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Only Sane Employee

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Jack: I don't do these things just to drive you crazy, Lemon. I do them for the good of the show.
Liz: Well, I'm the one who always has to clean up the mess afterward.
Jack: That's why my job is way better than yours.
30 Rock, "Tracy Does Conan"

You're the Only Sane Man (or Woman) at The Company and your job description reads, "Babysit everyone else, stay sane and, if you have any spare time, try to get some of your actual work done."

Or at least it might as well be. When you have this job, it doesn't matter what you're supposed to be doing - your real job is to manage insane people. For some reason, it's down to you to keep everything from going completely off the rails. And it's quite likely to drive you insane as well.

Sub-Trope of The Reliable One and Only Sane Man. Related archetypes include the Nerd Nanny, Cloudcuckoolander's Minder, Beleaguered Assistant, and Hypercompetent Sidekick. When it's the boss that has to deal with everyone else's antics, see Beleaguered Boss and Surrounded by Idiots.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The anime OAV Animation Runner Kuromi combines this with animation-industry self-parody.
  • Rossiu, from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, after the timeskip, is the only one in the Dai-Gurren Junta (with the possible exceptions of Kittan who has enough of a grasp on legal matters to point out everything wrong with Simon's Kangaroo Court and Leeron who just wants to do Science!) with any ability to run things. At all. Seriously, they're shocked by his development of standardization and law courts. It might just be because he's the only one who grasps the concept of sitting down and thinking about things, rather than just running off to blow something up. Of course, when he takes it too far, their complaints began to make sense...
  • Riza Hawkeye in Fullmetal Alchemist. She's constantly picking up the work left behind by her boss Mustang and telling him and the others off for not doing their work- all with a long-suffering, exasperated expression on her face.
  • Kureha in Sound of the Sky, especially since the first DVD extra episode established that she Never Gets Drunk.
  • Tenchi Muyo!:
    • Kiyone in Tenchi Universe. Although in her case, it's less "only sane employee" than "only sane employee in the local galactic region." (And let's face it, babysitting Mihoshi is a full-time job.)
    • And let's not forget that Sasami pretty much keeps the house in order and running properly within the OVA continuum. And every other continuum, to some small extent.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Chisame's job description: Hack computers, make snarky comments about everything around her, and keep Negi from doing something pointlessly reckless.
  • In Psychic Squad, Minamoto often plays this role for the good guys at BABEL, and Shiro plays this role for the antagonists at PANDRA.
  • In Hellsing, unlike the rest of Millennium, the Doktor has more orthodox goals, like continuing his research. He sometimes gets exasperated with his more eccentric colleagues and their antics. Considering his research will in the end benefit mankind, he is 'somewhat better than the rest of them. The fact that he's the Only Sane Employee while still being a Nazi scientist in a perpetually blood-stained lab coat says more about the rest of Millennium than it does about the Doktor. However, given he gets pretty pissed when Walter starts badmouthing them as a group, he holds some level of camaraderie among his more unstable colleagues along with being the right-hand man of the Major.
  • Reine in Date A Live often plays this role with the Fraxinus crew, especially when Kotori isn't around to keep the vice-commander in check.

    Comic Books 
  • Mina Murray in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. She even states that she is "In charge of this menagerie." Well, when your team consists of an old opium-addicted hunter, a science-pirate, an insane, lecherous invisible guy, and a wussy doctor who can turn into a rampaging behemoth, 'menagerie' is the only word to describe it. She takes it to the point that she's the de facto leader of the group, as she's the only one normal and grounded in reality enough to actually keep them together and pointed in a relatively useful direction.
  • Inverted Gaston Lagaffe: Gaston is the only dysfunctional employee, but he is crazy enough to turn everyone's job into this trope. Fantasio (and later Prunelle) spends most of his time trying to get Gaston to work. And then when Gaston tries to work, he just screws it all up.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • The comic strip is what happens after the last sane guy quits, replaced by the biggest Cloudcuckoolander of them all. And when those who once tried to keep everything under control (Dilbert, Wally, and Alice) flat out gave up and started exploiting the system for their own personal gain.
    • Asok the intern would have this job; he has the right perspective and opinions to play this role, but he has no seniority and therefore nobody pays any attention to what he has to say. He shows every sign that his Only Sane Employee nature is an aspect of his inexperience, and he'll be broken of it long before he's been there long enough for anybody to listen. He has started taking lessons from Wally.
  • Everyone in Retail who's on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder seems to be pretty sane. Store manager or above, not so much. Subverted with Marla, however, since her promotion; she seems to be retaining her common sense, at least so far.

