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Western Animation / Sidekick

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Just like superheroes, but only half as big! note 

We are Splitsboro kids, and we go to sidekick school
Learning to be sidekicks while playing by the rules...

Sidekick is a Canadian animated television series from Nelvana that was created by Canadian animators Todd Kauffman (co-director of the first two seasons of Total Drama and later co-creator of Grojband) and Joey So.

The show is about 12-year-old Eric Needles, the Kid Sidekick of the world's greatest superhero Maxum Man, who has mysteriously gone missing. Eric lives at Maxum Man's mansion (where he is watched over by Maxum Man's supercomputer Maxum Brain) in Splitsboro, a town literally divided between superheroes and supervillains. When not simply messing around in the mansion, Eric is usually attending the Academy for Aspiring Sidekicks, where kids like him are trained by the school's headmaster Professor Pamplemoose to become the sidekicks of Splitsboro's superheroes. Alongside his friends Trevor Troublemeyer, Vana Glama, and Kitty Ko, Eric finds himself in all kinds of misadventures where he must contend with Splitsboro's evildoers (notably Maxum Man's archenemy Master XOX, whose secret identity is Trevor's dad Martin) and rival superheroes, survive his school's intense sidekick training methods, and keep Maxum Man's disappearance secret from the rest of the world. Unfortunately for Eric, his mediocre skills and abilities in virtually everything makes all of this even more difficult than it sounds and frequently cause trouble for him and his friends.

Todd Kauffman and Joey So originally created Sidekick and its characters for five 5-minute shorts under the name The Not-So-Superheroic Adventures of Sidekick, which was part of Nelvana's 2004 Animated Anthology project Funpak. It was one of ten miniseries showcased with the purpose of potentially launching new TV shows, and the only one of them to become its own standalone show, having been the winner of a contest held by YTV for viewers to vote on their favorite miniseries.

The series premiered on September 3, 2010 on YTV. It came to the United States on Cartoon Network on June 13, 2011 alongside fellow YTV show Almost Naked Animals as part of a general trend of CN relying a lot on Canadian imports at the time. CN would drop the show after its second season, but Qubo picked up the rest of the series a couple years later. The series ended on September 14, 2013, after a 52-episode run split over 3 seasons. In 2021, Nelvana began uploading episodes of the show onto their YouTube channel Keep It Weird. The playlist is here.

Sidekick provides examples of:

  • Arch-Enemy: Mr. Troublemeyer/Master XOX for Professor Pampelmoose and Maxum Man (though due to the latter being missing, you hardly ever see this).
  • Archnemesis Dad: Trevor's grandfather is this for Mr. Troublemeyer. If the pictures on the wall are any indication, he definitely qualifies as abusive. Plus he is constantly trying to turn Trevor evil despite Mr. Troublemeyer's continued efforts to get him to be a good boy.
  • Art Evolution: The Funpak shorts differ from the TV series in this way.
  • Ax-Crazy: Master XOX. It becomes blatantly obvious in his first appearance when he says that he created clones and ate them.
  • Badass Adorable: All four of the main characters are small, big-eyed, adorable-looking tweens who've defeated plenty of adult supervillains and saved Splitsboro by themselves on more than one occasion.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
  • Betty and Veronica: Kitty Ko as the Betty and Vana Glama as the Veronica. Only this Veronica doesn't want Archie. Then Mandy Struction comes in as the Cheryl Blossom.
  • Bindle Stick: In "Ye Old Sidekick Village" the villain uses his anti-technology ray to turn Kitty's bag into one of these, filled with cans of beans.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Pampelmoose" is French for 'Grapefruit'. Lampshaded when Eric tastes some of Pampelmoose-turned-evil-plant and notes that it tastes 'Pampelmoosey, with a hint of citrus'.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Maxum Man's Super Computer, Maxum Brain, has an Indian Accent.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Two examples from "Endless Summer":
    • Eric wonders where the group is going to stop.
    We're going to go outside some time, right? To a water park, or a paintball field, or a water-paint-park?
    • When Trevor is forced to play I Spy and find a word beginning with R.
    A rooster? Rutabaga? A roostabaga?
  • Broken Ace: While Vana is The Ace in terms of skill, personality-wise she's an arrogant, selfish, uncaring jerk with absolutely no redeeming qualities. Same with Maxum Man.
  • Burping Contest: One episode involved Eric and Trevor repeatedly going back in time and changing the present (trying to fix what they screwed up the first time, of course). Upon returning to the present after one of these trips, they find out that Vana and Kitty have become anthropomorphic turtles, who promptly start up a burping contest for no reason. Eric immediately sends him and Trevor back in time again, while Trevor complains that he wants to stay long enough to see who wins. The next time they come back to the present, they find that Vana and Kitty are still turtles, only this time they get into a farting contest instead.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Inverted with Kitty, who has a not-so-secret crush on Eric and reveals it all the time, but whenever she gets a little too lovey-dovey, Eric asks "What?", with Kitty responding with her own "What?" If Eric is aware at all of Kitty's feelings, he doesn't show it and definitely does not return them.
  • Cast as a Mask: Trevor's dad Mr. Troublemeyer has a different actor depending on whether he's his normal self or his evil Master XOX form: Scott McCord voices Mr. Troublemeyer while Ron Rubin voices Master XOX.
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Maxum Man's former sidekick Golly Gee Kid was definitely this.
  • Company Cross References: In "Master XOX Ray Vision", after Eric puts on the special contact lenses, it intially causes him to see his friends as the characters from fellow YTV/Nelvana series Scaredy Squirrel note .
  • Conveniently an Orphan:
    • Eric is an orphan. He usually brings it up every other episode.
    • Kitty too as seen in "Parent Teacher Night of Doom".
  • Crapsaccharine World: Splitsboro seems like your typical town, if not for the fact it gets destroyed in nearly every episode, and there's a holiday to beat Eric up. Plus, almost every character is mean-spirited, even the so-called "heroes" are not much different than the villains such as Maxum Man is self-righteous jerks, and even the most decent characters have a mean bone in their body.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The supervillains who hate Maxum Man are villains because Maxum Man was a real jerk to them, or were the reason why they became villains in the first place.
  • Darkhorse Victory: The winner of the competition to determine who gets to star in a sidekick video in "Lights, Camera, Sidekick Action" turns out to be neither Eric or Alan Amazing, but rather Trevor, who was only trying to act as Eric's agent and wasn't intending to compete. Eric doesn't go home completely empty-handed, however: he gets to be Trevor's stunt double.
  • Dating Catwoman: Eric and Mandy Struction, who happens to be a member of the Splitsboro Crime Syndicate, The Mass Destructions.
  • Deconstruction: The in-world universe treats sidekicks as if they were objects, punching bags, etc., which can lead to making every student masochistic.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: This one doubles as a genius bonus. In "Ain't No Party Like a Maxum Brain Party", Eric suggests pulling out some of Maxum Brain's RAM Memory to lighten him up a bit. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. So he suggested pulling out some Random Access Memory Memory.
