Unforgiving Offspring YKTTW Discussion

Unforgiving Offspring
One child hates the parent. Everyone else is totally understanding.
(permanent link) added: 2011-10-20 20:07:21 sponsor: Austecon (last reply: 2011-12-20 12:31:30)

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Up for Grabs, Needs a Better Description(?), Rolling Updates, Needs More Examples (especially from media other than live action TV).

The main character in the story is a parent, and they've made some mistake, or have had terrible luck. Maybe they were a Disappeared Dad, or a Missing Mom. Or perhaps they did something that hurt the family, like lose their job, or cheat on the spouse, or got sent to prison. Whatever the mistake, it was in the past. Every party involved has moved on, and now the spouse has forgiven the main character, and their friends and coworkers are generally sympathetic. If it was an accident, everyone recognizes it, and that the main character had no control over the events.

But the Rule of Drama dictates that not quite everybody can be forgiving. So the writers will lump all the blaming and hating into one vessel: the child of the protagonist.

The writer's want the audience to forgive/overlook the character's Dark and Troubled Past, so all the other character's in the story are understanding, forgiving, and sympathetic (generally), but they still want to use the past mistake to create drama and conflict. The end result is one child carrying all the hate for the parent, even when nobody else (especially the other family members) seems to hold ill feelings.

Expect the child to have a Freudian Excuse.

It is not enough for a child to simply hate a parent. They have to be the only one who blames/is angry with the parent (enemies don't count). It does not matter whether or not they have good reason to blame the parent.

When the child is justified, it can become Calling the Old Man Out. If the child starts to actively work against the parent, it becomes Antagonistic Offspring. Compare to Archnemesis Dad, contrast with Resentful Guardian. Can lead to You're Not My Father, Dating What Daddy Hates.


  • Cheaper by the Dozen: Charlie Baker is angry at his father (Steve Martin) for making the family move to a new home, while none of the other 12 family members act angry or frustrated.
  • Shoot the Moon: The kids all seem to accept their parents' divorce except for the oldest daughter, who remains very angry with the father.

  • In David Edding's Belgariad series, Polgara is relentlessly critical and disapproving of her father Belgarath (even though at bottom she still sorta kinda loves him); while everyone else (besides his mortal enemies) regards him at worst as a loveable rascal.

Live-Action TV
  • American Horror Story: Vivien, Ben's wife, gives her husband a second chance and takes strides to forgive him for cheating on her, and it's their daughter, Violet, who holds a grudge against him for hurting the family.
  • Angel: In season 4, much of the drama centers around Connor's hate for Angel. The rest of the characters are supportive of Angel, out of friendship.
  • Battlestar Galactica: In the early seasons of the reimagining, Lee Adama has a serious beef with his father, the commander. Bill Adama is universally loved by his crew, minus his son.
  • Dexter: While (virtually) everyone treats Dexter with sympathy and kindness, Astor blames him for her mom's death, even though Cody still loves Dexter, and she is the main reason why they stay at their grandparents' home.
  • Kings: King Silas Benjamin is an incredibly popular ruler, but his treatment of his son causes the prince to conspire against him.
  • Sons of Anarchy: Jax is the only club member ever in serious conflict with his step-father, Clay.
  • Supernatural: In the early seasons, Sam is the only one with anything negative to say about their father (and he does it often). All the characters they meet who know their father are quick to remind them that he means well and loves them, and Dean always defends him.
  • Terra Nova: Josh is seriously angry with his father for getting sent to prison, even though it was for trying to protect his sister. His siblings treat their father like he's the World's Greatest Dad, and Jim's wife is completely understanding.


Web Comics:

Western Animation
  • Family Guy: Meg Griffin routinely gets angry at Peter for his idiocy, while the rest of the main characters seem okay to put up with it.

Indices: Parental Issues, Blame Tropes
Replies: 19