Hyper-Competent Sidekick

"Itís like they did a show about Robin Hood, but Little John was the one who was really good at archery and took down the Sheriff of Nottingham, and also he used to bang Maid Marian."
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Smallville's Green Arrow

The underling who's much smarter, more efficient and more industrious than their (usually totally incompetent) boss, and is the one actually responsible for anything that gets done in the workplace. Despite the fact that they work their butt off for little pay and no credit, this person is generally pretty happy with the way things are. If they or the incompetent boss aren't the lead character, they'll often use their skills and position in order to help the lead character out. If their incompetent boss is the Big Bad, they're the right hand and act in the opposite manner to The Starscream even though they may have plenty of motivation to be one. They are often known for appearing right before they are called, always with whatever they were going to be asked to bring.

The greatest danger to the Hyper-Competent Sidekick is having a boss who is too stupid. Witness the relationship between Blackadder and Prince George in the third series of that show. The Prince is easily manipulated, but his sheer idiocy is forever landing himself and his butler into incredibly dangerous or difficult situations.

When the Hyper-Competent Sidekick wields more actual power than his or her boss, it's an Almighty Janitor. If The Dragon is a Hyper-Competent Sidekick who is more of a threat than the actual Big Bad and has little to no respect for the boss, then he's the Dragon-in-Chief.

When the boss is competent in his own right and/or when the sidekick actually enjoys being the underling, it's a Chessmaster Sidekick.

Frequently the Only Sane Man. See also The Alleged Boss, The Reliable One and The Jeeves. Contrast Bumbling Sidekick. Often the need to be hyper-competent is because the boss is a Clueless Boss.

This trope often walks hand in hand with The Creon, to explain why the character doesn't move up in the organization.

A character that would rather not be in this position is the Beleaguered Assistant (though there's probably some overlap).

Example subpages:

Other examples

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     Fan Fiction 


     Newspaper Comics  
  • Dilbert: Asok the intern is not only one of the best engineers in the office, he also possesses amazing mental powers, including pyrokinesis and shapeshifting. Despite his prowess, he is paid the least, works in an eighth-sized cubicle, and is rarely allowed to leave.


     Web Original  
  • Greasy, sidekick to Peeper at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, though with Peeper the bar is exceptionally low.
    • Mephisto claims that this was common for the Captain Patriotic / Kid Sidekick pairings that popped up all over the place during World War II, mainly because the 'superheroes' were usually the result of Super Soldier experiments performed by 'eccentric' but patriotic researchers under the control of the military. The 'kid' sidekicks were actually their handlers, and older than they appeared, as the whole purpose of setting these 'flag heroes' loose on criminals and saboteurs was to see if the test subjects could handle the stress of combat and covert ops without going berserk.note 
  • "Commander" Jeremy Wickstrom in Chad Vader. Although he is a little off as well.
  • Phelous and The Cinema Snob gained this role in Kickassia. They're not too happy about it.
  • In Red vs. Blue, while Church is the leader of the Blue Team, Tucker has far more plot influence and action the instant he picks up his sword. The only thing stopping him from stealing the spotlight is that Church keeps story focus. This eventually gets deconstructed. Tucker gets promoted to an alien ambassador while Church gets sent to a backwater canyon in the middle of nowhere. But it turns out that there's a good reason for that...
  • Yorks the goat-slug in Broken Quest is this to Big Bad Sid. A prime example in episode 3, when Yorks thinks a plan to set the heroes against centaurs and get them killed was a failure. It was a complete success as far as Sid was concerned, however, because his only real objective was to see if he could get the heroes to kill their own horses to substitute their hooves for the centaur hooves they were tasked to get.
    Yorks: Wait. You set up a fake boat business. Had me run it for a week, in disguise, to lead them to a sacred centaur hunting grounds all to... (calming breath) trick them into killing useless horses they already hated.
    Sid: Holy crap! It sounds even more gi-nees when you say it. Magic mirror, fat lady taking a bath.
    Yorks: But we helped them across the river! They're moving faster now on foot! what was the point of any of this?!
    Sid (No longer paying attention to Yorks): Oh yes, that's nice.
  • In Max and Matt's Bro-Ops Let's Play of Guacamelee!, Max plays as Juan, Matt plays as Tostada. Matt is much more competent.
  • The alternative scenes to Sage's Speed Racer review had The Other Guy shout at Critic that because Critic has kidnapping issues, he has to be the one to sort it out and provide bribes to the police.
  • Outside Xbox has a much-beloved intern for their GTA Online heists called Nerascus, who has a habit of waiting for the rest of the team at the dropoff point, having fulfilled his end of the heist long before the rest of the crew. He also has incredible taste in vehicle livery.

Alternative Title(s): The Radar, The Shego, Sidekick Ex Machina