Created By: FrodoGoofballCoTVSeptember 10, 2010 Last Edited By: FrodoGoofballCoTVSeptember 10, 2010
Troped

Babysitter From Hell

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Trope
launched as Babysitter From Hell

Do We Have This? Should We Have This? Needs A Better Name. Needs A Better Description. Rolling Updates underway. Up For Grabs.
In Real Life, child abuse by a temporary or hired guardian is a very serious thing. But in fiction, it can be comedy gold. It's also a good way to give a character a Dark And Troubled Past that's only just dark enough, without making the parents out to be bad. A common fate of characters with a Hilariously Abusive Childhood.

The story always starts with the parents needing to find someone to care for their children. Often, possibly because either the parents or child has a bad reputation, or due to short notice or bad timing (who'd have thought they'd schedule prom night and the elementary school PTA meeting on the same night?), the parents are left with few choices. Due to the Rule Of Drama, the person hired will usually either be this or a Badly Battered Babysitter.

Only after the parents leave is the Babysitter From Hell revealed for what they are. Usually this character can be identified by at least three of the following traits or behaviors:
  1. Children are frightened of them. Hilarity Ensues as adults take little notice of a child's instinctive concern, being either too busy or assuming it's just ordinary separation anxiety.
  2. The babysitter is impatient, angsty, or just plain mean.
  3. The babysitter clearly has little experience in dealing with children of the age in question.
  4. The babysitter assigns the child a task or responsability that is clearly inappropriate.
  5. The child is assigned all the chores while the babysitter chats on the phone, watches TV or otherwise refuses to help.
  6. The babysitter puts the child in a situation that is obviously dangerous, unhealthy, or frightening, such as locking them in the basement.
  7. When the child gets in trouble, is at risk of serious injury, or asks for help, the babysitter ignores them.
  8. The babysitter uses the parents' home to throw a party or conduct criminal activities.
  9. The babysitter deliberately makes the child miserable out of angst, revenge, etc., or For The Evulz.

The point is, a Babysitter From Hell is a child's fears come true.

With no support from adults, the child is usually forced to take unilateral action to either foil or prank the babysitter. When the parents return, either the Babysitter From Hell has already left or blames anything the parents find amiss on the child. Since the parents usually don't believe the child, the threat that they will be back remains.

This is a villain type where Your Mileage May Vary; on the Sliding Scale Of Antagonist Vileness the Babysitter From Hell can range from Complete Monster, to a Jerkass Woobie with a Dark And Troubled Past of their own, and Alternate Character Interpretation may allow some to be regarded as both.

Not to be confused with it's inversion, Badly Battered Babysitter, where it's the babysitter whose fears are realized rather than the child.

Examples:

Film

Literature
  • The unnamed babysitter for Georgia and Shaun in Feed. She decides that Georgia doesn't really need her sunglasses and tosses them out into the backyard, making the twins search for them. Important detail: this is after the Zombie Apocalypse and zombies are still shambling around everywhere.

Live Action Television
  • Flash Forward has the babysitter making out with her guy instead of tending the kids.
  • Everybody Hates Chris has "Everybody Hates The Babysitter" episode in which the babysitter won't stay in the house.

Music

Newspaper Comics

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation:
  • Vicky from The Fairly Oddparents
  • There's a Tom And Jerry cartoon in which the cat and mouse are on the same side, protecting the baby from getting into danger, but every time the babysitter pauses on the phone it's to beat them up for bothering the baby they just put back into the crib.
  • First season of The Simpsons had a bad babysitter. To be fair, said babysitter also planned to rob the place, and was a wanted criminal for this M.O.
  • American Dragon Jake Long's Muggle Best Friends Spud and Trixie aren't such good babysitters for Jake's sister Haley -- but she is a dragon too. A rare case of Idiot Hero Babysitter From Hell.
  • A robot babysitter (voiced by Sarah Silverman) looks after Meatwad in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It's soon revealed she is psychotic and abusive.
  • South Park: Stan's sister occasionally works as a babysitter, and she's terrible.
  • The Amazing Spiez! episode "Operation Spy-Sitter". The kids' parents hire a babysitter named Melinda to look after them. Melinda appears to be perfect, having just the skills to help each of them. She turns out to be a he - an enemy spy named Mel who's been kidnapping WOOHP spies, and now wants the kids.
  • Kick Buttowski: Kick is chasing his sister Brianna, who has taken his trike.
    Kick: You know you're not supposed to go out alone!
    Brianna: Brad's watching me.
    [cut to Brad lying on the sofa, picking his nose and watching TV. The TV announces Tankini Lumberjacks, and Brad cheers].
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • April 30, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • The unnamed babysitter for Georgia and Shaun in Feed. She decides that Georgia doesn't really need her sunglasses and tosses them out into the backyard, making the twins search for them. Important detail: this is after the Zombie Apocalypse and zombies are still shambling around everywhere.

