"Do? What does he do? Why, he's adorable! And people will love it!"Cousin Oliver is that inexplicable kid added to the show's roster, usually in an attempt to liven up an aging cast with a character the younger demographics can (supposedly) relate to. However, such a character is likely to upset the dynamic of the show, especially since his only job is to be cute and innocently wisecracking. It's far too easy for the writers to miss "sweetly precocious" and tumble right into "overbearing and annoying", especially to the show's long-time fans (who don't see why this kid should be taking attention away from their favorite characters anyway). Depending on how deft the writers are at making him "lovable," Cousin Oliver can become a fan favorite or The Scrappy (or worse). Sometimes Cousin Oliver is the logical result of a character's season-long pregnancy arc. Once the writers have exhausted the possibilities of new baby hijinks, the infant undergoes Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome so he can become a regular member of the cast. (Though this doesn't always make it better.) Compare Kid-Appeal Character, who is generally there from the beginning. If the addition is a literal cousin, see also Nephewism. Often a form of Jumping the Shark. If there's actually an in-series point to the character, compare Cain and Abel and Seth. "Vulture's Secret History of Television" Episode 1 is a YouTube essay all about Cousin Oliver Syndrome.
— Dr. Forrester, MST3K
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Anime and Manga
- Subverted in Digimon Adventure. Despite Hikari appearing much later than the other Digidestined there was already a younger child on the team with Takeru. Digimon is good at avoiding this. The child character in a show about teens or young adults is often bound straight for Scrappydom from the word go, but the Digimon kids usually escape it.
- To Love-Ru has Celine: Rito's giant carnivorous plant that apparently turns into a humanoid toddler as part of her life cycle. Thankfully, she doesn't throw off the cast dynamic much, as her presence is generally limited to wreaking havoc.
- Chibiusa in Sailor Moon, came from the future and brainwashed Usagi's family into thinking she was her little sister/cousin (depending on the translation). Even if the intervention of Luna -Usagi's magic talking cat- prevents Usagi from falling under the influence of Chibiusa's magic, making her for some time the only one aware of Chibiusa's nature (even if Usagi learns only much later the whole story and that Chibiusa is really her daughter from the future).
- Several chapters into School-Live! Yuuri literally remembers she has a little sister. She had forgotten her due to the zombie apocalypse. She later saves her from a zombie-infested school and Ruu becomes a Tagalong Kid. The series compares the notoriously immature Yuki to Ruu and explains that Yuki was a Replacement Goldfish, and Ruu explains why Yuuri is such a Cool Big Sis. In a dark twist it is heavily implied Ruu is Dead All Along and that Yuuri is hallucinating a teddy bear is her little sister.
- Danny Chase in the comic book version of Teen Titans. He was even designed to look like Cousin Oliver. Combine this with abrasive personality, lack of codename, costume, or original powers and he quickly became a Creator's Pet, as well. In other words, Danny Chase is to the Teen Titans what Zan, Jayna, Wendy and Marvin are to the Superfriends Justice League. At least they tried to be heroes; Chase tried to be holier-than-thou.
- Damian Wayne in the Batman Comics, made Robin at age 10, just as Tim Drake was growing out of the tights. Lampshaded in Red Robin #14, where the oldest and youngest of the first three Robins refer to each other as Marcia and Cindy, and lock Damian out of a file with the password "cousinoliver".
- Chris Kent when he was introduced in Superman's Comics. It didn't help that Kon-El had been killed off recently. Following the trope to the letter, he eventually caught a case of Plot-Relevant Age-Up.
- Subverted with Kid-Loki who is just the normal Loki reincarnated as his kid self (with only his childhood memories and powers). He has avoided being The Scrappy by being just so much fun to read about (getting the best lines in any current Thor comic), and because he is perfectly aware that he's doing things most kids shouldn't do (but, being Loki, doesn't care because he wants to save Thor's life from The Serpent. D'awww). Plus he somehow gets the two best parts of being a Kid Hero—he has the youthful idealism (as much as anyone is idealistic in post-Civil War Marvel, anyways), and the maturity to still actually get things done. He might be the best-liked Cousin Oliver ever for that.
