Talker and Doer

A variety of two-person ensemble where one person has technical or artistic expertise but lacks social and commercial skills to advertise them, while the other, though lacking geeky know-how, has a silver tongue and a keen profit sense. They are partners who bicker a lot (especially about the Doer's habit of "Doing It for the Art") but grudgingly acknowledge needing each other.

Compare Odd Couple and Odd Friendship.


  • Extraordinary Measures: Dr. Robert Stonehill is the doer as the Insufferable Genius who is developing the cure for Pompe disease; John Crowley is the talker as the CEO of a company he created to cure said disease. Since the movie was Based on a True Story, this crosses over to Real Life, except that Stonehill was the Composite Character of several researchers.
  • Ratatouille. A rat who can cook but can't be understood by humans teams up with a human who can't cook. Played with in that the human isn't really a very competent Talker either, saying things like "Appetite is coming and he's going to have a big ego!", but the rat needed anyone who could get him into a kitchen because he couldn't on his own.

  • From The Vorkosigan Saga, Mark Vorkosigan, the business genius and Dr. Enrique Borgos the Escobarran scientist who was going to be sent to prison for his debts (he didn't really understanding how selling stocks works). Together they are trying to market "butter bugs" which produce a nutritious and fairly inexhaustible supply of "bug butter".
  • In The Fear Index, Dr Alex Hoffman is a technical genius who has invented a whole new way of automating finance but is generally introverted and awkward, while Hugo Quarry is a fast-talking, profit-headed business genius with no technical knowledge at all.

Live-Action Television
  • Chemistry genius Walter White and amoral attorney Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad. Walt makes the world's best meth; Saul hooks him up with a distributor and money laundering services. (Walt tried this earlier with Troubled, but Cute Jesse Pinkman, but Jesse proved to be as bad at selling as he is at everything else...)
  • This comes up a lot in murder-of-the-week Police Procedurals. The victim will be the one who made stuff (the doer), and the partner will by the one who made the company run (the talker). Or less often, vice-versa. Either way, the still-living partner will say that s/he doesn't know how the company will be able to survive without the dead partner (when the partner isn't the Perp).
  • Hank and Evan Lawson in Royal Pains. Hank is a great doctor, but isn't very willing to sell himself. Accountant Evan declares himself "CFO of HankMed," and handles the business and marketing side of Hank's concierge doctor services.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Quark is a schmoozer and dealmaker, while his brother Rom is very good at fixing things. The relationship between the two is what causes Rom's son Nog to join Starfleet as he doesn't want to be left exploited and miserable like his father.

Video Games
  • Master smith Wade and merchant Herren from Dragon Age: Origins.
  • Apparently this is how Kanako and Suwako the two goddesses of the Moriya Shrine from Touhou work. Kanako is the one doing all the planning, strategy, and advertising to gather faith, while Suwako is the one doing the heavy work.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple. Not quite as clear-cut as the description might imply (they both had technical skills), but basically, Wozniak was the doer — plenty of technical knowledge but little interest in marketing — while Jobs was the talker — he had the vision and the ability to market the new company.
  • Similarly, Bill Stealey and Sid Meier, founders of MicroProse: Stealey handled administration and marketing while Meier coded their first games.
  • DeviantArt, by jark (Scott Jarkoff) and spyed (Angelo Sotira). Sadly, this time it didn't end well.
  • Penn & Teller have built their entire careers out of this, exaggerated to the point that Teller never talks on stage.