Amazingly Embarrassing Parents
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"Your most important responsibility, as the parent of an adolescent, is to be a hideous embarrassment to your child.
Fortunately, most of us parents have a natural flair for this."
Children on TV live in terror of their parents ever getting a chance to interact with the other kids in school. This is for a very good reason - parents on TV seem to be on a quest to humiliate their children in front of their peers.
They always have a thousand and one stories about things their unfortunate offspring did when they were two years old, and they always seem certain that everyone wants to hear about them. They're perfectly right about that, of course, just not for the reasons that they think — the Alpha Bitch
and her ilk are just dying
to hear humiliating childhood stories, because they'll be able to tease the poor protagonist about them for years to come!
If the hero lets slip that he or she doesn't like their parent's behavior then the parents tend to be hurt. Due to the Rule of Drama
, the situation will be contrived for maximum hurt and the hero is likely to have to spend the rest of the episode trying to make amends, with the whole thing ending on An Aesop
about not being ashamed of your parents and the parents gaining empathy for their child. Also, Baby photos
, middle names
, and the Homemade Sweater From Hell
are a must.
Contrast Famous Ancestor
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- Toyota has an ad campaign with an insufferably smug kid pointing out the parents who are hideous caricatures of aging baby boomers humiliating their children by merely existing and driving something that isn't the company's big honkin' SUV.
- A follow up ad marketing the car to the kids, rather than either set of parents, the same brat is in the backseat when they pull up alongside another kid with embarrassing parents, who have been singing "Morning Angel" 30 times in a row. He's embarrassed and traumatized by the singing, not the car; the apparent selling point is that the Toyota SUV comes standard with a back-seat monitor so the kid could have been able to drown them out.
- A new Star Wars-themed Disney World ad involves a father walking through a hardware store with his kids. He dons a welding mask and picks up a long fluorescent light, quoting Empire Strikes Back, before swinging his "Lightsaber" around until he falls over. Lesson of the day? Go to Disney World to work these impulses out.
- ANY of the commercials in this campaign ("show us your Disney side") seem to imply that for adults, showing off their Disney side equals acting ridiculous, inappropriate, and immature almost to the point of mental illness. That grandfather who crashes the school play to act as though he's in The Lion King? IRL, there would be serious talk about needing a special care home for Grandpa, and lots of shame on the part of his family.
Anime and Manga
- In The Tainted Grimoire, Ensei is this sometimes, like when he eats so much food at public restaurants which usually earns stares from everyone else. His daughter Kanin is unhappy about this.
- In Misfiled Dreams (a Misfile fic), Ash's mother Marie joins in on the action when she cheerfully explains to her daughter the various pros and cons of a menage a trois. And then mentions that she's had three-ways with a man and another woman, as well as with two other girls.
- Jimmy Michaels of the Fruits Basket fic Jimmy & Kyo has a particularly bad case. Just mentioning his mom's occupation is enough to embarrass him to death. So what does she do? She's a Romance novelist! It's hinted his older brother Scott is just as embarrassed.
- The Hyuga family in A Growing Affection. Hiashi has Hinata wanting to move out after he goes to both Tsunade and Naruto to try to get Naruto to stop training with her. After he defrosts, he is just as embarrassed when his own father does the same thing.
- Father Brainstorm of Calvin and Hobbes: The Series is eager to share humiliating stories about his children, much to Jack's amusement.
- Kushina in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox is this for Naruto, especially when combined with her tendency to snark about his relationships with girls. And there's also her fan-girl attitude toward the in-universe comic book series Shadow Fox, including having a cosplay costume, which causes Naruto to do a double-take the first time he sees her wearing it while she's cooking dinner.
- The Wrong Reflection: Eleya's mother asking her 29-year-old daughter if she and Gaarra are being safe. In the middle of her sister's wedding reception.
Eleya and Teri: Mother!
- Jesus comes upon a crowd preparing to stone a young adulteress. He interrupts them, crying, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!" After a moment's silence, all of the townsfolk shamefacedly drift away. Satisfied, Jesus turns to leave, when suddenly a rock flies from behind him and hits the woman square in the jaw. She falls over, clutching her face, as Jesus spins around in surprise. "Mo-om," he groans. "You're embarrassing me!"
- A variation of this had the rock fall from sky, with Jesus rolling his eyes. "Daaaaad... I was trying to make a point!"
- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. The main character, 'Fat Charlie' Nancy, is convinced that he's got the most embarrassing dad on the face of the planet. He's probably right. One could rightfully consider his dad, Anansi, to be a literal GOD of embarrassment.
- The nickname "Fat Charlie" was bestowed on him by his dad, and just stuck all those years, even though he's not really that fat, because Dad's a Physical God whose penchant as The Nicknamer blends right into his power as a Reality Warper.
- There's an Israeli children's book that's all about this: the kid's embarrassing, stay-at-home dad has his Crowning Moment of Awesome when the kindergarten has a moms' baking contest and his apparently bland cake explodes into fantastic sugared roses. Awww.
- Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is sort of a version of this trope; her relative lack of breeding and unsubtle attempts to set her daughters up with prospective husbands — and in the case of Mr. Bingley and Jane, to act as if they're already engaged after they've just met — prove mortifying to her two older daughters at least (the younger ones are equally embarrassing as their mother). The consequences of this are more serious than usual, since Jane's embarrassing family is one of the major reasons Mr. Darcy persuades Mr. Bingley not to marry her.
- Honor Harrington has a father who is a dignified former naval doctor from a well-thought-of family... and her mother makes up for it in sheer embarrassing abilities. The very first thing she does onscreen is observe how nice the ass of Honor's second-in-command is, and telling her she needs to tap that.
- The Kingdom Keepers hints at this with Finn's parents. When his mother first meets Jez, she gushes about Finn meeting "a cute girl", earning a look.
- In the very last Manly Wade Wellman Silver John novel, Voice of the Mountain, the main villain Ruel Harpe is described after embarrassing a young witch in his service as being rather like "one of those parents who enjoys embarrassing their children on purpose."
- Susan Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid causes their sons a lot of embarrassment and ruins their fun with her bit trait of a Cloudcuckoolander and her tendency to pop up at Greg's school when he has left his bag or lunchbox at home.
- Mr. and Mrs. Harris from How to Get Suspended and Influence People and Pirates of the Retail Wasteland are food disaster hobbyists and gave their son the middle name "Noside."
- In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Freckles, a Doorstop Baby, at one point longed to know his parents. But at the novel's end, he dreads the prospect of embarrassing his beloved with possibly criminal relations.
- Played straight and subverted in Gone with the Wind. Wade Hampton (Scarlett's son from her first marriage) is forced to admit that he's been facing bullying and ostracism at school because of Scarlett's unladylike behavior of owning her own businesses, and Rhett's apparent lack of a War record. Rhett, partly motivated by compassion for him, and for step-daughter Ella, and partly motivated by fear that his own biological daughter, Bonnie, might face the same treatment when she's old enough to start playing with other children, starts changing his outward behavior and trying to fit in with the Old Guard social set of Atlanta. Scarlett, however, scoffs at the idea of children's social life being of any importance whatsoever, and keeps right on doing as she pleases.
- Stephanie Plum's mother and grandmother (especially Grandma Mazur) are so embarrassing that even Stephanie's father can barely stand it. As an example, when Stephanie's mother set her up on a blind date in the first book, Grandma Mazur pulls out a gun during dinner and accidentally shoots the main course while showing it off. Stephanie often begs them to calm down to no effect, while her father, being The Quiet One, merely mutters "Christ" under his breath when they get particularly bad.
- Played with in John Moore's Heroics for Beginners. The main character thinks back to how he once snuck out of the castle to take his then girlfriend to a small jazz club, only for his father, King Eric the Totally Cool, to show up with his trademark shades and a saxophone so he can jam with the band. As the hero puts it "Parents should not be cooler then their children."
- In Betty Macdonald's Onions in the Stew a recurring theme is how embarassing Annie and Joan find Betty & Don.
- Referenced in Jingo, when two fishermen from rival nations start arguing over fishing rights and claim to the newly-risen island of Leshp. Their sons, who are about the same age and couldn't care less about either issue, trade a look that conveys a lot of mutual understanding, starting with the sheer galactic-sized embarrassment of having parents.
Live Action TV
- Lois and Hal in Malcolm in the Middle.
- In one episode, it's revealed that Lois accidentally (or simply unconcernedly) humiliating him in front of other people all his life with her wisecracks, rants, and aggressive confrontations has caused Francis to become totally immune to hazing.
- In another, when Malcolm is driven home by the parents of the children he babysits, arriving while Hal and Lois are having a half-naked screaming match in the front yard while Dewey and Reese root around in the mud like animals, Malcolm tries to claim he actually lives on the next street over.
- Lois has moments where she walks around the house completely bare at the top and opens the door when the bell rings, not minding at all that she's showing everything... to her kids' teacher.
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Uncle Phil's mother is like this. Bonus point for the fact that Phil is middle-aged, and she manages to humiliate him in front of his children. They all think it's hilarious.
- The kids all love Grandma Banks, because she's a Cool Old Lady; embarrassing the stew out of Phil (whom she still calls "Zeke", and gleefully recounts stories of his childhood on the farm) is just the icing on the cake.
- Paul's father in Mad About You is another example of a parent who is so embarrassing that he can torment his son even after he's grown up. He at one point published naked baby pictures of Paul in the newspaper. At another point he told a theater audience about the time he caught teenage Paul masturbating. Patricide would have been perfectly justifiable.
- And when on one occasion he called his father out on it, it made its way into the newspapers turning all of New York City against Paul, to the point that random bystanders would spit on him on sight.
- Likewise, Everybody Loves Raymond has Marie and Frank continuing to torment Ray and Robert into their adulthood.
- A skit in That Mitchell and Webb Look had a boy in the hospital from severe embarrassment from his parents, with only a few months to live. His parents try to speak to him, but only end up killing him.
- An early episode of the sitcom Roseanne played with this trope, when an uptight Becky prepares to go meet her first boyfriend Chip in public, and her parents Roseanne and Dan jokingly threaten to come along, all the while picking their noses, turning their hats around backwards, etc.
