The Baby of the Bunch

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Max: The Von Trapp Family Singers. Here are your names [from eldest to youngest]: Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Brigitta, Kurt, Marta and Gretl.
Gretl: Why am I always last?
Max: Because you are the most important.

Being the youngest of your group typically comes with some perks and challenges. On one side you're probably the cutest, have a pass to act immature, people like taking care of you, and you can embrace your fun side, knowing that the elders are there to handle the serious stuff. And if there's anything you're naïve about, you have plenty of others to give you the realest unfiltered advice without the generational gap and detachment that your parents or the Old Master have.

On the other end, sometimes people don't take you seriously. There you're kinda stuck because no matter how old you get, you'll always be "the baby" in their eyes.

Embrace the fun side too much and expect a lecture about growing up. Even worse, "acting your age" if you're an adult.

This role is usually played up in Sibling Team dynamics, and musical groups. Compare Middle Child Syndrome and other Sibling Tropes that can conflate with this.

According to The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, Dr. Kevin Lenman describes the last-born children as "social and outgoing" but also the "most financially irresponsible of all birth orders". He also commented that they have the potential to be manipulative as well as charming, and, finally, be sometimes prone to Never My Fault and Attention Whore moments.

Contrast Tag Along Kid, who is usually literally a child, rather than this character who is metaphorically a baby. For reference, the baby is usually at the youngest end of their group's Competence Zone. The kid is young enough to be outside of the zone, and under normal circumstances wouldn't be expected to even be on the team. Contrast Team Dad and Team Mom, who are characterized by their maturity within a minor age range.

Tends to overlap with Kid-Appeal Character and The Cutie. Sometimes rendered as a Token Mini-Moe. Compare New Meat and Young Gun in professional settings. Occasionally can be seen as a supertrope to The Runt at the End and Youngest Child Wins as the baby tends to favored by characters, writers, and fans in real life. Everyone's Baby Sister is this trope used as a plot device to motivate other characters to protect them.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Lucky Star:
    • Tsukasa Hiiragi is this trope within her family. The most coddled character out of anyone, innocent, not very brave or bright, and rarely taken seriously.
    • Yutaka Kobayakawa, living with Konata and Soujiro Izumi. She is short, childlike, and innocent, even for the show's standards in general.
  • Todomatsu, AKA Totty, is the youngest of the Osomatsu-san Sextuplets. He has quirks such as shiny eyes and a Cat Smile, still needing to be walked to the bathroom at night, being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and being the last for things.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: Yuri "Yurio" Plisetsky, the youngest of the current Men's Skaters at the age of 15, averts this; he's a Type A Tsundere with a Hair-Trigger Temper and certainly isn't babied by anybody. Plus, while he can be immature, he certainly isn't the most naive character on the show.

    Comics 
  • In the comic Rocketship Rodents, one of the titular rodents is the youngest of the group, being 21. He often mentions he's "of age" when dismissed as a kid.

    Fan Works 

    Films - Animated 

     Films - Live Action 
  • In Captain America: Civil War, Wanda Maximoff for Team Cap (and the Avengers as a whole) and Spider-Man for Team Iron Man. Wanda is the youngest human Avenger and has the least amount of combat experience, and her teammates often take a protective or quasi-parental attitude toward her while Spider-Man is still a teenager. Averted with Vision, whose behavior is quite mature despite being only a few months old.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Diana is the youngest Amazon and the only one born on Themiscyra, so she is largely treated as a child by the other Amazons even after she becomes an adult. Since she is the only Amazon who never saw the world outside the island, she has a naivete that they do not share.
  • Ensign Pavel Chekov in Star Trek is only 17, already having his commission by virtue of being a "Russian whiz-kid". Being a live-action Moe certainly helps.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the original Blackadder, Prince Edmund is the younger son of King Richard IV, and is persistently annoyed by the fact that older brother Harry tends to get all the good jobs and titles while he is perpetually stuck with the task of managing the privies.
  • In the The Brady Bunch Reunion Show A Very Brady Christmas, Cindy, the youngest of the original bunch and who is now 19, resents the fact that since she's the youngest they rest of her family all treat her like a baby. At Christmas she's still seated at the "kids table" along with the offspring of her siblings while those same siblings (including Bobby who is only a year or so older than her) are all seated at the adults table.
  • In the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawn, Buffy's little sister, complains that everyone treats her like a baby to be protected when she's now older than Buffy was when she [Buffy] started her slaying career.
  • Empire: Hakeem Lyon is the youngest child and appropriately the most reckless and immature. He wants to prove himself a man to his father, but is quick to run to his older brothers to bail him out. He was also too young to remember his mother before she got locked up for 17 years and has no respect for her.
  • M*A*S*H. Radar is 18, while most of the other camp personnel's ages range from late 20s (Hawkeye, Trapper, and B.J.) to 60s (Potter's presumed age). After characterization marched on, Radar become an increasingly childlike and naive character, as reflected in many facets of his personality, such as sleeping with a teddy bear, reading comic books, sneaking copies of National Geographic (for nude pictures), and being unfamiliar with subjects related to sex. The fact that he's also short (only 5′5″) didn't help him out much, either, and he was consistently teased about his height—or lack thereof.
  • Dr Julian Bashir of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine begins as a fresh-faced officer straight out of the Academy in his mid-20s, and manages to get off on the wrong foot with most of the cast due to his unconscious arrogance before his Character Development sets in.
  • Played literally in Star Trek: Voyager when an evil alien momentarily turns Harry Kim into a squalling baby, lampshading how he hates being treated like the baby of the crew.
  • Dr Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds. He turned 24 early in Season 1, which made him the youngest of the BAU by almost a decade and the rest of his team (read: Morgan) never lets him forget it. On the plus side, it also tends to evoke Big Brother Instinct in some teammates and Like a Son to Me in others, and lets him get away with his more childish quirks like an over-enthusiasm for Halloween and firing off "physics rockets" in the bullpen.
  • Liam Dunbar in the fourth season of Teen Wolf. Stiles even calls him a little runt. Eventually, he is joined by Mason, Hayden, and Corey.
  • At age 22, during season 1 of Supernatural, Sam Winchester is the baby of his crew which initially begins with Sam, his older brother, his father, and an older family friend and eventually expands to include several nigh immortal creatures such angle, demons, and witches. Sam is the youngest human until the next generation of hunters begin to emerge in season 8.

    Literature 
  • Fritz from the All American Pups series is at least one of the younger members. He is somewhat klutzy, reluctant to be too far from home, and a self-admitted Lovable Coward. He tends to be seen as the baby of the group by humans, the other pups, and himself.
  • In the first Wings of Fire series, Sunny's idealism and simple outlook means that her friends (despite being the same age) often discount her opinions. Sunny is aware of this, and hates it.
    "They'll give me that look I always get, the one that says: 'Oh, silly little Sunny and her crazy dreams, isn't she cute and harmless.'"
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Misty, at ten, is two years younger than the rest. She insists on being treated like a team member and even objects that she's used primarily to transport them to and from fights.
  • Brand, from The Crush, is the youngest member on his squad. The others make a habit of correcting him and constantly treating him as the new guy, while also taking care of him like a younger sibling.
  • In The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, Lindy is the youngest of the three siblings. She has the most fertile imagination, which is a valuable attribute in the context, and the most trusting nature, which can be good or bad depending.

    Music 
  • Although Alvin and the Chipmunks are triplets, their birth order is Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Compared to Alvin and Simon, Theodore is notably more bright-eyed and naive, and often looks to his brothers for advice and guidance. At one point during the 1980s series, and carried over into the two Universal movies, both Alvin and Simon had begun to wear regular pajamas while Theodore still wore his onesies to bed.
  • The Jackson Five: Michael Jackson, the youngest brother and interestingly enough the lead singer and The Face of the band for both his talent and cuteness as a child. He started a solo career as a teenager.
  • *NSYNC: Justin Timberlake was 14 when the group started and had an Odd Friendship with the eldest member, who was 10 years his senior.
  • Spice Girls: Emma Bunton AKA Baby Spice for the iconic girl group. She's the youngest of the group (by less than a year) but accentuated by long blond hair in pigtails, baby-doll dresses, innocent smile, and Girly Girl personality in the marketing.
  • The Sugarhill Gang: Master Gee invokes the trope by name for himself during his verse in "Rapper's Delight."
    Now, I'm not as tall as the rest of the gang
    But I rap to the beat just the same
    I got a little face and a pair of brown eyes
    All I'm here to do ladies is hypnotize…
    I guess by now you can take a hunch
    And find that I am the baby of the bunch
  • Nicola Roberts references her time as one of the youngest contestants on Popstars: The Rivals on her solo single "Beat of My Drum":
    Once upon a time I pressed rewind
    Two left feet, I had no beat
    Baby in the corner learning quick
    Keep up, keep up, keep up

