Expansion Pack Family
A Character with a family starts out with a set family, only for more to pop up later


(permanent link) added: 2012-01-25 12:18:56 sponsor: chicagomel (last reply: 2013-03-22 16:59:02)

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A subtrope of Expansion Pack Past. When a series begins, we usually find out the character basics fairly early on, including their family background. But sometimes, a creator will add in other family members later on in the series, sometimes surprising the audience a bit. Note that this doesn't include in-universe things like Missing Parents,Disappeared Dad, ect, it's cases where we aren't told about the family members until they show up. Often overlaps with Mysterious Past.

Compare to Cain And Able And Seth. When overdone, can result in Tangled Family Tree.

Live Action TV
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation did this with its new lead, D.B.Russell. The background info in the beginning stated he had four boys, but several episodes into the 12th season, a throwaway line reveals he's got a daughter too.
  • Will and Grace :Grace from Will And Grace has two sisters who were never mentioned before they showed up for one episode each, then were never heard from again. Will also had a number of brothers who showed up when convenient.
  • Wizards Of Waverly Place: Started with just two parents and the three kids. Then the father's brother shows up (a couple of times). Then the father suddenly has a sister (who gets mentioned once in the finale but otherwise forgotten). And the mother has a brother who is only mentioned in one episode.
  • ''Charmed: When Prudence is killed off, there just HAPPENS to be a 4th half-sister to complete the trio. Justified as the girls didn't know, and was written in because Shannon Doherty left the show. (I forget if it was voluntary or firing. She was nicely killed off in the 3rd season finale.)
  • The Sorpranos was guilty of this from time to time
  • The Golden Girls was guilty of this occasionally in regards to the number of kids each of the ladies had.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a subversion of sorts with Dawn. She was added in season 5, but the other characters' memories were changed so it seemed she was always there.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons spoofed The Cosby Show's tendency to bring on random black entertainers as a long-lost relative for a cameo.
    Bill Cosby: Hey, kids! Meet Grampa Murphy.
    Girl: We have three grandpas already!
    Bill Cosby: This one's a great jazz musician.
    Girl: Oh, they all are!
    • Also did this with the titular nuclear family by bringing Abe, Patty and Selma into the show early on and Mona much later.
  • South Park In the South Park episode "Cartmanland," we see Cartman's extended family, who except for Cartman's mother Liane, all have Cartman's obese body shape.

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