Tonto. Dr. Watson. Robin. Kronk. I’m simpatico with these dudes; I feel their pain. You see, when I was young I played violin—but I was never good enough for First Section. I was always second fiddle.
I can’t say, however, that I’ve ever been a sidekick. The word origin is rather seedy; pickpockets coined it (pardon the pun). The “kick” is the front side pocket, safest from theft. So a pickpocket needed somebody else to be a “side-kick.” No wonder they get a bad rap; they’re kicked to the side, merely riding coattails (ooh, another pun).
Sidekicks aren’t just in the movies. I’ve observed some real-life ones. Some are downright henchmen—regular minions. But by any name, they’re all the same: second fiddle.
At first, we don’t even notice them—skulking, echoing the bigwig to whom they’re joined at the hip. We can only guess why they do this. ‘Too weak to stand on their own? ‘No purpose outside of aiding and abetting a gang leader? ‘Sense of power they otherwise only strive for? ‘Wish they owned Wall Street, but settling for Main Street?
Ironically, they keep reporting for duty to somebody who probably doesn’t merit it. Why else would the senior stooge need their muscle, skills, or intellect?
They’re like the pathetic pair from “The Emperor’s New Groove.” Kronk, doing Yzma’s bidding, generates mega amounts of collateral damage. In fact, without the brawny brute, that wrinkled old broad wouldn’t be half as insidious. Even the most powerful people in the world can wreak double the havoc with a lackey on speed dial.
Whether it’s the big screen, the front page, or my corner of the world, I always enjoy seeing justice done. At the final crash and burn, when Top Dog is wearing some facial skid marks, I always wait for that tag scene they play after the movie credits—where the subordinate sap finally gets his due: hanging upside down inside a cage full of monkeys. Now that’s what I call a kicker.