Gratuitous Animal Sidekick

"The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites."
Mr. Incredible, defending an In-Universe fictional Team Pet.

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 Wiki has Tropey the Wonder Dog.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Not to be outdone, Batman had Ace the Bathound back during the Silver Age.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • Thoroughly lampshaded, spoofed, gnawed on, buried and piddled on by Discworld's "Gaspode the Wonder Dog."

    Live-Action TV 

    Western Animation 
  • Formerly named after the original Wonder Dog in the first Super Friends.
    • Gleek in the Zan and Jayna episodes of the Super Friends.
  • Spoofed mercilessly on The Incredibles DVD, in which a small rabbit named Mr. Skipperdoo is added to the badly-animated cast of the fake cartoon "Mr. Incredible and Pals". Even the supers hate the idea, as evidence in their commentary on the cartoon:
    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.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Happy Days, the Fonz had 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) was technically their superior, but they never listened 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.
  • When Timmy Turner from The Fairly OddParents 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're adding a fairy dog to the show. Don't you believe? They quickly became The Scrappy with their 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.
  • Thundercats had Snarf.
  • The animated series based on The Ghostbusters had Slimer fill this role.


Alternative Title(s):

Wonder Dog