Created By: surgoshan on August 26, 2012 Last Edited By: surgoshan on March 26, 2013

Hide The Baby

When characters have babies, they're typically placed offscreen.

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Needs Examples Do We Have This

Babies are really terrible actors. They cry, they poop, and they refuse to take direction. The infant production of Hamlet at Our Lady of Grace in Hoboken was a disgrace. Hamlet may have been crazy (or just faking), but he never before wet himself and vomited on Ophelia. Except that time with Errol Flynn...

People often have babies, and so do characters on film and television. Unfortunately, babies really are a terrible complication. In addition to crying and not being able to take direction, there are fairly strict rules for how long babies can be under those hot lights. The law also prohibits how long child actors (even non-infants) can spend on camera[[hottip:*:hence why the Olsen twins played one child on Full House]]. Further, actors tend to behave very differently around small children. They speak more quietly, tread softly, and spend a lot of time saying "Awwwww."

The solution is to put the baby somewhere where it can't be seen, stop the cameras, and take it away before resuming the scene. That's if the baby's ever on-screen at all. Quite often, a scene will open with Bob inquiring as to the baby's whereabouts only to be informed by Alice that it's with her mother. Cheap babysitters abound on television.

What this boils down to is a lot of very involved grandmothers and babies that spend a lot of time sleeping suspiciously quietly in very deep bassinets or bundled in thick swaddling. All in all, this is an Acceptable Break from Reality. Most parents probably wish their infants were so quiet and parents so uncomplainingly enslaved. Helpful. They're helpful.

If a show spends most of its time in locations where a baby logically shouldn't be present, then that's not this trope. Just because Alice had a baby doesn't mean the baby should be with her at the office. It's when Alice is at home and we still don't see the baby that this trope pops up. Of course, this assumes Alice is the primary caretaker. Modern families are no longer so nuclear. If the baby is parents don't live together and the baby is with the mother, you no longer expect daddy to spend his time caring for the baby.

Sub-trope to Out of Focus. When the child too big to be hidden in a basket, he may get sent to Not Important to This Episode Camp.


Shhh. The examples are sleeping.

Film -- Western Animation
  • Once the action-proper starts in The Incredibles, Violet and Dash leave Jack-Jack with a babysitter. Apart from an amusing phone-call, he disappears from the movie until the end.

Film -- Live Action
  • In the classic horror movie Rosemary's Baby, the titular baby is never actually seen on screen, only heard. However, this is more a product of Nothing Is Scarier, since the baby is the Anti Christ.
  • In The Women one of the characters is pregnant, and has the baby early in Act II. After feeding it once (and dropping her cigarette ash on it while doing so) she hands it to a hospital nurse, and that's the last we see of it.

Live-Action TV
  • This was incredibly common in the latest seasons of Friends. Rachel's daughter spent a lot of time sleeping peacefully in a bassinet.
  • On Too Close for Comfort, Andrew was often spoken of, presumably taken for a walk in a baby carriage in the opening credits, but rarely ever seen until he reached toddler age.
  • Modern Family: While Lily appears more often than some of the other babies on this list, there are still plenty of episodes in which we see Mitchel and Cameron without her and no explanation of where she is.
  • Eureka took this to a rather heartbreaking extreme by putting some of the characters through a timeskip and aging Allison's daughter, Jenna by four years, two months. However, it's a simulation, Allison and the others were kidnapped. Jenna's still an infant.

Theater
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro keeps Joseph Taylor, Jr. off the stage from birth until college. Since he's the protagonist, the Greek Chorus have to explain a lot of what can't be shown.

Video Games
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, after Selans and Maxim retrieve their son from a kidnapper, they decide to go on a quest to defeat the Sinistrals and leave the boy behind with Selans old caretaker, this leads to the child becoming an an orphan in the first ending.

Western Animation
  • Subverted in the episode Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge of The Simpsons. When Homer is being attacked by the mob Maggie uses a rifle to shoot and scare them off. Later when Homer and Marge check on her he comments;
    Homer: She's just like Clark Kent. Whenever there's lots of excitement, she's nowhere to be found.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • August 27, 2012
    Lavaros
    You could add Lufia Curse of the Sinistrals to that, (A videogame)
    • After Selans and Maxim retrieve their son from a kidnapper, they decide to go on a quest to defeat the Sinistrals and leave the boy behind with Selans old caretaker, this leads to the child becoming an an orphan in the first ending.
  • August 27, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    We need to limit this trope to babies whose "caretaker parent" is a main character. On Friends Ben was living with his "mommies", not Ross. We see Ben when he visits, not when Ross lets him out of the proverbial offscreen vault.

    The trope still holds with Emma, though.
  • August 27, 2012
    Jallen
    Sub-trope of Out Of Focus.
  • August 27, 2012
    Routerie
    Great intro :-D !

    ^^Agreed, we'd have to limit it to when the main character is the caretaker. Unless we go the opposite route and go for when the main character isn't the caretaker - the trope being, the baby is conveniently put Out Of Focus by giving it to a recurring character instead of the main one.
  • August 27, 2012
    cygnavamp
    On Too Close For Comfort, Andrew was often spoken of, presumably taken for a walk in a baby carriage in the opening credits, but rarely ever seen until he reached toddler age.
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    best intro ever
  • August 27, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • August 27, 2012
    JoeG
    • Modern Family: While Lily appears more often than some of the other babies on this list, there are still plenty of episodes in which we see Mitchel and Cameron without her and no explanation of where she is.
  • August 28, 2012
    Rognik
    For live-action productions, I'd add that certain laws prohibit children for being on camera for too long. Whether it be that children are only allowed to be on set for a certain number of hours, or that child actors need to be at least 3 months old before getting an actor's license. Obviously, this doesn't apply to drawn media, either animation or video games.

    Another cheat that people use for babies is bundling the child up in thick blankets so that nothing of the child can be seen. That might be a different trope, though.
  • August 29, 2012
    Jallen
    • Subverted in the episode Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge of The Simpsons. When Homer is being attacked by the mob Maggie uses a rifle to shoot and scare them off. Latter when Homer and Marge check on her he comments;
      Homer: She's just like Clark Kent. Whenever there's lots of excitement, she's nowhere to be found.

  • August 31, 2012
    Prfnoff
    • Rodgers And Hammerstein's Allegro keeps Joseph Taylor, Jr. off the stage from birth until college. Since he's the protagonist, the Greek Chorus have to explain a lot of what can't be shown.
  • September 1, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In The Women one of the characters is pregnant, and has the baby early in Act II. After feeding it once (and dropping her cigarette ash on it while doing so) she hands it to a hospital nurse, and that's the last we see of it.
  • September 10, 2012
    surgoshan
    Any more examples out there?
  • September 11, 2012
    Tuomas
    I think this is the same thing as Not Important To This Episode Camp. You seem to have misinterpreted it as covering only older kids who are sent to a literal camp, but the description clearly states: "And it isn't just camp. Maybe they've gone to visit that Disappeared Father we never hear about, or being looked after by some unnamed babysitter." And the trope description also includes babies: "Where on Earth is that newborn baby we spent half of last season waiting for?" So that trope page pretty much covers what you're suggesting here.

    That said, the name of that trope is a bit misleading (as it isn't necessarily about being literally sent to a camp), so maybe you could suggest a name change to it, and merge the examples in this thread with the examples already there?

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