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Cloudcuckoolander's Minder

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"No", the most valuable word in the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder's vocabulary.

"I won't pretend I don't remember how unusual we were
The little mystic, and his handler. All some children do is work."
Dessa, "Children's Work"

Bob is a bit off. He might be a helpful member of The Team, but his habit of breaking into song and dance, or his obsession with rulers, or insisting that he carry a carrot of no less than 6.12 millimeters (and no longer) in length at all times, or saluting whenever the air temperature drops below... you get the idea. Put simply, he's hard to understand, talk to, or otherwise work with for everyone except his (long-suffering, but inexplicably loyal) friend Alice.

This trope is about someone who has the task (be it as a friend or their actual job) of keeping an eye on the resident Cloudcuckoolander, Fish out of Water or other strange person. They might be a close friend, relative, hired bodyguard or nanny or even just a plain old servant. As long as they accompany someone who's a bit crazy and try to prevent things from getting out of hand, they're this trope.


Services this minder can provide include:

Of course, since there needs to be a plot (or at least some gags), Failure Is the Only Option. If the person in question is dependent, then this is The Caretaker. Expect their roles to be reversed at least once.

Related tropes include Straight Man, Beleaguered Assistant, Nerd Nanny, Battle Butler, Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, Old Retainer, Only Sane Man, Only Sane Employee, The Caretaker (who looks after someone who wouldn't look after themselves), Living Emotional Crutch, Translator Buddy (a friend who translates for him), The Reliable One, and The Friend Nobody Likes (if watching over that person is a chore). See also Women Are Wiser and Parenting the Husband, for when a wife plays this role to her husband.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Several characters are burdened with this unfortunate task in Attack on Titan:
    • Moblit Berner may be deputy squad leader, but he has to make sure his superior Hange Zoe doesn't get into harm's way. An exasperating duty to say the least since Hange is one of the more colorful members of the cast, especially when it comes to hands-on Titan experiments. Word of God is that Moblit is the heaviest drinker in the series.
      Hange tries touching a partially formed Titan arm.
      Hange: OW! Son of a BITCH! That mother is HOT when there's no skin!! THIS IS THE BEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE!!!!!
      Moblit: You're a maniac! You hear me?! A maniac!
    • Anka Rheinberger is this to Commander Dot Pixis. Apparently, she has had to wake him up while he's sleeping in strange places before, and at one point she's said to be withholding his alcohol so that he stops drinking on the job.
    • As it turns out, Bertolt Hoover tries to act as one to his childhood friend, Reiner Braun, after he begins cracking under the pressure. Namely, he struggled to cover for Reiner's bouts of Trauma-Induced Amnesia or remind him of his true nature during critical moments. He ends up failing spectacularly, as a result of his submissive personality and inability to stop Reiner from plowing ahead recklessly on several occasions.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, it's often left to poor Germany to look after the other members of the titular Axis powers. His hands are usually full with whatever idiocy Italy has gotten into, but he also does his best to get Japan into shape to face off against the Allies. China tries to be this for his many siblings, but he ends up treating them as children so they don't take it kindly (except for South Korea which is just...weird).
    • In Hetaween 2011, Ukraine is this to Poland. She succeeds rather easily in a task that even Lithuania has difficulty with.
    • Latvia often serves as a grounding influence to the extremely plucky, somewhat deluded Cheerful Child Sealand; he tries to warn him of the dangers of becoming a country, and at one point calls to make sure he doesn't "do a stupid thing" when he goes to talk to the new micronation Wy. Unfortunately for him, Sealand isn't the best at listening to his elders.
    • England at one point has a dream where he goes crazy trying to keep America away from dangers like poisonous plants, snakes, and lizards in Africa, and he's relieved that none of it really happened when he wakes up. But then America shows up for real...
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • Chiyo-chan is one of these to Osaka. Particularly amusing since the former is much younger than the latter.
    • Yomi could be considered one to Tomo, though Tomo isn't quite as loopy as Osaka, and Yomi is just as likely to let Tomo get herself into trouble as she is to hold her back. Their interaction is more along the lines of manzai comedy though.
  • A much more serious version shows up in Berserk with main female lead Casca. The horrific events of the Eclipse left her a nearly mute Ophelia, and she has to be watched at all times to keep her out of trouble. Farnese is currently her primary caretaker.
  • In Castle Town Dandelion, this is often the role of Shiori to keep her chuunibyou older brother Teru out of trouble.
  • Cecile Croomy, the Beleaguered Assistant to Lloyd Asplund in Code Geass, also serves as his minder in all things professional and social, since he has no interest in doing so himself, preferring his Humongous Mecha.
  • In A Cruel God Reigns, Pascal often ends up being this for Marjorie, as he is the one that she lives with mixed with the fact that he is her older cousin. Nadia sometimes also fills this role.
  • Word of God says that Death Note's Mello plays this role to some extent or another to his companion/assistant, Matt, "always looking out for Matt's well-being." It's probable that the reverse is also true since Matt seems to be much more level-headed and even-tempered than Mello.
  • Free!: Though Haruka is much quieter and more solitary than most cloud cuckoo landers, his lack of common sense when it comes to water and the way Makoto tries to take care of him definitely puts them into this sort of relationship.
  • In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class Mizubuchi is this to the art club president Awara. She even lampshaded it once, noting that she has a friend who she always needs to take care of.
  • Even if Haruhi Suzumiya hadn't been a Reality Warper, Kyon's life would have been a lot easier if he hadn't met the titular character to begin with. But instead, he allowed himself to be forced into her self created club to search for aliens, time travelers, ESPers, etc. and keep her entertained.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler Sharna Alamgir was, according to the mangaka, created to play the Straight Man to Fumi Hibino's goofball character and basically exists to provide snappy comebacks. It must be a bit hard for her since she is a foreign exchange student herself.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! has this as its core dynamic in the film club. Midori and Tsubame are boundlessly creative and borderline prodigies in animation, but they're also impulsive and childish and tend to let their creativity get the better of them. On the other hand, Kanamori has no art skill, but is grounded, shrewd, and forward-thinking. This means that her "producer" role often involves wrangling Midori and Tsubame so that they can actually finish their projects instead of sitting around brainstorming.
  • In Kill Me Baby Sonya is this to her classmate Yasuna Oribe, who's always coming up with new (and stupid) ideas. The problem being that Sonya also happens to be a short-tempered, violent assassin...
  • In the second season of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Yuta becomes this for Rikka. It's noted by the other characters that even though they're a couple, their relationship looks more like that of a parent and child.
  • The title character of Magical Sempai has her Assistant. He's less enthusiastic about stage magic than she is, but he's much better at it, and often has to bail her out when her magic tricks go awry.
  • In My Hero Academia, Itsuka Kendo is the one who most often takes on the duty of handling Neito Monoma when his rabid rivalry with Class 1-A gets the better of him, usually with a Dope Slap. When she's unavailable, her classmate Awase takes over battering Monoma into submission before he can get too far ahead of himself.
  • Poor Keith in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! has to constantly follow around his (wo)manchild older sister or she will absolutely destroy the dignity of herself, her house and everyone around her. Catarina doesn't even understand that she's being a hassle to those around her.
  • In One Piece, the main job of the Straw Hats (particularly Sanji, Nami, and Usopp) seems to be acting as this for the rest of the crew (mainly their captain Monkey D. Luffy).
  • Sorata to Mashiro in The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, the latter being an Idiot Savant. When she lived in Britain, it was Rita who acted this role towards Mashiro. In-universe, they refer to it as "Mashiro Duty"
  • In Pokémon, Pikachu often acts as this role in comparison to his other party members eccentricities to the point where he's become the Only Sane Man of Ash's team in XY and Sun and Moon. Mallow plays this role amongst the main cast of Sun and Moon, especially when dealing with Lana's bizarre stories, Togedamaru's antics and Rotom's....detective failures.
  • At least part of Kenren's job in Saiyuki Gaiden is to make sure Tenpou can function in the real world and not get buried under mess, though it is a voluntary aspect of it.
  • To some extent, Tsubaki to BlackStar and Liz to Death the Kid in Soul Eater. Yumi to Marie, as well, when she has to talk her hopeless romantic friend out of marrying...a toilet. And finally, Marie to Stein but in a much more serious way. She can snap him out of his insanity-induced rampages due to her ability to absorb and nullify Madness.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo! series where she exists, Kiyone Makibi is this for Mihoshi Kuramitsu.
  • Aoi to Hayana in Twinkle Saber Nova.

