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Four-Man Band

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The Four Man Band is a primarily comedic group, designed for a sitcom or domcom. The four distinct personalities are specifically designed to play off each other so that whatever happens that day, Hilarity Ensues.

Please note that this trope does not include The Hero. The focus is evenly spread among them. The Protagonist can easily be any one of the Band, or the focus can just be switched between episodes to different characters. Even the four roles can be shuffled around a little.

Compare and contrast Four-Temperament Ensemble, Four-Philosophy Ensemble. The band most commonly includes:

  • Only Sane Man - Or maybe just the guy who comes the ''closest'' to being sane most often. Every zany gang must have a Straight Man, and the other three leads have to share one. While his (or her, although the role is usually male) friends act out, the Only Sane Man's role is to Lampshade and be embarrassed by their behaviour. He will be more successful with the opposite sex than his friends, notably The Casanova Wannabe.
  • The Smart Guy - More intelligent than his friends. This variant is primarily geared towards Lampshading the relative stupidity of the others and being humiliated for his arrogance. Alternatively he may be a Mad Scientist type, with insane inventions.
  • Casanova Wannabe - This guy has a perverted mind. He usually takes one of two common forms - the Lovable Sex Maniac whose high sex drive is his most memorable trait, or the Comedic Sociopath, who has bursts of hilarious violence. In lighter examples, certain concepts may be Played for Laughs, whereas in darker examples the character may draw on Black Comedy Rape.
  • Butt-Monkey - A character who serves as a target for the others' jokes. There are a few tropes that could make the Band's Butt-Monkey; The Ditz, the Extreme Doormat or others, though it's possible to also make him a Casanova Wannabe (in which case the third slot is taken by the Comedic Sociopath). This member has remarkably less charisma than his friends or is a better target for jokes. The others will pick on him frequently and make him the target of practical jokes. Sometimes, however, this character may get one over on his bandmates, and this will thoroughly humiliate the others.

Compare Comic Trio (where The Casanova Wannabe leads, The Butt-Monkey goes along with him, and The Only Sane Man complains but is ignored). For the Distaff Counterpart, see Four-Girl Ensemble.


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    Anime & Manga 
Lucky Star
Only Sane ManKagami Hiiragi
The Smart GuyMiyuki Takahara
The Casanova WannabeKonata Izumi
The Butt-MonkeyTsukasa Hiiragi

Lupin III reminds us that situational comedy humour can be found in many genres.

Only Sane ManJigenKeeps the most level head, gets to snark instead of gasp at the other characters.
The Smart GuyGoemonHead in the clouds, but not obsessed with his intelligence. Still gets into humiliating situations.
The Casanova WannabeLupinDepending on the story, his actions may be more or less explicit.
The Butt-MonkeyInspector ZenigataEspecially in Lupin III: Part II, his role is to be humiliated by Lupin.

Shaman King Yoh and co. group searching for Dobi village

Only Sane ManYoh Asakura
The Smart GuyLenTao
The Casanova WannabeRyu
The Butt-MonkeyTrey/Horohoro

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Only Sane ManGarterbelt
The Smart GuyStocking
The Casanova WannabePanty
The Butt-MonkeyBrief

Doraemon Nobita and the three neighborhood kids he interacts with the most.

Only Sane ManShizuka, Nobita’s crush who is often the voice of reason.
The Smart GuySuneo, the neighborhood rich boy who is smarter than the other boys, but is often Gian’s patsy
The Casanova WannabeGian, Comedic Sociopath. The neighborhood bully. In later comics and more recent anime episodes and movie serials he’s shown to be more affable, but he’s usually the closest thing to a consistent antagonist who beats up other kids because he’s having a bad day
The Butt-MonkeyNobita, the main character, often can't do anything right, sucks at pretty much everything, and has bad luck like no one else. As such, he often relies on Doraemon.