    Also any babysitter who completely blows off the kid they're watching to talk on the phone/text or screw their SO.
    • Flash Forward has the babysitter making out with her guy.
    • There's a Tom And Jerry cartoon in which the cat and mouse are on the same side, protecting the baby from getting into danger, but every time the babysitter pauses on the phone it's to beat them up for bothering the baby they just put back into the crib.
    • 1980 movie The Babysitter.
    • The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (more of a psycho nanny, but close enough for horseshoes, right?)
    • Adventures In Babysitting is an inversion. The babysitter in that movie risks life and limb to keep her charges and her friend safe, and hammers a Jerk Ass boyfriend in the process.
  • April 30, 2010
    Jumpingzombie
    Title suggestion: Babysitter From Hell

    Also example: Elizabeth/Zee from Monster House.
  • April 30, 2010
    Golden Darkness
    First season of The Simpsons had a bad babysitter. To be fair, said babysitter also planned to rob the place, and was a wanted criminal for this M.O.
  • May 3, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Since my post up top stopped letting me edit:

    • Everybody Hates Chris has "Everybody Hates The Babysitter" episode in which the babysitter won't stay in the house.
    • American Dragon Jake Long's MuggleBestFriends Spud and Trixie aren't such good babysitters for Jake's sister Haley -- but she is a dragon too.
    • Kim Possible has another inversion: Ron risks life and limb to babysit baby Han Stoppable, finding out along the way that she's a baby ninja.

  • May 3, 2010
    ElementX
    A robot babysitter (voiced by Sarah Silverman) looks after Meatwad in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It's soon revealed she is psychotic and abusive.
  • May 3, 2010
    randomsurfer
    South Park: Stan's sister occasionally works as a babysitter, and she's terrible.
  • May 4, 2010
    dotchan
    Calvin of Calvin And Hobbes thinks his babysitter is this, but she's more of a Badly Battered Babysitter.
  • May 18, 2010
    Arivne
    Western Animation
    • The Amazing Spiez! episode "Operation Spy-Sitter". The kids' parents hire a babysitter named Melinda to look after them. Melinda appears to be perfect, having just the skills to help each of them. She turns out to be a he - an enemy spy named Mel who's been kidnapping WOOHP spies, and now wants the kids.
  • May 19, 2010
    sgamer82
    An early episode of The Simpsons had the Babysitter Bandit.
  • May 19, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    Music: Princess Superstar "Bad Babysitter".
  • June 2, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Bump strike 1!
  • June 16, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Bump Strike 2!
  • June 18, 2010
    streussal
    There was definitely one of these in [1]
  • July 7, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Bump Strike 3! Needs more examples...
  • July 7, 2010
    Worldmaker
    Can sometimes play a part in an Hilariously Abusive Childhood.
  • July 24, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • July 25, 2010
    AlirozTheConfused
    No Objections Here.
  • August 4, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Kick Buttowski: Kick is chasing his sister Brianna, who has taken his trike.
      Kick: You know you're not supposed to go out alone!
      Brianna: Brad's watching me.
      [cut to Brad lying on the sofa, picking his nose and watching TV. The TV announces Tankini Lumberjacks, and Brad cheers].
  • August 5, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    I've confirmed it --- Bette Davis is definitely this in The Nanny. Ye gods, is she this in The Nanny!
  • August 8, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Thinking about soft-splitting this by type:
    1. Idiot Hero, does not know how to take care of child.
    2. Lazy, ignores child, watches TV / chats on phone / throws party
    3. Doing something bad to the child.
    4. Doing something bad other than to the child (e.g., robs house).
    5. Anti Villain / Jerkass Woobie
  • August 13, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    There's apparently also a previous YKTTW The Babysitter From Hell -- make sure to catch any examples that aren't here and Just Launch It Already :)
  • August 14, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Ok, this one is in timeout again. Anybody launching it?
  • August 28, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Looks like it's about to time out again. Anybody?
  • August 28, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    In a few days I'll have time if no one else gets to it by then ^^;

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable