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Nepotism
"I work for children... literally, the admiral is five. Goddamned nepotism. When I asked for orders, he sent me a box filled with melted chocolate and a birthday card made from macaroni."
General Knoxx, Borderlands

A trope often found in situation comedy, it's where the boss, (often a somewhat unpleasant one) places a relative or in-law in a position of power. Invariably, the relative will be incompetent or worse.

The opposite of this trope is Coattail-Riding Relative. See also Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!. Also note that the word Nepotism comes from the word "nephew" (originally coming from the tendency of Medieval and Renaissance-era churchmen to appoint their "nephews" — who were often their unacknowledged bastard sons — to comfortable sinecures) but has nothing to do with Nephewism. When this occurs among RPG players (romantically connected to the GM or otherwise), see Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend.

A variation on this trope might be to actually have the relative be the protagonist, and have to earn the respect of his or her subordinates before they can actually accomplish anything meaningful. The trope can also be subverted if the relative is actually competent, in which case the grumbling can quickly subside.

Very much Truth in Television, and sometimes a way for the relative to get their feet wet in the business, especially if they're being groomed to take over the business when the current owner retires, or is otherwise unable to make decisions.

Not to be confused with Neopetism.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ren's old teammates in Ookiku Furikabutte feel that he's in the pitcher position only because he's related to the school board director, and that he is incompetent. He's actually a good pitcher, but the team just doesn't co-operate with him.
  • In at least one incarnation of Tenchi Muyo!, Mihoshi's grandfather is the Grand Marshal of the Galaxy Police. Given that Mihoshi tends be either a Genius Ditz, The Fool, or a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, and in any case causes massive headaches for the Galaxy Police, one theory amongst fans is that the only reason she was allowed to join, never mind stay employed, is because of this family tie. It doesn't prevent them, in the original OAVs, from sending her to patrol a sector of the galaxy considered a boring backwater... but that ends up blowing up in their faces.
  • Baccano! has two examples, both of which are played atypically.
  • Code Geass. While several members of the Britannian Imperial Family may be very qualified and competent, there are plenty of others who were less so. Clovis and Odysseus come to mind, who each has "son of the emperor" as their best qualities.
  • The Death Note manga states that Touta Matsuda has relatives in the Police Force, hence why he has a job there despite being more or less well-intentioned, yet incompetent. Until he goes all Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, that is.
  • Masaki Kirihara, the Hero Antagonist police officer of Darker Than Black is the daughter of a high-ranking Japanese politician, and some of her connections and position probably come from him, although she is very competent. In one episode, he draws upon his connections to offer her a promotion to a desk job — it's ambiguous whether this is out of concern for her safety or whether he's trying to have her Kicked Upstairs because he's a member of The Syndicate himself (or possibly both). In any case, she turns him down. By the second season, she's so frustrated by this (and other meddling in the police department) that she quits and barely looks back.
  • Doujima of Witch Hunter Robin is the daughter of a leader of the STN-J, and acts more like the spoiled, unpleasant version, coming to work late and reading fashion magazines instead of doing her job. She does get nicer over time. And the earlier behavior was sort of Obfuscating Stupidity anyway, as she was a Double Agent sent to observe the actions of Solomon, the witch-hunting organization
  • Heat Guy J
    • Daisuke Aurora has his job in part because his older brother is the police chief.
    • Also, on the villains side of the equation, Clair has his position of "Vampire" (Mob Boss) because his father specifically stated it in his will (the other members of The Mafia are not happy about this, partly because Clair is only 19, and partly because he's Ax-Crazy).
  • This is how Daigo became a CEO by 27 in ...Virgin Love. The fact that he's extremely competent definitely contributed though.
  • The Zabis all got their positions in Mobile Suit Gundam because their father, Degwin, trusts them more than anyone else. It's played for tragedy in the case of Garma, whose obsession with proving that he deserves his job ultimately gets him killed; Dozle, Kycillia, and Gihren all establish early on that they are fully capable of doing a good job.
  • Naruto has a half-example of sorts: The Hokage. All of them are related in some way, ever since the first one, Hashirama. The second was his brother, Tobirama, who also created the Resurrection Technique used by both Orochimaru and Kabuto, the Third was Sarutobi, their apprentice. The Fourth was Minato, who followed in the Master-Apprentice Chain from Jiraya, and was eventually replaced by Tsunade, Hashirama's grandaughter. Danzo would later point it out to the Fire Daimyo, saying how this chain has left the village soft on military issues, since the Hokage so far all had pacifist philosophies, resulting in Konoha's destruction by Pain. Jerkass Has a Point, wouldn't you say? Not if he's using that example. Pain's turn to evil instead of the pacifism Jiraiya taught him was the direct result of his own interference. Though he probably doesn't know that.
    • In addition to the relations, the Fourth is the father of the title character who strives to become Hokage himself. The eldest grandson of the Third also has the same goal, albeit to find some way to step out of his grandfather's shadow and be seen as something other than the Hokage's grandson (although his uncle Asuma did not have any apparent ambitions of the sort, though he did have a strained relationship with his father that resulted in him joining the 12 Guardian Ninjas for a while).
    • If Naruto actually becomes Hokage, he'll not only be part of the Master-Apprentice Chain and the son of the Fourth Hokage, but also related to the First, Second and Fifth Hokage on his mother's side of the family.
  • One of Ayumi Himekawa's main motivations in Glass Mask is to actually avert the trope. Both of her parents are veterans in the fields of visual media: her father Mitsugu is a famous film director, her mother Utako is pretty much the other Grand Dame in Japanese acting aside of Chigusa Tsukikage. Ayumi herself is very beautiful and genuinely talented in acting, but she's absolutely determined to not let people even utter the trope in front of her, and prove that she can reach stardom on her own and without any influence coming from her parents.
  • In the Ace Attorney Investigations manga, Randolph Miller, director of the Seselagi Art Museum, hires his niece Monet Kreskin because she needs a job after graduating college, even though she knows nothing about art. It's actually in large part because she knows nothing about art, and won't be able to tell that he sold the painting "Officers" to pay the museum's debts, replacing it with a fake.
  • In the non-canon Case Closed movie Captured in her Eyes, one of the suspects was involved in a crime some years back, but wasn't pursued by the police because he was the son of the police superintendent. It's subverted when it turns out that his father never had any hand in protecting him, and in fact was stunned to find out that his son was never investigated in spite of how heavily he was involved. Furthermore, the movie ends with the superintendent making it clear that his son will be prosecuted for the role he did play in the crime (blackmailing the victim).
  • In Saki Achiga-Hen, the Senriyama mahjong team includes the coach Masae Atago's (whose daughters play for another school's team) niece, Hiroko Funakubo, who, unlike many of these examples, is actually quite competent. Masae is pleased when she sees Hiroko doing well, hoping to avoid rumors of nepotism, but Cera, one of Hiroko's teammates, says people will make those rumors anyway.
  • In Haiyore! Nyarko-san, Cuuko first shows up working with kidnappers, and then immediately after that case is resolved she gets into the Planetary Defense Organization because her uncle works in HR. Nyarko is pissed for several reasons, but chief among them is that she had to do it the hard way, including taking an annoyingly difficult entrance exam.
  • One Piece: This is implied to be the reason why Spandam ended up being chief of CP9, despite being a General Failure and all around waste of human life. His father, Spandine, was also chief of CP9, and almost as bad as him, though he was also decidedly more competent and had standards, unlike his son.
  • Bizarrely enough, this gets referenced in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Since Shinji winds up becoming an accomplished EVA pilot and his father is the supreme commander of NERV, it's inevitable folks might start to look at things a little funny. In one episode, Gendo's superiors at SELEE joke about him having given Unit-01 to his son like it was a new toy, and in the second Rebuild movie, Asuka refers to Shinji as a "Daddy's Boy" who only got the job because he was well-connected. In reality of course, Shinji would give anything to not have to pilot the EVA, and Gendo is the last person to do his son any favors.
    • It's also suggested that accusations of this have shaped Ritsuko Akagi's view of the world, since her mother worked at NERV's predecessor GEHIRN and it's implied she had something to do with Ritsuko gaining a position. To combat this Ritsuko has tried to be as little like her mother as possible, including dyeing her hair, but her breakdown at the end of the series comes about largely because she realizes she failed at this as well including sleeping with Gendo just as her mother did.

    Comic Books 
  • A non-comedic example occurs in Judge Dredd — when Rico gives Deputy Chief Judge Sinfield's clone, March, a failing grade at the end of his provisional period for being too ruthless, Sinfield responds by sending Rico to oversee the mutant townships in the Cursed Earth.
  • Subverted in the X-Wing Series, when Coucilmember Beruss refuses to send aid to Rogue Squadron, despite her nephew Avan being a member.
  • In a Silver Age Tommy Tomorrow story, Tommy's Venusian partner assumes that, as his dad is head of the Venusian Planeteers, that he'll get a cushy assignment. His dad instead puts him on convoy duty to Pluto to punish his son for bragging.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • This shows up many times in First Try Series:
    • The reason Tetsuo passes Naruto despite hating him for being the Kyuubi and obviously undertrained: if he fails Naruto, he also fails Satoshi, who's his wife's favorite nephew.
    • This is why Kakashi passes Team 7 in Team 7, he wants to teach Naruto, but has to pass Sakura and Sasuke. Made bittersweet by Sakura and Sasuke bombing the Bell Test and Naruto (attempting to) deliberately fail it.
    • In Team Tetsuo, rather than Sakura and Sasuke do the Genin Exam and have Naruto, his favorite student, held back another year if they fail, Tetsuo decides to pass them on the spot so he could take them on months-long training trips to whip them into shape to get Naruto to the Suna Chunin Exam. Although in his defence, he was getting the Rookie of the Year and Top Kunoichi, so he assumed that he'd just need to shape them up a bit.
  • Discussed in Bait and Switch when Captain Bronok Zell is talking about his ship's apparent Wesley-equivalent.
    Zell: I’ll be along shortly but I have to go deal with something in Main Engineering. This idiot acting ensign Command saddled us with keeps breaking things with his science projects. Would’ve kicked him off months ago but he’s some ambassador’s kid or something so we’re stuck with him.
  • In All-American Girl, Celestia, while trying to help her niece DJ reconnect with her biological family and her Equestrian heritage, recruits her husband to a high-profile military posting and offers her brother the previously vacant position of Princess' Hoof (ie, King's Hand). When pressed, she admits to playing nepotism, though not entirely for DJ's sake - she's also trying to combat government infiltration by a group of pony supremacists called the Purehooves.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Mulan, Li Shang is determined to prove that this isn't why he was made a captain, despite being promoted by his own father.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie The Mask, Stanley Ipkiss vents about the nasty supervisor at his job.
    Ipkiss: BACK OFF, Monkey Boy, before I tell your daddy you're running this place like it's your own personal piggy bank. Or maybe we should call the IRS, and see if we can arrange a little vacation for you at Club FED!
  • In District 9, Wikus' father-in-law denies that this is the reason he promoted Wikus to lead the alien eviction team. However, the trope is played with in that it seems he promoted him with the hope that he would get killed or injured.
  • Initially averted in Gladiator when Marcus Aurelius decides to appoint Maximus as his successor, bypassing his own son Commodus. But Commodus himself enforces the trope rather... forcefully.
    • This was a common aversion to nepotism used by Roman Emperors. Since the Romans held that adopted children had the same inheritance rights as biological ones, many Emperors decided that it would be easier to find a worthy successor and adopt him into the family than to train a relative into a worthy successor.
  • Played for drama in Casino; Las Vegas is depicted as running on this trope, as Sam Rothstein is forced to hire an incompetent idiot in a cushy job because he's the brother-in-law of a powerful local official. Rothstein finally gets sick of the guy's incompetence and justifiably fires him, the brother-in-law later manages to make serious trouble for him. Curiously, even the brother-in-law admits that Rothstein was justified in doing what he did.
  • The crew of the Spaceball One is largely composed of assholes. Named Asshole.
  • In The Princess Diaries 2 a relative is not placed in a position of power, but is hired to build the bathroom in Mia's suite, prompting the queen to remark that "nepotism belongs in the arts, not in plumbing."
  • In both the film and book of American Psycho, the protagonist Patrick Bateman works at an accountancy firm which his father practically owns.
  • Captain Maitland of Kelly's Heroes is a war profiteer who is never seen to lead his men or even pay attention to anything they say, but he goes unpunished because he's a general's nephew.

    Jokes 
  • The secretary asked "How did you get your big executive job? You've only been here three months!" The young man shrugged and said "I ran into my father and he took a liking to me."

