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"What happens if you take Inspector Gadget and totally remove him from his own cartoon? Well, since the cartoon was half Gadget's comic antics and half his niece solving the crime with some help from her pet dog, basically you end up with just the mystery/adventure aspect.Which is why I watched the cartoon in the first place when I was little. I never found Gadget himself funny or all that entertaining."
—Comment by the author of "Inspector Gadget minus Gadget".
Series Minus Series Core is a kind of work-edition which consist of taking a series and strip it of one (or more) core character(s). Since most series are more-often-than-not character driven, the removal of a key character can change the whole work radically, and that's where the fun of trope resides.
Think it with the First Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics in mind: if one BIG OBJECT leaves the stage, then plot can progress faster, other characters whose focus might have been diminished may gain greater roles (with new things to explore), and situations might be sweeter or more brutal without our Comic Relief/Problem Solver.
Character who suffers from this are always on the main spot, being usually the main character, with roles that range from Comic Relief (doing something silly every 5 seconds), to Deadpan Snarker (saying something snarky every 5 seconds) to The Ace (solving some problem every 5 seconds). Since they are all very likely to be considered The Scrappy (by at least some of the fandom), this works sometimes (not always) include a huge quota of Take That Scrappy.
This tropes includes examples of:
- Garfield Minus Garfield
- Inspector Gadget Minus Gadget
- Peanuts Minus Snoopy
- Lucy Peanuts
- Calvin minus Hobbes
- Harry Potter Minus Harry Potter