    Comic Books 
Archie Comics:
Only Sane ManJughead Jones
The Smart GuyBetty Cooper
The Casanova WannabeVeronica Lodge
The Butt-MonkeyArchie Andrews

Fantastic Four

Only Sane ManSue Storm
The Smart GuyReed Richards
The Casanova WannabeJohnny Storm
The Butt-MonkeyBen Grimm

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
Chicken Little
Only Sane ManChicken Little
The Smart GuyFish Out of Water
The Casanova WannabeAbby Mallard
The Butt-MonkeyRunt of the Litter

Ice Age

Only Sane ManManny
The Smart GuyDiego
Casanova WannabeSid

The Secret of NIMH

Only Sane ManMrs. Brisby
The Smart GuyJustin
The Casanova WannabeJeremy
The Butt-MonkeyMr. Ages

    Films — Live-Action 
Marx Brothers
Only Sane ManZeppo
The Smart GuyChico
The Casanova WannabeGroucho
The Butt-MonkeyHarpo

American Pie

Only Sane ManOz
The Smart GuyKevin
The Casanova WannabeFinch
The Butt-MonkeyJim

American Wedding instead goes:

Only Sane ManKevin
The Smart GuyFinch
The Casanova WannabeStifler
The Butt-MonkeyJim

Ghostbusters (1984)

Only Sane ManDr. Raymond Stantz
The Smart GuyDr. Egon Spengler
The Casanova WannabeWinston Zeddmore
The Butt-MonkeyDr. Peter Venkman

Ghostbusters (2016)

Only Sane ManDr. Abigail Yates
The Smart GuyDr. Jillian Holtzmann
The Casanova WannabePatty Tolan
The Butt-MonkeyDr. Erin Gilbert

The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and Help!

Only Sane ManPaul McCartney
The Smart GuyGeorge Harrison
The Casanova WannabeJohn Lennon
The Butt-MonkeyRingo Starr

The Goonies

Only Sane ManMikey Walsh
The Smart GuyData
The Casanova WannabeMouth
The Butt-MonkeyChunk

Stand by Me

Only Sane ManChris Chambers
The Smart GuyGordie LaChance
The Casanova WannabeTeddy Duchamp
The Butt-MonkeyVern Tessio

The Hangover

Only Sane ManDoug Billings (to the point the plot always ditches him to turn it into a Comic Trio)
The Smart GuyDr. Stu Price
The Casanova WannabePhil Wenneck
The Butt-MonkeyAlan Garner

Horrible Bosses 1 & 2

Only Sane ManNick Hendricks/Motherfucker Jones
The Smart GuyMotherfucker Jones/Nick Hendricks
The Casanova WannabeKurt Buckman
The Butt-MonkeyDale Arbus

The Wizard of Oz

Only Sane ManDorothy
The Smart GuyScarecrow
The Casanova WannabeTin Man
The Butt-MonkeyCowardly Lion

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Only Sane ManLiz Sherman
The Smart GuyProfessor Krauss
The Casanova WannabeAbe Sapien
The Butt-MonkeyHellboy

Star Trek (2009) (Kelvin line, which upgraded Uhura, the original timeline had a more Comic Trio dynamic)

Only Sane ManUhura
The Smart GuySpock
The Casanova WannabeKirk
The Butt-MonkeyMcCoy

The Lord of the Rings

The Hobbits:

Only Sane ManFrodo
The Smart GuyPippin
The Casanova WannabeMerry
The Butt-MonkeySam


Only Sane ManAragorn
The Smart GuyGandalf
The Casanova WannabeLegolas
The Butt-MonkeyGimli

The Covenant

Only Sane ManCaleb Danver
The Smart GuyPogue Parry
The Casanova WannabeReid Garwin
The Butt-MonkeyTyler Simms


Only Sane ManDante Hicks
The Smart GuySilent Bob
The Casanova WannabeRandal Grave
The Butt-MonkeyJay

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Only Sane ManSallah
The Smart GuyDr. Henry Jones, Sr.
The Casanova WannabeDr. Indiana Jones
The Butt-MonkeyMarcus Brody

The Godfather: Vito's sons.

