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It's quite common in fiction works for a character, even/especially an adult, to call out for dear old Mom in times of great fear
. Even though unless she's a serious Mama Bear
she probably wouldn't be much help in the situation. This could probably be explained by the fact that for most people, the mother was always there to comfort them and keep them safe in the early years of their lives. When overcome by fear, stress, pain or all of the above, it's not hard to see why someone may appeal to the only constant comfort they've ever known, even if it will do no good. Sometimes the father is called too, but usually it's the mother who's called for.
Commonly used for comedic effect (often turned to Accidental Innuendo
if another character responds with "Yeah, I want your mommy" or something to the effect of "Me too"), but can also be played seriously.
Used for tearjerking effect in war movies when dying soldiers call out for mother. Very much Truth in Television
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Anime & Manga
- In the Pokémon episode "Charmander — the Stray Pokémon", Jerkass trainer Damien gets roasted by the Charmander he abandoned (and zapped by Pikachu), then runs off, crying for his mommy.
- Used in Episode 5 of the Little Lulu anime:
You guys are trying to sound pretty brave. Tubby:
I'm all through being brave. I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!!
- SD Gundam Force: During a Zako Zako Hour, one of the hosts is fitted with a giant jet pack and sent flying off the stage by his co-hosts.
I WANT MY MOMMY! Host 2:
I think he likes it, Zako.
- Azumanga Daioh does this in the episode with Tomo's dream during the "Nandeyanen" scene. Tomo dreams that Yomi gets a zero on a test. Just before the entire "nandeyanen" part, she lets out a somewhat feeble "Okaa-san..." (rendered in the dub as "I want my mom..."), though it's unclear if it's due to the shock of getting a zero, or if it's because she has to put up with Tomo's mockingnote ...
- Discussed in Alan Moore's Promethea. When villain The Painted Doll kills rival mastermind Jellyface (who calls feebly for his mother), he turns toward the reader and says, "Now why do they always say that at the end, eh? Why, 'Oh, mother?'"
- In Astérix and the Big Fight, Legionary Infirmofpurpus blows his cover (disguised as a tree) and runs of yelling "MUMMY!"
- Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: We're brave explorers! The word "Lost" isn't even in our vocabulary!
Hobbes: How about the word "mommy"?
Calvin: Are there any monsters under my bed tonight?
Monsters: No. Nope. No.
Calvin: If there were any monsters under my bed, how big would they be?
Monsters: Very small. Go to sleep.
- In one U.S. Acres comic, there was an arc Wade is acting really mean to the other characters due to hypnosis. One comic had Wade saying that his inner tube thought Orson was talking to Wade. Orson says "Mommy" once he realizes this conversation has gone way too far.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Skull screams this when he and Bulk skydive out of a plane in the beginning of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie.
- These are the Captain's last words in Hook.
- From The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Rose Tint My World):
Brad: It's beyond me / Help me mommy!
- I'm Gonna Git You Sucka: After Jack Spade tells his mother he doesn't want her fighting his battles for him any more, she taunts him by reminding him how he called out for her when he was beaten up as a child.
Mother: I remember when you was always calling for your momma. [snip] All I could hear was "Momma! Momma!" [snip] I could hear your punk ass calling me half a mile away, "Momma help me! Momma help me!"
- It precedes a serious case of Mood Whiplash, but in The Shawshank Redemption, one of the new inmates breaks down and begins crying for his mother. One of the veteran inmates calls back with "I've had your mother! She wasn't that great!" Then The Dragon shows up and proceeds to bash in his skull for being such a wimp.
- In Kermit's Swamp Years, when Goggles and Blotch are scared by Vicki, they start screaming and Blotch cries out, "MAMAAAAAAAA!!!!!".
- In the Discworld novel Thud!, we're told that this was the reaction of a group of bandits who were given a stern talking-to by Lady Sybil's great-aunt.
- In the Robert Westall short story Blackham's Wimpy a German airman, his plane on fire, calls out "Mutti! Mutti!" in between bouts of rage and recitations of his name, rank and serial number.
- Bulk and Skull (again) in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
- Saturday Night Live: On the season 34 episode hosted by Jon Hamm, there was a sketch in which James Mason (played by Jon Hamm) insults a little boy's sailor Halloween costume. The little boy whines, "You're mean! I want my mommy!" Mason replies with a suggestive, "That makes two of us!"
- In Blackadder Goes Forth, when Captain Blackadder and Baldrick are in the hands of the Germans:
- A Running Gag on Threes Company was for Jack to scream "Mommy!" when frightened or startled.
- On an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where Quark, Rom and Nog get sent back in time to Area 51 circa 1950's, Rom got upset and called out for his "Moogie". (The Ferengi word for mother.)
- One of the many, many running gags in El Chavo del ocho is Quico calling out for "ˇMAMÁ!" whenever Don Ramón hurts him (or even not) in some way. This usually, but not always leads into the gag where Dońa Florinda slaps Don Ramón, etc.
- Horrible Histories likes this one; both a Spartan in "Spartan School Musical" and a Celt in "Celtic Boast Battle" say they want their mums. There's also an example in "Historical Hospital" where someone yells "Mummy!" but in that one it's an Incredibly Lame Pun as the patient is Ancient Egyptian and thinks another patient wrapped in bandages is, well, a Mummy.
- In Robin Williams' comedy skit "Shakespeare (A Meltdowner's Nightmare)" from Reality, What A Concept, his character (a night watchman at a nuclear power plant) cries out "WHERE IS MY MOTHER?" when he inadvertently creates a chain reaction by pulling the control rods of the reactor core.
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Mr. Krabs says this to Squidward when the Krusty Krab is overrun by a wave of hungry anchovies. ("I want my mommy, Mr. Squidward!")
- In another episode, Kevin the Sea Cucumber sits in a fetal position and cries for his mommy and blankie when attacked by a King Jellyfish. The other Jellyspotters join in shortly until Spongebob saves them all.
- Again with Mister Krabs: He cries and screams for mommy when the Flying Dutchman threatens to send him to Davy Jones' Locker. This display of cowardice is so pitiful that the Flying Dutchman decides to give Mister Krabs a second chance out of annoyance.
- In The Powerpuff Girls, the girls defeat an extremely manly robot from space using their "Furious Flaming Feline" attack, causing him to fly off into space crying for mommy. Right after being extremely sexist toward the girls.
- When he faces impending pain, Daffy Duck often lets out a feeble "mother"
- The Fairly OddParents: Timmy wished himself into an adult and got into a bucketload of trouble as a result of not understanding that some things are Most Definitely Not Okay for grownups to do. Stuck in jail, and likely to lose his fairy godparents forever, Timmy gets upset and starts crying for his parents. This apparently is child-like (or perhaps childish) enough for the fairy godparents to hit the Reset Button. (The rest of the people in jail, upon seeing this, start crying for their parents, too.)
- A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
Shaggy: Oh-oh I want my mommy!
- Garfield's Halloween Adventure. While in a rowboat drifting downriver:
Garfield: "Trim the mains, slip the sheets, libber the giblets, I WANT MY MOMMY!"
- In the Family Guy episode "Stewie Kills Lois", right after Stewie kills Lois, he trips and bangs his knee. He immediately begins crying for his mommy, whom he had just killed.
- Referenced in Arthur by the joke that Binky stole. "What did King Tut say when the Sphinx scared him? I want my mummy!"
- Bebop in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will cry out "Mamaaaaa!" often during a bad situation.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: When Chad detached the moonbase and sent it towards the sun, Numbuh 86 ordered her subordinates to implement "Plan M-11", which consisted of running around screaming for mommy.
- Peewit on The Smurfs often does this. So does Gargamel.
- One boy cries this after all the kids get kicked to the curb by their parents.
Boy: I want my mommy!
- Hey Arnold!: Harold, the school bully, will scream and run away whenever he gets scared.
Harold: AAAAGGHH! HELP MOMMY!
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: In "Princess, I Shrunk the Mario Bros.", Mouser calls for his mommy after being shrunken and put in a fishbowl by Waldo the Wizard.
- During an episode of, The Simpsons Ralph starts crying for for his mom when the Itchy and Scratchy executive yells at the kids.
Anime & Manga
- In Deadman Wonderland, as one of the members of Scar Chain is sprayed with acid while being pursued by a robot, he barely manages to utter "Mother" before getting crushed to death.
- In Doraemon, Suneo will cry "Mama!" in tears whenever he's in a worst-case scenario, like being held prisoner, especially in the movies.
- In early seasons of Dragon Ball Z, after Gohan gets kidnapped twice, he starts crying about how he wants his mommy.
- In the manga Bio-Meat: Nectar, a lot of victims tend to scream for their mamas when they get eaten. Either that or apologize to their mamas.
- A variation is done in Fruits Basket where Akito, paranoid about being abandoned by the Zodiac, starts crying and screaming "Father! Father! Help me!" (Akito's father has been dead for many years now). Considering what her mother has done, it's not surprising Akito wouldn't be calling for her.
- A variation happens in One Piece where instead of his mother, Luffy after losing his brother Ace during the "Paramount War" / "War of the Best" (depending on the translation), calls out for his crew when Jinbei asks him what "[he] still [has]".
- Nico Robin has been essentially doing this her whole life (i.e., while not necessarily always saying the exact words out loudnote ), especially since her mother Nico Olvia, for all intents and purposes, abandoned her, with poor two year old Robin forced to watch as she (Olvia) leaves her, and all so she could be on the team researching the Blank Century (or "Void" Century, or "Hundred Year Void", depending on the translation).
- In Cyborg 009, when 004, 007, and 009 are taking down a Black Ghost machine being used by the Viet Cong, fighter jets swoop in and bomb the area leaving all the soldiers burned and dead. The cyborgs are horrified to see a child dying of burn injuries fall off of a rock and cry "M-mama!" before dying in 009's arms.
- Asuka Langley of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame had a tendency to do this, especially towards the end of the story after she underwent her Trauma Conga Line. In one particularly memorable instance, she stops Shinji in his tracks from trying to kiss her in her sleep by calling this out from a nightmare.
- In Batman, Damian Wayne's last words are him calling out for his mother. In a dark twist, he's actually begging his mother to call off the insane warrior who is brutally killing him, desperately trying to confirm that she has at least a shred of humanity left. She does nothing to stop her own son's death.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- In the book Chamber of Culdi, when the hero's keep is attacked by the king's men, there is a moment when the daughter hears grown men crying out for mercy and calling for their mothers. She thinks on the fact that many of those same men where early being brave and swearing to fight to the end.
- Stephen King
- In the novel The Tommyknockers, reporter John Leandro's last thought before he's killed is "Mama!"
- In The Stand, one of the survivors trapped in the prison calls out for "Mother!" all the time, much to the aggravation of Lloyd Henreid.
- In Under the Dome, thug Frankie DeLesseps cries for his mother right before he's shot do death.
- In Carrie, just before the main character dies of her wounds she cries for her mother whom she killed earlier.
- There is a truly heartbreaking scene in Sharpe's Battle when young Rifleman Perkins is stabbed in the stomach and alternately begs for his mother and the company sergeant.
- The Legendeer trilogy has one moment when the Gorgons mention that all the brave Greek heroes who try to kill them end up wanting their mothers in their last moments.
- It is noted in the Star Wars Republic Commando Series that injured and dying clones, who were born from tubes instead of mothers, cry out for their training sergeants.
- In The Giver, the traumatic memory of a war's aftermath brought with it badly wounded soldiers laying out in a field, calling out for mother, water, and death.
- The Hungarian novel The Book of Fathers, a character's last words are "Mother, my dear mother!" as he is dying in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
- In the novelization of The Wolfman (2010), Lawrence begs his dead mother to help him during his first transformation, in pain and scared out of his mind. Eventually he just takes to screaming her name, but all that comes out is an animal roar.
- In Freaky Friday, after spending a day in her mother's body, Anabelle has no idea where her own body has gone to, where her little brother is, or what happened to her mother's personality (she doesn't know for sure if her mom is in her own body). After trying very hard to stay calm and figure it all out, she finally breaks down and calls out "Mom? Mom? MOMMY!" Fortunately Anabelle's mother, who was in her daughter's body and had been out with her little brother the whole time, came home just in time. Hearing an adult scream "Mommy!" clued her in that Anabelle learned the intended lesson of some of the less pleasant things that come with an adult life, like Adult Fear.note
- Harry Potter gets this moment when he visits his parents' grave in Deathly Hallows.
- Breaking Bad: Occurs in the series' Wham Episode, "Ozymandias". After Walter kidnaps his baby daughter, because he thinks she's all he has left, he has her in a changing room and she utters her first words: "Mama, mama, mama", leading to his Heel Realization that he's lost everyone in his family. This was actually completely unscripted: the baby saw her real mother off camera and started saying it and Bryan Cranston just rolled with it making for a far more powerful scene.
- Game of Thrones:
- Mentioned when Melisandre coldly taunts Davos with the knowledge of how many casualties of the Battle of Blackwater died screaming for their mothers - because of him.
- Actually occurs in the third-season episode "Rains of Castamere": Robb Stark, mortally wounded, barely able to stand and clearly in the depths of a massive Heroic BSOD, can be heard whispering "mother" before Roose Bolton finishes him off.
- Tracy Quartermaine of GeneralHospital screams this when her mother, Lila, dies.
- In 1776, Washington's young courier sings the song "Mama Look Sharp" about two of his friends who died at Lexington. It will break your heart.
- Done strikingly at the end of Chapter 44 of Drowtales. Sarv'swati, who has lost everything in the course of the District War, undergoes a complete Villainous Breakdown in the Sharen palace, which is minutes away from capture by the Sarghress forces. In her rage, she attempts to tear a way through the collapsed corridor to her mother's throne room - the very corridor she so gleefully destroyed thirty-one years earlier. Failing, she screams and collapses on the ground, whimpering to herself.
- Near the end of Ruby Quest, the now monstrously gigantic, fleshy abomination known as "Subject Six" is seen cowering the corner of the room, crying for his "mommy" because "Ace is going to lock him up". The protagonist tried to call to him, but it was no use...
- In V4 of Survival of the Fittest, Amber Whimsy cries for her mummy whilst bleeding to death after being shot in the stomach by Kris Hartmann.
- Sparadrap from Noob averts the comedic version by being already established to be a Man Child and an implied Missing Mom making him ask for his grandmother instead. In addition, the scenes in which he actually calls for his grandmother tend to have something bad happen to him rather than being Played for Laughs.