- The outtakes from that scene are particularly funny, as John Goodman was hamming it up so much that Roseanne repeatedly blew the take by laughing.
- Roseanne once invoked this as punishment for her kids. She dropped little DJ off at school in the most embarrassing manner possible, by wearing a set of hideous patchwork dungarees, a huge floppy hat with a flower, and slowly, deliberately, applying bright red lipstick in front of him so she could send him off with a biiig sloppy kiss...
Roseanne: Now hurry up. I don't want to be late to surprise your sister [at college]. I'm going to dance for them.
- The Closer. Poor, poor Brenda...
- The point of the Australian kids' show Mortified. Given her father styles himself as the Underpants King (he runs an underwear store named this) and drives around in a van with this painted on the side, Taylor Fry may actually have a case.
- Stella in Sugar Rush. Childish, self absorbed, caught banging the decorator on the kitchen table, later entices her husband to a swinger's club, only to be caught by her daughter... You don't know whether to laugh or cry, she's so horrifying.
- Many years ago there was a one-off British TV play, not played for laughs, about a boy who is so embarrassed by his mother's erratic hyperactive behavior that eventually he can't even bring himself to tell people she's his mother and calls her "a sort of aunt".
- The entire point of the aptly-named "Embarrassing Dad" sketches by UK duo Punt and Dennis, most of which had the character at some point end up in a venue with music playing and their teenage children present, and proclaim "It's got a good beat" whilst dancing horribly.
- Vala's Con Man father makes an appearance in a late episode of Stargate SG-1, showing up on Earth requesting asylum. Vala is the only one not taken in by his claims that he's trying to reform while running embarrassingly-bad scams around the clock and eventually leaving Earth aboard a stolen cargo ship supposedly full of Naquadah. Thankfully the team was convinced in time to help Vala double-cross him and keep the Naquadah.
- Still Standing, 8 Simple Rules, etc. Name a sitcom revolving around a family with at least one parent and at least one child and there's a good chance that the parent(s) is/are amazingly embarrassing.
- Friends has it from time to time:
- Ross and Monica's father Jack has sex-related comments (e.g. asking his daughter's husband if he's able to give her an orgasm)
- Chandler's folks: his mother is a gorgeous sex-driven blonde writer of erotic novels who even kisses one of his best friends, and his father's a gay transgender Las Vegas cabaret entertainer. At one point, Chandler was worried that he was turning into his parents. Ross asks him:
Ross: Chandler, have you ever put on a black cocktail dress and asked me up to your hotel room?
Ross: Then you are neither of your parents!
- The worst example would have to be Mrs Bing proving how good a mother she is by revealing she bought Chandler his first condoms. On the Jay Leno show.
Chandler: (watching)...And then he burst into flames.
- Rachel's parents. Her father is an overbearing man who isn't a smooth tipper and is very easily irritable, but her mum take the cake. She's like a girl who never grow up, asks Rachel and girls what's new in sex, and is unable to accept a sincere apology.
- Duncan's mom in The Class joins him at Yonk and Nicole's house for Thanksgiving, and as she leaves to look at Yonk's trophies, Duncan has to tell Yonk that "I know she's my mom and all, but, uh, she steals." Plus the phone calls.
- Frank and Estelle Costanza in Seinfeld. Another example of parents so bad that they still embarrass their grown-up son.
- During the series premiere of Cougar Town, Travis's mother becomes the town's official MILF and his father takes a job mowing the high school's lawns (shirtless!), setting him up for plenty of parental embarrassment in episodes to come.
- My Parents Are Aliens has this happen quite a lot (partly because they're both Fish out of Water and don't quite understand human society). When Brian wanted to be a magician, he decided to take his magic show straight into the kids high school, despite not actually knowing how to perform any magic tricks in the first place.
- Robbie Ray from Hannah Montana has moments like this, sometimes unintentionally such as when he brought an embarrassing kitty sweater for Miley's birthday, and sometimes intentionally such as announcing to all of her classmates that she failed her driving licenses and needed daddy to drop her off as punishment for lying and ending up in jail.
- Trey's parents from an early episode also qualify. They're amazingly snooty rich people who spend their entire episode looking down their long, snobbish noses at Miley for being 'a bumpkin' until Trey finally tells them that he's ashamed of them.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Amanda is scolded by Sarek for embarrassing their son by describing his childhood pet as a 'fat teddy-bear'. McCoy is gleeful until Spock calmly informs him that the 'teddy-bears' on Vulcan are '- alive and have six inch fangs'.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Another case of a parent who never ceases to embarrass her daughter is Lwaxana Troi, whose flirtatious and forceful personality causes endless grief for her daughter Deanna. Whenever she comes on board the ship, she's likely to condescend to Deanna every chance she gets, butt into other people's affairs, and try to score with an equally-irritated Captain Picard. She's supposed to be an telepath who reads thoughts and emotions.
- Worf's adoptive parents embarrass him too, but they're not as bad as other examples on this page. It has more to do with Worf's uptight nature than their behavior. They are actually rather sweet.
- Subverted by Bashir's parents in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Dr Bashir, I Presume?" The second half reveals he has genuine problems with them that go beyond simple embarrassment. Namely, that he is the product of illegal genetic manipulation.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- The episode where everyone's worst nightmares were coming true had a typical tough-guy/juvenile delinquent student visited by his babying, over demonstrative mother in front of his friends.
