originally published November 22, 2012
Ah, the bittersweet dawn of a Yankee Thanksgiving. Bitter because up here in the frozen tundra, it’s just another work-day. Sweet because tradition insists upon a trio of mid-week football games for me to enjoy. Bitter because I’ll be lucky to squeeze a few glances at the scores from my desk. Sweet because my American friends and family get a long weekend. And bitter because this is the last day we get to complain about Christmas music being prematurely piped into stores and banks.
And so, it’s time for the holiday tradition I started on this site – a quiz. In honor of this gathering of family and friends, today’s quiz is all about companions. Essential companions. Specifically, sidekicks.
The link at the end of each question will take you to the corresponding article, because I’m not that jerk who makes people wait a day for the answers (I’m looking at you, New York Times.)
1. Perhaps the greatest of all sidekicks kicks off this list. His voice is a roaring salad of walrus, lion, camel, bear, rabbit, tiger, and badger. His hair (and it’s everywhere) is made from yak hair and mohair. He is one of the few fictional characters to receive a lifetime achievement award at the MTV Movie Awards, mainly because fans think he got screwed out of a medal at the end of his first movie. Out of respect, I will steer clear of mentioning his unfortunately holiday TV special. Give up?
2. Initially drawn as a black guy by accident, this animated sidekick is clearly enamored by his… what’s the opposite of a sidekick? Mainkick? Anyway, we have no confirmation on his sexual orientation, but given his fetishistic daydreams toward his centenarian employer, we can certainly guess.
3. The breakout hit videogame of 1985 had its developers ready to launch a sequel. They wanted their protagonist paired with a dinosaur – no logic here, but then logic wasn’t really a solid foundation of the franchise. This guy was introduced in the fourth game in the series, once the Nintendo had turned Super. It was worth the wait – this guy became one of the most celebrated sidekicks in videogame history.
4. A solitary cowboy needs someone to talk to. Why not this guy? He rode a pinto named Scout, and has the brains and talent to keep up with his companion through any and all dangerous adventures. Is his depiction a little bit racist? Nah, it’s all part of the fun. And any part that can be played by Jay Silverheels, Jon Lovitz, and Willy Wonka certainly comes with a wide range of possible interpretation.
5. Hetero-lifemate to a portly (though habitually untalkative) fellow marijuana dealer in a quintet of stoner films and a short-lived cartoon show, this actor’s real life has produced more up-and-down drama than the typical resident of a prime-time soap character. He has delved into substance abuse, made a full-frontal sober comeback as an amateur porn star (in a movie, not really), and even did a four-episode arc on Degrassi. Snoogans.
6. A bunch of dudes, calling themselves ‘merry’ and prancing about the forest in tights and funky hats? That’s my kind of story. He first met the leader of the group while trying to stop him from crossing a narrow bridge. The two fought it out with big sticks, and the rest is history. In film adaptations, Gilligan’s Skipper’s dad, Alan Hale Sr., played this role in three separate tellings of the tale between 1922 and 1951. Of all fictional sidekicks, this is one of the only ones to have an actual grave, in Hathersage, Derbyshire. No kidding.
7. This guy is the sidekick on what may be the greatest road-trip movie of all time. We meet him as he’s doing stand-up comedy to a somewhat rough crowd at the El Sleezo Café. Sure, on the TV show he’d get heckled by those two sour jerks in the balcony, but he sticks to his act. Apparently, he was named after the guy who created the mechanism that allows him to wiggle his ears. Oh, and his uncle owns a Studebaker.
8. Is this woman a sidekick? Wikipedia says so. She certainly was in the first and the most recent (and probably last) film in this series. Her father, a professor of archeology, was a mentor to the protagonist. This lady is a bartender when we first meet her, and wow, can she put away her own product. The role almost went to Sean Young, Barbara Hershey and Debra Winger, but instead went to the actress who cheats on her boyfriend with Donald Sutherland in Animal House. The tart.
9. The species of this newspaper-funnies sidekick is never stated. His language is indecipherable, except to his canine companion. He is certainly a ‘he’ though – except in Norway where he is named ‘Fredrikke’ and referred to as a ‘she’. Alright, I’ll give this one to you – he’s a bird.
10. It’s easy to get a job as a sidekick when you’re a clone of the person you’re meant to be side-kicking for. Sure, he’s not an exact replica, coming out a little on the short side. But he’s got mad fighting skills, and because his larger companion is an evil genius (though not great at figuring out appropriate ransom sums), he’s got a solid vdose of nastiness running through him. The character has a reportedly large member, and apparently the actor who played him has his own sex tape. Anyone with a copy, please don’t send it to me. Thanks.
11. In the first book (and in the movie), this canine companion never spoke. In later books, we learn he does know how to speak, he just chooses not to. His breed is never specified in the books, though a Cairn Terrier named Terry was used for the film. When the film-dog died, she (yes, they used a female – who knew?) was buried on her owner’s ranch, which was subsequently demolished in 1958 to make room for the Ventura Freeway. Talk about disrespect!
12. Is he the sitcom sidekick or should that title go to the straight-man? Whatever – if you were around a TV in the late 80s, this Myposian was probably familiar to you. The premise for his comedy? Foreign people are funny. If you get this one right, you are done the quiz and free to do the dance of joy. Will I pull out any more obscure references from this show? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Even if you aren’t American, it never hurts to be grateful for the goodies of life.