Playing With / Non-Action Guy

Basic Trope: A male counterpart to a female adventurer that is a total wuss.
  • Straight: Bob frequently tags around the Action Girl Alice on her various adventures, but he's useless in a fight and seemingly has no reason to join Alice.
  • Exaggerated: Bob is a totally pathetic and useless guy who never helps Alice and hinders her quests more than the villain(s).
  • Downplayed:
    • Alice is the superior fighter, but Bob can hold his own in a pinch.
    • Bob does not fight in combat. Instead, he is a sniper who assists Alice by shooting down several enemies while Alice handles the rest.
    • Bob is a Technical Pacifist who only uses violence as last resort which is to say, only occasionally.
  • Justified:
    • Bob has other skills whose values are not immediately visible. Or are immediately visible, but are unrelated to combat.
    • Bob and Alice are in a relationship, and both enjoy the time together, whether Bob is of much use or not.
    • Alice is Bob's bodyguard. If she wasn't more capable of protecting him than he was of protecting himself, it would defeat the entire point of having a bodyguard.
  • Inverted: Bob is a Badass Bookworm adventurer who is constantly having to bail Alice, a Faux Action Girl, out of trouble.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • It is made explicitly clear that the asskicking was a one-time thing and was Bob's fight-or-flight response working.
    • It is then revealed that Alice doubles as Bob's Living Emotional Crutch to keep him as his "typical" quiet Lovable Coward self.
  • Parodied: Bob is completely incapable of doing anything, and would lose a fight to a malnourished three-year old.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob starts out as The Load, until Alice gets tired of him and leaves him. But then Bob returns after becoming a better fighter, that is, until he suffers severely from The Worf Effect, but Alice decides that she likes him anyway.
  • Averted: From the outset, Bob is established as having at least some fighting ability.
  • Enforced: "This is the 2000s, so people are expecting a female hero with a useless male sidekick!"
  • Lampshaded: "Alice, this is your new partner, Bob. He's...well, he does...OK, he does nothing."
  • Invoked: Da Chief, seeing that Alice is heading towards Cowboy Cop territory, intentionally gives her a useless partner to rein her in.
  • Exploited: The villain(s) constantly attack and kidnap Bob, knowing that he can't defend himself.
  • Defied: After a few adventures in which he only survives by the skin of his teeth, Bob decides to Take a Level in Badass.
  • Discussed: "As long as we take out Alice, we won't have to worry about anything — Bob is worthless."
  • Conversed: "Do you notice those shows where the girl is badass and the guy is totally useless?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Having to both save the world and rescue Bob all the time puts an undue amount of strain on her - this causes her to leave the hero business for good.
    • Alternatively, Alice realizes that Bob is useless and abandons him at the first convenient opportunity.
    • Bob knows he can't fight, but feels like he'll never be respected unless he's part of the action. Because of this, he tries to hold off The Dragon, who kills him with no more effort than it would take to swat a fly.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice enjoys keeping Bob around because she's taken a shine to him, or he helps her keep a sense of perspective.
    • Bob can contribute in other ways.
    • Bob may have been killed, but the research he left behind proves crucial to Alice's quest, and the desire to avenge him keeps her focused and motivated.

Back to Non-Action Guy
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PlayingWith/NonActionGuy