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The Reliable One

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"And honestly, you're the only guy I can rely on on this team."
Burter to Jeice, Dragon Ball Z Abridged

You know this character. She's the girl who is always there in the background at work, quietly doing what needs to be done without fanfare, and keeps things running smoothly, sometimes just by being there rain or shine. He's the Mauve Shirt guarding The Hero's back when the Hero goes in alone to fight the Big Bad. She's the one with simple, sensible advice that her Troubled, but Cute friend seldom takes. He's the Sergeant Rock that the Officer and a Gentleman depends on. And when The Captain needs data analyzed, papers filed, and problems examined, he gives it to this guy, who crunches it all and has the report ready first thing in the morning, just in time for the Captain to look at it and have a "Eureka!" Moment.

They're The Reliable One. Though they're often overlooked in large Ensemble Casts (particularly if it's a World of Badass with tons of flashy characters) because of their understated character, they nonetheless often contribute in a unique way for the good guys. Every now and then they'll tend to get A Day in the Limelight where their skills or presence come in handy even more than usual, some of their Hidden Depths get revealed, it gets shown why they frequently have such an Undying Loyalty to people around them, or where their absence makes everything around them start to fall apart. They may even get a Did You Think I Can't Feel? moment when the people whose lives they make better trample all over their feelings.

They're often not a main character, even though they travel in the same circle as the main characters. They can be any member, but are most likely to be The Lancer (being the hero's most trusted friend and go-to guy) or The Big Guy and are the bedrock of the team. For similar reasons in a military-themed story or show, they may be the Number Two or the Sergeant Rock. Works that go into their character frequently describe them as level-headed and serious if they're not an outright Only Sane Man.

If they are outside The Team—say, on the level of a Mauve Shirt, they may run the risk of becoming The Generic Guy or a Satellite Character when not given enough Character Development. In a team environment where everyone has their own specialization, (or Crippling Overspecialization, as the case may be) the Jack of All Stats may become this by default and by simply being able to better adapt to circumstances.

Frequently used as a Foil to free spirits like the Cloud Cuckoo Lander, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the Loveable Rogue, and the Blithe Spirit, particularly if those free spirits are a major character or have a major influence on the main character. Of course, sometimes Opposites Attract and this character may find themself in a closer than expected relationship with one of those types. The Mook Lieutenant is often a minor case of this for the bad guys.