Only Sane ManTom Hagen, the serious adopted sibling who serves as the voice of reason when Sonny or Michael start getting too bloodthirsty.
The Smart GuyMichael, very cunning and The Chessmaster
The Casanova WannabeSonny, Hot-Blooded and violent
The Butt-MonkeyFredo, the weak-willed and incompetent sibling who suffers from Middle Child Syndrome

The Avengers (2012)

Only Sane ManSteve Rogers / Captain America
The Smart GuyTony Stark / Iron Man
The Casanova WannabeBruce Banner / The Hulk
The Butt-MonkeyThor Odinson

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Only Sane ManRick O'Connell
The Smart GuyEvelyn Carnahan-O'Connell
The Casanova WannabeAlex O'Connell
The Butt-MonkeyJonathan Carnahan

Harry Potter

The Marauders:

Only Sane ManRemus Lupin
The Smart GuyJames Potter
The Casanova WannabeSirius Black
The Butt-MonkeyPeter Pettigrew

The main characters themselves:

Only Sane ManHarry Potter
The Smart GuyHermione Granger
The Casanova WannabeRon Weasley
The Butt-MonkeyNeville Longbottom, before he Took a Level in Badass

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Only Sane ManArthur Dent
The Smart GuyTrillian
The Casanova WannabesFord and Zaphod
The Butt-MonkeyMarvin

Peter Pan

Only Sane ManWendy
The Smart GuyJohn
The Casanova WannabePeter
The Butt-MonkeyMichael

    Live-Action TV 
3rd Rock from the Sun: The Solomon Family, disguised alien researchers studying Earth
Only Sane ManTommy Solomon, high school student, Information Officer
The Smart GuyDick Solomon, physics professor, High Commander
The Casanova WannabeSally Solomon, homemaker, Security Officer
The Butt-MonkeyHarry, they had an extra seat, so...

The A-Team

Only Sane ManFace
The Smart GuyHannibal
The Casanova WannabeB.A.
The Butt-MonkeyMurdock

Babylon 5

Only Sane ManJohn Sheridan
The Smart GuyDelenn
The Casanova WannabeG'Kar
The Butt-MonkeyLondo Mollari

Beverly Hills, 90210

Only Sane ManBrandon
The Smart GuyDylan
The Casanova WannabeSteve
The Butt-MonkeyDavid

The Big Bang Theory

Only Sane ManLeonard Hofstadter
The Smart GuySheldon Cooper, and how.
The Casanova WannabeHoward Wolowitz, Lovable Sex Maniac until he met Bernadette
The Butt-MonkeyRaj Koothrappali. For the first six seasons, he's shy to the point he can't even speak to women unless drunk and is generally awkward. As he overcomes his fear of speaking to women, he retains his awkwardness but remains the Butt Monkey because he sometimes acts "metrosexual."

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Only Sane ManBuffy Summers
The Smart GuyRupert Giles
The Casanova WannabeXander Harris, overlap with Butt Monkey
The Butt-MonkeyWillow Rosenberg, overlap with Smart Guy

El Chavo del ocho

Only Sane ManLa Chilindrina
The Smart GuyÑoño
The Casanova WannabeEl Chavo
The Butt-MonkeyKiko

Dawson's Creek

Only Sane ManDawson
The Smart GuyJoey
The Casanova WannabeJen
The Butt-MonkeyPacey

The Defenders (2017)

Only Sane ManLuke Cage
The Smart GuyDaredevil
The Casanova WannabeJessica Jones
The Butt-MonkeyIron Fist

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Only Sane ManPhillip Banks
The Smart GuyGeoffrey
The Casanova WannabeWill Smith
The Butt-MonkeyCarlton Banks


Only Sane ManOlivia Dunham. Peter sometimes takes a crack at this, especially when Olivia shows up at his apartment at ungodly hours.
The Smart GuyPeter Bishop: IQ 190.
The Casanova WannabeWalter Bishop. He would be the smart guy, but he's just too darn insane to function.
The Butt-MonkeyAstrid. Walter can't even remember her name.