    Literature 
  • Played with in the Discworld novel Making Money — Hubert Turvy is a relative of Topsy Turvy-Lavish, the manager of the bank at the beginning of the novel. The bank has for long been the private toy of the Lavish family, so Topsy passes it on to Moist Von Lipvig, who also keeps Hubert around. The reason it's not a straight example is that rather than being incompetent, Hubert is a genius; he's just nuttier than a fruitcake. May be an inversion since in addition to her own nephew being brilliant, the "rightful" heirs the Lavishes are entirely corrupt, incompetent, and just plain awful. (A gathering of Lavishes requires a very careful seating chart based on who's suing who this week.)
  • The Belgariad (and Mallorean) make the whole Tolnedran Empire is like this; the current ruling house and its supporters hold most government jobs. It's said that even the customs officers change after dynastic succession.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: A large portion of the population of Barrayar is certain that Miles Vorkosigan only got his positions because of his father the Regent/Prime Minister or his foster brother the Emperor. They are mostly wrong. It was nepotism that got Miles into the Imperial Military Academy, despite him not meeting the physical requirements, and nepotism that kept him in the Imperial Service after the Kyril Island incident.
    • Nepotism as a whole is rampant through the series. Though the efforts of [[Badass Aral]] and Gregor have for the most part they have eliminated "Vorish nepotism," a large part of gaining promotion is based on who you know.
  • In the early Garrett, P.I. novels, the city watch is virtually useless, having degenerated into a sinecure for bureaucrats' freeloading nephews and so forth.
  • Plays a significant role in the Honor Harrington universe.
    • Most of the truly incompetent Manticoran officers are kept on the rolls because of powerful relatives in the aristocracy, although the 20 years of war with Haven tends to thin their ranks significantly. There are also some people who reach high rank faster than normal or end up with plum assignments because of their family connections, who end up proving that they have the skill to go along with the rank nonetheless (Michael Oversteegen is the most obvious example, getting a heavy cruiser - a senior-grade captain's slot - while still a captain jay-gee and then using it to blow four enemy heavy cruisers out of space in a single engagement).
      • Also averted with Michelle Henke, who is a noble in her own right as well as standing in succession to the throne (however distant) and is so terrified of being accused of this that it actually holds back her career quite significantly because the admiralty cannot promote her for her actions without fear that she'll see it as nepotism.
    • Apparently averted with Haven, amusingly: when you meet their officers, very few get their jobs because of having relatives in high places (although to be fair, after two revolutions the people in the high places change significantly).
    • Stated to be one of the problems facing the Solarian military: most of their senior military leadership gets their positions through having relatives who are also senior military leaders.
    • The Mesan Alignment is the trope's logical conclusion; it's leadership is composed of clones or carefully chosen and selected/engineered children of other leaders.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: According to her critics, the only reason Lydia is a general is because her grandfather is The Emperor. Her soldiers know better.
  • In Andrei Belyanin's Inverted City, the protagonist is a well-educated but undisciplined Don Cossack named Ilya Ilovayskiy sent by his widowed mother to serve in his late father's host. Who is in command of the host? Why, Ilya's own first cousin once removed General Ilovayskiy XII (Ilya just calls him "uncle"). Ilya's rank in the host is Khorunzhiy, a junior officer rank corresponding to a Second Lieutenant. Ilya frequently pulls stunts and displays the amount of insubordination that would get another Cossack whipped or kicked out (the first thing he does in the novel is steal his uncle's prized Arab horse and nearly gets the horse and himself killed), yet his uncle feels obligated to forgive his nephew in memory of Ilya's father. Given this, it can be easy to see that Ilya got his officer rank not on his own merits.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the first chapter is from the viewpoint of a character who's been played under the command of a teenager of noble blood, who's leading his own ranging despite never having been beyond the Wall before. The Night's Watch seems to be vulnerable to this beyond the cultural belief that nobles are more suitable, because it relies on the aid of others to sustain itself, and a lord is more likely to be helpful if his son is a prominent ranger than a random builder (though this can be justified because the noble has appropriate training from a young age). It's noted that the five youngest Lord Commanders of the Watch have all been close relatives of the Lord of Winterfell, and one of them was ten years old