  • Depending on the Writer: Characters can either become charming and playful and can be friendly to each other (with only slight insults) and become jerks for the sake of humor sometimes.
  • Deranged Animation
  • Disappeared Dad
    • Maxum Man is Eric's adoptive dad, and no one knows where he is.
    • A less prominent version is Vana's dad. Her mom showed up as a Granola Girl, but her father was suspiciously absent.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Many episodes end with Eric being pummeled (or at least humiliated).
    • The episode with the Maxum Mobile is one example: As Eric and Trevor are driving the Maxum Mobile, which due to plot induced amnesia Eric doesn't remember the car (which was set to evil) destroying half the town, freeing every villain from prison and mutating Vana into a monster. At the end he is cornered by the dozens of villains, the angry mob and the car with hundreds of missiles ready to blow him up, but he manages to (with great difficulty) set the car back to good... only for Trevor to turn it back to evil, as sabotaging Eric was on his to-do list. The episode just ends there.
  • Enemy Mine: In "Escape from Razzuma-traz" the main four are forced to team up with Pamplemoose to escape from Ms. Razzuma after she launches the school into space.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mr. Troublemeyer/Master XOX tries constantly to be a good father, but Trevor makes it very hard to do so.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Mr. Troublemeyer tries to keep Trevor from turning evil and even put him in the Sidekick Academy despite reacting in disgust when that school is even mentioned. Of course, Master XOX is always proud that Trevor inherited his evilness.
  • Failure Is the Only Option
    • Maxum Man will never be found. If he ever appears on screen outside of informational videos, it's always a fake or a duplicate.
    • Even when Eric wins, he usually loses to reinforce what a loser he is.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: One episode had Eric acting strangely, only for it to be revealed that a shrunken XOX had entered Eric's body and took control of him. The rest of the group goes in to defeat him. It apparently isn't Trevor's first trip into Eric's body.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The four main characters fit into this mold:
    • Eric is a Realist;
    • Trevor is Apathetic;
    • Vana is the Cynic;
    • And Kitty is an Optimist.
  • Friend Versus Lover: According to their biographies on the YTV website, Trevor and Kitty both hate each other's guts, this could be the reason why, although this seems to be an Informed Attribute since they get along pretty well.
  • Genre Blindness: In "Endless Summer" Eric notices how Trevor's dad and Master XOX bear a striking resemblance to each other and how their RV is full of menacing inventions. He puts two and two together... and figures that XOX is forcing Trevor's dad to build inventions for him.
  • Gasshole: A good chunk of the characters burp and fart from time to time, as part of the show's grossout humor.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded in "Supermodels." Eric says he needs the perfect outfit for picture day, and Maxum Brain asks, "Aren't you only having the one outfit?" After a beat and a look to the camera, Eric scoffs, denies it and slams his bedroom door's shut.
  • Love Triangle: Kitty loves Eric, who loves Vana, who hates him.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Trevor idolizes XOX, but seems to hold nothing but contempt for XOX's civilian identity: his dad.
  • Lustful Melt: Vana melts like wax when meeting Allan Amazing for the first time.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Splitsboro, as the entire city is split into two halves, one for heroes and one for villains.
    • Trevor's last name sounds a lot like "Troublemaker", which perfectly describes both him and his father.
  • The Millstone: Trevor in a majority of the episodes he's in, due to his lack of interest in doing anything productive.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Eric tells Trevor that his old orphanage pal has "abandonment issues", and that you should never say "goodbye" to him. Trevor, however, mishears it as "Banana Mint Shoes". This goes on to be a Running Gag and finally a Brick Joke.
  • Mythology Gag: At one point in "Suit of Harms", Eric and Trevor are seen watching one of the original Funpak shorts.
  • Oblivious to Love
    • Eric is completely oblivious to the fact that Kitty has a crush on him, although this depends on the episode: in some episodes, he is aware of this but isn't interested in her.
    • Subverted with Vana; she knows Eric has a crush on her, but doesn't return to feeling. Eric is trying hard to change her mind.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Eric is orphaned after his parents are killed in an amusement park accident.
    • This goes to extreme levels when Kitty is revealed to be an orphan in "Parent Teacher Night of Doom". This also referenced in the episode "Hello Dolly" when she has a 100 year old little cousin (this indicates that her family left her in the past, are killed or both).
  • The Power of Rock: The episode "Virtual Mayhem" starts with the team playing "Rock 'em Roll 'em Zombie Revolution" in the battle simulator, until Trevor crashes the game by playing too fast. When the team is about to be destroyed by an army of monsters (actually other players) at the climax of the episode, Kitty hacks the simulation to give everyone their instruments, leading to an epic rock battle.
  • Punny Name: Pick a villain, any villain. Examples include Man Maid and Drilliam Shakespeare.
  • Rise of Zitboy: The episode "My Brother, My Pimple" revolves around Eric getting a pimple on his face which eventually grows into a Siamese twin named Derek. Said twin turns out to be The Ace at everything, before Eric accidentally pops him by hugging him too hard.
  • Robot Buddy:
    • Maxum Brain used to be a super in his own right. As it so happens, Pamplemoose appears to have been his sidekick.
    • Subverted with the Loids; they're so competent, everyone leaves town and builds a new Splitsboro to get away from them.
  • Sadist Show: A show takes place in a world where sidekicks are treated badly, almost everyone is downright cruel, and even Eric himself can be nasty at times. Gee, you think?
  • Sadist Teacher: Professor Pampelmoose takes joy in torturing his young students, often putting them though hell for the sake of a quick gag.
  • Saving Christmas: Eric, Trevor, Vana, Kitty and Maxum Brain have to take up Santa duties after destroying a robot Mega Santa in "Beneath the Missile-Toe".
  • Secret Test of Character: In "Hullaballoo" Vana learns that her older sister was only mean to her to get Vana to stand up to her and prove herself worthy of being her sidekick. Once she learns she went through all that abuse and could've stopped it anytime, she promptly pummels her sister senseless.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors
    • Used in "Moustachesquatch" when the gang is chasing/being chased by the mustache monster, though they use caves rather than doors.
    • "Ice to Know You" has the scene where the main group is attempting to run from a yeti in the Maxum Mansion. The mustache monster even makes a brief reappearance!
    • "Teenage Mummies In Love" has a scene where Eric and Trevor are running away from a real mummy, and this trope ensues, albeit with school lockers rather than doors.
    • Played straight in "House of Helmut", followed by Trevor running into a closed door, knocking down the whole wall, and having the others comes out of one of the knocked down doors.
  • Sidekick: It's in the name, after all.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Split Personality: Mr. Troublemeyer, Trevor's effeminate father and Master XOX, the closest thing the show has to a Big Bad. Trevor idolizes Master XOX, unaware he's really his father.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Maxum Man's secret identity is Mr. Maxummin.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Kitty sometimes takes her crush on Eric to creepy levels. The show's official wiki implies that this is the main reason Eric doesn't seem to reciprocate Kitty's affections.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • The town is usually destroyed once an episode. It recovers by the next one.
    • In the final episode, "Graduation Daze", all the Sidekicks were to graduate from Sidekick School but had to do a final test. They all passed, but the last was Eric, who accidentally disintegrated the diplomas in the process, meaning everyone had to repeat the school all over again.
  • Sugar Bowl: Trevor's dream world in "Sleepless In Splitsboro" is revealed to be filled with candy, leprechauns and kangaroos with afros. The place turns out to be so happy, the gang chooses to banish Nocturna there as it's the happiest place they can think of, preventing him from using any sort of fear whatsoever.
  • Superhero School: A variant, the school is for sidekicks.
  • Toilet Humor: As to be expected from a cheap Canadian cartoon. The very first episode has Trevor holding his late hamster's poop, for one.
  • Vague Age: Averted by Word of God: Todd Kauffman (one of the creators) confirms them to be in grade 9 — so they're 13-14 years old. Their design makes them look younger although Vana, Kitty and Mandy are under 12 years old.
  • Verbal Tic: Master XOX always pronounces "evil" as "evile", like a combination of "evil" and "vile". Maybe he does it to make a point about how evil (and vile) he is. Or maybe he just likes the band.
  • Visual Pun
    • The aforementioned "roostabaga" gag is followed by a rooster with a rutabaga for a torso.
    • "The dust bunnies are starting to multiply". Cut to a scene of bunnies doing multiplication on a chalk board.
    • Splitsboro's good and evil sides are separated by a railroad, meaning that the people who live on the evil side are literally born on the wrong side of the tracks.
  • World of Jerkass: While there are genuinely good people in Splitsboro like Kitty and Mandy, the vast majority of citizens are utter Jerkasses with very little in the way of redeeming moments and even the comparatively nicer ones like Eric can be pretty dang mean at times.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • One example is in "This Hour Has 22,000 Minutes"; Eric finally manages to stop all the time loops and is about to ask Vana to the dance, but he gets punished for a mocking graffiti drawing of Pamplemoose that Trevor did. Even worse, Vana was so busy planning the dance, that she didn't ask anyone and said she would've even gone with him.



Eric hypnotizes Vana into falling in love with him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Brainwashed

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