In a piece of blatant self-promotion, I admit I traced the
ethnic sidekick back to Robinson Crusoe, the first
mass-produced story for a mass audience. The essay appeared
two years or so ago in Bright Lights Film Journal. http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/30/index.html
The paradigm still plays out in many hard-boiled books and
films, but also is the centerpiece of other fare such as the
movies Shrek, the Mummy Returns, The Fifth Element, Rush Hour
2, Hardball, and the TV shows Enterprise and (most noticeably
this season) The West Wing.
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