Follow TV Tropes

Following

Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_2012-06-02-scriptfiller_6638.jpg

"Pichu's brother doesn't want him to get hurt. He's the smart brother."
Narrator, describing the Pichu Brothers in the Pokémon short, "Pikachu and Pichu"

In media, there's a tendency for siblings to be portrayed as opposites. Enter the Foolish Sibling and the Responsible Sibling.

In this trope there will be one sibling who is foolish, usually acting melodramatically and prone to doing irresponsible and impulsive things. They may be louder, more outgoing and usually more popular (or at least try to be), and desiring attention, especially from the opposite sex. Usually, they don't have outright bad intentions, they just don't understand that anything they do can have consequences for themselves or other people. Alternatively, they may just be a Horrible Judge of Character and get involved with the wrong people on a regular basis; they refuse to believe their "friends" could be anything but pure of heart, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Their antics will be their undoing, getting them into trouble for which there is no one but themselves to blame. The Foolish Sibling may be a Bratty Teenage Daughter, Alpha Bitch, Fille Fatale, Childish Older Sibling, Annoying Younger Sibling, The Casanova, Manchild, NEET, Dumbass Teenage Son, The Ingenue, or a Disappointing Older Sibling.

The other sibling is usually the elder of the two (sometimes much older) and will follow all the rules about how one is supposed to act and behave, being an exemplary version of a Proper Lady or The Dutiful Son. They're often more of a parental figure in the other sibling's life, even if their actual parents are still present. They might be quieter or plainer, though usually they are only quiet or plain by comparison to their obnoxious other sibling, and doesn't qualify as a Shrinking Violet or The Quiet One at all. They're almost undoubtedly smarter though and may be portrayed as a Bookworm, or just very concerned about rules, social and moral. Generally, the responsible sibling will try to steer their foolish sibling to the right path, taking it on themselves to look after the kid and make attempts to curb the other sibling's behavior. This seldom works, however, at least not until the end, when the foolish sibling gets their comeuppance or realizes the error of their ways.

They may serve as a Betty and Veronica pair. The responsible sibling is the one who will submit to an Arranged Marriage, which may be a Perfectly Arranged Marriage and is generally happier than the foolish love match of the foolish sibling.

A Sub-Trope of Sibling Yin-Yang. Usually involves An Aesop about the right way to act, that is to say, be more like the responsible sibling and not the foolish sibling (although the responsible sibling may learn a lesson about "loosening up" and "having fun"). And while the responsible sibling is usually the elder of the two, the roles can be switched, with the younger sibling being the responsible one. Another possibility is a middle child being the responsible one to their older and younger siblings. However, there are some moments when the responsible sibling can act melodramatic and impulsive. Also compare Slobs Versus Snobs, Red Oni, Blue Oni, Right Way/Wrong Way Pair, All Work vs. All Play, The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry, and Cain and Abel.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Inverted in Aruosumente. It's flamboyant, chatty, and seemingly carefree Lante who takes responsibility when the serious, quiet Dante acts on an impulse and goes off the hook, sometimes even attacking people at random.
  • Asteroid in Love: Mira Kinohata is an energetic Genki Girl who is known to be not particularly intelligent, while her sister Misa is a composed Cool Big Sis who has a Teen Genius reputation.
  • Bloom Into You has the Nanami sisters, Touko and Mio. At the time of Mio's death, Mio was a highly respected Student Council President, while Touko was a shy girl with mediocre grades and few friends, making them come off as a downplayed version. In fact, it's the opposite. While Touko strived to improve herself and eventually achieved all the success Mio had, she learned that Mio was a slacker who delegated most of the work to her fellow student council members, including having them do her summer homework.
  • Rowdy, underachieving delinquent Romio and strict, no-nonsense prefect Airu from Boarding School Juliet.
  • In Bokurano, Daichi's uncle Kengo is the responsible sibling while Daichi's father is the foolish one. The latter disappeared, leaving his young children to fend for themselves, while the former is a businessman who employs Daichi and offered to take in the four kids.
  • In Brave10, Yukimura is the foolish sibling to Nobuyuki's responsible one, as Nobuyuki is very orthodox and straightforward, while Yukimura is the lazy, playful chessmaster.
  • In Charlotte, there's the Kurobane sisters. Misa, the eldest sister, was the Foolish sibling, since her reckless thrill-seeking ways got herself killed, and she remembers causing problems for her parents. Yusa, the younger sister, is the Responsible, being an Idol Singer who's far nicer and more level-headed, causing Misa to say that Yusa was quite unlike her in that regard.
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko, the main protagonist, is the complete opposite of her older sister Sakiko. Maruko is the foolish sister because she is lazy since she doesn't do her homework and is always forgetful, while Sakiko is responsible as she is well-behaved and often takes good care of sister.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Goten is nice, but carefree and naive, while his older brother Gohan is intelligent and responsible. Justified by the age gap between them and Gohan's murderous childhood before Goten was born.
  • Dr. STONE: Ginro is the foolish to Kinro's responsible. Ginro is the brother most likely to slack off or try and find the easiest way out, while Kinro's catchphrase is "rules are rules".
  • Ebisu-san and Hotei-san has the two Ebisu sisters, the younger of which is half of the eponymous couple. The elder sister is the foolish one, being quite lazy when it comes to cleaning and even forcing Mayo to take care of Hana. The younger sister, on the other hand, is responsible, being a highly efficient worker who balances her job with caring for her niece.
  • Fly Me to the Moon has two pairs of sisters.
    • The Arisugawa sisters. Kaname, the younger sister, is a responsible and hard-working girl who does most of the work around the bathhouse and is the Only Sane Man of the family, while her older sister Aya is rather lazy and immature.
    • Tsukasa and her adoptive sister Chitose. Tsukasa is a hard-working levelheaded housewife to Nasa, while Chitose is a Clingy Jealous Girl who seems to have nothing better to do than to try to break Tsukasa and Nasa up.
  • Gundam: Played with in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, where Judau is usually seen skipping school and doing things with his friends while his younger sister Leina is bugging him to get an education. However, it's actually reversed: the things Judau is doing with his friends is hard work in the junkyard, and he skips school to keep up this job so that he can save enough money for Leina to get a good education. Leina tends to ignore this and focus on the present, while Judau's thinking long-term.
  • Isabelle of Paris: For most of her life, Isabelle lived in Geneviève's shadow, who was seen as the ideal wife and prime beauty of the Laustin household, while she was a prank-pulling, Jean-bullying, wild little rugrat.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Kagome isn't flighty per se, but often forgets to bring her homework to class, only for Sota to pick up the slack. Then again, considering she's spending most of her time in the Feudal Era, she can hardly be blamed for losing focus on her supposed off days.
    • The titular Inuyasha and Sesshomaru also exhibit this. While Inuyasha is brash, crude, and free of responsibilities, Sesshomaru is calculating and elegant.
  • In It's Tough Being Neeko, there's the Niito sisters. Nemuko, aka Neeko, is the Foolish sibling, being a NEET with crippling social anxiety. Her much younger sister Imoko is a high schooler who's willing and able to work part time having gotten a job at a place that rejected Neeko.
  • Katri, Girl of the Meadows:
    • Maruti is an idiot who frequently gets in trouble with his parents (when his mother learns he's been improving in studying, she doesn't believe it) while his older sister Mari is so strict, Katri describes her as "scary".
    • Pekka and Viljami are siblings, but while Pekka is cheeky, adventurous and a huge foul-mouth in spite of being a cute appearance, Viljami is more hard-working and serious.
  • Yui and Ui from K-On! epitomize this trope. While Yui tends to be irresponsible at best, Ui cooks, cleans house, and even helps her older sister with her homework.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! has the responsible Tiff and the foolish Tuff. Tiff is quite intelligent, while Tuff is not too bright and tends to act before thinking.
  • Lady!!: Compared to Arthur, who is polite and down-to-earth, Edward is reckless, hot-tempered, and often lets his emotions get the better of him. Edward once punched Arthur in public for bringing a girl he didn't like to a ball, when in actuality the girl had blackmailed him into doing so.
  • Laid-Back Camp
    • Nadeshiko is an energetic ditz, while her sister Sakura is a taciturn Cool Big Sis.
    • Minami and Ryouko Toba. Minami is a hard-drinking Sensei-chan, albeit one who sometimes proves to be good at her job as a teacher and truly cares for her students. Her younger sister Ryouko often keeps Minami in check, such as texting her to make sure she isn't drinking too much while driving her students around on the Izu camping trip.
  • In Lucky Star, Kagami is studious and level-headed while Tsukasa is more Book Dumb and naive.
  • Played for Drama in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection, where Kyrie's inability to be like her more level-headed and responsible older sister Amitie causes her to develop an inferiority complex and leaves her open to Iris' manipulations.
  • Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow has this on a spectrum. The oldest Popple daughter, Clara, is prim and proper, very pretty, and captures the heart of the sailor John. The youngest daughter, the titular Lucy-May, loves rough-and tumple play and looking after the farm animals. The middle daughter, Kate, is The Gadfly who puts Lucy-May up to no good as they both play pranks on their friends and neighbours in Adelaide, but she's also very smart and keeps her grades up at school.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, remarkably, Kashima's younger sister Rei manages to turn CloudCuckoolander Kashima into the responsible sibling half. Rei being very naive and having a compulsion to publicly and inappropriately ship every boy and girl she sees interact with each other forces Kashima to play damage control and try to keep her sister's behavior in check.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, Mycroft is the responsible Compassionate Critic to his impulsive, irresponsible, childish, and spoiled little brother Sherlock and bears the burden of their ancestor's sins alone in order for Sherlock to be able to live his life freely.
  • Naruto:
    • People expected the First and Second Hokage to be serious, loyal, responsible people. Only the younger fits this description on a normal day. His older brother instead thinks it's a good idea to teach a toddler how to gamble. Yes, the First was responsible for Tsunade's gambling addiction. It also counts as Hilarious in Hindsight, since Fanon usually depicts them in reverse positions. Hashirama was often depicted as the responsible one, and more compassionate than his younger brother, who was often depicted as a playboy who has a notable percentage of descendants everywhere. The only part that stuck in Canon was Hashirama being the more compassionate one.
    • Sakon and Ukon fit, Ukon's favorite phrase even being "wise older brother, foolish younger brother." Ukon seemed to be the more pragmatic of the two, while Sakon was more sadistic in liking to drag things out.
    • Kinkaku and Ginkaku, for what little panel time they had, may fit as well. They are half-siblings or fraternal twins. Kinkaku is bigger and seems to be the more observant and pragmatic one in battle. He's also rather stoic in the manga. Ginkaku is the louder of the two, and more prone to smirking and losing his cool. He's the one that ends up being taken down first, and according to Kakuzu, it's not the first time, since Kinkaku is known to rage when it happens.
  • No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! has Tomoko and Tomoki. Tomoko is the older sister and tends to laze about and play games. Her younger brother Tomoki is more serious about his studying, calmer and even helps around the house without being asked, even making his own lunch for school. Lampshaded by their mother, who thinks Tomoko should be the responsible sibling because she's older.
  • Non Non Biyori: Natsumi is much more carefree and irresponsible than her older sister Komari. Komari is generally more responsible, but has her moments of immaturity (ironic, since she looks younger than Natsumi and wants to be perceived as her actual age).
  • Yuuya and Yamato from Nukoduke qualify despite not being siblings. Yuuya is a loafer who frequently runs away from his class chores and causes a lot of trouble for his school mates. Yamato is the student council Vice President who must constantly remind his friend to pull his act together. Other characters regard the two as brothers (as they grew up together) and generally consider Yamato as Yuuya's guardian.
  • Siblings in One Piece often have this dynamic even if they aren't biologically related.
    • Nojiko and her adoptive sister Nami. Nami frequently got into trouble by stealing, and later became a pariah in the village by joining the Arlong Pirates (although it was to free her village), making her Foolish. Nojiko, however, is far more mature for her age, to the point at which her adoptive mother Bellemere described her as the mature one, and grew up to become a tangerine farmer, making her Responsible.
    • Luffy and his brother Ace. For the most part, Ace is much more level-headed and intelligent than Luffy, making him the Responsible sibling to Luffy's Foolish sibling.
    • Franky and Iceberg, Tom's two apprentices. Franky was the Foolish sibling, spending his time building battleships in the hopes of using one to take down a Sea King, and his inventions ended up being stolen and used to frame Tom. Iceberg was the Responsible sibling, having worked on the sea train with Tom, united the shipyards of Water 7 under his leadership and deceived the World Government for years, with his more eccentric traits being Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Lola is the Foolish sister to her sister Chiffon's Responsible as fellow children of Big Mom of the Yonko. Lola ran out on an Arranged Marriage, and was naive enough to think her mother still loved her, which is why she gave Nami Big Mom's Vivre Card. Chiffon, however, is significantly more intelligent, going along with her marriage to Capone "Gang" Bege while plotting with Bege to assassinate Big Mom.
    • Ulti and Page One of the Tobi Roppo. Ulti is significantly more childish and hot-tempered, resulting in Page One having to keep her in line.
  • In A Place Further than the Universe, there's the Tamaki sisters- Mari (aka "Kimari") and Rin. Mari, the older one, can be fairly childish and immature, even going off to Antarctica after forging her mother's signature on the permission form. By contrast, her younger sister Rin is far more serious and responsible and helps talk Kimari into only packing what she needs for her trip.
  • Pokémon Omega Ruby Crimson Passion & Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Indigo Wisdom is a manga starring Polar Opposite Twins Alpha and Omega. The younger twin Alpha has Tsurime Eyes, is more serious, and is more calmer. The older twin Omega has Tareme Eyes, is goofier, and is more hot-headed.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero has two examples:
    • Zigzagged with Naofumi and his unnamed younger brother. Naofumi was originally the Foolish elder brother due to his poor grades and otaku lifestyle, so his parents forced the younger brother to become the Responsible son. The stress of meeting their expectations drove him to adopt Yankee culture, becoming the Foolish brother, only for Naofumi to play Responsible by helping him blow off the accumulated stress with galge games. Afterward, the younger brother returned to being Responsible while Naofumi became Foolish.
    • Heavily Deconstructed with Princesses Malty S. Melromarc and Melty Q. Melromarc. Malty is the older sister who was spoiled as a child, becoming a sociopathic and sadistic woman. Meanwhile, Melty was raised to be a kind and mature young girl who cares for the wellbeing of the Kingdom. Their mother appoints Melty as the heir, which leads to a myriad of problems. Melty is forced to suppress her childishness to become the future Queen, and becomes frustrated by being forced to lose her childhood and chance at friends. Losing her status as the heir despite being the oldest has left Malty bitterly resentful of Melty, to the point she tries to assassinate her to gain the throne to herself.
  • In Sailor Moon, the main character Usagi is ditzy, fun-loving and lazy, while her younger brother Shingo is much smarter and more responsible.
  • In A Scummy Gap Student With A Hard Life Calls Upon A Lady of the Night, Makino, the younger of the two Hanabusa sisters, is the foolish one, having failed her college entrance exams and become a Rōnin due to being too lazy to study, leading her to waste money on a lesbian call girl and concoct schemes to get closer to said call girl. Her older sister, however, got into a good school, making her the responsible one.
  • Sorcerer Hunters has brothers Carrot and Marron. Carrot is a shameless skirt-chaser who tends to be lazy until the prospect of hooking up with an attractive woman comes along; then he charges headlong into danger. His younger brother, Marron, is thoughtful and considerate and takes his job as a hunter seriously.