    Fan Works 
  • In the All Guardsmen Party, Jim and Hannah are the only members of the Machine Cult on board the Occurrence Border who aren't fanatical, completely out of their gourd, flat-out heretics, or some combination of the three. It's eventually made official when the Magos Juris (Mechanicus internal affairs) investigate the Occurence Border after a long story involving xenotech and threatened mutiny, and find that basically all the Mechanicus except for Jim and Hannah are idiots and remove them from the ship, placing the two in charge.
  • Discussed in-universe in Doing It Right This Time, when Misato muses that while she's doing something about the fact that There Are No Therapists on staff to deal with how badly messed up her Pilots are, it might be a good idea to get one for everyone else so they can add a "Designated Sane Person" to the organisational chart.
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, junior graduate Assassin Ruth N'Kweze is first the student to, then later the assistant Assassin to, Johanna Smith-Rhodes. She is also Assistant Housemistress to Johanna in Raven House, making her Johanna's personal assistant on several levels. Ruth isn't above delivering snark and reality checks to her boss, and the two play out the relationship between the Disc's black and white "South Africans" in their interactions.
  • Only a few of the captains under Yamamoto in Please Stop Eating The Hell Butterflies are this, as the rest range from 'disturbed but do their jobs well' to 'disturbed, and they only stay on the payroll because we don't have better options/they'd go on a rampage if we didn't keep a close eye on them'. These are the Captains Ukitake and Konamura, as well as Yamamoto's Vice Captain Sasakibe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Stranger Than Fiction, Karen Eiffel is given a personal assistant to help her out with writer's block and make sure she finishes the book (key word: given). She does not want a personal assistant, and she does not want to be forced into finishing her book, she just wants to let it happen organically. Her publishers, on the other hand, want another book to sell.
  • It's unlikely the listing for the "cemetery caretaker" job in Cemetery Man mentioned having to stop the living dead from escaping the graveyard. Hell, the town doesn't even pay for the bullets.
  • Don't Look Up: Dr. Ogelthrope of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office is the only sane employee for the entire U.S. government! He helps Mindy and Kate from the get-go while pretty much everyone else in the Orlean administration obstructs the efforts to save the world, is a Jerkass, or both.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • In Jurassic Park, Robert Muldoon isn't arrogant like Wu, idealistic like Hammond, or selfish like Nedry; he's all too aware of the dangers of Jurassic Park and the raptors in particular. He knows they could likely never be displayed as park animals and should all be destroyed. Hammond dismisses him as an alarmist, but a lot of deaths could have been avoided if his warnings had been heeded.
    • The same applies in Jurassic World to Velociraptor trainers Owen Grady and Barry. While park manager Claire views the dinosaurs as assets and Hoskins wants to use the raptors and I. rex as field weapons, these two continually argue that they're living, breathing animals that have personalities and instincts, sometimes very dangerous and unpredictable ones. Yet again, a lot of death and destruction could have been prevented if the higher-ups had listened to Owen's and other trainers' warnings.

  • Discworld:
    • Pretty much the duty of the kelda in any clan of Nac Mac Feegles.
    • Also at Unseen University where this role is filled by Ponder Stibbons, the Archchancellor, or the Librarian, depending on what job needs doing. Rincewind is also an example, as after his running days are over, he seems to accrue any title no one else wants. (At one point, it's shown that Ponder has taken on so much extra work - which the senior wizards were happy to pass off to him — that he actually the controlling stake in running the University.)
    • The Bursar tried hard to be one of these before he required dried frog pills, but the Archchancellor proved a bit too much for him to handle.
    • Vetinari as well, not so much the only sane man, but the most sane one. An example turns up in Jingo, surrender was the most logical course for Ankh-Morpork from the very beginning, but only Vetinari is able to see it.
    • The Last Hero states that for any organization to survive, it needs at least one person who is this.
    • In Maskerade, Salzella appears to be this at first, but by the end of the book...
    • While we're at it we may as well give mention to Sam Vimes. As far as city employees go, he's the sanest one around. Compared to Moist Von Lipwig, Collon, Nobby, all the wizards, even Carrot. Sam always gets the job done, no matter what else is going on. One of the early books attributed this to a medical condition called being knurd; he always operates on a mental state a few drinks below sober.
  • In A Confederacy of Dunces, Mr. Gonzalez is the office manager of Levy Pants, who works with the manipulative Ignatius J Reilly, the senile Miss Trixie, and whose boss Mr. Levy, has no real interest in keeping the business alive, except for trying to keep Mr. Gonzalez employed.
  • The titular agency of Lockwood & Co. comprises a scatterbrained, revenge-driven young man who may only be avoiding committing Van Helsing Hate Crimes on a technicality (depending on your perspective), a slob verging on Mad Scientist territory in his spare time, a borderline Clingy Jealous Girl who doesn't even know she's verging on Clingy Jealous Girl territory...and Holly Munro, who's found herself with the unenviable job of cleaning up after all of them. Although she's only just been introduced, it's a fair bet that she will end up being this trope.
  • Exaggerated in "Pump Six" by Paolo Bacigalupi. Not only is the protagonist the only one at his workplace who keeps things (and the pumps processing all the waste from the city and beyond) working, it turns out he's one of the very few people left around in general who can actually get anything done when environmental pollution is turning everyone into idiots. When he goes to look for someone with more expertise than him at the university, he finds the buildings closed down and the students having sex in the streets.
  • In "Bandits in Your Grocer's Freezer";
    • Pete is seemingly the only employee taking his job seriously; assistant manager of the market and taking care of customers and the bandits camping out.
    • Mary Stevenson is the market butcher and the only one at the bandit-removal brainstorming session to suggest calling the police until they finally come.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock:
    • The former Trope Namer is Liz Lemon. Her day-to-day life as head writer of the Show Within the Show involves keeping two divas from killing each other, dealing with a Meddling Executive and managing the childish band of writers. However, in her private life, she's just as eccentric and misguided as the rest of the cast.
    • To a lesser extent, Pete is too, as he has to take care of Liz when she goes off the rails herself, as well as (apparently) dealing with the NBC pages. Although in later seasons, Pete seems to be going off the deep end himself, more so than usual.
  • Ally and Georgia were more or less this in Ally McBeal - though Georgia was clearly the more level-headed as Ally is completely bonkers in her personal life. This may be why Georgia was often paired with Richard in cases, trying to drive sense into a guy who was in it to make money and destroy the law as a bonus. By contrast, Ally usually worked well with John because she was the only one who understood his neuroses.
  • Michael Bluth from Arrested Development. Even worse, the insane people are his family, so he has to cope with them 24/7.
  • Dennis in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Usually.
  • Bar Rescue:
    • Even in the bars where Taffer can barely stand the majority of the staff, there are usually one or two employees whom he regards as being worthwhile. In a few instances, these employees are also the resident Butt Monkeys simply because everyone else is so dysfunctional that they take it out on them. Case in point: Bryan (a.k.a. "Syck"), the bouncer at O'Face (who keeps trying to talk owners into listening to what Taffer has to tell them, and ends up getting fired after the episode airs), and Cerissa, the server (who gets unjustly fired after she's physically assaulted by her own manager and returns to her job only to see the manager, whom Taffer forced the owners to fire, return to the bar after he had walked out), in "Punch-Drunk and Trailer-Trashed."
    • In the case of Pat's Cocktails, it was the two female bartenders who called Taffer in to help their bar, out of desperation over the combination of absentee owner and feckless manager, which was dragging the establishment down. Taffer had one of the bartenders deliberately serve nearly eighty free drinks over the course of a hour during recon to hammer home the point that the manager just didn't care what was going on.
  • Ted Crisp from Better Off Ted, head of R&D for Veridian Dynamics - when he's not helping Lem and Phil with their problems, he's keeping Veronica from doing something even more blackhearted than the last blackhearted thing she's done or "totally not flirting" with Linda.
  • Bones:
    • It was FBI Agent Seely Booth's job to work with the No Social Skills "squints."
    • Then Dr. Camille Saroyan was hired to oversee them all (including Dr. Temperance Brennan, despite what Brennan may think sometimes) so she can be this.
    • Clark Edison, one of the interns, also falls into this category. He prefers a professional environment, often expressing annoyance when the topic of conversation switches from investigation to the episode's side plot. Which makes it all the funnier on the rare occasion that he joins in, and the others think that his reaction is 'too much'.
  • Poor, poor Paul Lewiston and Carl Sack in Boston Legal. Shirley Schmidt is usually this in regards to Alan and Denny, and is the serious, sober face of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt, but seeing as how her first appearance onscreen was an innuendo-laden bit of banter with Alan Shore in the men's room, well...
  • Laura from The Brittas Empire. Most of the problems come from Mr. Brittas, but the other staff are plenty dysfunctional, too.
  • Chuck Bartowski from Chuck is the head of the Buy More's Nerd Herd tech-repair department, and while his fellow Nerd Herders tend to be the wackiest employees in the store, the other staff eagerly get swept up in their antics. Chuck is so much more competent and responsible than everyone else above and beneath him that he's effectively the Almighty Janitor, as he's the one who really keeps the Buy More running.
  • Daredevil (2015): Foggy Nelson is the only member of the Nelson & Murdock trio who doesn't have big secrets or an active desire to get involved in dangerous situations like Matt Murdock or Karen Page do.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • This is the role of Hand of the King. It's even lampshaded in the first episode:
      King Robert: Lord Eddard Stark, I would name you The Hand Of The King.
      Ned Stark: I'm not worthy of the honour.
      King Robert: I'm not trying to honour you, I'm trying to get you to run my kingdom while I eat, drink, and whore my way to an early grave!
    • In the books, there's an actual saying in Westeros "The King eats and the Hand takes the shit". The series renders this as the more accurate, though somewhat less poetic, "The King shits and the Hand wipes."
    • Tyrion and later Tywin both take this role when serving as Hand of the King for King Joffrey. Dealing with insane kings isn't particularly new for Tywin, who had previously served as the Hand for Mad King Aerys. When Tywin served for Aerys, it was the most peaceful and prosperous period in recent history, which says something.
    • Davos Seaworth is this for Stannis' faction, caught between his inflexibly righteous boss and his religiously fanatical co-advisor.
  • Lt. Fick of Generation Kill seems to be the only officer in the battalion with much interest in actually surviving the invasion of Iraq. In addition to leading his own eccentric Blood Knight platoon, he spends a large amount of time making sure the other officers don't get their platoons killed.
    • However, somewhat averted when you look deeper into the source material: most of the company commanders were untested in combat, and falling back on their training and what little experience they had. In fact, one company commander's assistant, who was viewed as a brown-nose by all the men in the company, actually turned out to be one of the most competent and respected commanders when he was promoted.
  • Glee:
    • Also Principal Figgins considering some of the crazy and demanding teachers he has to deal with.
    • Coach Beiste has fallen into this role, occasionally even realizing that she is working in an insane asylum that masquerades as a high school.
  • Cuddy in House. It's even lampshaded by Chase once when she goes off the rails: "Stopping the madness is her job!" "Somebody's gotta be Cuddy's Cuddy."
  • Trudy in House of Anubis does the actual day-to-day running of the house with no help from Victor, whose only concern is keeping his secrets secret.
  • Jen in The IT Crowd — in fact, the first episode has her appointed head of I.T. by the semi-sane CEO, Denholm Reynholm; despite her lack of computer knowledge, she realizes her people skills would help raise the status of the department. Some episodes play with this by having her go completely off-the-rails over something which, although apparently more 'normal' than the geeky lifestyle she is surrounded by, she goes really overboard in taking seriously, leading to Roy or even Moss having to hold the sanity ball.
  • Jonathan Creek: Jonathan deserves a special mention, as his day job is mentioned by name in the Real Life section below. He's also usually The Straight Man to Maddy or Carla.
  • Mad Men: Ken Cosgrove is one of the few people at Sterling-Cooper without some crippling character flaw or big secret. He's the only guy to complain about safety before the infamous lawnmower-meets-foot incident, and the first to call for an ambulance after. Pete has to use his wife's connections to sell a short story, and Paul's one-act play screams "Her Codename Was Mary Sue", but by season five Ken has quietly published over 20 stories under a pen name - and is embarrassed when his colleagues find out.
  • The Muppet Show:
    • Kermit the Frog, although he even subverts it: "Me not crazy? I hired the others."
    • Scooter is one to a lesser extent when he isn't being pressed-gang into one of Miss Piggy's schemes, often remarking on how insane their coworkers are. Sam the Eagle likes to think he's the only sane one involved in the production of the show, but he is very mistaken.
  • Daníel from Næturvaktin is the only regular character who can do a decent job. His boss is a dictatorial bully who offends every customer he meets, and his only co-worker is a ditz who's usually either slacking off or (incompetently) trying to make his fortune in showbiz.
  • With all the eccentrics on his team, Gibbs from NCIS does seem to be running a daycare centre instead of an investigation unit sometimes.
  • On The Office (US), the employees at Dunder-Mifflin can be grouped into "sane" and "insane", although this definition is fluid and many characters have drifted over time. Notably, many characters who started out very sane have since dove off the deep end (Jan, Ryan, and Toby, though he recovered). Some characters who are insane have flashes of sanity or at least competence (Michael, Angela, Andy, and even Dwight), and some characters are sane but helpless (Phyllis) or apathetic (Stanley, Darryl). Jim and Pam are usually portrayed as sane, though sometimes they let their flights of fancy get the better of them, and, as a recurring theme, whenever Jim finds himself in a leadership position, he is far less competent (since his worst fear is "becoming Michael"). By far the most rational, level-headed character in the office is Oscar, and in more recent seasons he has taken to pointing this out repeatedly. (He cites himself, Jim, Pam, and Toby as the "coalition of reason", and when Jim and Pam took their honeymoon, complained that the ratio of sane-to-insane employees was disrupted.)