Supertrope to Girl Friday. This trope also tends to be part of a package deal for any good Cloudcuckoolander's Minder, The Confidant, The Dutiful Son, Only Sane Employee, Hypercompetent Sidekick, or Beleaguered Assistant. If they're very reliable but in a low ranking position, you often have an overlap with the Almighty Janitor.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ace of the Diamond: Protagonist Eijun Sawamura eventually grows into this. Once he overcomes his beginning struggles, and with Furuya going through a bad streak and a huge drop in his performance, Coach Kataoka begins relying on Sawamura for the most important matches prior to the summer tournament, as he manages to perform well even under pressure. This leads to Sawamura being given the ace number come the Tokyo Tournament, showing how much faith Kataoka has in him.
  • In Bloom Into You, Yuu apparently was this to her middle school's softball team. She only joined because her friend Natsuki asked, but she was a hard worker and eventually became a regular player. Despite being somewhat emotionally detached and never crying after a loss, she was said to have always kept a cool head, which was one quality Natsuki appreciated.
  • Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop. He's the cool, calm, and level-headed member of the group and always looks out for everyone. Even back as a cop, he was always a dependable man who always seems to know the right thing to do. He even gets ascended onto the TV Tropes Pantheon for this!
    • So much so that this gets deconstructed and reconstructed. The episode "Ganymede Elegy" reveals that it was his code of honor — his responsibility, his need to do the right thing — made his ex-wife Alisa feel like she never had the freedom to make her own choices and/or mistakes. As she more or less put it, because of how he took care of everything for them, she was relegated to having a role almost like a child in their relationship, which she found suffocating. It was this that led her to ultimately leave him that fateful day. Years later when the two finally reunite, Jet learns that Alissa's younger boyfriend Rhint has a bounty on his head due to killing a loan shark who was threatening Alisa over her debts to him. The reconstruction comes in when Jet goes to bring in Rhint. Spike wonders aloud if Jet is going to let Rhint and Alisa get away and Alisa begs Jet to simply walk away. Jet replies that if he didn't catch Rhint, someone else will, and on top of that a different bounty hunter might not show the same restraint Jet does, and by then Alisa could be considered an accomplice for helping Rhint flee the law. Instead, Jet catches Rhint and after helping him to his senses, he turns him into the police but points out that Rhint may actually avoid incarceration via a plea of self-defense, while Alisa does not end up with a mark on her record. His code of honor is beneficial to him in the long run since he is better able to help people and it means he avoids succumbing to short-term temptation. By comparison, another episode that centers on Jet reveals that his former partner did succumb to such short-term temptation and betrayed him to the syndicates, only to be plagued with guilt for years afterwards and the assassin Jet originally blamed for the loss of his arm was never rewarded for the loyalty he showed to his criminal syndicate.
  • Death Note: Mogi, the quiet Gentle Giant who stays with the Japanese task force through thick and thin, doing whatever is needed in an efficient manner, even when it means playing WAY against type and acting like a hyperactive kissass manager to spoiled, self-centered Elegant Gothic Lolita Misa Amane. Along the way, he draws praise from figures as different as Chief Inspector Yagami, L, and Near for his dedication, skill in compiling reports, and refusal to accidentally give away information with an ill-timed word.
  • Jou Kido from Digimon Adventure. Being the Team Dad, he was solid and dependable, looking out for the welfare of the others and the most mature of the group. Furthermore, it helped contrast against his more blithe Partner Digimon, Gomamon. The English dub lampshades this by translating his Crest from Honesty in Japanese to Reliability in English.
    • Somewhat deconstructed in Digimon Adventure tri.. His attempts at balancing his growing school work with his Chosen Children duties wear him down and he tends to choose the former over the latter. He's pretty ashamed of this, especially when he realizes how much it's hurting Gomamon. Reconstructed when Joe realizes his fault and strengthens his resolve to do better in both facets. This allows Gomamon to evolve to his Ultimate/Mega-level, Vikemon. In fact, one of his first moves after the dust settles is to introduce the woman he is dating over to Gomamon, feeling it important for two of the most important figures in his life to meet.
  • Dr. STONE: Taiju may be Book Dumb, but he has the endurance and the patience to work literally all day long on whatever Senku needs him to, even if he himself doesn't understand what he's working towards. Also, despite being a very emotional guy, he showcases a lot of self-restraint and emotional control when it comes to enacting Senku's plans. On top of all this, his trust in and fondness for Senku allow Taiju to follow his lead and understand his orders on the fly with even the barest of hints. Anytime Senku needs to rely on Taiju to get the job done, his faith is rewarded simply because Taiju is a nice guy who trusts Senku. All in all, Senku couldn't ask for a better friend.
  • Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist is often shown this way in regards to Roy Mustang. She always has his back, not afraid to criticize him when she needs to and is at his side. Not surprisingly, she is the Queen to his King in chess terms.
    • Perhaps also Fu for Ling.
  • In Haikyuu!!, Daichi serves as this to the Karasuno Volleyball Team. As a third-year and team captain, he makes it his role to cover all the holes that the skilled-but-inexperienced first years leave, and is crucial to the team's defense, despite not doing any flashy plays himself.
    Daichi: I can't do fancy plays, but I can give you guys a solid foundation.
  • Hayate himself of Hayate the Combat Butler is a rare case of the main character being this. Since he is a butler and a good portion of the cast are rich but socially naive girls and an assortment of wacky and highly unreliable people this makes sense. When he isn't being focused on, he can even be seen doing...well darn near anything really. He steadily acquires more girls to support and helps them with their problems as well as handling minor chores and such that often goes unnoticed (though the girls are pretty observant and very grateful for his help).
    • Maria was this toward Hayate and Nagi in the beginning as the reliable older figure (only by a year)who came in to sort out a mess in a few panels whenever messes got too big due to Hayate's abysmal luck. This has been somewhat phased out as Hayate has gotten more accustomed to the job and Maria's own quirks were dialed up a bit for humor.
    • Hinagiku becomes this to Hayate over the course of the series. They start out as friends, but eventually Hayate starts going to Hinagiku for all of his problems, especially those he didn't want one of the other girls to know about and typically finds out about the messes he didn't want her to know about either. It helps that she's more proactive about it and prone to worrying about him when he's acting off and thus tries to find out the problem on her own to help the poor guy out.
  • Ui in K-On!. Especially compared to her older sister Yui.
  • Relatively speaking, in KonoSuba, Kazuma is this to the rest of his party members. Despite his plethora of quirks, Kazuma's Combat Pragmatist tendencies and versatility allow him to make up for the Crippling Overspecialization his allies suffer, on top of being the Only Sane Man of the group.
  • Rosetta of Lapis Re:LiGHTs is this for her unit, the eponymous LiGHTs. She keeps her grades up, has yet to directly bring any point deductions to the unit, and generally is the most responsible and trustworthy of them, all while working several part-time jobs. She makes a terrible leader as she led them to the brink of expulsion at the start of the series but is an invaluable ally to Tiara, the current leader.
  • Sayaka Yumi from Mazinger Z was The Lancer and Love Interest of Kouji Kabuto. Even if she was hot-headed, she was the one all in the Photon Atomic Research Institute could depend on, mainly The Professor — his father — or Kouji when they were battling. Jun Hono from Great Mazinger and Hikaru Makiba from UFO Robo Grendizer filled similar roles (even if Hikaru was not The Lancer).
  • Kobayashi from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is a main character example. Pretty much everyone at her office relies on her, to the point that Takiya referred to as the pillar that supports the entire department. One particular example would be when she did all of Elma's work while the latter was learning how to code.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, if it weren't for Miyamae, Nozaki's manga would have gone into egregiously wild tangents. Funnily enough, Nozaki tried to be as subdued as possible when he was under Maeno due to the editor's unreliability, but Miyimae in turn has to subdue Nozaki from attempting any silly plot points in the manga (which isn't unlikely to be a Secret Test of Character from Nozaki who just really relishes in having an editor that actually bothers to edit).
  • Kyouya from Ouran High School Host Club is The Lancer and Hypercompetent Sidekick to Tamaki and The Reliable One to the entire Host Club, handling all of the administrative and financial details of the club as well as supporting Tamaki himself at various points. On a slightly smaller scale, Mori is also The Reliable One to Honey, thanks to his Undying Loyalty.
  • Arata of Saki Achiga-hen. Her status as such is why Harue chose her as the Club President for Achiga's mahjong team, in spite of Yuu being the only third-year and Shizu taking the initiative to revive the club.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Rossieu. While he is not as hot-blooded as the rest of the team, he is still a key member with his strategies and level-headedness, plus being able to pilot Gurren after Kamina dies.He serves this to Simon; after Kamina's death, Rossieu was one of the few to never lose faith in him (even when those like Yoko did), the others being the twins and Leeron. Furthermore, he piloted Gurren to make sure Simon is okay and actively showed concern, the only one to do so. Heck, this is continued throughout post-timeskip as he is the main person keeping the new government running since few others really know what they're doing. This does make their strained relationships all the more tragic, especially with each misinformed decision Rossieu makes and his soul-crushing guilt until Simon snaps him out of it. Of course, it's little surprise that he runs the whole thing once Simon retires and becomes a vagrant.
    • Simon himself is this. Explicitly touted as their key to victory by his big bro Kamina, virtually every victory is directly due to Simon, but few give him the full credit until Kamina dies and Simon works through his Heroic BSoD with Nia's encouragemenet, where he finally gets recognition.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Noburo Gongenzaka is always there to support his friends, and despite his looks and Hot-Blooded attitude, he always keeps a keen head and doesn't act recklessly in comparison to other quirky members of the Lancers. Gongenzaka will back up Yuya whenever possible, but he would always help his teammates first rather than taking the spotlight to himself.

    Comic Books 
  • Alfred from every Batman comic ever is the perfect example of this. He is always there when Bruce needs him. He'll set a bone, make a cup of tea, or yell at Bruce until he agrees to sleep.
  • In The Boys, the titular group is a CIA organization that keeps tabs on and confronts the often wild and sociopathic "Superheroes" of that world. It seems that Mother's Milk is often Overshadowed By by the damn weird Frenchman, the Ax-Crazy Female, the Magnificent Bastard Butcher, or even The Woobie newcomer Hughie, but Butcher frequently says that he can't run the outfit without MM and for good reason. Hughie is the Naďve Newcomer to a hopeless degree, Butcher is often blinded by his hatred and need for revenge, and both The Frenchman and The Female are far too crazy or off in their own world for Intelligence or detective work, so when it comes to taking care of the day to day functions, MM has to do it or it won't get done and the group will collapse or become ineffective.
  • Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe. If he is needed somewhere or a task needs to be completed, he will be there and get it done without a doubt.
  • Because he blames himself for ruining Bruce Banner's life, Rick Jones tries his best to be this for him. Bruce or the Hulk have refused his friendship often enough over the years that Rick hasn't always been able to be there for him (and has wound up sidekicking for several other heroes), but he never refuses to help Bruce when he asks.
  • The Sandman:
    • Lucien, the librarian of dreams, is chief amongst Dream's servants in his castle and the one who keeps most of it running day-to-day while Dream is busy with other matters. He is the only dream that stayed at the castle and tried to maintain it even as it fell apart in Dream's century-long absence, an act for which Dream commends him.
    • The dream Fiddler's Green is always described as 'reliable' by Morpheus, and Dream finds it very strange that it chose to leave the Dreaming during his absence and has not answered the call to return now that Dream has. Fiddler's Green — or rather, Gilbert — is revealed to have gained a taste for humanity and didn't want to give it up, and serves a similar role as reliable back-up to Rose Walker in her hunt for her brother. He willingly gives up his safety and provides Rose with Morpheus' name in order to give her protection at the Cereal Convention.
  • In Scott Pilgrim, most of Scott's friends have shades of this to Scott since he's a goofball who tends to act without thinking. Granted, it may be an overstatement to call them dependable since most of them are only marginally better off than Scott is. They all have their own problems to deal with and in some ways, Scott keeps them together. However, there are two that stand out:
    • The best and most straightforward example would be Wallace Wells, Scott's gay roommate and mentor figure. He helps guide Scott through life and gives him good advice. He also has a great deal of faith in Scott and it's implied he at least had a hand in Scott's fighting prowess. In addition, he is the oldest one out of the group of friends and the only one with a serious job (we're not exactly told what it is, but during a call with Scott, he was shown in a cubicle, implying a white-collar job he takes seriously.) He also does not have any serious issues like Scott or his friends do, showing he is well-adjusted and has his act together. The biggest fault one could arguably claim are his drinking habits (while not The Alcoholic, he is often seen buzzed and while it is still ultimately his money, it's likely his drinking plays a part in his and Scott's modest living conditions). Yes, he can be very catty and is often The Gadfly who likes riling up Scott, but he has the best intentions, a good head on his shoulders, and very much cares for Scott like a brother. It's best shown when he's the most horrified when he sees Scott get impaled by Gideon.
    • To a lesser extent, Kim Pine as well. While her dour disposition cause conflict and serves to hide her own insecurities and troubles, she has known Scott the longest from their group of friends and has a better understanding of him than almost anyone else. After all, she was his first girlfriend and one of his oldest known friends, second to their mutual friend from high school Lisa. Scott himself acknowledges her as one of the few constants in his life. Best seen in Book 5 when she puts her lingering feelings toward Scott aside to encourage him with Ramona so he can beat the twins and in Book 6 where he ends up under her watch during his "wilderness sabbatical." Scott kisses Kim in a moment of instinct. She ends up pulling away because she knows Scott would be better off with Ramona. She's also the one to give him the words needed so he could defeat/reabsorb Nega-Scott and give him his drive again. What makes the moment even more poignant is that she initially returned the kiss, showing she was tempted to indulge in her lingering feelings and get back with Scott. It says a lot on her observation and selflessness that she puts Scott's needs over her desires It also helps remove all the leftover tension between them.

    Fan Works 
  • Leave for Mendeleiev: Marinette has proven herself as such several times over; unfortunately, she's also used to being taken advantage of as a result.
  • Two Letters deconstructs this by exploring a world where Marinette decided to quit being Ladybug after two years of fighting, due in large part to feeling as though everybody in Paris was taking advantage of her being so dependable:
    • While Marinette was constantly repressing her negative emotions for fear of potentially attracting Hawkmoth's attention, nobody else in Paris seemed to be taking any precautions at all. In fact, she grew resentful of how many people were getting akumatized over the pettiest of reasons — to say nothing of repeat offenders like Xavier Ramier, who brushed off being constantly turned back into Mister Pigeon, offering her nothing more than a casual 'sorry' after being cured.
    • Mayor Bourgeois and other authorities refused to put any measures or programs in place to help deal with or prevent akumatizations. They were much more interested in spending money on vanity projects or personal luxuries, while expecting that Ladybug would always be around to deal with akumas.
    • Chat Noir treated his own heroic duties as a game, expecting her to pick up his slack. He also exploited the fact that she was afraid of either of them getting akumatized, harassing and teasing her constantly while she struggled to restrain her reactions.
    • Due to all of this, Marinette Stopped Caring about everything and decided to pass on the Earrings to a Sketchy Successor, whom she deems to be "the hero Paris deserves".

    Film - Animated 
  • Deconstructed in Encanto. Luisa's role in the family is as the reliable worker who can always take over the burden when the others get tired. During her song "Surface Pressure", she privately reveals to Mirabel that this is exhausting her but she doesn't know who she'd be if she isn't the one everyone can rely on.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Fatal Instinct. Ned Ravine's secretary Laura Lincolnberry is a perfect example of this trope. She takes care of minor matters for him, helps him pick out his outfits, and keeps her head on straight.
  • Arthur from Inception. He's not the Master of Disguise, or The Charmer, or The Profiler, or The Smart Guy with the new sedative that makes the impossible possible, or the architect who creates dream worlds from nothing. He's criticized in one breath for "Having no imagination", while in the next he's praised for being the best at what he does: being The Comically Serious guy who always watches your back and makes sure you come out of things okay.
  • Into the Storm (2009): Clementine is Winston's caretaker, as he is absolutely hopeless with normal life.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Mission: Impossible: Luther is this to Ethan, being his go-to guy in most of his operations since the first film. Ethan trusts Luther so much that he gives him the NOC list after Krieger tries to steal it and when Ethan (rightfully) suspects that Krieger and Claire are the bad guys.
  • R2D2 in Star Wars. Co-piloting, repairing, picking locks, saving heroes from a Death Trap, smuggling weapons or valuable data, etc, etc.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • The Wolverine: Yukio for Mariko. For instance, when Mariko is on the run from the Yakuza, the only person she tells about her whereabouts is Yukio.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Hank assumes responsibility for Charles and the estate after his friend becomes an emotional train wreck.

