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Bumbling Henchmen Duo

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What's better than a Laughably Evil antagonist? Two Laughably Evil antagonists working for a not so harmless one or an intimidating one, of course!
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A Bumbling Henchmen Duo is a pair of baddies on the trail of the protagonists. They typically work for the Big Bad or some other antagonist as their Bumbling Sidekicks, serving to add a dose of comic-relief while still committing acts of evil...if they're capable of it. In other works, they are independent villains, and (especially in Lighter and Softer, kid-oriented works) they can even be the main antagonists, forming something of a Big Bad Duumvirate. They will usually be a Goldfish Poop Gang on the bottom of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, but sometimes they are revealed to be Not So Harmless Villains. In that case, the protagonists will eventually learn not to underestimate them, and their more-evil master will find some use for them after all. They'll almost always be less scary and more comical than their master.

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They may have an Evil Duo dynamic (i.e. one of them being bossy, the other being dim-witted), but that's not always the case. Fat and Skinny, Brains and Brawn and other Duo Tropes also often apply to them. Punny themed names that tie the two together and highlight their silliness are a common way to spot this duo.

If they team up with their boss, they become a Terrible Trio. If there's even more of them, they are a Quirky Miniboss Squad. They are often the part of The Family for the Whole Family. Compare and contrast Bantering Baddie Buddies - although both tropes are about a humorous duo villains, the Bumbling Henchmen Duo is funny because of their incompetence, whereas the Bantering Baddie Buddies are usually dangerously competent, and the humor they provide comes from the clever conversation they engage in.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akazukin Chacha has Yordas and Haidenyans, two small men first introduced in Episode 23 to try to assist Daimaou and Sorges in defeating Chacha. They take up the role full time one episode later when Sorges defects, and prove to be just as unsuccessful in their jobs as he was.
  • In Brave10, there's Ichimaru and Niko, fairly ineffective ninja villains and comic relief who first appeared attempting to rape Anastasia during her introduction. They get their own omake segments at the end of every volume called "Ichimaru and Niko's Daily Grind" where they often end up complaining when they haven't appeared in the rest of the volume. They are absent from the anime adaptation, however, except for a brief cameo in episode five.
  • Gin and Vodka from Case Closed. Despite being responsible for the main character's... condition, they really don't seem all that bad. Then then they plant a bomb on a train in the manga (in the anime, it's two completely-unrelated men in black). They do get a lot more evil later on, however.
  • DokiDoki! Pretty Cure has the Selfish Deputies Leva and Gula who replace the Selfish Trio. Leva is the skinny guy with the brains, and Gula is the fat guy with the brawns. They are introduced together, summon Jikochuus together, fuse together and are killed together by Bel (the leader of the said trio).
  • Shin and Noi of Dorohedoro wear the same kind of black suits as the Pulp Fiction protagonists and like to have body count competitions. They're also surprisingly nice off the job and good-looking under those terrifying masks they wear. Due to Gray-and-Grey Morality, they are among the protagonists.
  • Cold-hearted assassin Kieth Baker and inept robber Sam Perkins in the Western manga Miriam. While they lack the duo dynamic usually present, and they don't usually work together, they fit the mold in a lot of other ways (like the customary occasional personality clash).
  • You wouldn't know it from looking at them (or listening to them), at least at first, but Walker and Erika of Durarara!! are absolutely terrifying. This is mostly because their dialogue primarily consists of anime and manga references, which would lead most people to think they're just kind of odd. Even better, their nerdy hobbies end up influencing their other hobby, so there ends up being quite a bit of dissonance between their relatively innocent love of anime and manga and their horrific threats.
    Erika: We'll torture you based on the plot to one of these mangas!
  • Kimba the White Lion: The goofy hyena duo Tom and Tab (Dick and Bo in the original) are in league with Big Bad lion Claw (Bubu).
  • Power Stone has the Canon Foreigners Octo and Pus, two bungling pirates who serve as higher-ups under Kraken but later defect to Valgas after Kraken's defeat, only to be forced to rejoin his much smaller crew in the end. Despite being cruel and petty jerks, they love doing dramatic poses, get side-tracked a lot, and often end up failing to capture the Power Stones in various amusing ways.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man's foes Styx and Stone (they'll break your bones!), Mr. P and Mr. Q, and several other Marvel Comics villains, like Knight and Fogg, Hammer and Anvil, Brother Power and Sister Moon, and the Brothers Grimm.
  • Transformers comics: The Battlechargers are an old example: Runabout and Runamuck, who mostly commit petty vandalism while giggling at everything. Many fans think they're the precursors to Beavis and Butt-Head.