    Comic Books 
  • Daredevil (Charles Soule) has responsible Sam and foolish Hannah. Sam works bad hours doing a crappy job in order to support the two while Hannah goes out clubbing.
  • The main characters of Exorsisters, Kate and Cate Harrow. Cate is very mature and responsible, while Kate is a Hard-Drinking Party Girl. The twist is they actually aren't sisters, Kate is Cate's soul- Cate's mom made a Deal with the Devil and lost her own soul, but gave up Cate's to save herself. By the time Cate got her soul back, it was sufficiently different from her to become its own person, Kate.
  • In Witchblade the main character Sara Pezzini is the responsible sibling to Julie Pezzini's foolish sibling. Sara is a cop while Julie has got into trouble, and has even gone to jail for dealings drugs.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Lila is the elder more snarky and much more responsible sibling to her sister Eve. The elder Brown sister has lost sleep trying to keep her sister's idiocy from getting her chucked in prison, and Eve was willing to sell government secrets to an Axis spy because she was embarrassed at the possibility he might publicly reveal she'd gone on a date with him.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Bearskin, the youngest daughter responsibly accepts the man to whom her father had promised one of his daughters after her two sisters scornfully rejected him; for one thing, she notes that True Beauty Is on the Inside and the man had kindly rescued her father, a total stranger.

    Fan Works 
Crossover

The Chronicles of Narnia

Disney Animated Canon

  • The Cinderella story The Rose and the Crown has the Gerard siblings: dour, dutiful, upright and responsible Etienne and foolish, feckless, debt-ridden but charming and funny Lucien.

The Hunger Games

Kill la Kill

  • Played with Highly Questionable Decisions and Satsuki and her two younger sisters, Ryuuko and Nui. By the account of being older, Satsuki tends to more responsible and is the Only Sane Woman when it comes to dealing with the latter two, especially Ryuuko with Jerkass and reckless tendencies and Nui with her innocence. However, at times, she did demonstrate herself to be Not So Above It All (if Ragyo listing of dos and don'ts is a clue).
  • We have this in Kill la Kill AU with Satsuki and her sisters, Ryuuko and Nui. Satsuki tends to be the more responsible one, often trying to steer her sisters in the right direction, regardless if they like her to or not, and it upsets her when they don't listen to her, while the latter two tends to do what they want, whenever they want to and sometimes it comes back to bite them.
  • A played with example in Secret Sunshine, where Ryuuko is the responsible sibling to Satsuki's foolish, as the latter left her child to be raised by Ryuuko, forcing her to be more responsible to care for her niece, while Satsuki, for some reason, didn't want to deal with the responsibilities. To really emphasize this, Satsuki was mentioned to be living her life "like normal" (going out with friends, for example), while Ryuuko was mostly left to stay at home with Kiko. Not surprisingly, Ryuuko is pretty resentful towards Satsuki for that.

Miraculous Ladybug

The Owl House

  • Learning How to Be a Witch: Lucila is more responsible and down to earth then her sister Luz. However, there have been cases where the two switched their roles. The most notable is in 'Adventures in the Elements'', where Luz tells her to be nice to the Blight Twins, who she's still mad at, and to give Edric another chance after she rebukes his offer to talk. She even lampshaded this trope.
    Luz: You gotta give him a chance, hermana! You're the responsible one, right? You talk things through with people like responsible people would.
    Lucila: ... Arggh, I hate it when you're right.

Punch-Out!!

  • In Ma Fille, the stern, humble Piston Hondo (responsible sibling) is given a wild party girl for a sister (foolish sibling).

Total Drama

  • Total Drama Legacy: Marissa and Marlin. The impulsive and obnoxious Marissa is the Foolish Sibling, while the level-headed and relaxed Marlin is the Responsible Sibling.

Touken Ranbu

  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords:
    • Kasen may be blatantly playing favorites with his brothers, but it's not that his concern for Sasanoyuki doesn't have ground – the latter robotically follows objectives at the expense of his own well-being more than once, leading Kasen to use his captain authority to order him to take care of himself at one point.
    • From the get-go, Hinata is painted as a Leeroy Jenkins who is very insecure about being The Generic Guy, while his older brother Juzumaru is more firm, grounded and worries about his safety.

W.I.T.C.H.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Big Hero 6, Hiro is the Foolish sibling to Tadashi's Responsible. Hiro would rather spend his time bot-fighting since he graduated from high school early, while Tadashi regularly attends college and wishs Hiro would do something more productive with his intelligence. At the beginning of the film, Tadashi rescues Hiro when Yama and his goons were going to beat him up.
  • Soraya and Parvana from The Breadwinner. The first we see of Parvana is her moping over her family needing to sell her nice dress, and the first we see of Soraya is her criticizing Parvana for slacking in her chores. Later on, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to support her family, walks through a possibly mined tank graveyard, gets punched for trying to bribe a prison guard, and hits the Talib who had her father taken away in the face with a brick. Soraya, meanwhile, cooks, cleans, and helps take care of her toddler brother, as well as emotionally supporting her mother and grudgingly accepting her Arranged Marriage.
  • A Bug's Life:
    • Molt is the Foolish Sibling to Hopper's Responsible.
    • Averted with Atta and Dot, though Atta is arguably more responsible due to being older than Dot.
  • Frozen:
    • Played with in the first film. At the start of the story, Anna is the Foolish sibling, being a sheltered princess who is willing to marry Prince Hans, a man she's only just met, while Elsa is the Responsible future queen. This sort of dynamic is explored in the "A Sister More Like Me" picture book, which also shows the sisters accepting each other's differences. As the film goes on, though, Elsa's determination to isolate herself makes her come off as more foolish, while Anna ends up becoming more responsible as she braves danger to get Elsa back.
    • In Frozen II, Anna and Elsa's dynamic from "Frozen Fever" is carried over with Elsa continuing to be overconfident and reckless and Anna acting as her voice of reason and caution.
  • The Incredibles:
    • In The Incredibles, Dash is the foolish sibling to Violet's responsible sibling. Dash is stubborn, hyperactive, and acts out against having to hide his powers. Violet is quiet, doesn't cause trouble unless provoked, and knows when it's their time to save their parents. Dash plays pranks on his least favorite teacher while Violet doesn't get into trouble at school.
    • Played with in Incredibles 2. Evelyn seems like the Responsible to Winston's Foolish, as Evelyn's the one who comes up with the means to implement Winston's ideas. She also softly scolds him for his over-enthusiasm and childlike tendencies, and keeps business conversations on track from his tendency to get sidetracked. These roles are reversed once Evelyn is revealed as the Screenslaver, when her misplaced anger and bitterness towards superheroes (who she blames for their parents' tragic deaths) causes her to endanger lives to ensure they stay illegal. However, Winston is in turn responsible enough to go back and try to help save the innocent people caught up in Evelyn's scheme.
  • Lilo and Nani of Lilo & Stitch. Lilo is a wild, irresponsible kid who constantly causes trouble, while Nani is a hard-working person who wants Lilo to grow up happy and safe. This is slightly deconstructed — 19-year-old Nani acts responsibly because she was forced to grow up fast after their parents died and she was promoted to parent; while Lilo is only six, still suffers from residual trauma caused by the parents' death, and some of her antics are a result of being bullied by other children since she doesn't fit in. Lilo is also almost taken away by social services because of several unfortunate events caused by her (and Stitch's) antics.
  • The Lion King: This dynamic between dangerously childish Scar and wise and just Mufasa escalating badly is what kicks off The Hero's Journey.
  • The Prince of Egypt:
    • The first half shows this dynamic, with Ramses as the responsible sibling and Moses the foolish one. Future Pharaoh Rameses is terrified of disappointing his father, while Moses tries to get him to lighten up. Conversely, Moses also shows enough responsibility to recognize when his antics have gone too far, and to stick up for his brother.
      Moses: You know what your problem is, Rameses?
      Rameses: What?
      Moses: You care too much.
      Rameses: (smiling) And your problem is, you don't care at all.
    • The dynamic between Ramses and Moses is reversed in the second half. Moses takes responsibility for being God's instrument and freeing the Hebrews, while Rameses defies God's will even as Egypt is suffering a divine beatdown.
  • Disney's Robin Hood (1973) gives Prince John and King Richard this respective dynamic. While John is an arrogant, impatient and petty Manchild who wants to fuel his power through stealing from the poor, Richard is a kind, mature and sensible leader who rules the country professionally and doesn't look down on anyone below his status.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Jefferson Davis (Miles' father), and his younger brother Aaron. They used to "tag" buildings in their youth but drifted apart when Jefferson became a police officer, while Aaron stayed the way he was and at some point went to work for the Kingpin as The Prowler.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 27 Dresses, Jane is the elder, responsible sister and her younger sister Tess is foolish.
  • In Brother (1997), this is more or less the dynamic between the Bagrov brothers. Danila is the responsible one, Viktor is the foolish one (despite Viktor being older).
  • Buffaloed: JJ is the humble, hardworking Responsible to his sister Peg's Foolish; he just wants to own a bar and can't fathom how she just defaults to scamming and using people to achieve her goal of being rich.
  • The film version of The Cat in the Hat is shown to have this. Conrad (Foolish) is the destructive, rule breaker, and misbehaved sibling up until the end of the film, while Sally (Responsible) is the rule obeyer, and somehow bossy sibling.
  • Cries and Whispers: Karin is the eldest sister, more prompt in helping the dying Agnes and has her mind on settling the affairs of the house. Maria is the youngest who cowers in the face of Agnes' suffering and is shown to be fairly hedonistic, going as far as attempting to fool around with the doctor who's come to visit his terminal patient. Agnes, the middle sister, is too ill to be anything but passive.
  • In Double Harness, Valerie is irresponsible, callous, and selfish while Joan is level headed, frank, and reasonable.
  • Eaten Alive! (1976): Played for Drama. Clara is a naive runaway turned prostitute who is bad at recognizing dangerous people and ends as a Disposable Sex Worker, while her sister Libby is cool-headed, primly dressed, a competent judge of character, and survives the film.
  • Father of the Bride (2022): Sisters Cora (Foolish) and Sofia (Responsible). Sofia is a polished law school graduate, while Cora is a rebellious college dropout. Even Sofia even lovingly calls her sister "a mess". It's telling that Billy is glowingly proud of Sofia's lawyering, but resists giving Cora her college fund to start her own business.
  • In Four Brothers, Jeremiah and Jack are far more responsible and rational than their more impulsive and hot-headed brothers, Bobby and Angel.
  • Played straight and is the main plot point in Jason's Lyric, besides the love story. Jason is the serious, responsible and dutiful son, while Joshua is the short-tempered and troublemaker son to their mom, Gloria.
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints downplays it. Antonio may be a Jerkass but he's protective and the more functional responsible sibling. His younger brother Giuseppe is terrible with people and The Friend Nobody Likes because of it.
  • The Hangover: Alan continues to mooch off his parents well into his forties, while Tracy is shown to adjust well with her marriage to Doug.
  • Marvin's Room:
    • After Marvin had his first stroke, his younger daughter Lee decided to move far away and avoid the responsibility of taking care of both him and Ruth. His older daughter Bessie decided to take care of them, at the expense of putting her life on hold for twenty years, but she tells Lee and Hank that she doesn't regret it.
    • Lee, however, thinks it's the other way around. She points out that she couldn't take care of Marvin and Ruth because she raised Hank and Charlie all by herself. She then accuses Bessie of being the Foolish Sibling for not caring about her nephews, as she never sent them a birthday present or a Christmas card, and she didn't attend their christenings, despite Lee inviting her.
  • Quiz Lady: Anne is the Responsible to her older sister Jenny's Foolish — while Jenny bounces from career to career, Anne has held down a steady but boring job, pays for their mother's care, and lends Jenny money. She considers Jenny a Disappointing Older Sibling for this reason.
  • In Sisters (2015) Kate and Maura perfectly fit this trope. It's shown that this is a problem for both though; Kate is constantly getting fired and her own daughter doesn't want to live with her, while Maura never gets to enjoy anything because she was worried about everyone else.
  • In Sucker Punch it's not known if Sweet Pea and Rocket are related in real life - but they are sisters in Baby Doll's fantasy world. Sweet Pea is the forward-thinking responsible older sibling, while Rocket is said to have been the foolish one who had trouble at home with their parents.
  • Sunshine Cleaning: Rose is the hard-working, responsible older sister. Norah is the lazy, rebellious younger sister.
  • Thor: Before shit gets real, Loki and Thor. Loki- though younger- was the bookish, reasonable, responsible brother who was implied to regularly attempt to talk sense to Thor, who was childish, reckless, and volatile. However, it's played with in that as the movie progresses, the brothers switch places. Thor's time on Midgard as a mortal mellows him out and he matures into The Wise Prince, while Loki's insecurities (and the discovery of several painful truths about his heritage) lead him to attempt a plot that backfires horribly on him and begins his path to self-destruction and villainy.
  • Troy: Hector is The Dutiful Son and Happily Married to Andromache; Paris is more impulsive and has no wish to settle down with one woman before he meets Helen.
  • Tuff Turf has Morgan Hiller, who's constantly getting into trouble and has been kicked out of multiple prep schools, and his older brother Brian, a responsible student on track to become a lawyer.
  • W. portrays George W. Bush as the foolish sibling to his more responsible younger brother Jeb. As a result, Bush falls under the impression that his parents favor Jeb over him and spends much of his adult life trying to gain his father's respect.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Scott is the rebel of the Summers brothers, while Alex, being older, is the more responsible one.
  • xXx: Kolya is Yorgi's younger brother. He's also lot more immature than the reserved and sinister Yorgi, such as proudly fanboying over meeting Xander Cage and being super-giddy at the castle orgy scene, at least compared to Yorgi.
  • You Can Count on Me has Terry and Sam, the listless drifter and the stable, single mother, respectively.

