was being strongly criticized by Moral Guardians at the time for its Creepy Good hero and the Family-Unfriendly Violence. The character itself is quite enjoyable and well-liked, but was unpopular with the showrunners due to the means of its addition and the fact that the prop rarely worked.
- Formerly named after the original Wonder Dog in the first series.
- Gleek in the Zan and Jayna episodes of the Super Friends.
- The Fonz And Happy Days Gang:
- In this Animated Adaptation of Happy Days, the Fonz has a dog called Mr. Cool. Seriously.
- And in the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/The Fonz Hour, Mork got this pink six-legged alien dog-thing, and Laverne and Shirley were in the army with a talking pig. (We only know this from Retrojunk.com.) Sgt. Squealy (the pig) is technically their superior, but they never listen to him.
- No dinosaur (see Live-Action TV above), but Gilligan got a monkey sidekick in his Animated Adaptation, and an alien one when the Animated Adaptation was Recycled In SPACE.
- Nikko the Shar-Pei got shoehorned into this role for the New Kids on the Block cartoon.
- The Brady Kids gave the kids a whole menagerie of sidekicks: a dog, a magical talking bird, and a pair of twin panda bears. They made a cameo appearance in A Very Brady Sequel as a hallucination, and then an encore appearance in the credits.
- The first cartoon based on the Harlem Globetrotters features a Team Pet dog named Dribbles.
- The Fairly OddParents!:
- When Timmy Turner becomes his standard superhero alter ego, Cleft, Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof usually tag along as "Ace, Clefto, and Puppy Poof the Chin-Hounds", partly parodies of Batman and Superman's dogs.
- And, after trying the Cousin Oliver adding Poof (Cosmo and Wanda's baby) in season 6, they added Sparky the fairy dog to the show. Naturally, Sparky quickly became The Scrappy with His annoying voice and attitude.
- The animated version of Flash Gordon in the 1970s had a baby dragon called Gremlin that was a blatant attempt to appeal to younger children.
- The Real Ghostbusters: The animated series has Slimer fill this role.
- The crew of the Calico in The Godzilla Power Hour had a 30 foot tall mini-kaiju named Godzooky. In addition to Godzilla himself, of course.
- OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes parodies this with Rippy Roo, an adorable boxing kangaroo who's a member of the elite crime-fighting team, P.O.I.N.T. And then plays with it by showing that said adorable kangaroo was scouted for a reason.