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Top TV Sidekicks

April 1st, 2008 2:00pm EDT
Buffy The Vampire SlayerWho does a hero turn to for support? How does a tough as nails cop lighten up a little? Who do fan fiction writers pair up with their main characters to create some truly disturbing story lines? The answer to all these questions is sidekicks.

Without sidekicks, lead characters would simply have nobody to talk to. So Starpulse has decided to honor some of the sidekicks that have made television a little more enjoyable:

Rhoda Morgenstern
Sidekick to Mary Richards
From: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
Portrayed by Valerie Harper

Before Romy and Michele had a reunion, people have been arguing over who's the Mary and who's the Rhoda. Rhoda arguably created the character of the best friend, one who is no good without her other half. Now, if only Rhoda could have survived on her own. She could be an animal rights activist alongside her aging better half.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Willow and Xander
Sidekick to Buffy Summers
From: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Portrayed by: Nicholas Brendon and Alyson Hannigan

The entire Scooby Gang could have been listed here, but without Willow and Xander there wouldn't have been a gang to begin with. By Buffy's side through thick and thin, each of these sidekicks had their own moment in the spotlight, even it it meant one of them turning evil in the process.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Robin and Batgirl
Sidekick to Batman
From: Batman (1966-1968) Batman the Animated Series (1992-1999)
Portrayed by: Various

The creative ancestors of Xander and Willow, Robin and Batgirl showed America what superhero sidekicks should be. While Robin was the premeire sidekick in the 60s, Batgirl grew in popularity in the 90s and even showed up as the lead in the short lived Birds of Prey.

Batman the Animated Series

Niles Crane
Sidekick to Frasier Crane
From: Frasier (1993-2004)
Portrayed by: David Hyde Pierce

One snobby sort of gay psychiatrist isn't funny, but add another one and hilarity ensues. This was the thought behind adding Frasier Crane's creepily similar brother to the Seattle based Cheers spinoff. The rest was history (a history that went on about three seasons too long). Niles never stopped being funny though, not once.

Frasier

Detective Bobby Simone
Sidekick to Detective Andy Sipowicz
From: NYPD Blue (1994-2004)
Portrayed by: Jimmy Smits

When David Caruso left "NYPD Blue" for bigger and better things, none of which ever happened, Andy Sipowicz needed a new partner. In stepped Jimmy Smits' Bobby Simone, whose 10-year tenure on the show became a treasured decade, especially in the later seasons when spunky teen stars from the 80s filled in as Andy's sidekicks.

NYPD Blue

Carla Tortelli
Sidekick to Same Malone
From: Cheers (1982-1993)
Portrayed by: Rhea Perlman

Sure, you could go where everybody knows you your name, but you probably don't want Carla to be one of the bartenders working there. Sarcastic and sassy, Carla gave everybody who came through those doors a hard time. She survived Shelley Long's rise and fall from stardom (it was a very short rise and a very long fall) and Kirstie Alley's pre-weight gain. How come Frasier got his own show and not Carla?

Cheers

More memorable sidekicks:

Ethel Mertz, I Love Lucy
Fonzie, Happy Days
Bender, Futurama
Barnie Fife, The Andy Griffith Show
George Costanza, Seinfeld


Who are your favorite TV sidekicks? Make a comment!

Story by Dan Chruscinski
Starpulse contributing writer