Hyper Competent Sidekick

aka: Sidekick Ex Machina
"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 is 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 his 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 Hypercompetent 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 Hypercompetent Sidekick wields more actual power than his or her boss, it's an Almighty Janitor. If The Dragon is a Hypercompetent 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.

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 
  • Make a Wish gives us Henchgirl, who works 'for' the Professor. (They actually both have doctorates; they flipped a coin to see who would be the Professor and who would be the henchman, because in their view someone has to be the henchman.)
  • Subverted in the Deliver Us From Evil Series. Davy Wiggins is the Hypercompetent Sidekick of an equally Hyper Competent Hero, Sherlock Holmes. Later on in the stories, Wiggins is the Hypercompetent Sidekick to Dr. Watson - the two men are shown to be equally clever.
  • Played with in another Sherlockian example, A Study in Regret. Mary Watson plays the Hypercompetent Sidekick to Inspector Lestrade, proving herself to be very handy in languages and other areas. In this sense, she plays the trope straight, especially as Lestrade is The Hero. However, the men definitely defer to Mary "Pintsized Powerhouse" Watson as the real authority.
  • In Of Gods And Men with a couple of bribes of apple pie, Light gets Ryuk to fly all over Great Britain searching for Horcruxes.
  • Kit Bennett, PHD. in Children of Time: she's not much the leader type (just like her dad, she has no problems with following someone else's lead), but she's got a Time Lord's brain.
  • In Mega Man Recut, Proto Man is this to Wily. It's lampshaded frequently.


     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.
  • "Commander" Jeremy Wickstrom in Chad Vader. Although he is a little off as well.
  • Phelous and The Cinema Snob gained this role in Kickassia.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s):

The Radar, The Shego, Sidekick Ex Machina