Blog Post about Sidekicks

January 30, 2007 at 6:36 am | Posted in Lipstick Chronicles, pop culture, sidekicks | 1 Comment

nancy-drew.jpgMy first online search for information on literary sidekicks led me to a January 5, 2007 blog post and lively discussion (120+ comments) on the Lipstick Chronicles Blog. 

The originator of the post, Rebecca the Bookseller, reflects that sidekicks fulfill an important literary function as the reader’s proxy. The sidekick can be counted upon to pose “the bumbling questions that need to be asked” for the reader to solve a murder mystery. In chick lit novels, you expect the sassy girlfriend to serve alternately as a confidante and as a humorous foil to the heroine’s emotional upheavals. Rebecca poses an intriguing question in her blog: Why are there so few female sidekicks? I did a mental rundown of some female sidekicks from mysteries:  

         Detective               “Sidekick”_____

  • Nancy Drew           Bess and George
  • Stephanie Plum       Lula 
  • Inspector Lynley      Barbara  Havers 

Based on the above, I would agree that these supporting female characters  are better described as partners, or part of an ensemble. I will revisit this  question as I read across genres to confirm whether my first intuition holds up.  It may be that the “sidekick as clueless tagalong” is endearing when it’s a guy, but not so much if it’s a female chum who’s the comic foil.  

What also impressed me, in perusing the blog comments, was how quickly the exchange moved from literary to pop culture sidekicks. When asked to propose favorite sidekicks, there was a flurry of posts once the possibility of listing TV and cartoon sidekicks was floated.  You could feel the energy –the delight–of recounting classic pop culture match-ups like Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, or Andy Griffith and Barney Fife.  

From these blog suggestions, I’ve assembled a preliminary list of mystery sidekicks and sci fi/fantasy sidekicks. It appears that finding sidekicks in horror and the other genres will be more challenging.


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