Created By: CluLegacy on July 23, 2013 Last Edited By: CluLegacy on August 3, 2013
Troped

Doting Grandparent

The grandparent who is like a pal

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That's a doting grandparent

Raven Baxter: [gasps] Grandma, are you psychic?
Grandma Vivian: Well, I don't know who this "Grandma" is, but Viv is.

Fictional works can happen to have a grandparent character. Nothing unusual in that.

There is the regular grandparent, who spoils the kids, plays chess in parks (grandpa), makes knitting (grandma) and sleeps 12-plus hours a day.

Then there is the doting grandparent. S/he is a grandparent with attitude and a young spirit, as much or even more vitality than his/her grandchildren, a captivating nature that makes the children enjoy him/her as a friend, and is a counterpoint to the parents (While the parents are Serious Business the grandparents are all about fun). Played for laughs most of the time.

Note that it does not have to do with "a grandparent who spoils the children" but with a grandparent who treats the children as equals and has their friendship. Truth in Television as it became more common seeing grandparents under 50.

Compare with Doting Parent.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Oliver Queen was that to Lian Harper, daughter of his protegé Roy Harper, in the pre-New 52 continuity of the DC Universe.

Comic Strips

Literature

  • From the Aunt Dimity series: Willis Sr. vis-a-vis Will and Rob. There are many references to this, including a jocular reference to the "law" that grandparents must spoil their grandchildren and being an attorney, Willis Sr. is stickler for obeying the law. He refurbishes the stables at Fairworth House not for his own use (he doesn't ride himself), but so that the twins will ride over for frequent visits.

  • Heidi:
    • Heidi's grandfather after his hidden heart of gold is shown. He is forced to become Heidi's guardian after both her parents died and her aunt decides she wants to work and not care for a child. He's still a physically strong man and Heidi adores him. He also becomes a great grandfather figure to Klara, Ill Girl and Lonely Rich Kid, Heidi's friend from the city.
    • Klara's grandmother is absolutely awesome. She's respected by everybody and loves her granddaughter Klara deeply, and she really takes a strong liking to Heidi, Klara's playmate and companion. She convinces Heidi that reading is not that hard as she was lead to believe, and altogether, things are brighter for the girls when the grandmother is staying with them.

Live Action TV

  • Ed "Pop" Ward from Like Family is Bobby's doting grandpa who lives with his son Ed and dates 40-year-younger women. He is also a doting adopted grandpa to Keith and often helps him and Bobby to get out of trouble.
  • Hattie Banks, a recurring character from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is Will Smith's doting adopted grandma who cheats Will in the cards game, takes him to Disneyland and embarasses Uncle Phil.
  • Vivian (never call her Grandma) from That's So Raven is Raven's doting Vivian with who shares the psychic power of foresight and helps her to take away the angst of keeping this secret. She also always pranks Cory who fails to counterprank her due to her power.
  • Subverted with Ethil Philips from Dinosaurs. While crippled in a wheelchair she still has attitude enough to be a pain in his son-in-law Earl Sinclair's ass and is a doting grandma at least to Baby. She often reads stories to Baby and they even had a special episode with Ethil telling a fable to Baby.
  • Averted in Two and a Half Men. Although not being a regular grandma (she has vitality enough to live by herself and be a pain in his son Alan's ass) Evelyn Harper is so self-centered that even her grandson Jake doesn't stand her.
  • In Everybody Loves Raymond, Marie Barone often makes it unsubtly clear that Debra's greatest single function in married life to her son was to provide she, Marie, with grandchildren she can dote on and spoil rotten. Grandchildren, although she genuinely loves them, are just another weapon she uses to remind Debra of her subordinate position and failings as a home-maker. Meanwhile, Frank Barone is the opposite of this trope - as often as not the grandkids are another imposition designed to spoil his comfortable retirement. Contrast Marie to Debra's mousy and unassertive mother - she is barely there in their lives, even when staying with her daughter. Debra's mother doesn't have a clue as to how to be a grandmother.
  • Rory's grandparents on Gilmore Girls, though they are really very young as Lorelai had Rory when she was sixteen. They dote on Rory because she's a smart and sweet girl, though they sometimes treat Lorelai as their Unfavourite. Lorelai and Rory are more like sisters, so Emily and Richard are Rory's parental figures. Emily can be pushy, but Richard is a Cool Old Guy who takes great pride in his granddaughter.
  • Edna from Everwood used to be an Army nurse and still works, married her new love despite most people frown upon their mixed marriage and she rides a motorbike. She loves her two grandkids, Amy and Bright, and she's a cool female role model for Delia Brown who has lost her mother.

Film - Live Action

  • Mori Takana from 3 Ninjas is the title characters' doting grandpa who teaches them the art of ninjitsu. He even gave them their ninja nicknames "Rocky", "Colt" and "Tum Tum".

Western Animation

  • Jasmine Lee aka Ah-Mah from The Life and Times of Juniper Lee is an old magical fighter who chose Juniper as her substitute and trains her in the role of Te Xuan Ze. She often sidekicks Juniper against magical vilains. Juniper's parents don't suspect of their double life and think Jasmine is a regular grandma.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Abe Simpson is definitively a senile regular grandpa except in the episode "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'" when Abe and Bart confront a rampaging Montgomery Burns and become close in the end. Unfortunately this twist was forgotten in the next episodes and Abe was returned to his status quo of regular grandpa.
    • Played straight in the episode "Mother Simpson" that features the first appearance of Homer's mother Mona Simpson, a doting hippie grandma with who Lisa relates immediately and creates a deep bond.
  • Max Tennyson from Ben 10 is a retired intergalactic cop who sidekicks his grandson Ben Tennyson, the bearer of an alien weapon called Omnitrix, in his fight against alien villains who threaten the planet Earth. Ben's parents weren't aware of their double life until the sequel series Ben 10: Alien Force.
  • In DuckTales Uncle Scrooge acts like this to the triplets Huey, Dewey and Louie who are left to live with him by Donald Duck, who is serving the Navy. This trope applies once the triplets were abandoned by their mother (Donald's sister and Scrooge's niece) so Donald is the only parent they had.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • July 23, 2013
    Koveras
    Please no more Cool Whatever "tropes". Coolness is not a trope, so please come up with more descriptive titles...
  • July 23, 2013
    CluLegacy
    If coolness weren't a trope there wouldn't be tens of Cool trope pages
  • July 23, 2013
    arromdee
    We already have Cool Old Guy.
  • July 23, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Just put these examples on Cool Old Guy or Cool Old Lady. Just being a grandparent to someone isn't enough of a distinction to make a separate trope for. Motion To Discard on those grounds. Moreover you have to explain how/why they're cool too or it becomes a Zero Context Example
  • July 23, 2013
    XFllo
    Well, don't be so quick with motions to discard. I agree that this would be subtrope to Cool Old Guy and Cool Old Lady if it shapes up, but desire to have grandparents is very common, especially in literature for children. Some kid who doesn't have grandparents of their own for various reasons likes another kid's grandparents. Because they are so cool, they like him/her, sometimes even to the extent they like their own grandchildren. Sometimes though it's really clear who the blood relative is, or they might have their particular favourite among the kids.
  • July 23, 2013
    eowynjedi
    I think this could use a better title that emphasizes how this is a character a kid (or audience kid) wants to have, rather than just "Cool Old Guy/Lady that happens to be a grandparent." Like Grandparent Spoils Grandkids or Exciting Grandparent, Entertaining Grandparent, which would be distinct from grandparents being portrayed as frail, boring, etc.
  • July 23, 2013
    Koveras
    @Clu Legacy: "We have lots of Cool Whatever pages" is a weak argument, as we also have lots of Stock Phrases, Crowning Moments Of Awesome, Complaining Pages, and the rest of the ilk, and we aren't allowed to make new ones anymore. :)
  • July 23, 2013
    randomsurfer
    I've seen/read an explanation of this on more than one occasion, to the effect of "A parent has to say no. A grandparent gets to say yes."
  • July 24, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 24, 2013
    CluLegacy
    You took the words from my fingers Xfilo. I was going to suggest this trope as a subtrope to both Cool Old Guy and Cool Old Lady. Also this subtrope is most common to sitcoms, so nothing to do with "badassery", Dan004. I will include examples of aversion to this. I also agree that the examples have to be better worked.
  • July 24, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Since there's a Doting Parent already, why not Doting Grandparent? Or else, expand Doting Parent to include grandparents.
  • July 24, 2013
    XFllo
    The badass tropes might sometimes overlap, but it wouldn't be very common.

    I would be careful saying that it's typical for sitcoms. It doesn't seem to be genre or medium specific.
  • July 25, 2013
    DAN004
    I can see this trope working, but the definition needs to be more specified.
  • July 26, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ You may suggest a new write-up. :-) I agree that it needs some tweaking.

    I would like if it mentioned the frequent plot (at least it seems to me to be Seen It A Million Times) when a kid longs to have a grandparent and finds surrogate grandparent.
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    I'm thinking of a trope for when the child's parents are either abusive, or too busy to play with him/her, they'll go to their cool grandparents for comfort.

    Maybe Dull Parents(comma)Cool Grandparents can work?
  • July 26, 2013
    CluLegacy
    I improved the description and the examples. Feel free to edit.
  • July 27, 2013
    XFllo
    ^^ That might certainly happen as a variant, but not in all cases.
  • July 27, 2013
    DAN004
    Then I'd suggest Doting Grandparent for the title.
  • July 28, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Yes, we have Doting Parent, and I think "doting grandparent" is an idiomatic phrase and very search-friendly.
  • July 28, 2013
    CluLegacy
    Suggestion heeded. changed title from Cool Grandparent to Doting Grandparent.
  • July 29, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    Literature

    From the Aunt Dimity series: Willis Sr. vis-a-vis Will and Rob. There are many references to this, including a jocular reference to the "law" that grandparents must spoil their grandchildren and being an attorney, Willis Sr. is stickler for obeying the law. He refurbishes the stables at Fairworth House not for his own use (he doesn't ride himself), but so that the twins will ride over for frequent visits.
  • July 29, 2013
    AgProv
    Television:

    In Everybody Loves Raymond, Marie Barone often makes it unsubtly clear that Debra's greatest single function in married life to her son was to provide she, Marie, with grandchildren she can dote on and spoil rotten. Grandchildren, although she genuinely loves them, are just another weapon she uses to remind Debra of her subordinate position and failings as a home-maker. Meanwhile, Frank Barone is the opposite of this trope - as often as not the grandkids are another imposition designed to spoil his comfortable retirement. Contrast Marie to Debra's mousy and unassertive mother - she is barely there in their lives, even when staying with her daughter. Debra's mother doesn't have a clue as to how to be a grandmother.
  • July 30, 2013
    CluLegacy
    I think it's ready to publish
  • July 30, 2013
    InTheMirror
    The works needs to be put in italics and episodes in "double quotes", e.g. The Simpsons. "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'".
  • July 30, 2013
    CluLegacy
    ^Done.
  • July 30, 2013
    XFllo
    Also about the Simpsons example:
    • Trope cannot be Averted and Subverted at the same time. It's only one of those. The example subverts the frail and boring stereotype, but plays straight this one.

    The write-up also has incorrect Example Indentation.

    This is correct Indentation, and I suggest this write-up.

    • The Simpsons:
      • Abe Simpson is definitely a senile regular grandpa except in the episode "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'" when Abe and Bart confront a rampaging Montgomery Burns and become close in the end. Unfortunately, this twist was forgotten in the next episodes and Abe was returned to his status quo of regular grandpa.
      • Played straight in the episode "Mother Simpson" that features the first appearance of Homer's mother Mona Simpson, a doting hippie grandma with who Lisa relates immediately and creates a deep bond.

  • July 30, 2013
    XFllo
    And couple of examples:

    Literature
    • Heidi:
      • Heidi's grandfather after his hidden heart of gold is shown. He is forced to become Heidi's guardian after both her parents died and her aunt decides she wants to work and not care for a child. He's still a physically strong man and Heidi adores him. He also becomes a great grandfather figure to Klara, Ill Girl and Lonely Rich Kid, Heidi's friend from the city.
      • Klara's grandmother is absolutely awesome. She's respected by everybody and loves her granddaughter Klara deeply, and she really takes a strong liking to Heidi, Klara's playmate and companion. She convinces Heidi that reading is not that hard as she was lead to believe, and altogether, things are brighter for the girls when the grandmother is staying with them.

    Live Action TV
    • Rory's grandparents on Gilmore Girls, though they are really very young as Lorelai had Rory when she was sixteen. They dote on Rory because she's a smart and sweet girl, though they sometimes treat Lorelai as their Unfavourite. Lorelai and Rory are more like sisters, so Emily and Richard are Rory's parental figures. Emily can be pushy, but Richard is a Cool Old Guy who takes great pride in his granddaughter.
    • Edna from Everwood used to be an Army nurse and still works, married her new love despite most people frown upon their mixed marriage and she rides a motorbike. She loves her two grandkids, Amy and Bright, and she's a cool female role model for Delia Brown who has lost her mother.
  • July 30, 2013
    CluLegacy
    ^Done. Thanks for the advice.
  • August 1, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    @ CluLegacy You've written: "Fictional works can happen of having a grandparent character. Nothing unusual in it." I would suggest rephrasing slightly: "Fictional works can happen to have a grandparent character. Nothing unusual in that."

    Also, the description reads "(While the parents are Serious Business the grandparents are all but fun). Played for laughs most of times." I suggest revising it to read: "(While the parents are Serious Business, the grandparents are all about fun). Played for laughs most of the time."

    The last paragraph seems to be missing a verb in the first sentence. "Note that it does not have to with "a grandparent who spoils the children" but with a grandparent who treats the children as equals and has their friendship." You'll probably want to go with "have to have" or "have to be" rather than "have to with".

    I'm also wondering if the first line is supposed to be a picture caption.

  • August 1, 2013
    CluLegacy
    English is not my first laguage. Thanks for the correction. Yes the first line is a picture caption. They don't work in the YKTTW though.
  • August 1, 2013
    CluLegacy
    Video game examples? I thought of Prof. Oak from Pokemon Red/Blue but he's not an example once Blue/Gary's parents are never seen at all.
  • August 2, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    @ CluLegacy You're welcome. I'm glad I can put my English degree to good use (my job certainly doesn't require it). If it makes you feel any better, I recently corrected another troper who used "insuring" when they should've used "ensuring", and I have remind myself (or be reminded by others) of the difference between averting and subverting.
  • August 3, 2013
    Arivne
    Comic Strips
    • Dennis The Menace US. Dennis' maternal grandfather Grampa Johnson is one of the few adults in his life who not only never gets angry with him but actually gets along well with him (the other being Mrs. Wilson, who is like a grandmother to him).
  • August 3, 2013
    IAmATropist
    Marvin Marvin has Pop Pop.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=6abjog55xmme2jv0ht0soifr&trope=DotingGrandparent