"Maury, I am [insert huge number here] percent sure that he is the father of my baby!"
Almost every mother seeking paternity on the show from a deadbeat dad.
"You ARE/are NOT the father!"
Originally titled The Maury Povich Show, Maury is a day time talk show where Maury Povich talks with several guests that have various problems and issues, such as finding people they haven't seen in years, medical conditions, etc. As the show gained popularity and ran longer, it went for more "trash" topics, such as cheating spouses. The most common element used in the show is paternity tests, sometimes taken to the extreme if a single man is accused of making multiple kids from different women, or when a single woman brings multiple men on the show (sometimes over the span of several episodes) to find her baby's father. The men always say, "That baby don't look nothing like me!"Other common episodes are: rowdy, out of control teen girls who disrespect and abuse their mothers and/or siblings (they always say "You don't know me!" when confronted about said wild behavior); lie detector tests; men who treat their women like slaves; and crazy footage caught on tape (cheaters caught in the act, insane accidents, etc.). While not shown very often, there have been many episodes of mothers with extremely obese toddlers and young kids (usually ranging from ages 3-7) and their mothers who always are either clueless as to why their child keeps getting fatter; who know they're giving their kids too much junk, but don't know what to do; or ones that firmly believe making their child dangerously fat makes their kid special and beautiful. There have also been episodes about guests trying to overcome their phobias and missing children.Around certain holidays, such as Valentine's Day or Christmas, the show will celebrate those holidays by having either a group of people dressed as women (but some are men or vice versa, so the guests have to figure out who is who) or have Jack Hanna bring in a bunch of exotic animals (who almost always pee onstage) to entertain the children in the audience. Other times the show will have a "Maury's Talented Kids" episode where really cute kids sing, dance, etc., sometimes for cash prizes or family vacations.You can also play the drinking game (at your own risk).
You ARE the father, and a user of these Tropes:
All Abusers Are Male: Pretty much the sole motivation for the show to have episodes where a boyfriend/husband is mentally and physically abusing their girlfriend/wife. The show tries to avert the trope by showing wild and out of control teenage girls abusing their parents and/or siblings, but it then became just the inverted version of the trope, where the show makes it look like only teenage girls are capable of abusing their families, and not teenage boys.
The man who said "That (girl) can't be my baby because I only make boys".
The man who claimed that he wasn't the father because the baby had six fingers.
Another who insisted that a baby wasn't his because the baby did not have six fingers.*
He was actually right about this.
One who somehow thought that when a woman who thought she couldn't have children had a baby anyway, this meant it couldn't be his because she was supposed to be infertile, but yet another man could get her pregnant.
"That baby can't be my baby because s/he has blue eyes!" *
Permanent eye color (regardless of race) is usually not determined until a child is somewhere between 12-18 months. Cue stupid look on the guy's face when he's told that he is the father!
One particular (Hispanic) potential father claimed that the baby couldn't be his because it didn't come out speaking Spanish. He later altered his statement to "it didn't cry with an accent". *
While recently conducted studies have determined that babies cry with accents similar to their parents' accent, this is learned behavior, so the guy is still an idiot and he was the father.
A rare case of mother stupidity on this show which doesn't involve her promiscuity, or at least not directly. The potential father denied being the father because the baby was clearly racially mixed, and both the mother and he were white. The mother's response? "Skin color's got nothin' to do with nothin'". Needless to say, he was not the father. For some reason, the mother actually got furious and went after the guy, and when asked why, she said something along the lines of "Because he's a (bleep bleep bleep)!", making her look even worse. *
"Nothing to do with nothing" is a double negative and cancels itself out; by saying that, she admitted skin color had everything to do with it, which it did.
The exact opposite happened in another episode. A white couple had a baby who was obviously half-black, but the husband was unaware of his wife's affair and was totally convinced the baby was his.