    Comic Strips 
  • School bullies Derreck and Onion from Curtis, although while they frighten the protagonist and his brother, they're rather incompetent as bad guys otherwise.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami gives us the indominable Mukrezar, and his ever-attentive Imp Butler. Their subplot mostly involves Mukrezar comeing up with zany schemes that are as improbable as a pretty elf with long, luscious, lovely pink locks trying to brutally murder everyone and everything in sight (in an awesome manner). Oh, wait...
  • Code MENT gives us a pair of unnamed Britannian soldiers with the munchies who are so disengaged from their jobs that they don't even know what they're supposed to be doing most of the time.

    Films — Animation 
  • Pictured above are Pain and Panic from Hercules, a duo of dimwitted, cowardly spirits who fear Hades and serve him loyally, but with no real personal motivation in themselves. It is due to their incompetence that Hercules as a baby survives and keeps his Super Strength.
  • Horace and Jasper Badun from 101 Dalmatians are a pair of Stupid Crooks who serve as Cruella's henchmen, kidnapping the Dalmatian puppies for her.
  • Flushed Away: Spike and Whitey are two Punch-Clock Villain rats working for Toad. Spike is the short and angry one who is prone to suffering Amusing Injuries, whereas Whitey is the Dumb Muscle.
  • Luca: Played with, in that Ercole, Portorosso's resident bully and the main antagonist of the film, has a Fat and Skinny pair of toadies named Ciccio and Guido, and while he treats them as if they were bumblers they seem fairly normal - with most of the mistakes he chides them for outright being the result of Ercole's own abuse. The two of them eventually get fed up with Ercole's bullying and turn against him.
  • Mr. Bug Goes to Town: Swat the fly and Smack the mosquito are a pair of silly henchmen working for the film's Big Bad, C. Bagley Beetle.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Snips and Snails are this to Sunset Shimmer (in the first film, anyway). They're actually pretty effective, completing all the tasks they're assigned successfully (their only screwup is being too effective at trashing the preparations for the Fall Formal to frame Princess Twilight, meaning it almost gets postponed), but like to goof around while doing so and get on Sunset's nerves, plus they get caught up in the heroes' musical number at one point. After Sunset reforms, they make a fairly smooth transition back to regular students in later entries.
  • J. Worthington "Honest John" Foulfellow and Gideon from Pinocchio. They're a pair of con men who both like to get Pinocchio in trouble (such as performing for Stromboli and going to Pleasure Island). And they actually both get away with it! They have a classic Evil Duo dynamic, with Honest John being the clever, cunning boss and Gideon being the simple-minded, violence-prone sidekick; and though they are both funny, Gideon is the one doing the bulk of the bumbling.
  • The Prince of Egypt: Hotep and Huy are a Fat and Skinny duo of comical, bumbling priests working for Rameses. They try to intimidate Moses with their illusions, not to avail.
  • Robin Hood: Trigger and Nutsy, two vulture henchmen to the main villains Prince John and the Sheriff. Both of them have Meaningful Names: Trigger is a bit too trigger-happy and causes trouble by firing his crossbow too early, and Nutsy is not very smart.
  • The Rescuers: Brutus and Nero, the two Evil Minions crocodiles to Medusa, are scarier than typical of this trope, but they still have their fair dose of comedy, such as playing a tune on an organ in which the mouse protagonists are hiding.
  • Rio: Tipa and Armando, Marcel's comically incompetent goons who also fit Fat and Skinny and Salt and Pepper. Marcel remarks that his pet cockatoo and Dragon-in-Chief Nigel is ten times more intelligent than both of them combined.
  • In the Teacher's Pet Finale Movie, Mad Scientist Dr. Ivan Krank has a pair of Uplifted Animals, an alligator named Dennis and a mosquito named Adelle, as his underlings. Both of them are stupid as mud.
  • Vuk the Little Fox: The Hunter's two dogs (named Vahur and Fickó in the Hungarian original, Barney and Fido in the English dub) are trying their best to catch Vuk and protect the Hunter's livestock, but are always outsmarted and humiliated, becoming the laughing stock of the village dogs.
  • Wish Dragon: The Tall Goon and Short Goon that accompany Pockets are simple-minded, silly villains who only want to open a pet shop and become taller, respectively, in contrast to their menacing Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy boss.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bones (2001): Drug dealer Eddie Mack has a pair of dim-witted gangbanger henchmen who always appear together.
  • The Joss Whedon / Drew Goddard film The Cabin in the Woods has Hadley and Sitterson, who provide much of the film's humor as well as its most interesting characters. It helps that 1) they stand out as non-fighters who actually co-ordinate attacks from behind computer screens, 2) that they are witty and funny which, given their aforementioned lack of action jobs, they get to display on lots of occcasions, 3) they feel more like your typical run-of-the-mill work-place executives rather than the run-for-your-life senior executioners.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The two Vulgarian spies are the bumbling henchmen sent by the Baron to steal the car and kidnap its inventor. They keep messing up their mission, accidentally kidnapping Lord Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts instead of Caractacus Potts.
  • From Help!, there's the secondary villains Foot and Algernon, a somewhat bumbling mad scientist and his assistant who are out to get the sacrificial ring in order to Take Over the World... somehow.
  • The Wet Bandits in Home Alone are another duo of main antagonists who act on their own initiative rather than following orders and yet have contrasting looks and personalities. These Stupid Crooks' bumbling attempts to break into Kevin's house provide considerable comedy.
  • Leonard and Willie (Damon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison) in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka are two bad guys who work for Mr. Big and spend the movie trying to kidnap and murder, but they are mainly idiots. One is dumber than the other... but only slightly. They always end up getting beat up and having to decide between going out the window or down the stairs.
  • In Kaamelott: Premier Volet, slave merchant employ two not very bright Visigoth bodyguards, in the vein of Yvain and Gauvain from the series. One complains that one of his sandals has a hole in it, the other vaguely dog-paddles after a swimming King Arthur, and they both ask stupid questions.
  • The pirates Pintel and Ragetti from Pirates of the Caribbean, who happen to have good guy counterparts in the Royal Navy, Mullroy and Murtogg who are just as much twits albeit much more gentlemanly and well-behaved. By the third film, things become murkier, because while their personalities remain the same, Mullroy and Murtogg are enlisted with rest of the Marines into the new Big Bad's national-private army while Pintel and Raggeti work in the same team with the protagonists out of self-preservation.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Koopa's two main minions are a pair of cousins named Iggy and Spike, who are very incompetent due to their stupidity. Koopa uses his evolution ray to make them smarter, but this backfires when they get a Heel Realization thanks to their newfound intelligence and help Mario instead.

