Number Two for Brains
Chris: I realized while I was watching this today that Otis is basically the Silver Age Harley Quinn. And you donít like her, either.
David: I at least understand why the Joker would keep a stupid sycophant around.Number Two (slang noun): Played for Laughs and a sure sign that the guy in charge is truly Surrounded by Idiots. Compare Brains and Brawn, where the (possibly) stupid sidekick doesn't hold a position of authority. See also The Dragon, The Lancer, Number Two, The Igor, and Pointy-Haired Boss. May be The Starscream, but is virtually never Dragon-in-Chief — unless his boss is even more of a dingbat. Very often falls under Dumb Muscle. Contrast Hypercompetent Sidekick, which often diametrically inverts this trope by being paired up with an inept boss instead.
ExamplesAnime and Manga Film
- Dark Helmet from Spaceballs is none too bright. He is also really short.
- Dark Helmet's own Dragon, Colonel Sandurz, is arguably an inversion of this trope, as he seems to often be the only one with half a brain in the whole Spaceball fleet.
- Ironically, Helmet is still smarter than his own boss, the President.
- Kronk in The Emperor's New Groove. One of the most lovably stupid lackeys of all time.
- Otis in Superman.
- Hedley Lamarr's flunky, Lyle, in Blazing Saddles.
- Wendell in Tricky People
- Sergeant Colon in Discworld, in Guards! Guards!. Maybe not actively stupid, but certainly not bright and on top of things. He makes a great on-the-streets copper on account of his experience and gut instinct, but is a disaster as Captain in The Fifth Elephant.
- In Weeds, U-Turn spent a great deal of time chiding his friendly but incompetent underling Marvin, eventually pushing him over the edge.
- Moriarty in The Goon Show is the dumber member of the (usually) villainous duo, with Grytpype-Thynne as the brains.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves gives us Harry Flynn, who pulls a Face-Heel Turn early on, and demonstrates an outstanding lack of common sense more or less continuously, as well as deduction and decryption chops that would not shame a watermelon (although it's a bit unfair when the competition is Nate Drake). Sadly for him, the Big Bad is also a Bad Boss.
- Tropico gives us Penultimo, your second-in-command who is utterly loyal but not too bright.
- In Biker Mice from Mars, given the limited budget available to him from the council of Plutark, Greasepit was probably hired by Limburger primarily because he was cheap. It's sure as heck not because of any competence on Greasepit's part. A flashback shows that Greasepit got the job because he had a good agent or at least that was Karbunkle's excuse for not getting anybody better.
- Beast Wars: Scorponok fits this trope to a T. He was really kind of an idiot; really the only things he had to his name were his loyalty and some surprising talents with inventing (though when his inventions went wrong, they went wrong). To be fair, his loyalty certainly was a commodity what with the likes of Terrorsaur and Tarantulas on board.
- Since his selection is limited, The Brain from Pinky and the Brain has to rely on Pinky a lot in his schemes. This is frequently their undoing — almost as frequently as Brain's own overconfidence.
- South Park features Mimsy, sidekick to Nathan. Occasionally subverts it by being a little more sensible every now and then.
- Larry, Rippen's loyal but not evil ally in "Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero"