Do you ever wonder how TV sidekicks become sidekicks? Did they start out that way? There seems to always be a favorite that emerges from a singing group. I don’t believe groups start out that way. They don’t say, “Hey, you play bass. You play drums. You just look cute and get all the girls.” I really don’t think it happens that way.
Singing Group Stars
It was easy to see it coming with Michael Jackson from The Jackson Five, Donny Osmond from The Osmonds, and Tony DeFranco from The DeFranco Family. In that case, they put the youngest (and therefore “cutest”) person up front. Those kids were being set up to be the favorite.
What about the non-family bands such as The Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, and ’N Sync? How was it decided that Nick Carter, Jordan Knight, and Justin Timberlake would become the favorites? I think it just happened for whatever reason. My blog today is about TV sidekicks who I don’t think started out as sidekicks. They started out as equals, but for whatever reason, became second fiddle to their TV counterpart.
Let’s start with the TV show Emergency. I watched this with my big sister Lori. I don’t know that I liked the show but I had to copy my big sister. The show starred Randy Mantooth and Kevin Tighe as two paramedics who save the day. Even though there was only a one year age difference between the two actors, Kevin Tighe seemed older to me. He was balding and kind of goofy looking. Randy Mantooth became a pretty big teen idol (which he hated) while Kevin became the sidekick. Sister Lori loved Randy Mantooth……so I did too.
Starsky & Hutch
Starsky & Hutch was a detective show that starred Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul. I thought both were good looking, but I favored David Soul. I really don’t think I was interested in either guy, but big sister Lori really like David Soul. Therefore, I liked David Soul. Paul Michael Glaser, however, became the teen idol out of the two. He was Tiger Beat’s Tiger of the Month and posed in his slick white pimp suit. He seemed too hairy and greasy for me. Why did he become the teen idol over David Soul?
Battlestar Gallactica was some science fiction show that I never watched. It starred Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict. Sis Lori watched this and loved Richard Hatch. Guess who I loved? 😊 Richard Hatch did emerge as the favorite between the two, but why? Looking back now as an adult, I think Dirk is the better looking of the two. Why did the teens like Richard more? I think it would have been fun for them to have a show called Dick ‘N Dirk.
CHiPs was about two California Highway Patrol motorcycle cops. It starred Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. This pairing reminded me of the Randy Mantooth/Kevin Tighe duo mentioned earlier. Larry Wilcox never really had a chance. He was only two years older than the big shiny white-toothed Erik Tostada, but he never stood a chance. I didn’t really watch this show either (except for when Leif Garrett was a guest star) but I would never have gone for the Erik Estrada type. Larry seemed more honest and sweet and cuddly to me. Still, Erik Estrada easily became the fan favorite while Wilcox became the sidekick. (Note: Sister Lori didn’t watch this show.)
I’ll end this blog with one more example. Miami Vice was a detective show that starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. They ran around Florida in Easter egg colored clothing solving crimes. I never watched this show. BTW, I have watched a lot of TV in my day, but I guess I watched more sitcoms.
Sister Lori watched Miami Vice and loved Don Johnson. I was older by this time and not as annoying of a sister. Don Johnson was BY FAR the favorite of the two. Why? Why did that happen? Looking at the two now, I think Philip Michael Thomas is far more attractive than Don Johnson, and he’s probably a nicer person. (I’ve only heard bad things about Don Johnson.) Philip Michael Thomas was almost unheard of while Don Johnson was the star.
Why do you think some actors become more popular than others? Why did some emerge as stars while other became TV sidekicks? Is it their looks? Was it their age? Their race? Their clothing?
Thanks for reading. See you soon!