"It's a show that the kids can enjoy because of the cartoony action, and Dad can enjoy because he's a big ol' pervert!"
Parent Service is where an all-ages work throws in a bit of mild sexiness to provide extra entertainment for parents and older siblings. Writers know that moms/dads adore watching shows with hot men/women in them, so they throw it in, in case they have to watch it. It's also what separates family shows/movies from children's shows/movies: While in both cases kids are the primary target, the former is specifically designed to retain elements that will keep all members of the family entertained.
of Parental Bonus
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Anime and Manga
- Parodied by Crayon Shin-Chan, in the episode where Shin's mom, Mitzi, develops a crush on the Bishōnen villain of Action Bastard.
- Yotsuba&! has Asagi and Fuuka.
- Also, Yanda for the female audience.
- Doronjo of Yatterman is a scantily-clad woman who constantly suffers Clothing Damage, sometimes ending up naked. The live-action incarnation of Yatterman-1 (portrayed by Sho Sakurai) has his own Estrogen Brigade.
- All Time Bokan series feature this (because, well, Time Bokan's villain trio is essentially always the same, just with different hairdoes and names). Itadakiman probably takes this the furthest and has the villainess strip in the opening.
- The Pokémon anime does play around with the concept with the Team Rocket trio, The Sensational Cerulean Sisters and Ash's mother, who have more than once come off like this. There are also a pretty good amount of one-shots that can apply as well, though the Orange Islands arc had a couple of very blatant examples with Professor Ivy and Lorelei/Prima. (But the show itself is generally tame compared to how certain Pokémon manga can be, especially Toshiro Ono's handiwork.)
- Sailor Moon is a show that features a Five-Man Band of teenage girls saving the world while running around in incredibly short skirts, as well as plenty of villains with Absolute Cleavage.
- Minako herself is the biggest provider out of the girls. One episode has Rei's head floating up her skirt (due to zero gravity). Another has Usagi calling all the other girls to battle and Minako is inexplicably wearing a towel. Another opened with a panning shot just of her getting changed. Then there's the "Nurse Venus" episode where she dons a fetching nurse's outfit when tending to Usagi. Notable that Usagi gets a nurse's outfit at the end of the episode and hers is a lot more conservative.
- Disturbingly parodied in F-Minus, where a family is walking out of a showing of a kiddie movie, and the father comments that "That movie had something for everybody, talking animals for the kids, and tasteful nudity for the adults."
- In-canon example in Love And Rockets, in which Doralis becomes the hostess of a Hispanic-channel children's TV show and the focus of a drooling Periphery Demographic.
Film: Live Action
- In the live-action Scooby-Doo films (and perhaps Scooby-Doo as a whole), the outfits worn by Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are pretty clearly Parent Service. The vinyl Spy Catsuit Velma wears briefly in the second film is even more so, and the cameo of Pam Anderson in a slightly sheer white top is nothing but.
- Roger Ebert, an admitted "cleavage fetishist", pointed this out in his review as a way of coping with the movie:
As for myself, scrutinizing the screen helplessly for an angle of approach, one thing above all caught my attention: the director, Raja Gosnell, has a thing about big breasts. I say this not only because of the revealing low-cut costumes of such principals as Sarah Michelle Gellar, but also because of the number of busty extras and background players... Scooby-Doo could have been a comedy about how a Russ Meyer clone copes with being assigned a live-action adaptation of a kiddie cartoon show.
- The first movie was originally going to be more adult, with things like overt references to marijuana and the suggestion that Velma was a lesbian (with the hots for Daphne). They eventually decided not to go in that direction (although there's still some pretty blatant weed gags), but some of the above is probably a leftover effect.
- In Labyrinth, sex symbol David Bowie wears a pair of extremely tight leather pants that leave nothing to the imagination.
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland has Vanessa Williams as the Queen of Trash.