- A Cousin Oliver is common way of introducing a Mary Sue as a cousin, brother, nephew, even child a character never had.
- There's something of a common appearance of 'the son he should have had'—a well-loved character dies with no possibility of leaving children (without being wildly out of character) and an unrelated couple remaining produce a child who turns out astonishingly like him (usually Dead Guy Junior), and sometimes end up using the above description.
- In-Universe in The Calvin, Hobbes, and Paine Show — Paine, Calvin's baby daughter, came not long after the titular Show Within a Show got a retool post-Watterson.
- The addition of Howard Phillips (Jason Barry) to the third film in the Re-Animator series, replacing the lead character of the last two films, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott). Though not a kid, Phillips is significantly younger; producer/director Brian Yuzna admitted freely that Phillips' addition was due to Yuzna's desire not to make a film about "two middle-aged guys".
- The generally unwanted followup to The Blues Brothers had many, many, many faults, and the fact that the new pseudo-Blues pseudo-Brothers band received a brand new member◊ certainly did not alleviate the situation.
- In 1993, audiences of RoboCop 3 were treated to the exciting revelation that, look, Robocop now has a little friend!◊ She's nothing like RoboCop 2's murderous psychopath Hob, and, in fact, she is even a skilled hacker!
- The even-numbered Indiana Jones films use this, with Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Mutt in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
- Fred Kelman from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, who got nearly the same amount of screentime as the Rangers themselves, despite doing next to nothing and being all around useless until the very end of the movie.
- Domesticating Nick and Nora Charles in sequels to The Thin Man by giving them a kid didn't work very well with the witty, urbane, martini-swilling vibe that made the series popular. In The Thin Man Goes Home, movie #5 in the series, Nick Jr. is not included when Nick and Nora go to visit Nick's parents. (Supposedly he's away at school.)
Live Action TV
- The Trope Namer was added to The Brady Bunch toward the end and was the last gasp of the show. He's also cited as the definitive proof of the franchise having jumped the shark.
- Robbie Rist (who played the original Cousin Oliver) became a Cousin Oliver again a couple of years later when he was Ted Baxter's adopted son in The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- Parodied on Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Dawn. Buffy comes home at the end of an episode and suddenly has a little sister, when up to before she'd always been explicitly an only child. Everyone, including Buffy herself, acts like she'd had a sister all along, and no one notices anything strange - except crazy people. An episode passes like this. Then another. And another. Luckily, we soon learn that Dawn is there because of a magic spell which altered everyone's memories (including hers) and that she's actually a Cosmic Keystone in human form.
- The Cosby Show:
- Cousin Pam. Much older than most of the examples listed here, but she essentially served the same purpose for when the older kids were gradually moving out.
- Denise gets married off-screen and comes back with a stepdaughter named Olivia right around the time that Rudy starts going through puberty. Is it possible this was a direct nod to Oliver? Olivia/Oliver?
- Even Rudy herself, despite being one of the original Cosby kids. Later season episodes were far more focused on her and her friends than previously
- The grandkids Winnie and Nelson got more screen time as well—numerous scenes of Cliff or Claire interacting with them.
- Amen did an older version of this as well, with Clarence, a street-wise kid whom Deacon Frye took under his wing showing up in the final season of the show. And there was Jeanette, a foster child of Thelma's, who showed up in the first season rather than later on, unlike most examples of this trope.
- Diff'rent Strokes
- Sam (Danny Cooksey), the new younger brother from Phillip Drummond's second marriage. The series went from focusing on Willis playing older brother to Arnold to Arnold playing older brother to Sam. There wasn't much room for Willis afterwards
- Eight Is Enough had Cousin Jeremy (Ralph Macchio, who went on to become The Karate Kid).
- The Facts of Life:
- Kelly, the teen shoplifter, who was added after the girls moved out of the dorms. Thankfully her addition was short-lived.