In another episode, a black woman brought in a baby that was clearly 100% black, and claimed that a white man was the father. Obviously, he wasn't.
Sometimes there's a mother who just had the baby about two weeks prior to the show, and the father is right away saying that it doesn't look like him. Newborns don't look like either parent for the first few weeks or months — they all kind of look the same. And most of the time, it turns out these men are the fathers.*
One guest was actually right about this. However, he still stayed with his girlfriend after finding out he was right.
The father's right-handed. The mother's right-handed. The child's left-handed. Ergo, the kid's not his because two right-handed people can't have a left-handed child!*
Truth be told, "handedness" has nothing to do with the child be yours or not. It's perfectly possible for two right handed parents to have a left handed child. Supposedly it's some kind of gene, but all we know for now is that it runs in the family. Only 10% of the world's population are left handed anyway.
One guest stated that he couldn't be the father because he only had one testicle. He ended up being the father.
Many, many men who claim they can't be the father because, "we only had sex one time!". One time is all it takes.
Better to Lie Than Be Truthful: Some guests will not submit to lie detector tests, or always lie on them, and then still try to lie after being caught lying.
Blatant Lies: Especially when an obvious cheater is called out by a lie detector test, and they keep insisting they're innocent.
The show will occasionally leave out some details about a guest during an update episode in order to make them look better. One notable example is Ricktoria. During her first two appearance on the show, she found out that her boyfriend Clinton was not only cheating on her with her mom, but was trying to get her pregnant. On her third appearance, Ricktoria revealed that she cheated on Clinton with his best friend Juan. She then revealed to both of them that she lied about being pregnant. Ricktoria's third appearance is usually not mentioned in updates about her.
The out of control teen episodes almost always focuses on the girls.
Fat Girl: In the plastic surgery special, many girls got liposuction due to being insecure about their weight and the bullying they received from it.
Genre Blindness: You'd think the guest who are brought out to be ambushed with big secrets would guess ahead of time what was about to happen. This is particularly egregious on "cheating man" shows, when they put a suspected cheater in the green room with a sexy decoy to see if he makes a move. Naturally, the guy always takes the bait; if he'd ever seen the show, he'd know there was a camera taping his every move.
One Genre Savvy man subverted this when he proposed to his girlfriend, holding up a board with "Will You Marry Me?" on it towards the camera.
Some men caught cheating with the sexy decoy claim that they're "only playing along" because doing that is "expected" of them when they come on the show. Nobody buys it.
When one man was shown the decoy footage, he insisted that it wasn't him! While the tape is blurry, Dave Vitali, the guy who administers the decoy test and observed the entire thing, was sitting right there in the audience!
Horrible Judge of Character: There are cases where a man believes he is not the father of his mate's baby because someone else said it wasn't. This usually comes from people who don't like the man's girlfriend/wife for various reasons, such as the man's sibling, mother, or best friend. Subverted when the accuser(s) are proven right and the man made the right choice all along.
Manipulative Editing: Nearly every preview of the next segment after the commercial break are played in a way that makes some situations look a lot worse than it is, due to edited audio or splicing clips together.
Once an Episode: Whenever the show does a paternity episode, expect the following to always happen at least once:
The mother is [insert huge number here] percent sure that the man in question is the father of their baby.
The accused deadbeat comes up with an excuse on why he couldn't be the father.
If the man IS the father:
The new father gets upset because now he has to deal with a woman he can't stand.
The mother acts very smug and gets all in the father's face on how she was right all along, and how he'll have to take care of her baby now.
The mother screams "I told you!" repeatedly.
The new father eventually accepts responsibility of the baby and tries to make amends with the mother. Subverted if the father still tries to reject the baby.
If the man is NOT the father:
The mother runs backstage in tears with Maury going after her to comfort her. Bonus points if the guy goes after her to gloat.
The mother is glad that the former lover isn't the father because she hates his guts.
The mother vows to keep searching for her baby's father.
