The nasty end of Parental Favoritism. Where there's an Alpha wolf, there's got to be an Omega. When there is a first banana, there is a second banana. This is the person in the family who can't get a break. For example, this is the child who's the big let-down to their parents, the daughter that was supposed to be a son (or vice-versa), the child the parents had by accident when they'd already decided they didn't need another mouth to feed. But all in all, this is basically the kid who is always getting the short-end of the stick.
A regular line that may be entailed with this is a variant of, "Honestly, (insert name), why can't ya be more like (insert favorite's name)?"
Frequently, being The Unfavorite is a Freudian Excuse for a character who's a particularly pathetic loser. If the Parental Favoritism was garden variety (or even a product of his/her imagination), PG-rated Wangst, this is probably being played for comedy, a weak excuse for being a failure. If the favoritism was particularly vicious, however, up to and including abuse, The Unfavorite becomes a more tragic character — most probably The Woobie. Sometimes, however, the Unfavorite is almost suspiciously well-adjusted.
A variant is where The Unfavorite is actually highly successful and dutiful, but can never get the approval of his parents, simply because their sibling will always do "better" in their parents' eyes. ("Hey look, dad, I won the Nobel Prize for Physics!" "Only one? That's nothin' — your brother won Employee of the Month at Shop 'n Go 3 times!"). The Unfavorite doesn't need to play second fiddle to an actual sibling, and can even be an only child. Unfavorites without a sibling are often unwanted or unexpected children and can even, in perhaps an extreme case, be passed over for the family pet.
The audience's attitude towards the unfavorite is often based on what age the character is. There's a common perception that an adult character should really have gotten over this by now and moved on, even if the viewers/readers empathize with them. A child character, on the other hand, is likely to get the audience's unreserved support.
Age notwithstanding, this is usually a character you sympathize with, because we're supposed to root for the disadvantaged; expect the favorite either to be rubbing their status in their sibling's face, be an Aloof Big Brother, or completely unaware of the situation. It is, however, completely possible that the character is interpreting some behavior as favoritism — and the other character also regards himself as the Unfavorite. (Cue Sibling Rivalry.) Also, another possible situation is that the favorite is indeed aware of the situation, sympathize with the unfavorite, and may even start the "talk with the parents" scene.
And Heaven help the poor kid if the favorite child is dead. (Possibly having received the status of "favorite" by dying.) See also You Should Have Died Instead.
Can easily escalate into Cain and Abel. May be rooted in a Death by Childbirth. May cross over with "Well Done, Son!" Guy if the Unfavorite wants some recognition. If the favorite of the parents isn't even a member of their family, it's a case of Why Are You Not My Son?. When each parent has one favorite and one Un Favorite, it's Jacob and Esau.
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Poor Shui Long of Haou Airen. Despite being the most talented of his siblings at the family trade (medicine), he never got his clan's favor and recognization. Which would drive him to later join The Triads and the Tongs.
Jun Manjyome of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, disowned by his brothers for his inability to live up to the family name.
In Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL, due to his recklessness and anger issues, IV suffers from this, as well as a dose of Middle Child Syndrome due to older brother V and younger brother III. As such, their father Tron has taken steps to keep IV Locked Out of the Loop about the family's plans. Tron's frequent belittling of IV's capabilities and lack of care for IV also do not help matters at all.
In the Mazinger series, Kenzo Kabuto had two biological sons (Kouji and Shiro) and two adoptive children (Tetsuya and Jun). Although Tetsuya was clearly his favorite, he still showed he cared for Kouji and Shiro. However, he got Jun completely neglected, treating her like a soldier, not making anything about her feelings of abandoment and her inner tensions, and he seldom shown he cared for her. It went so far that, before dying after his Heroic Sacrifice, he pleaded Kouji that he treated Tetsuya like his brother and took care of Shiro... but he did not mention Jun at all. Nonetheless, his attitude drove Jun to think she could not be dependant on someone else and to develop a very strong-willed and self-reliant personality, not to mention a Cool Big Sis bond towards Shiro.
In Gintama, there's Itou, whose negligence resulted in him becoming a puppet for Shinsuke and the antagonist to the Shinsengumi Crisis Arc.
