5. Patti (Sandra Oh), Under the Tuscan Sun
It’s not a stretch to say that Patti is the catalyst for all the good change that comes into Frances’ life in Under the Tuscan Sun. After Frances’ heart-wrenching divorce, Patti gives her an “empty shell at the crossroads” speech and sends her off on a Gay And Away tour of Tuscany.
When Patti’s girlfriend leaves her, she decides to join her BFF in Italy, to help them both rebuild their lives.
Patti never complains about the bugs, never whines about the plumbing. She doesn’t even moan about being abandoned — barefoot and pregnant — in an unfamiliar country. Instead, she spends her time encouraging Frances to play the foreign field of older men, younger men, anyone man, so that she can begin feel alive again. Plus, Patti’s not above offering Frances an ass-cial (a facial for the ass).
When Patti tells Frances she refuses to ruin her love life, Frances simply replies, “Don’t be ridiculous, Patti. You are my love life.” Which is exactly what you call a really good sidekick.
4. Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), Bones
The Jeffersonian Institute may be an operation with a whole lot of brains, but Angela Montenegro is the heart.
Her boss (and best friend), Dr. Temperance Brennan, is hyper-rational, myopic, and able to compartmentalize her emotions to an alarming degree, but that doesn’t stop Angela from pushing, pulling, nudging, tipping and even sometimes dragging Brennan to the place where she’s safe to feel.
When Brennan’s father was on trial for murdering an FBI agent, Angela was the only one who refused to testify against him. It landed her in jail for contempt. Brennan begged her to just tell the truth. “Sweetie,” Angela said, radiant as ever, even behind bars, “this is one of those times when I know what’s right and everybody else is confused.”
The Squint Squad is full of super-geniuses, everyone specializing in bones or flesh or guts or particulates — and then there’s Angela Montenegro, always drawing the face, bringing the humanity and working serious magic on her hologram machine.
3. Shane McCutcheon (Kate Moennig), The L Word
With the exception of one really ill-advised stunt on the railing of the Chateau Marmont — a mistake she paid for a hundred-fold by being forced to haul a Whole Foods bag around L.A. until Jenny agreed to make her an indentured servant — Shane McCutcheon was easily the most affable sidekick in West Hollywood.
She couldn’t stay committed to a girlfriend for all the hair salons/photography studios in the world, but her loyalty to her friends was boundless.
Even with the perpetual cheating her friends engaged in, even with Jenny’s constant antagonizing, Shane managed somehow to never pick a side. From Bette’s adultery with the carpenter to Jenny’s blog/novel, Lez Girls, to Alice cheating with her doppelganger, Shane was able to forgive and help heal her friends before the first table was ever flipped over. Advice? She had it. Hugs? She had that too. Illegal substances? From Colorado cocktail to Alice B. Tokas, Shane was your girl.
After Jenny sabotaged Shane’s love life, threatened to destroy Bette and Tina, and stole her own film’s negative, our faithful WeHo sidekick still jumped in a pool to try to save her from drowning. Not even Sounder had enough allegiance left for that.