Famous Cartoon Sidekicks

Matt Kasper


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cartoon sidekicks

Ah, the glory days of coming home from school, grabbing a snack, and plopping down in front of the television to spend some quality time with your favorite animated characters. Among those characters, some of the most endearing were not the main heroes but their trusty sidekicks. These sidekicks may not have been the star of the show, but they certainly stole our hearts with their unique charm, endearing antics, and how they perfectly complemented their main star counterparts.

Let’s jump down memory lane and pay tribute to these essential second fiddles that made our favorite cartoons even more memorable. Our list includes stars of the past from the 80s and 90s and current sidekicks still going strong today.

List Of Cartoon Sidekicks

barney rubble sidekick

Barney Rubble

Series: The Flintstones
Series Debut: 1960
Sidekick To: Fred Flintstone

Character: Barney Rubble, the ever-dependable and loveable friend of Fred Flintstone, epitomizes the perfect sidekick. His relaxed demeanor perfectly balances Fred’s explosive personality. Though often caught in Fred’s shenanigans, his loyalty never wavers, making him a favorite cartoon character among fans of the franchise. Barney is right near the top of the list in popularity among all the Flintstone Characters.

pinky mouse sidekick

Pinky Mouse

Series: Pinky and the Brain
Series Debut: 1995
Sidekick To: The Brain

Character: Pinky’s innocent and sometimes dimwitted nature is a perfect counterpoint to Brain’s cunning and ambition to take over the world. Even though his antics often foil Brain’s plans, his high spirits and unwavering loyalty make him an endearing sidekick.

milhouse simpsons

Milhouse Van Houten

Series: The Simpsons
Series Debut: 1989
Sidekick To: Bart Simpson

Character: Milhouse, the “four-eyed” best friend of Bart, adds a level of innocence and vulnerability that contrasts with Bart’s rebellious nature. His constant support and willingness to go along with Bart’s schemes, despite usually ending up on the short end of the stick, make him a loveable character and one of the best sidekicks in the cartoon world. He has become of the most popular Simpsons characters and is featured in our Milhouse Character Spotlight.

bender futurama


Series: Futurama
Series Debut: 1999
Sidekick To: Philip Fry

Character: Bender, the robot with a saucy attitude, is the perfect foil to Fry’s innocent and sometimes clueless nature. With his love for mischief, Bender adds a level of irreverent humor and unpredictability that contrasts with Fry’s straightforward personality, making their friendship one of the most memorable in the animation world.

patrick star spongebob

Patrick Star

Series: SpongeBob SquarePants
Series Debut: 1999
Sidekick To: SpongeBob SquarePants

Character: Patrick Star, SpongeBob’s best friend, is known for his good-natured idiocy and unwavering loyalty to his sponge friend. Despite his lack of intelligence, his unintentionally profound statements often bring hilarity and wisdom to their underwater adventures world. We won’t even mention the number of memes dedicated to the character, that alone puts him in the sidekick Hall of Fame.

30 30 bravestarr

30 30

Series: Bravestarr
Series Debut: 1987
Sidekick To: Marshal Bravestarr

Character: 30-30 is not only Bravestarr’s trusted sidekick but also his noble steed and partner. He is a unique sidekick in that he can transform from a talking techno horse to a bipedal form, wielding a mighty weapon known as Sara Jane. His bravery and loyalty make him a solid, dependable sidekick.

launchpad mcquack ducktales

Launchpad McQuack

Series: DuckTales
Series Debut: 1987
Sidekick To: Scrooge McDuck

Character: Launchpad McQuack, the daring and goofy pilot, often provides comic relief with his crash landings and humorous one-liners. However, when the going gets tough, you can always count on him to have Scrooge McDuck and the nephews’ backs.

brain the dog inspector gadget

Brain The Dog

Series: Inspector Gadget
Series Debut: 1983
Sidekick To: Inspector Gadget

Character: Brain is Inspector Gadget’s faithful dog and often the real hero behind the scenes, saving Gadget from his clueless blunders. With his intelligence and knack for disguises, Brain plays a crucial role in foiling the evil schemes of Dr. Claw. Despite all of the Inspector’s Gadgets at his disposal, it was Brain who always saved the day.

cringer he man


Series: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Series Debut: 1983
Sidekick To: He-Man

Character: Cringer, also known as Battle Cat when transformed, is He-Man’s loyal companion. Despite his timid personality as Cringer, he becomes a ferocious force to be reckoned with as Battle Cat, showcasing the dual nature of sidekicks in animated shows. He was a much-needed sidekick for He-Man in order to take on Skeletor’s Panthor in battle scenes. Cringer is featured in our deep dive into He-Man Characters.

boo boo yogi bear

Boo-Boo Bear

Series: The Yogi Bear Show
Series Debut: 1961
Sidekick To: Yogi Bear

Character: Boo Boo, the small, sweet-voiced bear, often acts as the voice of reason to Yogi Bear’s antics. His attempts to prevent Yogi from stealing picnic baskets typically fall short, but his well-intended caution and constant loyalty make him an essential part of the show.

porky pig daffy duck

Porky Pig

Series: Looney Tunes
Series Debut: 1935
Sidekick To: Daffy Duck

Character: Porky Pig, the stuttering pig with a good heart, often plays the straight man to Daffy Duck’s over-the-top schemes. His honesty and patient demeanor contrast beautifully with Daffy’s zany personality, making for an unforgettable and entertaining dynamic duo. You can argue Porky is more than just a sidekick but he was often featured together with Daffy in most Looney Tunes episodes. We give him just due in our Porky Pig Spotlight.

shaggy rogers

Shaggy Rogers

Series: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Series Debut: 1969
Sidekick To: Scooby-Doo

Character: Shaggy, the constantly hungry and easily scared best friend of Scooby-Doo, makes for a highly relatable and lovable sidekick. Their mutual love for snacks and their knack for accidentally solving mysteries while trying to run away from them creates a heartwarming and hilarious duo. They are often the two characters who take down the Villains in Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

ron stoppable kim possible

Ron Stoppable

Series: Kim Possible
Series Debut: 2002
Sidekick To: Kim Possible

Character: Ron, the ever-clumsy and goofy best friend of Kim, provides a perfect balance to Kim’s confident and competent character. Despite his frequent bumbling, his courage in the face of danger and his unwavering support for Kim make him an endearing sidekick.

april oneil tmnt

April O’Neil

Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Series Debut: 1987
Sidekick To: The Ninja Turtles

Character: April O’Neil, the fearless reporter and loyal friend to the Ninja Turtles, is an iconic sidekick. Her tenacity and courage make her a critical ally in the turtles’ fight against crime, and her friendship with the turtles adds depth to their on-screen dynamics.

barney gumble homer simpson

Barney Gumble

Series: The Simpsons
Series Debut: 1989
Sidekick To: Homer Simpson

Character: Barney Gumble, Homer’s boisterous and beer-loving friend, adds a layer of humor and heart to the show. His loyalty and well-meaning nature, combined with his entertaining personal struggles, make him a distinctive sidekick and loyal best friend to Homer.

squanchy rick and morty


Series: Rick and Morty
Series Debut: 2013
Sidekick To: Rick Sanchez

Character: Squanchy is a cat-like alien and a trusted ally of Rick Sanchez. His distinct way of speaking and ability to transform into a hulk-like creature when under stress adds an unpredictable and entertaining dynamic to the show.

kenny south park

Kenny McCormick

Series: South Park
Series Debut: 1997
Sidekick To: Stan, Kyle, and Eric

Character: Kenny, known for his muffled voice and frequent demises, adds an element of absurd humor to the show. His resilience and the mystery surrounding his constant resurrections make him an unforgettable sidekick. “Oh My God, They Killed Kenny” will forever be one of the most iconic cartoon quotes of all time.

roger american dad


Series: American Dad
Series Debut: 2005
Sidekick To: Stan Smith

Character: Roger, the eccentric alien with a knack for disguises, provides a bizarre and humorous contrast to Stan’s conservative personality. His capricious nature and myriad personas contribute to many of the show’s comedic moments.

The Role of Sidekicks in Cartoons

fred and barney

Sidekicks in cartoons play a multifaceted role. On one hand, they serve as comic relief, offering a break from the intensity of the main storyline and adding humor and lightness. On the other hand, they often serve as a sounding board for the main characters, providing a platform for the exploration of ideas and themes.

A sidekick can also enhance the character development of the protagonist. By creating contrasts or parallels, they illuminate aspects of the main character’s personality. In addition, they often help drive the plot forward, sometimes in unexpected ways, due to their unique skills or quirks.

Evolution Of The Cartoon Sidekick

Sidekicks have evolved significantly over the years. The early portrayal of sidekicks was often simplistic, designed merely to assist the main character or serve as comic relief. However, as audiences’ tastes matured, so did the complexity of these characters. Today, sidekicks are often well-rounded characters in their own right, with distinct personalities, goals, and arcs.

This shift not only makes sidekicks more engaging but also allows for richer storytelling. By exploring the sidekick’s experiences and perspectives, creators can delve into a variety of themes and narratives, adding depth and dimension to the cartoon. Some sidekicks become so popular that they even get their own spinoff franchises such as Cleveland from Family Guy

Always A Sidekick Never a Lead

Cartoon sidekicks, often underrated, have played an essential role in cartoon history. They provide humor, enhance the main character’s depth, drive the plot, and reflect on various themes. As we look back at these famous cartoon sidekicks, we realize how much they contributed to our enjoyment and understanding of these shows. From the loyal Barney Rubble to the witty Brian Griffin, from the loveable Patrick Star to the brave Ron Stoppable, these characters have become an integral part of our childhood memories and continue to charm new generations of viewers.

As cartoons continue to evolve, there’s no doubt that sidekicks will continue to play a key role, creating laughter, excitement, and moments of heartfelt emotion in viewers around the world.

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