The Golden Girls

Only Sane ManSofia
The Smart GuyDorothy
The Casanova WannabeBlanche
The Butt-MonkeyRose

Happy Days

Only Sane ManFonzie
The Smart GuyRichie
The Casanova WannabeRalph
The Butt-MonkeyPotsie

Impractical Jokers

Only Sane ManQ
The Smart GuySal
The Casanova WannabeJoe
The Butt-MonkeyMurr

The Inbetweeners

Only Sane ManSimon Cooper. Not, however, The Protagonist.
The Smart GuyWill Mackenzie, who speaks French and is something of a high flyer
The Casanova WannabeJay Cartwright, who has been singularly attributed with bringing the word clunge back into the popular lexicon
The Butt-MonkeyNeil Sutherland. While he is more successful with the opposite sex than the others, he takes The Ditz to extreme levels and is the target of the others' jokes

The IT Crowd

Only Sane ManJen
The Smart GuyMoss
The Casanova WannabeRoy or Douglas
The Butt-MonkeyRoy or Richmond

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia note 

Only Sane ManDee
The Smart GuyDennis
The Casanova WannabeMac
The Butt-MonkeyCharlie

Kamen Rider Build: The Kamen Riders

Only Sane ManGentoku Himuro/Kamen Rider Rogue, wacky fashion sense aside.
The Smart GuySento Kiryu/Kamen Rider Build
The Casanova WannabeKazumi Sawatari, who pines for Mii-tan's affections.
The Butt-MonkeyRyuga Banjou/Kamen Rider Cross-Z

Last of the Summer Wine The "Trio" in the years after Compo's death

Only Sane ManNorman Clegg
The Smart GuyHerbert "Truly" Truelove
The Casanova WannabeAlvin Smedley
The Butt-MonkeyBilly Hardcastle

Los Simuladores

Only Sane ManMedina
The Smart GuySantos
The Casanova WannabeRavenna
The Butt-MonkeyLamponne

Married... with Children

Only Sane ManPeg
The Smart GuyMarcy
The Casanova WannabeJefferson
The Butt-MonkeyAl

The Monkees

Only Sane ManMike
The Smart GuyMicky
The Casanova WannabeDavy
The Butt-MonkeyPeter

The Muppet Show

Only Sane ManKermit
The Smart GuyPiggy
The Casanova WannabeGonzo
The Butt-MonkeyFozzie

The Nanny

Only Sane ManNiles
The Smart GuyMaxwell Sheffield
The Casanova WannabeFran Fine
The Butt-MonkeyC.C. Babcock

New Girl

Only Sane ManNick
The Smart GuySchmidt
The Casanova WannabeCoach
The Butt-MonkeyWinston

Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn

Only Sane ManDawn. She's oldest of the quads and considers herself the leader.
The Smart GuyRicky. He's the smartest one of the quads.
The Casanova WannabeDicky, although he's more of a Kidanova.
The Butt-MonkeyNicky. He tries to stay out of his siblings' shenanigans, but trouble finds him anyway.

The Office (US)

Only Sane ManPam
The Smart GuyJim
The Casanova WannabeDwight
The Butt-MonkeyMichael

Package Deal

Only Sane ManKim
The Smart GuyDanny
The Casanova WannabeSheldon
The Butt-MonkeyRyan


Only Sane ManJuliet O'Hara
The Smart GuyBurton Guster
The Casanova WannabeShawn Spencer
The Butt-MonkeyCarlton Lassiter

Red Dwarf

Only Sane ManDavid Lister
The Smart GuyKryten.
The Casanova WannabeThe Cat. Lovable Sex Maniac
The Butt-MonkeyArnold Rimmer

Shameless (UK) has the Maguire boys

Only Sane ManPaddy Maguire. Frustrated at the failed initiatives and incompetence of his sons
The Smart GuyJamie Maguire. Generally speaking, the most independent and able of the sons
The Casanova WannabeMickey Maguire. Mainly his obsessive love for gay porn
The Butt-MonkeyShane Maguire. Pretty much identified for his lack of common sense or intelligence, early on.


Only Sane ManJerry Seinfeld
The Smart GuyElaine Benes
The Casanova WannabeGeorge Costanza
The Butt-MonkeyCosmo Kramer


Only Sane ManWade Wells
The Smart GuyQuinn Mallory
The Casanova WannabeRembrandt Brown
The Butt-MonkeyMaximilian Arturo

Stargate SG-1

Only Sane ManSamantha Carter
The Smart GuyDaniel Jackson
The Casanova WannabeTeal'c
The Butt-MonkeyJack O'Neill

Stargate Atlantis

Only Sane ManTeyla Emmagan
The Smart GuyRodney McKay
The Casanova WannabeJohn Sheppard
The Butt-MonkeyRonon Dex