- Buffy's mum slept with Giles in "Band Candy". On the hood of a police car. Twice.
- All four main characters in The Inbetweeners have one. Will's mum treats him like a child and is lusted after by all his friends, Jay's dad constantly belittles him in front of his friends and has extremely irritable bowels, Simon's dad won't shut up about his sex life, and Neil's dad is Mistaken for Gay by pretty much everyone.
- Happens at least once, and more likely multiple times, to Kevin in The Wonder Years. Most memorably, his mother took him to the mall shopping for clothes and had him try on a new pair of jeans, right as some kids he knew from school happened to be walking by. After he steps out of the dressing room, Kevin's mom conducts an up close and personal inspection,
concluding saying trumpeting for all to hear that the jeans "need more room in the crotch". In his embarrassment, he imagines hearing that announced over the store's PA.
- Taken to a near abusive level in The Hard Times of RJ Berger. In just one example, his mother shouts encouragement to him from the next room as he makes out with his girlfriend, and then ENTERS THE ROOM to remove said girlfriend's bra for him.
- Married... with Children: Kelly would rather people think Sticky the Clown is her father instead of Al; Peggy prefers telling people her husband is dead. Also, Bud and Kelly are both excited when they think Al's going to prison.
- Fringe's Walter Bishop is clinically insane from having part of his brain cut out, and frequently goes off on tangents about how the shaved head of the corpse that they are experimenting on looks just like Peter's bare bottom when he was a baby.
: Uh oh. Olivia
: What? Walter
: I just got an erection. Oh, fear not, it's nothing to do with your state of undress. I think I simply need to urinate.
- Alan and Amy Matthews on Boy Meets World were usually just Good Parents however they delved into this on occasion. For example, in one episode Amy decides to take a creative writing class at the local university and happens to enroll in Eric's class. She proceeds to write artsy short stories about her and Alan's wedding night and Eric's birth.
- When Rita asks Michael Bluth about his family in Arrested Development, the "previous girlfriends" montage reveals the depths of embarassment his family has caused him, so he simply blurts out the lie "I have no family."
Michael: (to himself) Why didn't I think of this before?
- It only got worse when they found out about Rita anyway. They end up kidnapping her, knocking her out and abandoning her on a bench by the road when they think they accidentally killed her.
- CSI Sara to Grissom, via Skype. "Your mother is talking about our sex life."
- The Episode 10 family in Los Simuladores.
- Lampshaded by the hosts in an episode of Wipeout. They even nicknamed her as such, "Embarrassing Mom".
- There was a recurring sketch on MADtv that used this, except the parents weren't embarrassing but the girl acted like they were.
- Rizzoli & Isles: Jane Rizzoli's mother Angela has a noted tendency to show up at her daughter's work.
Angela: I promise I won't embarrass you.
Jane: Thirty years of experience says otherwise.
- Most of the main characters of The Big Bang Theory have embarrassing parents, Howard's mother being featured most prominently. Sometimes it's the case of Parents as People. Or the guys feel they would like to swap families because the grass is greener...
- Howard has a typical overbearing Jewish Mother with raspy voice who treats him as a young teenager. She treats the guys as kids who came to play etc., but to be fair, Howard clearly depends on her to take care of him as though he's a child; this and his complaining amounts to a lot of mixed signals.
- Bernadette's mother is supposed to be overbearing (that's how she and Howard bonded), but when she was later actually on-screen, she was quite normal, except she wasn't much of a talker and Howard didn't feel welcome in their home.
- Leonard's mother is an iceberg of a woman. However, Penny manages to get her drunk once, and boy, is she embarrassing! She even attempts to make out with Sheldon.
- Sheldon's mom has shades of this trope, but she's generally the favorite parent of the group. She comes from rural Texas and tends to make racially insensitive remarks; when the guys get uncomfortable, she thinks it's Political Correctness Gone Mad. Sheldon considers her a religious nut.
- Raj's parents embarrass him through Skype sometimes. Their emphasis on traditions is perplexing and their opinions on romantic and sexual life are extremely dated. Though once, when they wanted to berate Rajesh, they told him to take his laptop somewhere private.
- A recurring sketch in Scottish comedy show Chewin' the Fat involved a teenager with his parents, who cheerfully announce to anyone they meet that their son has just started masturbating.
- In the drama Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex seems to think this about her parents (and Justin has gone there himself, but not without cause).
- In Cranford, Miss Mary Smith's stepmother is a matchmaker from hell who desperately tries to marry her off to anybody would make an offer. She comments on her appearance (why didn't she curl her hair?) and forces her to hold a baby in order to make Mary appear more feminine and domestic, even though Mary clearly doesn't want to.
- Finn Nelson's dad in My Mad Fat Diary.
- Subverted in Sherlock, where both Sherlock and Mycroft act like their parents are mortally embarrassing, yet they're actually quite mundane. The boys are so eccentric that their normal parents are on a completely different wavelength. The third season does, however, reveal that their mother was quite brilliant in her day. She chose family over the career of a brilliant mathematician. Mary also guesses that Sherlock's father is also secretly intelligent, who immediately reciprocates.