    Literature 
  • In the Extreme Monsters book series, Damon Christopher's main lackeys are Cletus and Clem Sline, a pair of not-too-bright brothers who have slime-based powers (earning them the nickname "The Slime Brothers") and frequently attempt to aid their boss in his schemes against the Extreme Monsters.
  • Harry Potter: Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle are Draco Malfoy's Dumb Muscle companions.
  • Pippi Longstocking: The two crooks Dunder-Karlsson and Blom often antagonize Pippi, but they are incompetent Harmless Villains who always get foiled by her.
  • Sneezewort and Lousewort from the Redwall book The Long Patrol are a pair of dim-witted and incompetent rat mooks in the Rapscallion army. They are unusual examples of this trope because they are just two of the many members of the army, so they don't have much direct interaction with their boss, Damug, at first. This changes later on when Damug appoints Lousewort as a scout group leader, leaving Sneezewort jealous (and out of focus for a while.) However, all the scouts except Lousewort later betray Damug. Damug realizes that Lousewort is incompetent but loyal and demotes him to his original position, allowing Lousewort to make amends with Sneezewort. After accidentally letting some prisoners escape, Sneezewort and Lousewort decide to abandon the Rapscallions and run for their lives. Fortunately, since Damug and most of his soldiers are killed in the following battle, the two rats survive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The King Loves has a pair of bumbling criminals who repeatedly cause problems for the heroes.
  • The New Avengers: In "The Tale of the Big Why", the Avengers find themselves alternatively pursuing or being pursued by a brains-and-brawn pair of thieves who do not even know what the MacGuffin they are trying to steal is: merely that it is extremely valuable in the right hands.
  • Maid Marian and Her Merry Men: Gary and Graeme are a pair of near-identical bumbling soldiers working for the Sheriff.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In All Elite Wrestling, we have the pairing of Daniel Garcia with veteran tag team 2point0. Garcia is a no-nonsense wrestler who despite his relative inexperience is clearly a star in the making. By giving him 2point0 as a pair of goofy handlers, Garcia not only gains a more comedic edge that significantly expands the number of storylines he can have without damaging his core character, but it also protects him in defeat by having 2point0's antics be a factor in any loss.

