Four-Man Band

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A Four-Man Band, despite assumptions, is not simply a smaller version of the Five-Man Band archetype. While the Five-Man Band have skills just crying out for an action or an adventure story, the Four-Man Band is a primarily comedic group, designed for a sitcom or domcom. The four distinct personalities are specifically designed to play off each other, and Hilarity Ensues.

Please note that in a Four-Man Band there is no Hero. The focus is evenly spread between them. If there is a Main Character (rare) they can easily be any one of the Band, or it can just be switched between episodes to give focus to different characters.

Compare and contrast Four-Temperament Ensemble and of course, Five-Man Band. The band most commonly includes:

  • Only Sane Man - Or maybe just the guy who comes the closest to being sane most often. Every zany gang must have a straight man, and the other three leads have to share one. While his (or her, although the role is usually male) friends act out, the Normal Guy's role is to Lampshade and be embarassed by their behaviour. He will be more successful with the opposite sex than his friends, notably The Pervert.
  • The Smart Guy - More intelligent than his friends. His Five-Man Band equivalent can do research for the group or explain some of the tougher concepts to the rest of the band or the audience, but this variant is primarily geared towards Lampshading the relative stupidity for the others and being humiliated for his arrogance. Alternatively he may be a Mad Scientist type, with insane inventions.
  • The Pervert - This guy has a perverted mind. He usually takes one of two common forms - the Loveable Sex Maniac whose high sex drive is his most memorable trait, or the Comedic Sociopath, who has bursts of hilarious violence. In lighter examples, certain concepts may be Played for Laughs, whereas in darker examples the character may draw on Black Comedy Rape.
  • The Butt Monkey - A character who serves as a target for the others' jokes. There are a few tropes that could make the Band's Butt Monkey; The Ditz, the Extreme Doormat or others. This member has remarkably less charisma than his friends or is a better target for jokes. The others will pick on him frequently and make him the target of practical jokes. Sometimes, however, this character may get one over on his bandmates, and this will thoroughly humiliate the others.
Examples of Four-Man Band include:


Anime/Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Lucky Star
Only Sane Man Kagami Hiiragi
The Smart Guy Miyuki Takahara
The Pervert Konata Izumi
The Butt Monkey Tsukasa Hiiragi


Film[edit | hide]

American Pie
Only Sane Man Kevin/Oz
The Smart Guy Oz/Kevin
The Pervert Finch
The Butt Monkey Jim
Ghostbusters
Only Sane Man Winston Zeddmore
The Smart Guy Dr. Egon Spengler
The Pervert Dr. Peter Venkman
The Butt Monkey Dr. Raymond Stantz
The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and Help!
Only Sane Man Paul McCartney
The Smart Guy George Harrison
The Pervert John Lennon
The Butt Monkey Ringo Starr
The Goonies
Only Sane Man Mikey Walsh
The Smart Guy Data
The Pervert Mouth
The Butt Monkey Chunk
Stand by Me
Only Sane Man Gordie LaChance
The Smart Guy Chris Chambers
The Pervert Teddy Duchamp
The Butt Monkey Vern Tessio
The Hangover
Only Sane Man Doug Billings
The Smart Guy Dr. Stu Price
The Pervert Phil Wenneck
The Butt Monkey Alan Garner

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

The Big Bang Theory
Only Sane Man Leonard Hofstadter
The Smart Guy Sheldon Cooper, and how.
The Pervert Howard Wolowitz
The Butt Monkey Raj Koothrappali. He's shy to the point he can't even speak to women unless drunk, and is generally awkward.
The Inbetweeners
Only Sane Man Simon Cooper. Not, however, the Main Character.
The Smart Guy Will Mackenzie, who speaks French and is something of a high flyer
The Pervert Jay Cartwright, who has been singularly attributed with bringing the word clunge back into the popular lexicon
The Butt Monkey Neil Sutherland. While he is more successful with the opposite sex than the others, he takes The Ditz to extreme levels and is the target of the others' jokes
Only Fools and Horses
Only Sane Man Denzil
The Smart Guy Boycie, a Chessmaster and manipulative car salesman who always seems to get the better of Del
The Pervert Del. His brother Rodney qualifies as well, with his, ahem, interest in uniforms
The Butt Monkey Trigger. With his sub-par intelligence he is often a pawn in Del's schemes. The other members of the band ridcule him frequently

Red Dwarf

Only Sane Man David Lister
The Smart Guy Kryten.
The Pervert The Cat. Loveable Sex Maniac
The Butt Monkey Arnold Rimmer
Los Simuladores / The Pretenders
Only Sane Man Medina
The Smart Guy Santos
The Pervert Ravenna
The Butt Monkey Lamponne
The Nanny
Only Sane Man Fran Fine
The Smart Guy Maxwell Sheffield
The Pervert Niles
The Butt Monkey C.C. Babcock
Seinfeld
Only Sane Man Jerry Seinfeld
The Smart Guy Cosmo Kramer
The Pervert Elaine Benes
The Butt Monkey George Costanza

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Family Guy
Only Sane Man Peter Griffin
The Smart Guy Joe
The Pervert Quagmire, who brings this character to its most outrageous (and darkest) levels
The Butt Monkey Cleveland Brown. He personifies Extreme Doormat in his pre-spinoff appearances
The Cleveland Show
Only Sane Man Ex Butt Monkey Cleveland Brown
The Smart Guy Tim the Bear
The Pervert Holt Richter
The Butt Monkey Lester
South Park
Only Sane Man Stan
The Smart Guy Kyle
The Pervert Cartman/Kenny (Comedic Sociopath and Loveable Sex Maniac)
The Butt Monkey Butters
The Penguins of Madagascar
Only Sane Man Skipper
The Smart Guy Kowalski
The Pervert Rico, Comedic Sociopath
The Butt Monkey Private
King of the Hill
Only Sane Man Hank Hill
The Smart Guy Dale Gribble
The Pervert Boomhauer
The Butt Monkey Bill Dauterive