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A teenager who treats her (and it is
almost Always Female
) landline phone or cell phone as if it were the most important thing in the world and is on it constantly. This almost always leads to an insanely high bill. If she uses a cell phone, she may feel more comfortable texting than actually interacting with other people. When she has to baby-sit kids, she might not care about them.
This trope is older than cell phones; it goes back to the proliferation of the home telephone. In the days before cell phones, this often involved a gag about there being only one phone in the house (or two phones on the same line where each extension could listen in on the other). This made it impossible for the poor parents to call while the Bratty Teenage Daughter
tied things up.
Classic trait for the Alpha Bitch
, Valley Girl
, Bratty Teenage Daughter
, and other teenage stereotypes.
- Occurs often in Clueless - but only the girls.
- A rare male example: Oliver "O-Man" Chamberlain in The World's End. As an adult, he hasn't outgrown this behavior.
- In Don Jon, the hero's sister, Monica, spends the whole movie silently browsing/texting on her phone, until she finally speaks near the end.
- Newspaper columnist D. L. Stewart recounts, via his book Fathers Are People Too, how his teenage daughter was this. It got even worse after he got her a phone of her own when she was fifteen. According to the book, her phone started ringing twenty seconds after it was installed, she ran up to answer it, and wasn't seen again for three months.
- In Adventure Time, Valley Girl Lumpy Space Princess is constantly gossiping through her mobile phone even though she's homeless and living in a forest, on canned beans.
- Candace Flynn from Phineas and Ferb is often shown on the phone with best friend Stacy. She seems to carry her cellphone everywhere as well.
- In the episode of The Simpsons where a fortuneteller tells Lisa about her future wedding, teenage Maggie is shown to have her own home phone and always be on it. The joke is, we never hear her voice during the whole episode because Maggie is The Voiceless.
- In the Tom and Jerry shorts "Busy Buddies" and "Tot Watchers", the baby sitter left in charge at Tom's house goes straight to the phone right after the husband and wife leave, only leaving the phone to punish Tom for bothering the baby (when in fact he was returning the baby after it wandered off).
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- The short, "I Was a Teenage Bunny-Sitter" (Part of "The Acme Home Shopping Show") opens with Babs chatting on the phone with her friend Harriet, but then she has to leave to babysit and says she'll call back. After meeting the parents there, she makes a sandwich and calls Harriet back, only to hang up when she has to make mashed potatoes for Duncan (the kid she's baby-sitting). At the end of the cartoon, Babs is sleeping on the couch while Duncan is the one chatting on the phone.
- In "Take Elmyra Please", Amanda Duff, Elmyra's older sister, is seen talking on the phone with her friend, Stephanie. She has to call her back later when her Mother needs her help calming her baby brother back to sleep when he awakens from his crib and causes a mini-rampage through the living room. During her conversation, she tells Stephanie she's lucky to live in with a family whose parents are always gone and without brothers, sisters, or pets.
- Played with in Animaniacs when Katie Ka-Boom hides in a closet carrying three conversations on a phone with a long, tangled cord for her mother to trace.
- Teen Titans Go!. When Starfire is given the power to "talk like an earth teen" she is practically attached to her new smartphone. When she loses this power, she tosses the device away.
- Tambry from Gravity Falls is rarely seen not looking at her phone. According to Wendy in one episode, the fact that she was looking up from her phone for extended periods was evidence she was having the best time of her life.