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If a guy is excessively devoted to his mother and he's not obviously a manly man, then he will be seen as a sensitive guy
even if he doesn't act like one. His mother might try to completely dominate his life, to the point of telling him who to marry (and if he disobeys then she'll try to ruin his relationship or at least ruin her life too), turning him into a Momma's Boy
: hopeless with women, timid, weak, and lacking the spirit to stand up to his mother. His father will be absent or just as browbeaten
. On the other hand, if he does stand up to her then he's not a Momma's Boy
, even though she's still My Beloved Smother
Young examples are shown sympathetically, older ones are usually Acceptable Targets
because no one can be a badass
if he always obeys his mother's instructions (unless she's encouraging him to be a badass
which would make her more of an Action Mom
). Note the Double Standard
in this trope, as a girl with a controlling father is almost never Played for Laughs
A young boy has a better chance of escaping mommy's patronage than an adult — who will, if anything, end up with a domineering wife instead. Sometimes an Oedipus Complex
is involved. Rescue is unlikely: there aren't many Action Girls
running around looking for poor oppressed boys. So there's the real danger that Momma's boy will grow old alone, until smother
dies, when it's too late to change their ways and set right what went wrong.
To every Momma's Boy there is a Boy's Momma
, of course.
Although the trope is usually played as inherently negative, it can also be portrayed in a more positive light, becoming essentially a gender-inversion
of Daddy's Girl
in which mother and son are simply very close and utterly adore each other, often to the exclusion of the father (if he's even around to begin with); and while the well-meaning mother might naturally welcome the idea of her son getting hooked, the usual doting and spoiling with which she treats her son might be a bit overwhelming for potential Love Interests
... if she didn't accidentally scare them off with her overprotectiveness first. This form is still likely to be Played for Laughs
, but in a more endearing way.
Compare Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas
. See Mommy Issues
for when this trope gets violent. See also All Take and No Give
. The Distaff Counterpart
, Daddy's Girl
, is less often portrayed as inherently a bad thing.
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Anime and Manga
- Gohan and Goten in Dragon Ball Z. In GT, Goten is nearly thirty and still living with Mom, while Gohan is pushing forty and lives right next-door with his wife and daughter. Chichi is overly strict with Gohan and seems to have realized her mistakes and been overly lenient with Goten, but both sons love her dearly.
- Ash Ketchum from Pokémon. Why wouldn't he be one? His mother is the only family he has, and he understandably flips out if something bad happens to her (see also: the third movie, Spell of the Unown). To be fair, even a non-Momma's Boy would flip if their mother was in mortal danger.
- A quite weird case is shown in Case Closed / Meitantei Conan / Detective Conan. Conan and the detective kids actually find a "haunted house" where a mother keeps her son locked in the basement to wait until Statute Of Limitations past, even when the guy is guilty and does want to go to jail for his crime. Eventually, Conan helps the culprit convince her mother to let him go and turn himself in.
- Kunio Murai from Great Teacher Onizuka is incredibly overprotective from his mother to an obnoxious and paranoaic extreme. He hates when someone gets close to her, dislikes thinking maybe someday she'll remarry, and his Berserk Button is people getting pervy over her.
- Subverted in Hajime No Ippo. Ippo and Volg both adore their mothers and they're huge parts of their lives, but both Hiroko and Mrs. Volg are caring and loving women who do not dominate their boys.
- Alphonse and Edward Elric both dearly loved their mother Trisha, especially after her death.
- Greece from Axis Powers Hetalia remains devoted to the memory of his mother long after her death, working to excavate the ruins and pass on the myths she left behind. This is not portrayed negatively (his mother was the great Ancient Greece, after all) and while some fanfics have his Sitcom Archnemesis Turkey mock him with this trope, it's usually presented as just a petty insult and Greece's relationship with his mother is usually portrayed positively/sympathetically in them.
- Sometimes in Hare+Guu; even though Hare often gets fed up with his Hard Drinking Party Girl mother, he is still quite devoted.
- Wallace in the first Digimon Adventure 02 movie is shown to be this, calling his mother several times during the course of the movie. Daisuke chides him for this, although from a realistic standpoint . . . .
- Takashi in Nicoichi is extremely attached to his mother such that when she passed away in a traffic accident when he was two, he kept on clamouring for her without knowing she could never return, forcing his new guardian (and protagonist of the series) to assume the role of a mother and kickstarting the plot.
- Superman is very much a momma's boy and will proudly proclaim to anyone who asks (and those who don't) that his mother made his costume for him.
