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:
- 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.
- The babysitter is impatient, angsty, or just plain mean.
- The babysitter clearly has little experience in dealing with children of the age in question.
- The babysitter assigns the child a task or responsability that is clearly inappropriate.
- The child is assigned all the chores while the babysitter chats on the phone, watches TV or otherwise refuses to help.
- The babysitter puts the child in a situation that is obviously dangerous, unhealthy, or frightening, such as locking them in the basement.
- When the child gets in trouble, is at risk of serious injury, or asks for help, the babysitter ignores them.
- The babysitter uses the parents' home to throw a party or conduct criminal activities.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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].