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Bones: Hey Lumpy, you know how we were talking about the other day how we're in every single solitary movie ever, the fat guy and the skinny guy who are both thugs?

Lumpy: Yeah?

Bones: Do you think that's a throwback to classic character development, or just really shitty writing?

Lumpy: I pick the latter.
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This is where a fat and a skinny character make up a two-character ensemble. This is usually a comedy trope, usually with the skinny character being the Straight Man, although inversions of this are seen as well. Sometimes both characters are silly and this is often seen in the Terrible Trio type of villains, although there are also examples of heroic, or at least not villainous, pairs who fit this description. They often fit into the tropes of Those Two Guys or Those Two Bad Guys.

These two guys usually (but not always) have some specific characteristics that tropify their relationship: The skinny one has all of the ideas, and the fat one is also the strong man. The fat one is usually a dopey optimist, while the skinny one is cynical and refined. This pair, even in villain form, are devoted to to each other. If on the rare occasion the fat guy has a brilliant idea, either the skinny guy will express extreme surprise at the fat guy's ability to rub two brain cells together or the idea will be waved away as unworkable, and then re-appropriated two seconds later as the skinny guy's idea.

If these characteristics are not followed, then it's usually because the fat one is a brute who beats up the whiny skinny dude a lot. This behavior is rarely seen in protagonist pairings of fat and skinny.

Examples of Fat and Skinny include:


Anime

Comic Books

  • Asterix and Obelix, though Obelix insists his chest has just slipped a bit.
  • Douglas Klump and Burt Shlubb, "Fat Man and Little Boy" from Sin City
  • Plastic Man and Woozy Winks.

Film


Literature

  • Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
  • Fred and Nobby, as well as Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, from the Discworld books.
  • Lenny and George from Of Mice and Men
  • Bragg and Larkin certainly count. Although that's more Freakishly Huge and Skinny than Fat and Skinny. (Bragg is at least 8 feet 8 inches and probably bigger.)
  • Miles Vorkosigan and his clone-brother Mark. Miles is notably skinny until he acquires a cook in one of the later books; Mark, whose metabolism is intended for a man six foot tall, has been surgically reduced to Miles' dwarfish height and decides to gain a great deal of weight to distinguish himself from his progenitor/brother. One character refers to them as "The Chance Brothers" - Slim and Fat.
  • Finney and Mudd from Tad Williams' Otherland sci-fi series. Servants to the main villain, the skinny one, Finney, is brilliant and manipulative, and Mudd, the fat one, is described as "Almost subhuman". Copies of them exist within a massive VR simulation network where these characteristics are played up even more by the intelligence controlling the system, which essentially constructs it's understanding of the universe from stories, almost making these copies a reference to the trope itself..
  • Depending on the artist or screen portrayal, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson sometimes get this treatment.
  • The lazy and horrid Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge of James and the Giant Peach who both have Meaningful Names.

Live Action TV

Newspaper Comics

Professional Wrestling

Theatre

  • Finian's Rainbow has Shears and Robust. The former is tall and lean, the latter short and squat.

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Music

  • Williams and Ree.
  • The faces of Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page and Ed Robertson.
  • Insane Clown Posse, Violent J (fat) and Shaggy 2 Dope (skinny).
  • Johns Linnell and Flansburgh , pretty consistently throughout their career. Linnell has always been terribly scrawny, whereas Flansburgh has evolved from being ridiculously buff to rather pudgy, and of course several inches taller as well. Inverted, however, in that Flansburgh is the idea man, while Linnell broods in the background and plays music, sometimes on stage when you poke him into it.
  • Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. when they were friends.
  • Trout Fishing in America has 7-foot, moderately built Keith Grimwood and 5-foot-5, thicker-built Ezra Idlet.

Real Life

  • G. K. Chesterton saw St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi this way, since, though they never met, they would have been perfect foils for one another--the one big, slow, methodical and focused on his books, the other skinny, active, fiery and not prone to reading. He compared them to both Falstaff and Slender and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
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