Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hall of Shame: Sidekick Edition

As I was working on my “Worst Cartoons Ever” post I continued to get sidetracked by characters that I hated. Perhaps this was because I received three angry letters from my brother about how Uni the Unicorn had ruined his childhood.

Why do so many cartoon writers hate children? It’s not like an 8-year-old can’t tell that a talking baby unicorn is a dumbass sidekick. Did anybody actually like Orko? Listen, kids who like that BS are watching Teletubbies, not He-Man. Don’t cater to the wrong demographic.

Is it really that hard to find a non-dumbass to hang around with you, maybe run for help from time to time, and not betray you because his feelings got hurt when you didn’t have time to stroke his ego while saving the universe? Look at Ookla the Mok: great sidekick, not wussy, and popular with the ladies. That's a role model for all you other sidekicks out there.

So here, I present to you the worst sidekicks ever:

12. Nibbles (Tom and Jerry)
I hate Nibbles. I always hated Nibbles. The gag of the tiny little mouse that could eat 50 pounds of food just wasn’t funny. Every time Tom got hold of him, I would shout “CHEW, YOU STUPID BASTARD!” at the television in hopes that this would finally be Nibbles’ last cartoon. As a result, I spent a lot of time grounded for swearing. Stupid damn mouse.

11. Orko (He-Man)
There’s a fine line between “incompetent sidekick who frustrates hero’s goal” and “sidekick who actively works against hero and is far more trouble than he’s worth.” Orko is so far past that line it’s not even funny. If I were He-Man, I wouldn’t care what’s under the shadow of that hat: I’m chopping it off and burning the pieces. Besides, when you're ripping off Alvin for fashion tips, you've got no business hanging out in Castle Greyskull.

10. Godzilla’s Kid (Godzilla)
The formula for Godzilla movies is pretty simple: monster appears, trashes some stuff, and then Godzilla appears, shoots some atomic death breath, they fight, and then Godzilla conquers. There is no room in this formula for a smoke-blowing giant booger that confuses us about Godzilla’s sex and possible marital status.

9. Uni the Unicorn (Dungeons and Dragons)
You have to be extra-pathetic to stick out in this group, and Uni was certainly up to the task. Gifted with only one terrifically lame power, Uni managed to never deploy it in a useful way. Even better, Uni also had the power of incoherent speech that is mandatory for a truly crappy sidekick. I can’t remember if there was a dorky catch phrase, because I’ve spent thousands of dollars in therapy forgetting this affront to human dignity.

8. Kato (The Green Hornet)
I can hear your protests: Kato was a karate master, he routinely saved Green Hornet’s butt, he was a good driver, etcetera. But what was wrong with Kato that he worked for the Green Hornet? The Green Hornet should have been his sidekick, not the other way around. So all we can guess is that GH had pictures of Kato with a goat, or Kato was a secret opium addict, or something like that. There’s got to be a reason here.

7. Great Gazoo (Flintstones)
You know what a cartoon about a prehistoric family really needed? A magic alien from an advanced civilization that only the main characters can see that has been exiled to Earth to learn how to help other people. Oh, wait: no, it didn’t, and whoever thought of that should have had their fingers broken and their tongue torn out so they could never poison someone else’s mind with their terrible ideas again.

6. Grimace (McDonald’s)
I’m not saying that because Grimace looks like a giant purple penis he’s some kind of reference to Ronald McDonald’s frustrated NAMBLA aspirations. I’m just saying that ever since those big purple handprints were found on Mayor McCheese’s throat, the quality of Ronald’s main sidekick has been piss-poor.

5. Screetch and Jessie (Saved by the Bell)
It’s no coincidence that the lamest two characters on this show also both ended up doing porno movies. Screetch was supposed to be a nerdy/obsessive type, but he was in actuality totally worthless. It’s no wonder he ended up being Mr. Beldin’s piece of tail in the lamentable Saved by the Bell: the College Years. And Jessie; well, let’s just say that when you’ve got Kelly and Lisa as the main female leads, the need for a less-attractive socially conscious latter-day hippy is pretty much zero. And somehow, Jessie failed to live up to even that minimal expectation.

4. Snarf (Thundercats)
Imagine a cross between the Smurfs and Gollum, and you’ve got Snarf. He was supposedly Lion-O’s advisor, but he was dumber than a box of rocks. Cowardly and stupid and worthless, his only contribution to any episode was to say inane things like “Snarf, Lion-O, let’s get the snarf out of here!” Lion-O’s response should have been “Go snarf yourself, you stupid piece of shit.”

3. Andy Dick (News Radio, lots of other stuff)
You know what Andy Dick is? A manic, less-humorous version of David Spade, and Spade hasn't been funny in 12 years. Perhaps I’m missing some hidden comedic genius in the man, but I kind of doubt it. Add in the seedy story that he is involved in the sad tale that killed Phil Hartman and I wonder how anyone can be seen in public with him.

2. Wonderdog (Super Friends)
How lame was Wonderdog? He was Marvin and Wendy’s sidekick, for heaven’s sakes, and their only power was making Robin look tough! I always guessed that Wonderdog’s power was that he could eat his own poop and beat up Aquaman. Neither of those is all that impressive, although eating your own poop is at least something that most people don’t do.

1. Scrappy Doo (Scooby Doo)
The worst sidekick of all time, I can’t even think about Scrappy without rage clouding my vision and bile choking my throat. Scooby Doo already had four successful sidekicks: brainy, brawny, busty, and chicken. There was no room for this should-have-been-gassed “Puppy Power!” piece of shit. The fact that they got rid of the two hot chicks and Fred to make room for him is even worse. A picture of Scrappy Doo should be on the wall of every cartoon writing department, with the warning: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

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