Grounded Forever

Roseanne: That is not funny! You're grounded until menopause!
Darlene: Yours or mine?
Roseanne: Your father's!
Roseanne, "Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore"

Grounding is a standard discipline technique. But a frustrated parent may blurt out that their child is punished for a ridiculous amount of time, either for something very minor or something very bad. A variant involves a teacher (usually a Sadist Teacher) giving a student a severely extended detention, usually enough to go long after the kid has graduated.

A subtrope of You Are Grounded often falling under Disproportionate Retribution and usually Played for Laughs. Almost always undone via Snap Back. Besides, it is unrealistic for a parent to maintain a punishment for such a length of time. An inversion would be grounding the child for a ridiculously short amount of time for a very serious offense.


Comic Books
  • Variation in one issue of the The Simpsons comic book, where Bart says that if he doesn't find the school puma by the next day, he'd be doing detention till he's 80.
  • An episode of Dennis And Gnasher had Dennis's parents ask themselves how much trouble he could have got into in the ten minutes since the school holidays started, only for a long string of neighbors to come to the door to complain. With each one, Dennis's grounding is increased by a year, until finally he's grounded forever.
  • In Ms. Marvel (2014), Kamala is grounded forever after her parents find out that she snuck out to the party in the first issue. She is grounded even more forever in issue 5 when her midnight snack convinces her parents that she snuck out again.

  • New Moon.
    Charlie Swan: Bella, do not ever do that to me again. Ever. And you're grounded for the rest of your life.
  • Basket Case 3: The Progeny
    Sheriff: Cause you are grounded little miss! You are grounded for the next ten years! And no more car, and no more allowance, and you can forget about that pony I promised you!
  • The Lindsay Lohan remake of The Parent Trap has her saying "We've been grounded 'til the end of the century." To be fair, the film was released in 1998, but still, two to three years is still a long time to be grounded.
  • In Ever After, as punishment for his disobedience, the king tells Prince Henry that he'll "deny [him] the crown and... live forever!"
  • In The Breakfast Club, Bender keeps goading Vernon to give him more Saturday detentions. By the end of it, Vernon states that he has Bender for "the rest of [his] natural born life" (it actually comes out to two months worth).
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Franny does this to Wilbur:
    Franny: Mister, you are grounded 'til you die!
  • After a father/daughter argument near the beginning of The Croods, Grug threatens to keep Eep in the family cave "Until you're older than... y'know... (gestures to Gran) her!"

  • Pride and Prejudice: After Lydia disgraces the family, Kitty protests that if she were to be allowed to go to Brighton, she would behave better. Her father is not convinced:
    "You go to Brighton!I would not trust you so near it as East-Bourne, for fifty pounds! No, Kitty, I have at last learnt to be cautious, and you will feel the effects of it. No officer is ever to enter my house again, nor even to pass through the village. Balls will be absolutely prohibited, unless you stand up with one of your sisters. And you are never to stir out of doors till you can prove that you have spent ten minutes of every day in a rational manner."
    Kitty, who took all these threats in a serious light, began to cry.
    "Well, well," said he, "do not make yourself unhappy. If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them."
  • Good Omens: Adam gets grounded.
    "When do you think they'll let you out, then?" asked Pepper.
    "Not for years and years. Years and years and years. I'll be an old man by the time they let me out," said Adam.
    "How about tomorrow?" asked Wensleydale.
    Adam brightened. "Oh, tomorrow will be all right," he pronounced. "They'll have forgotten about it by then."
  • In a non-comedic example, Boo Radley of To Kill a Mockingbird as well as his real life counterpart literally had this done to him by his abusive father, and ended up with an (undeserved) reputation as an Ax-Crazy recluse.

