Greatest Sidekicks: Nos. 26-50

Image credit: What's Happening Now!: Photofest

48. Fred ''Rerun'' Stubbs


46. Bender
Sidekick to: Fry
Sure, a selfish, larcenous, beer-swilling robot whose catchphrase is ''Bite my shiny metal ass'' might not seem the optimal friend in need. But for Futurama's über-slacker Fry, trapped 1,000 years in the future, Bender provided a timelessly valuable service: indulging all of Fry's dangerously ill-thought-out impulses. But Bender wasn't entirely without an empathty chip: as he touchingly said of his boneheaded buddy, ''Fry, of all the friends I've're the first.'' —Josh Wolk

47. Sallah
Sidekick to: Indiana Jones
''Asps. Very dangerous.'' Peering down into a darkened ancient chamber known as the Well of Souls, Sallah turns to a famously snake-phobic archeologist and gravely intones, ''You go first.'' Ask anybody who's seen Raiders of the Lost Ark and they'll tell you that these are not the words of a coward, but rather, of a faithful (and perfectly honest) companion. That said, this Egyptian digger hardly needs to prove himself, having already saved Indy from death (''Bad dates'') and despair (''They're digging in the wrong place!''). Big, burly, and full of life — Steven Spielberg cast John Rhys-Davies in the role specifically for his Falstaff-like features — Sallah has no problem keeping up with this Jones. —Wook Kim

48. Fred ''Rerun'' Stubbs
Sidekick to: Roger ''Raj'' Thomas
He wasn't What's Happening!!'s funniest character. That would have to be Dee, who spoke in that devastatingly hilarious monotone. Come to think of it, both Shirley the waitress and dim-bulb Dwayne (''Nuh-huh'') were funnier too. But Rerun (the late Fred Barry) played the essential role of the clown — the one usually on the receiving end of a withering putdown — with a hearty grace and a rubbery physicality (he was show's best dancer). Besides, how can you not trust a friend who has the courage to wear a fire-engine-red beret? —Wook Kim

49. Randy Hickey
Sidekick to: Earl J. Hickey
My Name Is Earl's title character has made a lot of mistakes, but keeping his brother by his side isn't one of them. With a childlike innocence and almost touching stupidity, Randy follows Earl on his quest for karmic redemption like a really, really dumb bulldog. He'll even give Earl a swirly if that means Earl can cross something off his list. And who can blame Randy if he's sometimes sidelined by a paralyzing fear of chickens? They do seem like nasty birds. —Tim Stack

50. Joseph ''Blue'' Pulaski
Sidekick to: The guys of Lambda Epsilon Omega
The late character actor Pat Cranshaw finally found a breakout role in 2003 as Old School's 89-year-old fratboy ''Blue'' Pulaski. His rheumy eyes and grizzled presence made him an ace foil for his lugnut ''brothers,'' even as he embodied the fake fraternity's schlumpy loser ethos. Sadly, Blue passes away halfway through the movie (while wrestling in a kiddie tub full of KY jelly, no less) — but not before stealing every scene he's in. We feel Frank the Tank's pain when he wails to an uncaring God: ''You're my boy, Blue!'' —Michael Endelman

Originally posted Jul 13, 2006 Published in issue #887 Jul 21, 2006 Order article reprints
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