She said 'I love you, but my daddy don't play
He's the fuckin' Grand Wizard of the KKK
It frequently is seen in American Television and Movies... a teenage daughter brings home or is picked up by a date that her father would never, ever approve of. There's various forms:
- He rides a motorcycle, wears leathers and dark sunglasses (even at night), and enters swaggering, chewing something indeterminate, and calls the father "pops." Hilarity Ensues.
- Her date's of a different race, religion, political affiliation, or social class, or perhaps the same gender.
- He has some other characteristic that offends Dad's sensibilities: he's too nerdy, too quiet, too loud, a fan of the wrong sports team, has bad table manners or atypical fashion sense.
- He may be a geek with No Social Skills.
The main requirement is that the potential date has some qualities that the father hates in people, and this motivates the daughter to love her date more. Usually a comedy trope, could be a love trope, can lead to a Parental Marriage Veto
if the character lasts more than one scene/episode. If the relationship works in the end, it's become Nobody Thinks It Will Work
If the father is depicted more sympathetically, he may be a Troubled Sympathetic Bigot
who ends up having to reconcile his desire to see his daughter happy with his own personal hang-ups about her boyfriend. Alternately, he may realize that his daughter's boyfriend really is
a dangerous scumbag, and he ends up turning into a Papa Wolf
to protect her when her boyfriend puts her in danger.
Overlaps a bit with All Girls Want Bad Boys
and Maligned Mixed Marriage
. Often involves an Overprotective Dad
. When the dating is done because
that is what daddy hates, it's a Shock Value Relationship
. Often, the parents will ask Where Did We Go Wrong?
See Like Parent, Like Spouse
for the inversion.
The adult version of this is Obnoxious In-Laws
. Either one can be Love-Obstructing Parents
open/close all folders
- Spirit Albarn of Soul Eater treats his daughter's roommate and best friend, Soul, quite rudely. This primarily stems from the fact that he didn't want Maka to have any male friends as he was a Teen Dad and worried the same would happen to her. Also, Soul wears a leather jacket, sunglasses, and rides a motorcycle. He calms down after Soul is injured in the fight with Crona, and even asks for his help waaaay later on in the series. However, although it is heavily suggested, Soul and Maka are not romantically involved as of this point in the series.
- Gender-inverted in Gokusen: Kumiko's yakuza family doesn't have any problem with Shin, who's the son of a police chief, but Shin's dad is more than a little disappointed with his son's taste in women.
- The best known case in the Marvel Universe is Bruce Banner / the Incredible Hulk and his long time love interest Betty Ross. Her father, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, didn't approve of the relationship when Banner was just a nebbish scientist. Then the Hulk happened and Ross went General Ripper.
- Shock SuspenStories had a one-off strip in which a racist man who loathes Mexicans is horrified to discover his daughter has begun dating a Mexican boy who has recently moved into the local area. At the end of the strip, he gets up a lynch mob to beat the Mexican boy to death, only to find out that they grabbed the wrong person and have killed his daughter - she had secretly married her boyfriend and was waiting for him to come home from work.
- Sometimes this trope comes up in Harry Potter fanfiction using the characters introduced in the epilogue. It's probably one of the reasons the pairing of Scorpius Malfoy with Rose Weasley is so popular, as Ron tells Rose she shouldn't "get too close" to Scorpius and that her grandfather would "never forgive her if she married a pureblood" in the epilogue itself. Some authors'/writers' comments that say they like the idea of the pairing because of the way Ron and Draco would be so upset about it.
- A rare Gender Flip occurs in Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light when Ben Reilly's Overprotective Dad loathes Mary Jane Watson and bluntly threatens her unless she stays away from his son. Ben himself isn't amused when he finds out.
- In Luminosity one of the native american werewolves imprints on a blonde girl whose dad is a racist.