    Comic Books 
  • In Transmetropolitan the Filthy Assistants - Channon Yarrow, an ex-stripper-nun turned bodyguard, and Yelena Rossini, a chain-smoking would-be writer - are this to gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem.
  • In The Sandman Barnabas the Dog is assigned by Destruction to accompany and watch over his sister, Delirium.
  • Tim Drake and Wally West (to name a few) are this for Bart Allen
  • In ElfQuest: Jink, Kullyn Kenn gets assigned to alien envoy Firstborn Newbreed, who (initially) sees nothing wrong with telling humans to their faces how ugly they are, for example.
  • Deadpool:
    • Bob, Deadpool's CIA handler in Deadpool MAX. In addition to doing the parts of the job Deadpool is too insane to do and keeping Deadpool focused on the mission, Bob is essentially the only reason Deadpool is willing to do the job in the first place. In this continuity, HYDRA is a figment of Deadpool's psychosis. Part of Bob's job is to exploit this by maintaining the façade that he's a former HYDRA agent and the targets selected for Deadpool to assassinate are all high-ranking HYDRA operatives.
    • Then there is Cable, who often serves as Deadpool's minder in the regular continuity.
  • Brainy Smurf from The Smurfs sees himself as this to the other smurfs. Bad thing, even if he is right (and sometimes he is)... he's also an Insufferable Genius, so the other Smurfs usually ignore him at best or get frustrated with him at worst.
  • Verity Willis became this pretty fast for Loki in Loki: Agent of Asgard; the guy/gal is perfectly capable, but has a mile-wide trickster streak (they are Loki), from a penchant for over-convoluted plans, to general trolling, and puns of varying painfulness.
  • Jughead from Archie Comics. Archie's girl-craziness, crazy schemes, and clumsiness would land him in even more trouble if Jughead wasn't always watching his back and trying to keep him out of trouble. He's practically Archie's keeper. He also sometimes played this role to Betty during her pre-Character Development years when she was kind of a ditz.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Pepper is this to Tony, though most of the Avengers end up performing this at some point or another. This is very much required because Tony is brilliant, but he's also thoroughly eccentric, easily distracted, and has a somewhat limited sense of self-preservation.
    • By the sequel, Harry has examples in both Bucky (bodyguard/mentor) and Carol (close friend and absolutely-definitely-not-girlfriend until chapter 46, after which she's absolutely-definitely his girlfriend), who temper his habit of finding and jumping straight into trouble, his occasional eccentricity, semi-self destructive tendencies, and general habit of leaping without looking. Jean-Paul also sort of qualifies, but he mostly functions as the Only Sane Man bemoaning the antics of his friends.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Both Germany and Japan are this to Italy. However, Japan is a lot nicer about it than Germany is.
  • In Bird Taylor usually falls into a role like this. Mimi, Elle, and Taylor end up forming a violent, spacy, and sane trio as a result.
  • Obi-Wan and especially Mace Windu take turns acting as this to Qui-Gon in Star Wars: Lineage. Given that Qui-Gon is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and Cowboy Cop who's always treating the rules as optional, Mace, as leader of the Jedi Council, and Obi-Wan, as the guy who usually has to help clean up Qui-Gon's messes, spends a lot of time facepalming.
  • A recurring joke in Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium is that Hawke needs Varric to be this for him, reminding him to do things like put on pants. Hawke is implied to mostly be of the "purple" personality.
  • Moss Man and Evilseed were this to Razzuma, aka Madame Razz, in Yin-Yang back when they were a singular being who embodied all of Eternia called Arbutus, as he kept her from going too far in her Mental Time Travel and helped her stay anchored to the present. After Mara sent Etheria out of Eternia's system, she had no one to keep her on track and is a lot more senile in present day as a result.