- Chas Chandler in Hellblazer.
- The Whizzer and Chips character Mummy's Boy, but he is only a boy, there's time.
- The Viz character Sid the Sexist - also a grown-up virgin and ashamed of it, hence constant crass attempts to get laid
- War Machine has some characteristics of this trope. He tries to do good deeds like stopping acts of genocide and thwarting likes of Norman Osborn so his mother can be proud of him.
- Norman Bates from Psycho must be the creepiest and most dominated example of this in film history. Even though he kills his mother, she still dominates him from beyond the grave.
- Alex Sebastian from Notorious. He's not as obvious an example as Norman Bates, but his mother still has her hooks in good and deep. Alex manages to stand up to her by marrying Alicia. Unfortunately, Alicia turns out to be a American spy, and so Alex's mother is able to step in and exert control again
- Lionel from Braindead (also called Dead Alive) is a perfect example. He's so emotionally dependent on his mother that after she gets zombified he hides her in the basement, unable to bring himself to destroy her. That is, until he learns she killed his father for having an affair. That knowledge lets him break free just in time for the final battle.
- Grendel in Beowulf. It's more obvious in The Movie.
- Mikey in...Momma's Man.
- Raymond Shaw, the protagonist of The Manchurian Candidate, is controlled utterly by his mother, to perhaps the most frightening possible degree.
- Owen in Throw Momma from the Train.
- German comedy Ödipussi. He gets better, which is symbolized when he pulls down his mother's hat over her face.
- Ernest Borgnine's title character in Marty. His cousin Tommy is one too.
- The title character in Cyrus is one... except that he's the one that's manipulative and controlling.
- In many European folk tales (for instance among the Romani), The Devil is sometimes described living in hell together with his mother and grandmother. (Since he can't be a married man obviously - marriage is a Catholic sacrament.) That makes this also a case of The Devil Is a Loser.
- More "heroic" example: in Greek Mythology, the demi-god and hero Perseus was very protective of his beautiful mother, Danae. His adventures kickstarted when she was courted by an evil king who wanted her as his wife and him dead, so he tasked the guy with bringing him the monster Medusa's head, and thus began Perseus's Coming of Age story...
- Another example from Greek Mythology is Hypnos, the god of sleep. He once sent Zeus to sleep so Hera could dick with Heracles without her husband finding out. When Zeus woke up, he was understandably pissed, so Hypnos ran off and hid behind his mother, Nyx, the Anthropomorphic Personification of night, and one of the few things in creation more powerful than an angry Zeus.
- The title character from the novel Portnoys Complaint.
- Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. Since his mother Alice is mentally broken from many years ago and so is his father Frank, his grandmother Augusta raised him. She has him completely under her thumb, but while that is played for laughs, he eventually gains courage and his grandmother's pride of him during the Grand Finale.
- Eddie Kaspbrak from Stephen King's It is a former Momma's Boy with a domineering wife but manages to be kind of a hero too.
- Another King example would be Larry Underwood from The Stand, though to a lesser degree.
- The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Blue Angel is an Alternate Universe in which the Doctor is kind of one of these. (He's also Ambiguously Gay — Freud wouldn't have been surprised.) He's about forty and she's still trying to meddle in his personal life. To be fair, she's a mermaid who lives in a normal house in a nice little village and is therefore stuck in a wheelchair, and he's pretty far off his rocker — it makes sense they'd need each other's help. He lampshades it — as he has a bad leg when he goes to visit his mother, he comments on being reminded of Oedipus Rex. Interestingly, even in the several paragraphs of backstory about his childhood, his father is never mentioned, although an ex-boyfriend of his mother is.
- The Silmarillion: Fëanor. He never knew his mother, but was ferociously devoted to her memory; he took personal offense when people mispronounced her name.
- In Percy Jacksonand The Olympians, Percy Jackson adores his mother and would do anything for her. His dad, though...
- Similar to Percy, Nick Gautier in The Dark Hunters is a troubled magical teen who loves his mother to death, and insulting/harming her is his one Berserk Button - though comparing him to his scumbag of a dad comes close, too.
- The 39 Clues has a few- *cough*Ian and Jonah*cough*.
- Bob and George Dr. Light tries to create one.
- Paul Atreides in Dune. That Momma's Boy ain't no Momma's Boy!
- Oblomov shares many characteristics with them, although his father isn't absent and also never shown to be a typical Henpecked Husband.