- Please Don't Eat the Daisies was a light comedy movie about a family and, with moments like Doris Day as the mother leading a bunch of children in the title song, presumably intended for family audiences. One of its subplots, though, concerns the father's opinion of an actress' bottom. You can't get much more literal Parent Service than that.
- For those who view the Transformers movies as merely properties based on toys and an '80s cartoon that they are being dragged to by their kids, the casting of Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are this.
- Elf. Zooey Deschanel's shower scene.
- Shay Stanley's presence in Blank Check definitely qualifies for this. There's even a scene where she's dancing with the young protagonist in a series of water fountains.
- Loni Anderson in 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up. (Though, this was just as she was reaching the peak, so the extra content? Not so much.)
- Vivica A. Fox as the fairy godmother in Ella Enchanted. Additional Parental Service in her third appearance, providing you have the DVD version.
- The spy woman from Home Alone 3 could be considered Parent Service on a sense, due to her cutesy winter getup and personality. Mileage may vary depending on nationality viewing it however.
- The Asian prettyboy ninja in the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie, who wears blindingly white tailored suits and has a shirtless scene at the end with authentic battle damage.
- When Sharpay of High School Musical gets food spilled on her shirt, Gabriella frantically paws her chest. Mocked in the Rifftrax.
- Fathers stuck watching The Metro Chase with their kids probably won't complain too much when they see Lindsay Felton dressed like this◊.
- The live-action Jungle Book; the kids get the cute animals. Moms, older sisters, and babysitters get Jason Scott Lee in a loincloth.
- The live-action Thunderbirds movie uses Lady Penelope in this way. Her character introduction is walking into Alan's classroom done up to the nines and saying "Hello boys". Plus there's a lenghty scene with her in the bath later on in the film.
- In Oz: The Great and Powerful, Mila Kunis wears some pretty tight pants, and later a fair amount of cleavage after she turns into the wicked witch of the west.
- In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) spends the entire film wearing very tight leather pants.
Live Action TV
- This trope is the only explanation for the skimpy outfits worn by the female presenters on certain kids' shows in The Eighties and The Nineties, in Latin America. To name a few presenters, there's Xuxa, Feiticeira◊ and Laura "Panam" Franco◊; all of whom were models at one point, though the first wouldn't like it if you knew.
- Check out the shows El Espacio de Tatiana◊ and Nubeluz◊.
- Parodied on the episode of The Simpsons where the Simpsons go to Brazil and Bart watches a Brazilian kids' show called Teleboobies, featuring sexy women in tank tops and short-shorts rubbing against large letters, a showgirl/stripper demonstrating "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" using tassled pasties on her chest, and an unseen demonstration of "on top" and "underneath" (all we get to see is the family's wide-eyed reaction). Seeing her in a parade, Bart yells, "Hey, it's the stripper from the kid's show!"
- Skippy The Bush Kangaroo has quite a few scenes of attractive women in bikinis, complete with music and camera focus making it clear that the sexiness of the ladies is being emphasized. Sunny (the youngest son) is oblivious, but the older males in the story certainly take notice.
- Emmy Jo Peden co-hosted 1970s kids' show New Zoo Revue, which was aimed at preschoolers. That didn't stop her from wearing miniskirts and go-go boots.
- From Nick Jr., bored moms have been known to crush on the Kratt Brothers of Zaboomafoo, Sportacus from LazyTown, and Steve from Blue's Clues. However, nobody seems to like Joe.
- Lots of Parent Service on the UK young children's block CBeebies, most of it simply very good-looking presenters - although Sarah-Jane from Tikkabilla is a former contortionist, as many dads like to point out.
- John Stamos had a large part to do with the staying power of Full House. Then there's Becky.
- The producers of The Avengers were pretty blatant as to their motives when they brought Diana Rigg onboard as M(an) Appeal, er Emma Peel.
- TV Guide did an article once about guys watching Captain Kangaroo because of a "luscious babe" who used to be on it, sort of like Tim Taylor's female show lead in on Home Improvement.
- The Top of the Pops dance troupes such as Pan's People and Legs & Co that the show used when they couldn't get live footage in the era before music videos were widespread. Over in America meanwhile, there were the Solid Gold dancers.
- Lampshaded in the third season of the HBO series OZ, when the inmates would regularly crowd around the TV to watch a children's program with a rather well-endowed hostess (with more than a few commenting on how lucky the puppets were!).
- In Australia, there was a show called What's Up Doc, which basically showed a few Looney Tunes cartoons. It was hosted by Sophie Lee, who introduced the cartoons and tended to wear whatever she wanted due to the dress codes for television (It's not hard to see where that went). She wasn't the only attractive woman to host that show. Current Getaway host Catriona Rowntree (who even went on to become the show's writer/producer) and former model Kate Fischer were also previous hosts of the show. The background set was loosely based on the idea that it's a Looney Tunes set, complete with a Daffy Duck shaped hole in the wall, but who cares?
- Catch was, she wasn't wearing anything that was prohibited by any of the dress codes that existed or anything that was explicitly sexy. She was just extremely hot looking which caught a lot of parent's ire.
- Some French-Canadian examples:
- Alia and Zalaé in Toc Toc Toc. As with LazyTown's Stephanie above, the characters are preschool-aged children, but the parents only see the adult actresses playing them, I can assure you.
- Passe-Carreau in Passe-Partout. The attractiveness of the actress at the time is still a running gag for the show's generation.
- It was lampshaded very heavily in Les Bougons, where the prostitute daughter of the family becomes a children's entertainer because of her sex appeal. Let's just say she's playing around with VERY phallic toys in her "videoclips". The kid's show was in fact a ploy by the crooked producer to trick her into transitioning into hardcore interracial porn. It failed.
- The BBC's Blue Peter isn't above this◊ either.
- Don't forget British Saturday morning kids' show Ministry of Mayhem with Holly Willoughby◊, a maids outfit◊, and gunge and cream cakes being splattered about◊. Oh yes.
- Caleb gets a very brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-it Shirtless Scene in the opening titles of Mission:2110.
- Since The A-Team was technically intended for children, Face could be considered this. Well, any of the four A-Team members could be Parent Service for specific tastes, but Face was the most blatant, considering how ridiculously handsome and charming he was—in Season 3, the showrunners seemed determined to show off his nice, lean arms and legs as much as possible and even gave him his first Shirtless Scene in the Season Premiere. The team's two Chicks, Amy and Tawnia, were definitely for the dads (especially Tawnia, who was more outright sultry-looking). Face being Parent Service would explain why Bradley Cooper played him in the movie version.
- The original version of The Electric Company had this that could be seen as Parent Service, Nightmare Fuel, Fetish Fuel (don't ask), or Nightmare Retardant depending on how you look at it (and what's really unsettling is that the writers probably didn't mean for it to be like this). This quote from the Live Action TV Nightmare Fuel page (which also has this sketch on its list) pretty much explains how a sketch like this can be Parent Service:
"Here's how it breaks down: when you're a kid, it's Nightmare Fuel
, when you're a little older, it's Nightmare Retardant
, and past puberty, it's Parent Service
with a hint of Critical Research Failure
and Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have
when you realize/discover that [a] Morgan Freeman was quite the looker back in the 1970s, and [b] even though the sketch is about the word, "casket," what the Count is actually bathing in is a coffin. Caskets are rectangular and coffins are the ones that look like elongated hexagons and are more commonly associated with vampires. Yeah, it is common that "casket" and "coffin" are used interchangeably, but that doesn't make it right. As a result of the mistake, the educational purpose of the sketch is defeated and the sketch as a whole is reduced to Parent Service
at best or Fetish Fuel
at worst (you know there's a problem when one YouTube
commentator describes a sketch like this as "...an X-rated Sesame Street
" and another explicitly points out the difference between a casket and a coffin). And why? Were the writers on drugs
? Was the sketch written on a dare? Did the writers feel that the show could use a little Parent Service
to go with the educational content, but overdid it on the former rather than the latter? Or did the writers just think it was a good idea at the time and didn't expect dirty minds to warp it into something less than innocent
- Apparently, they got away with it again here — this time without the vampire motif.