- In A Brief History of Equestria, it's shown that Private Pansy (revealed to actually be Commander Hurricane's daughter) eventually fell in love with an Earth pony. Hurricane's overreaction to this ended up being a contributing factor in starting the war that would eventually summon the Windigoes.
- In That Epic Plan Chief Yagami is understandably not happy when his son begins dating Beyond, a known Serial Killer.
- A platonic example in Second Bloom as Sasuke makes friends outside the Uchiha clan, especially Naruto and Sakura. At first it was accidental, but when Fugaku tries to force Sasuke to end his relationships, Sasuke puts his foot and now does it intentionally.
- The Glee fanfic Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (the title of course a Shout-Out to the film mentioned below) is an interesting example because it's about a triad, not a couple. Kurt and Blaine have been together since high school, and have more recently gotten together with Sebastian. Kurt's father Burt approves of Blaine but not Sebastian, because he remembers those few months in high school when Sebastian tormented Kurt and tried to steal Blaine from him, and he's convinced that their current arrangement only exists because Sebastian and Blaine want to sleep with each other and Kurt is too nice to say no. Kurt has to desperately try to get his father to understand that Sebastian has changed drastically since high school and is now a good person and that they're together because they all love each other. It doesn't go all that well.
- In Heir the Weasley family are NOT happy when they learn that Ron's accepted a formal courtship with an anonymous party in Slytherin House. From the hints his suitor has dropped and the gifts he's received Ron guesses that his suitor is an older male pureblood of higher status.
- In AU versions of Star Wars that are even slightly comedic, Anakin will more often than not be less-than-pleased with Leia's choice of beau, Han Solo, either because he's still a mercenary smuggler, or the fact that Leia is 19 and Han is in his thirties.
- In Kyon Big Damn Hero this happens in the backstory of Kyon's parents. It was successful to the point of becoming a Happily Married couple by the time the events of the fic happen.
- Kunoichis Like Us: Several people believe that this is the only reason that Nanako bothered with Alex, as her father was a strict traditionalist Japanese man, whereas Alex is an ethnic French-American born in Japan.
- In the Disgaea novels Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! and Jennifer have a daughter named Jane, who eventually falls for Laharl. It’s not that Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! hates Laharl (they had been allies in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness), but he is a hero and Laharl is a demon Overlord, Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! is also a Overprotective Dad. Jane is a rebellious teen, so there are hints that she does it partly to piss Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! off. Not that he has any reason to concerned, because Laharl is not interested, not that it stops Jane from pursuing him.
- In The Mark of the Lion trilogy, Julia Valerian’s older brother strongly objects to her second marriage to a man who is known to be a rake and deeply in debt, and whom he suspects (rightly) to be violent and abusive. Her third marriage, which is more cohabitation for convenience than anything, appalls her whole family, since the man is known to be a boor and keeps on a catamite. Does ''not'’ lead into Parental Marriage Veto because she coaxes her father into agreeing to the first one despite her brother’s doubts, and in the second she simply moves in with him without notice, making it very similar to this trope.
- All over the place in The Mortal Instruments. Isabelle dates anybody but other Shadowhunters, intentionally bringing home boys she knows her parents would disapprove of, Jace says it's to get attention, it works - in the wrong way. Alec winds up in a gay relationship with a warlock. Jocelyn isn't wild about her daughter dating the boy that Valentine raised. Jocelyn and Luke's relationship has caused them no end of grief over the years. Valentine forced Stephan Herondale to divorce Amatis simply because she was Luke's sister. Aline and Helen's lesbian relationship is controversial for Shadowhunters. Somewhat invoked and somewhat subverted when Maia and Simon date: A werewolf and a vampire dating is controversial but their mutual surrogate father figure, Luke, doesn't care and thinks highly of both of them. Worth noting that while these relationships are all said to be taboo, actual opposition or fallout is very low-key if it's seen at all.
