The Parent Produced Project
aka: Parent Produced Project
When a child needs a school project done, sometimes the parents (usually the mother) would do it for them. This is actually quite common so is a case of Truth in Television. If the parent is doing the project for their lazy son the night before the project is due and he gets it in on time, it's a case of Broken Aesop. Related to Science Fair projects, Ridiculous Procrastinator, and Last Minute Project.
- There was an episode of The New Adventures of Old Christine where Christine submits a really crappy project for her son. The project in question was done at the last minute. It later turns out that none of the parents at Christine's son's school had their children complete their own projects, they paid some guy at the craft store to do it.
- Solving the second-tier murder in one episode of CSI hinged on which parent helped a child with a science-class volcano. In fact, it was the existence of such a volcano that tipped the mom off her husband's Secret Other Family.
- Inverted in an episode of Eureka. The mother stole the designs of a Science Fair project from her daughter and endangered the whole town with falling space debris. Uh... It Makes Sense in Context.
- The Simpsons:
- Parodied and played with in an where Lisa and Ralph won special awards for their costumes during a school pagent about the states, as the only two who obviously didn't have parental help making their costumes. (Ralph's costume was a piece of paper he had taped to himself saying "Idaho.") Ironically, Lisa did have her father's help with it.
- In another episode, Lisa enters an essay contest and while her entry makes it to the top, one of the judges suspects she had help from her father. After talking to Homer for about a minute, she then decides to give her an extra 10 points and thus letting her go to the finals.
- Another episode had Homer becoming a "helicopter parent", and build Bart's model of Westminster Abbey for him. It had the same punchline - Bart wins an award because it's assumed he didn't have parental help.
- Similar to this, when Homer helps Bart build a soapbox derby car, it's done so poorly that a judge assumes Bart took the 'no parental help' rule too seriously.
- In another episode, Marge builds a working model of the human digestive system for Bart the night before it's due. (Nelson destroys it on the bus before they get to school, but that's beside the point.)
- An early episode had a father at a science fair who had clearly done the project become so protective of it he insisted his son stay away from it.
- Narrowly averted in Modern Family. Haley needs to bake some cupcakes for school and tricks her mother into making them by pretending to be incompetent in the kitchen. At the end of the episode, Claire catches on to the trickery and dumps the freshly baked cupcakes in the bin; telling Haley that now she has seen how it's done, she can do it herself.
- Inverted in another episode of Modern Family, where the Dunphy parents decide NOT to help their kids for a change, since the kids have grown to take it for granted that the grownups will do all the work.
- Subverted by the third-season episode "Egg Drop". At the end Luke and Manny admit they manipulated Claire and Jay into doing their projects for them.
- In That's So Raven, Corey tricks his parents into completing his school projects for him by pretending to be too incompetent to complete a project of any quality. But then subverted because his actual project was a report, and in it he was trying to prove that if he messed up badly enough, his parents would always cover him. He got an A and punished in the end.
- On Still Standing, Lauren's parents were making her science projects, only to get her promoted into the honors class. In their honors projects, the teacher criticizes "Lauren's" work, and the parents naturally take it personally.
- Brian Regan complains about this during his "Cup of Dirt" routine. "Kid couldn't even tie his own shoes but he brought a volcano!"
- There is an episode of Rugrats: All Grown Up! where Tommy tries to stop his dad from finishing his project for him, since his father has done so before.
- In The Devil Wears Prada, Andy at one point is painting a diorama of the solar system. Her boss, Miranda Priestly, it seems, regularly makes her complete projects for Priestly's twin girls.
- In the short-lived Nick At Nite show Fatherhood, one episode involves a football player whose parents do all of his papers.
- In Lucky Star, Tsukasa recalls a time when her dad did a project for her; it got an award, and Tsukasa told him she thought he was amazing. Kagami thinks she would've been irritated in his position.
- This happens in American Gothic, when Buck (who is actually the devil...or something) does Caleb's science project for him. It becomes An Aesop when Caleb admits in front of his class that he cheated. It turns out that he learned so much about science on his own that he was able to give an impressive speech on the topic anyway.
- In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy Turner wins a school science fair because his project was so bad that he obviously did it himself, and all of the other students had their parents' help.
- On The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Arwin takes over Cody's science fair project because he wants the glory he lost when his own science fair project blew up.
- In one Baby Sitters Club book, there's a science fair coming up and many of the sitters are supervising and helping out clients with their projects. While most just supervise or offer advice, Jessi ends up taking over and doing the bulk of Jackie Rodowsky's project for him. This ends badly when the judges ask him other questions about it and determine that he has no idea.
- In another Babysitters' book, one of Mallory's brothers is discouraged that another student's math fair project is much more sophisticated than his, but cheers up when one of the judges asks her a question and she can't answer it—her mother did the project for her.
- On an episode of Archie Bunker's Place basically all the employees of Archie's bar pitch in to do Stephanie's science project for her. She feels guilty and the teacher tumbles to it right away.
- Dave Barry mentions several times in his columns. In one instance he plots out a usual hectic morning, with "7:39 : Get child in car. 7:43 : Child mentions he has science fair project due that day, which he has never mentioned before. 7:50: Drop child off at school with completed Science Fair project, entitled "Objects found in 1984 Chevrolet ashtray". In another, he sees it as revenge on the teacher's part for putting up with students (and especially parents): "I've got it! Next year we'll have them make a volcano that spews real lava! No, we already did that last year."
- It's mentioned in the Teenage Worrier series that Letty's little brother can't read or write well for his age. She puts this partly down to their parents doing his school assignments for him.
- There was a Cardcaptor Sakura episode where Sakura put off her homework until the end of the holiday and had to finish it on the last day. Her father gave her some of the answers. It's also shown that her brother Touya (and Yukito) made her birdhouse project for her, but she had to do his chores in exchange.
- In Narbonic, Helen mentions that her school project Zeta was done with her mother's help.
- Inverted, or nearly so in St. Vincent: The big project in Oliver's class is about modern "saints", and in his speech before the presentation he jokes that most of the students probably selected a parent.
- In the book I Dont Know How She Does It, Kate discovers a letter from her daughter's school, stating that the children were supposed to make food to bring to a cultural fair. Kate ends up steaming the labels off jars of shop-bought jam and putting new labels on them to pretend that she and her daughter made the jam themselves.