    Toys 
  • Transformers: Bumblebee is already the Trope Codifier for Kid-Appeal Character, has a youthful, friendly design with Innocent Blue Eyesnote , is the youngest of Optimus Prime's troop who wants to prove himself to his more seasoned allies, and empathizes with the Puny Earthlings.
  • BIONICLE: Lewa came off as this to the Toa Mata, even though they were all the same age, due to his tendency for reckless adventure. Character Development eventually wizened him up, though.
  • From The Grossery Gang, Rotten Egg was the last one to expire, so he was the last one to turn into a Grossery, making him the youngest, where all the others treat him like a little brother, even though they also spend no spare time mocking him like an older sibling would, too.

    Video Games 
  • Axl from Mega Man X 7 onward is a newer member of the Maverick Hunters and is characterized as a Young Gun who's more impulsive and eager than the veterans X and Zero. Axl acts immature and thinks of everything like a game.
  • Mighty No. 2 Cryosphere from Mighty No. 9 is the smallest of the nine Mighty Numbers, and is designed with a baby aesthetic in mind, complete with a childlike personality.
  • D. Va from Overwatch is a 19-year-old professional human Gamer Chick riding a Chicken Walker, in a setting where you'd have to be at least in your mid-twenties to be called 'young'. Because of this, she retains quite a lot of childish cockiness that comes from a competitive gamer of that age.
    • Then she's surpassed by Orisa, an Omnic designed to be the protector of Numbani, who's only 1 month old by the time of the game. Her creator, Efi Oladele isn't any better; she's 11.
  • Mass Effect has interesting subversions.
    • Despite clearly being The Leader, Shepard's is likely actually the youngest member of the true companion crew that appear in all three games, except for Joker who is a few months younger, and Ashley and Tali, who are both a few years younger. Because of the strength of his personality, he comes across as older but is only 29 in the first installment, several years younger than the rest of the crew save Ashley and hundreds of years younger than some of the allies he eventually makes.
    • If Shepard does not romance Tali, Tali will be treated like a kid sibling.

     Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
  • In ClockUp's Euphoria, we have Token Mini-Moe Spoiled Brat Rika... who's just one year younger than the other teenagers. She often uses her charming cuteness to get herself out of trouble.
  • Morenatsu: If you don't count Soutarou, Shun is this in the main group. Shun is also the most cheerful, sensitive, energetic, and child-like of the group.
  • Eroge! Sex and Games Make Sexy Games: This trope gets Zigzagged; Nene is this in appearance and behavior only (in fact, she's the eldest at 32!); Momoka, a Does Not Like Men Tsundere, is actually the youngest one in the group (at the age of 20).

    Webcomics 
  • Zala'ess Vel'Sharen of Drowtales is the youngest of her five sisters, and a major motivation for her is to make herself the most powerful to make up for all the times they talked down to her and took her less than seriously due to her age. As a result she has the largest family and the most political connections of any of them.
  • Errant Story: Poor Misa is this for the entire elven species. Since they're immortal but slowly became sterile over the millennia, she's literally the youngest elf in existence, and there's no chance of another being born. This means that she's still treated as a baby despite being almost fifteen hundred years old.
  • Pocket Princesses depicts Snow White in this manner. She's canonically the youngest Disney Princess at only 14-years-old, and the most innocent and pure-hearted, which combined with Character Exaggeration makes her into a happy-go-lucky Kindhearted Simpleton.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Reynir is this to his family, thanks to both being the youngest and the only one to not be The Immune among his siblings. It's to the point that at age twenty, his parents were still exaggerating how dangerous the world is outside the farm, while his older siblings are implied to all have military jobs. He's also this in the Death World exploration crew to which he's a Little Stowaway to an extent, being an untrained civilian making up for the fact that strictly speaking, he's the third youngest out of six behind a couple of military-trained nineteen year olds.