- It was the driving force in the plot of Erich Segal's Love Story. Because wealthy lawyer and Harvard legacy Oliver Barrett III believed his son must be rebelling against him by wanting to marry a working-class Italian-American who went to Radcliffe on a scholarship, this exchange happened:
Oliver IV: What offends you most, Father? That she's Catholic, or that she's poor?
Oliver III: What attracts you most?
Live Action TV
- Archie Bunker and his son-in-law Mike ("Meathead") Stivic in All in the Family, with Bunker being the archetypal working-class WASP conservative bigot, and Mike being an ethnically Polish intellectual and socially-active liberal. They naturally argue all the time.
- Arrested Development: Michael almost doesn't ask out Sally Sitwell because he thinks his father wants him to date her. Then he finds out that his father knew he would act that way and pretended he wanted Michael to date Sally so Michael wouldn't. So Michael asks Sally on a date... and she turns him down because she'd rather date someone her father doesn't like.
- In The Big Bang Theory:
- Howard meets Bernadette and they start dating. He remarked with some pleasure that he knew dating a Catholic would kill his mother, and she similarly takes the opportunity to offend her parents by dating someone Jewish. Ultimately both sides of the family end up happy with the couple because of how good they were together.
- Penny's father actually likes Leonard but Penny has along history of using this trope. When he realizes that they have broken up, he "gives him a head start" getting her back by roaring at him very audibly for a minute or two.
- Pryia dates Leonard in the fourth season despite her parents disapproval because Leonard isn't Indian. It doesn't work out for reasons other than that, mostly trying a Long Distance Relationship that falls apart after a few months.
- In an episode of Boston Public, Meredith Peters (aka The Hook Lady)'s son begins dating Steven Harper'snote daughter, who is black, merely to anger his mother. She is also angered when she catches her son having sex with another man.
- In Downton Abbey, while Robert Crawley doesn't hate Branson, the Irish radical chaffeur, it would probably get pretty ugly if he found out about Branson's feelings for his little girl Sybil. And it does, for quite some time, though he comes 'round (mostly) in the end.
- An episode of Frasier had his cousin marrying a woman from a rich family, whose parents hated him. When he leaves her for a street performer he loved more, his fiancée yells "I can't believe you. Look at how happy my parents are!"
- Friends: At first, Monica's parents despised Chandler since he had been wrongfully blamed for a pot-smoking incident Ross committed years ago. Once they find out the truth, they immediately warm up to him. Also, Rachel's father and Ross had a strong mutual dislike for each other.
- In The George Lopez Show Carmen starts dating the factory owner's rebellious son without George's knowledge. In fact, he prank calls the place and George remarks "I wonder what poor skank would get with him".
- A Kids in the Hall sketch has a college-student (Dave Foley in drag) bring home Scott Thompson (in blackface) to meet her parents. In an absolute subversion, her parents are fine with the whole thing, but she continually acts as though they're being offensive. The implication is that she's chasing black men intentionally to piss off her parents - and it's not working.
- Malcolm in the Middle: Francis' marriage stayed strong in the rough parts because both of them knew Lois hated Piama.
- Seems to be genetic, since we see that Hal's family utterly loathe Lois.
- In My Wife and Kids, Claire specifically stops dating someone because her father loves him. The person in question is a strict Christian who believes in waiting until marriage for sex. Even though she likes him, she wants to irritate her father, so she starts dating a rough gang banger.
- This was woven all the way through Roseanne:
- On at least one occasion, it was mentioned that Roseanne started dating Dan because he was the type of boy that her parents wouldn't like (Roseanne and her sister Jackie, to be perfectly blunt, hate their parents.)
- Daughter Becky truly seemed to love the leather-clad biker Mark, but Roseanne firmly believed for the longest time that she was only dating him to torture her.
- Lastly, they actually used their hatred of the potential boyfriend as a benchmark to gauge how long the relationship will last. When Becky dates a perfectly nice football player who Dan instantly takes a liking to, Roseanne and Jackie inform him that he's the rebound, will be gone by the end of the month, and the next guy that Dan absolutely despises will be the "keeper."
