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Living Emotional Crutch / Western Animation

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  • In Adventure Time's season seven premiere, "Bonnie and Neddy", Princess Bubblegum is revealed to be this to her brother, Neddy. Neddy is a reclusive candy dragon who is extremely sensitive and lives in fear of everything that isn't his sister ever since his birth. His only source of security is suckling on candy roots, and when he is deprived of secreting juice, she is the only one who can comfort him.
    • And while a bit more subtle, Finn the Human appears to be one for Princess Bubblegum. Despite the occasional trouble, she utterly views him as a paragon and her champion, with his presence allowing her to function more positively. He also seems to morally ground her and help keep her on the straight and narrow path. It's also a bit deconstructed since he always had romantic feelings for her and she seemingly doesn't return them. While them being just friends allows her to rule her kingdom more balanced, there's implications that she is not being honest with herself.
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    • Finn could actually be this also to Marceline though to a lesser extent since he helped her be a better person and reconnect with Simon AKA Ice King. While she doesn't show that strong of connection, Marceline's past hardships and difficulties seem to imply she does hold Finn closer than she may be aware of.
  • As Told by Ginger: Ginger appears to be one for Dodie, Macie, and Courtney. For example, when Ginger was considering switching schools Courtney fell into pieces. Miranda is this for Courtney too, as she considered Miranda her right hand; now that she's gone and dating Darren, Courtney feels lost and says she only has her left hand now.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Appa and Katara serve as this to Aang, to some degree, particularly in regards to his grief over the annihilation of his people, the peaceful Air Nomads (Appa is his only remaining link to his past while Katara gives him hope for the future).
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    • In "The Runaway" episode, it's hinted that Katara might serve as this to Sokka and even to Toph on some level.
  • Lydia is this (no pun intended) for Beetlejuice, who even states in one episode that "I can't live without you!" Of course, as he himself immediately lampshades, he's already dead. But he does have a difficult time functioning when they're apart, which is only exacerbated by the fact that she's also his Morality Chain.
  • On Daria, Daria and Jane have this toward each other. Daria is the weaker of the two, as seen in "See Jane Run" (Daria becomes isolated and starts Thinking Out Loud without even realizing it), but "Is It Fall Yet?" demonstrates that they both have a hard time functioning when the two are fighting.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Eds are this to each other, possibly due to the neighbor kids' neglect of them and all three of them having dysfunctional home lives. This is especially evident in The Movie: Eddy shatters completely and begins to cry for the first time in the series when Edd decides to leave him; Edd breaks apart when he thinks the other two died in quicksand (even putting aside his Neat Freak tendencies at that moment just to save them) and Ed's worst nightmare is all three of them falling apart. Really, they mean the world to each other.
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  • PJ from Goof Troop is a more passive example of someone who needed help, but he acts depressed (apathetic, distant, and moping) in the first half of the pilot, and only starts to smile in the second when he's around Max. He even explicitly states that the day of fun he's had with Max is the only one he can remember ever having. His misery is highlighted repeatedly whenever their friendship is in danger. Though he may become less dependent on Max after finding a Love Interest in An Extremely Goofy Movie, it's unclear whether she won't just replace him, and it certainly doesn't take immediate effect: when Max threatens to transfer schools, PJ relapses from his Character Development.
  • Fry to Bender in Futurama. It's to the point where Bender is no longer able to live alone and quickly stops drinking (the robot equivalent of getting blind drunk, since they're fueled by alcohol) if Fry pushes him aside.
  • Dipper and Mabel from Gravity Falls both have trouble coping without each other. Mabel is the more dependent of the two. Her world is so shaken by the possibility that they may be separated that she attempts to freeze time to prevent it from happening, inadvertently causing the apocalypse.
  • Arnold for Helga on Hey Arnold!, for being nice to her when everyone else in her life was neglecting her, as is readily apparent in "Helga on the Couch." Unlike most examples, however, Arnold and Helga aren't really friends; she's his Loving Bully, to which he's oblivious.
  • One episode of Jem has Rio being this to Minx. Usually he's annoyed by her romantic advances but after she nearly dies her personality completely changes and she's suddenly nice, though anxious and insecure. Her band kicks her out because they hate her new personality but she has nowhere to go and attempts suicide only to be stopped by Rio. She insists she has nothing to live for besides him and he feels incredibly awkward being her crutch. Thankfully at the end of the episode she gets better.
  • The eponymous Jimmy Two-Shoes is this to Heloise to an extent.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Kaeloo is highly dependent on her friends, especially Mr. Cat, and her entire life revolves around them. In one episode, all the characters play a VR game, and when everyone else quits and Kaeloo continues to play the game without them, she goes insane without their company and even tries to make Replacement Goldfish for them.
    • Mr. Cat feels the same way about Kaeloo, as his ideal version of the world is one where he and Kaeloo are the only ones who exist, her opinion of him matters to him more than anyone else's, and he once even claims that he "thinks about her day and night".
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • It is heavily implied that, at the end of the series, Korra has become this for Asami. After her father's Heroic Sacrifice in stopping Kuvira's giant mech from destroying Republic City, Asami mentions to Korra at a wedding that she couldn't have handled losing her father and Korra in the same day. From this scene it is implicated that Korra is Asami's main reason for living after the loss of her family. Although, their relationship in no way is portrayed as unhealthy as Korra is more than happy to be there for Asami - especially after all of the care, kindness, and warmth Asami showed her while she was recovering from her poisoning, PTSD, and depression.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Spike's life revolves around Twilight.
    • In "Owls Well That Ends Well" fear that he would lose his status as her Number 1 Assistant temporarily made him a villain.
    • In "The Crystal Empire part 2" his greatest fear is revealed to be her revoking this status and casting him out of Ponyvile because she doesn't need him anymore.
    • In "Spike At Your Service," Twilight gave him the weekend off, and he had nothing better to do than smell his feet.
    • Twilight Sparkle also revolves the majority of her life on the approval of Princess Celestia, her own greatest fear being her rejection. One instance implies Twilight may have gone completely insane without her and Spike's intervention.
    • Apple Bloom seems pretty dependent on her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders. In one instance where Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo suggested that they try out things on their own, she interpreted it as them not wanting to be friends anymore and fell into a downward spiral.
    • Fluttershy is the only character Discord seems to have genuine affection for, and was directly responsible for his reformation. When the main cast is later captured by a villain, Discord initially couldn't care less...until he's informed that this includes Fluttershy. Cue an immediate shift into Tranquil Fury.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: Stimpy is this to Ren, and without Stimpy around Ren would become completely and irreversibly Ax-Crazy and overcome by loneliness. In the very first episode, Stimpy leaves Ren (temporarily). Ren falls to pieces within the first five minutes.
  • In Rugrats Chuckie is this to his father Chaz. In one episode Chaz goes insane in a world where Chuckie doesn't exist. Although considering that Chaz already lost his wife and Chuckie is their child, this is very much justified. And heartbreaking.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Since Catra's steady Sanity Slippage begins accelerating after Adora leaves her and the Horde in the opening two-parter, we can probably infer that this was the case. Scorpia takes over later, but is significantly less effective, with her presence not doing much to stave off Catra's third-season Villainous Breakdown. And her departure setting off Catra's fourth-season Villainous Breakdown.
  • Steven Universe
    • Titular character Steven is the Gems' crutch, in which he's a deconstruction; its not exactly a good thing that he's in that position, as he's a young boy who begins the series lacking the means or the maturity to be a crutch for three thousands-year-old beings with a myriad of issues. He tries to help as much as he can, even if its mentally and emotionally unhealthy for him, with his position feeding into a Guilt Complex that causes him to often neglect the fact that he needs someone to help him deal with all the stress in his life.
    • Another deconstructed example is Peridot as Lapis Lazuli's crutch. Peridot makes it her job to keep Lapis happy no matter what happens, but this arrangement means Peridot's own feelings have gone ignored, Lapis's issues haven't actually been addressed, and when they finally have a major disagreement, they lack any ability to communicate about it.
    • Rose Quartz, Steven's mother, was this for the rest of the team, who even fourteenyears later are still very distraught about her "death."
    • Ruby and Sapphire initially come across as this. Ruby is especially distraught when forcibly separated from Sapphire, but both of them are simply determined to get back together and fuse back into Garnet. It's only much later in the show's run that they separate for a while in order to re-contextualize their relationship and they decide to try ceasing as this, but how much they’ve improved has yet to be seen.
    • It becomes very clear throughout season five that despite their dismissive attitude towards her, Pink Diamond was this to the other Diamonds. In fact, it's coded thoroughly into her character visually as well: Pink is the bottom of the Diamond symbol, Pink's ship is what holds up the others on the combined Mecha ship, Pink's actual brilliant-cut Gem is positioned on her body in profile, appearing triangularly with the flat side facing down, a shape that literally symbolizes stability. When Pink ceases to be around to bear their emotional burdens, the other three Diamonds' stability deteriorates rapidly, each manifesting this decline in different ways. However, it's made clear that Pink has been suffering in her attempts to keep their relationship with each other stable and everything she did for them amounted to nothing. It's only they realize that their abuse was one of the reasons she betrayed the Authority and admit how toxic their dysfunction is before her demise that they make an effort to better themselves and establish healthier lives without her.
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