- And for the fellas, there's this.
- The Dad from Young Dracula could count as being for the Mums... though a lot of his fanbase seems to be made up of teenage girls with Electra complexes.
- Morticia Addams in most of her incarnations.
- The mother on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody seems to be used this way.
- On occasion, London (Brenda Song) and Maddie (Ashley Tisdale) fall under this trope too.
Maddie: Ok, it's time to strip and make the bed!
London: Well ok. (nervously begins to remove her top) If that's what poor people do...
- Doctor Who is well known for using the Doctor's companions for these purposes, where it's called "something for the Dads". Some of the better known are:
- Peri (first appearance in a bikini◊). She and Turlough both get in on the action in "Planet of Fire".
- Martha's◊ ("naked slimy evil clone" in "The Sontaran Stratagem")
- Leela◊ (Nubile Savage) The media at the time, which was at the time heavily criticising the show, even complained that Leela was like "one of those awful pneumatic girls on Top of the Pops" (Legs and Co).
- Romana, although in a slightly different way for her two versions. Romana I (Mary Tamm) was introduced with a lingering pan up of her in a stunning white dress◊ and fur cape◊; she wore more practical outfits for other episodes, but even the most modest tended to emphasise her figure. Romana II (Lalla Ward), having a different body type, dressed differently, but no◊ lessattractively◊. Romana I had lovely skin tone◊ and a cleavage window.◊
- Jenny, from "The Doctor's Daughter", although not a companion.
- Nyssa, who takes her skirt off for no real reason◊ in "Terminus"
- Amy Pond, enough that some people complained about her being "too sexy" for the show, because her sexy legs◊ actually broke the TARDIS.
- Zoe◊, from way back in the 1960s. No-one remembers much about her aside from her skin-tight Latex Space Suit and the lingering, almost worshipful shot of her rear◊ in the beginning of "The Mind Robber".
- Jamie McCrimmon. At one point his actor, Frazer Hines, was voted Sexiest Legs on Television. "Enemy of the World" has him dress in a pleather uniform and pretend to be the servant of a Criminal Doppelgänger of the Doctor. "The Mind Robber" goes out of its way to have Jamie climb things, allowing for lingering close-ups of the kilt-clad legs of both of the actors who play him. Frazer Hines recalled in an interview: "I said, 'Patrick, you're paid a fortune as the Doctor to do all that speaking. I'm paid to get the girls from going out to the disco or a nightclub. And Padders is paid to get the dads in from the garden.'"
- And for the Moms, the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors themselves. Possibly the Fifth as well, and perhaps even the Third (Jon Pertwee), in his way. Eight (Paul McGann) has his own Estrogen Brigade.
- The Badass in Distress scene in "Dalek"... definitely for the mums.
- John Simm's Master plays into this as well, and both he and David Tennant (and Bernard Cribbins, if you're into old men) enjoy some bound scene◊ in 'The End of Time', although sadly clothed.
- Jack Harkness is arguably for the Mums (and for half the dads, though few will admit), especially when he gets defabricated◊.
- Ian Chesterton, who Carol Ann Ford (who played Susan) admits she constantly begged the writers for a romance subplot with because she fancied him like mad, and Steven Taylor◊, best known for wearing tight-fitting polo necks or occasionally a policeman's uniform or a cowboy outfit, were explicitly added so there could be a handsome young man around the place for Action Hero stuff and gentle Ship Tease with female Audience Surrogate characters, since William Hartnell's elderly Doctor was unsexy and unattainable.
- Arguably all the dads in spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures are distinctly "for the mums".