  • Discworld:
    • Agnes Nitt, from her first appearance, resigns herself to the idea that she is cut out to be the one in the background nobody really notices, who is cut out by fate to be the person to keep her head in a crisis. In Maskerade, she reflects she doesn't have to like it, though...
    • This fate applies in spades to Glenda Sugarbean in Unseen Academicals. Everybody turns to her when there's a problem. As with Agnes and Christina, the star of the opera, Glenda's fate is to mother and nurture her beautiful but unworldly friend Jools.
  • William Bush, the usual Number Two in the Horatio Hornblower books. Although he's not an innovative genius like Hornblower, he's still a supremely competent sailor who knows the ship like the back of his hand. As well, he does his best to ensure that his broody, driven captain actually eats and sleeps sometimes.
  • Horton, as said by his line from Horton Hatches The Egg;
    "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant / An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!"
  • In Horus Heresy, as argued here, Perturabo was, among the traitor Primarchs, the one who actually got stuff done and had good plans, especially in the siege of Terra. Some of the others were so corrupted by Chaos they couldn't even act rationally. However, nobody gave Perturabo the credit for all this, so he eventually left and left them to manage as they best could, which was nowhere near as well as with him.
  • Jeeves. There's a reason he has a whole trope about reliability named after him.
  • Shurf Lonli-Lokli from Labyrinths of Echo is The Stoic among the main cast and is repeatedly described by the (extremely unreliable) main character is the rock on which his world stands.
  • Elizabeth Pennykettle from The Last Dragon Chronicles is almost a personification of this trope. If anyone has a problem, she's guaranteed to be the one who fixes it for them. She's also a giver of motherly advice and lends an ear in times of trouble.
  • In The Lies of Locke Lamora, according to his boss Capa Barsavi, Locke Lamora is his most reliable captain. While he doesn't always bring in the highest earnings, he always brings the Capa his percentage, does so personally rather than sending an underling, and isn't afraid to admit it and apologize if his earnings are down one week. However, Barsavi is off the mark; Locke actually tends to pull balls-out insane cons and heists that dwarf the income of the rest of Barsavi's organization, and the loot he delivers to Barsavi's fence is secondhand bullshit he buys with a fraction of his earnings. In fact, that he has managed to fool Barsavi so utterly and for so long is possibly Locke's greatest con so far.
  • Sam is this to Frodo as Legolas and Gimli are to Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments often seems to be less overtly swashbuckling than Jace or Isabelle. But Magnus observes that Alec instinctively responds to people needing him, and will go to great lengths to help them. As a result, by the time of the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy story "Born To Endless Night'', he has become a cohesive force between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders of New York City. To the extent that vampire leader Lily Chen considers him an exception to her personal rule about keeping Shadowhunters out of Downworlder business because she knows he will just help solve problems rather than chastising her about the Law.
  • General Carvaille is this to Robert Epine, mixed with Psycho Supporter, in Reflections of Eterna, to the point where Robert muses in the later books whether Carvaille is the real regent instead of him.
  • In The Sack, the position of the titular alien's caretaker is given to Siebling, who might not be well-liked, but is trusted completely.
  • Elinor Dashwood is this despite being the protagonist of Sense and Sensibility. When her father dies, it's Elinor and not Mrs. Dashwood who takes over the search for a new house, being polite to her useless brother and greedy sister-in-law, managing the family's reduced finances, and managing the emotions of her mother and melodramatic younger sister. Of course, the emotional consequences of having to be the sole responsible person in the family is also examined — eventually, she does crack under the strain.
  • Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes. No matter what Holmes asks of him, he will perform above and beyond the call of duty, running errands, writing detailed reports, dropping his work to help with a case, and engaging in such tireless efforts as rushing from London to Paris within the span of a day when he hears Holmes has fallen ill, to spending several weeks acting as a threatened client's bodyguard, to risking his life by remaining by Holmes's side while the latter experiments on himself by filling the room with poisonous fumes, all without ever backing out or making a half-assed effort, and only failing when Holmes makes him do tasks that require a level of genius he does not possess. Holmes even comments on this trait several times.
    It is really very good of you to come, Watson. It makes a considerable difference to me, having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely.
  • Teen Power Inc.: Sunny is often the Only Sane Woman of the group, is a tireless worker, and (when the occasion calls for it) brave fighter. She gets some Deconstructed Character Archetype frustration in Bad Apples due to musing about how she's so reliable that everyone assumes she'll do things without asking her, but she remains reliable throughout that. Richelle even comes close to name-dropping the trope in Beware the Gingerbread House.
    Richelle: Well, you expect Sunny to come through, don't you? Sunny's reliable. That's what's so good about Sunny. It's lucky Sunny isn't going [to live with her father] after all. I don't know what we'd do without her.
  • Princess Priscilla Voda was this for Queen Tatiana Ivashkov in Vampire Academy. She was her best friend, and advisor until getting killed by Strigoi. And the one she trusted with training Lissa in life in Court. She is mostly a background character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold Harriet Conklin is quietly reliable. She's a friend of Miss Brooks, is seen helping her father Mr. Conklin in the pricipal's office, she's a straight-A student, and is a few times mentioned as being president of the student council. Next to Miss Brooks herself, Harriet's the most competent and least eccentric of the main characters. TO compare, Harriet's boyfriend Walter Denton is a Book Dumb High-School Hustler. Mr. Boynton is an Oblivious to Love biology teacher. Harriet's father is a Dean Bitterman. Miss Brooks' landlady is both a Granny Classic but also a wacky Cool Old Lady. Then there's recurring characters like Mrs. Conklin, who is like Harriet. Daisy Enright, Miss Brooks' Sitcom Arch-Nemesis. Finally, Stretch and Bones Snodgrass, dumb but good-natured high school atheletes.