- Subverted in Orange Is The New Black, where it turns out that Crazy-Eyes is embarrassed by her very normal, upper-middle-class adoptive parents. She acts like a sulky teenager when they visit.
- In Good Luck Charlie Bob and Amy are extremely Genre Savvy. So much so, that they use this trope as a Cool and Unusual Punishment.
- On one occasion, when PJ and Teddy try to hold a party when they think their parents will be out all night, they purposely embarass their kids by dancing (badly of course) at the party.
- In another episode, when Teddy and her Black Best Friend Ivy try to persuade their respective mothers that they are 'cool', Amy and Mary Lou 'show them up' in front of their friends, including more bad dancing.
- While Freddie's mother is also a smotherer on iCarly, Mrs. Bensoin becomes extremely embarrassing in "iMoveOut". First, she interrupts an iCarly webcast to bring Freddie the asparagus he didn't eat for supper, making him eat it while singing her childish vegetable song. This is done on camera in front of the iCarly audience. She later shows students at school his baby pictures.
- Played with a twist on The Sifl and Olly Show. Olly had Sifl's mom call their show and tried to get her to tell embarrassing childhood stories about Sifl. She did... except the stories all actually ended up being about something Olly did.
- "Just call us Monroe's mom and dad."
- Connie and Walt in the comic strip Zits both drive Jeremy crazy by doing this. There is no Aesop, though, and Jeremy drives Connie and Walt crazy in plenty of other ways, so it evens out.
- A wonderful "Revenge of the Kid" occurred in On The Fastrack when Melody was showing Laurel's baby pictures to Bob. Melody excused herself briefly; Laurel followed her out, there was the sound effect of a flash bulb and a piercing scream, and Laurel came back to hand Bob a Polaroid photo with the words, "My mother on the throne." Cue another piercing scream from out-of-frame.
- This even shows up in The Bible:
- Mrs. Zebedee does this to her sons, the Apostles James & John, when she asks Jesus to give them most favored status in the Kingdom.
- Mary does this to Jesus twice. First at the Finding in the Temple, second at the Wedding at Cana.
- Older Than Steam: Shakespearean plays
- In Romeo and Juliet, while the Nurse is technically not one of Juliet's parents, she otherwise fits this trope to a T. She's filled with embarrassing stories about Juliet as a toddler, and she loves to tell them at great length long after her audience has lost interest. Juliet has to beg her to shut up on more than one occasion.
- Then throw in that this is Shakespeare, many of her rambling stories included double-ententes about how Juliet is expected to have sex and become pregnant very soon.
- Gloucester in King Lear loves to parade his illegitimate son about and tell all and sundry about the fun he had with his mother.
- In Baldur's Gate, CHARNAME's adopted parents, the monks of Candlekeep, include a few of these, but the two best examples have to be Theodon and Jessup, who, if not dramatically cut off, will happily ramble on to CHARNAME and their party about what a cute little nudist toddler they were, regaling them with a story of one incident when CHARNAME stole the cloak of Khelban Blackstaff and made it into a cape, giving it back only when Khelban used a spell to catch them, and commenting on how they wished they had a chance to show off some of CHARNAME's baby pictures.
- EarthBound: In literally his first sentence to the main party, Jeff's father Dr Andonuts blurts out that his son still wets the bed sometimes.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Nah loves her mother Nowi but considers her as such since she's very child-like in behavior (or so it seems) and in looks.
- The alt text in this xkcd involving Totally Radical.
- Ash's dad in Misfile is a gynecologist who treats several of her friends - and will happily talk shop over the dinner table when said friends have come over. Taken to a whole new level because he has a terrible memory for faces, but never forgets a vagina.
- Meanwhile, Ash's mom Marie is a former lingerie model who has appeared in her fair share of racy catalogs. Ash notes that trying on bras would be awkward enough even if there wasn't a large poster of her topless mother hanging in the fitting room. She's also prone to embarrassing questions.
- The webcomic/book Diary of a Wimpy Kid takes this to extremes: The protagonist's mother is rather stupid, utterly oblivious to Greg's troubles, and goes out of her way to humiliate him in public. The father follows the philosophy of Teens Are Monsters and tries to ship Greg off to military school when he turns thirteen.
- Not just Greg's parents. Rowley's parents are the sort who won't allow their son to watch anything rated above "G". Which might account for Rowley's current state of mind.
- In David Willis' Shortpacked!, the surly, misanthropic Mike's parents (who he continually denounces to his girlfriend Amber) are revealed to be extraordinarily understanding parents who appear to be straight out of a fifties sitcom — except that they are equally extraordinarily frank about their sex life and willing to give advice. Which explains just why Mike was so keen to keep Amber as far away from them as humanly possible. However, it's never stated whether they were always like this or whether this is their reaction to Mike dying at the end of It's Walky and coming back a year later with no explanation.
- Girly: Cloudcuckoolander Winter's parents manage to embarrass even her. "ANYONE would be embarrassed by parents who go out in broad daylight to smack each other with bats while wearing penguin suits!"