    Literature 
  • Justified in Angel in the Whirlwind: the eldest child of a Commonwealth of Tyre noble is groomed as the heir and the next few are typically married off for political reasons, but younger children are essentially free to do whatever they like. One of Kat Falcone's older siblings became an irresponsible party girl and scandal magnet, but Kat joined the Navy instead.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: At some point in the story, the biggest Manchild of the cast and one of the Reasonable Authority Figure characters turn out to be paternal half-siblings. Naming either half of the pair would spoil one of the story's twists.
  • Jane Austen:
    • Emma: Downplayed. Sisters Emma and Isabella are caring individuals dedicated to helping their loved ones, and so both are Responsible in that regard. However, although she's still a loving mother and adoring wife, Isabella is not as clever and capable as Emma. Emma has her own failings, but despite her inability to successfully matchmake, she is - as Mr Knightley observes - much more clever and level-headed than her anxious, hypochondriac sister Isabella. Emma is the mistress of her father's house and has been taking care of everything with ease since she was twelve, making her the overall more responsible one.
    • Mansfield Park: Tom is the eldest son and Sir Thomas' heir, but he's very irresponsible and reckless — for example, he's lost some considerable fortune to gambling. The younger son Edmund is very responsible and reasonable, and would be in fact an ideal master of the estate; he chooses to become a clergyman. Tom gets seriously ill as a result of his life and he's determined to be better.
    • Persuasion: Anne Elliot is the Responsible Sibling, kind and intelligent, while her younger sister Mary is always whining, playing sick, and generally very unreasonable.
    • Pride and Prejudice: The younger sisters, Kitty and especially Lydia, are the Foolish sisters, while Jane and Elizabeth are the Responsible sisters. Spoofing this trope is Mary Bennet, the middle sister, who thinks herself Responsible; it's true that she improves her mind with much reading and practices pianoforte, but she lacks genuine wisdom or even compassion, making a fool of herself in the meantime.
    • Sense and Sensibility has three pairs:
      • Responsible Elinor and foolish Marianne, albeit the "foolish" daughter is portrayed fairly sympathetically. It's even reflected in the title (when you realize that "sensibility" meant to Austen something like what "sensitivity" means in modern-day English). Elinor is reliable and calm, while Marianne is overly romantic and exaggerates her feelings.
      • Lucy Steele may be Book Dumb, but she's a clever, focused social climber who knows how to keep a secret. Her older sister Anne is an airhead.
      • Edward Ferrars is sensible, well-mannered, and well-educated. His brother Robert is a self-absorbed fop.
  • In The Babysitters Club, the studious Janine is seen as the responsible sibling to the artistic but ditzy Claudia's foolish sibling by their parents.
  • Older Than Dirt, The Bible: The stories of Cain and Abel and Jacob and Esau, in the Old Testament; Jesus relates the story of the Prodigal Son to illustrate the difficulties of forgiveness.
    • The examples of Cain and Abel, and Jacob and Esau, are complicated in that in both cases, Esau and Cain are both presented as hard-working sons, if Hot-Blooded and not spiritually inclined. Cain and Abel work equally hard, but Abel's gifts happen to please God more, which makes Cain jealous. Jacob actually tricks his way into getting his father's inheritance (helped by his mother), but God blesses him and his line anyway. This might be a theme in the Bible — sometimes, God's grace just can't be accounted for by personal virtue.
    • In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger son asks for his inheritance all at once, and promptly leaves home and has a rousing good time. It's only when he's destitute and ruined that he thinks to come home, and beg for work, if nothing else, on his father's land. His father welcomes him back with feasting and praise. However, the older, Responsible sibling is understandably upset — he's worked hard for years and has never received this kind of recognition. The father says that the eldest son has always been beloved, and could always ask for anything; but now that the prodigal son has returned, he will be welcomed as if he were back from the dead.
    • Martha and Mary from the Gospel of Luke; Jesus arrives at their home and Martha busies herself preparing everything for him while Mary sits at Jesus' feet and listens to his teaching. Martha asks Jesus to have Mary come help her, but Jesus calmly rebuffs her by saying that Martha is worrying over small things while Mary is eager to listen to the word of God, thus being the more responsible of the two.
  • A Brother's Price has lucky, silly Odelia and the more conflicted, struggling-with-responsibility Ren. At some point they are noted to be suffering from the same old trauma inflicted by their now-dead husband Keifer, and each surviving sister has reacted in a different way, all of them somewhere along these lines.
  • Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks contains a deconstruction: Thomas is a responsible businessman and an important personage in the community, while his brother Christian is a wastrel who spends his money on drink, women, and the theatre. Subverted in that Tom secretly finds his life empty and unfulfilling, while Christian is content with his life regardless of his diminished position in society (though not so much with Tom's treatment of him).
  • Throughout Caraval, Scarlett is always cautious and nervous about doing anything reckless, while her younger sister Tella is more impulsive.
  • Agatha Christie:
    • In The ABC Murders Betty Barnard is a notorious flirt and enjoys having parties with any men who are willing to take her there (much to her boyfriend's displeasure). Her older sister Megan is a lot more sensible and down-to-earth.
    • After the Funeral gives us Richard Abernethie, a responsible businessman who raised his younger siblings, at least as compared to his brother Timothy (a self-absorbed hypochondriac) and his sister Cora (a 50-year-old Enfant Terrible). There were also four other siblings, but they were dead before the story started and aren't described enough to know how they fit into this trope.
    • Lancelot and Percival Fortescue in A Pocket Full of Rye. In Lance's words: "I blew my pocket money, he saved his. I had disreputable but entertaining friends, Percy made what he called 'worthwhile contacts.'"
    • Sparkling Cyanide has ditzy Rosemary and intelligent Iris. Rosemary is so stupid she once brags about knowing Anthony’s criminal past in front of the man himself (he was a The Mole, but she didn’t know that). Iris is very responsible and tries to keep her in-laws going after Rosemary’s death. Notably, Rosemary keeps pressuring Stephen, a married prominent politician who is clearly over her, to elope with her, while Iris, when offered secret elopement and subsequent legal marriage by Anthony, whom she loves, refuses to participate in such a scheme.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy: Crown Prince Muntadhir is a laid-back hedonist, while his younger brother Alizayd is serious, bookish, and devoutly religious. However, Ali is completely unprepared for court life, while Muntadhir reveals himself to be much more clever and serious about his responsibilities than he lets on.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • Gary and Frank are this to a T: Gary is a Manchild who can’t hold down a job or a marriage, but he’s also a Cool Uncle. Frank is more mature and has a steady job and a family, but he’s also stuffy and acts like he’s far older than he really is. As expected, Frank doesn't really like Gary, although Gary is nicer to Frank.
    • Their brother Joe is a combination: He has a family and career and is mature, but is fun-loving and comedic. While Frank is annoyed by him, he does seem to like him.
  • Discworld:
    • In Witches Abroad we discover that Granny Weatherwax wanted to be the irresponsible evil one; but because her elder sister, Lilly, beat her to the punch on that, she felt forced to be the responsible good one. When both sisters are witches, you can see how this complicates family relationships.
    • In Unseen Academicals, Glenda and Juliet, who aren't actually sisters but grew up together, have this kind of relationship, with Glenda getting Juliet a job in the Night Kitchen, and then mostly having to do it for her. Subverted when Glenda realises a) that part of the reason Juliet isn't responsible is that Glenda never gave her a chance to be, and b) that maybe doing something that Glenda would consider very irresponsible is in fact a perfectly valid decision if you're the sort of person who wants to do something like that.
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths:
    • Mildmay is shrewd and streetwise with plenty of practical skills, while his brother Felix (despite being a powerful wizard with an extensive education) is volatile, self-destructive, and lacking in common sense. Mildmay often remarks that Felix can't be trusted to cross the street unattended without calamity ensuing. He's barely exaggerating. On the one occasion their roles were reversed and Mildmay's temporary illness meant Felix had to act as his caretaker for a while, Felix immediately resorted to prostitution, despite having other viable options resulting in him being badly hurt and inadvertently triggering off a national disaster (long story).
    • Stephen and Shannon Teverius are a less extreme version, with Stephen being the steady, calculating one who takes his duties very seriously, and Shannon being a vain, impulsive fop whose bratty behavior is a constant headache to those around him.
  • In Dragon Bones, Erdrick is always worried about the consequences of the foolish things his brother Beckram tends to do. Erdrick himself is rather shy and likes reading.
  • In Elliott & Win, this is how Win's ma's family sees her. Her brother is a lawyer and her sister is a "proper suburban matron," while she was a rebel who was sent to boarding school for not behaving, ran away, and hitchhiked to California in The '60s. Ma's only regret is her lack of a college education, but her parents see her as having wasted her life.
    Win: Did you throw your life away?
    Ma: By their standards I did.
  • In Fengshen Yanyi we have the Xiao Sisters: while the younger sisters Bixiao and Qiongxiao are hot-blooded, quick to anger, and all the more willing to join the battle in Xiqi to avenge their brother even if 1) their brother was at fault and 2) this could cost them their Immortali lives, the eldest sister Yunxiao is much more level-headed and calm, repeatedly warns both her brother Zhao Gongming and her sisters against getting involved into war and in the end goes along with them to keep them in check and protect them from harm. She also accepts Lu Ya Daoren's reasons for putting a deadly curse on their brother. It's only after she's accidentally wounded by Jiang Ziya in the struggle between the three sisters (started by Bixiao) and the Chan Taoists that Yunxiao changes her mind and agrees to fight against them.
  • After they lost their parents six months before Galaxy of Fear, initially Tash and Zak were not this way. Tash withdrew from the world and didn't want to do anything. However, she saw that her brother was becoming a reckless, careless daredevil and felt she needed to be out there looking out for him. It's not to say that they always follow this trope, but Tash usually is the more thoughtful one. In The Brain Spiders Tash is so caught up in trying to be independent and an adult that she does foolish things, while her younger brother wants to be more careful; he's aware of this dynamics flip and complains about it.
  • Goosebumps has a good number of these duos.
    • Welcome to Dead House: Amanda is the much more patient and sensible sibling while her brother, Josh is the impatient, bratty one who's extremely stubborn.
    • One Day At Horrorland: Lizzie states that she's the calm one of the family while her brother, Luke, is the hyperactive sibling who enjoys pinching people.
    • Deep Trouble: Billy's the one with the overactive imagination to his sister Sheena's more serious, non-imaginative demeanor.
    • Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes: Joe is the one who often jokes around, whereas his sister, Mindy, is much more organized to a point where she's Obsessively Organized.
    • The Curse of Camp Cold Lake: Sarah Maas, the protagonist, is the socially awkward girl who has meltdowns over minuscule problems such as a bunk under an open window to her younger brother Aaron, who is much more social and level-headed.
    • Night of the Living Dummy II: A rare moment in which the protagonist isn't one of these. Sara, the older sister, is the responsible one, as she takes her talent as an artist very seriously, while Jed, the younger brother, is an obnoxious jerk who often shares practical jokes in Family Sharing Night. Amy, the protagonist and middle child, is in-between, as while she doesn't do as well in academic studies as her sister and even lazes around from her own schoolwork, she isn't nearly as much of a goof-off as her brother.
  • The whole entire concept of Goofus and Gallant is about two twin brothers, one who acts as the not-so-nice Anti-Role Model in a particular situation, and one who acts in the correct way.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): Liu is the younger yet more responsible brother, being more sensible than the hot-headed Jeff. After Jeff's anger gets himself hurt, Liu tells him that Ben wouldn't have wanted him to beat Randy up, but rather mourn in a healthy way and move on from his death.
  • Crown Prince Vasily and his younger brother Prince Nikolai from The Grisha Trilogy. Vasily is a lazy hedonist who contributes nothing to war effort. Nikolai is an ambitious soldier and innovator who's doing everything he can to keep the kingdom together.
  • In Guns of the Dawn, the Marshwic family has Mary and Emily, who tend towards the serious, and Alice, who is interested in balls and dresses despite the family not really having the money to support that kind of lifestyle anymore. It's played with a bit, though, in that Alice's determination to lead a properly aristocratic social life is revealed to be partly motivated by her belief that a good marriage is the only way to alleviate the financial troubles that keep the others so glum. On the other hand, her good motivations don't make her any smarter, as proven when she runs away to meet someone who turns out to be a ransom-seeking outlaw.
  • Played with, and ultimately deconstructed in Harry Potter:
    • Everyone in the Wizarding World thinks that the highly-accomplished Albus Dumbledore is the Responsible Sibling while his younger brother Aberforth — a bartender who got persecuted for "practicing inappropriate charms on a goat" — is the Foolish Sibling. But in their youth, as we learn in Deathly Hallows, it was a different story. Albus was intensely aware of his genius and his great potential, and bitterly resented having to take care of his brother and their mentally ill sister. Aberforth, who was Book Dumb but down-to-earth, wanted to ditch his formal education and care for Ariana, but Albus put his foot down, certain that he knew what was best. In other words, the traits that made Albus such a force for good in the world as an adult did him and those around him great harm in his youth. Albus himself believes Aberforth is the better man, calling him "my rough, unlettered, and far more admirable brother."
    • Zigzagged with the Weasley siblings. During the first three books, Percy tries to act as the Responsible Sibling, doing his best to look after Ron and Ginny (and to a lesser extent, for Harry), while also trying to keep Fred and George in line. The twins might come off as the Foolish ones given that they're always planning mischief and getting into trouble, but after Percy graduates and starts working for the Ministry of Magic, he lets his ambitions get to his head, to the point that it blinds him to how corrupt the Ministry actually is, and he breaks his ties with his family after having a fight with their father, while Fred and George firmly stand by them. (Percy returns to the family three years later though.)
  • Kyle and Ian from The Host (2008). Maggie and Jeb are a subversion in that Maggie comes across as rather level-headed while Jeb comes across as somewhat crazy yet Maggie is the foolish one as she lets pride and stubbornness rule out basic logic while Jeb is the responsible one who views things from all angles and is quick on his feet.
  • Played with in How to Sell a Haunted House. While initially Louise and Mark seem like a textbook case, with Louise being a high-achieving single mother with a successful career, and Mark a spottily-employed bum with an alcohol problem, it turns out things aren't quite so clear-cut. Mark is accomplished in his own right and much of his "flakiness" is actually the result of severely traumatic events, and Louise has her own issues that she never dealt with.
  • Stanley and Thomas from Insu-Pu - Stanley is the older, responsible brother, who borders on the Comically Serious. Thomas is the silly, Fun Personified younger brother, and the island's resident Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Out of the leviathan sisters in I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vania is the foolish ditz to Fatla's responsibly serious.
  • Sergeant Sinter and her sister Kisswhere in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Kisswhere is all innocent beauty and wild seduction and lives on Favors for the Sexy and Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!. She joined the army on a whim because she'd made too many enemies among the women of her tribe and figured she could just desert or sleep her way up should she get bored. Sinter, on the other hand, is the reliable and practical one with a case of Honor Before Reason as far as Kisswhere is concerned. She followed Kisswhere to the army so she could make sure her sister would not get herself into trouble. Her entire life consists of cleaning up after Kisswhere and she admits to chafing under that yoke.
  • Kelsier and Marsh in Mistborn are the foolish and responsible ones respectively. Kelsier is a charismatic, cheerful thief with a murderous streak and a tendency to not think things through. Marsh is a cold, practical rebel leader turned shopkeeper turned spy who is initially unimpressed with Kelsier's plan to overthrow the Final Empire. Their contrasts are most evident with their roles in the heist: Kelsier caused chaos in the upper classes by assassinating and implicating the right people, while Marsh spied on the Steel Ministry by joining and sending back information. Also, Kelsier's moment of awesome was killing an Inquisitor in single combat, and Marsh's was waiting until he discovered their weakness, and killing all the others in their sleep.
  • In The Mister, Maxim's older brother Kit was the respectable and level-headed Earl of Trevethick, while Maxim is a hedonistic slacker who can rarely hold down a job for long before getting bored. After Kit dies and Maxim inherits his title, he has to step up and start taking responsibility.
  • A dark example in Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer. Ayoola, the younger sister, is featherheaded and impulsive, trusting her good looks and magnetic personality to get her out of everything—including, as you may have guessed from the title, murdering all her boyfriends. Where those fail, protagonist Korede, the dutiful, practical older sister, whose job as a nurse taught her everything about how to clean up blood, comes in. Korede spends the whole book literally cleaning up after Ayoola, reminding her not to post perky Insta stories when she's supposed to be in mourning, and quietly seething over their Sibling Triangle with a gorgeous doctor. When Ayoola and the doctor begin dating, Korede's jealousy and fear for his life cause her to doubt her loyalty to her sister. It doesn't stick. She chooses Ayoola.
  • Zig-zagged with Isabelle and Vianne in The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah). It's obvious that Vianne sees it this way. Early on in the narrative, Isabelle is painted in an extremely impulsive and unsympathetic light. It comes to a boiling point when Isabelle hides an actively hunted Allied airman in a cellar under Vianne's barn. Vianne is spitting nails as she leaves Isabelle down there, threatening to report her to the Nazis herself if Isabelle ever comes near the house again. By the end of the book, Vianne is in awe of Isabelle's courage and strength as The Nightingale, and deeply ashamed of her earlier threats to her own sister.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Deconstructed. with Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Cersei actually resents being the responsible one, neglecting her own needs for the good of the family. As she gets closer to the Iron Throne, she loses people who can counsel and guide her (Jaime, Tyrion, Tywin, Kevan, and even Pycelle) and her disregard for the needs of others eventually gets her dethroned. Jaime, on the other hand, learns that sticking too much to his family's credo of not caring what the "sheep" might say will get him in trouble.
    • Of House Baratheon, Robert is a drunken spendthrift hunter who'd rather spend his time womanizing than doing his job as king, while Renly is a charismatic intellectual administrator, and Stannis is a no-nonsense, logical, duty-bound Determinator. While Robert is a great warrior, Stannis played major roles in his campaigns, essentially winning the Greyjoy Rebellion by smashing the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle and then suppressing Old Wyk, the largest of the Iron Islands.
  • The Victorian novel The Sorrows of Satan has Lady Sybil's Maiden Aunt Charlotte Fitzroy, a serious, deeply religious woman who has led a blameless life, and her mother, the Countess of Elton, who has lived a life full of sin and dissolution. The strokes that paralyze the Countess are said to be punishment for her actions.
  • Sweet Diamond Dust: Nicolás and Arístides, sons of a wealthy landowning family in Puerto Rico. Nicolás attends a university in Europe where he studies philosophy; the more pragmatic Arístides studies agriculture at the University of Puerto Rico to assist the Family Business.
  • Sweet Valley High: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are Polar Opposite Twins and Elizabeth is the smart, level-headed, ambitious one while Jessica is an impulsive and superficial drama queen. Usually these are the roles, at least; in some books, they get reversed, such as when Elizabeth undergoes a temporary personality change after having been in a coma.
  • The Sunne in Splendour: Early in the novel features carousing, fun-loving and womanizing Ned versus stoic, thoughtful and responsible Edmund. Later, their younger brothers have this dynamic with George being a weak-willed, greedy fool and Richard being loyal and responsible.
  • In Two Little Girls in Blue, Steve Frawley was a studious and sensible child, got a law degree and went on to have a successful career, a happy marriage and two kids. His half-brother Richie Mason "always had a bit of a wild side", got a juvenile record, dropped out of school, is twice-divorced and got into trouble for a money-laundering scam several years back. Steve says that Richie always resented him for being more successful personally and professionally. Although Steve doubts Richie would do something so horrible, the FBI believe Richie could potentially hate his half-brother enough to be involved in his nieces' kidnapping. Richie isn't involved in the kidnapping but he is discovered to have been smuggling cocaine.
  • Warbreaker:
    • Played with Princesses Siri and Vivenna, who appear to be the foolish and responsible sisters respectively. Vivenna was raised from practically birth to marry the God-King of a neighboring country for a treaty and was taught to survive cutthroat court politics by restraining her emotions, while Siri was left to her own devices and spends most of her time playing in the countryside. Siri gets sent in Vivenna's place since the king loves Vivenna too much to lose her, and they discover that they're not as stoic or foolish as they thought. Vivenna turns out to have a rebellious streak when the reins come off, sneaking into the city and trying to get Siri out, while Siri discovers that she thrives in the Court of Gods and gets along well with its residents.
    • Played straight with Lightsong and Llarimar. The former spends most of the book running around trying to investigate a murder, while the latter tries to manage his impulses.
  • Wish has Charlie's aunt Bertha, a respected member of the community, and her mama Carla, a Sleepy Depressive who can't care for her kids, once walked out on them for several months, and shows little interest in anyone but herself.
  • X-Wing Series: Inyri and Lujayne Forge, respectively. The latter became a Rogue Squadron pilot, brave and intelligent, a good friend to Corran Horn who provides him with the wake-up call he needed to know he was too distant and isolated from the other pilots... and then dies senselessly during a stormtrooper infiltration on Talasea. Inyri, now suddenly put under the pressure to step into her sister's footprints and make a good name for the family, but always living in Lujayne's martyred shadow and blaming the Rogues (and by extension the New Republic) for her death, rebels by abandoning her family and joining Zekka Thyne as his girlfriend and co-conspirator. Inyri does later on him though and becomes responsible too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 8 Simple Rules has two Foolish siblings — Lovable Alpha Bitch Bridget and scheming Rory. Middle child Kerry is the rule-abiding bookworm who takes on the Responsible role.
  • Loser Protagonist Ryohei Arisu in Alice in Borderland was the Foolish side to his Responsible younger brother Hajime. Ryohei was a Brilliant, but Lazy NEET who dropped out of college to spend all his time playing video games and goofing off with his friends, while Hajime had a respectable IT job and calls him out for not even showing up to the interview he helped him get in his first appearance.
  • All My Children: Julia Santos is the Foolish sister to her older Responsible sister Maria, a doctor. True to form, it turns out that Maria is actually tired of the pressure to be perfect, to the point of being a Stepford Smiler, while most of Julia's reckless behavior is clearly a cry for attention from her parents; the fact that they have three other siblings only adds to it.
  • Arrested Development's family tree is a bit too large to fit nicely into this trope, but GOB and Michael qualify, at least to outward appearance. George Sr. comments on it at one point:
    "[Michael] and GOB were like those biblical brothers, Gallant and, um... Goofeth"
  • Arrow:
    • The Lance sisters, Sara and Laurel. Sara was the Foolish party girl and Laurel was the Responsible, studious pre-law. In Season 2, this is reversed as separate Break the Cutie moments forced Sara to mature and Laurel to spiral into drugs and alcohol until her sister's return.
    • Early in the series, Thea Queen is a Spoiled Brat with a drug problem, while Oliver Queen kept trying to get her to quit.
    • Oliver later discovers another half-sister, Emiko Adachi, who is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for her mother’s death. Oliver tries to make her see that she is actually working for the very people who killed her mother.
  • Baskets has twin brothers Chip and Dale Baskets, who are Foolish and Responsible respectively with Chip seemingly trying in vain to follow his dream to become a clown while living with his mother, while Dale is married and has a moderately decent job... or at least that's how it's seems. Chip, while a bit selfish and a Manchild, is a nice guy, whereas Dale is a Jerkass who rubs his success in Chip's face. By season two, however, they flip with Chip taking on more responsibilities, especially when he gets a gig as a rodeo clown, and Dale's life goes off the rails when he gets caught cheating, his wife leaves him, and he loses his job.
  • Being Erica has Erica Strange as the black sheep although she's really not that bad
  • Better Call Saul has the lawyer brothers of Jimmy and Chuck McGill. Jimmy is a former con man who has spent his life trying to cut corners, while Chuck is a successful and responsible partner at a prestigious law firm. Jimmy's efforts to become responsible and earn his brother's respect are a major source of motivation for him in the early seasons. A major source of conflict in the show comes from the fact that Chuck always resented Jimmy for being their parents' favorite despite all the trouble Jimmy got into and cannot accept that Jimmy is becoming a respectable lawyer so he sabotages Jimmy at every turn. At the same time, Chuck's mental illness is turning him into the Foolish one while Jimmy is forced to become the Responsible one trying to take care of Chuck. Neither of them can deal with the role reversal and they act out in self-destructive ways, culminating in Chuck killing himself just to spite Jimmy.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper appears to be the Responsible (a genius who works as a theoretical physicist) while his siblings, George Jr. (aka. Georgie) and Missy, are supposedly Foolish (described by their mother Mary as "dumb as soup", though this is a bit of an overstatement). The prequel Spin-Off Young Sheldon seems to confirm this, making Sheldon appear to be the hard-working Child Prodigy in contrast to his lazy Book Dumb siblings. However, Season 11 episode "The Sibling Realignment" reveals that the true responsible sibling is Georgie. After George Sr. passed away, Georgie had to take care of Mary and Missy because all the money was going to Sheldon, who was in college at the time, and Sheldon was never told any of this. Georgie also became a Self-Made Man with his chain of tire stores called "Dr. Tire," while Sheldon's science career was at a dead end until the series finale. Missy, however, firmly remains the least successful and least responsible of the three, working as a restaurant hostess and separated from her husband while pregnant with her second child.