Somewhat in the Emma manga. While their mother loves them all dearly, Richard Jones is distant at best to any of his five children (we rarely, if ever, see him interact with his youngest son, Colin) and while there are a few moments to indicate he does care for them, he seems to base his love for his children on how much they behave/don't embarrass him in high society. This means he will inevitably butt heads with his oldest son and heir, William Jones, who doesn't put much care into the rules of high society or much effort into taking over the family business (at least at first). Top this all off with his love affair with the titular Emma, a maid, and you have a recipe for the official Unfavorite of Mr. Richard Jones.
Variation: In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Dark Magical Girl Fate is a clone of Precia Testarossa's deceased daughter, Alicia. Fate has Alicia's memories of Precia being a loving and kind mother, but Precia is abusive to Fate and sees her only as a tool for bringing Alicia back to life. The Lotus-Eater Machine in season two reveals that Fate sees Alicia as the parental favorite older sister.
This is especially horrible in that most philosophers would agree that Fate is Alicia. Same body, same mind — so they're both copies; so what?
Fate herself, however, states that she is not Alicia.
In spite of their identical origins and memories, Precia claims that Fate and Alicia have very different personalities (This is confirmed in the movie). Of course, Precia was more-than-slightly unhinged by Alicia's death, so it apparently never occured to her that Fate might have turned out more Alicia-like if it weren't for the, you know, horrible abuse.
Subverted/Zig-Zagged with Sasuke. At first it appears that Sasuke, while being fairly intelligent and very talented, is constantly being neglected in favor of his geniusolder brother Itachi, whom his father always praised with the words "as expected of my child", while Sasuke only ever got an unimpressed "Become more like Itachi." But later we see that this only applies to his father Fugaku, while his mother Mikoto is shown treating Sasuke with great kindness while the only line we ever see her speak to Itachi is "Do your homework!", so it looks as if each parent favors one of the two. Later in the story, some dissent arises between Itachi and his parents, as Itachi didn't think too highly of their plan to take over the village and start a world war, and it becomes apparent that his parents cared more for his incredible talent than for Itachi as a person. Fugaku soon turns his interest to Sasuke, tells him not to be like Itachi, complains about his older son to the rest of the family, and Mikoto states that when they're alone, all her husband and her ever talk about is Sasuke, cementing that Itachi was the actual unfavorite all long. But ultimately, their parents loved them both very much. When Itachi comes to kill them, both Fugaku and Mikoto are shown to be aware of his massive turmoil, and they tell him that they understand his reasons and decisions, offering no resistance as he tearfully executes them. Their only request was that he'd take care of his brother, and Fugaku tells him that despite the differences in beliefs and the paths taken, he was (and always has been) proud of Itachi, no matter what.
Gaara, because everyone in his family (and his entire city) is scared of him, or at least of the demon sealed inside him. He was conceived only to be a container for the demon and be a living weapon, and his mother died giving birth to him and his father, the Kazekage, hated him because of this. Subverted in the end, as it turns out that his mother Karura's love for him is what makes his sand protect him and his resurrected father realizes that he does, in fact, love his youngest son.
Johnny Joestar, from Part 7 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, always lived in the shadow of his elder brother Nicholas, even though he was just as competent a horse jockey as Nicholas. After Nicholas was killed in a horse-riding accident when his horse was spooked by a mouse that resembled a pet Johnny released into the wild instead of kill on his father's instructions, Johnny has a major falling out with his dad, who proclaimed that "God took the wrong son".
Seta Sōjirō from Rurouni Kenshin is a particularly tragic example of this trope. So much that his adoptive family (stepmother, half-brothers, younger uncles) try to kill him for being an illegitimate child. He killstheminstead.
Machi Kuragi from Fruits Basket is such an unfavorite that her parents automatically assume she attempted to kill her little brother, despite her (more or less believable) claim that she was just trying to keep him warm.
Kagura is loved by her mother, as well as Yuki (in a way), Hiro, and Kisa, but Momiji and Kyo definitely fell into this trope. As Momiji says, mothers of Zodiac children either become overly protective or reject their child completely.