- In Everyday Heroes, Steve Mighty and Lee Free Sr. are discussing classic rock artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Grateful Dead ... then Mr. Mighty starts talking about his favorite bands.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , Kria Soulstealer, seen here flirting with her enemy in front of her own daughter.
- Kria is quite possibly the most embarrassing parent ever. Other highlights include:
- Questionable Content:
- Dora's parents, Peter and Elssa Bianchi, are serious stoners, prone to massive over sharingnote . Plus, Peter shares Dora's taste in porn (who happens to be her boyfriend Marten's mother).
- Marten's mother herself; she is a high-profile fetish model and professional domme who helped Dora discover her sexuality, and she constantly asks Marten about his sex life in public.
- Cloud from Sandra and Woo probably won't go to a restaurant together with his parents anytime soon again.
- In a Naruto comic Naru/Hina, Shikimaru's mother appears to be one of these. this page says it all.
- The queen of this in Girls Next Door is Jareth's mother Jadis. Highlights include: Routinely calling him a "waste of genes". Telling the effects of cold air on guys in Painted-On Pants (his favorite clothing) in front of his friends. Writing Christmas cards to him in nothing but insults and innuendos. Forcing his unwilling love interest to participate in their family events. And getting together with the guy he loathes most.
- And this is a Mega Crossover 'verse that has two Ax-Crazy murderers with family issues. Todd and Nathan, who both showed their embarrassing parent side in Roommates (on their first meeting they swaped stories and baby pictures). Also let's not forget Morgan who took pictures of her son and his boyfriend kissing in the name of fanservice in Superintendent.
- Spinnerette has Super Milf, whose superhero name both A. calls attention to the fact that she has kids, and B. calls attention to the fact that she's a near-exhibitionist for whom being a superhero is largely a sexual fetish. If we have yet to see the kids, in can only be because they are in hiding.
- Zeus' Godly Goodtime portrays Zeus as this. His constant pestering embarrasses his son Kratos. At one point, Zeus even asks if he can join Kratos in bed!
- Bar'd has Caek's parents reminiscing about the one time she had an octopus girlfriend. To the man she recently tied the know with. In the middle of their wedding reception.
- Da-Jeong's father in The Friendly Winter is a well-meaning but immature Man Child. He also treats and dresses her like a little kid when she's nineteen, though that has to do with her looking like a seven year old
- Ménage à 3: Takeru hasn't said much about his daughter Yuki's childhood (yet), but his first reaction on Gary being introduced to him as Yuki's new boyfriend was to start talking marriage and babies in faintly creepy terms. And Yuki would doubtless be embarrassed by his porn manga work if she didn't simply hate it.
- This example from Not Always Right:
(I noticed condoms along with the other party items the mother is buying)
Me: "Oh, are you having a party soon?"
Mother: *nods* "My little James is growing up. He’s going to have an orgy with all his little friends, aren’t you Captain Muffinpants?"
Me: *suppresses laughter* "Will that be all?"
Son: "YES! YES THAT WILL BE ALL!" *runs to car*
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: King Cold is this to Freeza.
Trunks: If you want a Super Sayian, I can fill the part.
Freeza: Oh, you hear that, daddy? "I can fill the part". It's like a five-year-old trying to play police officer.
King Cold: Or how you play Pretty Pink Princess?
Freeza: Daddy! Not in front of the malcontent!
King Cold: But it's so cute when you do it!
Freeza: I haven't done that since I was eight-eight-eight-eight-my Quinceañera!
- Kevin's Dad in Kev Jumba's videos. His dad is an strict and incredibly stereotypical chinese father.
- In Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Max brings home his friend Mona to meet Goofy. Goofy shows Mona a huge baby picture of Max.
- Lois and Peter in Family Guy. Especially where Meg is concerned.
- In the episode "He's Too Sexy For His Fat":
Lois: Will you keep your voice down? You're embarrassing him! [Chris]
Peter: What are you talking about? If I wanted to embarrass him, I'd do something like this. Hey, hey everybody, hey look what Chris Griffin's father, Peter Griffin's doing! (sucks his own nipple)
- The episode where Meg tricks the family onto the Jerry Springer-like talk show.
- South Park:
- Kim Possible has parents like this. On the other hand, the Alpha Bitch and Big Bad Dr. Drakken's mothers are like this too.
- The Mother's Day episode is a train wreck of social awkwardness. And does not mark the only appearance of any of the Mothers.
- Professor Wakeman humiliates Jenny in My Life as a Teenage Robot and Jenny is miserable about it until Brad tells her part of being a teenager is enduring mortifying embarrassment at the hands of their parents. At which point Jenny feels a lot better, knowing all teenagers go through it. "Teenagers. One moment they're operating efficiently, the next moment they're tossing off body parts and calling you a dweeb." — Prof. Wakeman
- American Dragon Jake Long: For one episode it was both parents tucking annoying little rhyming Post-It notes on his person that people would find and read. But for the duration of the series, except for the Father's Day episode in the last season, Jake's father was not just embarrassing by the old stories ? he had embarrassing nicknames and behavior.
- To quote Jake when Rose asks if they can practice their lines for the play at his house: "My house is being fumigated."
- Daria did a variation of this in one episode: Daria quite deliberately told embarrassing anecdotes about Quinn to the "cool crowd".
- Frequently comes up in The Simpsons. One episode had Bart and Marge shopping for clothing and she does things such as suggest he try on some cute underwear when other kids were around and opening the door to the changing room without warning while he was still getting dressed. It came off as less of 'Marge is embarrassing' than 'Marge is a Cloudcuckoolander Jerk'. Then again, they don't object to much of what Homer does because he is at least frequently called on it, even though everything snaps back by the end.
- Averted in Doug, who is terrified his older sister will tell everyone about his secret crush when she does a poetry recital at his school. (She doesn't.)
- Played straight when Doug's father shows up at his first party...dressed as a party clown. "The cheese stands alone! The cheese stands alone!"
- Then played straight again in "Doug's Sister Act" when Judy is afraid that her family is too boring for her new boyfriend Kyle, so she dresses up the folks and writes them a script.
- In Goof Troop, Goofy is generally this towards Max. Max is at times characterized as generally ashamed of Goofy in general, so it's not just one-way.
- Slightly subverted in House of Mouse. Max was afraid his father would embarrass him on his date when the rest of cast did it for him.
- Spinelli's parents in Recess. They are actually revealed to be very famous and skilled secret agents, though Spinelli herself is unaware of this, leading one to wonder whether they really are like this or if they are faking being your 'normal ultra-embarrassing parents' as part of their secret identity.
- Butch Hartman must really love this trope cause this happens in almost every series he has made:
- What can you say other than poor... poor Timmy on The Fairly OddParents. If they're not ignoring him, they're very embarrassing.
- And when he got Cosmo and Wanda to appear human to pose as his parents to meet Crocker for parent-teacher night, Hilarity Ensued.
- Jack and Maddie in Danny Phantom, though there are frequent times both Danny and Jazz admire them and their abilities. One of the biggest extreme would be in "Forever Phantom" when the two are on a search and rescue mission for their son. One of their methods is announcing to the entire city of Amity Park to keep an eye out for their son AKA "the cutest, sweetest son in the world." They later add their further desire to "shower him with hugs and kisses".
- Invader Zim's "parents" are Amazingly Embarrassing for a unique reason: they're robots meant to aid in his disguise as a human being. Unfortunately, they're not very good at it. In the episode "Parent Teacher Night", Zim tries reprogramming his robot parents so that they act more human (and don't attack random passersby). Due in part to Gir's meddling, this had disastrous results.
- The Powerpuff Girls has the episode "Powerprof" in which their father Professor Utonium, wanting to spend more time with the girls, builds a power suit so he can fight crime alongside them. He then proceeds to embarrass them by being highly overprotective and casually revealing to the public gathered that Bubbles was wetting the bed until recently.
- In the newer The Addams Family cartoon, Wednesday and Pugsley's friend Norman has a father who prides himself on being the best underwear salesman ever, and his mother is a rather spacey Stepford Smiler. It doesn't help that his parents absolutely hate the Addams and tend to end up embarrassing themselves in their schemes to get them to leave.
- Notably in one episode, his father was doing a 'history of underwear' for school career day, making Norman hold up said historical undies.
- The Kids From Room 402 has this with Cody's mom, who doesn't seem to grasp the fact that her son's bathroom habits aren't the sort of thing to be discussed in public, let alone in front of Cody's peer-group.
- Starlee's parents from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward.
- Ben 10's parents Carl and Sandra are New Age Retro Hippies who don't really embarrass him in public in front of others - they're just embarrassing on principle.
- Peggy Hill of King of the Hill can be like this to Bobby, he mostly finds it embarrassing in public or when he's around his friends. Usually the trope is inverted; Hank is extremely embarrassed of Bobby.
- This drives the plot of an episode of Birdz. Eddie is embarrassed by his dopey father, but they quickly grow to bond after getting lost on a scavenger hunt.
- Milo's parents on The Oblongs. At a parent-teacher conference, his mother gets stuck in a desk and his father plays the piano...despite having no arms or legs.
"Helga, I want you to take this compass and drive it deep into my forehead."
- Hercules's foster parents fell into this trope when it was the day parents visited their children at Hercules' school. To their defense, Hercules would be disappointed anyway since he expected his birth parents to show up.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Family Appreciation Day" had Apple Bloom noticing all the embarrassing things her Granny Smith did once the resident Alpha Bitch pointed it out to her.
- Rarity's parents seem to be this at first glance. Their manner of dress, speech and preference for eating badly-made food indicate they're nothing like their elegant and high-society daughter. However, the main plot of the episode brushes them aside before we're shown if Rarity does feel ashamed of them or not.
- Roger Baxter is this to his daughter Blythe in Littlest Pet Shop (2012), especially in the episode "Helicopter Dad".
- A lot of long-suffering teenagers (and grown-ups) have found this to be Truth in Television with their own parents.
- Who are we kidding? Every. Single. Kid. Ever. Born. Feels this way. Don't lie, troper; you do too.
- And let's be real, fellow tropers: if any of you has kids... at one or another point, YOU will become this.
- If you've ever suspected that your parents sometimes embarrass you INTENTIONALLY, if they are perhaps doing it out of a sense of vengeance for the dirty diapers, the vomit, the lost sleep and, oh yes... all the coitus interruptus... You're right. We are. And if you don't clean your room your girlfriend WILL get to hear about your toilet training.
- Plus all the times you've probably embarrassed them through the years (throwing tantrums in public, getting calls home from school, saying private/inappropriate things to other people, etc.)
- It's all relative: Billy Joel once stated that the only thing he had to do to get his teen-aged kids to behave in public was to threaten to start singing.
- MTV's True Life: I Have Embarrassing Parents featured a wannabe rocker dad, a couple of nudists, and a Star Wars fanboy dad. The tale of Star Wars Dad and his son is quite touching: Dad is a staunch believer in The Force while his son is an avid hunter, something dad doesn't really approve of. The son grudgingly agrees to go to a Star Wars 'con (possibly the 'con, "Celebration"). In the end, father and son are seen walking together in understanding, with dad in his Jedi robes and son... in Storm Trooper armor.
- Neil Gaiman once described it in his own philosophical way: "The trouble with parents, and this is speaking as a parent, is that by our very nature we embarrass our children... You could be King, you could be President, and your own children will still say, 'Oh my God, Dad, just stop singing. We're in public. It's so embarrassing. And put that down...'"
- On his elder son's 13th birthday, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco brought the kid up on stage at Madison Square Garden and got the crowd to sing "Happy Birthday" to him, sending him off stage afterwards with "It's all downhill from here, kid."
- Astronaut Scott Parazynski did a Darth Vader impression and told his son "Luke, I Am Your Father"... from orbit. The fact that his son was actually named Luke raises the possibility that he was planning this for a very long time.
- Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, who was notorious for her antics (keeping a snake named Emily Spinachnote , putting a tack on a gentleman's seat, riding in cars with men at a time when this was seen as scandalous and placing bets with bookies at the White House...) probably was this for her daughter Paulina. It didn't end happy: Paulina became depressed and an alcoholic.
- This family whose elder members have fallen for a doomsday prophet but the kids aren't buying it.
- Dressing up in costumes to wave at the school bus every day, for the win.
- This is a major theme in the blog STFU Parents, which documents real-life incidents of parents sharing too much information about their kids over Facebook. Even though a good portion of the kids are too young to see said posts, you can't help but feel sorry for some of them.
- Considering that on the internet no information ever dies, you can't help but wonder if in a decade or so scouring Facebook for embarrassing childhood stories will become a standard bullying tactic.
- In her autobiography Fierce, Kelly Osbourne speaks of being embarrassed by her father on numerous occasions as part of her experiences growing up. In one notable case, Ozzy wasn't terribly amused when he found out his wife Sharon had bought then-teenaged Kelly thong underwear as a present, and then proceeded to cut up the thong - in front of her friends.
- More recently, it's Kelly's mom Sharon that seems to be distressing the young star, as Kelly has expressed embarrassment at her mother's willingness to overshare on The Talk.
- And then there's the time Sharon had backup while they were on television. It might not have been too painful if the backup hadn't been Marilyn Manson. On the bright side, he managed to embarrass Sharon, and the three of them embarrassed Ozzy and Jack, too.
- Actor/comedian Ray Romano often lampshades his status as this in his comedy routines and used to do so on Everybody Loves Raymond as well (though on the show he usually makes more fun of his own Amazingly Embarrassing Parents). In one memorable real life incident, Ray won the award for best comedy lead at the Emmy's during ELR's final season, and invited his then-teenaged sons onto the stage. Being that they were teenagers, they were ultra-embarrassed and refused. Ray being a comedian, he then decided to substitute them by bringing Angus T. Jones of the then-new Two and a Half Men on stage instead, resulting in a HUGE Crowning Moment of Funny for everyone involved. Check it out on Youtube, it's definitely worth watching.
- Some intactivists might fall into this when boasting their children being intact.
- Renzo Bossi, son of the Italian politician Umberto Bossi, is universally known as The Trout (Il Trota in Italian) due his father calling him an idiot and a trout on tv for failing school the third time.
- This one needs a little clarification. In Italy the heir or designed successor of someone is often called 'dolphin', from the Dauphin of France (the heir to the French throne during the monarchy, translated in Italian as 'Delfino di Francia', meaning literally 'Dolphin of France;'note ). After the third time Renzo failed school, a television journalist snidely asked Bossi if Renzo was really his dolphin, prompting Bossi to reply: "That idiot there? At best he's a trout!".
- World’s Most Embarrassing Mom Makes Peruvian Government Hunt Down Her Son When He Stops Posting on Facebook
- This can also happen in the case of immigrant parents, who may simply not be aware of the cultural norms of their new country and may inadvertently say/do something inappropriate.
- The mother of the Woodhouse brothers, two political pundits with opposing viewpoints, called them in the middle of a show to chide them for their constant bickering.
- In an interview, Barack Obama stated that he and his wife Michelle had decided to weaponize this trope. They promised their daughters Sasha and Malia that if either of them ever got a tattoo, both parents would get the exact same tattoo, in the exact same place on their bodies, and would show it off at every opportunity, calling it a "family tattoo". By all accounts, the threat worked perfectly.