- In Death: Bobby from Memory In Death is this for his mother Trudy Lombard. He is told by Eve at the end that his Manipulative Bitch of a wife killed his Manipulative Bitch of a mother, and she would have killed him too. He knows that she is giving it to him straight, but he is unable to accept it. He is a victim to Eve cannot reach, and is clearly pitiable.
- In John Gardner's Grendel, which is Beowulf told from the monster's point of view, Grendel was quite the little Mama's Boy as a lad.
- It including hurling himself at his mother mother when he became frightened (or when he feels horribly displaced or 'obscene'), followed by a very vague implied comfort-nursing. Since Grendel is recalling it in first-person, he REMEMBERS this.
- His traumatic growing up scene begins with straying out too far into the morning, following the scent of a newborn calf. He finds it to be "as sweet as his mama's milk". Once again, he REMEMBERS. How old was he when this happened...eleven, maybe?
- When he DOES become trapped, he screams endlessly for her to the point that the ground shakes, and becomes so desperate to find her that everything around him comes off looking like her, but is not. Which sort of contributes to his Solipsistic mindset that he had for a little while, before going to Nihilism.
- In his adult life, he inverts from being a Mama's Boy a little, despising his mother's apparently inability to speak or desire to leave their cave.
- And yet he always returns to her, with Mama trying to keep him from leaving her until he actually picks her up and puts her aside. Literally and figuratively. She didn't react well to "being put aside" and never tries to stop him from leaving again. Which is where Beowulf later kills him.
- Speaking of which, the last two pages after Beowulf tears his arm off include Grendel reverting back to his trapped-in-a-tree stage and screaming for his mama. Probably causing an avalanche somewhere, considering how much louder he probably is.
- In Returnto Neverend, David Inari's reaction to his mother's death caused him to withdraw from society at large and stop visiting the land he and she had created. His fixation is responsible for creating the White Queen.
- In PG Wodehouse's work, usuall a sign of Wrong Guy First — though he can also be the hero of the Beta Couple.
- Derek in Jill the Reckless.
- Trapped On Draconica: Kalak idolized his mom as the ideal warrior. She's the main reason he wants Gothon's head on a stick.
- Ivan Vorpatril in Vorkosigan Saga.
- Christopher in Flowers In The Attic will not tolerate any criticism or questioning of their mother, no matter how terrible things get as they spend years locked in the attic.
Live Action TV
- The Suzi Quatro song "Mama's Boy"; she wishes he was more manly.
- The Wilco song "Misunderstood" has the line You know you're just a mama's boy.
- Britney Spears says "Go run to your mother" after a rather Dramatic break up in the song of the same title. Implying the boy this song is about is a mommy's boy.
- Dennis Day on The Jack Benny Program.
- Arthur Shappey of Cabin Pressure.
Mr. Burling: You're twenty-eight, you have a ridiculous job, and you still live with your mother.
Arthur: Well, yeah, but not in the "ooh, still lives with his mother" way people are thinking when they laugh about it. I just live with her because we get on really well, like friends, so why pay rent?
Mr. Burling: That is precisely what people are thinking when they laugh about it.
- Would Sephiroth be a twisted take?
- Thanks to Advent Children, it's even more twisted!
- Extra credit for being a more spiritual sort of "motherhood" courtesy of the Jenova cells Sephiroth was originally infected with, and also courtesy of Jenova not even being determinately female or necessarily even fully aware of it. It's definitely how Sephiroth acts about the whole affair, though.
- He might just have delusions that his imaginary Mother loves him and would like him to turn the planet into their own personal family barbecue, then using it as a transport to go to new planets to eat at, as it is unknown how Jenova can even communicate with him.
- Cloud is a positive take on this trope, having been raised by a single mother.
- Good ol' Seymour Guado. The guy's got some massive Oedipal issues. Though the hate he has of his father completely overrides the love for his mother. Unlike a certain other Final Fantasy Momma's Boy...
- Hope Estheim from Final Fantasy XIII
- Pelleas from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn would probably qualify, if he were actually Almedha's son. Tibarn even calls him a Momma's Boy.
- In Baten Kaitos Origins, one of Sagi's defining character traits is his love for his mother, and many of the decisions he makes throughout the game are attempts to help or please her. It later leads to one of his best moments.
- In Team Fortress 2, about half of the Scout's lines that aren't insults are related in some way to his beloved 'ma... The other half is bragging.
- Walter Sullivan, the Big Bad from Silent Hill 4: The Room, believes that an apartment is his mother. It only gets weirder from there.
