So you've got yourself a girlfriend and life is looking pretty sweet. I mean, it's just a matter of time until the relationship progresses naturally, right?
Not so much.
Here come the Love-Obstructing Parents
, friends and family of the girlfriend whose job from the writers is to ensure that for the progression of your relationship, Failure Is the Only Option
. They will, of course, insist on moving in with the both of you. Being the Moment Killer
is their job title.
There are two kinds of Love-Obstructing Parents
If you're lucky, you will eventually gain their respect, and maybe even count them as True Companions
. Unfortunately, this does not aid in relationship building as their friendship means you will never
be alone with the girlfriend.
Naturally, the girlfriend never
sees this, to the point of Comedic Sociopathy
. It's just so nice that everyone she likes is under one roof. One wonders if she even has a sex drive
or possesses any plans for the future. It's technically her job
to address Love-Obstructing Parents
about this since it would not be proper for the main character to do so. She will have Selective Obliviousness
towards this duty. You'd better hope you are a Chaste Hero
or else be prepared to take cold showers for a long
Sometimes, the In-Laws include a sensible 'neutral' party, like an aunt or grandmother. Unfortunately, they rarely ever get involved in any useful way. See Harem Nanny
See also Obnoxious In-Laws
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Anime and Manga
- Skuld and Urd from Ah! My Goddess would be ur-examples of the first and second types respectively. The first manga was written in 1988; Keiichi and Belldandy still haven't consummated their relationship, although Keiichi did get as far as actually admitting he loved Belldandy in 2006... That said, remember that 20 years of Real Life time is approximately less than a year of in-story time.
- The two fathers in Ranma ½ are a good example of the second type. They keep pushing Ranma and Akane together, and their spectacular failures end up making the "happy couple" yell at each other.
- Mizuho's sister Maho and mother Hatsuho in Please Teacher! fill roles one and two respectively. The latter mostly only really does so in the OVA, though, which is bizarre because Kei and Mizuho had consummated their relationship in the first TV series.
- It was probably to add a little spice to their life AND get a video of them of their night life. Which still doesn't make sense, since Maho already had videos of them, unless Maho was keeping those a secret from her mother.
- Well, would you tell your mother that you had videos of your sister having sex?
- Ten, from Urusei Yatsura hates Ataru and implores Lum to dump him and return home. He even moves in with the Moroboshis, just to mess things up.
- Ironically, none of Lum's other relations have any problems with her marriage to him, and generally support the idea- though her father does throw a matchmaking party (without her knowledge) in the anime's 22nd episode, he starts accepting him again at the episode's end. The only "old friend" who is opposed to it is Rei, her former fiance who she dumped when she decided that his massive good looks didn't balance out his stupidity and Involuntary Shapeshifting.
- Nagasumi from Seto no Hanayome has to deal with Yakuza mermaids related to San, his self-declared wife-to-be. Her father and her servant actively try to kill him without getting San upset. She'll stop them if they're too obvious, but thinking about that is unpleasant so she usually doesn't. San's mother is in the "perv" category.
- Miyabi (Aoi's guardian and surrogate older sister) of Ai Yori Aoshi fulfills the first type with regards to Kaoru, who she initially can't stand. Slightly subverted one way, in that Aoi is perfectly aware of her disapproval, and rebels as much as she can. Subverted completely when not only does Miyabi comes to respect Kaoru, but she proves to be understanding and genuinely helpful (often arranging for them to have their rare moments of alone-time).
- Summer Wars gives us a perfect non-fantasy example with the Jinnouchi household, effectively mixing both kinds of in-laws to the very end. And, effectively enough, the grandmother serves as both the sane person AND a whole other kind of in-law, by pushing Kenji into actually considering establishing himself with Natsuki. And indeed, once the plotline kicks in, Love Machine starts rampaging through OZ and the grandmother dies because of it, they indeed become Nakama. (The fact that Kenji reveals he's an awesome badass inside helps A TON.)
- You could look at Hayate's relationship with Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler as playing with this. The only real relative of Nagi's is her grandfather Mikado, who seems to harbor a definite dislike of Hayate, and whom Nagi is terrified of.
- It could be a complete inversion though, with all of Mikado's plans serving to push the two of them closer.
- Played with in YuYu Hakusho. Kuwabara is in love with Hiei's sister Yukina. Hiei and Kuwabara won't stop sniping at each other. However, neither Kuwabara nor Yukina know that she's Hiei's sister and he can't tell ( since said promise involved Shigure and was made right before the latter implanted Hiei's Evil Eye on him), limiting how much he can interfere.
- In Lilly Epilogue Family Matters, Lilly's father is a Jerk Ass who disapproves of Hisao for, among other things, being a "cripple" and a "middle class bumpkin", and also is quite cruel to Hisao and Lilly's mutual friend Hanako. He does, havever, warm up to Hisao in the end. Lilly's mother, however, likes Hisao and is glad that he survived his heart attack at the end of Lilly's route.
- A non-anime example: C-3PO in Star Wars. "Sir, might I suggest that you?it can wait."
- Which was of course taken further in Spaceballs; Dot Matrix is equipped with a virgin alarm set to "go off before you do".
- In Thor: The Dark World, Odin tries to discourage Thor's feelings for Jane out of both practicality (Thor will outlive her by centuries) and a certain elitism. He eventually respects Thor's decision in a Could Say It But way... except that's Loki in disguise talking.
Live Action TV
- Ur Example: Bewitched. All of Samantha's family (except for Aunt Clara, and maybe Uncle Arthur) hate, or at least immensely dislike Darrin, especially Endora, the Evil Matriarch. In fact most of the Witch and Warlock community take a low view of Darrin, resulting in him being transformed and having curses put on him all the time. He isn't even safe from the ones who like him, as Aunt Clara is a bit of a senile version of The Ditz who can't cast a spell right and whose backfired ones usually hit Darrin, and while Uncle Arthur might like Darrin a bit, he's a prankster who likes to play tricks on him.
- Played straight and subverted in Dominic Deegan with Dominic's parents... and grandparents. Miranda Deegan's parents did NOT approve of her betrothal to a bard, expressing it with magical pranks possibly reaching the level of felonious criminal assault. The first time Miranda Deegan realizes she's behaving like her parents in regards to her child's beloved, she breaks down into effusive apologies. It doesn't hurt that Luna is as intelligent as she is sweet - hard to find fault with a girl after you've offered her a position as magical researcher.