The main character Tohru even gets this from her father's family mainly due to their dislike of her mother, pretty much treating her like dirt when she is alone with them. Only her grandfather likes Tohru and her mother.
This is bizarrely inverted with Yuki's family. Ayame is the unfavorite, which means that he was more or less free to do as he wanted, which led to him being a self-centered jerkass in school, but ultimately meant he could move out on his own and start his own business. Yuki was the favorite (at least in the sense that his parents thought him more likely usable to get money and move higher in society), so he was forced to be the already unstable Akito's playmate, was psychologically tortured, implied to have been hit by his mother for trying to avoid it, and was generally so screwed up that he couldn't interact with other people at all.
In Digimon Frontier, it seems that Kouchi was his his father's "Unfavorite" as Koji was taken by his father when he left their mother and divorced and he re-married another woman. This causes feelings of anger, jealousy, and betrayal in Kouchi.
Subverted in The Prince of Tennis. Yuuta Fuji feels he's the unfavorite since his middle brother Shuusuke is talented, handsome, and popular at their school, so he leaves and transfers into another school and its dorms. But that genuinely hurts Shuusuke, who really loves and cares for Yuuta and just didn't know what his brother was going through, becoming a huge Stepford Smiler out of the pain he feels upon Yuuta abandoning him. It'll take more than a year to reunite them.
Code Geass: Lelouch Lemperouge spends a good portion of his life believing that not only are he and his sister Nunnally their father's unfavorites, but that their mother Marianne was too, since she was the only Imperial Wife to come from common origins. Eventually, he learns that his parents fell in Love at First Sight, and by extension, Lelouch and Nunnally were his favorite children. Furthermore, they both wanted Lelouch to help them with their plan to make the world a better place.
In Gundam 00's second season, there's an unfavorite that doesn't even need a family (they got killed by terrorists several years ago) to feel this way. Lyle Dylandy thinks that several of the Celestial Being members expect him to be just like his deceased twin older brother, Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy. While Lyle doesn't hate Neil per se (in fact, we first see him when he's visiting Neil's grave), he doesn't like like this situation — so after taking up Neil's Lockon mantle, he decides to downplay his own and considerable fighting and piloting skills to make himself look different from him. With some Character Development from both parts in the conflict, Lyle soon starts to gain the appreciation of Neil's True Companions for the person he is.
Hong Long could be argued to be this. His father favored Wang Liu Mei, his little sister, and made her the head of the Wang family instead of him due to her being more talented in business and leadership than he was, with Hong Long instead becoming a Battle Butler to his little sister. However, Mei never wanted the responsibilities of leading the clan and blamed Hong Long for "forcing" her to take charge, growing as a beautiful and talented but terribly embittered and self-absorbed Rich Bitch. Hong Long, being an Extreme Doormat who also felt terribly guilty for the part he believed he had into Mei's raising, would go on to serve his sister faithfully for years while she treated him like crap and bitched him out for a situation her selfishness had gotten them into shortly before he sacrificed his life to save her from Nena. For the second time that day.
Hell Girl episode 16 features a disturbing twist on this trope. The episode revolves around Yumi and Yuki, a pair of twin girls in a traveling circus — Yuki is praised and doted upon by the ringleader, while Yumi is kept locked in a back room and frequently abused. Initially, the audience is led to believe that Yumi has summoned Enma Ai to exact revenge upon the ringleader, only to find out too late that the real target is her sister. Ai takes Yuki to hell, then, giving Yumi her chance to be the favorite.
Season 3 features a boy who becomes The Unfavorite in his family before the sibling is even born. He ends up sending the baby girl to hell, also before she is even born. The worst part? He assumed that doing this would make his stepmother stop "hating" him and lashing out at him for the tiniest things...and the end of the episode shows the family all laughing together on an outing. In other words, he was right.
Played with in G Gundam. It's implied that, due to being much younger as well as Book Dumb, Domon felt inferior to his Badass Bookworm older brother Kyouji in the eyes of their father, The Professor Raizou Kasshu. Unlike other cases, though, Dr. Kasshu doesn't show deliberate cruelty towards Domon, who finds another father figure in his martial arts teacher Master Asia and leaves home to train with him... Fast forward 10 years and Domon finds himself with a Broken Pedestal of a mentor, a dead mother, a cryogenically frozen father, and an evilAloof Big Brother who's become a wanted criminal...
