There’s nothing truer than the old adage “a hero is only as strong as her gay.”
From the early days of color comic strips to the current trend of on-demand television, some of our most beloved protagonists have been assisted by lesbian and bisexual sidekicks. Maybe help comes in the form of magic, technology, humor or even a strongly-worded note. Whatever the medium of assistance, you can be sure when you choose from the pool of queer women, you get the very best the accomplice business has to offer.
Here are 11 of our favorite lesbian and bisexual sidekicks — the kind of women you call when you need to move a dead body in the middle of the night. Or, you know, if you need some tutoring for your algebra homework.
11. Marcie, Peanuts
Label her relationship with Peppermint Patty however you want (constant companion, girlfriend or pal), but bespectacled Peanuts know-it-all, Marcie, is absolutely a dyke — and one very best sidekicks a girl could hope to have.
Without encouragement and occasional reprimands from Marcie, Peppermint Patty would not have an academic hope in the world. She might be a great baseball player, but her classroom narcolepsy is fierce (not that you can blame her with all that “wahh wahh wahh waah” coming from the front of the room). Marcie always admonishes Peppermint Patty to try harder, be kinder, act her age. And when she inevitably falls short, Marcie is there to do her homework or let Peppermint Patty copy her social studies notes.
The only thing Marcie is better at than math is patience, which is good, because Peppermint Patty will have at least two college softball team flings before she finally settles down with her roommate, the Billie Jean King look-alike who loved her all along.
10. Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), Torchwood
The beauty of BBC’s Dr. Who-spin-off, Torchwood, is the fluid way all the characters approach their sexuality. (Once you spend a week working with time rifts and aliens, wearing a label like “heterosexual” seems kind of ridiculous.) Early on in the series, super-genius Toshiko Sato finds herself falling in love for the first time with a woman — who ultimately turns out to be a creature from another planet. Some say that makes Tosh bisexual; others say it makes her trisexual. I say it makes her a little like her boss, Captain Jack Harkness: “He’ll shag anything if it’s gorgeous enough.”
From the moment Captain Jack rescues Tosh from prison, she becomes the most loyal member of the Torchwood team. Her ability to tap into any CCTV camera gives them visual access to every place in Cardiff. Her cool head and selflessness keeps time from splitting in half more than once. She even manages to infuse the living-dead Owen with purpose and hope.
Perhaps the most courageous thing of all about Tosh is that she’s the only Torchwood sidekick who never acts out or begs for recognition. Captain Jack won’t realize how important that is until next season, when he’s left with only Gwen and Ianto, fighting over the size of his wrist strap.
9. Casey Femur, Strangers in Paradise
Sure, she was working undercover for Katchoo’s sister/arch-nemesis for nearly the entire run of Strangers in Paradise; and yes, she seduced Katchoo at a the most inopportune time; and OK, she did crack into Kat’s voicemail and erase the one message that could have kept Francine from marrying Brad — actually, Casey Femur may be the worst best sidekick ever.
Luckily for Katchoo, Casey’s heart overrode her job as an undercover Parker Girls emissary.
Through every breakup, makeup, drug binge, plane crash, hangover, gallery opening, sniper job and fertilization marathon, Casey pulled Katchoo to the surface — even when Kat would have preferred to drown. She could have been consumed with envy, but in the end Casey even helped stitch Fran and Kat back together, acquiescing to the fact that no one can disguise a three-story painting, and even the mob can’t obscure incandescent love.