That '70s Show

Only Sane ManEric
The Smart GuyHyde
The Casanova WannabeKelso
The Butt-MonkeyFez

Weird Science

Only Sane ManWyatt|
The Smart GuyLisa
The Casanova WannabeGary
The Butt-MonkeyChett

Will & Grace

Only Sane ManGrace
The Smart GuyWill
The Casanova WannabeKaren
The Butt-MonkeyJack

The Young Ones

Only Sane ManMike by default
The Smart GuyVyvyan, by mad scientist standards anyway.
The Casanova WannabeRick
The Butt-MonkeyNeil, oh Neil.

The Young Ones (Alternate Character Interpretation)

Only Sane ManNeil by default
The Smart GuyVyvyan, by mad scientist standards anyway.
The Casanova WannabeMike, Casanova Wannabe
The Butt-MonkeyRick, who gets beat up and tormented even more than Neil.

The Young Ones (Alternate Character Interpretation)

Only Sane ManMike by default
The Smart GuyNeil, a Genius Ditz who got the highest test scores
The Casanova WannabeVyvyan, the poster child for Comedic Sociopath
The Butt-MonkeyRick, who gets beat up and tormented even more than Neil

Big Time Rush (Alternate Character Interpretation)

Only Sane ManKendall Knight
The Smart GuyLogan Mitchell
The Casanova WannabeJames Diamond
The Butt-MonkeyCarlos Garcia

Winter Dance Party
Only Sane ManBuddy Holly
The Smart GuyRitchie Valens
Casanova WannabeDion Dimucci
Butt-MonkeyBig Bopper

Dungeons & Daddies
Only Sane ManDarryl Wilson
The Smart GuyHenry Oak
The Casanova WannabeGlenn Close
The Butt-MonkeyRon Stampler

    Video Games 
Grand Theft Auto V
Only Sane ManFranklin Clinton
The Smart GuyLester Crest
The Casanova WannabeTrevor Philips
The Butt-MonkeyMichael De Santa
Super Robot Wars: Original Generation has Octopus Squad.
Only Sane ManRussel Bergman, The Generic Guy in a cast full of weirdos and often the one who tries to break up fights.
The Smart GuyLeona Garstein, a cool-headed Ace Pilot.
The Casanova WannabeKatina Tarask, a Hot-Blooded Leeroy Jenkins prone to over the top threats of violence.
The Butt-MonkeyTasuku Shinguji, a tactless ditz who earns his punishment by saying the wrong things.

Star Fox

Only Sane ManFox McCloud
The Smart GuyPeppy Hare
The Casanova WannabeFalco Lombardi
The Butt-MonkeySlippy Toad

    Web Comics 
Exterminatus Now
Only Sane ManRogue
The Smart GuyVirus, he's the most book smart at least
The Casanova WannabeEastwood
The Butt-MonkeyLothar

8-Bit Theater, Light Warriors

Only Sane ManThief
The Smart GuyRed Mage, or so he thinks
The Casanova WannabeBlack Mage (mostly of the Sociopathic type, except when White Mage is featured)
The Butt-MonkeyFighter

Homestuck: the Beta Kids

Only Sane ManJade Harley
The Smart GuyRose Lalonde
The Casanova WannabeDave Strider
The Butt-MonkeyJohn Egbert

The Alpha Kids

Only Sane ManRoxy Lalonde
The Smart GuyDirk Strider
The Casanova WannabeJake English
The Butt-MonkeyJane Crocker

    Web Animation 
Four Swords Misadventures
Only Sane ManGreen Link
The Smart GuyBlue Link
The Casanova WannabeRed Link
The Butt-MonkeyPurple Link

Homestar Runner, Teen Girl Squad

Only Sane ManCheerleader
The Smart GuySo and So
The Casanova WannabeThe Ugly One
The Butt-MonkeyWhat's Her Face

    Web Video 

After Hours

Only Sane ManKatie
The Smart GuySoren (maybe not the smartest, but the most adept and most likely to be crushed for his hubris)
The Casanova WannabeMichael
The Butt-MonkeyDan