    Films — Animation 
  • Nani is this to Lilo in Lilo & Stitch. When Social Services threatens to separate them, she explains that she's the only one who can understand Lilo's actions.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ben Stiller's Steve Arlo is explicitly stated to perform this role for Bill Pullman's Daryl Zero in Zero Effect.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, the rest of the cast take turns minding Jack Sparrow with varying degrees of success.
  • Subverted by Norma Desmond's butler Max in Sunset Boulevard who enables her delusions of grandeur.
  • In Rogue One, Baze Malbus seems to feel like this when he's paired with Chirrut Imwe.
    Baze: There are no Jedi here anymore. Only dreamers, like this fool.
    Chirrut: The Force did protect me.
    Baze: I protected you.

  • Discworld
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths: Mildmay to Felix in Melusine.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward's mother Muellen is a mix of a Cloudcuckoolander and The Ophelia. Her lady in waiting doubles as her minder. Ciarra, the Cute Mute daughter of Muellen, also has a lady in waiting who makes sure she looks representable at important occasions, as Ciarra Does Not Like Shoes, and isn't very concerned about combing her hair, either. Ciarra is actually sixteen but acts more like twelve.
  • In Harry Potter, Ginny sometimes ends up like this for Luna — notably during Luna's first appearance, where Ginny convinces everyone that Luna's okay, just rather odd. Fits in, as Ginny was Luna's pretty much Only Friend.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • Beetee appears to serve as this to Wiress in Catching Fire.
    • From the same series, Finnick Odair could count like this to Annie.
  • Jeeves to Bertie in Jeeves and Wooster. His mission in life is to make sure that the young master stays unmarried and out of trouble and doesn't leave the house wearing anything too ridiculous. For all his oddities, however, Bertie is fond of "the quiet life", and if anyone's the king of Zany Schemes, it's Jeeves. Bertie also sometimes plays this role for his crazier friends, Bingo Little in particular.
  • Journey to Chaos: A Mage's Power: It would seem that the major job duty of a Dragon's Lair lieutenant is babysitting their eccentric captains so they don't do something silly, stupid, or dangerous. Jemas, for instance, has to make sure Hasina doesn't pass her experimental remedies and Butterfly runs all over the city making sure her captain doesn't Jump Scare random people.
  • The whole premise of Of Mice & Men revolves around Lennie and George as (mentally handicapped) Cloudcuckoolander and minder, respectively. While Lennie's quirks land them both in hot water and drive long-suffering George up the wall, George cares deeply about Lennie and ends up shooting him dead rather than let him die at the hands of a lynch mob.
  • In Radiance, Cynthia Brass was assigned to follow Anchises around and make sure he does the job he was given. Her boss even describes it as assigning him a nanny to look after him. Cynthia herself isn't too pleased.
  • Dr. Watson acts as one of these to the eccentric and blunt Sherlock Holmes.
    • He's also the guy's only friend that he'll look out for when Evans shoots him. Cue panic attack and a calm, cold death threat.
    • Zig-zagged. While Holmes is eccentric and definitely doesn't suffer fools, we don't often see Watson having to intercede on Holmes' behalf to prevent a crisis, and Holmes is perfectly capable of taking care of himself in his solo outings. It's suggested that aside from genuine friendship, Watson serves as a sounding board for his thought processes, supplements his own investigative skill in his own way, and helps calm whatever disturbing/unhappy thoughts Holmes gets in his head that leads him to brood and cocaine use.
  • Cloak serves as this for Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy in The Supervillainy Saga. Cloak encourages Gary to act like a superhero rather than a supervillain but mostly ends up gently steering him against worse folk.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • The Immortals: Daine needs to watch Numair, despite his being the most powerful mage in Tortall.
    • Trickster's Duet: Nawat needs Aly to explain the inexplicable to him (like why breeding with her isn't a quick way to more warriors).
    • In "Elder Brother", Qiom needs Fadal (well, Fadala) to do the same, what with his being a former tree. It's even worse with Qiom, as some of the instinctive things an animal would do don't come naturally to him. His Minder needs to make sure he doesn't burn himself eating food too soon, or getting hauled up at the local temple for something equally (but obviously more disastrously) stupid.
  • The Wreck of the Mars Adventure by David D. Levine. The protagonist is freed from prison on the condition that he commands an expedition to Mars. One of his parole conditions is that he remain within a hundred feet of the scientist he's taking with him at all times. At first, he assumes the scientist is his jailor, but quickly realises it's because the man is so excitable and easily distracted he might get run down by a coach, fall into a canal or simply forget to breathe.
  • To his mild exasperation, Waver Velvet, now Lord El-Melloi II, has been given this role by the Clock Tower in relation to his bizarre student Flat Escardos. It's not that Flat's incompetent, oh no, it's that he doesn't have the slightest idea of how he does his reality-defying stunts, is utterly hopeless at magical theory, and is a perpetually-innocent teen trying to join a society of sociopaths. El-Melloi II is reluctant to pass Flat in his courses, since he doesn't like letting inexperienced mages out of his sight, but finds dealing with Flat's strange antics perpetually trying.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: Having the mind of a modern-day Japanese young woman and the body of a sickly young child living in medieval setting, Myne ends up with a few. Lutz, a family friend the same age of her, is the one who watches her and makes sure she doesn't exert herself when her family members aren't around. Benno, her mentor in the merchant trade and main business partner, spends a lot of time putting a lid on her poor grasp on the value of her creations and the fact that neogiciations work differently than what she's used to; without him, Myne would have accidentally disrupted the market by underpricing items that are luxury goods in the story's setting (but cheap and easy to find in modern-day Japan) and let herself be dragged in at least one bad deal.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: Penny, Leonard, and later, Amy often are this to Sheldon Cooper.