Nope; when Raizo is exonerated and thawed out in the final episode, he tells Domon that he's proud of him and always has been, and Domon's being a fighter rather than a scientist like himself or Kyoji was never an issue. And Domon is genuinely happy upon hearing this.
In the Dragon Ball Z special it is revealed that Vegeta has a younger brother, who was exiled from their homeworld because he was too weak to be any good as a fighter (like Goku himself).
Also played with in Gundam SEED, with Ace Pilot Mu la Flaga. His father Al de Flaga was so peeved with Mu being a normal child instead of a perfect vehicle for his father's ego (and for worse, he was very similar to his mother) that he disowned the boy, practically locked him away, and cloned himself, the result being Rau le Creuset.
...who is himself an Unfavorite due to his short telomeres giving him frail health and a limited lifespan. Adaptations of SEED state that Rau was abandoned by Al de Flaga when he was very young, once Al found out. This is part of why Mu empathizes with him very late in the series.
Abo Ozawa in the baseball manga Stripe Blue. His older brother Bantarou is the closing pitcher on a professional team that owes its recent success solely to him. Being that Abo is also a baseball pitcher, he has to work extra hard to stand out, even to his own parents, despite frankly having not very formidable skills.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji gets this so damn much. Even taken by itself, his relationship with his father is defined by Gendo's neglect and a cold-blooded insistence that he pilots a walking death machine under horrible conditions. But aside from that, Gendo has Rei, whom he treats as a surrogate daughter. Shinji and Rei become friends, but the fact that his father likes her better clearly bothers him. While Shinji is hard-pressed to get his father to even glance at him, many characters note on how surprisingly caring Gendo is to Rei. Asuka even points out to Rei, "You're Commander Ikari's favorite, aren't you?". In keeping with the typical rules for favorites, Rei bears a close similarity to (and is a half-clone of and integral in the plan to revive) Gendo's dead wife Yui.
Played with in regards to Belarus of Axis Powers Hetalia, who thinks she's The Unfavorite of her older brother Russia because of their older sister Ukraine and Russia's subordinates, the Baltic brothers (Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia). This leaves the girl, well... ratherunstable. (Russia does care, but on the other hand he has his own issues and her Big Brother Attraction freaks him out. Not to mention he seems to be personally closer to Ukraine.)
Roman Empire was a well-intentioned Empire, but loved North Italy more than South Italy; the Chibitalia chapter said that he took Italy with him when he had to run away, but was shown to have left Romano. As a result, while Romano does care for his brother in a very Tsundere way, he's not exactly happy and his self-esteem problems show... but he isn't necessarily much better than anyone else
George from Paradise Kiss is the ilegitimate son of a rich, influential man and a former model. His father pays for his and his mother's expensive lifestyle, but has no actual relationship with them, and his mother is very vocal about how much she resents him because becoming pregnant ruined her modelling career.
Definitely Ageha from Papillon Hana To Chou: as an infant, her mother sent her to live with her grandmother in the country because she couldn't stop crying; her twin sister Hana/Kana (the translators kept switching) is popular and glamorous and steals her potential boyfriend; she's even screwed over by her only "friend". No wonder she's almost Driven to Suicide. Fortunately, her relationship with her mom improves dramatically when they finally start talking to each other. Kana/Hana, however, is becoming uneasy with her sister's newfound confidence...
Asagi Ayase of Yotsuba&! gets far more than her share of crap from her mother. It's played for laughs, since Asagi tends to retaliate in kind, but at least one flashback has shown she's gotten this treatment for years. The fact that Asagi is like her mother has something to do with it.
Moroboshi Ataru from Urusei Yatsura is another only-child example of this trope. His parents are constantly lamenting the fact that he was ever born, in his presence. Played pretty much entirely for laughs.
They also wistfully mention how much they wanted a little girl, making Ataru the Unfavorite to a sister who doesn't even exist.