  • In Birds of a Feather, sensible well-to-do Tracey is the Responsible Sibling to Sharon, who doesn't care much about Tracey's carefully bolstered "respectability" and sometimes engages in petty crime. (However, "foolish" may not be the right word; Tracey's under no illusions about her husband being a career criminal, for instance, whereas Sharon, at least initially, refuses to believe that her "perfect" life could possibly be based on the proceeds of armed robbery).
  • Bob ❤️ Abishola: Bob is the responsible sibling to his younger twin siblings Douglas and Christina. Bob is the responsible, hardworking president of MaxDot Therapeutic Hosiery. Douglas and Christina are, in their mother's words, "useless potheads." This is perhaps somewhat justified as Bob is twelve years older than his twin siblings and when their father died, he had to drop out of college to help take care of them and take over as president of his parents' sock company.
  • The Booth brothers in Bones. Seeley is the older more responsible one who feels obligated to get Jared out of trouble. It’s apparently not uncommon in abused siblings for this to happen. The older becomes the protector and the younger rebels and gets in trouble.
  • Charmed — out of the three Halliwells, eldest sister Prue is the Responsible sibling who had to become a surrogate mother to the others after theirs was killed. Phoebe the youngest is the Foolish — rebellious as a teenager and still quick to bend the rules as an adult. Poor Piper was stuck right in the middle. After Prue's death, Piper takes on the responsible role while newly discovered half-sister Paige is the foolish one due to her being a fun-loving party girl as well as being new to the craft. Phoebe is therefore forced to grow up and become the new middle sister to balance out the two, with varying results.
  • The Chosen: Andrew tends to stick to the rules and avoid taking risks with their family possessions. Meanwhile, his brother Simon Peter is more impulsive, has a history of gambling away their savings, and is more willing to bend the rules to do what he needs to do. Inverted toward the end of Season 2 when Andrew begins freaking out over John's arrest and Jesus being detained, flipping out at Mary Magdalene in the process. It's Simon who calmly reminds him about the divine plan and "getting used to different".
  • CriminalMinds has the Hotchner brothers, Aaron and Sean. Aaron is a well respected lawyer turned FBI agent. Sean cooks in a diner and later tends bar.
  • CSI: NY has three sets:
    • Flack the responsible cop and his younger sister, Sam, who's a (now-recovering) alcoholic and can't seem to hold a steady job.
    • Danny, who took the responsible route and avoided gangs by going into law enforcement, as opposed to his older brother, Louie, who joined The Tanglewood Boys.
    • Chief Carver, who adopts his wayward sister's kids after she abandons them for a life of drugs and prostitution.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Brea comes off as irresponsible to Seladon who scoffs at all the time she spends reading and not actually dedicating herself to her duties as a princess. However, her lust for knowledge ends up helping her realize the Skesis are not the benevolent rulers everyone believes them to be and get the upper hand in certain situations due to what she read.
  • The Deuce: Frankie Martino is a degenerate gambler while Vincent Martino is an entrepreneur. Both get in bed with the mob, but Vincent does so cautiously and reluctantly, while Frankie does so enthusiastically.
  • Stepsibling Example: Drake (Foolish) and Josh (Responsible) on Drake & Josh. Drake is relaxed, immature, and ditzy while Josh is smart and studious.
  • On ER, Dr. Susan Lewis is the responsible one — that title is your first clue — and her drug-addicted sister is the foolish one. Despite, or maybe because of this, Susan is The Un-Favourite.
  • Los Espookys: Tati is the foolish sibling to the more responsible Úrsula. Tati is a Cloudcuckoolander who barely knows what's going on at any given moment and constantly jumps between extremely bizarre jobs that she can barely perform (such being a human Fitbit or manually moving the hands in a clock tower). Úrsula is cynical and practical, supporting the two of them with her job as a dental hygienist after her artistic endeavours turned out to be more trouble than they were worth.
  • Responsible, high-achieving, conservative-dressing Alex and foolish, more interested in dating than school Mallory in Family Ties.
  • Firefly: While we have few indications as to River Tam's level of responsibility before the Academy, her fractured sanity at the time of the TV show, compared to Simon's level-headed caretaker role., make them a fairly good fit.
  • Flashpoint has a downplayed case with Sam Braddock and his sister Natalie. Sam very much plays the "responsible sibling" half straight, but while he clearly sees Natalie as the foolish one, she's not really that bad; the only really foolish thing about her is that she's too trusting. Apart from that, she's at worst a little impulsive, and she indicates that she recognizes this and is actively trying to do better.
  • Subverted in Frasier — both Niles and Frasier are firmly convinced that they are the responsible brother and the other is the foolish one. In reality, they are both a mixture of foolishness and responsibility, each of them having weaknesses exactly where the other has strengths, which perpetuates this running argument.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Brandon was much more reckless than Ned or Benjen, despite having been groomed to succeed his father, Lord Rickard. Indeed Baelish states that in the end, Ned was the more impressive specimen of the two.
    • Cersei considers herself the responsible one.
      Cersei: [to Tyrion] I don't care what you think! You've never taken it seriously; you haven't, Jaime hasn't! It's all fallen on me.
    • Of House Baratheon, Robert is a drunken spendthrift hunter who'd rather spend his time womanizing than doing his job as king, while Renly is a charismatic intellectual administrator, and Stannis is a no-nonsense, logical, duty-bound Determinator. While Robert is a great warrior, Stannis played major roles in his campaigns, essentially winning the Greyjoy Rebellion by smashing the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle and then suppressing Old Wyk, the largest of the Iron Islands. In the books, Stannis served on the King's Small Council in the books and largely worked as Jon Arryn's Number Two in keeping the realm intact. And of the two Baratheon siblings at King's Landing, one has never failed to attend to important matters and takes part in shaping the future of the realm... and the other is Robert. The king largely dismisses Renly as a Yes-Man, although Renly is shown to be ashamed and embarrassed by Robert's neglect and mismanagement of the kingdom.
  • Himitsu no Hanazono (2007): Discussed in-universe. Yoh says that he wants to be independent and help Wataru follow his passion of being a painter, unlike Osamu who's irresponsible and a geek.
  • House of the Dragon: King Viserys is the responsible monarch trying to ensure peace and stability in the realm, while his younger brother Daemon is "the Rogue Prince" — mercurial, mad, bad, depraved, and dangerous to know. They do love each other underneath it all, but Daemon tries Viserys's patience with his scandals, and Daemon resents that he isn't as well-respected as Viserys. On the other hand, the Small Council thinks Daemon is such a maniac he should never be named heir to the throne, while Viserys's stable character was a major factor in the broad support he had to be named king over Rhaenys (beyond the main factor, that he was a man and Rhaenys a woman). In contrast, more lords would go along with Viserys' daughter Rhaenyra being named heir (albeit some of them grudgingly) than let the wild child Daemon be first in line to the throne.
  • In Good Luck Charlie, Teddy is the responsible sibling to both PJ and Gabe's foolish siblings. While Teddy is both wise and responsible, PJ is far more immature and airheaded than his younger sister, and while he's much less of a troublemaker than their younger brother, PJ is far more careless than them both.
  • Frank (Responsible) and Joe (Foolish) in The Hardy Boys (2020). Frank is the more calm and analytical one while Joe is more impulsive and short-tempered. Justified as Joe is several years younger than Frank in this series and is still a pre-teen. JB lampshades Frank's status as the "responsible older brother" in Season 2.
  • House of Anubis plays around with this a bit. Patricia seems like she'd be the more down to Earth one, being the Deadpan Snarker and a bit more responsible than her rather emotional friends, while Piper seems like she'd be the naive and foolish one; However, when they actually interact, Patricia's impulsive and mischievous nature becomes much more obvious in comparison to her much calmer, nicer sister, making Piper the responsible on and Patricia the foolish one.
  • How I Met Your Mother has:
    • Ted (responsible) and Heather (foolish) Mosby, which forms one episode's plot when Ted is skeptical of Heather's claims that she's grown up, seeing as how the last time she tried to clean up her act, she sold Ted's belongings to buy Nine Inch Nails tickets in Spain on the day of her admissions interview at NYU.
    • Also, there's Barney (foolish) and James (responsible) Stinson, who have a different sort of development — they used to both be foolish (compulsive manwhoresnote  who were constantly getting into trouble), and Barney feels abandoned when James matures and gets engaged. Oddly enough, it seems like Barney and James have switched places in Season 9. Now Barney is the one who is settling down and getting married (to Robin) while James has cheated on his husband (repeatedly), leading to the end of their marriage and for James to seemingly return to the promiscuous lifestyle he left behind years ago. Then, James reconciled with his husband, while Barney got divorced and went back to his manwhore ways.
  • Imposters: Jules has long been the screwup in her family, needing to get bailed out multiple times as a rebellious, artsy type. Her older sister Poppy is rule-abiding, conventional and far more successful in her life.
  • Kingdom (2007): Peter Kingdom is the most stable and responsible of the three Kingdom siblings. Simon and Beatrice are flightier and prone to overlooking the consequences of their actions. On the other hand, Peter can come off as self-important and controlling in his attempts to help the other two manage their lives, which they eventually call him on.
  • Kingdom (2014): Jay (volatile addict) is the Foolish Sibling to his younger brother Nate (who is reticent but following the family business)'s Responsible.
  • Kirby Buckets is far from a flawless character, but he's typically more responsible than his self-absorbed sister Dawn.
  • On Lab Rats, Chase is usually the most responsible of the four siblings, followed by Bree, then Leo, and finally Adam.
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • Detective Amanda Rollins is the Sensible sibling, having become a successful detective in the Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department. Her younger sister, Kim, is the Foolish sister, being a veritable Manchild who has seemingly no impulse control whatsoever, doing and saying whatever she wants, whenever she wants, not caring about the consequences that will result or the effects her actions have on others, even her sister. This takes on a darker-than-usual cast in two ways. Firstly, her behavior also leads to her engaging in rampant substance abuse and being devoted to a Fetishized Abuser. Secondly, Kim resents her sister for being more successful and respected than her (although, ironically, their mother is more like Kim and definitely favors Kim), which she considers as fair rationale for exploiting and manipulating her sister. She sets Amanda up to murder her abusive boyfriend for her when she gets sick of him, an act that would also result in a big insurance payout — which she forged Amanda's name to qualify for, and when she is caught on videotape confessing with this, she skips town along with all of her sister's possessions — literally: the only things Amanda has left is her fridge, an ice tray, and Kim's goodbye note. In later seasons, Kim is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and finally gets proper treatment, leading her to finally settle down and become more responsible. Then Kim is prescribed painkillers, causing her to fall off the wagon and go back to being as foolish as ever.
    • Similarly, Olivia and her half-brother Simon. Unlike Kim, Simon generally means well, but he's immature and impulsive to the point of reckless, enough to have gotten him in trouble with the law more than once. In his second-to-last appearance, Olivia tells him point-blank that he needs to grow up.
    • Fin's son Ken and his half-brother Darius are a particularly extreme version. Ken is first a college student and then a social worker and spends his free time volunteering with LGBT organizations and homeless youth; as of Season 17, he's also married and about to become a father. By contrast, Darius has a long criminal record and is eventually revealed to have brutally raped and murdered his girlfriend, and also killed her infant son. By the end, even Ken doesn't want anything to do with Darius.
    • Elliot Stabler's kids have elements of this: oldest daughter Maureen, though not perfect, is a generally well-adjusted teenager and serious student, while Kathleen spends her teen years getting into increasing levels of trouble, culminating in an arrest for burglary and trespassing. She settles down once she's diagnosed with bipolar disorder and begins receiving treatment, but then Richard becomes the problem child, at least for one episode.
  • The Legend of Xiao Chuo: Wuguli is the foolish sister to her responsible older sister Hu Nian. Wuguli's foolishness causes a lot of misery for Hu Nian, who's forced to marry Yansage to save Wuguli's life. Yan Yan is somewhere in the middle; not as foolish as Wuguli but not as responsible as Hu Nian.
  • A rather dark take appears in The League of Gentlemen with Pop's two put-upon sons Al and Richie. Richie is the foolish one and it leads to him being disowned by his own father for a very small screw-up (getting a few chocolate bars stolen). Al the ostensibly responsible one, has been actually conditioned to be subservient to his father and deludedly worship him which leads to Pop ruining his life even further.
  • Madam Secretary: Done twice in the McCord family.
    • Between Elizabeth McCord and her brother, Liz has a strong marriage and manages to balance her family with her career as Secretary of State. Her brother's marriage is on the rocks due to him being Married to the Job (as an aid worker in conflict zones, but still).
    • Among Liz and Henry's children, the middle sibling Alison is a peer mediator at her school and a model student, whereas her older sister Stevie dropped out of college and her younger brother Jason clashes with his parents politically and got expelled from their Quaker school for punching out a bully. Also inverted between Alison and Stevie in "Standoff" when Stevie initially helps sneak Alison's boyfriend past the security detail to get back at their mother, but then changes her mind and takes him home rather than let Alison and the boyfriend have Their First Time upstairs.
  • It's worth noting that the middle child often falls into this role as well in Sitcoms. A notable example of this are Malcolm in the Middle and its eponymous Malcolm, who is much more responsible than Dewey (although Dewey is only about six years old at the beginning of the series) and, well... just plain smarter than Reese. Interestingly, later on, the roles are shifted. Dewey becomes more responsible and down to earth while Malcolm becomes more and more cynical and pessimistic. Francis, who got sent away to military school because of his behaviour, actually gets his crap together, has a happy marriage and a good job.
  • The Mentalist: In Red All Over Xander Harrington, was a hard-working, decisive businessman, and a good husband and father, while his younger brother Ed is a No-Respect Guy playboy who knocked up their stepmother, lets himself be used by a woman who planted a bomb in the family's house and is never given any responsibility in the Family Business.
  • Microsoap:
    • The series has Joe and Emily, who play with this trope quite a bit. Prankster Joe is the foolish sibling while his older sister Emily is the responsible who tries to rein him in. However as Joe gets older, he morphs into a more responsible sibling, becoming something of a Teen Genius, albeit occasionally needing Emily to bring him back down to earth when his ego got too big. Emily by contrast drifts more into the foolish by missing important events as well as struggling with jobs and homework.
    • Roger's three children include music-loving David as the foolish (as shown when he leaves kippers in the oven to catch fire) while his younger sister Felicity is the responsible one (trying to fix the aforementioned kippers incident). Youngest Robbie also tends to fall more into the responsible as, despite him being Mr. Imagination, he's usually well-behaved and level-headed.
  • Midnight Caller:
    • Devon King inherited a near-bankrupt radio station when she was twenty-one and had it turning a profit in three years. Her brother Jimmy was an incompetent businessman and an alcoholic who died in a drunk driving accident.
    • Jack Killian is a responsible citizen with no criminal record who has been working since he got out of high school. His brother Frankie is a small-time thief who spent time in prison. His sister Katie clearly has borderline personality disorder; she has a long history of short-lived relationships that failed because she rushed into them too quickly, then freaked out when her boyfriend wanted to slow down.
  • In Murdoch Mysteries, Dr. Julia Ogden's sister Ruby is introduced when she is revealed to be a magician's assistant to Harry Houdini, much to Julia's chagrin. While Julia has become a doctor and a coroner in Toronto, Ruby has gotten into popular journalism and travels the world, becoming romantically involved with the married H.G. Wells at one point. The two sisters sometimes bicker over their differences, with Julia making remarks about her sister's tendency to spend time with sultans and such. Ruby retaliates at one point by calling her sister "Jules" (an old childhood nickname Julia no longer likes) and lamenting her sister being a stick-in-the-mud, particularly critiquing the slow-motion courtship between her and William.
  • Explored in My Name Is Earl with Earl evolving over the course of the show from being one of a pair of idiot siblings to being a responsible one and taking care of his brother Randy who remains the foolish one. At one point Earl has a minor Heroic BSoD when he realises he has become the guy everyone looks to for answers and help.
  • Ode to Joy:
    • Qu Xiao Xiao is a businesswoman who successfully controls her company, while Qu Lian Jie is a playboy who wastes his father's money and makes bad financial decisions.
    • Fan Sheng Mei constantly works and pursues rich men in order to support her family. Her brother, meanwhile, relies on Fan Sheng Mei's money and effort to get him a job and house, and doesn't appreciate her efforts.
  • Outnumbered has stressed, mother-of-three Sue (Responsible) and undependable, new age Angela (Foolish). To a lesser degree, Sue's sons fit too, with serious, quiet Jake (Responsible) and erratic, compulsive liar Ben (Foolish).
  • Part of Me: Gabriel is the foolish sibling to Ricardo's responsible sibling, with Ricardo being serious, studious and hard-working while Gabriel being a loudmouth who prefers spending his time chasing skirts and getting into trouble with the local gangs.
  • The Patty Duke Show: Impulsive, boy-crazy, Zany Scheme-prone Patty Lane (Foolish) and demure, cultured, sensible "identical cousin" Cathy Lane (Responsible).
  • Political Animals: Elaine's twin sons T.J. and Douglas, respectively. T.J. is the hard-partying and promiscuous sibling, whose main "work" shown during the series is trying to start a nightclub...which he can't fund without a loan begged from family members. Douglas, on the other hand, is busy with a political career as his mother's right-hand man (and formerly her presidential campaign manager), about to marry, and spends most of his time-solving problems of the rest of his dysfunctional family.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force: Madison is the responsible one to her brash sister, Vida.
    Madison: Don't look at me. I'm the sister with the common sense.
  • Queen Sugar has the Bordelon siblings: Ralph Angel, an ex-con who still engages in illegal activity and needs to find a job, is the foolish sibling. Charley, the wealthy sports manager, and Nova, the truth-seeking journalist, are the responsible siblings. Deconstructed because Ralph Angel is fully aware of this dynamic and finds it chafing. He considers his sisters' attempts to help him patronizing and doesn't think they have much faith in him.
  • The Ranch: Colt is Foolish, Rooster is Responsible, at least at first. Colt left the ranch to pursue (and screw up) a semi-pro football career, while Rooster stayed to work on the ranch. Beau, however, points out that they're both Man Children who spend more time drinking and chasing women than they do working.
  • Saved by the Bell has Rod Belding, who is the foolish to Principal Richard Belding's responsible, being way too relaxed with the rules and then blowing off the kids for a field trip at the last minute for a date. Richard proves how much better a person he is by agreeing to take his brother's place to lead the trip.
  • On Schitt's Creek both David and Alexis are shown to have some major gaps in their common sense thanks to their spoiled upbringing, but David is the far more self-aware, book-smart and responsible of the two. In the past, he often worried about his sister when she was off on her wild adventures and it fell to him to send her passports and colored contact lenses.
  • Sense8: Sun Bak is a responsible, level-headed businesswoman whose only discretion is taking part in underground fight clubs. Her brother Joong-Ki is an irresponsible hedonist who's been embezzling from the family business. When the authorities catch on to what Joong-Ki has been doing Sun volunteers to take the fall to preserve the family's reputation. Their father initially agrees, but after a few weeks he realises what a mistake he's made and tells Sun he's going to reveal the truth to clear her name. Unfortunately he makes the mistake of telling Joong-Ki his intentions, so Joong-Ki kills him to save his own skin.
  • Alec Lightwood in Shadowhunters is Responsible to Izzy and Jace's Foolish. Alec is the oldest and takes his responsibility for them very seriously. Izzy is slightly irresponsible, but Jace straight up ignores any rules he doesn't like, especially once Clary comes on the scene.
  • Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock". While the former is a high-ranking government official, the latter is a freelancer detective, and also a drug addict.
  • The premise of the series Simon & Simon involved two brothers who worked as private detectives. Rick was a blue-collar Vietnam veteran (Marine Corps, no less) who drank considerably and had unsavory friends. The younger brother A.J. was the white-collar half of the duo. He attended university during the Vietnam era and often scolded his brother. Rick was supposed to be streetwise, carefree, and unflappable, while A.J. was straight-laced, anxious, and upwardly mobile, given to fretting about retaining his P.I.'s license.
  • In Sister, Sister Tia is Responsible and Tamera is Foolish. Tia is serious and studious, Tamera is wild and impulsive.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the episode "Family", we're introduced to Captain Picard's older brother Robert, who attributes his bitter, jealous, and bullying behavior from their youth to this trope, claiming himself to have always been The Dutiful Son while Jean-Luc "broke every rule [their] father made and got away with it."
    • Will Riker and his transporter duplicate (who goes by Thomas) are akin to twin brothers. Will is a dedicated Starfleet Officer, while Thomas joined the Maquis.
    • Data is a Benevolent A.I., while his brother Lore is A.I. Is a Crapshoot. This dynamic continues with Data’s daughters Soji and Sutra.
    • Tasha Yar escaped her Wretched Hive of a homeworld and became a respected officer, while her sister Ishara, gave her Undying Loyalty to a glorified street gang. Though Ishara believes herself to be the responsible sibling, and thinks Tasha was a Dirty Coward for leaving.
    • Worf has this dynamic with his adopted brother Nikolai, which has been a source of resentment between them. Worf resents Nikolai for the stress he caused their parents, while Nikolai always saw Worf as being Holier Than Thou. Nikolai attempts to become more responsible by joining a group of Boralans, becoming a community leader and a family man. However, this caused him to save a pre-warp civilization from an extinction level event and introduce human DNA to the gene pool of a people too primitive to fathom the concept of alien life, both of which are egregious violations of the Prime Directive, so as far as Worf was concerned, it was just more foolishness.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Ezri has two brothers, the older one runs the family business, while the younger one is a failed artist who works at the family business but isn't very good at his job, and eventually murders a woman.
    • Played with between Quark and Rom. By human standards, Quark is the foolish one always getting into illegal schemes while Rom is a good father and one of the best engineers on the station. But by Ferengi standards, Quark’s unrelenting greed is exactly what is expected, while Rom committed the biggest taboo possible in their hyper-capitalist society by starting a union.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Cody is Responsible and Zack is Foolish. Although uniquely for this trope, Cody is Not So Above It All many times and gets into plenty of antics with Zack. Often willingly.
  • Played with in Supernatural. While, law-abiding, educated, responsible, empathetic Sam seems to be the Responsible Sibling to Dean's loud, boorish, womanizing, devil-may-care Foolish Sibling, Sam is also the Black Sheep of the family who butted heads with his father constantly while Dean is loyal and devoted to his family to the point that it's a character flaw. It seems that Sam was given more freedom and innocence as a kid while Dean was forced to be his brother's caretaker and his dad's loyal soldier. However, Sam takes far more responsibility for his — and other people's — mistakes than Dean does. While Dean's sense of responsibility is mostly limited to his family, Sam's extends to the world in general.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): Luca is a responsible cop continuing his family legacy, while his brother can't commit to a career, and quits any job he has without a plan the second it stops being fun.
  • That '70s Show:
    • An interesting variation is used with Eric, a nerdy stoner, being much more responsible and level-headed than his slutty and ditzy older sister, Laurie.
    • Hyde finds out he has a half-sister, who is hard-working and determined to take over the family business, while Hyde is a lazy stoner.
  • Played with on Two and a Half Men. Charlie is a hedonist, whose entire life is a house of cards, while Alan works a steady job and tries to be a good father. But as the series progresses it becomes clear that Alan is incapable of making good life choices, and just mooches off whoever he can.
  • Ugly Betty:
    • Hilda is the "foolish" Suarez sister, often being a Horrible Judge of Character and rather shallow compared to the plainer Betty, who is smart and responsible.
    • Daniel was Always Second Best to Alexis when they were growing up, and as adults, she showed herself to have more business savvy than he did, while he spent his time as a playboy. After she leaves the show he becomes more responsible and serious with relationships.
  • Unhappily Ever After: Older son Ryan is foolish, middle child Tiffany is responsible. Ryan went to High School on the Five Year Plan, Tiffany got a full scholarship to an Ivy League school. Both ended up going to a local community college for a year.
  • In Victorious, Tori Vega, though not above getting involved in wacky hijinks, is usually more sensible and down to earth than her deluded, self-obsessed older sister Trina.
  • Vida: Lyn is the foolish sibling, Emma is the responsible sibling. Lyn causes trouble wherever she goes, such as starting an affair with Johnny and going on a thousand-dollar shopping spree just to cheer herself up. Emma, on the other hand, is hard-nosed and prudent to a fault, driving everyone nuts with her high expectations.
  • Ryan and Kristen from Wilfred seem to fit their respective tropes at first. Ryan is unemployed and spends his days getting high and doing Jenna's busy work while Kristen is a successful doctor. But up close, they are the opposite. Ryan wrestles with his conscience and always does the right thing, for better or worst. Kristen, on the other hand, makes bad decisions when it comes to her personal life. She wrecks her marriage after she has an affair with a married man and mothers a bastard she rightfully names Joffrey.
  • Wynonna Earp gives us the Earp siblings. Big sister Wynonna is the town pariah who slept with half her high school, had several stints in juvie, and skipped town to ride with a biker gang as soon as she was able. She starts the series in complete denial about being The Chosen One who must end the family curse and stop demons from terrorizing Purgatory. Meanwhile, Waverly is the town darling, a top student, and has dedicated her life to figuring out how to break the curse because she won't abandon her hometown. The fact that, despite all this, Wynonna is still The Chosen One gets under Waverly's skin a little.

    Music 
  • In the first opera from The Ring of the Nibelung cycle, Fasolt and Fafner are this during their first appearance, with Fasolt being the gullible and emotional brother, and Fafner the calculating and rational one. However, the situation quickly slips straight into Cain and Abel.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: An Older Than Feudalism example is the Titan brothers Prometheus ("forethought") and Epimetheus ("afterthought"). While the former was clever and rational, the latter was foolish. In Plato's discussion of the myth, Epimetheus completely bolloxed everything when the two brothers were given the job of creating humans and animals. Since he lacked foresight, he came down to humanity last and had nothing more to offer, so Prometheus had to steal fire and give it to humans to prevent our extinction. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Epimetheus enthusiastically received Pandora from the gods, despite all of Prometheus's warnings that she would be a blight upon humanity. He was right, she was. This is the Ur-Example in Western Literature.
  • Japanese Mythology: Foolish brothers are the reason why the Japanese pantheon is ruled by a goddess. Amaterasu's first brother, Tsukuyomi, killed the goddess of food out of disgust at the way she procured the food, so Amaterasu vowed never to speak to him again, hence why day and night are always apart. Amaterasu's other brother, Susanoo, was a Sore Loser who threw a massive tantrum after he lost a competition with her and was banished to Earth. His descendants initially ruled the world, until Amaterasu ordered her descendant to depose them.