- They're not dating (yet), but in The Sarah Jane Adventures, one of Rani's best friends is the class clown Clyde, who immediately got off to a bad start with her Stern Headmaster father, and their relationship remains antagonistic (which isn't helped by Clyde deliberately winding up Haresh Chandra).
- In The Sopranos Tony gets very angry when his daughter dates a boy who is half African American and half Jewish.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dukat strongly disapproves of his daughter Ziyal's interest in Garak. In this case, it's not that Garak is different, but that he's too much like Dukat himself.
- The fact that Garak literally tortured Dukat's father to death might have also been a factor
- Played with in the backstory of Supernatural: Mary's dad HATED John Winchester, because he was too much of a skinny, white-bread pansy to be good enough for his daughter. Ironically, Samuel would have also hated the Badass Hunter John ends up becoming because he also absolutely opposed the idea of his daughter getting involved with a Hunter.
- In Switched at Birth Melody is congenitally deaf as is her son Emmett. She strongly disapproves of hearing/deaf relationships for reasons slowly being explained. So of course Emmett falls in love with a hearing girl.
- On Veronica Mars Part of the backstory before the series started was a gender flipped version. Duncan Kane's mother hates Veronica. Lilly states that Celeste would hate anyone that Duncan might love more than her. Lilly also warns that Celeste would do anything to break up Duncan and Veronica. Celeste tells Duncan that Veronica might be his 1/2 sister. He breaks up with her without telling her why. Veronica finds out on her own. Two DNA tests later (she throws one out without looking because Keith is her real Dad. Before opening the 2nd one she signs away her rights to the Kane fortune because Keith is her real Dad) it turns out they aren't 1/2 siblings and get back together for a while. It is unclear if Celeste really believes Veronica could be her husband's daughter or she just used it to break them up because she is obsessed with her son. In flashbacks Veronica's Mom and Duncan's Dad don't seem to have any concerns about the two dating. Jake's concern with Duncan and Veronica dating in "present" time seems to be more about knowing Keith doesn't believe that Lilly's murder has been solved, and Jake believing that Duncan accidentally killed his sister during a seizure.
- On The West Wing, President Bartlet has a brief monologue noting his exasperation at his youngest daughter leaving his aide Charlie for a French Jerk, his oldest daughter marrying a total twit, and his middle daughter dating a stoner. His Servile Snarker secretary chimes in that she's heard girls look for their fathers in the men they date.
- Regarding the French Jerk, Bartlet told a member of Zoe's protection detail, "Before I forget: if something comes up, and you're faced with the choice of killing the boyfriend or not killing the boyfriend... kill the boyfriend."
- A non-parental example in Scrubs, when Dr. Cox starts flirting with a new surgical intern. Turk (her boss) gets fed up and outright tells her that she's not allowed to see Cox. When Cox threatens to destroy him, Turk asks Cox if the latter understands women at all. Cue the intern coming to Cox's apartment, invoking this trope.
- Moesha's thuggish on-and-off boyfriend Quentin was the bane of her father's existence.
- Once Upon a Time: Belle's father acts this way about her relationship with Rumplestiltskin. In fairness, it's Rumplestiltskin. Though kidnapping her and trying to force her over the Storybrooke line to erase her memories is kind of an excessive way to deal with the problem.
- Deliberately invoked in an episode of Prank Patrol where the prank involved setting up a father to think his daughter was dating a tattooed punk rocker with a mohawk who drove a panel van.
- Married... with Children: Kelly Bundy's taste in men tends towards various sleazy hoods, bikers and ex-cons. No wonder her father Al beats up her boyfriends on a regular basis.
- Arrow: Quentin Lance really doesn't like Oliver or Tommy dating his daughter, Laurel. His dislike isn't necessarily unfounded either.
