by Linda Robertson
The purpose of the sidekick, to me, is many things. *This short list is by no means meant to cover all that a sidekick can accomplish, just a few interesting and quick thoughts from me.
1.) To be a persona the viewer/reader can imagine themselves being, i.e. a more relatable character who is aligned with the hero.
ROBIN was a young man that comic readers could displace themselves into (all the typical jokes aside). Wouldn’t it be great to be the ward of an uber-rich businessman who highlights as a super hero? You’d have everything a guy could want, even a butler and a funky bright colored costume.
2.) To make the hero look smart.
PATRICK STARR is soooo dumb he sets up situations where SPONGEBOB looks intelligent. No small feat, and often highly entertaining, but the focus stays on the sponge.
3.) To make the anti-hero funny.
Who’s the sidekick here? I think Costello was meant to be, but this comedic duo’s popularity was more about the sidekick’s humorousness than the straight-man’s story. This is kinda the reverse of #2.
4.) To make the hero grow and be all he/she must be.
Of course I’d find a way to sneak a Trek reference in. Here there are two distinct personalities, both highly capable, each supporting the other. Old Trek, Spock was definitely the sidekick. New Trek…feels more equal, but Kirk still tips the scales just enough.
Soooo…what is the sidekick’s purpose to you?