    Roleplay 

    Theatre 
  • Rabbit Hole: Becca is the responsible wife and mother. Her sister Izzy is a wild child that gets into bar fights after having sex with another woman's boyfriend—and gets knocked up by said other woman's boyfriend.

    Video Games 
  • Cuphead: Mugman was the one who tried to discourage Cuphead from gambling their souls for the Devil's loot but Cuphead was so blinded by greed, that he took the bet and lost.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Crash, the resident Cloud Cuckoolander, is the foolish older brother to Coco, who's smarter and has more common sense (although not without a few antics of her own).
  • Devil May Cry has a very complicated case of this with Dante and Vergil. At the first glance, you can assume that Dante with his devil-may-care attitude cares only about entertaining himself, barely taking responsibility for anything in his life, while the calm and composed Vergil is the responsible twin that takes everything seriously. However, their actions under pressure can testify otherwise: Dante becomes a bit more serious when things get tough, while Vergil shows cracks in his persona, easily becoming irritated when something doesn't go his way. Dante surprisingly also displayed a lot of maturity in his teens, saving up enough money to buy space for his shop and intending to become a Devil Hunter, while Vergil ran around the world in pursuit of power, even fathering Nero during a one-night stand, which shows that despite his cold and calcutaing facade, the older brother can still be prone to impulsive decisions.
  • Lyndon and Edlin of Diablo III were close brothers who chose different paths when they grew up. Lyndon became a scoundrel and started running with the Thieves' Guild more to amuse himself than anything. Edlin became a city guard with a wife and children.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest IV: Meena is dutiful, commited and circumspect. Her sister Maya is a lot less serious and loves to gamble.
    • Dragon Quest V:
      • Parry is reckless and a bit of an airhead whereas his sister Madchen tends to take her role as a princess more seriously.
      • Prince Harry was initially the foolish sibling to Wilbur's responsible sibling. Ironically, after his character development, Harry has become much more competent and responsible than Wilbur has.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, the Aoi twins seem like a clear-cut case of this, with Hinata being a hyper-enthusiastic, Perpetual Smiler Genki Boy and Yuuta being much more thoughtful and reserved, but it's twisted a little in that Hinata is much more into their idol duties and so is sometimes the one pushing Yuuta (who worries about being defined entirely by his brother) into practicing more.
  • Artoirel and Emmanellain de Fortemps from the Heavensward expansion of Final Fantasy XIV are Responsible and Foolish, respectively. Both of them show signs of childish behavior, but Artoirel is the heir to the noble Fortemps family legacy and thus The Dutiful Son, while self-centered Emmanellain is more or less a Lazy Bum Upper-Class Twit.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, Lucina, who's Chrom's Kid from the Future, is a serious and mature girl compared to any of the second generation units who can wind up as her siblings- Male Morgan, Cynthia, Kjelle, Brady, or Inigonote - with each of them being significantly more eccentric in their own ways.
    • Felicia and Flora from Fire Emblem Fates are Foolish and Responsible, respectively. Felicia is Foolish in that she's quite incompetent as a maid, being clumsy and terrible at cooking. Flora is Responsible, being the much more competent maid and cook.
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, Delthea is the foolish sibling to her older brother Luthier's responsible sibling, being Brilliant, but Lazy where he is hardworking.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Hilda is a rather lazy young noblewoman, while her older brother Holst is an accomplished warrior and commander who is responsible for defending the Leicester Alliance from Almyra. It's played with a bit in that part of the reason why Hilda is lazy lies in her belief that she'll never measure up to Holst.
  • Despite being equally talented at fighting, Kim Dong-Hwan and Kim Jae-Hoon, Kim Kaphwan's sons from Garou: Mark of the Wolves, are this, with Dong-Hwan being the Foolish one (a lazy slacker who prefers the Korean nightlife to strict training) and Jae-Hoon being the Responsible one (taking more after his dad in both looks and dedication, to the point of actually inheriting his Hou'ou Kyaku).
  • Technically, they're cousins, but Grand Theft Auto IV's Roman Bellic plays foolish gambling addict to Niko's responsible contract killer.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son: Delsin (Foolish) and Reggie (Responsible) Rowe. Delsin is an unemployed delinquent, and Reggie is the country Sheriff who expresses much embarrassment at having to keep arresting his younger brother. Though Delsin starts becoming more responsible after unlocking his Conduit abilities.
  • Jagged Alliance: In the first game, Gary Roachburn is arguably this to his alcoholic, drug-addicted older brother, Larry, and to his Genius Ditz sister, Megan ("Sparky").
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
    • Impa and Purah. Impa is a very serious and responsible woman who always helps out and explains things to Link in a straightforward manner, while Purah is a very perky woman who decided to test a newly-designed Fountain of Youth rune on herself without doing any safer preemptive tests first and who frequently treats Link in a very teasing and mischievous manner.
    • Dorian's daughters Cottla and Koko. Cottla is the younger sister who plays tag and hide-and-seek with Link, while Koko cooks various recipes for her family. In the sequel The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Cottla draws in the dirt, while Koko makes and sells ring garlands to travelers.
  • While not exactly foolish, Daniel from Life Is Strange 2 is considerably more carefree and reckless than his older brother Sean. Which is not ideal, considering how Daniel is the one with telekinesis.
  • Little Tail Bronx:
    • Tail Concerto has a three-way variant in regards to The Pris Sisters, where Stair is placed on the "Responsible" end with Flare being on the "Foolish" end. Meanwhile, their elder sister Alicia flip-flops between both spectrums, as while she is competent enough to singlehandedly keep The Black Cats Gang in business, she can also let her emotions get the better of her, especially around her crush Waffle.
    • Solatorobo: Red the Hunter has the adoptive brother-sister hunting duo Red Savarin and Chocolat Gelato, with Chocolat being the one responsible in keeping everything running smoothly on their mobile base The Asmodeus, since she can't trust Red to make level-headed decisions for anything that doesn't revolve around battling or adventuring.
    • Fuga: Melodies of Steel has Chick and Hack Montblanc. While both are troublemaking prankster, their harsh exposure to war has seen Chick dial back her own mischievous ways and act as a temporary authority figure to Hack while on the Taranis, where as Hack tends to go in guns blazing. The sequel plays this up further, with Hack desiring to become an adventurer when he grows up while Chick aspires to appear more mature like her friend Hanna.
  • Mega Man Battle Network has the foolish sibling be Lan/Netto Hikari, who likes to sleep in and neglect his studies, and MegaMan/Rockman.EXE a.k.a. Hub/Saito as the responsible sibling who has to be his brother's alarm clock and personal nanny at times.
  • Claus and Lucas from Mother 3. The former is the foolish one, and the latter the responsible one, which shows the most strongly in how they react to their mother's death. Claus goes off to get revenge, while Lucas obediently remains at home and indirectly spills the beans on where his brother went via a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • Subverted with Kannon and Seishi Bosatsu from Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- – they bear the personalities associated with this trope with Kannon a kind but strict Team Mom and Seishi a Manchild who engages in Big Brother Worship, but Kannon spoils Seishi rotten and Seishi is nice and sweet enough to never take advantage of his brother's trust or become a spoiled brat.
  • Miwako (responsible) and Yumi (foolish) Shimizu from the Nancy Drew game Shadow at the Water's Edge. Though also a bit of an inversion— Miwako's prudence renders her very apprehensive and unwilling to help Nancy with the mystery, instead attempting to discourage her from continuing, while Yumi is actively helping her, albeit in a very cryptic, indirect manner.
  • Dōjo and Oguna in Onmyōji (2016). Dōjo is a Spoiled Brat who doesn't hesitate to insult even her older brother when he tries to reason with her, even though he always puts up with it. According to Oguna's in-game autobiography, there was a time when Dōjo was lost eight times in a single month.
  • The Stamatin twins in Pathologic. Petr is a co-dependent alcoholic shut-in, and Andrei (while spending most of his time in the twyrine den coming up with ways to screw with people, and therefore not responsible in any traditional sense of the word) is a dangerous man with a strong force of will, and considers it his personal mission in life to protect his brother from the outside world. In particular, professionally. They work together as architects - Petr designs avant-garde buildings that break the laws of reality and Andrei does the civil engineering necessary to erect them.
  • Persona:
    • Partially lampshaded in Persona 3. When Ken Amada joins the team, Junpei assumes a Big Brother Mentor role. Yukari mentions something to the effect that Junpei's is like the foolish sibling, while Ken's the responsible and mature one.
    • In Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima was apparently the foolish sibling to the main character's mother, since he's implied to have been a bit of a troublemaker when he was young, such as earning himself a thrashing from his father by riding around on a bike.
    • Persona 5:
      • Eiko and her brother. Eiko is a somewhat poor student who ends up falling in love with a manipulative host and nearly getting sold off if not for Makoto's intervention. Meanwhile, her brother is apparently quite talented, and that fact, along with their parents' favoring him helps cause Eiko's issues.
      • Youji Isshiki and his sister Wakaba. Wakaba was highly eccentric but was also an exceptional cognitive psience researcher and a loving mother to Futaba. Meanwhile, Youji is fairly wasteful with money, thus causing him to extort money out of Sojiro, who'd taken Futaba in after hearing about Youji abusing her.
      • Kazuya Makigami, a petty thief and Mementos target, and his more studious younger brother Naoya, whom Kazuya bullies.
  • In Roots of Pacha, Maeri doesn't like her brother Igrork's pranks and says that he should act his age, like a wise elder like her; according to Gin's parents, they didn't get along as kids because of this.
  • In Stardew Valley, Haley is the Foolish to Emily's Responsible. Despite her outgoing attitude, Emily is the more mature of the two and works part-time in Gus' bar, while Haley seems very childish for her age, throwing tantrums at the thought of being forced to do household chores and mostly just loitering about.
  • Played with Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Bros. While Mario is characterized as impulsive and Luigi is described as the more level-headed one, the contrast rarely comes into play in the games or is often reversed. Mario can become focused on the task at hand and Luigi can make foolish decisions due to his cowardice.
  • The Protagonist Myo had been the foolish to her older sister Neesan's responsible in The Trader of Stories, to the point that, when they're both grown-ups, Neesan still thinks of Myo more in terms of Bratty Teenage Daughter than sister. They lost their parents at a rather young age, forcing Neesan into the role of a Parental Substitute and causing Myo to act out a lot, which partially explains it.
  • Downplayed with Polar Opposite Twins Jade and Floyd in Twisted Wonderland. While initial character profiles and in-game introductions establish Jade as calm and mature and Floyd as a Brilliant, but Lazy hedonist, it soon becomes clear that Jade enjoys chaos and their Slasher Smile Creepy Twins shtick as much as Floyd does, and indulges much of Floyd's behaviour due to wanting his twin's happiness more than anything.
  • Played with in Undertale, where Papyrus appears to be an ambition-minded skeleton dedicated to serving the royal guard, while Sans only seems interested in pranks and loafing. The reality is that Papyrus' attempts to be serious and mature makes him come across as quite (unintentionally) goofy and, as it turns out, he doesn't have a single mean bone in his body, and as such he's incapable of actually hurting anyone, meaning he is not really cut out for bodyguard work. Meanwhile, Sans secretly spends a lot of his time trying to keep his brother happy and is quite cynical and melancholic beneath his goofy surface, and he hides his own problems to not worry his brother. And if the player behaves evilly enough, he is eventually driven to attempt to kill them, and unlike his brother he will not show any mercy.
  • In the prologue of Until Dawn, Beth is strongly implied to be the responsible sibling, compared to her twin sister Hannah whom Beth calls "naive", even to her older brother Josh, who was seen passed out drunk.
  • In The Untold Tales Of The Vocaloids, Rin and her brother Len are this. Rin is lazy and prefer to die than doing her any of homework, while Len is diligent and regarded as a prodigy. Besides that, Rin is hot-headed and reckless to the detriment of her friends, while Len is more careful at facing problems on their way.
  • Played with in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines with Voermann twins—the responsible Therese and the foolish Jeanette. And by "played with", we mean that they are actually two extremely split personalities inhabiting the same body; they are actually Malkavians and this is how their madness manifests itself.
  • In The World Ends with You, Beat and his little sister Rhyme. The former is a hothead who isn't terribly bright, resulting in him making unwise decisions and his parents giving up on him. The latter is mature for her age, serving as the voice of reason as Beat's partner and never gave up on Beat. This is emphasized when you acquire their bookbags as secret pieces of equipment; Beat's is beaten up, while Rhyme's is in pristine condition.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney
    • The Fey sisters in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Maya is the Foolish sibling, being a rather childish 17-year-old with a voracious appetite for ramen/burgers(depending on the version). Mia is the Responsible sibling, being a successful defense attorney who left her village to find her mother and prevent any disputes between herself and her sister over who would succeed the family name. It helps that at the time of Mia's death, she was 27 and Maya was 17.
    • Played with in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney with the Gavin brothers. Kristoph is a defense attorney known as "The Coolest Defense in the West" for his calm demeanor, has an excellent win record, and is generally unflappable. Younger brother Klavier is a wild-card prosecutor who flirts while in the courtroom and is the lead singer of his very own rock band outside it. Kristoph is also the Big Bad of the game, and Klavier one of your best allies in bringing him to justice.
  • In Beyond Eden, Oscar Edenic is the dutiful first son responsible for managing his family's household and fortunes, while Edward Edenic is the wild third son who was expelled from school for an unknown incident and seems content to spend his days gambling and practicing shooting. Their conflicts are manipulated and exploited by Villain Protagonist Alex Wake in multiple routes.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has Mondo and Daiya Owada. While calling a biker gang leader "responsible" would be a bit of a stretch, Daiya was the glue that kept the Crazy Diamonds together, and ultimately sacrificed himself to save his brother, entrusting him with the gang. Mondo, for all his Hot-Blooded and manly attitude, was deeply insecure, which was why he challenged his brother to a race, leading to Daiya's death, and why he later killed Chihiro in a fit of rage, making him come off as the foolish one.
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Lainie was naive and too quick to trust people, and Cecilia is a shrewd manipulator.
  • Zigzagged with the protagonist, Johanna, and Tamara in Double Homework. Before the story, Tamara was the responsible one while the protagonist and Johanna were less so; by the beginning of the story proper, Johanna is responsible while Tamara has lost her sense of responsibility and the protagonist is completely reactive; Tamara regains some responsibility when she gets a job, but still acts immature; the protagonist develops his sense of responsibility throughout the story; and Tamara starts a business (one of the ultimate forms of responsibility) while Johanna is still responsible, and the protagonist would drift were it not for the people in his life.
  • In Marco & the Galaxy Dragon, Tera Isezaki is eccentric, proud, and fond of flaunting her family’s vast wealth in various ways. Her younger sister Rakka, by contrast, is humble, down-to-earth, and acts as the family’s self-appointed Minister of Finance to keep Tera from blowing their money on dubious purchases from Galaxy Auction.
  • Possible in Melody. Isabella does have a “real job” while Tim doesn’t...but it is notable that Tim owns a house, and Isabella is a guest there.
  • In Sisterly Bliss ~Don't Let Mom Find Out~, both sisters, Ichika and Futaba are opposed in personality. Ichika serves as the mature and responsible one while Futaba is immature compared to Ichika and is too dependant of the latter.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Bill is the Foolish Sibling, and Whitney is the Responsible Sibling. Bill is bombastic and will charge right into confrontation. Whitney will try and approach confrontation nice and easy and will Take a Third Option if possible.
  • In the GoAnimate "Character gets grounded" videos, a lot of the troublemakers have this dynamic with their siblings. It's worth pointing out that these are simply the most common dynamics between these characters in the grounded videos, and some videos have been known to reverse the characters' dynamics or even have both be Foolish:
  • Homestar Runner: Strong Bad and Strong Sad can be this, Strong Bad is often impulsive and doesn't think things through, while Strong Sad is most often intelligent and rationship.
  • MoniRobo: In this story, The Professor had a sister named Rika, who wanted to go to college like her. While the Professor focused on her studies, Rika spent her campus time playing around.
  • Ichabod and Calamity in No Evil, with Ichabod as the studious, neurotic one (Responsible) and Calamity as Brilliant, but Lazy (Foolish).
  • Trick Moon: Prince is the responsible one, but as he is trapped he has to rely on his foolish siblings Trickshot and Pocket. Despite his obsession with looking "cool", Trickshot takes his job more seriously than Pocket, grabbing her when she stops to save her game after Mage steals the Moonstone.