  • House was hardly the first time one of Hugh Laurie's characters needed one of these. In Blackadder the Third, Blackadder has to keep Prince George from putting his trousers on his head (not an exaggeration, by the way) and hates him for it.
  • Bones is a brilliant scientist, but finds social situations difficult and confusing (although it should be noted that her social skills do get somewhat better over time), so Booth often ends up in the role of her guide to the world outside the lab. Especially in the early seasons, he often interrupted her to prevent her from saying something too scientific or Brutally Honest to a witness or a victim's loved one.
    • This role could also go to Angela or Cam, who were both generally closer to earth than the other Jeffersonian staff.
  • The Burns and Allen Show: George Burns and Blanche Morton act as minders for Gracie Allen.
  • Community plays with this a lot, generally surrounding Abed. The group often has to help him, notable examples being Jeff promising to help him understand people, Annie explaining empathy, and Troy helping him function day-to-day. But seeing as Abed is so savvy and they are in a TV show, often the group needs him to explain or fix things for them.
  • Steve is this for Jeff on Coupling.
  • Sometimes, on Doctor Who, the companions are dragged into taking care of the Doctor!
    • One occasionally needed to be told that, for instance, "no, Doctor, you can't go investigating that dangerous abandoned city on a lark."
    • Peri was a more passive-aggressive variation for Six.
    • In the Made-for-TV Movie in which Eight appeared, his companion actually tried to dispense with all this rubbish and have him put in the psych ward (mostly because he tried to tell her about the imminent The End of the World as We Know It, although acting like a lunatic probably didn't help his credibility any). She also explained away his odd behavior to strangers as a result of his being British.
    • In Series 8, Clara Oswald tells several people that she is employed as the Twelfth Doctor's "carer", though sometimes Twelve is using the word in a different sense.
      Twelve: She cares so I don't have to.
    • "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror": Dorothy Skerrit is this for Nikola Tesla, notably being visibly dismayed early on when he ignores her silent suggestion not to talk about his previous claims he'd detected a transmission from Mars since it makes him look like a kook.
  • Following in the great Watson tradition, Joan Watson on Elementary. It is, literally, her job as a sober companion to rein in Sherlock's self-destructive tendencies. Even when she quits her job to become Sherlock's assistant/apprentice, she still keeps the role.
  • On Father Ted, Ted had to try and keep a handle on Dougal, who had a sort of... unique interpretation of reality.
    Ted: [holding plastic toy cows] These are small. But the ones out there are far away.
  • In Firefly, Simon serves as River's minder, emotional crutch, and protector.
  • Friends: Chandler is this to the child-like Joey.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Meera Reed to her brother Jojen. "Some people will always need help. That doesn't mean they're not worth helping." Although Jojen isn't exactly a cuckoolander.
    • Played with for Roose. He is a high-functioning sociopath himself, but he serves to rein in Ramsay's tendencies toward averting his Pragmatic Villainy. When he is murdered by Ramsay, the latter's unrestrained sadism leads to the end of House Bolton.
  • Get Smart: Agent 99 varied between this and The Watson for the Bunny-Ears Lawyer secret agent Maxwell Smart. Naturally, they ended up getting married.
  • On Girl Meets World, Maya is this to Riley's Cloudcuckoolander.
  • In Glee, Santana sometimes functions as this for Brittany early on, but it's increasingly revealed that Brittany's actually mostly capable of taking care of herself, and their relationship becomes more equal over time.
  • A dark version in the second series of Horatio Hornblower. Doctor Clive is quite aware that Captain Sawyer is losing his mind and becoming incapable of command. However, he refuses the lieutenants' pleas and demands to actually declare him unfit because he and Sawyer are longtime friends and instead tries to mitigate Sawyer's madness by holding down his paranoid impulses through calm tones and laudanum. Unfortunately, being high on an opiate doesn't help much, and no matter how much reason Clive tries to bring, Sawyer's authority as a captain at sea gives him the power to make any decision unchecked.
  • House: As befits their status as expies of Watson and Holmes, Dr. Wilson generally serves as this to Dr. House. Dr. Cuddy also served as one of these until leaving the show for the final season.
  • The whole gang is this to Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, especially Ted.
    • Ted and Lily both tend to play this role for Marshall at times too.
  • Every main character in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has taken this role towards another main character and vice versa, with resident full-time Cloudcuckoolander Charlie being the most common recipient.
