A Tribute to the Sidekick

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Every protagonist needs a best friend, right?  They’re usually the one your protagonist relies on the most.  Maybe he’s a bit sarcastic?  Maybe she’s the polar opposite of your protagonist.  Nine times out of ten though, this magical creature is the source of humor in your story.  

Why am I bringing this up, you might ask?  Well, in case you haven’t figured it out, we are focusing on humor here at WWAT and my favorite bits of humor usually come from the plucky, often sarcastic, but always loyal best friend/sidekick of the protagonist.  These noble beings appear in stories, often with little character development, and provide wisdom, support, and laughs to your main character.  

One of my favorite comedic sidekicks is a recent discovery for me.  I started watching episodes of Teen Wolf (thanks Amazon Prime!) to see what all the hype was for.  It’s your classic tale of nerdy guy falls for new girl at school.  Nerdy guy is nervous about trying out for the lacrosse team (yeah, this is now the “in” sport?).  Nerdy guy gets bitten by a werewolf and now must hide his wolfy secret from the girl he loves.  Classic right?

Sure we are all sympathetic towards our main character Scott, the new werewolf, but what keeps us tuning in every episode is Stiles.  Yes, this loyal, comedic best friend of Scott who, in his own words, “refuses to be the Robin to Scott’s Batman” is what turns this show from another angst-filled teen soap to a fully-rounded gem of a story.  (Full confession:  I’m only on Season 1, so this could all change in later seasons).  Stiles’ hilarity during serious situations makes everything bearable.  This is one sidekick who could easily have his own spin off.

And isn’t it time the sidekicks told their own stories?  Here is a great example of a loyal sidekick breaking out on her own exciting adventure!

In the newish YA novel Dumplin by Julie Murphy, Willowdean Dickson has always been a sidekick to her model best friend Ellen.  Willowdean is witty and a self-proclaimed fat girl.  So when she decides to enter the Miss Clover City beauty contest, all hell breaks loose for her and her small town.  I love this novel because it is so obviously the story of a plucky sidekick who finally gets to do something amazing!  There’s love, friendship, a little family drama, and plenty of humor.   

So next time you want to add a little humor to your novel, look to your protagonist’s best friend.  Better yet, give that best friend a story of his or her own!  It’s guaranteed to be filled with plenty of laughs!

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