- There's Clara's first appearance in "Asylum of the Daleks" wearing a tight red dress, which certainly resulted in many male fans/viewers/dads going "YOWZA!"
- It's worth commenting that in the one Classic story with no companion for this job, the Doctor wears a see-through shirt with the collar fastening undone to mid-chest level, gets a lot of Clothing Damage and gets wet, and is shot with many more full-body shots, slow pans up his legs and extreme closeups of his brilliantly coloured blue eyes than he ever got before or after the story. The Doctor's not being played by the most conventionally handsome actor ever to take the role, though...
- Many of the Power Rangers characters. Unsurprisingly, it always seems to be the villains that get the role.
- This is arguably the only reason why the Pink and Yellow Rangers were around. Kat and Tanya, anyone?
- And definitely Kimberly, what with the tight gymnastics outfits, the otherwise constant upskirts and the episode where Zedd decides to make her his queen.
- For the ladies, the likes of Tommy and Jason would always be wearing vests to show off their bulging biceps. And of course Leo from Lost Galaxy gets a pretty gratuitous scene where he rips off his shirt right before morphing. That one even made it into the opening sequence.
- In the last decade or so, practically every Tokusatsu show has started casting Bishōnen models/singers/actors in the male roles, and attractive gravure (bikini models) and singers (and in a couple of cases like Go-onger, former Adult Video actresses!) in the female roles.
- One noteworthy recent example of this is episode 27 of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger: before going into battle, Kyoryu Red pulls off a spectacular Battle Strip similar to Leo's aforementioned one, complete with gratuitous close-ups of his bare chest. Unlike Leo, though, not only does Daigo fight unmorphed, but he also spends the rest of his unmorphed screentime shirtless.
- While this practice has increased in the last decade, it's not new. When Sentai was a new series, the standard Japanese house-hold had one television and at least five occupants, so shows had to be designed to have something for everyone in the room. Otherwise, kids wouldn't see the show long enough to get excited about buying the toys. So, there was action and slap-shtick for the kids, light romance for the teens, cute girls for dad, cute guys for mom and an overall light drama for the token family elder.
- How I Met Your Mother parodies this. Robin, whose alterego Robin Sparkles used to be a teen pop star in Canada, was also the star of a Canadian kids show called "Space Teens". Although the show is supposed to be about two Canadian teenagers solving outer space mysteries through math, when the gang watches it, they find it to be pretty much this trope. It starts with Robin Sparkles sliding down a pole in a short skirt and continues on to feature the teens tugging on an... interestingly shaped control, singing about their (pet) beavers, and solving math problems about how many inches of wood their beavers can eat. Robin, of course, refuses to see the show as anything but innocent, while the rest of the gang laughs it up.
- Nina from 'The Good Night Show' on the Sprout Network.
- There's a reason why the actors in Horrible Histories (a sketch show aimed [mostly] at kids on the BBC) are shirtless every now and then, and it's not just historical accuracy.
- Best demonstrated in the song "The Highwayman" about Dick Turpin, where they dressed up the most attractive member of the cast in fancy clothes and eyeliner and had him smoulder through the song, which is a pastiche of 'Stand and Deliver' by Adam and the Ants. 99% of the comments on the YouTube video are women commenting on the sexiness of the video.
- And for the males, the actress in the Victorian Inventions song has noticable cleavage.
- The song sung by the four King Georges of the Georgian era is a Boy Band pastiche in which they strike smouldery expressions and sing in numerical order - "I was the sad one," (George I), "I was the bad one" (George II, played by the most attractive man in the cast, Matt Baynton), "I was the mad one" (George III) and "I was the fat one" (George IV). When this was performed live in the Horrible Histories Proms, Matt sung "I was the bad one," and there was a really loud and noticeable collective Squee from the crowd's adult women.
- The RAF pilots song is another Boy Band pastiche where Matt Baynton smoulders a lot.
- Amy Duncan (the mom of Good Luck Charlie) certainly seems to wear a lot of really tight sweaters and shirts that don't always need to be worn (if that was the case, then why is Amy the only female (or person) in the cast) that ''always'' seems to wear sweaters, even though the show is set in Denver? there's also the fact that sometimes, Amy's bras don't seem to be that well-padded. Add in the fact that even the kids mention the fact that they shouldn't have too much fun because there are enough kids, and that Amy simply loves being noticed, and that the Disney Channel has been trying to get Leigh-Allyn Baker for a show for some time, but she thought that she was too young to play a mother to teens... yeah, she's this trope in spades.
- Sesame Street hasn't blatantly done this (except maybe with guest stars) , but over the years there have been a number of (human) female characters who just happened to be fairly easy on the eyes (Maria, Linda, Gina, Leela).
- Also, Sesame Street features a lot of EDUCATIONAL parent-service, in the form of bits teaching things that adults are also interested in (such as the basics of French and Spanish) and guests that have no real educational or interest value to anyone under 30, such as popular musicians from the '80s appearing in the late '90s and later. Averted with Katy Perry: her segment with Elmo was cut because of her cleavage.
- Parodied by perverted theatre director Don Dimello in the Comedy Bang Bang podcasts and TV Show, who is so obsessed with providing "something for daddy" that he directs adaptations of fairy tales as at best risque burlesque and at worse hardcore porn.
- Wizards of Waverly Place:
- As Jerry might say of his wife Theresa - Mamma mia! There was even one episode where she had serious cleavage showing, and they blurred it out.
- And in the movie he is blatantly checking out her ass and even comments on it.
- The Parent Service gets really blatant at the end of "New Employee" - just check out Theresa's dance routine, and her 'Flashdance'-inspired last line: "And pull the cord!"
- A recent episode features Theresa dressed as a schoolgirl, really proud of the fact that she was the most popular girl at school, which is explained by Jerry who says that she was the first girl admitted in a boys highschool.
- 1970's-80's British Saturday morning show Tiswas had Sally James. Her usual attire was either a tight t-shirt or a denim waistcoat worn with nothing underneath, with thigh-length boots and tight jeans, shorts or a short skirt◊, though she could sometimes be seen in a schoolgirl outfit◊ or dressed as a circus ringmaster in a high cut leotard. Royal Navy sailors sent her cap bands with the names of their ships, which she then wore as garters◊. She was also frequently doused in gunge or buckets of water. It was that sort of show.
- K3 is considered an example hereof in The Netherlands and Belgium. Three women jumping up and down in cute dresses while singing songs marketed towards children, though the parents, especially the fathers tend to be a bit of a bonus audience. there is quite a lot of parental bonus in the texts as well.
- S Club 7 was a kid's band, but had a very attractive group of members.◊ Compounding this is the fact that their TV show (on CBBC, remember) was set in Miami, Los Angeles, and Barcelona, meaning the group was frequently in swimsuits and other warm-weather clothing.
- On the Boers and Bernstein show (a sports radio show in Chicago), the host Dan Bernstein regularly explains that he enjoys watching Giada De Laurentiis with his daughter. His daughter likes the show because she explains cooking in a way that she can easily understand. He likes it because a decent percentage of the shots in the show are of Giada's chest.
- A newspaper article once read speculated that the 1904 play Peter Pan was a source of Parent Service in that young women generally played the title role. Remember, a woman in leggings was very racy in Edwardian times. Then there's Tiger Lily, a Nubile Savage in a tight, short, leather dress.
- Most Pantomimes (where the Principal Boy is always played by a woman) is a source of this, even today.
- Let's go back even further, when the laws loosen up to allow women to perform, they were often put in roles that includes 'disguising oneself as a boy' for this reason.
- Pokémon Live! had several dancers in the background wearing skin-tight leotards.
- James delivers a joke about employment benefits and "Don't Ask Don't Tell".