  • Deconstructed with the main pair of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Detectives Goren and Eames. His unorthodox but effective methods paired with her simple practicality make them a fantastic team, but their partnership is implied multiple times to limit Eames' potential for upward career movement, and in one episode she is shown to be resentful of being considered nothing but the brilliant Goren's sidekick even though she's actually the senior partner. In addition, if Eames is absent for any extended period of time, Goren takes it very badly.
  • On Leverage, Sophie often serves as a minder for Parker, usually by giving her advice on how to survive in social situations and act like a normal person while trying to pull off a con. However, all the team members become minders for Parker at one point or another.
  • Dani Reese is this for her partner Charlie Crews in Life.
  • In The Mentalist, Agent Lisbon is this to Jane. It should be noted that Jane is not a genuine Cloudcuckoolander, being perfectly aware of his actions and their consequences. Nevertheless, Lisbon still tries to rein him in and contain the potential damage his never-ending psychological games cause.
  • The title character of the TV show Monk, who suffers from OCD, employs a helpful companion (Sharona in early seasons, then Natalie). She hands out sanitizing wipes, does all manner of dirty work, explains his odd mannerisms to others, and generally runs interference between him and the world.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks performs this role for Mrs. Davis in some of the latter's zanier moments.
  • Turk occasionally serves as this to JD on Scrubs but most of the time he just joins in on JD's antics. Carla, on the other hand, usually serves as this to everyone.
  • Floyd Robertson is a very begrudging one on SCTV to his co-anchor on SCTV News, Earl Camembert. Floyd hates Earl's guts and will loudly and proudly proclaim that to his face, but he still works to keep Earl in line.
  • John to Sherlock on Sherlock, even more so than the original Watson. He spends a lot of time apologizing for Sherlock or translating his behaviour.
    Sherlock: [accepting present from client without unwrapping it] Diamond cuff-links. All my cuffs have buttons.
    John: [to client] He means: "thank you".
    • An even better example was when Sherlock launches himself into investigating the kidnapping of two children with his classic enthusiasm for harrowing mysteries:
      John: Having fun?
      Sherlock: [grinning] Starting to.
      John: Maybe not do the smiling thing: kidnapped children?
      Sherlock: [composing face into an appropriately serious expression] Hm.
  • In Supernatural, Meg becomes this to Castiel after he absorbs Sam's psychosis towards the end of season 7. Once the boys get him back out of the mental hospital, Dean takes on some of this role.
  • On The X-Files, Scully acts as this to Mulder after being assigned to debunk his work. It's a twist on the arrangement, however, since Mulder is not a Cloudcuckoolander in the traditional sense. While he does believe in what he's telling superiors or local law enforcement, his reaction to their negativity is to act like he's nuts. He knows darn well nobody will believe him and that there are more tactful ways to get his ideas across, he just doesn't care. There are times where Scully calls him on it, but she still continues to work damage control so he (and by extension, she) doesn't get fired.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Scott Jagged Parker is this to his 3.0 teammate "Big Magic" Shane Matthews, since he's usually the mellower member of the team.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Ork Weirdboyz, the psychically receptive members of the Orkoid species whose barely-understood innate psychic powers make them, as the name suggests, a bit weird. By Orkish standards anyway, since they usually prefer to run away from the heavy fighting that makes their brain hurt rather than towards it as a sane Ork would. As such they are usually accompanied at all times by two or more "minderz", unimaginative, no-nonsense Ork thugs whose job it is to keep the Weirdboy from doing anything too outrageous or running away when his mind blasts are needed in battle. This was the case for the tabletop game up until the 3rd edition, where the minders were represented with models and effectively fired the Weirdboy like a living weapon. In the current rules the Weirdboy has been safely escorted to the battlefield already, and the build-up of psychic energy has sent him crazy enough that he has given his minderz the slip and started to bounce around unpredictably on his own.
    • The Necron commander Nemessor Zandrekh, and his long-suffering aide-de-camp and enforcer Vargard Obyron. Zandrekh is a consummate tactical genius who was instrumental in promoting his dynasty's fortunes during the ancient Necron civil wars. Unfortunately, his cognitive processing circuits were damaged during his long hibernation into modern time, and while his genius is undimmed he can't tell the difference between the present and the past anymore (more of a problem than it already implies, as it has been more than sixty million years since the Necrontyr Wars of Secession and the subsequent War in Heaven between the Necrons and their C'Tan masters and the Old Ones and their creations the Eldar and the Krork), believing he's still fighting the civil wars against rival dynasties whatever new enemy he comes up against. Obyron, on the other hand, is perfectly aware of the situation, but as an indentured subordinate, he was programmed for absolute loyalty to Zandrekh and so has to make the best of things and sort out any anomalies caused by Zandrekh's delusions. Usually, this involves making sure that "honored prisoners" kept alive by Zandrekh according to ancient rules of engagement are conveniently disposed of via "little accidents" or "while they were trying to escape", and occasionally intervening scythe-first if any of the other nobles in Zandrekh's court are feeling rebellious.

    Video Games 
  • DuckTales Remastered: Discussed during some of Scrooge and the triplets' dialogue. When Scrooge tells Webby she needs to stay behind to watch the boys, Huey, Dewey, and Louie protest. Scrooge tells them to give him this one as he will already be having enough trouble watching over Launchpad and he doesn't need watching Webby on top of it.
  • A more serious version appears in The Suffering, where there's an Escort Mission (optional, but you'll need to complete it to get the best ending) that involves guiding around a drugged-up, traumatized teenager who's so out of it he thinks you're his father.
  • In Fallout 3, you essentially serve as this to Moira Brown when you're doing her (exceptionally long) quest chain to gather data for writing a survival guide. You can even talk her out of pursuing said dream (but only if you're feeling cruel).
  • At least some of the cast of BlazBlue try to keep Taokaka out of trouble when they can (particularly her progenitor Jubei, his student Ragna and Tao's more level headed Cool Big Sis and mentor Torakaka, and occasionally, her 'very good friend' Litchi).
  • Dragon Age:
    • Herren from Dragon Age: Origins is one to his boyfriend Wade.
    • In Dragon Age II, Varric serves this role for his older brother Bartrand, who lacks social skills. Later, he also serves this role for Merrill as she tries to adapt to life in the city.
      • Both examples get played more seriously after Bartrand goes insane from the Lyrium Idol. If spared, Varric is forced to commit his brother to an asylum for the rest of life. To a lesser degree, if Hawke does not romance her, Merrill becomes increasingly obsessed with restoring the Eluvian, to the point where Varric has food delivered to her house since she's stopped going out and Forgets to Eat.
    • Varric shares this role with Solas in Dragon Age: Inquisition with regards to Cole, a kindhearted but troubled Fade spirit. Iron Bull, Dorian, and possibly the Inquisitor also apply to a certain degree.
  • At the beginning of Tales of Symphonia, Genis serves as this for Lloyd. Raine also takes this role with regard to Collette, to a degree.
  • In Portal 2, this is Caroline's relation to Cave Johnson.
  • Youmu Konpaku from Touhou often acts as this to her mistress Yuyuko Saigyouji. In a subversion, Youmu is a bit half-baked herself, while Yuyuko is actually smarter than she behaves. So whenever the two go out to investigate an Incident, Yuyuko will make Cryptic Conversation suggesting she's already figured everything out, which goes completely over Youmu's head. Presumably, Yuyuko plays along with this arrangement so she can mess with her servant.
  • After her Heel–Face Turn Viola tries to be this to the Boss in Saints Row: The Third.
  • The Engineer and Pyro, of Team Fortress 2, seem to be fairly close companions in the various comics. Though the Engineer isn't entirely normal himself, the Pyro is... well, the Pyro. Given that the two classes have a complementary playstyle in-game, this is likely intentional.
    • The comics also force Miss Pauling to mind the equally deranged Soldier. She is one of the only people shown who can keep a violent and impulsive moron like him in line.
  • Violet's secretary in Tekken Tag Tournament 2's Fight Lab.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: Alicia is this to Welkin. Played up even more in the anime.
  • Yosuke Hanamura from Persona 4 acts as this to Teddie, mostly to prevent Teddie's antics from ticking people off to the fact that the "mysterious foreigner" actually hails from an alternate dimension.
  • Hometown Story has Haruka be this to her mother Miyo, who regularly drops things without noticing and forgets important stuff at other people's houses. On one occasion, Miyo forgot to put her shoes back on before leaving.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, has one in his chamberlain, Haskill, who also doubles as the Only Sane Man within Sheogorath's realm, the Shivering Isles. Despite his best efforts, it is rather difficult to truly "mind" a god of madness. His assistance is instrumental in the main plot of Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion.
  • XCOM 2's Alien Hunters DLC reveals that the player Commander unknowingly served as this to head scientist Dr. Vahlen in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. When the Commander was captured by the aliens, Vahlen went into hiding and continued her research, only for her For Science! tendencies to compel her to create three incredibly powerful and dangerous alien "rulers," which predictably escape from her lab. She even laments that the Commander wasn't around to curb her enthusiasm.
  • Given the setting's preponderance of eccentrics, The Secret World has quite a few minders on standby.
    • The Stuart Twins are currently minders to Templar scholar Iain Tibet Gladstone. With Gladstone currently under house arrest after a long and disturbing series of practical experiments in the field, Catherine and Mary are there to help rehabilitate him, which usually amounts to ensuring that he's able to write, lecture and advise agents in the field without letting his obsessions spiral out of control; to whit, they keep him from drinking too heavily, ensure that his drug habit doesn't stray into more eldritch directions, politely remind him to get dressed, and ensure he doesn't leave the building.
    • Another example found in London is Callie James, the "squire" to John Galahad. At this point, nobody knows if Galahad is really an Arthurian knight turned Fish out of Temporal Water, or if he's just insane; in any case, given that both of them are homeless, it falls to Callie to look after him as any good squire would, even though he doesn't have any battles to fight. As a result, she's entrusted with bailing him out whenever he gets in trouble with the Templars, holding his hair out of his face when he's had too much to drink, and getting rid of lit cigarettes when he finally passes out.
    • Annabel Usher serves as both deputy and minder to Headmaster Hayden Montag of Innsmouth Academy. Despite his undeniable expertise in magic and impressive administrative abilities, Montag is almost completely clueless when it comes to social matters, and it falls to Usher to keep him from accidentally offending people - or terrifying them witless with his fascination for all things morbid. Plus, his propensity for monologues will occasionally require Usher to helpfully steer him back in the direction of a point. Played much more darkly in the intro to "To Sir With Love," in which Usher has to keep Montag from killing himself in an attempt to stop a wraith loose in the academy.
    • Harumi Nakahara serves as this to her big brother Yuichi; with the already socially-awkward young man having been driven to a nervous breakdown by his disastrous time with the Fear Nothing Foundation, Harumi now has to care for him as best as she can - especially given that both their parents have died in the aftermath of the Tokyo Bombing. Among other things, she cooks his meals, she reminds him that he's safe, and she keeps him just sociable enough to say hello to visitors. For good measure, Harumi notes the irony of having to look after Yuichi when she's almost as eccentric as him.
    • Played very darkly in the case of Adrian Zorlescu and Rada Nastase: both are members of the Morninglight, and Adrian has been specifically assigned to keep Rada from running off and potentially revealing the truth behind the cult to outsiders. As such, most of Adrian's time is spent keeping Rada sedated with booze and pills, ensuring that the already drug-addled heiress can't reveal anything incriminating to guests, much less run away. Worse still, her sober moments are spent being menaced by Adrian into pretending to be happy around strangers - and occasionally pleading for someone to put her out of her misery.
  • In Disco Elysium has a downplayed example with Kim Kitsuragi, the Player Character's partner. He is mostly content to let the player character indulge in his various crazy impulses and weird behavior, because — as he comes to admit after only seeing him in action for a little while — they tend to be surprisingly helpful in furthering the investigation. That said, he will also occasionally try to rein him in if the player goes out on a tangent he thinks either is too time-consuming or otherwise doesn't appear productive in pushing the investigation forward, and he will especially protest if the detective do or try to do something violent. He will also often act as a walking disclaimer for the detective's various political opinions, butting in on conversations to explain to the interview subject that his views doesn't represent the RCM's official views.