- Subverted when Thea starts dating Roy Harper whom she met when he stole her purse. One would presume that this would be met with strong disapproval from her mother and her very protective brother but they actually see Roy as a calming influence on Thea who has previously acted too much like Spoiled Brat.
- In one episode of Cheers, Sam began dating the daughter of John Allen Hill, his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis from the restaurant above the bar. When Hill eventually gave his blessing to the relationship, Valerie said "Now I'm just dating a greasy bartender" and dumped him.
- Degrassi: Manny tries to upset her father by pretending to date Jay. It backfires because even though Jay was a Bad Boy/delinquent in high school and didn't graduate, by that time, he had a job and career plans he was serious about and Manny's father respected that. Manny and Jay eventually fall in love and get engaged.
- On Shameless} (US) Lip's college girlfriend specifically dates him because it drives her stuck up parents nuts. Lip does not mind because she buys him stuff and they have a lot of sex. She even coaches Lip on what to say to her father so the father will offer Lip money to stop dating her. She is then upset because Lip took less money than her previous boyfriend.
- Much of the drama of the first two seasons of Teen Wolf was centred around the relationship between the hero Scott Mccall and Allison Argent. Scott is a werewolf. Allison's family are werewolf hunters. You can see the problem.
- Subverted in Good Luck Charlie: Teddy tries to hide her relationship with her new Romantic False Lead biker boyfriend as she's sure her father, Bob, won't approve. It turns out that Bob is something of a biker-wannabe and in fact they get along well... until Bob crashes the boyfriend's bike into a tree, that is.
- Invoked by Body Count in the song "KKK Bitch", where Ice-T tells the story of his falling in love with a girl whose father is a white supremacist.
- Britney Spears' "Criminal".
He is a devil with a tainted heart, and even I know this ain't smart, but momma I'm in love with a criminal...
- Part of the reason Cher is amenable to Meat Loaf's pick-up line in "Dead Ringer For Love":
Ever since I can remember I've been hanging round this joint,
My daddy never noticed, now he'll finally get the point.
- Dinosaur Jr.'s video for "Watch The Corners".
- The Trace Adkins song "Ladies Love Country Boys" is about a girl introducing her redneck boyfriend to her straight-laced suburbanite parents.
- In Toby Keith's song "God Love Her," a preacher's daughter falls in love (and eventually runs away) with a motorcycle punk, to the dismay of both of her parents. Seems she hasn't deviated too far from her roots though; she helps the motorcycle punk find God and get on the right path.
- Colors Are All the Same is this about a Longhorn (University of Texas) and an Aggie (Texas A&M) falling in love.
- Trisha Yearwood's "She's in Love with the Boy":
Her daddy says he ain't worth a lick
When it comes to brains, he got the short end of the stick
But Katie's young and man, she just don't care
She'd follow Tommy anywhere
She's in love with the boy
She's in love with the boy
She's in love with the boy
And even if they have to run away
She's gonna marry that boy someday
- The Music Video for Fall Out Boy's “Sugar We're Going Down” has a girl falling in love with a boy with antlers, whom her dad, a hunter, hates so much, he tries to kill him. This has absolutely no relation to the actual lyrics of the song.
- In Fiddler on the Roof this happens three times-and they all get married to a man who challenges their father's faith. He can accept the older two's marriages quickly but the third one - who marries a Gentile - he disowns and doesn't speak to her until the end of the show.
- There was an arc in Better Days where Sheila visits her parents while her father is in hospital and discovers her sister has a Hyena boyfriend (Their version of a black person). Sheila calls her sister out on simply bringing the guy, who seems decent enough from what we see, simply to upset their parents and her mother even makes a comment about her having a 'nigger boyfriend.'
- There's an earlier (though milder) example, when Fisk dated Elizabeth briefly. Elizabeth's mother was bothered that her daughter wasn't dating a nice, Jewish boy. The only reason she goes along with it is that she thinks it would just be an innocent, youthful relationship.
- Continued in the sequel series Original Life. Miko's mother is the stereotypical Education Mama who hates her daughter's boyfriend Thomas who is a chronic academic underachiever. At the end of the arc Miko tells Thomas that the exact reason she likes him so much is her mother hates him.
- In The Dreamer, Beatrice Whaley, the daughter of a wealthy Boston merchant in the 18th century, falls in love with an apple farmer from Roxbury.
- Yep, an El Goonish Shive entry, although at least a Dream Sequence. Elliot ends up dreaming his Opposite-Sex Clone (which his parents and his clone tease about calling as his daughter) brings home a sleazeball. Then he talks to his "wife", Tedd. That's when he becomes lucid, and alters the dream by setting her up on a date with someone he approves.
- Hilariously, when Elliot is confused as to why his "daughter" is dating a biker, she shouts "MOM! DADDY'S DISAPPROVING OF MY BOYFRIENDS AGAIN!", which suggests that this isn't the only time in the dream world that this had happened.
- In The Order of the Stick, Ian Starshine is quite upset to learn that his daughter Haley is romantically involved with Elan, the son of his enemy General Tarquin. Even though he knows that Elan is not Nale, he refuses to see Elan as anything but Tarquin's mole.
- In Sluggy Freelance Leono relies on this trope to convince women to bear his alien offspring.
- In Sandra and Woo The genders were inverted with Landon Hill and Larisa Korolev. The mother doesn't approve of Landon's girlfriend due to her promiscuous nature. At least until one of their classmates places a call telling her everyone thought her son was gay until he started dating Larissa (and warns her he just might turn out that way if the mother forces the relationship to end).
- Slice of Life parodies this concept with Diamond Tiara and Snails. Diamond Tiara acts like this is the case and even declares to her father that there is nothing he can do to keep them apart, even though he's happy they're together because he believes Snails is a fine and upstanding young pony.
- In the Futurama episode, "Where the Buggalo Roam", Amy tells Kif that part of the reason she is attracted to him is that her parents don't care for him.
- In the pilot episode of the animated series Ugly Americans, the succubus character is immensely turned on by her father disapproving of her date.
- In a flashback episode of The Simpsons, we see that Marge's family have never liked Homer even when they were teenagers. May not count since Marge never dated Homer to get back at her family.
- Family Guy
- Lois Griffin's dating her eventual husband Peter is due at least in part to this trope. It may be that she's trying to get back at her father for being an incredible Jerkass, ranging from his refusing to let her become a model to his abandoning her to her fate when she was kidnapped for ransom.
- A rare example of a Gender Flip occurs when it's shown that Peter's devoutly Catholic father hates the Protestant Lois, so it cuts both ways.
- In The Legend of Korra, while he hides it for a while, Hiroshi Sato hates Mako (and all other benders) who is dating his daughter, Asami.
- Mako was especially abhorrent to Sato, seeing as he was a penniless firebender. The first part is hypocrisy, since Sato himself started out penniless and even told Mako not to be ashamed of his poverty. The last part is because his wife was murdered by a firebender.
- One could only imagine what would have happened if Asami had started dating Korra in Book One rather than the Grand Finale in Book Four.
- In Archer, Mallory Archer respects Lana as much as she does anyone (i.e. barely), but still doesn't want her son Sterling to get back together with her because she's ''a black'' (pause for drink) ''-ops field agent''. Mallory was one herself, and has just barely enough self awareness to realize that she's not exactly a very nurturing person as a result.
- In The Goode Family, Bliss invokes this by dating a boorish creep to scare her parents into letting her date a boy she's actually interested in. Her parents are so preoccupied with the main plotline, that they don't notice, and Bliss winds up stuck him although he eventually gets bored with her and breaks it off.
- In American Dad! Haley dates a Mexican boy just to tick off Stan, but Stan later hires him and a bunch of other Mexicans to make teddy bears for him, in revenge Haley rats him to the police because they were illegals.