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In the real world, we rely on animals for many things. Companionship, eyesight, friendship, unconditional love, occasional unwelcome crotch sniffing; the point is, we love our pets, so it’s no surprise that our appreciation of awesome animals extends to movies and television as well. It seems like almost every great hero, along with every lovable schlub, has a dog, a cat, or some other sometimes ridiculous animal that’s more than just a pet, he’s a bona fide sidekick. We know you’ve got your favorites, and these are some of ours.
Okay, so when you think of “animal sidekicks” Chewbacca may not be the first one you’d think of, largely because you might not really consider him an animal. He’s just that beloved and ingrained in pop culture that, somewhere along the line, we stopped really thinking about the fact that he’s a huge, hairy creature who looks like a mix between a dog and a Yeti.
But among sidekicks, beast or otherwise, it doesn’t get much better than good old Chewie. As Han Solo’s sidekick and best friend, he proves to be both a devoted, faithful friend as well as an ass kicking soldier fighting for the Rebel Alliance. Of course, sometimes his animal instincts kick in and betray him, like when they lead him to get himself and his friends captured by a bunch of Ewoks, but in the end you always knew that Chewie would come through. And then the Rebel Alliance would ignore his contributions and only award medals to Luke and Han. What a bunch of ingrates.
When you heard the phrase “awesome animal sidekick” we’re going to go ahead and guess your mind went immediately to the all-time classic, Scooby-Doo. Sure, he was actually the titular character of his own cartoon show and later a couple of horrendous movies, but there’s no getting around the fact that Scooby-Doo was most definitely a sidekick.
Of course he was the sidekick of a sidekick. Or were he and Shaggy mutual sidekicks? It’s always been a little tough to tell. In any event, you have to love a dog who, first of all, can talk, and on top of that helps solve mysteries and clearly enjoys smoking a heaping helping of weed. The downside to that whole equation, obviously, is that you’ve got a dog that may very well smoke all of your stash and then eat all of your snacks, which is a major buzzkill. We still think it’d be worth that risk, though. Just hope he doesn’t see any ghosts or else your carpet is in for some serious trouble as a result of his Scooby-Poos.
It’s sometimes hard to compliment Family Guy since it’s such a blatant ripoff of so many other cartoons, but even we have to admit that when it comes to animal sidekicks, television has few better than Brian Griffin. The intellectual, drunken, talking dog has served primarily as a sidekick for Peter, but he’s also tagged along on many an adventure with the equally intellectual, though far more maniacal Stewie during the course of the show’s run.
If you’re looking for an animal sidekick to go get drunk with and exchange witty banter, Brian Griffin is your dog. Not only that, but he’s a writer and has even dabbled in the porn industry, so he could probably hook you up with a lot of loose women, which is always a plus. Sure, he’s also had his problems with alcohol and drug abuse, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re probably more likely to have a good time out on the town with Brian Griffin than you are with pretty much any other animal sidekick.
Some of you might not remember Brain by name, if at all, but here is one animal sidekick who is not just awesome, but has also faced the perpetually frustrating task of keeping Inspector Gadget alive through all of his bumbling on dangerous missions. Technically he’s the sidekick of Inspector Gadget’s niece, Penny, but he helps them both out through thick and thin.
The ever faithful, ever loyal Brain is probably just as intelligent as any other cartoon dog, even Brian Griffin, he just lacks the ability to talk. That doesn’t stop him from using gestures to effectively communicate with Penny to relay information, and it certainly doesn’t stop him from being the only dog we can think of who is actually a bona fide master of disguise. Even Gadget, who freaking owns the dog, never recognizes Brain when he’s dressed up and ready to get his owner out of trouble time after time after time.
Now what kind of nerds would we be if we didn’t include at least one of the multitude of animal sidekicks from the Harry Potter universe? There really are so many to choose from, but Hedwig wins, narrowly edging out Buckbeak. As a sidenote, no, we weren’t in the chess club and no, we don’t wear suspenders. We’re just your average internet nerds who happen to know a little too much about Harry Potter.
Anyway, Hedwig the owl is about as faithful and devoted as any animal sidekick you could ever hope for. Given to Harry on his 11th birthday, Hedwig stuck by the Chosen One’s side every step of the way in his fight against Lord Voldemort. Well, that is until Hedwig sacrificed himself to save Harry in the Deathly Hallows. Oh, wait, should we have said spoiler alert? Ah, the heck with it, that movie came out almost a year ago.
We were a little hesitant to include Donkey on this list for various reasons. First of all, this is one of those cases where you’ve got an animal who is a sidekick to, well, what do you call an Ogre? Is an Ogre an animal, technically? Anyway, you can see our conundrum on that issue. The next issue is that it’s tough to choose Donkey over Puss in Boots, but considering Donkey was by Shrek’s side from the get go, he gets the edge. The third and final issue is the fact that the Shrek movies have gotten progressively worse from sequel to sequel, so it pains us to recognize any of its characters for their awesomeness.
Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the original Shrek was an animated masterpiece, and Donkey was a huge part of its success. Not only was he the funniest character in that first movie, but he was also a loyal friend to Shrek and is apparently adept at making waffles. And when you’re out saving the galaxy or getting stoned while solving mysteries, or getting drunk in a small Rhode Island town, or foiling an evil conglomerates schemes, or fighting the most wicked wizard the world has ever known, there’s really nothing quite like waking up to a fresh batch of delicious, fluffy waffles.
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