  • Lennier in Babylon 5. As Delenn's aide, it's his job but he goes far above and beyond the call of duty in too many ways to count.
  • Sgt Carwood Lipton of Band of Brothers. His quiet efficiency helps the Battle of the Bulge go smoother than it otherwise would have. He is given a commission in recognition of his leadership skills.
  • Buffy,:
    • Buffy calls Willow "Old Reliable," leading to a Chain of Corrections.
      Willow: (sarcastically) Old Reliable? Yeah, great, there's a sexy nickname.
      Xander: The geyser! You're like a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.
      Willow: That's Old Faithful.
      Xander: Isn't that the dog that the guy had to shoot...
      Willow: That's Old Yeller.
      Buffy: Xander, I beg you not to help me.
    • Oz was a calm, leavelheaded guy who could always be counted on to keep a cool head in a crisis and didn't involve himself in personal conflicts.
    • Willow's girlfriend Tara was mature, grounded, sensible, caring, and the only one to not turn evil or be corrupted at least once. After Willow developed a few issues with Addictive Magic and early stages of This Is Your Brain on Evil, Tara became the new heart of the group for awhile.
  • Garcia the tech geek in Criminal Minds.
  • Greg Sanders was this before he joined the main cast of CSI. Upon his promotion to the credits, his place as The Reliable One was taken up by David Hodges, surprisingly enough.
  • Dad's Army:
    • Joe Walker was this to a downplayed extent since it was a comedy show and he was both snarky and a spiv. But he was always there for the platoon, was a generally friendly and kind and always came through when needed. It's no wonder that during Mainwaring's dream of being Napoleon at Waterloo that his mind put Walker as his second in command.
    • Sgt. Wilson also counts, though unlike with Walker it seems Mainwaring has mixed feelings about him, mostly because of envy.
  • Polly in Fawlty Towers combines this with Only Sane Man, being by far the most capable and level-headed cast member.
  • Friends: Monica is the go-to person for support, advice, and comfort whenever the others are having problems or need help. She also feeds them all daily for over ten years.
  • Game of Thrones: Played both ways with Stannis Baratheon. For years, Stannis's strong sense of duty made him dependable on what needed to be done for the good of the realm without public complaint. However, years of being ignored and denied what he felt was his due by law have left him bitter and determined to get what at least is legally his no matter the cost. However, he can still be relied upon to do what is necessary when the time comes.
  • As in the books, William Bush of Horatio Hornblower is this in the third series, when he's Hornblower's first lieutenant. He keeps the little ship in excellent order and does not tolerate anything that interferes with its good management and is also as good a friend to Horatio as Horatio permits.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Marshall and Lily are initially delighted when Ted decides to move in with Robin as it means they'll have the apartment to themselves. Once Ted's gone, they realise that he owned most of the appliances and bought all the groceries, leaving them scrambling to make up for his absence. After Ted decides to call off the move Marshall and Lily gladly welcome him (and his microwave) back.
  • Hawkeye, Trapper, and Henry Blake can always rely on Radar O'Reilly in M*A*S*H not only to hear choppers before anyone else but also to play a part in the Zany Scheme of the week. It's even Lampshaded in one episode where Radar is heartbroken after receiving a "Dear John" Letter and messes up the order forms. And again spoken in the episode 'Dear Dad'.
    Hawkeye: (voice-over) I'm not quite sure what Henry would do without Radar...
  • Teresa Lisbon (The Mentalist) always has Patrick Jane's back: Jane calls her his 'moderating influence'. Grace Van Pelt from the same series often goes unnoticed and unappreciated for the long hours she spends hunting down files and information for the other characters.
  • Merlin:
    • Guinevere, who whether a servant or a queen is always diligently hard at work throughout the entire series. An example of her competence: it takes Arthur two consecutive seasons to realize that there are traitors at work in Camelot, and both of them escape his justice. It takes Guinevere two episodes to find one, and then she manages to use the traitor to lay a trap to successfully neutralize the real threat.
    • Merlin may also count, most prominently toward Arthur. Even if nobody besides Gaius knows it, he routinely manages to find out traitors, defeat dangerous magical threats and save Arthur/somebody/Camelot nearly every episode while always being there for Arthur.
  • From Scrubs: Carla, the steadfast, cool-headed, keen-eyed, ever-competent, always-on-top-of-things head nurse, is the most reliable employee at Sacred Heart. Even outside of her job, she's usually the person everyone runs to with their problems.
  • In Smallville, Chloe Sullivan is always there whenever Clark needs her, and this often extends to his other associates.
  • Bobby in Supernatural.
  • Stiles on Teen Wolf. He is the Hypercompetent Sidekick to his best friend Scott and sometimes Derek, as well as being strongly committed to protecting virtually everybody, even enemies such as Ethan and Aiden.
    • In the episode "Motel California", Stiles enters a big puddle of gasoline, to stop Scott, who is drugged and holding a lit flare, from committing a fiery suicide even though odds were good that he would be burned to death if he failed to get the flare away from the super-strong Scott.
  • Ianto resents being this in the first series of Torchwood.
  • Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries.
  • Played with in Jonathan Creek, whose protagonist is this to a secondary character in his day job. In a sitcom about The Adam Klaus Magic Show Jonathan would be the put-upon and underappreciated stage manager and Designated Sane Person for vain and dimwitted Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist Adam, his Lovely Assistant and/or Girl of the Week and a bunch of supporting characters whose main or only qualification for their jobs is their ability to tolerate Adam's nonsense for more than one show.
  • Spock from Star Trek: The Original Series is this. As the Enterprise's First Officer and Science Officer, Spock pulled double duty on two extremely important roles on board the ship. He was also willing to make sensible if ruthless decisions when it came to keeping the crew safe and getting the job done.

  • Bersuit Vergarabat has "Porteño de Ley" ("Lawful Portenian"), where the singer boasts about how he prides on representing this trope while talking to another party (possibly the listener), calling himself a "savior" and doing what needs to be done.

  • One of the earliest examples of this trope is Hestia from Classical Mythology. She has no participation in any of the escapades of the other Olympians however she also never ever falters from her divine duty, keeping the fires of home burning; For the other gods, this means she keeps Olympus tidy, comfortable, and welcoming — For mortals, this means she keeps the fires at the heart of the cities lit, which in-turn marks said towns as safe havens of community. Ancient Greece so prized the notion of basic comforts always being available within a community that regardless of being an Actual Pacifist, she was their single most sacred deity.

  • The Magnus Archives has Sasha, whom the archivist considers the most capable of his three assistants.
  • Reversal of Roll to Breathe is one of the kindest and most responsible characters in the show. His responsibilities include getting good grades, doing all of the cooking and chores at home, being an intern at a tech company right before an app's release, and being a superhero. This results in him being constantly overworked and tired.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In pro wrestling, the reliable ones are the "ring generals", the wrestlers who can take control of a match and steer it to the best conclusion, calling the spots for their opponent. Wrestling is predetermined of course, but how you get to the result is just as important as what the result is, so a ring general isn't even necessarily going to be the winner of any given match. In fact, some wrestlers are highly valued for their selling ability (the ability to make their opponent's moves look really effective), meaning they can often be career Jobbers. Someone has to lose in a wrestling matchnote  so jobbers are an essential part of any wrestling promotion, toiling away thanklessly to put over the stars who beat them.
  • Jerry Lynn is known by both colleges and critics as "The Carry Artist" for his ability to not only get a good match out of almost anyone but make them look good in the process. Justin Credible in ECW and Mike Bennett in ROH may be known as scrappies, but they had good starts in their singles runs thanks to Lynn.
  • Antonio Banks is one of the most famous men associated with the promotion known as Future Of Wrestling for this reason. While not the greatest athlete, technician or such they ever produced he's great at getting tumultuous Tag Team matches back on track. While working with Randy Savage, Banks figured out not only how to make the match go right but how it should go in relation to the rest of the card, which is part of what made Savage want to make Banks champion of his own short-lived promotion.
  • Of the three founding ROH founding fathers, Low Ki is the versatile do all athlete, Bryan Danielson is the outstanding technician and Christopher Daniels is the general. They're all pretty reliable in truth, but Daniels is the one used in the most roles and for a long time was the least successful in singles matches, catching up to the other two through sheer longevity.
  • When talking about the difficulty of putting shows together Lexie Fyfe described Mercedes Martinez as the only wrestler she never worries about.
  • Across SHIMMER\SHINE and WSU, Allysin Kay quickly stood out for an ability to save off the rail multi-women matches relatively early into her career.
  • Heath Slater is a good example of this trope in WWE, despite being effectively a career jobber. He's a very safe worker and an excellent seller who can make any opponent look good beating him up. During his initial run as part of The Nexus, he was assigned to work with Bret Hart during the Team WWE vs The Nexus tag match — while Bret is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time in his own right, he'd been forced into retirement years before as well as becoming half-crippled by a stroke, and his opponent would have to shoulder the burden of carrying them both. In the leadup to the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW, a number of old legends from the company's past made returns, including Vader, Psycho Sid, Road Warrior Animal and 62-year-old Bob Backlund, and Heath was squashed by all of them (except Doink the Clown)) who he got a win over before being blindsided by Diamond Dallas Page), making them all look excellent. Slater rarely gets any kind of push, but he secured his position in the WWE for a long time thanks to his valued, if unglamorous, talents.
  • A lot of the greatest wrestlers of all time have been considered so because of their reliability and ability to have a fantastic match with anyone as much as for their ability to "win". The aforementioned Bret Hart, his rival Shawn Michaels, the legendary Ric Flair, and The Undertaker are all considered among the greatest in the history of the ring because of their professionalism, technical skill, and masterful psychology as much as their charisma, look or strength. "The broomstick rule" was coined to describe a wrestler good enough at their job to be able to hypothetically wrestle a broomstick and get a 3-star match out of it (supposedly the term was coined to describe the ability of Flair, who was good enough to make a match 3-stars just by showing up in it).
  • If you want female examples of ring generals in the WWE, look no further than "the Four Horsewomen" — Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley. Bayley in particular is regarded as being the most reliable worker of the four, if the least-spectacular, and capable of putting on an excellent match with almost anyone (unfortunately WWE have subjected her to some truly dreadful booking during her time on the main roster which has undermined her a lot).
  • Dolph Ziggler is another example of a solid midcard workhorse wrestler — while he has been a multiple-time champion in the WWE, he doesn't have much stock as a main eventer left anymore, and mainly uses his psychology and selling ability put over bigger stars in solid matches. The Elimination Chamber 2015 match is a good example, as the match went completely Off the Rails when Mark Henry ended up being brought into the action well ahead of time, throwing the script out the door. Ziggler, as the best ring general in the Chamber, did his best to rescript it on the fly, bumping like a madman to try and keep the match entertaining. He didn't quite succeed (it's considered one of the worst Elimination Chamber matches ever) but his skill in keeping it from degenerating into a complete farce is notable.
  • The Miz is another one of WWE's upper midcard wrestlers who almost never gets injured, has great mic skills, and does a lot of promotional work outside of the ring. While he often gets criticized for being a boring wrestler, he managed to parlay that criticism into one of the greatest Worked Shoot moments in WWE and in turn gained the respect of even his detractors.
  • There are facets to wrestling reliability beyond just ring generalship. Baron Corbin is The Scrappy to a lot of WWE's audience, particularly as he seems to be pushed on the card well above his actual ring ability, but while he's not a brilliant ring general as such (although a solid worker), he's an incredibly safe worker who has never injured anyone and doesn't inflict needless pain on his opponents like a lot of "stiff" wrestlers do. As WWE has been plagued over the years by performers being taken out by injury in the middle of their pushes, derailing the storyline and forcing them to rebook their event scene, they've increasingly turned to performers like Corbin and the aforementioned Ziggler as a way of keeping their main eventers safe, even if this results in storylines the fans find unsatisfying.
  • You can't talk about reliable wrestlers without talking about Chris Jericho, who in his 30-year career can and has worked in just about every match type you can think of, elevated his opponents/partners with superior mic skills, and remained a fan favorite throughout it all. There are also numerous examples of him protecting his opponents (Adrian Neville being probably the most notable).
  • Howard Finkel is rightly remembered as one of the all-time great ring announcers, but he was a backstage example of this trope. In a video commenting on Finkel's passing, Jim Cornette described how Finkel would come into the WWE offices every morning to type up the "Finkel Report." Finkel would spend every morning going through various wrestling dirtsheets, hotlines and websites for articles and information he thought WWE leadership would want to know about. He'd then compile this information into the Reports, which were distributed to Vince McMahon and the rest of WWE's management. Cornette noted that Finkel was extremely punctual in delivering the Finkel Reports, to the extent that Vince would get agitated on the very rare occasions that he was late.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Ciro, in large part because he had to take on a lot of parental responsibilities at a young age, is a hardworking boy who's always trying to moderate everyone around him, and is always willing to lend a hand to those who need it. This does end up backfiring when he takes too much onto his plate and ends up exhausted.
    • While his personality is not as drastic as some other characters, Ivan makes up for it by being patient, clear-headed, and a good listener. His superpower even reflects this, as it enables him to observe an event and then subtly manipulate it from behind the scenes.
    • Marko keeps an eye on his fellow gang members, makes sure his family's shop is running smoothly, and in general can be depended on as a responsible hard worker. This has led to him harbouring a crush on Zia because she can express herself without inhibitions, while he feels somewhat boxed in by the responsibilities he's put upon himself.
    • Destiny was taught to rely on herself by her father, and so became a sensible girl with a part-time job and a good head on her shoulders. Even though all of the superpower-related events freak her out, she still keeps herself composed enough to help her friends when they struggle with it.

  • The title character of The Admirable Crichton is a butler who reliably sees the family that employs him through various crises, including a shipwreck.
  • Benvolio from Romeo and Juliet is frequently portrayed as this.

    Video Games 
  • The protagonist in virtually every open-world RPG that includes quests. You will run around completing all sorts of tasks for everyone, from getting a book on the table next to them to slaying a demon that has cursed their family for generations.
  • There's the APC unit in Advance Wars. It can't actually attack, but it can do a lot of useful things, like carry your infantry, act as bait (particularly in the first game), and resupply other units.
  • A rare case of such character in a main role: Eddie Riggs from Brütal Legend, who is a roadie who helps his friends make history but willingly sticks to the backstage throughout the game.
  • Josephine Montilyet holds this position in Dragon Age: Inquisition, being the resident Nice Girl who gets things done behind the scene. As the Inquisition's ambassador, she's in charge of making sure public opinion is in their favor and the organization runs as smoothly as possible; it would very likely fall apart without her. In the final DLC Trespasser, she even gets the Did You Think I Can't Feel? moment when her two colleagues, who are used to depending on her to smooth things over with the nobility, dismiss her work as 'easy' and she snaps. (They immediately apologize.)
  • In Ensemble Stars!, this is Mao's defining character trait, whether he's serving as a foil to the comedians and straight man of Trickstar, the wealthy and intimidating members of the student council, or his lazy and apathetic childhood friend Ritsu. While there are many characters who work hard and look out for others, none go to the same lengths as Mao, and certainly not with as little grumbling. However, it's also deconstructed a little because his helpfulness has led Ritsu to become more dependent on him than is really healthy, and he developed this personality due to coming from a relatively poor family and having to take care of siblings in contrast to the other generally rich students at Yumenosaki.
  • Link acts as the reliable one in several Zelda games, but especially The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, where his reliability allows him to help the people of the sky and retrieve Gratitude Crystals from them in order to help the demon Batreaux become human.
    • Link. It's been stated that the Hero is reborn each time Ganondorf returns to threaten the world, which means Link is such a reliable One-Man Army, dungeon crawler, and general Evil Killer, that his spirit reincarnates specifically to battle evil whenever it grows too powerful. If that ain't reliable, nothing is.
      • There is one exception to this rule: when Ganondorf broke free from the Sacred Realm between The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Turns out his arrival was only delayed, but because of this the goddesses had to flood Hyrule.
        And then a day came when a fell wind began to blow across the kingdom, and the great evil once again crept forth from the depths of the earth. The people believed that the hero of time would come again to save them, but the hero did not appear...
  • Flight Lieutenant Jeff "Joker" Moreau from the Mass Effect series. Sure, he's also the plucky comic relief, but he's also the one member of your crew who isn't on the verge of PTSD, a murder spree, or a collapse into the blackest of depressions. He's the one member on the crew who Shepard can rely on 100% of the time, even when he's snarking at them. Exemplified in the third game when Admiral Anderson asks Joker to look after Shepard, which Joker points out is "asking the cripple to look after the galactic hero".
  • While this is a common trait of protagonists in the Shin Megami Tensei series, the Persona spin-off franchise really took this with their main characters starting with Persona 3. He (or she if one plays Persona 3 Portable) is made the field leader of the team for that very reason, acts as a Living Emotional Crutch for their social links, and even becomes the assistant to the Student Council President. This is deconstructed since his sacrifice/death wrecks the team and causes them to be at odds, with the only rational folks being the protagonist's best friend in Junpei Iori and Team Pet Koromaru who sees the fighting as detrimental and stay out of it.
    • Persona 4's protagonist is the same as well. Handling the Social Links like his predecessor, he also leads the Investigation Team in seeking the truth and acts as the Team Dad, being among the oldest. On another note is his best friend, Yosuke Hanamura. Described as his "partner", he's second-in-command despite being the Sad Clown. He works to try and help everyone and being reliable. Lampshaded a couple times, especially in Persona Q2 where some express concern over pushing himself too hard because of this.
    • Persona 5 gives us Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Through his Social Links/Confidants, he gathers the various tools and support needed to steal Teasures from Palaces and help his friends and teammates out with their various problems. The team all follow him because of his expertise and caring nature. Unsurprisingly, when he needs to confess to get The Heavy thrown into prison and thus having to go to juvie due to breaking the rules, every maxed-out Confidant will work their butt off to get him cleared of the false charges and he indeed walks a free man.
  • One gets the impression that Seo's agency in Puyo Puyo!! Quest probably wouldn't run without Roquier picking up the slack for the rest of the staff, as his deduction skills are more refined than Atari's and Seo herself is a downplayed Bad Boss in that she doesn't give her employees many breaks and isn't shy to mistreating herself in ways such as overworking and starving herself.

  • Sarnel of Drowtales is well aware that Ariel, as heir to one of the most powerful clans, The Val'Sarghress, in their Underground City of Chel'el'Sussoloth, will need reliable people beside her, who can help her survive and lead, so he fully plans to be this for her. His own grandfather is this for their clan's leader Quain'tana and is in fact the very reason their clan is so powerful.
  • I Log In Alone: Su tries to make sure that Jung doesn't hurt himself by getting him to rest and take his time.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Durkon, frequently cited by the fandom as the least interesting or developed character (due in part to Our Dwarves Are All the Same), is nevertheless a major part of the glue that holds the Order together and is usually the one that its members come to for advice, help in trials of leadership, conscience, or against self-doubt. And every time he's not with the Order and they face a major obstacle, the Order starts to fall apart.
    • Redcloak is this for the bad guys. He even lampshades it in one strip.
      Redcloak: It's all fun and games for them, but I'm the one who has to make the magical, lightning-powered trains run on time.
  • Gerard from Weak Hero is one of Eunjang's strongest fighters, and helps Ben keep Eunjang stable and safe from the Union- at least, he does after his Character Development leads him to actually start caring about his newfound friends. When the stress of leadership becomes too much for Ben, Gerard vows to be his supporting pillar and encourages him to share his troubles.

    Web Original 
  • Burter and Jeice seem to consider each other to be this in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. Leaving aside their boss, the other members of their team are a psychopathic Blood Knight who always thinks that he's in a wrestling match, and the Butt-Monkey whose ability to stop time is the only useful thing about him. So when Burter needs someone by his side in a fight, or Jeice needs a favor, they call each other.
  • In Off the Page and into Life, it doesn't matter whether she's never met you, you don't want any help, or even if she doesn't particularly like you. Gail Rubens will do whatever she can to help you. This is the reason Mr. Valjean asks her to ease the other teenagers into the news of Colleen dying — because he knows she's mature, empathetic, and responsible enough to actually be able to do it. While this puts some stress on Gail, she comes through, and even considers becoming a hospital chaplain because of the experience.
  • The Head Scholar of The Questport Chronicles is ostensibly just a librarian, but the Lord of the Supreme Council delegates a large amount of responsibility to her.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Of the three younger siblings who look up to Vi, Claggor is the most reliable. He's not antagonistic and a showoff like Mylo and not so young and emotionally needy like Powder. He gets stuff done without drama and their adoptive father Vander turns to him to give the most accurate story of their heist.
  • Big City Greens: Bill Green, the father of the Green family, is the Only Sane Man who's always trying to keep his family in order; according to Cricket in "Takened", he's the most dependable and trustworthy member, which was why he gave him the job of keeping Vasquez distracted.
  • Edd, also known as Double D, from Ed, Edd n Eddy is The Smart Guy of the titular trio, seeing as he's much more knowledgeable than his friends, due to them being either shorted tempered or being just plain stupid to really function without him.
  • Concierge from The Awesomes has everything so on lock that the Awesomes end up making her an official part of the team rather than just their support staff.
  • The titular protagonist of Hey Arnold!. After being told his advice makes things less fun, he is pressured into quitting by Helga. Like clockwork, everyone's schemes go wrong and they go to him for help, only for him to remind them of what they said. After Helga's advice makes things worse, she goes to him and asks him to set everything right, which he then does.
  • Hank Hill in King of the Hill is far and away the most level-headed of the zany people he interacts with on a daily basis. Even his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Kahn knows that when he's in deep shit, it's time to call his "stupid redneck neighbor".
  • On The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy Duck pontificated about every character's role in the group. And this was a parody of such tropes, partly because he would change his mind within the same conversation (is Porky Pig the buffoon or The Reliable One?) And most of these lists included calling at least one character "the reliable one," showing awareness of this trope.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • Applejack is the most cool-headed, hardworking, reliable pony in the show, and actually has her own episode where it's showcased how she does too much for other ponies without thinking of herself. Occasionally it comes back to bite her, as she's so dedicated to helping out that she tends to be a bit stubborn about it. In "Applebuck Season", the entire conflict was that Applejack refused to stop trying to help around town despite the fact that her farm work left her so sleep deprived that her "help" did more bad than good.
    • Spike as well. He's always there mostly for Twilight Sparkle but also for anyone else who needs him and knowing they appreciate it is good enough reward. It's hinted in "Owl's Well That Ends Well" and later confirmed in "The Crystal Empire" that his greatest fear is not being this to his friends.
    • Pinkie Pie is an interesting case of this, as she has an encyclopedic knowledge of every important date for every citizen in town (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) as well as keeps records of the things each person does and doesn't dislike (She's somehow even aware that Twilight Sparkle is afraid of quesadillas). While she may be too spontaneous and scatterbrained to be reliable in the ways Applejack and Spike are, the entire town can rely upon her to always find a way to make every pony in town happy on their special days.
  • Deconstruction: in The Owl House. Over the course of season 2, Willow becomes this to her friend group, being both The Big Gal in their team and the person taking care of their emotional needs. However, in "For the Future", Willow starts to really feel the pressure of trying to keep everyone together, especially since Luz is still in the same depressive state she was in in "Thanks to Them", Hunter is severely struggling with the death of Flapjack, and Willow herself has to see one of her dads being used as a toy by the Collector after having been turned into a literal puppet. After she believes she inadvertedly made Hunter's emotional state worse by giving him a photo of himself and Flapjack Willow starts suffering from Power Incontinence, trapping herself, Gus, and Hunter in a thick tangle of vines. In the end, Hunter manages to free her and assures her that she didn't do anything wrong and that she and Gus mean the world to him, and Gus tells her that "reliable people need someone to rely on too." This finally causes Willow to break down into Inelegant Blubbering, sobbing that she misses her dads.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Donatello gets less attention than Mikey, Raph, and Leo. But meanwhile, he's been finding old junk and appliances and fixing them up so his family can live comfortably underground. Without him, they might not even have lights or hot water, let alone television. When their second lair is destroyed, he takes it the hardest because of all the work he put in.
  • Much like the prior series, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) version of Donatello continues this tradition; he's the one building several machines to help out his team such as both methods of transportation, a blimp and even a turtle mech. He's also the one to get information, hack into systems, and even invented retromutagen to be able to restore everyone to their normal solutions. He also takes it really hard when he feels he let someone down.
    • Splinter subtly deconstructs the notion in the episode The Creeping Doom:
      Splinter: Donatello often puts too much burden on himself, sometimes the best solution only arrives when you take a step back from the problem.
  • Transformers: Prime: There's a reason why Soundwave is Megatron's favorite minion, even though he never says a word and spends most of the show manning a computer terminal, and that's because when he gets things done when he steps out. Best exemplified in the Iacon relics story arc — Megatron sends out four teams to recover four MacGuffins, and the only one who doesn't come back empty-handed is Soundwave.
  • Ice Bear seems to have this role in We Bare Bears. While Grizzly is the leader, Ice Bear is the one who runs errands, keeps the cave clean, cooks up some pretty elaborate meals and generally keeps an eye out for his brothers.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: Ellie is a rock for the wombats; someone they can always count on for support.

    Real Life 
  • Comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen had a good reputation in Vaudeville as a "Disappointment Act:" an act that you could depend on to be able to appear anywhere and anytime, especially at the last minute, to fill in for another act pulling a no-show. In a line of work notorious for flaky prima donna antics, a reputation for being reliable was good to have.