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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

Lucky Star
Only Sane ManKagami Hiiragi
The Smart GuyMiyuki Takahara
The PervertKonata Izumi
The Butt MonkeyTsukasa Hiiragi


Pokemon
Only Sane Man Ash Ketchum
The Smart Guy Brock
Casanova Wannabe Misty
The Butt Monkey Pikachu

Film

American Pie
Only Sane ManKevin/Oz
The Smart GuyOz/Kevin
The PervertFinch
The Butt MonkeyJim
Ghostbusters
Only Sane ManWinston Zeddmore
The Smart GuyDr. Egon Spengler
The PervertDr. Peter Venkman
The Butt MonkeyDr. Raymond Stantz
The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and Help
Only Sane ManPaul McCartney
The Smart GuyGeorge Harrison
The PervertJohn Lennon
The Butt MonkeyRingo Starr
The Goonies
Only Sane ManMikey Walsh
The Smart GuyData
The PervertMouth
The Butt MonkeyChunk
Stand by Me
Only Sane ManGordie LaChance
The Smart GuyChris Chambers
The PervertTeddy Duchamp
The Butt MonkeyVern Tessio
The Hangover
Only Sane ManDoug Billings
The Smart GuyDr. Stu Price
The PervertPhil Wenneck
The Butt MonkeyAlan Garner
Wreck-It Ralph
Only Sane Man Ralph
The Smart Guy Vanellope
Casanova Wannabe Calhoun
The Butt Monkey Felix

Live Action TV

Malcolm in the Middle
Only Sane Man Malcolm
The Smart Guy Francis
The Pervert Reese
The Butt Monkey Dewey
The Big Bang Theory
Only Sane ManLeonard Hofstadter
The Smart GuySheldon Cooper, and how.
The PervertHoward Wolowitz
The Butt MonkeyRaj Koothrappali. He's shy to the point he can't even speak to women unless drunk, and is generally awkward.
The Inbetweeners
Only Sane ManSimon Cooper. Not, however, the Main Character.
The Smart GuyWill Mackenzie, who speaks French and is something of a high flyer
The PervertJay Cartwright, who has been singularly attributed with bringing the word clunge back into the popular lexicon
The Butt MonkeyNeil 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 ManDenzil
The Smart GuyBoycie, a Chessmaster and manipulative car salesman who always seems to get the better of Del
The PervertDel. His brother Rodney qualifies as well, with his, ahem, interest in uniforms
The Butt MonkeyTrigger. 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 ManDavid Lister
The Smart GuyKryten.
The PervertThe Cat. Loveable Sex Maniac
The Butt MonkeyArnold Rimmer
Los Simuladores / The Pretenders
Only Sane ManMedina
The Smart GuySantos
The PervertRavenna
The Butt MonkeyLamponne
The Nanny
Only Sane ManFran Fine
The Smart GuyMaxwell Sheffield
The PervertNiles
The Butt MonkeyC.C. Babcock
Seinfeld
Only Sane ManJerry Seinfeld
The Smart GuyCosmo Kramer
The PervertElaine Benes
The Butt MonkeyGeorge Costanza

Western Animation

Family Guy
Only Sane ManPeter Griffin
The Smart GuyJoe
The PervertQuagmire, who brings this character to its most outrageous (and darkest) levels
The Butt MonkeyCleveland Brown. He personifies Extreme Doormat in his pre-spinoff appearances
The Cleveland Show
Only Sane ManEx Butt Monkey Cleveland Brown
The Smart GuyTim the Bear
The PervertHolt Richter
The Butt MonkeyLester


The Looney Tunes Show
Only Sane Man Bugs Bunny
The Smart Guy Lola Bunny
Casanova Wannbe Tina Duck
The Butt Monkey Daffy Duck


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Only Sane Pony Twilight Sparkle
The Smart Guy Rainbow Dash
Casanova Wannabe Rarity
The Butt Monkey Spike

Note: This group is because in the epiode Dragon Quest, Spike accepted those three ponies as his true family.



South Park
Only Sane ManStan
The Smart GuyKyle
The PervertCartman/Kenny (Comedic Sociopath and Loveable Sex Maniac)
The Butt MonkeyButters
The Penguins of Madagascar
Only Sane ManSkipper
The Smart GuyKowalski
The PervertRico, Comedic Sociopath
The Butt MonkeyPrivate
Station Zero
Only Sane ManChino
The Smart GuyScooter
The PervertDJ Tech
The Butt MonkeyKaraz
King of the Hill
Only Sane ManHank Hill
The Smart GuyDale Gribble
The PervertBoomhauer
The Butt MonkeyBill Dauterive
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