    • While Oscar is often shown as having more knowledge than anyone else, the job of looking after the insane characters falls squarely on Jim's shoulders. He had to defuse Michael's and Dwight's schemes for years. The clearest example is when he goes along as they prank another company branch because left to their own devices they would have used explosives. Oscar sometimes gives background comments, but he never misses work time to do damage control.
    • In the final season Jim manages to trick Dwight into acting as his own Only Sane Employee. Dwight gets promoted to manager and Jim is the assistant to the manager. However, he convinced Dwight to also assume the role of the assistant to the assistant to the manager. This means that when Dwight has a crazy idea, he passes it to be implemented by Jim who passes it right back to Dwight who then realizes that it is crazy and abandons it. This works so well that by the end of the series, Dwight becomes a rather competent, reasonable, and sane manager. This plus some selective firings has the extra effect of reducing the level of crazy in the office by a massive amount.
    • Played with to the point of inversion in the British version, where so far as can be determined most of the employees are reasonably sane (with one or two exceptions, such as Gareth); they just happen to be managed by a deluded, egocentric Attention Whore.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks is oftentimes the only reliable person at Madison High School. Surprisingly often she is called upon to get Principal Osgood Conklin out of trouble or alternatively to stand up to his dictatorial edicts, i.e. "Blue Goldfish", "Public Property on Parade", "School on Saturday", "Wakeup Plan". Other times, she's just around to save the day for a student, i.e. "Stuffed Gopher" and "Two Way Stretch Snodgrass".
  • In Primeval, Captain Becker is flat-out told that this is his job description. Babysit the scientists, don't get sucked up in their insane theories, don't let them get themselves killed, and, if he has time, review the security of the base.
  • Scorpion:
    • Paige's job is to "translate" the geniuses of Scorpion to the rest of the world, but there is an unspoken assumption that she will also help them deal with the parts of the real world they find confusing/frustrating.
    • Cabe also qualifies, but as he is not technically an employee, but rather the one providing the jobs, he might better be described as a 'sane employer'.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): Jacquelyn Scieczka is far more competent and rational than her boss, Mr. Poe (which, admittedly, isn't really a high bar to clear). Unsurprisingly, as one of the show's few non-useless adults, she's working for V.F.D.
  • Castiel in Supernatural often comes across as the only sane Angel in the heavenly choir.
    Castiel: Why won't any of you listen?!
  • Ugly Betty: The titular Betty. She babysits her boss 24/7, but she often comes to rescue of everyone else in the main cast, including the ones who treat her badly, not to mention the times she saved the entire magazine.
    • Also the titular character of Yo soy Betty, la fea, who, while not exactly babysitting her boss, seems to have internalized that "Secretary of Presidency" actually means "make all things possible so the boss doesn't screw up his job", doing things from shielding the boss' fiancée from finding out about his sexual escapades (and distracting the exes so they don't reach the man), to actually creating a full finances plan with a healthy dose of fiscal trickery so the company doesn't go bankrupt under her boss' administration.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE agent Adam Pearce is seen as this in 2020. Generally a no-nonsense straight-to-the-point guy in terms of command, Pearce was tasked by his boss Vince McMahon to dress up as "Postman Pearce" to get Depraved Kids' Show Host Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Fun House to sign a contract (with McMahon proudly stating himself a fan of Wyatt's puppet sidekick Huskus the Pig). Pearce's reaction after getting a cackling Wyatt to sign the contract ("I know that I just signed a COUPLE OF DEATH WARRANTS!")? Walking out of the FFH like nothing happened!

    Video Games 
  • Mission Control from Deep Rock Galactic no doubt believes himself to be this, and he's not that far off. As upper management is never seen, he is the sole consistent professional on the Space Rig. His job involves getting four violent alcoholic idiots into a drop pod and making sure they mine out the planet's valuable minerals, while also bringing them back alive if they can manage it. The various stupid dwarf antics that players get up to clearly get on his nerves, but he manages to retain (most of) his composure and directs his short bearded rowdies into making Deep Rock Galactic fantastically rich.
  • Deltarune has Pizzapants playing this role for ICE-E'S P"E"ZZA, a fast food joint introduced as being closed due to forcing all the employees to stand outside in mascot suits. His co-workers consist of Blue Ears, who has No Sense of Personal Space and regularly spills slushies on co-workers while giggling, The Warrior, who terrorizes customers with war chants and pounds the pizzas into blobs with 'THE WIZARD'S FIST', and Purple Guy, who is very enthusiastic about ICE-E and may or may not actually work there. He maintains a level of sanity despite this.
