Created By: LEDbullet on August 23, 2011 Last Edited By: Oreochan on June 18, 2015
Nuked

Imprinted Parent

A character, regardless of gender, is imprinted upon by an infant as its mother.

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Trope
Bob and Alice are exploring a jungle and come across a weird egg. At some point, the egg hatches in Bob's hands, and a baby bird (or other somesuch creature) pokes its head out. It immediately sees Bob, and decides that Bob is its mother. For much of the rest of the adventure, it will fall upon Bob to gather food for and take care of the baby bird. At first he may not like it, or be embarrassed that he's the "Mom" and not the "Dad". Alice will find this very amusing. However, the baby will grow on Bob, and he may even come to defend it when something bigger threatens its life.


Examples:

  • The trope name comes from the Super Mario World cartoon and Youtube Poop phrase of the same name, in which Luigi fulfilled this trope with an infant Yoshi.

  • Misty became this to Togepi in the Pokemon anime after it hatched from its egg.

  • An infant T-Rex imprinted upon the entire main cast of the Land Before Time series in one of the movies as its mothers. Given that throughout the series, "Sharptooth" dinosaurs are anything *but* friendly, this is quite amusing.

  • Metroid II: Return of Samus ends with the final, larval metroid doing this to Samus. It becomes a major part of the plot to the subsequent SNES game, Super Metroid.

  • Invoked in Jurassic Park (the film version anyway), where Hammond insists on being at every hatching so the baby dinos will imprint on him.

  • Horton Hatches The Egg: Justified in that sitting on the egg somehow changed its DNA into a birdephant; so in a sense Horton is partially its biological mother.

  • Seen in several Looney Tunes but I can't pinpoint which ones.

  • In the episode "That Darn Gator" of the Sam & Max cartoon, Max fishes a baby alligator out of a toilet and it imprints on him.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • August 23, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    This is a very bad name. How about Imprinted Parent?
  • August 23, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^ I second. Trope namers are bad enough, but naming it after a youtube poop that takes a character out of his normal characterizations is just confusing.
  • August 23, 2011
    Discovery
    I'm surprised we don't have this already, but I agree: the name is horrible. Imprinted Parent sounds much better, or Imprinted Mother, as the fact that a character of either sex is referred to as the mother is one of the main points of the current description.
  • August 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • August 23, 2011
    Stratadrake
    This may overlap with Bond Creatures.
  • August 23, 2011
    TBTabby
    In the episode "That Darn Gator" of the Sam & Max cartoon, Max fishes a baby alligator out of a toilet and it imprints on him.
  • August 23, 2011
    Sol9000
    I decided to add the examples from the comments to, well... Oh, Nevermind!
  • August 25, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Alternatively, we could go with Hatching An Egg Makes Someone A Mother. (See also Twilight Sparkle hatching Spike from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.)

    Don't get me wrong, I like the Mario meme, but the overabundance of Zero Wing named tropes leaves me convinced that meme-named tropes are to be avoided. Absolutely convinced. It could provide the page quote though...
    Yoshi: Hahaha! Yoshi think Luigi mama!
    Luigi: Yeah, well, I didn't think it was so funny.
  • August 25, 2011
    KamenZero
    In one episode of Tom And Jerry, a duckling thinks that Tom is it's momma, despite Tom spending most of the episode trying to eat it.
  • August 25, 2011
    TonyG
    In the Classic Disney Short Don's Fountain of Youth two alligator eggs hatch near Donald Duck and think he's his mother. The real mother gator takes them back but will not go near her until she starts quacking.
  • August 25, 2011
    regresal
    Regular Show, in the episode "A Bunch Of Baby Ducks", the ducks imprints on Rigby.
  • August 25, 2011
    KingZeal
    I remember another episode of Tom And Jerry where a woodpecker thinks that Jerry is its mother, and constantly kicks Tom's ass when he tries to eat Jerry.
  • December 15, 2011
    Oreochan
    I also like Imprinted Parent
  • December 15, 2011
    ArtemisStrong
    I like Imprinted Parent, it reminds me of A.I..

    Don't keep the text about "I can't pinpoint which one" with Looney Tunes. We should either try and cite an example or just leave it out.