    Visual Novels 
  • The main characters in the Ace Attorney series tend to be this to their sidekicks (at the very least they occasionally manage to prevent them from doing something stupid).
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Emi Ibarazaki is the one who understands Rin Tezuka's odd trains of thought better. Also, if you make Hisao pick Rin as his girl, he'll fit in here as well. Actually, Hisao is a deconstruction of the trope. In Rin's path, as poor Rin falls into depression and insecurity since her art is becoming popular but she can barely handle the huge attention and pressure on her, Hisao's own emotional stability will be put through the grinder as he attempts to help Rin but he can barely do so. If you pick the wrong options, this will lead to them breaking off their relationship and to the Bad Endings: either Hisao gets fed up with Rin's erratic trains of thought/behavior and breaks up with her after a fight in her atelier, or Rin willingly and tearfully breaks up with him before she leaves and enrolls in an art school in Tokyo.
  • In CLANNAD, Tomoya Okazaki becomes one to Kotomi Ichinose, who is very intelligent but doesn't seem to grasp that, no, you can't cut pages out of library books.

    Web Animation 
  • Church could be seen as this to Caboose in Red vs. Blue. He's entered Caboose's mind a few times, and also seems to be the only one who knows how to get results from Caboose, either through manipulation or genuinely getting through to him.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Seth towards Alex. Although its more like Heroic Comedic Sociopath's Minder, because he tries to keep Alex from going off the deep end, but usually ends up getting involved with his antics anyway.
  • In Les Kassos, agent Scoully is one for agent Muldor, obviously, trying to defuse the latter's obsession with Alien Abduction. And making sure he's taking his medication.
  • SMG4's Mario Bloopers
    • SMG4 and Luigi generally have to play this role to Mario, who's interpreted in the series as a violent, ignorant Psychopathic Manchild. SMG4 is generally the more successful of the two due to being more aggressive, but given how Mario acts, it's no surprise that one of the most common lines you'll hear from SMG4 during these moments is an aggravated "Goddammit, Mario!".
    • In sister series Guards N Retards, Chris takes the role of reigning in Swagmaster when his goofball antics start being a danger. He will let Swagmaster off the leash when his more violent impulses would be beneficial for the situation at hand.

  • Credenza of Archipelago to Blitz. Apart from having his undying loyalty and friendship, she essentially acts as his caretaker, often telling him to "put down that shiny" and the like. When things get Darker and Edgier, she comforts him when he begins to be tormented with nightmares of his past and forgotten life. He also pines for her when she's not there, goes into a panic attack when she's in danger and essentially devotes himself to her.note 
  • Raizel of Noblesse whenever Frankenstein loses his s**t & summons the Dark Spear.
  • Louise of Miscellaneous Error spends most of her time trying to keep her brother, Jack, from killing himself or anybody else.
  • Lucas and Lilah in Ctrl+Alt+Del both fill this role for Ethan.
  • In Grey is..., White is very much this to Black, especially in the flashbacks to 2 years ago where we see a depressed anorexic Black who is only really happy when White is there to distract him. Even in the present time, it is up to White to help keep Black from freaking out when he loses focus and can't remember things or when his boss starts nagging him.
  • Copernicus winds up being this to Fletcher on occasion in Antics. Sometimes.
  • In Scandinavia and the World, Denmark is childish, tactless, accident-prone, and usually drunk, and prone to freak out when left alone or in the presence of nature. It's usually up to Norway to extinguish his hair, placate the person he's offended, or just give him a hug.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Haley Starshine is the one to take this role most often with Elan, both before and after they're in a relationship. She knows him well enough to include an "Elan tax" in the shopping budget.
    • It turns out the apple didn't fall so far from the tree, as Elan's evil father's teammates occasionally act as this for him, especially Malack. Tarquin is dangerously competent when he's on his game, but is also a story-obsessed narcissist who'll go to absurd lengths to control "his" narrative. According to the author, it's no coincidence Tarquin gets more and more unhinged following Malack's demise.
    • Nale, Elan's twin brother, is constantly forced to babysit his Dumb Muscle Bumbling Sidekick Thog, as despite being a powerful fighter who'll kill anyone on command, Thog is otherwise a big kid in an adult's body and requires constant supervision. Case in point:
      Thog: oh, little ice-cream friends! Thog delays boredom-driven rampage only for you!
    • Bozzok acts as one for Crystal, the Thieves Guild dumb-as-rocks assassin. When Haley kills Crystal, he has her corpse made into a self-aware golem; one of the benefits of is in that state, she's now more focused and less likely to get distracted. Unfortunately, for him, this also fills her with constant pain, and keeps her smart enough to realize who is responsible for her misery.
  • In Blood Stain, Serge acts as this for Absent-Minded Professor Dr. Vladimir Stein.
  • Megatokyo: Piro is this to Largo, translating his l33t sp34k when necessary and trying to rein him in from trouble. Lately, however, Erika has been taking over the job—when she's not just running with the madness.
  • In Girl Genius the best minions make it a point to keep the Sparks they work for/with from getting to the "My God, What Have I Done?" stage.
  • Bad Moon Rising has Persephone playing minder to her Cloudcuckoolander older brother Hyacinth. An argument could also be made that Chloe is this for Madison.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Tuuri is this for Lalli, explaining to him why he has to do certain things, and that some of his behaviour is rude. In addition, she's a literal Translator Buddy as he doesn't share a language with anyone on the team besides Tuuri herself.
  • In Snowflakes, Sloan is this to Wray, the Chuunibyou bully of the orphanage. However, once Wray, Greg, and Glory set out for El Dinoroboro, Greg ends up in this position instead.

    Web Original 
  • Apollo believes he is this to Thalia in Thalia's Musings. Thalia disagrees. Apollo's been appointed official caretaker of the Muses, so technically he's this to all of them. It's just that Thalia causes the most trouble.

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • Being the only person who gives him any change, The Critic has basically put himself in charge in Chester. Seeing as how Critic isn't all there either, this can cause problems.
    • Played darker in the review of Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer, where, to keep him behaving and to stop his crazy bothering people, Malcolm put a chill pill patch on Critic. Tamara thinks it's disgusting, but taking the bolt off unleashes all his crazy.
  • Agents of Cracked has Dan hired to be this to Michael, an Idiot Savant who is completely insane and is implied to have caused the deaths of his last eight partners but keeps his job because his articles (even if he writes them five minutes before publishing while asleep) are popular. Subverted in that Dan has no ability to keep Michael under control, as he just does what he wants anyway, and Dan undergoes considerable Sanity Slippage himself as a result.
  • Achievement Hunter's Michael and Geoff mind Gavin. This happens more so during videos than in real life, although it has been known to happen in their day-to-day lives, as well.
  • Trixie Mattel is this to Katya in their web show UNHhhh.