Thomas Sanders

Only Sane ManVirgil (sort of deconstruction)
The Smart GuyLogan
The Casanova WannabeRoman (or rather, Love Freak)
The Butt-MonkeyPatton

    Western Animation 


Only Sane ManCharlie Brown
The Smart GuyLinus
The Casanova WannabePeppermint Patty
The Butt-MonkeySnoopy

Family Guy

Only Sane ManPeter Griffin
The Smart GuyJoe
The Casanova WannabeQuagmire, who brings this character to its most outrageous (and darkest) levels
The Butt-MonkeyCleveland Brown. He personifies Extreme Doormat in his pre-spinoff appearances

The Cleveland Show

Only Sane ManEx Butt-Monkey Cleveland Brown
The Smart GuyTim the Bear
The Casanova WannabeHolt Richter
The Butt-MonkeyLester

The Penguins of Madagascar

Only Sane ManSkipper
The Smart GuyKowalski
The Casanova WannabeRico, Comedic Sociopath
The Butt-MonkeyPrivate

King of the Hill

Only Sane ManHank Hill
The Smart GuyDale Gribble
The Casanova WannabeBoomhauer
The Butt-MonkeyBill Dauterive

The Looney Tunes Show

Only Sane ManBugs
The Smart GuyTina
The Casanova WannabeLola
The Butt-MonkeyDaffy

The Super Mario Bros. Super Show

Only Sane ManToad
The Smart GuyLuigi
The Casanova WannabeMario
The Butt-MonkeyToadstool

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)

Only Sane ManMichelangelo
The Smart GuyDonatello
The Casanova WannabeLeonardo
The Butt-MonkeyRaphael

The Simpsons: The Simpson family

Only Sane ManMarge
The Smart GuyLisa
The Casanova WannabeBart
The Butt-MonkeyHomer

Moe's Tavern Regulars

Only Sane ManLenny
The Smart GuyCarl
The Casanova WannabeMoe
The Butt-MonkeyBarney

South Park

Only Sane ManStan
The Smart GuyKyle
The Casanova WannabeCartman
The Butt-MonkeyKenny

101 Dalmatians: The Series

Only Sane ManSpot
The Smart GuyLucky
The Casanova WannabeCadpig
The Butt-MonkeyRolly

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Only Sane ManChip
The Smart GuyGadget
The Casanova WannabeDale
The Butt-MonkeyMonterey Jack

Kaeloo: The main four

Only Sane ManKaeloo
The Smart GuyQuack Quack
The Casanova WannabeMr. Cat
The Butt-MonkeyStumpy

Denver the Last Dinosaur

Only Sane ManWally
The Smart GuyJeremy
The Casanova WannabeShades
The Butt-MonkeyMario

Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines

Only Sane ManZilly
The Smart GuyKlunk
The Casanova WannabeMuttley (during his Magnificent Muttley segments)
The Butt-MonkeyDick Dastardly

The Daltons

Only Sane ManJack, The one with the most common sense, often highlighting flaws in Joe's plan;
The Smart GuyBoth Joe and William, although Joe is convinced he is the definitive brains of the group. William is too, but it's not as arrogant as Joe about it;
The Casanova WannabeJoe, although he is not a Casanova Wannabe himself, he strandes into Comedic Sociopathy territory, and William, who behaved in a flirtious way with Miss Betty;
The Butt-MonkeyAverell, the one who gets constantly called out for his clumsiness and stupidity.


Only Sane ManBlack (Usually), Yellow or Red (Sometimes)
The Smart GuyBrown (Usually), Yellow or Red (Sometimes)
The Casanova Wannabe Comedic Sociopath Red (Usually), Black (In Season 1 and some Season 2 episodes) Brown (Rarely)
The Butt-MonkeyYellow (usually), Red and Brown (sometimes)


Only Sane ManCole
The Smart GuyZane
The Casanova WannabeKai
The Butt-MonkeyJay

Codename: Kids Next Door

Only Sane ManNigel 'Numbuh 1' Uno/Abigail 'Numbuh 5' Lincoln
The Smart GuyHogarth "Numbuh 2" Pennywhistle Gilligan Jr.
The Casanova WannabeKuki "Numbuh 3" Sanban
The Butt-MonkeyWallabee "Numbuh 4" Beetles