Sachiko in With The Light loves both of her children — autistic Hikaru and his unafflicted little sister Kanon — equally; it's her mother-in-law who plays unfavorites. Having Kanon to interact with and a hard time accepting the fact that Hikaru's not going to "get better" and be exactly like "normal" people means that she is more affectionate with the girl.
In There, Beyond the Beyond, both of the kingdom's twin princes are named Virid Visette Viridian. The one who would eventually become the "Mad Prince" was left to be abused and forgotten in a cell, while his brother got to be doted on in the palace.
Subverted with Lina in Slayers, who felt this to her older sister, Luna, both a fighting prodigy and the Knight of Ciefeed — a special human born with a fragment of the world's dragon god within them. While Lina felt that she didn't get enough credit for her magical powers (which naturally exceed beyond most humans) from her family, it wasn't the case, as her father was always supportive of her and Luna was the one who convinced Lina to travel the world in the first place. A portion of this is Word of God from interviews.
While it's unknown how Amelia and Gracia/Naga felt toward one another, Amelia feels this way towards her own friends, citing the fact that she's the weakest in the group (in terms of strategic thinking and physically; her magical powers are almost on par with Zelgadis') and more often than not doesn't try to object against the others' (especially Lina, who pushes her around and uses her vast family fortune to pay for meals) wishes or thoughts. While her sermons of misguided justice warrant reactions, the others are apathetic toward her otherwise.
Seileiz, eldest of the three heirs to his country in Vampire Game, is also by far his mother's most hated. There are three reasons for this: he's adopted (as are his brothers), he's the Son of a Whore, and he's the illegitimate son of the king. The queen was willing to put up with the first two, but having a reminder of her husband's refusal to sleep with her running around really pissed her off.
In Nononono, Nono's brother, Yuuta, is like this. Both of them were trained by their ski-jumper dad to be ski-jumpers, hoping to go to the olympics. The problem is, Nono is the more talented of the two, but she can't go to the Olympics due to being a girl. Their father kept on pushing Yuuta to be as good as his sister.
Reina in Queen's Blade apparently suffers from this early on, being clearly the weakest between the three Vance sisters and not being allowed to leave the palace or do anything with her life. The justification for this later on is that Reina is the Generation Xerox of her mother, who died fighting in Queen's Blade, and her father was being overprotective for that reason.
Soul from Soul Eater feels this way in comparison to his older brother, Wes. Since the flashbacks showing this have all either been influenced by the Book of Eibon or the Black Blood, we don't really know how much of this is true. Also, Tsubaki's older brother Masamune cites his perceived Unfavorite status as motivation for becoming a kishin.
Sangatsu no Lion plays with this trope by offering two different perspectives: with and without a narrator. In the series' first chapter where it lacked a narrator, the flashbacks of the protagonist Rei are presented in a way that implies that he was the unfavorite in a family of three children when his successes in shogi are seemingly neglected in favor of caring for one of the other two children. However, later on, when Rei has long since been established as the narrator, the story goes into more detailed flashbacks that reveal the he was actually the favorite who was given more attention than the rest of the children.
In Girls und Panzer, Miho is the less favored daughter of Shiho Nishizumi, compared to Shiho's older daughter and heir Maho. Shiho considers Miho a disgrace to the family who does not do tankery the Nishizumi way, berates her for saving her teammates from drowning in a river at the cost of a tournament win, and plans on disowning her after hearing about her becoming captain of the Oarai tankery team. After Miho wins the tournament against Maho, Shiho sighs and begins clapping while smiling, which could indicate a change of heart.
Alluka from Hunter × Hunter is not even considered as a family member of the Zoldyck because her ability is too difficult to control and could kill all of them. The only one who loves her is Killua.
Milluki is also very disliked for being a Fat Bastard, Otaku, and Hikikomori. However, he is treated much better than his younger sister Alluka.
In Rosario + Vampire, there are two of the four Shuzen daughters who are born by Gyokuro. Due to her hatred towards Akasha Bloodriver, she hates Akasha's daughter, Moka, as much as she hates Akasha. She doesn't care for her other stepdaughter, Akua, and she hates even her youngest blood-related daughter, Kokoa. So, Gyokuro's only favorite is Kahlua, her oldest blood-related mother.