- There was also Pippa, the Australian foreign exchange student, added for what turned out to be the last season.
- In Family Matters the Winslows adopted 3J, a streetwise little orphan. Since there already was a kid in the show, little Richie, they merged into a single split-personality Cousin Oliver ("Maybe we shouldn't do this." "Oh, come on, it'll be fun!").
- Joey Lawrence for Gimme a Break!, then his brother Matt. The Lawrence kids made a cottage industry of being a Cousin Oliver.
- Penny from Good Times. Introduced to give Willona someone to care for, since the Evans kids weren't really kids anymore.
- Growing Pains had two: Chrissy, the youngest Seaver daughter, and then later Leonardo Dicaprio's homeless-kid character.
- Little House on the Prairie:
- The final seasons featured a hilarious number of random "adorable" orphans shoehorned into the Little House after the original kids left home. Albert (adopted off the streets of the Big City), James and his sister Cassandra (parents killed in a wagon crash), Jenny (left on Laura's doorstep by her dying brother-in-law), etc. This is despite the show already having two younger Ingalls sisters in Carrie and Grace. Oddly enough, as more than one fan has remarked in alarm, Pa Ingalls never did build an addition onto his two-room shanty.
- The Olesons' adoption of street urchin Nancy, who just happens to look and act a lot like Nellie. This is a mild subversion, in that Nancy is added to be the Alpha Bitch as opposed to a beacon of cuteness. Even more interesting, this is an invoked example—Harriett Oleson deliberately adopted the brattiest, most misbehaved child in the local orphanage to replace Nellie.
- Incidentally, Jenny, introduced a year after Nancy, may have been made the age she was in order to have a little girl around Nancy's age to butt heads with.
- Married... with Children had Seven, who joined the show at the beginning of Season Seven (get it?) since the original "Children" were both young adults by that point. The character proved so unpopular with viewers and writers alike that partway through the season, he became a Brother Chuck when he was removed with absolutely no explanation (though he had his Face on a Milk Carton for Lampshade Hanging effect). The main issue with Seven was how Married with Children relied on a lot of adult/sexual/sadistic humor that became awkward when directed towards a child. Kelly and Bud were already teenagers in the first season, so the writers never had to account for someone so young as a regular before, which became painfully obvious.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 sharply parodied the Trope with "Timmy Bobby Rusty", a lisping kid whom Dr. Forrester employed to help boost the show's sagging ratings. He lasted exactly one segment.
- In My Three Sons they formally adopted Chip's orphan friend Ernie. Justified, sort of, by the need to maintain the accuracy of the show's title after Mike was chucked from the show. But then the show lasted so long that Ernie eventually became a teen and the producers decided to add step-sister Dodie.
- Justin on Power Rangers Turbo for a lot of fans. The hate has depleted somewhat due to his actor being a pretty cool guy and interacting with fans.
- Gosei Sentai Dairanger with Ko fits, except he is a bit of a pervert and relies on his Empathic Weapon to help him out. In all fairness, Cousin Olivers were not uncommon in the original series and were arguably a useful proxy for the younger fans.
- The diner in the Supernatural episode "Jump the Shark" is called Cousin Oliver's... and the plot is about a possible younger brother turning up. Subverted though, when it turns out that the character in question (Adam) was actually their half-brother, emphasis on "was" because he was already dead before the start of the episode. In season 5, the angels bring Adam back for a few episodes, in which he was actually useful to the plot. For one of these episodes, Sam, Dean and Bobby play at the idea that he's family and act like they value him at least as much as (say) a close friend like Cas. Then they promptly forget about him. By the time season seven rolls around, nobody cares in the slightest that he's spent years being horrifically tortured by Lucifer and Michael (when given the chance to save him in season 6, Dean chooses Sam over him). Ultimately, this trope is subverted by laziness.
- The Porters' foster child Declan in the last series of 2point4 Children. He also served as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the departing Jenny.
- Played with in The X-Files in which one episode had a man who assumed this identity because he associated with the original Cousin Oliver. A person who is unloved.
- Somewhat lampshaded in My Name Is Earl, when Earl has a dream that he is happily married, and he remembers when "all our kids stopped being cute and Cousin Wendel came to live with us."
- Oliver replaced Jeff in Coupling. Considering how the Trope Namer is Cousin Oliver, it could be done as a parody. However, in one episodes after season 3, Jeff is actually removed from a clip of a dinner party.
- April on Gilmore Girls. Even more annoying in that she is a science-and-math-oriented version of Rory in response to viewer complaints that they missed the younger Rory. Rory had great taste in music which kept her from being a total spaz, April was all nerd with very few (if any) redeemable traits. She also was the source of major tension in Lorelai and Luke's relationship, which didn't endear her to the viewers any.
- Done in The Donna Reed Show when the family adopts a homeless child after their eldest daughter leaves for college.
- In Blossom, when Carol moves in with Nick, we're introduced to her little daughter Kennedy. Blossom and her brothers had a good relationship with her, but fans of the show didn't.
- Jamal's younger cousin Casey on Ghostwriter.
- Gloria on Touched by an Angel (the Valerie Bertinelli character) is possibly the oldest example on the list.
- Little Nicky in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, even though at least he wasn't a spotlight stealer, unlike most of those listed here.
- Ricky, the kid next door who liked to sing with The Partridge Family (often seen as a Dueling Show to The Brady Bunch).
- Arthur McArthur, also known as "the little fat kid", from Hey Dad..!.
- Billie Jenkins was an extra witch added onto Charmed who came out of nowhere and became like a sister to the Halliwells.
- Guppy in iCarly - however, he's an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, and averts elements of the trope in that the series is not on its last legs by any means at the time of Guppy's introduction. The addition of Guppy was necessary to replace elements of older brother Gibby's character as Gibby matured, and Guppy has proven to be just as popular as Gibby. He wasn't shoved down our throats like some of the other aforementioned examples of this trope, having been in only five episodes. However, they were all in the same year and that could be proof that the writers stopped before he got a chance to become a scrappy.
- Nicky and Alex in Full House.
- Dale from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Subverted in his final appearance in which he turns out to be a psychotic killer pushed to breaking point by a season of being treated like a screw up and a kid. Though in their defense, he was a screw up and a Manchild.
- Sky, a late addition to the cast of The Sarah Jane Adventures, only appeared in the final three stories of the series as a regular before it was cancelled due to the death of its lead actress. Played straight in that Sky is not necessarily a Cousin Oliver in the sense of being an annoying addition, but she does qualify as far as being a young character added to a well-established cast that was growing older than their target demographic.
- On Degrassi, Snake's never-before-mentioned godson, Connor, comes to live with him — conveniently right after his daughter goes away to college.
- Adric in Doctor Who, although elements of the trope are averted in that the character was simply one of a long line of transient companions, and the series itself continued for a number of years afterwards. Plus Adric's final episode was one of the most dramatic send offs for a character in the history of the series. He is definitely the series' number one Scrappy, but it was due to his holier-than-thou attitude and not his age... and his death changed a few minds about his Scrappydom.
- Rose from Downton Abbey is a little older than the trope usually implies, but otherwise fits. Introduced out of nowhere in the final episode of series 3, she ends up being a Bratty Teenage Daughter who runs away from her chaperones, takes up with a married man, throws a tantrum when she gets caught, and generally makes a complete nuisance of herself. Perhaps meant to be the embodiment of The Roaring '20s, she instead went down like a cup of cold tea (as the Dowager Countess might say).
- Not quite. Her personality was due to having a tense relationship with her overbearing mother, who was in the process of a divorce from her father. Going to Downton was an escape for Rose. She matured in seasons 5 and 6 by taking up charity work and getting married.
- For ER's fifth season, new medical student Lucy Knight joined the hospital staff, cast in the same Naïve Newcomer role that Carter had filled when the show premiered. Although her appearance didn't tank the show, she's still a very good example of this trope in that her appearance coincided with the show's first critically weak season and her failure to catch on led to her being killed off a mere year and a half into her tenure. It's one of the few shows whose frequent use of this trope is actually necessary and realistic—as other medical students/residents would advance academically and graduate, it would be logical to bring in new ones—Gallant, Neela, etc. Even its final episode was the first day for a new doctor.
- Ally McBeal: Ally's biological daughter appeared out of nowhere in season 5. You ask how a single female lawyer got herself an eleven-year-old kid? Why, from her donated ova.
- Remington Steele introduced a rare adult version in the final season in the form of Jack Scalia, who joined the series at the 11th hour as an Indiana Jones-esque adventurer who becomes a romantic rival for Laura's affections. Although on the surface he doesn't seem to meet the criteria, the character had much of the same impact in terms of alienating the audience who were already upset that series star Pierce Brosnan had lost out on playing James Bond thanks to NBC unexpectedly renewing the series for a short six-episode season, adding insult to injury by adding the Scalia character.
- Step by Step pulled a triple whammy. First they commit the act of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome with the disappearance of Brendan Lambert, followed by pulling a Cousin Oliver with the introduction of baby Lilly. They then aged up baby Lilly to 5 years in the sixth season.
- Soap operas used this frequently. Summers frequently saw the addition of never before seen or mentioned distant relatives of veteran characters, or the rapid aging of children who were already on screen, all to kick off new teen-oriented storylines to engage a demographic that would now be home from school and able to watch.
- A Different World brought in no less than six of these for its new freshman/sophomore class at the beginning of what turned out to be its final season—despite the fact that, like ER, this would be necessary and logical as the older characters graduated and went on to graduate school/marriage/careers. True to form, the new characters failed to catch on and ratings plummeted until the show was canceled.
- Two and a Half Men: Louis in Season 12.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has an inverted example with Frank Reynolds, with Danny DeVito joining a cast of actors who were in their twenties or thirties.
- Forever Knight: in the third season the network wanted to make the show more appealing to younger audiences so they introduced a lot of "younger" and "hype" characters like vampire Vachón and his vampire friends who all look like younger versions of La Croix and Jannette.
- Robots don't age, but Capcom added the rookie Axl, who acted all of 13 to the cast of Mega Man X7 to contrast with veterans X and Zero.
- Joey MacAdoo, Samantha Pearce, and Arthur Chen in the Backyard Sports series, replacing the much more mature Jocinda Smith, Sally Dobbs, Kenny Kawaguchi, and Billy Jean Blackwood. Joey is easily becoming a Creator's Pet now.
- Every once in a while an example comes along that defies the precedent, that's exactly what happened in Coming Up Violet. As many readers know, the primary shtick with Fur Will Fly was that Brad was the only human living a world filled with furries. (Well, at least until Brad sets a whole mess of pandimensional aliens [like himself] free from a detention facility, but that's neither here nor there.) The comic's sequel changes this dynamic by introducing Dawn, a young — and incredibly normal — teenage girl to the mix. However, rather then being resigned to the Scrappy Heap, the fans love her and she adds quite a bit of character to the cast — indeed, being an even bigger Fish out of Water than Brad ever was. (May overlap with the Suspiciously Similar Substitute.)
- A "cousin Marliver" was discussed as being a possible new character in Marcoand Marty, directly referencing this trope. His catchphrase would have been, "Who wantsa flan!"
- From Scooby-Doo:
- Scrappy-Doo. He is parodied in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, where when Daphne noticed his statue, Fred was quick to cut her off and mention that they promised that they would never speak about the incident ever again.
- There's also Flim-Flam, the ethnic kid from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, though it's possible he may have been added as some sort of company bet to see if they could actually create something more obnoxious than Scrappy-Doo.
- Scooby-Dum, who made appearances in The Scooby-Doo Show and The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour.
- The Simpsons: The episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" thoroughly parodied this trope. According to Word of God, an executive suggested the writers should add a new kid who had "the genius of Lisa but the attitude of Bart". In response, they made an episode where the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon gets a new character, Poochie. In the episode's story, Poochie was created to be a hip new character with "pizzazz". However he does nothing funny in his first appearance and the audience immediately hates him. The in-universe creators of the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon quickly remove Poochie from the show ("I have to go. My planet needs me.") complete with a notice that he died on the way home. The episode also contains a further parody with Roy, a college aged "cool guy" who is inexplicably living with the Simpsons family. Lisa even lampshades the aspect of adding a character for no reason to a show just before Marge greets Roy for the first time.
- Sharko, Marco's illegitimate half-shark son, from the final season of Sealab 2021, is a spoof of this character type. The final episode has him show up, only to get whacked by Shanks's 'Captain's Log' to cheers from the audience.
- Lola Bunny, although not a kid, was shoehorned into the Looney Tunes lineage the same way a Cousin Oliver often is. They actually took it to the point of putting her baby self in Baby Looney Tunes... even though the gang didn't know her in Space Jam.
- Spoofed in Drawn Together with Strawberry Sweetcake.
- Spoofed in the Pinky and the Brain episode "Pinky and the Brain and Larry" before Executive Meddling retooled the show into Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain.
- The animated version of Godzilla (not that one) added a baby called "Godzuki". A bit of an aversion, as Godzuki was based off of Godzilla's son Minilla, from the original films.
- Hana in Season 4 of Kim Possible. Fortunately, she played an extremely small role (when she even appeared) outside of two episodes, so her existence did not significantly impact the tone of the show.
- The Critic parodied this Trope when Duke Phillips attempted to add a cute kid with an endearing speech impediment to Jay Sherman's show to try to boost his ratings.
Jay: Well I find you "wepulsive" and "wepugnant"!Kid: (suddenly normal-voiced) Hey, that speech impediment shtick is copyrighted. You'll be hearing from my lawyers! (cute voiced) I mean, wawyers.
- Parodied and referenced in Batman: The Animated Series, where "Little Cousin Spunky", the new child star added for the last season of Baby Doll's sitcom, was also designed to resemble Cousin Oliver. (They even had Robbie Rist in the episode, though he voiced another character.) Also subverted in this episode — Robin watches the entire series trying to find clues; Spunky turns out to be the only enjoyable thing in the show... well, the only thing Robin liked, mostly because Baby Doll was his favored victim.
- Dil, and later Kimi, in Rugrats. Kimi got it even worse than Dil did, since most fans regarded the seasons after the second movie as the worst in quality by dumbing down the babies (even though they were already dumbed down after the hiatus return in 1997). Both of these characters were Cousin Olivers when the show was on, but now many fans accept the characters and like them equally as other characters.
- Poof, Cosmo and Wanda's son on The Fairly OddParents!. Done again in season 9 (2013), with the addition of a fairy dog named "Sparky", and then done again in season ten with Chloe. You'd think after Sparky, they get the idea...
- This trope can be a variation on having a Kid Sidekick and is very prone to happen when a live-action series is turned into an animated one; this is usually done for Saturday morning TV or the local equivalent, so the thinking is that kids want to watch other kids involved with the heroes. A classic example is Emergency +4, in which the paramedics and fire-fighters from the show Emergency! were saddled with a bunch of 4 kids who got to chase the grown-ups around in a van labelled "+4". The network that commissioned the Star Trek animated series was reported to want to introduce a similar bunch of young "cadets" on the Enterprise. Thank Finagle Roddenberry said no... at least until TNG and the Creator's Pet Wesley.
- In the season 2 episodes of Action League Now (actually KaBlam!'s second season), the creators added in Quarky, a doll who was said to be Bill the Lab Guy's daughter. However, fans found her quite annoying (the creators answered this by taking her out during season 3).
- Spike Witwicky and Carly were teenagers in the first two seasons of The Transformers. Then, in the movie taking place 20 years later, we're introduced to their young son Daniel.
- With the exception of Beast Wars and Beast Machines, every Transformers series has kids who tag along with the 'bots just because network people don't think like humans and believe kids would truly rather see some kid try to impress some girl with racing than Autobots vs. Megatron and his robo-zombie horde. Daniel is generally considered the worst (with Kicker from Transformers Energon a close runner-up) and Sari from Transformers Animated was actually liked. The Transformers Armada kids and the Bayformers kids are considered mostly harmless if not for the screentime-hogging. The current batch... we'll see. However, it quickly became clear that Miko's being a Running Gag of "Everything's going fine for the Autobots, but oh no! Miko has sneaked along and we have to go save her again!" moments are something the creators are having a lot more fun with than the audience. Over the first season, though, her doing this diminished from "thrice per episodes" to "once every few episodes." In general, though, Transformers fans are Just Here for Godzilla, so every TF human begins life in Scrappy status and must pull himself/herself out.
- Bubba the Cave Duck from DuckTales became this so quickly he was Brother Chucked straight after his introductory episodes.
- Nibbles the grey mouse from Tom and Jerry is essentially this, though he doesn't seem to be widely hated for it. The fact that he only shows up in the occasional short may help.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police added a Gadgeteer Genius character, who was also a little girl, due to Executive Meddling insisting that they added a recurring female character to the show. Steve Purcell liked her, but wanted her kept out of the series as much as possible due to fear of her messing up the dynamic between the two main characters, so while the fandom's feelings towards her are mixed, she's generally considered not to harm the show too much.
- Corporal Capeman from Inspector Gadget. He added nothing to the series when he was added and his chemistry with the others is zilch.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Bat-Mite calls the trope by name when summoning Ace the Bat Hound during his attempt to make the show jump the shark and get cancelled in favor of something Darker and Edgier. Ambush Bug tells him that Ace is an accepted part of the mythos - only for Bat-Mite to explain he was talking about Ace's new sidekick, who is Scrappy-Doo in a mask.
Ambush Bug: You fiend!
- Bat-Mite himself in The New Adventures of Batman, to the extent that he wrecks the series by spoiling the Batman/Robin dynamic and taking screen time away from the more worthy third wheel, Batgirl. Batman and Robin view his as The Scrappy in universe.
- In the kid's show Super Why!, Whyatt's puppy is added as a new character. He's tacked on hastily to every scene, has no discernible personality, and doesn't seem to have a point in the series. Is he meant to appeal to that valuable dog demographic? Or does he prepare pre-k kids to love Jar-Jar?
- Referenced in the Family Guy episode "Emission Impossible", when Stewie fears that a potential new baby means he will be replaced, which results in a Brady Bunch-themed Cutaway Gag where Oliver amuses the family while Bobby is forced to stay in the garage.
- Spildit of The Dreamstone qualifies to some degree. She has most of the traits, younger, mischievous and rather obnoxious. She avoids disturbing the dynamic too much by only making the occasional appearance however, and gains at least some positive cred for being about the only character to Throw the Dog a Bone for Sgt Blob and his men.
- The fifth season of Doug (and first season of the Disney incarnation) introduced Doug's new baby sister, Cleopatra "Dirtbike" Funnie, who was born in the second Christmas Episode. Unlike most examples, only a few episodes revolved around her.
- Kiara was an only cub in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, but in The Lion Guard she received a younger brother, the protagonist Kion.
- The Smurflings were added in the eight season of The Smurfs. They are basically kid version of the Smurfs; more accurately, Nat, Snappy and Slouchy were de-aged previous Smurfs, and Sassette was created by Gargamel like Smurfette. They also added a villainous kid, Scruple, as Gargamel's apprentice.
- The Junior Ghostbusters (three kids that were "honorary" Ghostbusters) were introduced in the third season of The Real Ghostbusters push by the executives as a "strategy" to attract younger audiences.
- The Raccoons introduced Bentley around the second season. He was Ralph and Melissa's nephew (and a kid version of Bert), and his introduction had surprisingly almost zero repercussions among the fandom. (His debut appearance strangely had him referred to as Ralph's cousin.)