    Theatre 
  • The Fox and the Cat in the opera The Adventures of Pinocchio definitely qualify. Although a bit bumbling, and definitely comedic, their scenes can be intensely creepy. And also a bit something else. They might not kill anyone outright, as they're rather poor at their jobs and more tricksters than assassins, but they certainly make a good try at it. (Such as trying to lynch Pinocchio for the five gold coins he got out of sympathy from the puppet show owner.)
  • The "villains" in the Show Within a Show in The Drowsy Chaperone are a pair of identical gangsters who go around threatening people with baking-related puns, but they don't serve much of a threat or even affect the plot that much, serving only as comic relief.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead fame counted — they might not be straight up villains in Hamlet but they definitely qualify. In Hamlet, they are sent by the villain to kill Hamlet but repeatedly fail, and instead have a few mildly comedic exchanges before they are killed offscreen in a unexpectedly wacky moment involving pirates. They're always seen together.
  • A few William Shakespeare cases, especially the two killers sent after Clarence in Richard III, and Chiron and Demetrius in Titus Andronicus.
  • The First Man and Second Man from Kiss Me, Kate don't kill anyone on stage, but they are mobsters and they talk an awful lot.
  • Jasper In Deadland has the Norse Gods Hel and Loki, who are pretty bad at the capturing-Jasper thing, and their want for bloodshed plus being easily distracted makes them fairly easy to outmaneuver.

    Video Games 
  • Fantasy Life has Pierre (the brains of the outfit) and Butch (the Dumb Muscle Minion with an F in Evil), who are introduced trying to shake down Butterfly. They continue to be a nuisance throughout the first story-line quest, but after you save Butch's pet dragonling Chompy from being cursed by a Doomstone, they pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Thanks to bad translation of Reno's wisecracking, Reno and Rude became this in the English version of Final Fantasy VII. They were originally more of a Boke and Tsukkomi duo.
  • The mid-90s iteration of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? had this in the form of two klutzy janitors named Rick and Nick Ick, working for Carmen whom the player could sometimes see trying to clean up after a suspect passed through; usually with hilarity ensuing. They were usually a cue to the player that they were on the right track. They get apprehended along with Carmen during the final showdown between the A.C.M.E. good guides and Carmen herself at the end of the game, provided that the player is able to find her in time, of course.
  • Dr. Eggman previously had robot henchmen outside the games, but modern games starting with Sonic Colors gave him two henchman that were part of the Fountain of Expies. One is Orbot, a character who previously appeared in Sonic Unleashed that became a Breakout Character despite the lack of relevance. Another is Cubot, a square-headed robot. Both of these are also a Foil to each other; Orbot is patient and faithfully obeys Eggman whereas Cubot is talkative and lazy. In tradition to western media, they also made an appearance in Sonic Boom.
  • Exit Fate has Trevor and Sick who, despite having a case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, are always fighting together with whatever country Daniel is against. They never really serve as much of a threat to Daniel and his army... until Brunhild gives them demonic powers, at which point they stop being this trope and become The Dreaded.