Subverted with Akasha's relationship with her daughters. While Moka is definitely her favorite daughter because it's her own, she also loves her three stepdaughters.
Among the four Shuzen sisters, Kokoa fits this trope the best. She is less talented and not as beautiful as her three older sisters. Her own mother hates her, and she has three Aloof Big Sisters, with only Moka being the one who respects her. Actually, Kahlua loves Kokoa, too, but Kokoa is so afraid of her that she does not notice that.
Loki sees himself as this, with a very "Thor was always the favorite!" outlook on life. Even though he's a total douche most of the time, most of what he does is done in an effort to gain the respect and adoration of Asgard and his father.
In the Spider-Man movies, Ultimate Spider-Man, and The Spectacular Spider Man cartoon, Harry Osborn is a rare example of being The Unfavorite as an only child, with his father preferring fellow intellectual and friend Peter Parker to his own son. This is in contrast to the portrayal of Harry and Norman's relationship in the comics: originally, Norman was portrayed as a loving, but absentee father who tried to make up for his utter lack of time for his son, via spoiling him rotten. This in turn led to Harry becoming a drug addict, as he used his dad's money to avoid working, and spend his days partying and buying drugs from his neighborhood drug dealer. Of course years later, the relationship between Harry and his father was retconned into a "Kick the Dog" scenario to make Norman (then dead and buried, with Marvel dead set on not resurrecting him) an evil person who physically and emotionally abused his son throughout his entire life. When his son died, this led to Norman seeking out a replacement heir, ultimately settling on Peter Parker largely due to editor Bob Harras's demand that Peter and Norman's rivalry be changed to be more like Professor X and Magneto's rivalry, complete with Norman wanting Peter to join with him the same way Magneto is forever harping on Xavier to join forces and conquer humanity.
There was another period of Peter being the favored one, with Johnny Storm as the Un Favorite. While they eventually got over it and became buddies, for awhile, Johnny resented the fact that Peter seemed closer to his family than he was, due to Peter's shared scientific aptitude with Reed and ease at being friends with Sue.
Emma Frost was The Unfavorite to her successful brother until he revealed he was gay. Then both kids were unfavorites.
Sam Guthrie's other siblings are all Unfavorites in comparison to him.
Charles Xavier and Cain Marko, stepbrothers, were both unfavorites to a degree.
Charles was loved by his biological parents and abused by his step-father, though not to the same extent as Cain was was abused by the same man, his biological father.
Alex Summers was Unfavorite to Scott in the eyes of Nathaniel Essex.
James Proudstar was Unfavorite to his brother John, who died heroically stupidly on his first mission as X-Man.
Deathbird is Unfavorite to her sister Lilandra, thanks to being avatistic throwback. Lil's brother D'Ken was also the Unfavorite, driving him to go nuts and steal the M'kraan Crystal.
The Ultimate (man, family relations suck in this universe) Reed Richards, a bespectacled young genius, was never the ideal son his father wanted. It's shown in the first issue that his father showed more affection to Ben Grimm, the tough football star of the school, than to his own son. Fortunately, the situation isn't visited often in later issues; what with Reed finding a new father figure in Sue and Johnny's scientist father and being faced with matters more important than getting paternal approval, such as cosmic mutations and alien invasions every other week. Except for when things finally get to such a boil for Reed Richards that he fakes his death by blowing up his family home, vaporising his entire family in the process.
On a planet where twins are the norm, Mekt Ranzz (Lightning Lord), older brother of twins Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass of the Legion of Super-Heroes, felt like he was everyone's unfavorite. Which is why he eventually became a supervillain who terrorized his younger siblings.
Felt is the key word, as it's never been revealed that his parents or his siblings treated him like garbage because he was a singular birth.
Vivisector in X-Statix. He's an only child, of course, but there's nobody in the world that Myles' father hates more than Myles himself. Why? Simple. His dad is a New England old money Ivy League college professor, and Myles is a gay mutant.
It wouldn't be too far off the mark to say that, in the Marvel universes (both 616 and Ultimate), every mutant born to mostly non-mutant families end up being unfavorites when their mutations manifest.
