Drum roll, please: To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of legendary lens-makers Ray-Ban, Pedestrian are proud to be rolling out the red carpet for the first arrival in a series of Ray-Ban Legendary Lists celebrating the movers, shakers and taste-makers that have come to define Pop Culture history – something we both feel pretty passionate about.
From iconic moments in film, sport and music, to unforgettable feats of public art, muses and hair styles, we’ll be gifting you with a weekly series of legendary Top 10s, kicking off with today’s compilation of sensational sidekicks; which only seems fitting considering we sidekicked it with Ray-Ban last year on the 2011 Pedestrian Photography Awards.
If there’s a common misconception about sidekicks it’s that they do all the hard work with little to no recognition; it’s all pain, no gain; all guts and no glory for these guys, and that feels a little unfair. We want to change that, so we’ve decided to show our favourite wingmen (and wingladies) some love. So without further ado, here they are: The Top 10 Legendary Sidekicks in Pop Culture History!
Bubbles to Michael Jackson
In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson expanded his menagerie of weird by adopted an effervescent chimpanzee named Bubbles. The freakishly adorable primate became Jackson’s travel companion, tea drinking buddy and moon-walking protege. MJ and BJ ate together, slept together and (apparently) defecated together before Bubbles grew into a not so affable adult and started posing a risk to a newborn Prince Michael II. Who’s bad/awesome?
The terrible two immortalised in a Jeff Koons sculpture. Photo by Fabrice Cofferini/AFP via Getty Images
Anthony Edwards’ LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw to Tom Cruise’s LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun
Look up ‘Wingman‘ in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a sweaty toothbrush wearing awesome aviators. Just kidding. That’s Goose, the moustachioed character Anthony Edwards played in 1986’s worst excuse for Tom Cruise to cover himself in baby oil in front of Val Kilmer, Top Gun. Not only is Goose a stellar sidekick, he’s also kind of surrogate brother to Cruise’s Maverick. He flips an excellent bird, can jam with the best of them and is hopelessly devoted to his wife, Meg Ryan. He also breaks his neck and it’s sad. Miss you, Goose. Now throw out that dictionary and go get one without pictures.
Dana Carvey’s Garth Algar to Mike Myers’ Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World
A most excellent sidekick, Garth played the co-host on Wayne’s eponymous cable access TV series and was always ready to party on – a highly sought after quality in a legendary sidekick. Socially inept, cognitively challenged but gifted in the art of haiku, percussion and repurposing donuts, Garth is conclusive proof that platonic love can exist between two grown men, with deep, deep thoughts. We are not worthy.
Wilson The Volleyball to Tom Hanks’ Chuck Noland in Cast Away
The only inanimate legendary sidekick – and perhaps all the better for it – Wilson, a blood-spattered, tawny-haired Volleyball, provided Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away with four years of one-sided conversation that, depending on which way you look at it, either preserved his sanity and will to live or was the literal straw that broke the insane camel’s back. Who here can truly say haven’t shed a tear or had their lives and understanding of friendship enriched by this baller of a sidekick: a freaking volleyball. A legendary love story between a man and his ball with more chemistry than Twilight.
The Entire Cast of Entourage to Adrien Grenier’s Vincent Chase
To choose one from the four ostensible sidekicks in Vinnie Chase’s eponymous entourage would be a disaster of Medellin proportions. Creator Doug Ellin attributed the show’s success to it “being about male friendship. The characters may have the bling, but they’re grounded guys who look out for each other. That’s the backbone of the show,” and arguably the backbone of what makes a legendary sidekick. For a show fluent in the language of excess, it seems only appropriate that E, Turtle, Drama and Ari all get a mention here. Hug it out.
Grace Coddington to Anna Wintour
Yes, even in the cold, shiny world of capital-F Fashion there are legendary sidekicks: Pierre Bergé to Yves Saint Laurent, Giancarlo Giammetti to Valentino, John Galliano and vin rouge. Speaking of red things, RJ Cutler’s 2009 documentary The September Issue catapulted flame-haired creative director Grace Coddington into the realm of public consciousness and in doing so unearthed one of the most creatively fruitful relationships in the industry today. The once unsung hero of American Vogue, Coddington acts as the creative foil to Wintour’s fierce fiscal-mindedness, so much so that you’d kinda have to question – titles aside – just who’s wearing the shades in this relationship.
Photo by Bryan Bedder for Getty Images Entertainment
Robin and Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne/Batman
Iconic sidekicks and trusted confidants to an all-around legend, Robin and Alfred are almost like two more invaluable gadgets on Bruce Wayne’s bulging utility belt. Plus, if you run with the comic book iterations, the camp 60s television series or the Joel Schumacher films of the franchise and dig a little deeper into their subliminal themes, then one of these sidekicks is willing to go above and beyond for Batman, if you know what I mean. Holy Priceless Collection of Etruscan Snoods!*
*And by that I mean he’s willing to risk his life. That’s also an actual exclamation made by the Boy Wonder’s 1960 iteration portrayed by Burt Ward (pictured).
Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan
Coming in at 2.03m, Scottie Pippen is perhaps the tallest legendary sidekick on the list. During his twelve seasons with The Chicago Bulls, Pippen is credited with helping Michael Jordan achieve his own legendary status along with six of his own NBA titles. Pippen’s versatility and ability as one of the game’s greatest defenders was matched only by his reputation as an incredibly selfless team player. If you had to choose between all the sidekicks listed here, you’d probably want this Hall of Famer to have your back. As one fan noted, Pippen was the flame to Jordan’s fire:
Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman to Bryan Cranston’s Walter White in Breaking Bad
Perhaps one of the more dysfunctional or unhealthy sidekick-based relationships on the list. Who knows where nice guy turned Scarface, Walter White (and we) would be without his on-again, off-again sidekick Jesse Pinkman. The initially drug-addled Igor to Walt’s Frankenstein, Jesse enabled the latter’s entrée into uncivilised meth-dealing society and in doing so gifted us with one of the most critically acclaimed televisual sagas known to man and an incredible study in contrasts; how to hold onto your what’s left of your humanity and how to cross from one side of a moral canyon to the other. It’s just basic chemistry, yo.
Samwise Gamgee to Frodo Baggins
A truly exemplary sidekick, Samwise Gamgee not only ploughed Frodo Baggins’ garden but saved his Hobbit ass on more than one occasion. How many of these sidekicks would literally travel there and back again for their companion; often figuratively and literally bearing the load to the top of Mount Doom? Dude had Frodo’s hairy back the whole way, showed impressive foresight around that slimy pest Smeagol and even sprouted some fantastic motivational aphorisms on the way, like “Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer,” and “there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.” You know when you’ve got someone who’s willing to tell Gimli-sized lies like that then you’re onto something (and someone) good.