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Feuding Patriarchs
Dad fights dad, families groan.


(permanent link) added: 2011-02-23 13:12:27 sponsor: DannyVElAcme (last reply: 2012-02-23 12:23:45)

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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.
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