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Dukes of Hazzard, Boss Hogg's incompetent sheriff, Roscoe, is his brother-in-law.
  • This is one of the key driving conflicts in Arrested Development.
  • On Murphy Brown, the head of the network (played by Gary Marshall) put his nephew (Paul Rubens) in charge of the Show Within a Show FYI.
  • Probably the only reason why Hiro hasn't been sacked from his job in Heroes. At least he has the proper excuse of running/teleporting around saving the world.
  • Extensively played with in Battlestar Galactica. Lee Adama gets accused of this by Kendra Shaw concerning his assignment to command of the Battlestar Pegasus by his Admiral father, which "your daddy just gave to you, like he was tossing you the keys to a new car". However, Adama only appointed him to the post after first going through two senior officers who both died in quick succession. Likewise with Lee becoming President — while Adama was committing something close to a military coup by refusing to recognize Zarek's control of the Colonial government despite being legally entitled to that position, Zarek was an unreliable power-seeker and Lee one of the few people available who he could trust. Baltar also espouses this for sympathy baiting in his political writings when he questions whether the fleet will ever be run by someone whose last name isn't Adama. But while the above examples are justified, Adama senior does have a strong tendency to let Lee, his assumed daughter Kara, and others close to him get away with a lot of crap, and spends an inordinate amount of time and manpower to search for Thrace when she is stranded on a planet, even at the expense of fleet security.
  • Subverted in Just Shoot Me!: the boss's daughter is the only person in the whole show who is competent.
  • Almost a running gag in Hogan's Heroes: low-level officers (captains and lieutenants) are constantly showing up, nominally working under Klink, and pushing him around. Whenever he tries to discipline them, they always turns out to be a general or field marshall's nephew. In one episode, Hogan even disguises a Russian soldier as such an officer. After he's annoyed Klink for a while, Hogan has him "disowned" by his "uncle", and Klink sends him to the Russian Front — where he's been insisting on going all episode.
  • An old Bob Saget episode of America's Funniest Home Videos once featured a production video in which the ultimate horror of the workplace was "The Boss's Kid".
  • One episode of The Thin Blue Line has Grim wanting to join a secret society called the "Todgers". He proudly rattles off a list of why he thinks they are better than the Freemasons, including better costumes and ceremonies — until Fowler chips in with "... and better nepotism."
  • Used in the Season 7 premiere of The Office which is actually named "Nepotism", in which Michael hires his nephew as the new office assistant due to having been estranged from him. However, he is an apathetic and horrible assistant who messes up everything, which eventually leads to Michael spanking him, at which point he runs off and quits.
  • Blue Bloods:
    • In this case there is no string pulling (indeed The Patriarch often goes to dramatic lengths to make clear to the public that he is NOT doing this). Rather the Reagan family are brought up with tradition and heroic tales of police work until they each determine to become competent cops on their own account. Frank is actually worried that Danny might have been transferred to Major Case as order to curry favour with him since he worries that Danny is a Cowboy Cop and might not be qualified for the job.
    • Played with in one episode. An officer's name is recommended to him for promotion, which he initially rejects because he's the son of one of the chiefs and the name came recommended by Grandpa Henry. Frank is trying to avoid developing an "old boys club". Then he interviews the officer in question, who to his surprise agrees with him that he shouldn't be promoted because of connections. Frank is so impressed by the officer's humility that, coupled with his favorable record, he gives him the promotion after all.
  • In a few episodes of The George Lopez Show, his boss's son works there and doesn't do much of anything. George also gets Max a temporary job there to show him the meaning of hard work.
  • Seemingly played straight but actually averted on Battleground with Jordan who is the son of the canidate's wife. While he believes that he is in a position of importance, he actually doesn't do anything and merely is given an office to keep him out of the way.
  • This is inverted in season 3 of Justified. The corrupt sheriff and his sister despise each other and he would never contemplate using his position to get her a job. However, on election day it is 'discovered' that she is actually an employee of the county and this violates local anti-nepotism laws. The sheriff is disqualified from running and his opponent becomes the new sheriff. Boyd Crowder bribed the sister and the county clerk to put her name on the payroll list so that Boyd's candidate would win the election.
  • On Vegas Ralph Lamb is appointed as the new sheriff of Las Vegas and immediately hires his brother and son as deputies despite them having no policing experience. He is taking on the Mob and he needs deputies he can trust explicitly. He does get called out on this a few times by other law enforcement officials.
  • Cases of the 1st Department: Ondrej Kavalir is a young intern who works with the 1st department. He is a son of somebody important from the presiding committee, the highest devision of the Police. Head of the department likes him because he likes political advantages and loyal people. His colleagues are not too thrilled about young Ondrej because he makes lots of mistakes. He's not absolutely hopeless, but his last mistake is massive and he doesn't join the 1st department permanently. However, he was considered to replace Petr Andel who is a much better and much more experienced policeman.
  • House Of Saddam: Saddam Hussein places members of his family in high-positions of power once he becomes President. In an ironic twist, Saddam's predecessor was his own cousin, who had made Saddam his deputy before being overthrown.
  • The Borgias is almost centered around this with its depiction Pope Alexander VI and his family (especially Cesare Borgia).

    Puppet Shows 
  • One of the less blatant examples is Scooter from The Muppet Show, whose uncle owns the theater. He's only a gofer, but still portrayed as fairly naive and incompetent, and still gets his way when he drops his uncle's name. By the second season, he's mostly over it.
  • The French satirical show Les Guignols de l'info had a field day mocking President Nicolas Sarkozy's various attempts at putting his son Jean in posts of high responsibility.

    Theater 
  • The antagonist of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is the boss's nephew.
  • In the Musical A New Brain, while Gordon is in the hospital, his boss keeps threatening to replace him with the boss's son.
  • In City of Angels, Buddy Fidler employs his nephew as a gofer. No wonder he refers to the movie industry as a "business of refuse and nephews."
  • Axel, the main character of Don't Drink The Water, is embarrassingly incompetent at his job and only has it because his dad is the boss. He really is a good guy, he's just in the wrong career.

    Video Games 
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley accuses a work foreman robot of having done this by passing up Wheatley for a promotion in lieu of... an exact copy of himself.
  • Claude C. Kenny, protagonist of Star Ocean: The Second Story, feels pressure from this, as revealed in flashbacks. Some cadets believe that Claude only got to his position because of his father Ronyx Kenny, a high ranking member of The Federation and one of the heroes of Star Ocean 1.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: General Lee Oliver supposedly got his position through nepotism. Naturally, he is an inept commander who is more concerned with his own reputation than the lives of his men.
    • Though when people talk about it, it technically isn't this trope — it's not General Oliver's familial relationship that is pointed out, it is his political ties with the current President of the NCR.
  • As mentioned in the page quote, General Knoxx of Borderlands works for "Admiral Mikey", who takes this trope to the logical extreme by being a literal toddler. Hilarity Ensues. Doesn't really help that Knoxx is one of the few antagonists of Borderlands that you (could) have sympathy with. Of course the game itself acknowledges itself as a big joke.
    • In the sequel, it seems that this trope is probably the reason that Axton was able to stay in the Dahl military as long as he could, as his wife was his commanding officer. Eventually however, his antics went a mite too far (specifically, leveling a building filled with terrorists, as well as a dignitary he was supposed to protect) and his wife made him go AWOL, as well as more or less divorcing him.
    • In a meta example, head writer Anthony Burch is not above joking that nepotism played a role in his sister Ashly getting the role of Tiny Tina as well as a DLC focused around said character.
  • Played with in Mass Effect 3. Primarch Victus' son, Lieutenant Victus, was a so-so officer was given a big assignment, disarming a centuries-old turian bomb on Tuchanka, which he screwed up horribly at first. His failure worked both ways: it looked horrible for the Lieutenant for failing his mission, and bad for his father because he's accused of this trope (promoting a relative without merit is a grave misstep in the Turian Heirarchy).
  • It's implied in the StarCraft fluff that General Edmund Duke only got to be in command because the Dukes are one of the Old Families who have tremendous influence on the Confederate government. He himself is a clear example of General Failure (his one great victory in the game is against his own people, since he knows all about them).