    Webcomics 
  • El Goonish Shive: Sarah and Diane are implied to be this as members of Team Bad Guys, a blatant homage to Team Rocket during the Grace-A-Monsters arc; this is swiftly subverted as it's revealed that they're effectively paid cosplayers, sent out to provide easy battles for up and coming trainers.
  • Homestuck: Lord English's dimwit minions Eggs and Biscuits are hardly seen without each other. Probably because they can combine their abilities to make infinite copies of themselves.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!:
  • The reptilian bounty hunters Gannji and Enor from The Order of the Stick when they count as Punch Clock Villains. They are a Straight Man and Wise Guy duo, with the fast-talking, fast-thinking Gannji coming up with zany schemes to get money and the more brutish and simpleminded Enor carrying them out with his strength. They serve as antagonists to the Order when they kidnap them for bounty money, but their schemes are rarely successful, and tend to work out by accident if they do at all.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has Scratch and Grounder, Dr. Robotnik's incompetent henchbots, who would later become a Fountain of Expies for other such duos in the Sonic series. These include Sleet and Dingo, Decoe and Bocoe, and Orbot and Cubot (especially their TV counterparts as such).
  • Bump in the Night featured a pair of aliens named Sleemoth and Gloog as minor recurring villains, who would try to invade Earth in each of their appearances only to be humiliatingly defeated by Mr. Bumpy, Squishington, and Molly Coddle.
  • Cyberchase: Buzz and Delete are the Hacker's incompetent henchmen who are frequently shown arguing with each other and/or inadvertently messing up the Hacker's plans.
  • Darkwing Duck has two gangsters named Hoof and Mouth as members of Taurus Bulba's gang. They are a pair of goofy, Fat and Skinny incompetent goons wearing clowinsh clothes; Hoof is silent whereas Mouth is talkative, befitting his name. They tend to form a Terrible Trio with the far more competent goon Hammerhead, who is often annoyed by their silly antics.
  • Il était une fois...: Le Nabot and Le Teigneux usually play the role of a pair of comically inept antagonists, though due to the show using an Universal-Adaptor Cast, their specific role and threat level varies from episode to episode. They also fit Big Guy, Little Guy as well as Evil Duo: Nabot is small and cunning, Teigneux is big and brutish.
  • Invader Zim: Almighty Tallest Red and Purple. An interesting example, because they're technically the Big Bad Duumvirate, but since Zim is the main villain trying to take over the Earth they mostly just act as MacGuffins, exposition or comic relief.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The series introduces the first true antagonists in Pooh media: a Fat and Skinny pair of bumbling goons named Heff Heffalump and Stan Woozle, who are constantly trying (and failing) to steal Pooh's honey.
  • On The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, the Bully Brothers are the Hooded Claw's incompetent henchmen. Even when they do capture Penelope, she either escapes on her own or is rescued by the Ant Hill Mob.
  • Puppy in My Pocket: Adventures in Pocketville: Zull and Gort are two dogs of large breeds who are the incompetent lackeys of Eva. They often screw up while trying to act according to their leader's plans and even bicker with each other on occasion.
  • ReBoot: Hack and Slash are Megabyte's strong, but dim-witted and incompetent pair of henchmen.
  • Star Wars Rebels has Commandant Aresko and Taskmaster Grint, a pair of Imperial commanders whom the heroes keep outwitting. Of course, the Empire has no tolerance for failures, so the two are eventually executed by Grand Moff Tarkin and his Inquisitor.
  • TaleSpin has three examples:
    • Mad Dog and Dumptruck are two bumbling Sky Pirates working for the ruthless Captain Don Karnage. Mad Dog is the small, angry one whereas Dumptruck is the large, simple-minded one.
    • Colonel Spigot and Sergeant Dunder are the two most prominent military officers of the pseudo-Soviet state Thembria. Similarly to the above example, Spigot is short and bad-tempered, Dunder is large and simple-minded.
    • Trader Moe has a pair of Dumb Muscle goons, a gorilla and a rhinoceros. They get very little characterization, and aren't even named.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): Bebop and Rocksteady are two muscular, but dim-witted mutants resembling a boar and a rhinoceros, working for Shredder. Despite their hulking physique, they are typically easily defeated by the Turtles.
  • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo: Bogel and Weerd, a pair of bumbling ghost minions who bounce their services from demon to demon, but consistently mess up.
  • Tutenstein: Khesef and Sekhem are a pair of jackal-headed demons working for Set, the Egyptian God of Chaos. They both get treated badly for failing him, which they do constantly.
  • Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa: Boothill Buzzard and Saddle Sore are a pair of dim-witted thugs working for the Big Bad Duumvirate Terrorbull and Bulloney.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Bumbling Henchman Duo

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Armando and Tipa

Armando and Tipa are Marcel's comically incompetent goons who are quite dimwitted (especially in Tipa's case). It is best shown in this scene where they poorly try to cover up that Blu and Jewel escaped by painting two chickens blue. Marcel even remarks that his pet, Nigel The Cockatoo is ten times more intelligent than both of them combined.

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