    Webcomics 
  • Adventurers! has Karashi (responsible) and Mizuna (foolish). Both were trained as ninjas, and Mizuna was actually a prodigy, but she misunderstood all the favorable comparisons to Karashi, fled, and joined Khrima. When the sisters duel, Mizuna throws a sudden childish fit upon realizing that Karashi broke one of her earrings, with the comic's title sarcastically urging the reader to guess which one was the older sister. Upon her Heel–Face Turn, Mizuna is shown to still be impatient while training.
  • In Concerned, there's the Frohman brothers. Gordon Frohman is the Foolish sibling, with the misadventures resulting from his spectacular idiocy driving the plot of the webcomic. His twin brother Norman is the Responsible one, having saved Gordon's life many times since they were children, only for Gordon to not understand that Norman was saving him.
  • Cucumber Quest has the Brother–Sister Team of Cucumber and Almond. Cucumber is a bookworm who would rather hide the Artifact of Doom and end the quest to save the world before it's even necessary. Almond is so excited for said quest that she invokes You Can't Thwart Stage One.
  • Elon and Myari of Ears for Elves, oh so much; they fit the opening paragraphs of this page to a T. Older brother Elon is cautious and methodical where Genki Girl Myari is impulsive and excitable.
  • General Protection Fault
  • I Love Yoo: Subverted with the siblings Nol and Kousuke. At first, Kousuke seems to be the responsible older sibling, with Nol as the irresponsible younger sibling. However, once Nol starts working at his family's buisness, he is very competent, and decides that he wants to continue working there. On the flip side, Kousuke is shown to be more explosive than depicted, eventually attacking Nol.
  • Julie is mostly the responsible sibling and Angelika is mostly the foolish sibling in Our Little Adventure.
  • In Pacificators, we have Larima and Taffe. It's not quite so straightforward, though; Larima is The Ditz and Genki Girl who loves being a Pacificator, and takes her duty seriously. Taffe is The Stoic and The Lancer, but she never wanted to be a Pacificator in the first place.
  • Rowan Fitzpatrick in Rhapsodies is much more grounded than her manic, hyperactive, Ditzy Genius brother, Brian. This is the main reason she's the office manager in their financial consulting firm.
  • Rosebuds: Maria ends up being the foolish sibling practically all the time, while Maricela and Rosa often share the responsible spot.
  • Anna and Susan from Sire make up both halves of the Jekyll & Hyde-Child, thusly one sister is rational, calm and reasonable and the other is completely and utterly without inhibition.
  • In Suihira, Hadima, the protagonist's elder sister, is the responsible future queen in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. The protagonist, Wahida, acts like a Royal Brat before running away on a Mission from God, which is conveniently bestowed on her days before her own wedding.
  • In The Veligent, Kade is the more laid back sibling, while his brother is the more serious and responsible one.
  • You've Gotta Be Kitten Me!: Rupert frequently presents himself as responsible with how he works to keep himself and Mino fed. In contrast, Rupert's sister Berta is presented as the foolish as she frequently gets herself into trouble to where their mom has "disowned" her many times.

    Web Videos 
  • Aaron has two brothers, Chris and Adam. Adam was a drunken wreck in his teen years, making him the Foolish sibling. Chris is well-adjusted and living away from home, making him the Responsible one.
  • Cream Heroes: Dodo is the Foolish, having jumped atop Claire's kitchen cabinets despite the dangers and has eaten soil, silicone and paper. This stands in contrast to his brother Toto, who tends to be calmer and more responsible, acting as a defender from the robot vacuum and the zombie hand massager. Notably, if Dodo doesn't go to DD or Nana for comfort when he's upset, he will seek out Toto.
  • The Cry of Mann:
    • Berry is the responsible sibling, to Jouglat and Jack's foolish sibling. While she works hard trying to keep the family from falling apart and tries to act as a moral compass of sorts, Jouglat goes crazy due to his warr obsession, and Jack spirals out of control due to his obsession with his art.
    • While they're not actually blood-related, they're practically sisters, and they share this dynamic. Mabel's the responsible one, who tries to protect both herself and Ashes from the soldiers, whom she doesn't trust or care for. Even after she falls for Glintz-Terry, she refuses to take action and thinks of herself as being naive. Ashes is the foolish one, who chooses to flirt with soldier Durkin and shows no fear when dealing with the other soldiers, a mentality that Mabel chastises as being too foolish and dangerous.
  • Empires SMP Season 1:
    • Among the "Rose-blings", fWhip is the fiery, Foolish Mad Bomber twin to Gem's more level-headed, logical Responsible twin.
    • Downplayed with the Sea-blings; Jimmy is the Boisterous Weakling Foolish Sea-bling who easily antagonizes his neighbours to Lizzie's Plucky Girl Responsible Sea-bling. Somewhat justified in this case, as Jimmy is the younger of the two and was hatched from a damaged egg which Lizzie had spent hundreds of years protecting. However, while Lizzie is certainly more competent and responsible than Jimmy, considering that she once ate a magical artifact without even thinking of the consequences, didn't know what a birthday was for years, and often trends towards chaotic, it's hard to call her responsible in general.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and The Other Guy. Also slightly played with, as The Other Guy is proud to reveal that he controls the Critic like a puppet-master. As they do a lot of videos as themselves reviewing modern movies, Doug and Rob will play this dynamic too. Doug's usually the ditzy, slightly crazy Wide-Eyed Idealist, while Rob is more cynical and can smack Doug down when he gets too far.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • In the "Bowser Junior's First Grade!" story arc, Emily Coleman, who is one of the few students who has some common sense and maturity, serves as the responsible sibling to her crazy brother, Patrick's foolish sibling.
    • In "Chef Pee Pee's Family", Chef Pee Pee and his unnamed sister serve as the responsible siblings to their sister, Stacy's foolish sibling. In particular, Stacy spends most of her time cheering the same word: "Queef", much to their annoyance.
    • In "The Koopalings! Part 2", Junior, Iggy, Roy, Larry, and Ludwig are the responsible siblings, while Wendy, Morton, and Lemmy are the foolish ones. In particular, Wendy smashed a dish over a spot she missed, and later cut the couch in half with a chainsaw which led to Mario and Bowser getting evicted from their apartment, Lemmy broke a table with a cannonball from Bowser's clown car, and Morton smashed another table with a hammer, with Junior trying to stop them all the while.
  • Petscop: According to their descriptions, Roneth is the responsible to Toneth's foolish because he learns from the latter's mistakes and doesn't need to be watched all the time (implying that Toneth does need to be watched all the time).