    Web Comics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance Daedalus, the leader of Hereti Corp, is eventually revealed to be "Dade Hereti", son of the company's founder Dr. Steven Hereti. Mild subversion in that it's implied Dr. Steve did not want Dade taking his position.
  • Referenced in Schlock Mercenary, when Breya needs help with something and thinks of her brother(A bonafide genius and Omnidisciplinary Scientist who invented the teraport):
    Jaksmouth: Admiral, one of the tursto's strike teams has captured a wormgate intact. Triniko is doing her best, but right now we need a think-tank of wormhole physicists and engineers to sort out what we're looking at here.
    Breya: We could try to hire my brother away from that company of thugs he's hanging out with.
    Jaksmouth: Right. Sure. You know, that reminds me. I have a good-for-nothing nephew who could use a steady paycheck.
    Breya: Your non-sequitur looks more like a subtle accusation of nepotism.
    Jaksmouth: He's very qualified management material, for sure.
  • In Demon Fist Grand High Pope Macront says that his nephew Alvin Theodora keeps acing IQ and tactics tests, and assigns him to head the team sent after Rory. In reality he turns out to be a breathtakingly arrogant Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Justin was hired at the comic book shop by his uncle out of pity. Subverted, as Justin went out of his way to prove he deserved the position.
  • Amazing Super Powers has perhaps the most clear-cut depiction.

    Web Original 
  • Featured in Grandmaster of Theft with regards to protagonist and established as one of the ways in which the Elites work. Cassidy dislikes the thought that this as the only reason she'll one day run the Family Business and chooses to work hard to prove that she deserves the position based upon her own talents, not family.
  • Auto-Tune the News: STRICTLY disallowed in New Orleans. Except for family members. And sexy turtles.
  • A frequent theme in online reviews of After Earth was pointing out that even if this didn't occur during production of the film, there's enough about this film that makes people think of nepotism that filmgoers were turned off by it.
  • According to Todd in the Shadows, this the only reason certain artists, including the aforementioned Willow and Jaden Smith, Rockwell, LMFAO, and Hot Chelle Rae have careers. It's turned into something of a Running Gag in his reviews with him loudly declaring "NEPOTISM!"

    Western Animation 
  • The main plot of the "Benchwarmer" episode of Hey Arnold! is the basketball coach's insistence that the other players give all of the most important roles to his son, even when he was not the best at them or if it meant a less surefire victory. In fact, Arnold gets benched for several games just because he passed the ball to Gerald as Tucker wasn't open, despite the fact that they scored. Thus most of their drilling revolved around learning how to "get the ball to Tucker."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In one episode, Mr. Krabs gives his daughter Pearl control of the restaurant. She promptly flips the place upside-down and changes the target demographic to vegetarian teenagers, much to SpongeBob's dismay. She was actually making horrible business choices so that her dad would take the restaurant back as she didn't want to run the place.
    • Squidward lampshaded this trope when introducing Pearl at the Krusty Krab's talent show. Patrick found it hilarious.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Brother from the Same Planet", the soccer coach selects Nelson to attend Pele's soccer and acting camp and Nelson thanks his dad.
    • In "Bart Star", Homer coaches Bart's pee-wee football team.
    Homer: Now, just because I'm his father, he will get no special treatment. He calls me coach just like everyone else. Which he'll be doing, as our new starting quarterback!
    • In another episode, Homer becomes the referee of the local soccer little league. In a unique fashion, its Lisa who expects preferential treatment, but Homer subverts this by pointing out that while he's the ref, he will not show her special favor.
    Homer: When I put on these shorts, I'm not your father anymore, and judging by how tight they are, I'm never going to be anyone else's either.
  • One might think this is how Sterling Archer keeps his job, the abuse Malory heaps on him notwithstanding. It's quickly revealed though that's he's a Bunny-Ears Lawyer when it comes to secret agent work.
  • In an episode of The Flintstones where Barney started working at the quarry, Mr. Slate found out Barney is his nephew and promoted him just because of that.
  • The Mayor in the Pound Puppies (2010) series tends to do this regarding civil service positions. McLeish is only head of Shelter 17 because he's the Mayor's brother-in-law.

Limited Advancement OpportunitiesThese Tropes Have Been PromotedNon-Promotion
NephewismFamily TropesNuclear Family
Need a Hand, or a Handjob?This Index Is A JokeNever Lend to a Friend
Kicked UpstairsI Need an Index by MondayNew Job Episode
Neglectful PrecursorsAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Never Speak Ill of the Dead

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