In the 616 timeline this actually would be quite an exaggeration. It seems to have been true of Bobby Drake (Iceman), but none of the other original five (Scott's parents were actually abducted by aliens before getting to see his and his brother's powers manifest), it was not true of Colossus, Storm (her parents were killed too early), Thunderbird I, Kitty Pryde, Rogue (she ran away from home before her powers manifested), Jubilee (her parents were dead before her powers manifested), and with reference to their human adoptive parents it was not true of Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, Nightcrawler or Gambit (who was actually preferred to his adoptive father's biological son).
Oracle, speaking about Huntress: And what about the least favorite daughter?
Also in the Batfamily, Jason Todd is even more the unfavorite. Interestingly, he always considered himself the unfavorite, even before actually becoming it. Initially, Bruce merely expected him to be just like Dick, and this led to him thinking he was the Unfavorite. However, after coming back as the Red Hood, he is at best the unfavorite, and at worst not considered a part of the Batfamily at all.
Art Spiegelman, the Author Avatar of the biographical graphic novel Maus felt he always had to compete with his dead older brother, Richieu, who had died as a result of the Holocaust.
Bone has this with one of the primary antagonists saying "Mother always liked you best." before trying to strike her sister down.
This isn't the only time Briar mentioned this. She explains that her family treated her like an old, useless nursemaid and made her younger sister Rose the queen instead of her. The reason, according to her, is because nobody knew she was a Veni-Yan-Carni, a type of powering dreaming sorcerous born into the family line. It's possible she just neglected to tell them though, since Rose mentions she thought Briar's "dreaming eye" was blind.
In Adventures In The Rifle Brigade, Captain Hugo Darcy is a man among men and a true hero if ever there was one. He saved the entire world at the end of the first miniseries, and once called Erwin Rommel "a big nosed cunt" to his face. At the beginning of the second mini, he visits his family, and because his work in the Rifle Brigade is top secret, his drunken idiotic flyboy brother Robert gets all the glory and adulation.
Kalibak in the DCU is Darkseid's Unfavorite. Even worse, his father's favorite, Orion, is the heroic Arch-Enemy of the entire rest of his blood family and wants to kill them — but Darkseid still respects him more because he is, at least, competent about it.
Grayven has it even worse. Darkseid at least sees Kalibak as useful and loyal Dumb Muscle. Darkseid snubs Grayven at every possible opportunity since Grayven is nothing but Darkseid-lite. Grayven's Eye Beams are weaker than Darkseid's Omega Effect, Grayven isn't as strong as Darkseid, Grayven's a Smug Snake while Darkseid is a Magnificent Bastard...the only thing Grayven has going for him is his hair. There is literally nothing Grayven can do that Darkseid can't do better. Grayven's also pretty open about his ambitions to overthrow Darkseid. He's incompetent and disloyal.
Paul-Philip Ravage suffered from this quite a bit. Didn't help that his was a family of backstabbing businessmen, all of whom immediately began plotting his downfall when he started proposing actual solutions to pollution problems. And by the time he was winning his father's respect, he began losing his human form...
Jimmy in the Chick tract "Unloved," as his parents refuse to attend his high school graduation, constantly tell him he's inferior to his sister, criticize his choice of a wife for having kids (and she later leaves him with all his money) and disown him after he asks to borrow money. Strangely enough, while his sister always does better in their eyes, they don't even bother to attend her wedding.
Generally, any character in a Chick Tract who converts tends to become the Unfavorite of the world at large.
Carol Danvers, AKA: Ms. Marvel, now Captain Marvel, was never close to her father due to his decidedly outdated chauvinism. The breaking point came when he refused to spend the money necessary to send Carol to college, instead sending one of her brothers, despite the fact that Carol was smarter than her brothers and had better grades, simply because her father didn't believe that women should go out and get themselves proper educations and jobs. He even point blankly told Carol that as a woman she didn't deserve a full education and career and that she could never hold her own in the real world, and that the best thing for her was to meet a Nice Guy who would marry her and take care of her and then she should Stay in the Kitchen and have kids. The fiercely independent Carol rejected her father's sexist beliefs since she wanted more out of life than being someone's stay at home wife and mom and joined the military, specifically the US Air Force and became an accomplished fighter pilot reaching the rank of Major while also dabbling in spy work and of course later becoming a superhero. Carol's father never really accepted what she did with her life, even though her accomplishments included saving the entire world, and it led to an estrangement between the two that was never reconciled.