  • Dragon Quest IV: While Ragnar isn't super sane, he's clearly the only competent member of Burland's army. Thankfully, he's very competent.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the Crimean army is almost entirely made of nutcases, with trusty right-hand Titania and stern strategist Soren the seemingly only persons to do any work outside of fighting. Captain Ike has said explicitly stated he couldn't do anything without them. Then again, there was this one exchange about storming an enemy fortress in which Soren succumbed to the craziness and Ranulf was the Only Sane Man left. It went something like...
    Soren: Door's open. This is almost certainly a trap.
    Ike: Hm. How about we all barge in through the front door?
    Soren: Probably the best course of action. Let's go.
    Ranulf: Errr, guys?! Isn't this the part where we stop and carefully consider strategies?! No? (Sigh.)
  • The Heilwald Loophole: Nearly every single member of the Heilwald Klinikum staff is a Mad Doctor utilizing questionable methods of varying degree to "help" their patients. The only exception is Nurse Helene who, barring her increased walk speed, is the only member to not be both under some effect of Body Horror and hostile to the player. She is aware that the rest of the staff went mad and that she is the only person actually doing her job properly.
  • If you take your shirt off in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and call SIGNT, Snake will ask if he can take off his pants. SIGNT reacts in disgust and wonders if he's the only sane man in the unit. For the record, the rest of the unit consists of a British officer obsessed with James Bond and his own Britishness, a doctor obsessed with B-movies and cloning, and a veteran soldier obsessed with eating everything that moves.
    • On the antagonist side, we got The Boss, who is basically a paragon of sanity among the... eccentricities that is Cobra. Not to mention babysitting Volgin and Ocelot, among other things. And it wasn't always success for her (*cough*Davy Crockett*cough*).
  • The premise of the casual Miss Management Time Management Game. Every NPC employee comes with a set of weird quirks; the player character is the manager, and the main aim is to keep the staff from having nervous breakdowns while somehow getting enough work done to finish the level.
  • Pikmin series: Captain Olimar is this to Hocotate Freight. Of the other two known people who work there, Olimar's coworker Louie is a gluttonous Cloudcuckoolander who has a bad habit throughout the series of wandering off to do his own thing and endangering others, while the President is a Large Ham that accidentally gets involved with Obviously Evil Loan Sharks. Olimar by contrast is more down-to-earth and competant than either of them, and is even called the company's "only employee of any merit" in the intro to Pikmin 2.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Light Sided Imperial players tend to come across as being this for the Empire. In-universe, Keeper claims that this is Imperial Intelligence's real job, to just let the Sith do their thing and the military go ahead and play soldier, while Intelligence cleans up the mess they leave behind and keep the Empire actually running in the meantime.
    • Immediately after Intelligence is disbanded things go south for the Empire in a hurry. Darth Malgus rebels, splitting the Empire in two, the Emperor gets killed and the Empire loses several key battles throughout the galaxy, among them Corellia. It gets so bad that Darth Marr has to send the player on a suicide mission to Makeb to get Isotope-5 so the Empire gets a chance at survival. It's not only implied but extremely likely none of this would have been necessary if Imperial Intelligence had been there to keep things in check. The mere fact that Darth Marr even knows about Makeb is simply dumb luck as Darth Marr informs Imperial Agent players that he only knew that Isotope-5 had been found on Makeb due to files he found in Keeper's office before Intelligence was liquidated.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss.
    • Among the demons in I.M.P., Moxxie seems to be the one that's the most on-track when it comes to their actual work, trying his best to keep everybody else in line and get their jobs done right, as well as struggling with his employer's rather unprofessional habit of barging in on he and Millie's life outside of work (Millie herself tends to roll with Blitzø's antics). It's a little subverted in the first episode, in which Moxxie is the one who fumbles at carrying out a hit... but this is due to him being the only one who's especially concerned with the potential innocence of their targets. So on the whole, he is very much this. It's even implied that he has heart problems due to all the insanity constantly going on around him.
    • Fitting for his role as Moxxie's Foil, Collin serves this role for C.H.E.R.U.B. While he may be just as much of a Punch-Clock Hero as Cletus and Keenie in doing the job of trying to knowingly get downright awful people into heaven, he does the job for the sake of trying to bring some good in the process by trying to inspire their charge to live better in what time he has and possibly use his wealth for good, and his complete lack of and visible discomfort at his co-workers' vices like Fantastic Racism and vulgar dismissiveness towards their charge cements him as this.
  • In hololive the woman known as Friend A ("Yuujin A", or A-chan) tends to end up depicted this way whenever she appears, as she is not an actual idol but rather support staff (and a close friend of the group's original idol Sora, hence the moniker), though one who has become popular enough in her own right to have her own avatar design. Her occasional appearances are generally in collaborations with several others as an emcee, as she does not have her own channel on YouTube. That's the "employee" part — the "only sane" part comes from the fact that the actual idols in hololive routinely get into silly shenanigans and engage in behavior that is counter to the traditional image of a pure, wholesome "seiso" Japanese idol, while she herself does not (though that doesn't mean she doesn't get affected by it sometimes). This is more pronounced in the Holo no Graffiti shorts where each members' tendencies during livestreams are put into skits and more deliberately invoked — skits where A-chan shows up usually have her act as a normal human trying to make sure the group's idols are doing well and keeping up with their work, which in the shorts is...rather rare.

  • The eponymous Digger ends up having to do this with, to be honest, nearly everyone she meets in this webcomic, although it's implied the Statue of Ganesh and Boneclaw Mother keep their respective flock/tribe in line.
  • Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick.
    • And Redcloak as well, considering he has to stop keep the rest of Team Evil wasting time on games of Feed the Paladin to the Shark.
      • No Useful Advice Goes Unpunished, does it, Right-Eye?
  • Lorna Dilbrook from Newshounds, especially in the comic's first incarnation. Then again, as with Kermit above in Live-Action TV, she is the one responsible for hiring everyone else, in this case to fulfill her dream of a news show starring all housepets.
  • Rival Cycle's Flux in Yehuda Moon & the Kickstand Cyclery.
  • Tip from Skin Horse to Unity and Sweetheart. And, when Tip isn't around, Sweetheart to Unity.
  • Elliot from The Snail Factory.
  • Zoe from Cthulhu Slippers is both literally and figuratively the only sane employee at Cthulhu least so far. Everyone else is either a psychopath, a cultist, or an Eldritch Abomination.
  • In the world of Girl Genius, Moloch von Zinzer is literally this. Most of the people he works with and for are Sparks, with a tendency to slip into The Madness Place. von Zinzer is an Action Survivor Deadpan Snarker and usually the one who comes up with the most simple and effective solutions - like 'cut the power to the overloading machine about to kill us all'.

    Web Original 
  • This is the premise of Chad Vader, although it's highly debatable who the sane one is.
  • Dana from Echo Chamber has to deal with a Jerkass, a Cloudcuckoolander, and a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend (to name a few) on a regular basis. Watch Episode 3 to see just how sane she is compared to the rest of the population of Echo Chamber.
  • In Agents of Cracked part of DOB's job involves being this and keeping control of Swaim.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, Shinra consists of morons, psychopaths, moronic psychopaths, and Reeve Tuesti.
    Reeve: So then. On to the meeting at hand. All of you, collectively, in this first quarter of the year, have gone SEVEN. HUNDRED. Percent over budget. Now, I would LIKE to go over some things our money has been spent on, STARTING with Heidegger, our SECURITY exec. DOZENS. Of assault charges levied against you. We had to pay off judges, police, the assaultees-
    Heidegger: And the witnesses! Don't forget those witnesses!
    Reeve: Oh! How could I? Because when they don't accept our bribes? You assault them! Thus continuing what I like to call: the Assault Spiral! Now on to Scarlet, our weapons development executive-
    Scarlet: Baroness of Weapons Development.
    Reeve: My apologies. The "Baroness" of Weapons Development. You built a giant cannon.
    Scarlet: Why yes I did!
    Reeve: I heard it's very, very powerful. Top-of-the-line technology!
    Scarlet: I will only accept the best!
    Reeve: Yes! But the big problem is... it is pointing in one direction! And... it does. Not. Turn! Thus making it... useless!
    Scarlet: Funny... I could say the same about you several weeks ago... That's right! I had SEX WITH REEVE!
    Heidegger: Did he cry during that, too?
    Shinra Executives: [unabashed, emasculating, mocking laughter]
    Reeve: You seem to be laughing a lot, Palmer. As the, quote, "Executive Chief Director of Space 'Akkisition' and All the Cool Space Stuff", end quote, could you explain to me how you spend ten BILLION gil to buy, and I quote, again, TEN. SPACES?
    Palmer: OH! Well, that's easy. First you take both your hands, and you make a telescope out of them! And then! What you see in the night sky there? That's one space! And then! You take one billion gil — which is how much one space costs, by the way — And then! You toss it into a fire! [music comes to a dead stop] And the smoke delivers the payment to space! And that's how ya buy space!
    Shinra Executives: [a moment of uncomprehending silence]
    President Shinra: Reeve. I would like the space program budget to go through you from now on.
    Reeve: Thank you, sir!