- Badass and Scary Black Man Sig in the Jak and Daxter series, who reminisces about his mother telling him stories and handing him warm milk and his "little Poopsie Bear" when he was a child. (He's about the only character whose mother has even been mentioned besides Keira, which puts him one up on the rest of the world.)
- Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side's flamboyant artist, Mihara Shiki, loves his mommy and doesn't mind saying so. In this case it's not exactly presented as a negative so much as simply an indication of his quirkiness - for example, in one of his events he drapes himself against a bust he made of his mother, lamenting that she's not there right now, giving the heroine the impression that his mother is dead... but no, she's at home making dinner.
- Jin Kazama from the highly-popular 3D fighting series Tekken
- Morgan of Fire Emblem Awakening, if the Avatar is female. Enough so that he stands with her even after she gets possessed by an Eldritch Abomination.
- Legendary Snickers-hurling, van-driving, anything-welding badass Mr. T has declared himself to be "Just a big tough overgrown mama's boy". Suddenly the term loses a lot of its force as an insult...
- "I am a Momma's Boy. I PITY THE FOOL WHO AIN'T ONE!"
- You're telling me the guy who had a rap song using the line "Treat your mother right, treat her right." is a momma's boy? You don't say.
- General Douglas Mac Arthur's mother always told him he had to grow up to be as great as his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (Lieutenant General, and military governor of the Philippines for a time). Also, while he was a bachelor, he kept a mistress in a hotel, unbeknownst to his mother.
- Jorge Luis Borges was like this too. One example: when he was in his 60s, he was offered some wine, and his mother said, "The boy doesn't drink wine." He had become blind at that time, if you wonder why his mother still had to care for him.
- Jake Gyllenhaal appears to be this, if one of his interviews with Jimmy Kimmel is any indication. He told a very lengthy anecdote about her getting him a present, describing her as a "badass chick" for her sheer persistence.
- Professional Wrestling has WCW wrestler Buff Bagwell and his mother, Judy, who was made one-half of the WCW Tag Team Champions in 1998. Both Buff and Kanyon would fight in a "Judy Bagwell on a
Pole Forklift" match in 2000. It was also rumored that Bagwell was fired from the WWF in 2001 because Judy was calling the WWF offices to complain about Buff's travel schedule.
- You'd have to be suicidal to tell Genghis Khan he wasn't "manly", but he did love his mother, Hoelun. She was his advisor from time to time, and also helped raise boys who were orphaned in his raids.
- Michael Jackson adored his mother Katherine, and apparently so did everyone else according to his memorial ("Mrs. Jackson... and Joe"). If I recall correctly, one of the first things Michael did when he became a successful solo artist was to throw a big birthday party for her, which nearly backfired horribly because she is a devout Jehovah's Witness (they compromised by having all the gifts "wrapped" in plain brown bags).
- Javier Bardem; he notably dedicated his Oscar win for No Country for Old Men to his mother, and cites her career as an actress as his inspiration for becoming an actor himself.
- Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champ Lennox Lewis' autobigraphy was even entitled "Mommas Boy". Not that I would call him on it or anything.
- Adolf Hitler seems to have been one of these. Josef Stalin, too.
: The Fuhrer wasn't a mousy little mama's boy! The Fuhrer was BUTCH!
- The Roman Emperor Severus Alexander, who was only fourteen when his mother arranged for him to come to power. She was known as 'Mother of Augustus, and of the camps, and of the senate, and of the Fatherland', in case anyone was in any doubt about who was really in charge. Eventually, they were both murdered.
- Elvis Presley made a promise to both his parents that he would take care of them once he made it big, and he kept that promise, even bringing them to live at Graceland. Their graves are there, right beside his.
- German author Erich Kästner (whom you may know from the book that became adapted as The Parent Trap) was this in Real Life and also wrote many characters like this in his books.
- Ronnie and Reggie Kray were notorious London Gangsters, "but they loved their mum".
- NFL receiver Andre Johnson, after being goaded into a fistfight with opposing cornerback Cortland Finnegan, was later asked in an interview what his mother thought about it. He responded that he'd rather not say what his 'Momma' said about him fighting.
- Speaking of NFL players, the very first thing that linebacker Ray Lewis, considered one of the game's toughest, most physical players, bought after he got his first contract? An apartment in the city he moved to play in for his mom, down the hall from his apartment. The two still have a close relationship.
- Russian NHL winger and current super star Alexander Ovechkin is an admitted Momma's Boy. He is single and often stays with his parents, while his mother cooks and washes for him.