Live-Action TV
  • Diff'rent Strokes: Played straight in the seventh-season episode "Cheers to Arnold." A friend of Arnold's steals from Mr. Drummond's liquor cabinet. When Arnold tries to explain, Mr. Drummond will have nothing of it and tells Arnold he's permanently grounded; of course by episode's end, things are cleared up and Arnold is pardoned.
  • Seventh Heaven:
    Mary: So I guess I'm grounded for life?
    Annie: That's a given.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    Phillip Banks: You're grounded for 10 years.
    Ashley Banks: What? But that's not fair.
    Phillip Banks: Tell it to the judge... Oh yeah. That's me.
  • Dinosaurs episode "License to Parent":
    For scratching his father's brand new car, Robert Mark Sinclair was grounded for six to ten years. He is currently serving his sentence in his room.
  • Roseanne episode "Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore":
    Roseanne: That is not funny! You're grounded until menopause!
    Darlene: Yours or mine?
    Roseanne: Your father's!
  • Played for Laughs in Boy Meets World. There was a significant gap in between the two actresses playing Morgan, resulting the character being absent for about half a season. The new actress is introduced by coming downstairs and remarking, "That was the longest time-out I've ever had."
  • Spencer from iCarly, after seeing Carly making out with Griffin, grounds Carly "for till college". He also actually follows through on the punishment until he learns An Aesop, up to and including making Carly wear a horrible sweater, and disguising himself as a janitor at her school so he can catch Griffin when he visits Carly's school to make out with her.
  • In My Wife and Kids, Michael punishes Claire by grounding her (and forcing her to do all the chores in the house) until she gets him an apple from the apple tree in the backyard. Then he gives her a few apple seeds.
  • There was a series called Grounded For Life.
  • One episode of Happy Days has an exchange along the following lines:
    Howard: ..I shall now determine a punishment that is judicious, reasonable and fair.
    Richie: "Grounded for life"?!
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Doin' Time in 2330. After Zack and Cody deliberately skip out on their punishment to take part in London's web show, Carey snaps, to some degree.
    Carey: (getting angrier and angrier) Oh, that is it! You are beyond grounded. The next time you see sunlight—Oh, actually, no!—You're never going to see sunlight again. Because by the time your punishment is over, the sun will have burnt out, collapsed into a black hole, and the last remnants of mankind will be living on a rusty little spaceship as the cold silence of space will slowly drive them MAAAAAAD!
  • On The Cosby Show, after Theo accidentally throws a Wild Teen Party, Cliff first takes him to the Army recruiting center before being more lenient and making him serve food to the homeless...every day for 6 months.
  • In The Wonder Years episode "The Lake", after Paul's mom finds out he has a condom, Wayne says that Paul's been grounded for life. But knowing Wayne, he's most likely exaggerating.

Newspaper Comics
  • In FoxTrot Peter has been grounded for intervals of decades, centuries, or life. It never seems to stick of course.
  • In the book Garfield's Big Book Of Super School Excuses, one excuse for "Why I Can't Go Out With You" is "I'm grounded until college".
  • In Bloom County, Oliver's dad grounded him until his 45th birthday for having launched a shuttle chair to Washington D.C. and almost killing Cutter John and a tuba player.

Web Comics
  • The Sapphire Lake kids' antics in Precocious usually get Autumn grounded for eternity, though after a few days or weeks they usually open to negotiations.
  • In Homestuck, after Jane blows up trying to get the mail, her dad sics this on her.

Web Animation

Western Animation
  • In an episode of The Brak Show, Dad grounded Brak for 3 years.
  • On Codename: Kids Next Door, Mr. and Mrs. Sanban grounded Mushi for life after she "killed" Kuki's Posh Party Rainbow Monkey in "Op. CLUES".
  • Zig Zagged in Goof Troop. In "Axed By Addition" Pete threatens to ground PJ forever if he fails his math test, a threat the latter takes very seriously and even plays sick in order to get in one last day of freedom. Once Pete finds out the truth, he yells at PJ for not guessing he was bluffing... and then says he's grounded forever for that, though he has a change of heart when he finds out that PJ didn't even fail in the first place.
  • Johnny Test: Johnny's dad threatens to ground Johnny and his sisters FOREVER! One of the sisters reminds him that he can't ground them past 18, so he says he'll ground them UNTIL 18.
  • Arthur: After Arthur and D.W. ruin their father's souffle, he loses self-control, and gives them a four month ban on TV. His wife helps him to think rationally again.
  • An episode of El Tigre ends with Manny admitting to his dad that he expects to be grounded until he's 30 for his actions. It appears as though his dad understands that Manny learned his lesson and will let him off the hook... until a Smash Cut depicts 30-year-old Manny shackled up in his room. Thank goodness for Negative Continuity.
  • In one episode of Rocket Power, Otto and Twister go out into a hurricane to retrieve Twister's video camera. When Raymundo tracks down and rescues them, Ray grounds Otto forever, to which Otto replies, "That's cool."
    • In a different episode, Ray declares that if his kids were caught sneaking out after dark, they would be grounded until they're his age. Subverted in the end when he only gives Otto three weeks of garbage duty.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King ends with the Goblin King grounding Willow for 1,000 years. Of course, they're immortal, so it is most likely a normal length of time for such a punishment.
  • On The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy received the detention variant twice. The first time was when he switch bodies with Cindy, their attempts at destroying each others lives include getting themselves 1,800 days of detention. The next comes from after Jimmy sent the teachers into another dimension. When they make a Big Damn Heroes return (It's a Long Story), Jimmy claims to have learned his lesson, but they still sic him with 900 days of detention.
  • One of Doug's Fantasy Sequences depicts Mr. Bone making him write lines until they're both old men.
  • The ChalkZone episode "School of Destruction" had Rudy Tabootie's father Joe tell his son that he is grounded until college after finding out that he sneaked into the rock concert of the titular band.
  • The Steven Universe episode "Fusion Cuisine" has the Gems retrieving Steven after he tries to run away with Connie. Garnet punishes him with no food for 1,000 years. Pearl believes this is too extreme and suggests they punish him with no TV...for 1,000 years. Later episodes show this punishment is still in effect, much to his dad's surprise.


Western Animation

Real Life