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Comments

Christina

I think you've definitely nailed a type. Zooey Deschanel was a snidekick in Failure to Launch. And I'd venture to say that anytime the snidekick outshines the main characters, like in Failure to Launch, you got a bad movie on your hands. I love Judy Greer - I wish someone would give her a leading role. She was great in 27 Dresses.

BTW, I recently saw 27 Dresses and it exceeded my expectations - I think it's a good rom com. (Not great, but good and satisfying.)

James Patrick Joyce

So would Brave Sir Robin's minstrels, in "Monty Python and...", be considered a sub-set (Group as Snidekick) of the Snidekick? Or only the singer, since the rest just backed him up?

binnie

Nancy Walker in "All About Eve".
Eve Arden in just about anything.

I realize I'm taking a trip in the WayBack Machine, but I'm feeling nostalgic...

E.C. Henry

Great post, Billy. More ammo for your next "how to book," right?

I LOVE the "pixie" and the "snidekick" as terms to be readily used when dissecting romantic comedies. We NEED a common jargon when delving into varrious works of art. And you're just the man to make such terms commonplace.

HUGE fan of Paul Rudd's work in "40 Year Old Virgin." His phrase, "Andy, ma-man," rings in my head DAILY. BUT I wouldn't necessarily call him a snidekick. He actually tries to befriend Andy and help him out. I think of him more as a straight buddy type.

You and Christina are spot on, Judy Green IS the embodyment of the snidekick on the female side. Rosie O'Donnel's character in "Sleepless in Seattle" might fit that bill too. And on the male side of the ledger I would give the nodd to Paul Giamatti as the ideal, male snidekick. Two other snidekicks who come to mind are: Dan Folger as "Stu" in "Good Luck Chuck," and Adam Goldberg as "Tony" in "How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days."

Love "pixies" in romantic comedies. In the one I just completed one of my minor characters is definatly a "pixie." Best "pixie" I can think of is Amy Adams in "Enchanted." And hey, Meg Ryan LOOKS like a pixie. And if I knew I could find one of those under a four leaf clover, baby I'd be in the field all day!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Patrick

Bonnie Hunt was a snidekick in at least two movies, I think she was very nearly the same character in both - Jerry Maguire and Only You.

jamy

I agree with Binnie, Eve Arden in every movie she ever made!

Christian Howell

Yes, you have hit on a type - or two. The snidekick is possibly the most annoying of all supporting characters.

They consistently harp on any failure or mistake, they spend mre of their time insulting the protag and not enough time being a friend.

They are definitely everywhere nowadays. They could be "Winston" in "Broken Flowers" but they usually turn out to be "Dignam" in "The Departed."

I think it's best called "misplaced conflict" as you can always throw in bit players or "antags" to get the brunt of the mistreatment.

I noticed this in "Good Will Hunting" also. At least the script.

I also see it too much in specs I've read at places like TriggerStreet.

We now have a name, we can now avoid it.

Jezebel

I have a different take on the snidekick, Christian. I think snidekicks - when motivated - provide comic relief while exposition is being delivered. In Billy's rom com book, there's a section where he discusses one role of the buddy in rom coms - to bring up objections to things the protag is thinking or doing (objections the audience might have) and let the protag answer. For example, when Aptow started filming 40 Year Old Virgin, the studio was concerned that Andy might come across creepy, like a closet serial killer. So Aptow's solution was to have the Seth Rogen character explicitly - and snidely - say that Andy might be a serial killer and address that question for the audience. Then it wasn't a problem. All of the coworkers in 40 Year Old Virgin were kind of snide and I think it worked because that trait was true to those sort of guys.

I agree snidekick characters can be annoying in less capable hands, and when not matched with the reality of what those characters would be like in a real life situation.

matt

Does anyone know, or has anyone ever witnessed a Snidekick in real-life?

I have a friend who is completely hilarious due to his genuine, born in the mud, snide-ness. And I love him for it. I think the 'trick' in specs is to NOT forget the other human/emotional attributes to these characters that make us love them so much.

The Pixie, IMHO, is a complete invention sometimes adopted for use by some real-life individuals when trying to be cute - but is never truly genuine.

Thanks for the post Billy, we need these to help eliminate the blindspots.

Matt.

Patrick

I agree with Jezebel that the snidekick is a good character. They let the main character bounce ideas off of someone, giving us some insight into what they are thinking, and they can provide comic relief and maybe balance out some sentimentality.

A badly written sidekick can really hamstring a movie - See my Super Ex-Girlfriend, Wilson's pal was so snide no human being could have tolerated that guy.

E.C. Henry

I (heart sign) all Matts, even if I don't see eye-to-eye with them on a given point. Justification: find one Matt you love, then extend that good feeling to the rest of the breathren.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Scott Myers

Billy, this is a great post. And "snidekick" is a wonderful riff. Makes me think of Hobson (Sir John Gielgud), the butler to Arthur (Dudley Moore) in ARTHUR. He had a wickedly snide sense of humor -- "Thank you for a memorable afternoon, usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature." -- yet at the same time, he functioned as a wisdom / mentor character to Arthur's protagonist.

So I guess one question is can a "snidekick" character work in a script if their ONLY job is provide biting humor? That's probably the case in too many spec scripts and I doubt if that type of character provides much value to the plot / story.

Again, great post!

Stephanie

One of my favorite snidekicks is in the Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire film "Shall We Dance." That movie actually has a variety of sidekicks including two classic goofballs in Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore. But in this case, the snidekick is in Ginger's "gay" male companion, Jerome Cowan.

I realize that the likelihood of anyone knowing what the heck I'm talking about is very minimal, but that movie is a classic, and, if you ask me, a precursor to Rupert Everett's snidekick turn in "My Best Friend's Wedding."

Another classic snidekick is Kristin Scott Thomas' 'Fiona' in "Four Weddings and a Funeral." Now there's a way to have the snidekick actually amount to something, and perform a function in your story.

Judith Duncan

Hey Billy,
Great post and thanks for finding order in the chaos and giving us another little sign along the road of screenwriting, by naming the 'Snidekick'.

Cheers,
Judith

sal

Great post, Billy - "Snidekick" is a great label, and so apt in many films as everyone else here has already pointed out. Have to agree with Stephanie, Fiona is "$ weddings" is not only sharply acidic in her observations, but also turns out to have a vulnerability of her own, as well as a v funny relationship with her brother, which makes her more than just a sarky nit-picker.

Another one, cos she's one of my favourite under-rated actors, is Holly Aird in "Fever Pitch" - not the greatest film, but she and Mark Strong are both good snidekicks

Christina

Oh no! I just realized that in real life I'm never the bride, always the snidekick. Oh no!

Heath Davis Havlick

Good post, as usual. Two great archetypes to keep in mind. (Incidentally, I just named my kitten Pixie, and she matches your description to a T! My husband and I are enjoying our own romantic comedy with her every day.)

mernitman

Christina: I heart Zooey.

Either/or, Sir James: I like the way you think.

Binnie: Eve Arden!!! A snidekick Hall of Famer.

EC: Rosie in SLEEPLESS is a classic.

Patrick: Ditto re: Bonnie...

Yup, Jamy.

Christian, I lean to Jezebel's point of view.

(Thanks Jezebel!)

Matt: True that -- people in real life are rarely so stereotypical.

Patrick: True (though he WAS funny).

Scott: Totally -- I thought of Hobson as well, one of my favorite sidekicks, precisely because he was so much more than "just a sidekick." It's the ubiquity of these less-than-real-human Snidekicks that got me going on this post.

Stephanie: Eric Blore was truly one of the great classic Snides of all time.

Judith, you're welcome!

Sal: I guess that's why I see Fiona as more than Snidekick (she's actually a legitimate Buddy and Faux-Bellamy as well).

Christina: I smell a rom-com spec coming on...

Heath: Congrats on living the RomCom!

phillip rosenberg

I've always dreamed of being a snidekick but could never verbalize this longing. Until now. Thank you, Billy. BTW, I'd much rather be one than have one. Way more fun. Especially if you're one of the more well-balanced variety you describe.

download movies

What a great post, i think i just found the perfect matches between the names and the characters. A name is a powerful key to the success in the show business. Thanks for the post.

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