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien gives King Julien two minders. He would have run the kingdom into the ground if not for his advisor Maurice trying to keep him under control and would have gotten himself killed long ago if not for his bodyguard Clover trying to keep him safe.
  • Animaniacs:
    • Pinky and the Brain. The Brain's schemes to take over the world would run much more smoothly if he didn't need to play this role for Pinky.
    • Rita plays this role for Runt. The parallels with Of Mice & Men are so obvious that they once did a Whole Plot Reference cartoon.
  • On Archer, Lana is this to resident Cloudcuckoolander (and possible undiagnosed autistic) Sterling Archer, which she realizes to her horror in "Coyote Lovely":
    Malory: ...But now I'm stuck with [this] because you couldn't control Sterling!
    Lana: Since when is babysitting Archer my j— oh, my God, that's exactly my job.
  • This is Mulch's job on Dragons: Riders of Berk — keeping an eye on his brain-damaged friend Bucket.
  • DuckTales (2017): "The Ballad of Duke Baloney!" introduces Zan Owlson, who takes over Glomgold Industries after Flintheart went missing during the events of the season one finale. When Glomgold gets his memory back and takes back his company, Ms. Owlson becomes the new CFO and basically ends up as Glomgold's babysitter. She frequently tries (and fails) to keep Glomgold from embarrassing himself in public and/or spending too much of the company's time and money on hair-brained, needlessly-complex schemes to get back at Scrooge McDuck.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Edd is this to both Ed and Eddy. Well, at least he tries. Sometimes swap with Eddy when Edd's Control Freak tendency goes out of control.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • Mac serves as this for his imaginary friend, Bloo. Normally he'll engage in fun activities with Bloo, but he'll be the voice of reason when Bloo is going too far and will even make Bloo apologize and make things right if need be. To a lesser extent, he can be this to the other imaginary friends as well.
    • Frankie generally fills this role (except for some rare OOC episodes where she was just as cloudcuckoolander as the other residents).
    • Mr. Herriman also fills this role for everyone, including Madame Foster. Invoked somewhat - unlike most of the imaginary friends, Madame Foster is the one who created Mr. Herriman in the first place, possibly for this exact purpose.
  • Futurama:
    • Leela is this to Fry (being his boss) for the first few episodes. After that, he adapts and stops being a Fish out of Temporal Water, though she still takes on this role from time to time.
      Leela: Once and for all, Fry, even though it's the future, most objects are still just objects, not aliens who look like objects.
      Fry: So my efforts to establish diplomatic relations with the Cactus People were doomed from the start.
    • The Planet Express crew frequently plays this role in regards to Professor Farnsworth. Left to his own devices, he probably would have destroyed the Earth, or worse.
    • Kif is this to a T to Zapp Brannigan, despite not wanting to be, although he can't bring himself to stop. In one of the comics, he becomes extremely depressed when Zap gets a new toady (and goes into an Unstoppable Rage when said toady is manipulating Zap).
  • On Gravity Falls, Dipper is a mild example for his twin sister, Mabel. While she is an independent and pretty stable girl, her wild enthusiasm can get her in trouble. One example is when in her determination to get Soos a date, she harassed several women in the ladies' room with a megaphone to get to date, forcing Dipper to intervene when security arrives.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Yumi serves as the voice of reason to Ami.
  • Inspector Gadget is such an extreme Cloudcuckoolander that he requires two minders: his ten-year-old niece Penny and his mute but intelligent dog Brain.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo is this to Stumpy, although she herself is a bit of a cloudcuckoolander.
  • In The Legend of Korra, the mild-mannered Zhu Li, ostensibly Varrick's assistant, mostly serves as one of these. Sort of, anyways; despite appearances, Varrick himself is extremely intelligent and a master of Obfuscating Stupidity. A Book 4 side/subplot expands her character and explores Varrick's dependency on and appreciation for her and concludes with their wedding.
  • Bugs Bunny in The Looney Tunes Show. When the series begins, this is his dynamic for Daffy. He manages to pass that duty off to Tina, only to end up as Lola's minder.
  • My Little Pony:
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sean and Sidney play this role to the eccentric Jet, often trying to prevent him from revealing his alien identity and blend into Earthie society.
  • Regular Show: Especially earlier on, Benson acts as this for Pops, translating his flowery language and reminding him that you pay for things with money, not lollipops.
  • Sharon Marsh is pretty straightforward when it comes to her husband Randy's Cloudcuckoolandings in South Park, with Stan often sharing this role.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, the titular character was this often to his best friend Patrick in earlier seasons. While he's not the sharpest guy around himself, he's way more realistic and level-headed than Patrick.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, secondary protagonist Marco Diaz was introduced to Star for the explicit purpose of being her guide on Earth. Both "School Spirit" and "The Bananagic Incident" shows exactly what happens when a Fish out of Water armed with real magic is left to her own devices.
  • As seen in Total Drama Island and Total Drama World Tour, this is Noah for Owen and Izzy, the campers most likely to get themselves into trouble due to their skewed mindset (though more Izzy than Owen) and, ironically, the ones he is closest to and always supporting.
  • Cyclonus of Transformers: Generation 1 is usually the one charged with keeping Galvatron's violent, manic impulses in check. He once tried get his psychopathic leader psychological treatment, but, predictably, this ended in failure.
  • Sylvia of Wander over Yonder is this for Wander.
  • Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons usually have Rabbit in this role.
  • On Young Justice, Klarion has Teekl. Teekl is a cat.
    Klarion: This isn't T. O. Morrow!
    Sportsmaster: Klarion, this is Professor Ivo.
    Klarion: I didn't order this! Send it back!
    Teekl: [purrs]
    Klarion: Morrow's in a coma? Did I already know that?

    Real Life 
  • James Hutton, the geologist responsible for putting forward an important aspect of plate tectonics, was known for having very strange speech patterns, which made his papers unreadable. When he died, a friend of his (who knew what he was on about) rephrased things for him.
  • The late Wesley Willis had quite a few of these over the years, but Jello Biafra and Henry Rollins are the most well-known.
  • Billionaire Warren Buffett can get lost in his own world and needs people around him to remind him to take care of himself. In fact, his relationship with Astrid, his second wife, began after he'd separated from Susan, his first wife, who asked Astrid to occasionally check on Buffett out of concern that her estranged husband would simply forget to eat and damage his health.

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