    Web Original 
  • In RWBY, Ruby is the leader of the eponymous team and is only fifteen years old, while all of her teammates are seventeen years old. Yang dotes on her younger sister and is supportive of her, while Weiss initially despises Ruby and refuses to follow a younger and (at least in her view) even more inexperienced combatant.
  • In Past Division, most of the party consists of young adults, with the exception of Lucky Twice, who is seventeen years old and the Only Sane Man. She's still treated as the least competent, though.

    Western Animation 
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy
    • Jimmy, in spades. Kevin in particular will occasionally taunt Jimmy over his younger age, from him frequently carrying around stuffed animals and playing with dolls, to how accident prone he tends to be. In spite of all of this, Jimmy still hangs with the other cul-de-sac kids.
    • Averted with Sarah. She's Jimmy's age, and is Ed's baby sister, but she's incredibly aggressive, temperamental, and physically destructive to the point that most of the other characters (Ed, especially) don't even dare mess with her, lest they suffer her wrath.
    • Though Eddy usually averts this, "A Pinch to Grow an Ed" is made of this trope.
  • The Legend of Korra
    • In Aang's family, Tenzin is 'the baby' among his siblings, however he's also the most driven and stoic of the family, probably because he has a chip on his shoulder. He gets teased by his older brother and sister for being daddy's favorite, even as an old man.
    • Similarly, Meelo feels he has something to prove, not only as the youngestnote , but also as the only male of his Tag Along Kid trio with his two older sisters. His attempts to be seen as a man are usually played for comic relief.
    • Among Team Avatar, Bolin fills this role. Mako occasionally calls attention to his age, and he embraces being the most childlike of the team.
  • The Powerpuff Girls has Bubbles. She's the cutest and friendliest of the sisters. She also has the most childlike character tics like sleeping with the lights on and carrying around a stuffed animal. Being explicitly treated as the Baby is a Berserk Button for her. As long as you don't call attention to it, she plays the role to a tee.
  • Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In all except the 1987 series, he's treated as the youngest turtle. Appropriately he's the least mature, easily distracted, and most energetic, but he sometimes gets miffed that no one takes him seriously.
  • Young Justice. Robin is the baby of the founding core team during season one. This actually becomes a plot point. He's been a super hero since he was 9, has the most years of experience, and probably the most grueling mentor in Batman, so he was considered to be The Leader of the team. Due to his relative youth at age 13 and overall immaturity, the mantle passed to Aqualad (age 16 at the time). Appropriately, this is one of the most impish and childlike interpretations of Dick Grayson since before Batman: The Animated Series in the 1990s. After the time skip he became The Leader proper as Nightwing.
  • While Ice Bear is actually the little bro of the trio from We Bare Bears, ironically, it's the middle child Panda that's treated like the baby by his brothers and tend to coddle/overprotect him as such.
  • The titular character in Steven Universe, pictured above, being the youngest of the Crystal Gems, is basically this. He's starting to grow up in later episodes, though.
    • In the Whole Episode Flashback episodes set before Steven was born, Amethyst seems to have been this, acting even more childlike than she does in the present. The loss of Rose, along with Steven becoming the new "baby," seems to have matured her into more of a Cool Big Sis role.
    • Minor Character Peedee Fryman also applies this, and ironically being more responsible than his dad or older brother.
  • 15-month-old Lily from The Loud House, which means that she is literally a baby in the whole family.
  • In South Park, Butters stands out as the only kid in his class who plays Children Are Innocent straight.

    Real Life 
  • Some legislatures take to nickname their youngest member the Baby of the House.
  • If you've got at least one sibling and are the youngest, odds are your family will always see you as this to some extent.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheBabyOfTheBunch