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Talker and Doer

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"If I discovered the origin of the universe, my brother would find a way to market it as a foot massager."
Evelyn Deavor, Incredibles 2

A variety of two-person ensemble where one person has technical or artistic expertise but lacks social and commercial skills to advertise them, while the other, though lacking geeky know-how, has a silver tongue and a keen profit sense. They often bicker a lot (especially about the Doer's habit of "Doing It for the Art") but grudgingly acknowledge needing each other.

Less optimistically, the Talker may be a Corrupt Corporate Executive taking advantage of the Doer's naivete, lack of attention to anything but their work, or legal ignorance in order to get away with abusing their inventionsnote , taking more than their fair share of the profits, or Stealing the Credit for the Doer's creations. An even more hostile relationship may involve Forced Creativity, Kidnapping, An Offer You Can't Refuse, or a Leonine Contract.

As most creators are creators, the creatives are less likely to be evil, but a Mad Scientist may be using the company as a front for some evil scheme, and it's also possible for a said scientist to team up with a Villain with Good Publicity to run Evil, Inc..

A Reclusive Artist will often benefit from this relationship. See also Odd Couple and Odd Friendship. Compare Red Oni, Blue Oni and Aloof Leader, Affable Subordinate.


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    Films — Animated 
  • Ratatouille. A rat who can cook but can't be understood by humans teams up with a human who can't cook. Played with in that the human isn't really a very competent Talker either, saying things like "Appetite is coming and he's going to have a big ego!", but the rat needed anyone who could get him into a kitchen because he couldn't on his own.
  • In Incredibles 2, the world-class telecommunications company that wants to sponsor the Parrs to bring Superheroes back to the spotlight is run by Brother–Sister Team Winston and Evelyn Deavor. Evelyn is the Gadgeteer Genius who creates the technology, while her brother is the company's face who sells her inventions to great success.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • From A Civil Campaign, Mark Vorkosigan, the business genius and Dr. Enrique Borgos the Escobarran scientist who was going to be sent to prison for his debts (he didn't really understand how selling stocks works). Together they are trying to market genetically engineered cockroaches which vomit out cheap, sanitary, highly nutritious "bug butter"— but have at least as much of a public relations problem as that short description makes it sound.
  • In The Fear Index, Dr. Alex Hoffman is a technical genius who has invented a whole new way of automating finance but is generally introverted and awkward, while Hugo Quarry is a fast-talking, profit-headed business genius with no technical knowledge at all.
  • George and Lennie, the protagonists of Of Mice and Men, form a variant on this trope. Lennie is incredibly strong, and would hence be extremely employable on the farms where they are looking for work; except that he's also extremely stupid, too stupid to pass a job interview, so he needs George to speak to the farmers on his behalf.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Chemistry genius Walter White and amoral attorney Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad. Walt makes the world's best meth; Saul hooks him up with a distributor and money laundering services. (Walt tried this earlier with Troubled, but Cute Jesse Pinkman, but Jesse proved to be as bad at selling as he is at everything else...)
  • This comes up a lot in murder-of-the-week Police Procedurals. The victim will be the one who made stuff (the doer), and the partner will by the one who made the company run (the talker). Or less often, vice-versa. Either way, the still-living partner will say that s/he doesn't know how the company will be able to survive without the dead partner (when the partner isn't the Perp).
  • Hank and Evan Lawson in Royal Pains. Hank is a great doctor but isn't very willing to sell himself. Accountant Evan declares himself "CFO of HankMed," and handles the business and marketing side of Hank's concierge doctor services.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Quark is a schmoozer and dealmaker, while his brother Rom is very good at fixing things. The relationship between the two is what causes Rom's son Nog to join Starfleet as he doesn't want to be left exploited and miserable like his father.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age:
    • Master smith Wade and merchant Herren from Dragon Age: Origins.
    • In Dragon Age II, you (as Hawke) can become the Doer to Hubert Bartiere's Talker, if you follow up on his Sidequest Sidestory and agree to co-own the Bone Pit mine. "Doing" in this case mostly boils down to clearing out the mine infestation by increasingly nasty creatures once per Act.
    • In Magekiller, Marius is a former Tevinter slave trained in one thing: killing magic-users. While his partner Tessa is not a slouch in a fight, either, she is much better at negotiating contracts and talking to clients.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC Dragonborn, a treasure hunter named Ralis Sedarys offers you a partnership to excavate the Kolbjorn Barrow for the ancient relics contained within. You provide the funding (a total of 11,000 gold in four chunks) and the muscle whenever the miners run into the draugr, while he manages the dig day-to-day and hires more miners and mercenaries to replace the losses. In the end, however, you discover that Ralis had been mind-controlled by an undead Dragon Priest buried in the barrow since before you first met him and had quite possibly been sacrificing the miners to him with his own hands.
  • Apparently this is how Kanako and Suwako the two goddesses of the Moriya Shrine from Touhou work. Kanako is the one doing all the planning, strategy, and advertising to gather faith, while Suwako does the heavy lifting with her control over Mishaguji.
  • Malcolm Corley and Adrian Ripburger seem to have this dynamic in Full Throttle. Malcolm, the CEO of Corley Motors, is a genius engineer (like his secret daughter) and puts a lot of effort into his workers' welfare, but most of the day-to-day business running of CM seems to lie with his Vice-President Ripburger, whose management know-how outweighs Malcolm's personal dislike of him. Their partnership ultimately goes very bad, when Ripburger murders Corley and pins it on the protagonist's gang, in order to take over Corley Motors.

    Web Comics 
  • GF Serendipity: Stan is the talker and Fiddleford is the doer. Stan can talk people into buying Fiddleford's inventions and Fiddleford can make products that are so good Stan doesn't need to lie about them in advertisements.
  • O Human Star: Brendan Pinsky and Alastair Sterling. Alastair is a repulsive genius and Brendan is a charismatic front man.

    Western Animation 
  • Lian-Chu and Gwizdo from Dragon Hunters.
  • The Owl House: Amity's parents Alador and Odalia fall into this, with Odalia running Blight Industries, while Alador invents all of the abomination-based technology they sell.
  • Pete White (Talker) and Bill Quizboy (the one who actually does the work) of The Venture Brothers.

    Real Life 
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple. Not quite as clear-cut as the description might imply (they both had technical skills), but basically, Wozniak was the doer — plenty of technical knowledge but little interest in marketing — while Jobs was the talker — he had the vision and the ability to market the new company.
  • Similarly, Bill Stealey and Sid Meier, founders of MicroProse: Stealey handled administration and marketing while Meier coded their first games.
  • DeviantArt, by jark (Scott Jarkoff) and spyed (Angelo Sotira). Sadly, this time it didn't end well.
  • Penn & Teller have built their entire careers out of this, exaggerated to the point that Teller never talks on stage.