Rashomon-Style: The stories of the man and woman always contradict each other, although in a lot of cases, it's obvious that the man is lying to make himself look better (such as saying that the woman is promiscuous). This is also the case for women who claim that the guy(s) they think is the father isn't.
Sometimes too the woman is just way too upset to accept anything the man says, even when he's proven not to have done anything seriously wrong.
Rule of Three: Whenever a cheating man or woman confesses their secrets to their significant other, the secrets always amount two or three, but no more.
Scare 'Em Straight: This trope is applied in full force in the out of control teen girls and abusive boyfriend/husband episodes. The offenders in question are sent to a place to show what will happen if they don't change. Bonus points if the people sent there break down in tears and promise they will change for the better. Subverted when a follow up episode shows that the offenders learned absolutely nothing, especially if they were recorded to show remorse in their first appearance.
Schmuck Bait: Maury employs a "sexy decoy", an attractive woman claiming to be another guest, to hit on men suspected of cheating in the green room. It's shocking how much this always works.
Some women on the show have actually gone so far as to name their son after a potential father. Flip a coin, and there's a good chance that child is not actually potential father's son.
Serial Escalation: Occasionally, a woman will make repeat appearances, dragging several men along each time for a DNA test. Double digits isn't uncommon.
She's All Grown Up: Another frequent show topic is women who were nerds growing up but have evolved into beautiful young women, often with the help of breast implants and other cosmetic surgery. And if their stage antics are to be believed, we have every reason to think they now work as strippers. Men are sometimes featured on this type of show, and as expected, they're always muscle-bound beefcakes.
The Tell: On a cheating show, if a guy says "After today, she has got to change [and stop accusing me]", there's at least an 80% chance he's cheating.
Inversely, the higher percent "sure" a woman is that a man is the father of her baby, the lower percent chance he actually is the father.
This Trope is [BLEEP]: The show is randomly sprinkled with bleeps, even during (seemingly) silent moments. It gets especially annoying when Maury is trying to say something and one of the guests or the audience curses, which the show has to bleep out. This creates a weird second of silence which throws everything off.
Trailers Always Spoil: Almost all the clips shown on what happens next before the commercial break always spoil (mostly with the lie detector/paternity test episodes) due to showing the guests' reaction to the results without actually showing the viewer the results.
Some episodes subvert this trope by showing an unrelated clip of the audience acting like the test said someone was not the father, when it was actually the opposite.
Yet another episode had a cheating mother (an affair kept secret for 22 years) with a daughter whose father might not actually be her father. The trailer that came before the DNA test showed the man saying "I never want to see you again"...but the DNA test revealed that the man was the father, and when he talked to the mother he said "I was thinking 'I never want to see you again', but I decided to be there for our daughter, even if she isn't mine." A classic bait-and-switch.
A woman can bring on upwards of a dozen men for paternity tests. The men, who have every right to be doubtful they're the father at this point, are always booed off the stage when they say this (although they aren't really doing themselves any favors by making a loud, obnoxious scene).
Oh, it gets worse; men who say that they'll take responsibility for their children, but simply want to know the child is theirs, are booed, jeered, and catcalled. Men who refuse to take any responsibility, no matter what, are cheered and clapped for.
The trope also applies to teenagers; every time the show focuses on out of control teenagers, it always shows that girls are the problem.
A rather infuriating example happened in one of the DNA test episodes. A twenty-year-old woman was accusing a thirteen-year-old boy of being her baby daddy. Thankfully he wasn't, but the fact that she wasn't in prison makes no sense. Imagine what would have happened if the genders were reversed.
From time to time, men will use a home DNA test to prove if the baby is his. If it comes up negative, the women will always claim that the test is wrong or inaccurate. Every time the home DNA test said the man wasn't the father, the Maury DNA test has said the same thing. Maury, however, still treats the home DNA tests as insufficient evidence that the man is not the child's father.