    As for an example:

    • Toy Story: In part 2, after Mr. Potato Head saves their lives, the LGM refer to him as "Daddy!" and form a strong, child-like attachment to him. In part 3, they return the favor, and in response he draws them up in his arms, calling them "my boys!"
  • December 15, 2011
    NESBoy
    In Garfield, a baby chick hatches and imprints Garfield as its mother. Garfield's attempts to correct him results in the chick calling him its daddy instead.
  • December 19, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Further backing Imprinted Parent.
  • December 20, 2011
    Met
    In an episode of Curious George, George sits on a duck's nest and the first baby that hatches thinks he is its mother.
  • December 20, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Sid in Ice Age 3, to the extent that he even refers to himself as a "Momma" because of the imprinting of the baby dinos on him.
  • February 20, 2012
    Oreochan
    Since the draft hasn't been updated in over two months, I'll adopt it.
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    Imprinting Is Motherhood? Or are we going for something a little broader?
  • February 20, 2012
    animeg3282
    Imprinted parent is good since it's close to the RL term
  • February 20, 2012
    immediatesenator
    Heart imprints as Umasou's father in You are Umasou.
  • February 21, 2012
    Dcoetzee
    How about just Imprinting?
  • February 21, 2012
    Reflextion
    This can happen in Nethack, if you're carrying a monster egg in your inventory and it hatches, leading to the newborn monster being tame. If you're male, this only has a 50% chance to happen ("The identity of one's father is learned, not innate").
  • February 21, 2012
    pawsplay
  • February 22, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons, Dragon magazine #50 article "Hatching is just the beginning". When a dragon egg hatches, the hatchling will imprint on the first creature it sees after birth, considering the creature to be its mother. It will attempt to copy its "mother"'s actions.
  • February 22, 2012
    Arivne
  • February 22, 2012
    pawsplay
    Considering that parental imprinting is the normal result of imprinting, and the description references when something other than their parent is imprinted... I'm going to say no. In the case of animals successfully imprinting their parents, that's People Sit On Chairs; in the other case, it's inaccurate.
  • February 22, 2012
    Oreochan
    So, should I go for something like Imprinting? It seems broader than this however.
  • February 22, 2012
    DaibhidC
    Imprinted Parent works for me. If anyone thinks it's still not clear, maybe Imprinted As Parent?

    May lead to Pet Baby Wild Animal.

    • In one episode of Fantastic Four Worlds Greatest Heroes, the Mole Man attempts to be the first thing Giganto's babies see, so they will obey his every command. Invisible Woman renders him invisible just as they hatch.
    • The movie Fly Away Home is about a girl who has a flock of geese imprint on her, so in order to teach them to fly properly, she has to learn to fly.
  • November 12, 2012
    notShemp
    In Regular Show "A Bunch Of Baby Ducks", Mordecai and Rigby are cleaning the park fountain and they discover four baby ducks inside. After they remove them from the fountain, the ducks imprinted on Rigby.
  • November 14, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    this YKTTW entry (called Imprinting) seems to be proposing the same thing. We should use one or the other. I'd also suggest that, given that both these proposed tropes are covering false imprinting (i.e. imprinting by someone or some animal other than a parent), the trope title should indicate that (i.e. a title like False Imprinting).

    Edited to add: this entry appears to be older than the other one, so that one should probably be combined with this one, and renamed to reflect that it covers imprinting by someone other than the parents.

    Edited again to add: Unless this trope is emphasizing either the humor element of a false imprinting, and/or the gender element (male imprinter being regarded as "mama"). In which case, disregard my examples below, which are not humorous and don't involve a gender mixup.
  • November 14, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Two malevolent examples of (false) imprinting:

    Film

    The Hand That Rocks the Cradle had the evil nanny attempting this with the youngest child (an infant) in her charge, primarily by way of breast-feeding (unbeknownst to, and unauthorized by, the mother) which leads to the baby rejecting his own mother's milk, and the bonding that comes with that. The whole premise of the movie was the nanny trying to steal the children of a woman she blames for her emergency hysterectomy, which caused her to lose her own baby and the potential for having another one.

    Live-Action TV

    In the 2009 series V-2009, Anna is able to do this with Ryan's half-V, half-human child, by giving the infant a disease that causes her pain unless she receives Anna's bliss. She had at that point already killed the baby's real mother.
  • June 18, 2015
    notShemp
    We have a trope for this. It's Imprinting.
  • June 18, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    Should we go ahead and delete this, then? Nearly three years old and redundant?
  • June 18, 2015
    phoenix
    ^ Seems safe to discard.
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