Sidekick

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A sidekick is a close companion who is generally regarded as subordinate to the one s/he accompanies. Some well-known fictional sidekicks are Don Quixote's Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes' Doctor Watson, The Lone Ranger's Tonto, and Batman's partner Robin.

Contents

Origins

The origin of the term comes from pickpocket slang of the late 19th and early 20th Century. The "kick" is the front side pocket of a pair of trousers, and was found to be the pocket safest from theft. Thus the pickpocket's "side-kick" became an inseparable companion.[1][2]

A humorous folk origin for the term refers to the sidekick's accomplishments being "kicked to the side" or otherwise ignored in favor of the more charismatic lead hero.[citation needed]

One of the earliest recorded sidekicks may be Enkidu, who adopted a sidekick role to Gilgamesh after they became allies in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Other early examples include Achilles and Patroclus from the Iliad, and Moses and Aaron from the Bible.[3]

Function of the sidekick

Sidekicks can provide one or multiple functions, such as a counterpoint to the hero,[4] an alternate point of view, or knowledge, skills, or anything else the hero doesn't have. They often function as comic relief,[4] and/or the straight man to the hero's comedic actions. A sidekick can also act as someone more relatable to the audience than the hero, or whom the audience can imagine themselves as being (such as teen sidekicks).[3] And by asking questions of the hero, or giving the hero someone to talk to, the sidekick provides an opportunity for the author to provide exposition, thereby filling the same role as a Greek chorus.

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