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Sitcom Sidekicks


SweatpantsErection.com's Top Five


September 11, 2005

I'm on a bit of a sitcom kick, it seems. My last story centered on my love of sitcoms focused in and around high schools, particularly Weemawee High of Square Pegs fame. This time I'd like to discuss the more traditional family-based situation comedies. Specifically, I'd like recognize those unsung soldiers that gave their comedic all for no more than fifth or sixth billing in the credits and even fewer minutes of screen time per week. Those selfless souls who persevered for seasons on end in the hope that their character would one day get to date the older sister or, God willing, attain that holy grail of sitcom-dom -- the spin-off series.

Without further ado, put your hands together as we celebrate some of televisions finest bit characters. Ladies and gentlemen, you wanted the best, you got the best! I give to you, SweatpantsErection.com's top five sitcom sidekicks of all time!

Kimberly Louise "Kimmy" Gibbler

Sitcom:

Full House

Best friend: D.J. Tanner
Best Known For:
  • Being hated by the entire Tanner family (aside from D.J.), especially Stephanie
  • Being lactose-intolerant
  • Allowing D.J. and her date into the movie theater she works at for free
  • Getting fired from her sports reporting job at the school paper for writing a gossip column instead
  • Incredibly bad clothes
  • Calling Uncle Jessie "Hairboy"
  • Having a heart of gold
Played by: Andrea Barber
Andrea Barber
Trivia:
  • Starred in The Skateboard Kid 2
  • Appeared as Carrie Brady on Days of Our Lives from 1982-1986
  • Is now married, with a child
  • Is far more boring than her formative years as Kimmy would have had me believe. I know I'm not alone in wishing for some sort of heroin/prostitution back-story. Anyone?
Kimmy Gibbler Kimmy Gibbler

Dudley Ramsey

Sitcom:

Diff'rent Strokes

Best friend: Arnold Jackson
Best Known For:
  • Having the ugliest on-screen father in the history of television
  • Accusing said ugly father of beating him in a failed bid to get Mr. Drummond to adopt him
  • Getting bullied by the Gooch, along with Arnold
  • Sharing ice cream, pizza, comic books, wine and porn with Mr. Horton, the bicycle shop owner. Mr. Horton eventually talked Dudley out of his shirt and into playing "Tarzan" just prior to molesting him.
  • Having a heart of gold
Played by: Shavar Ross
Shavar Ross
Trivia:
  • Was a Pastor in the Alive Church for four years
  • Went to school with Molly Ringwald, Milla Jovovich, Stephen Dorff, Nicole Eggert, Scott Grimes and Moon and Dweezil Zappa
  • Has two children, son, Seven and daughter, Chelsea
  • Provided voice over talents in Challenge of the GoBots
Dudley with Arnold Dudley: Interrupted

Erwin "Skippy" Handelman

Sitcom:

Family Ties

Best friend: Alex Keaton
Best Known For:
  • Stalking Mallory Keaton
  • Working at Mr. and Mrs. Adler's grocery store with Alex
  • Wearing horn-rims when horn-rims were reserved for stalkers and Michael Douglas
  • Having a heart of gold
Played by: Marc Price
Marc Price
Trivia:
  • Said of Mallory Keaton (co-star Justine Bateman), "I saw her breasts once. I saw that really quick nipple shot. It was one of the most memorable experiences of the show, that nipple."
  • Was a childhood chum of Crispin Glover
  • Performed stand up comedy, sometimes alongside Emmanuel Lewis
  • Once slept with one of Lisa's college friends after a stand up engagement
  • Was assaulted in Grand Rapids, Mich., where a woman reached out and ferociously squeezed his testicles
Skippy Handelman Marc Price

Eddie Haskell

Sitcom:

Leave it to Beaver

Best friend: Wally Cleaver
Best Known For:
  • Dropping out of school to work at a gas station
  • Punching Wally in the chin for allegedly stealing his girl, Cindy
  • Making Claude Bonnifield eat a rotten apple for picking on Larry and the Beaver
  • Receiving a perm from a babysitter when in Kindergarten
  • Driving a diaper service truck
  • Being allergic to mayonnaise
  • Being the prototype for everyone else on this list
  • Having a heart of gold
Played by: Ken Osmond
Ken Osmond
Trivia:
  • In the pilot episode, Eddie was played by Harry Shearer, and was named "Frankie"
  • He was forced to quit the acting business due to type-casting as Eddie
  • Went on to become a Los Angeles police officer, and was shot three times in the line of duty
Eddie Haskell
Eddie Haskell
Ken Osmond

Buddy Lembeck

Sitcom:

Charles in Charge

Best friend: Charles
Best Known For:
  • Being stupid
  • Causing friction in the relationship between Charles and Gwendolyn
  • Saying "Charles, Charles!"
  • Helping Charles foil a pizza-parlor robbery
  • Having Mindy Cohn as an on-screen sister
  • Having psychic visions of Charles' future
  • Having an identical cousin
  • Having a heart of gold
Played by: Willie Aames
Willie Aames
Trivia:
  • Went on to star in both Bible Man and Zapped!
  • Was as the voice of "Hank the Ranger" in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon
  • Snorted more cocaine than the rest of this list combined
Willie Aames, Banana Buddy Lembeck, Vegetable

Honorable Mentions


An unfortunate truth is that, with only five available slots, many wonderfully talented and commendable sidekicks go un-recognized. I'd like to take this time to call out those subordinates who almost made this list: Paul from The Wonder Years, Cockroach from The Cosby Show, Boner from Growing Pains, Vinne from Doogie Howser, M.D., Kramer from Seinfeld, Steve Urkel from Family Matters and the legendary duo of Ralph and Potsy from Happy Days.

Vinnie, with Doogie Howser, M.D. Paul with Kevin from the Wonder Years The Happy Days gang

Wonders, every one of them, each member of this list and their individual contributions to sitcom history have touched countless lives and reached countless hearts. For this, we salute you, sitcom sidekicks.

Five-Oh! Five-Oh!

-dsf
 
Copyright 2017 Daniel S. Fettinger and Lisa Warner, all rights reserved.