    President Shinra: Fine! Cousin Palmer. You will go to space eventually.
    Palmer: AAAH! YAAAAY! SPAAAACE! I just- e-ever since I was a child I wanted to go to-
    Barret: [eavesdropping] These are the people who have been beating us.

    Western Animation 
  • Edd (Double-D) from Ed, Edd n Eddy is the only one capable of making the Eds' schemes even come close to working. Ed is a complete moron and Eddy is a greedy self-serving jerk; Double-D has to pick up all of the slack as a result. Even then, Failure Is the Only Option when one of Ed or Eddy's many Fatal Flaws come into play.
  • Futurama: Leela is generally regarded as the most competent of the Planet Express crew due to her physical competence and tendency to save her crewmates from near-death. "Zapp Gets Cancelled" establishes that she's won the "Only Good Employee of the Month" award every single month since the award's inception because of this, though she's too dissatisfied with her job to appreciate it for a while. Depending on the Writer, Leela can lapse into insanity herself, generally tied to a Hair-Trigger Temper, in which case Hermes is usually depicted as the most rational and organized crewmate instead (and he's the only one who can keep the place organized).
  • Charles Foster Ofdensen in Metalocalypse is what happens when a Liz Lemon takes a level in Badass. He and the band have both stated that it is understood, if not directly outlined in his job description, that part of his job is to talk them out of bad ideas they think of when they're drunk (not that they can't think of bad ideas when they're sober), meaning that this trope is almost his literal job description. Further evidenced in the opening episode of Season 3, in which the band almost goes bankrupt due to spending money too recklessly in his absence.
  • Hank Hill in King of the Hill is the only reason that Strickland Propane is still in business, especially in the later seasons as his co-workers grew more quirky. Business owner Buck Strickland is a Karma Houdini simply because Hank pulls him out of trouble at every opportunity when Buck's vices catch up with him. It's deconstructed in that Buck is acutely aware that Hank's misplaced loyalty is the only reason why his company stays in business; whenever Buck becomes more hands-on, he screws everything up. Buck has come close to firing Hank a few times but never does because that would kill his "golden goose" and send him into bankruptcy.
  • Sane isn't really the best word to describe her, but Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes greatly overcompensates for her boss Lucius' incompetence at ensuring Misery Inc. makes people miserable. When she got fired in a Season 1 episode, Lucius quickly learns he cannot control any of her misery-making inventions, and everything falls apart.
  • Lana Kane of Archer, especially in the later seasons. Everyone else is either too self-serving, too insane, or both to actually get into the business of saving the world. Archer especially is such a womanizer and an incompetent buffoon that Lana is the only reason Archer's feet are pulled from the proverbial fire more than once.
  • Bob Belcher from Bob's Burgers is the Only Sane Man to his family (and the rest of the cast) so by extension, he's this trope to the titular family business as well. Often the family will propose some wild adventure, with Bob snarking that they'll have to close the restaurant and lose what little business they get to go out and do it.
  • The Simpsons
    • Waylon Smithers is pretty much the only person at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant who actually knows what he's doing. Several episodes show that Homer is just the worst of an extremely stupid and incompetent workforce. A few episodes have portrayed Smithers as quietly arranging for this to be the case to keep the owner (Burns) completely dependent on him.
    • Frank Grimes from the episode "Homer's Enemy" is also this, though not for long, since he dies in the same episode that he's introduced. Although with the addition of Smithers, he's technically the *second* sane employee.

    Real Life 
  • Isoroku Yamamoto was very much this in the Japanese naval staff before WWII. He was the only Japanese admiral who had any idea of British and American national character and industrial might, and warned seriously not getting into war with the Americans as it would end in the complete annihilation of Japan.
    • Inverted with emperor Hirohito who was the only sane boss to call for peace in August 1945. Two Japanese cities had been just nuked, its Army had been annihilated, its Navy had been destroyed, there was absolutely no hope of winning the war and Japan was suffering from famine - the military still wanted to continue the war.
  • In more recent years, Keiji Inafune seemed to serve this role for Capcom, being quite possibly the only employee there who both wanted to do something other than Capcom Sequel Stagnation and had the ability and clout to do so. (In fact, Lost Planet and Dead Rising were facing cancellation more or less for not being a sequel, so Inafune intentionally made their "demos" go way over budget for the sole purpose of being able to say "we've poured all this money into it, why cancel it now?") Then he resigned from Capcom because he didn't want to spend the rest of his career making half-baked sequels. In no time flat, Capcom made a series of questionable decisions, each of which managed to annoy fans more than the last, culminating in a massive counterattack in response to the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3.

Alternative Title(s): Liz Lemon Job