    Western Animation 
  • 50/50 Heroes: Sam is initially portrayed as more responsible than her brother Mo about how they use the Spectral Scepter and more concerned about studies than him but later episodes show that she can be as selfish and reckless with the scepter.
  • Adventure Time, in the episode "Jermaine", reveals that Finn and Jake had this with their other brother Jermaine. He believes Finn and Jake were the Foolish ones, getting to live an easy life while he stayed behind to protect their father's home and treasures from the demons who want them back. However, it's Deconstructed. Jake calms his brother down and Jermaine realizes that he "built his own cage." He kept himself at home due to misplaced beliefs while Finn and Jake applied the lessons their father taught them and kept a lot of evil at bay and saving Ooo. Jermaine eventually lets the home burn down before going off on his own path.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: The titular Gumball is the lazy and careless Foolish to Anais' studious and intellectual Responsible. Darwin is usually in-between, being more cautious than Gumball, but not as level-headed as Anais.
  • Between the Plantars in Amphibia, Polly tends to be the responsible sibling (despite being younger and slightly Ax-Crazy), being more willing to listen to Hop Pop's instructions, and Sprig tends to be the foolish sibling, being more impulsive. Anne starts out as the foolish sibling to Sprig's comparably responsible, but after going through Character Development, she becomes the responsible sibling to both Sprig and Polly in season 2 onwards.
  • Zig-Zagged in The Angry Beavers. Daggett is hyperactive and temperamental, while Norbert is level-headed and laid-back. Their actual roles depend on the episode: Daggett's high-strung nature means he'll sometimes play the wary Straight Man to a painfully nonchalant/smug Norbert.
  • Archer: Ray Gilette is the Responsible Sibling to his brother Randy's Foolish. Ray has a steady career as a spy and is usually one of the most competent members of the agency. Randy on the other hand is an illegal drug farmer who's too lazy to get a legitimate job at the nearby coal mine.
  • In Arthur, D.W. is the foolish sibling whenever she throws temper tantrums and/or generally annoys her titular older brother. Arthur is the responsible sibling, as he is more mature and level-headed than D.W. is and often has to put up with her behavior. However, there are a few instances where the roles are reversed, such as "Arthur the Wrecker" and "Arthur's Knee", wherein Arthur will want to do something he wants against his parents' wishes, and will have to work out a deal with D.W. to keep her from telling on him.
  • As Told by Ginger:
    • In the Foutley family, Ginger is the sensible and capable Responsible. Carl is the scheming, mischievous Foolish.
    • Swapped around for their respective best friends in the Bishop family; older sister and wannabe social climber Dodie is the Foolish. Hoodsey is the straight man to Carl, making him the Responsible.
    • In the Gripplings, Courtney is more air-headed and oblivious to make her the Foolish sibling. Blake is a little more grounded, making him the Responsible.
  • Fraz and Guapo's dynamic in The Brothers Flub Fraz tries to stay on track and do his job while Guapo would rather be lazy and do his own thing. But in "Bad Judgement Day" the roles are reversed, Fraz listens to every stupid suggestion a bunch of annoying butterflies tell him, but Guapo outsmarts them to save Fraz.
  • Camp Lazlo has a mild example with Loon twins Dave and Ping-Pong. While both think similarly, have the same sarcastic wit and act almost the same, Dave is a little more sensitive and easily impressionable than his brother.
  • CatDog: The eponymous twins. Cat is the intelligent and responsible brother who takes care of the chores and the bills while Dog is ditzy, naive and carefree.
  • Daria:
    • The title character is the calm and intellectual Responsible to Quinn's shallow and bratty Foolish.
    • Jane is the responsible one compared to Trent. When the two of them had to get the "naming gazebo" fixed, Jane was the one earning the money while Trent's job was to hire a work crew and get them working on it. Jane earns more than the necessary amount and when she later finds Trent and the workers napping, it took Jane threatening to withhold payment to get them working. Trent knows she's the responsible one and when Jane decides to go to college, he gets upset and calls her a sellout. He later reveals that he's worried she might completely abandon him like their other siblings and their house is kinda scary without her.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Dexter and Dee Dee. Dexter being the smart one, and Dee Dee being downright stupid and foolish. Then again, there are those moments that Dexter does something completely boneheaded and Dee Dee's Flighty nature ends up being the only thing that defuses the situation. (Granted, sometimes it makes it worse...) She has also shown several times to be responsible when she needs to be. Dee Dee IS a good older sister after all.
  • Dragons: The Nine Realms has the older brother Eugene (Foolish Sibling) and his younger sister Jun (Responsible Sibling).
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Donald (Responsible) and Della (Foolish) have this dynamic. Della has a great love for adventure and is often too reckless for her own good while Donald is more cautious and overprotective. This would lead to Della impulsively stealing the experimental ship The Spear of Selene and took it into space with tragic consequences for her and her family, leaving her stranded in space and her children without a mom, something Donald rightfully calls her out on. Also when she does return home, Della remains irresponsible and has no clue how to raise her children whereas Donald is experienced and seen as responsible as a parental figure for the triplets.
    • Huey is Responsible Sibling to both his brothers, who are the Foolish Sibling in different ways: Dewey is a Fearless Fool who constantly rushes into danger without a plan, and Louie is a Lazy Bum and Con Man, who constantly tries to get out of dangerous or difficult tasks even if they need doing. Or to put it another way, Dewey, like his mother, doesn't think about the consequences of his actions for himself, while Louie doesn't think about the consequences for others.
  • On Family Guy, we have childish and immature Kiddie Kid Chris Griffin and Nice Girl Meg (who, Yandere tendencies aside, is a good person overall) and Child Prodigy Stewie.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Mabel, a hyperactive and somewhat childish Genki Girl, takes on the role of the foolish sibling; Dipper, who is studious and cautious, is the responsible one.
    • "A Tale of Two Stans" suggests that this was also the case for Grunkle Stanley Pines and his twin brother, Grunkle Stanford Pines. Such a relationship is deconstructed, however; our Stan's constant tomfoolery combined with Ford's work ethic, caused a rift to form between the two. It is played with around as Ford has shades of an Absent-Minded Professor, showing an astounding lack of foresight with his dangerous experiments upon arriving at Gravity Falls (which led to more than few problems later on) and fell prey to Bill's silver tongue while Stan's rough life made him Street Smart and gave him a sense of responsibility and as such he has the safety of Dipper and Mabel foremost in his mind.
  • Hilda: As seen in flashbacks, Hilda's maternal grandfather Phinium is a foolish sibling to his sister Astrid's responsible sibling, as the former broke the fairies’ rule of not interacting with humans by befriending Lydia.
  • Kimber and her older sister Jerrica from Jem. Jerrica is well-organized and responsible workaholic of a businesswoman. The teenager Kimber often doesn't think ahead, gets aggravated easily, and thinks with her heart a bit too easily.
  • Subverted on Johnny Test. While Johnny is the younger sibling who tends to get into scrapes, and his older twin sisters are bookish and brilliant, they perform experiments on him, which in real life would result in someone calling the authorities.
  • Kaeloo: This is the dynamic between Stumpy and his younger sister, Ardoise. Stumpy is a lazy, selfish moron who happily mooches off of his friends, while Ardoise is hardworking, mature, responsible, and so helpful that she learned about money management despite her young age so she could help her Struggling Single Mother manage the household expenses and lessen the burden on her. Kaeloo even calls Stumpy out on this by pointing out that he's a terrible example for Ardoise and that Ardoise is very helpful to him.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Mako and Bolin. The two of them grew up on the streets, but while the stoic and reserved Mako is dedicated to winning the probending tournament and the purse that comes with it, Bolin is a casual lady's man who loves to have fun. Then again, Bolin proves that he can be serious too, taking up the team leadership in "The Spirit of Competition," for example. "The Revelation" seems to imply that he realizes this dynamic exists and is trying to change it (by getting a job), but unfortunately he kind of screwed that one up.
    • Katara notes that Kya II and Bumi II were the foolish siblings to the Tenzin's responsible sibling. Tenzin and his siblings argue — well into middle-age — about who was responsible and who wasn't.
    • In Season 3, we find out Lin Beifong has a half-sister named Suyin. As teens, Lin was the responsible one, becoming a cop like her mom, and Suyin was the foolish, skipping school and hanging out with gangsters. She's calmed down since then—starting her own family and even founding a city — but is still laidback compared to Lin.
  • Les Sisters: The titular sisters. Marine, the younger sister, is impulsive, fun-loving and somewhat naive while Wendy, the older sister, is more level-headed and intelligent. Somewhat justified in that Marine is only seven while Wendy is a teen.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: June, who is the The Chosen One, is considerably more level headed than her Annoying Younger Sibling Ray-Ray and often acts more mature than her Aloof Big Brother Dennis.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Pinkie Pie is the walking definition of Cloud Cuckoo Lander, making her the Foolish sibling. Maud Pie, despite being an Emotionless Girl, is grounded and level-headed — making her the Responsible.
    • Fluttershy is the responsible sibling to her brother Zephyr Breeze. Whereas Fluttershy lives on her own, takes care of several animals, and has a healthy social life, Zephyr bums of his parents, jumps between random passions, and seems to think Rainbow Dash is in love with him, whereas she actually could not be less interested.
  • The Owl House: "Covention" introduces Eda's sister Lilith. Whereas Eda is an outlaw witch and petty criminal (Foolish), Lilith is the powerful and dignified leader of the Emperor's Coven, the elite soldiers of the ruler of the Boiling Isles (Responsible).
    • Played With, however, in their perspectives and understandings of the coven system and of Emperor Belos' trustworthiness. Later on, it becomes apparent that Eda recognizes that the coven system is little more than a power scheme designed by Emperor Belos to maintain power, whereas Lilith believes it truly is a necessity to maintain order. In addition, Eda is fully aware that Belos is not trustworthy when Lilith claims that Belos can cure her curse, whereas it takes hearing Belos reneging on his promise to her for Lilith to realize that her sister was right.
    • Played Straight for laughs, however, in "Escaping Expulsion". When Luz teaches them how to use glyphs in conjunction with one another, they essentially mentally behave like schoolgirls. While Lilith follows Luz's instructions exactly as stated, desperate to please, Eda performs haphazard experiments with glyphs in ways Luz discourages. As a result Lilith successfully uses glyphs in ways that allow her to form impressively artistic ice structures, while Eda's glyph combos fail to produce any spells that have any useful effects, or don't go out of control and cause chaos, causing the latter to envy Lilith's newfound skill.
    • This also the dynamic between Amity and her older brother and sister, Edric and Emira. She is the Responsible one while they are Foolish.
      • And compared to each other, Edric is the more foolish twin, having some Cloudcuckoolander traits while Emira is more grounded.
    • Luz and her doppelganger Vee. Luz is the foolish sibling, having jumped through a portal to another world and chosen to stay there on impulse, lied to her mother about it, and frequently cause trouble at school with her schenanigans. Vee is happy to stay with Camila, likes learning about responsible real-life things like taxes, and has a healthy social circle on Earth.
  • Blossom is usually the responsible sibling of The Powerpuff Girls in contrast to naive Bubbles and impulsive Buttercup. However, Blossom has had her moments of falling out of her comfort zone while Bubbles (notably in "Three Girls and a Monster") has stepped up to the plate to win the day.
  • Rocket Power has the arrogant and impulsive Otto (foolish) and the pragmatic and more level-headed Reggie (responsible).
  • The Simpsons: Bart and Lisa are extreme versions. Bart is the foolish sibling, as he is a Book Dumb and mischievous troublemaker, while Lisa is the responsible one, as she is very studious, well-behaved, and respectful.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Gone With a Trace", we are introduced to the Martez sisters. Older sister Rafa, while determined to be a provider, cuts deals with shady figures even if it means getting involved in illegal activities. Younger sister Trace, meanwhile, is just trying to stay afloat long enough to get her ship operational and make a better living among the stars. However, "Deal No Deal" reveals that Trace isn't a completely straight example, as she is extremely naïve about life beyond the area of the Coruscant underworld in which she lives.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Teenage brother Ronaldo Fryman is a self-promoting Conspiracy Theorist who slacks off at the Family Business, while his preteen brother Peedee is an anxious, Adorably Precocious Child who covers for him. Lampshaded by their father in "Political Power:"
      Mr. Fryman: Without power, I can't take care of my family! (motions to Peedee) Well, this one's fine, (jerks thumb at Ronaldo) but he can't take care of himself!
    • There's also the twin sisters Jenny and Kiki Pizza. In "Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service," Jenny often pushes her pizza delivery route on Kiki to go hang out with her friends, but Steven convinces Kiki to confront Jenny about it and the two sort things out.
    • While they're not technically siblings, Rose being Amethyst's Parental Substitute makes it fitting that Amethyst has this dynamic with Rose's actual child Steven: Steven is a well-meaning, compassionate person who looks out for the people around him (Responsible) while Amethyst is a destructive hell-raiser (Foolish). Even more so in that Rose is actually Pink Diamond, and Amethyst was made for Pink. One episode has Amethyst admit her dislike of this dynamic, promising Steven that she'll work to become a more responsible sibling, though she's immediately annoyed upon realizing that this action has made her the most mature of Steven's caretakers (at least in the current situation).
    • Zig-Zagging Trope between Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond in the present day during Steven's trial. While Blue does act overly nonfunctional and depressed in her daily life, at the very least she's insistent on continuing "Rose's" trial properly because she wants the truth. Yellow, on the other hand, while she's determined to keep her forces in line, treats the trial like a Kangaroo Court.
    • Pink Diamond, being young and impetuous, was the foolish sibling to the responsible Yellow and Blue. After Pink's Heel–Face Turn, the roles are reversed.
  • In Tangled: The Series, the poised and proper Arianna is the responsible sibling while her laidback and impulsive sister Willow is the foolish sibling.
    • Thomas & Friends:
    • Season 13's "Double Trouble" gives us Sir Topham Hatt's brother Sir Lowham Hatt, who is a jovial Big Fun compared to Sir Topham himself who is strict and serious.
    • In Season 21's "Hasty Hannah", Henrietta is the responsible sibling to her sister Hannah's foolish sibling. Henrietta treats Toby with respect and knows that tramway coaches are not built for high speeds, while Hannah demands the engine pulling her go faster and faster, even if it means going past closing crossing gates and other engines at switches, and leads to her coming apart.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episodes "Take Elmyra Please" and "Grandma's Dead", Elmyra acts as the foolish sibling to her little brother Duncan's responsible sibling. Elmyra wants to pursue an acting career but has mistaken a pair of criminals for a pair of TV executives, whilst Duncan wants to be a superhero and often protects Elmyra from dangers to which she is otherwise oblivious.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race has the Sibling Team of Emma and Kitty. Kitty is the Foolish Sibling, being a scatterbrained and fun-loving Genki Girl, while Emma is the Responsible Sibling, being very serious and goal-focused. However, the two start to show they aren't so different as the race goes on, as Emma's romance with Noah causes her to lose her focus and Kitty starts to become the responsible one; ultimately, it leads to the pair gaining a deeper sense of respect for each other.
  • Wat and his brother in Wat's Pig. Wat was raised as a peasant and so knows how to take care of himself. His brother, now the king, has never worked a day in his life, and it's a bit of a shock to him when he has to.
  • We Bare Bears has the titular three adopted bear brothers, with the older Grizzly and Panda as the foolish siblings to the younger Ice Bear as the responsible sibling. Even though all three love to have fun and making connections with people, Grizzly and Panda's Manchild behavior sterns from having little sense of adult responsibility due to their lack of parental guidance. Ice Bear is generally the one looking out for them and providing for the bears, having developed an early sense of responsibility as a cub and becoming Wise Beyond Their Years thanks to having a Parental Substitute imposing this onto him. Between Grizz and Panda, Panda is the more responsible one, cautious to a fault and always wary of Grizz's Zany Schemes; in We Bare Bears: The Movie, it's Panda who calls out Grizz as an irresponsible big brother whose actions have only gotten them in trouble.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Man-Bot

Unable to control the immense bursts of energy his body now expels the once carefree playboy can only continue to live as Man-Bot!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ManInTheMachine

Media sources:

Report