Created By: DannyVElAcme on February 23, 2011 Last Edited By: Waddle on February 13, 2016

Feuding Patriarchs

Dad fights dad, families groan.

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Seen It a Million Times, Needs More Examples

Bob and Charlie are parents. They have numerous children, loving wives, good jobs, the whole nine yards. They're lives are pretty much perfect.

Except for the fact that they HATE each other. The existence of one is an affront to the other. Every accomplishment one makes, the other has to do better. HDTV? Try full-blown home theater! A kidney-shaped pool? Check out my TWO kidney shaped pools, with accompanying heart-shaped jacuzzi! The local karaoke tournament? Oh it's ON now!

Dueling Patriarchs is a common comedy trope in which two men have a constant contest of one-upmanship and their families are dragged along for the ride, much to their consternation. Almost unanimously, the families of both men actually do not mind each other at all, it's only the dads that have the beef. In the patriarchs' minds, they have the full-blown Feuding Families thing going, but it's actually only they two that have the problem.

It's also almost universal that they will have children of opposite sexes who REALLY like each other, and who want nothing more than their fathers to stop their bickering so they might be happy together. In the case of the mothers, it can actually go either way: just as they might actually be friends who share together the misery of their husbands being total tools to each other, they might also, instead, actually get roped up in their husband's schemes to the point that they really start hating each other, too. It can also happen that it's only one of the fathers who has beef with the other one, but his constant contesting pisses the other father off until it becomes reciprocal.

Hanlon's Razor is majorly at work here: any accidental ANYTHING any of the fathers does will inevitably be mistaken by the other as a direct attack, and he will retaliate accordingly. In fact, it might even be eventually revealed that the reason for their beef WAS accidental. It might even be true that the fathers don't even remember the reason for their beef, it's just always been this way.

For the more serious trope involving entire families, see Feuding Families.

Examples:
  • Steve Martin's and Eugene Levy's characters in Cheaper By The Dozen 2.
  • Cleverdix and Majestix in Asterix And The Great Divide, who actually manage to get both their sides of the village to go at each other, but it's actually they two that have the beef and the rest of the village just got swept up in their feud. In contrast to them, Histrionix(Cleverdix's son) and Melodrama(Majestix's daughter) are very much in love and hate the fact that their fathers keep them apart.
  • Homer Simpson sees Ned Flanders as his rival and constantly tries to one-up him, but Flanders is much to nice to reciprocate the hate. There have been a few times, though, when Homer does things so downright mean to him that Ned has no choice but to confront him(although he always feels supremely guilty afterwards).
  • In the Martin Lawrence movie Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, the eponymous character has a feud with his cousin Reggie which ends up stringing the entire family along.
  • In the South Park episode, 'The Losing Edge', Randy Marsh feels that it is his duty to get into a fight with one of the other dads at Stan's baseball games whenever he attends, much to the chagrin of his family.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • February 23, 2011
    Chabal2
    Lucky Luke: the Rivals of Painful Gulch has this between two old men. They don't even remember what they were fighting about.
  • February 23, 2011
    DannyVElAcme
    @Chabal2: But are their families dragged into it too, or are they just two old guys feuding? This trope is about both there being a rivalry and the rivals' families being dragged unwillingly into it.
  • February 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Played With/Subverted in The Fantasticks, where the two fathers pretend to feud in order to drive their kids together; then after they do get together the fathers start feuding for real.
  • February 23, 2011
    dotchan
    Fairly Odd Parents - Timmy's dad's feud is even more pathetic: it's entirely one-way, based on his envy of his neighbor Dinkleberg.
  • February 27, 2011
    SD81
    Grumpy Old Men
  • April 25, 2011
    ElCheViva
    Romea and Juliet
  • April 25, 2011
    DannyVElAcme
    @ElCheViva: no, the Montagues and Capulets are examples of Feuding Families. Their feud is not petty, it is bloody and vindictive, while their children are the only ones refusing to perpetuate the feud. This is a comedy trope, it is a lighter version of Feuding Families in which only the fathers of the families actually hold a grudge.
  • April 25, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    The Adventures of Pete and Pete did it, but I don't recall the details
  • April 25, 2011
    jaytee
    In Pete and Pete it was competing Christmas decorations, I believe.
  • April 25, 2011
    originalhobbit
    • This is the entire plot of the film Deck The Halls, with the cause of the feud being Christmas displays.
  • April 25, 2011
    CousinApril
    The That70s Show episode with the Veteran's Day BBQ has this between Bob and Red, but the two of them eventually drag Eric and Donna into it as well.
  • April 25, 2011
    jaytee
    Really the christmas decorations feud could be it's own subtrope. isn't that in national lampoon's christmas vacation too?
  • August 25, 2011
    DannyVElAcme
    Bumping 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • February 20, 2012
    JoeG
    • This is gender reversed in Daria with Helen Morgandorfer and Linda Griffin.
  • February 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Invoked/Subverted in The Fantasticks (and its inspiration The Romancers): Bellamy and Hucklebee pretend they're feuding in order to make their offspring fall in love with each other.
  • February 21, 2012
    Chabal2
    Lucky Luke example: It's partial, as the patiarchs are definitely the brains and motivators of the operation, with the wives completely indifferent (and forcing one family to put out the fire they started on the other's farm). The sons, cousins, nephews etc. seem to participate willingly but there seems to be no bad blood after the issue is resolved, even marrying one of the rival's daughters.
  • February 21, 2012
    nielas
    • In the classic Polish comedy Sami Swoji the Feuding Families have been at each other's throats for a few generations but by by the time of the main story only the patriarchs have any real hostility left in them. The wives are apathetic and the children have fallen in love with each other. Even the two men are only keeping up the feud out of tradition and stubbornness rather than any real bad feelings.
  • February 21, 2012
    captainpat
    Make sure to get rid of that Example As A Thesis on the top.
  • February 23, 2012
    TrustBen
    Bob Belcher and Jimmy Pesto Sr on Bobs Burgers.
  • February 23, 2012
    sageoftruth
    Done once with the mothers in an episode of "Roseanne". The fathers were good friends as were the children, but the two mothers were engaged in class warfare.
  • February 23, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Jimmy Neutron: There's an episode where Jimmy's dad and Carl's dad get into a huge fight.
    • The Flintstones: Fred and Barney get into a feud, and Betty and Wilma join in. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, who have been together since Bamm-Bamm arrived are both miserable until both families patch it up.
  • February 13, 2016
    DAN004
  • February 13, 2016
    DAN004
  • February 13, 2016
    StrixObscuro
    Live Action TV
    • In Sirens, Johnny and Teresa's dads have a longstanding feud stemming from the age-old fireman-policeman rivalry, and consequently, any outing that involves both of them tends to become unpleasant.
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