Designated Parents

When there is a group of friends all the same age, generally there is the couple in the group who act as the adults, sorta the parents of the group. Together they are like the superego of the gang and are actually recognized as the "Mom" and "Dad" of their friends.

Compare Promotion to Parent and the girl and boy in A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family when the group is a family.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the season four premiere of Angel, "Deep Down," most of the Fang Gang of Angel Investigations have gone their separate ways, with Angel, Cordelia, Lorne, and Wesley all enmeshed in some situation that keeps them from seeing the group. Subtracting these characters from the group left us with Gunn, Fred, and Connor: i.e., a romantically involved adult couple and a teenage boy. Gunn and Fred were clearly growing into the role of acting as Connor's parents, worrying about his tendencies toward destructive rebellion in the way that his own parents might worry about it.
  • On some episodes of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Penny assume the role of parents to Sheldon, especially Penny. Not so much with Howard and Rajesh, since they don't live in the apartment complex.
  • An interesting example: On Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Buffy was dead, Willow and Tara became sorta the surrogate mothers while Xander and Spike became somewhat of the substitute fathers for Dawn. Buffybot became the public face of Buffy for Dawn at school before Buffy was brought back from the dead.
  • Piper and Leo from Charmed started to fulfill these roles after they got married and Prue died.
  • In Community, Jeff and Britta serve as the mom and dad of the study group in several situations. Repeatedly Lampshaded, Subverted, Deconstructed, and Played for Laughs in the show's typical Better Than a Bare Bulb fashion.
  • In Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor and (when she's around) River Song are like this, especially with Amy and Rory. Winds up being a bit ironic, since Amy and Rory are River's parents.
    • Played for similar irony in the very first series, where Ian and Barbara are the "parents" of both Susan (and later Vicki) and the Doctor, even though he's by far the oldest and Susan's grandfather.
    • Played more straight with the Doctor and Romana to Adric (child) and K-9 (pet) in season 18.
  • Ross and Monica, though brother and sister, act as the grownups on Friends in earlier seasons. Later, Ross becomes more childlike, while Chandler matures and marries Monica so they become the adults of the group.
  • Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother to the point that they question Ted's new girlfriends to see if they are right for him. In the few times where Marshall and Lily don't fill this role, it's usually taken up by Robin and Ted.
  • Nate and Sophie on Leverage act as the Team Dad and Team Mom respectively, with Eliot as the older brother, and Hardison and Parker as the younger siblings.
  • John Sheppard and Elizabeth Weir on Stargate Atlantis are this to the entire expedition, especially the command team.
  • Eric and Donna from That '70s Show were noted in an episode where the gang were dining and ditching a restaurant to be the parents of the group. After they broke up there was an episode where they fight over their friends' attention with clear overtones of divorcÚs working out a custody dispute.
  • Senator Lance and Valerie Prevert on You Cant Do That On Television, they appear to be ALL the child cast members' parents.

    Literature 
  • Carlisle and Esme Cullen of Twilight are the adoptive parents of Edward, Emmett and Alice Cullen, as well as Rosalie and Jasper Hale despite the fact that everyone except Carlisle is about the same age.

    Music