Many a Grimms' Fairy Talesheroine with a Wicked Stepmother and step-sister. Men sure had rotten taste in women back then.
Yet apparently every woman has wonderful taste in men...strange, isn't it?
There are a number of tales where the youngest daughter of a king becomes the unfavorite of her father when she does something that displeases him (compares her love of him to salt in bread, refuses to acknowledge that he is more fortunate and rich than God, etc). This inevitably results in him banishing her, her setting off to seek her fortune, and eventually meeting her father again, after he has to eat his words and forgive her.
In certain fairy tales, a king and queen have many sons, all of whom become unfavorites in favor of a soon-to-be-born daughter to the point of them being planned to be killed. They escape, and eventually are joined by their innocent sister.
In some Harry Potter fics, Harry is treated like this when it is mistakenly prophesied that his little/older sibling is the Chosen One and everyone either downright hates him or ignores him.
This is the entire premise of some Naruto fanfiction. Often, Naruto's OC sibling is substituted for the jinchuriki, and Naruto's parent-inclusive life becomes inexplicably worse. One such example is this.
Star Trek has some interesting cases with Jim being the unfavorite compared to his dead father. His mother couldn't stand the resemblance between them and would often do nothing to stop his stepfather from beating him, neglecting him and traveling far away just so she wouldn't have to look at Jim.
In one story, after becoming captain, to get back at his mother from neglecting and allowing the abuse to happen, Jim donated a huge sum of money towards charities where children had been abused, naming it her, "for all the things she did when he was a kid". Afterwards, people went up to her, asking her "how does it feel?" for raising such a nice kid and how proud she must be.
For the record, there is little to no evidence for this in canon.
There is a very good Sailor Moon fanfiction called Misconception, in which time changes and another child (Chibi-Naru) is born in Chibiusa's place. Despite being (technically) an only child, the poor girl can never live up to her "sister's" memory. She spends over nine hundred years either ignored (with her parents desperately trying to conceive the daughter they really wanted) or treated as a terribly inferior replacement for Chibiusa, to the point that the senshi often forget that she isn't Chibiusa herself. When you find out that your (favorite) aunt is trying to undo time itself so that you're never even born just to bring back some other kid (and everyone else you know is completely on board with the plan, including your own parents) you know you've got problems. Luckily, there's a happy ending. When Chibi-Naru accidentally inherits Sailor Moon's powers, everyone forgets Chibiusa ever existed. The only ones that do remember her are Pluto, who exists outside time, and Chibi-Naru herself, since she only knew of Chibiusa through stories.
A sequel written by another author expands on this, on how even though the relationship between Chibi-Naru and her parents is much better, she still holds some bitter memories of when they neglected her, and on how she meets various other children of Serenity and/or Endymion from different dimensions, including Chibiusa... and finds out in one dimension she was the beloved child that never existed and her brother was the Unfavorite that suffered neglect to the point that they denied him even his last name, not helped by the fact that he can't inherit the Silver Crystal.
Fanfiction often has Megatron jealous of his brother Optimus. Whether they are actually biological brothers or simply brothers by name depends on the author. For example, The Ties That Bind Us shows a young Optimus being injured by an ambush and his caretaker Ironhide had to carry him while telling Megatron to follow him. While understanding that Optimus was more serious condition, Megatron began to grow envious that he was always placed second place after Optimus.
You know how down below April is called the unfavorite in For Better or for Worse? It's taken Up to Eleven in The New Retcons, in which Elly goes insane and denies that April was ever her daughter, throwing her out of the house. It didn't help that John eventually gave up on convincing Elly April was their daughter, forcing her to spend her final years in Millborough with her brother's family before she leaves for college. Also, only Michael and her uncle Phil attended her graduation. While Liz had a good reason for missing it cause she was dealing with her own family crisis, and Grandpa Jim couldn't go because he was on his death bed, that doesn't really excuse her still nuts mother or her father.
Not one you'd think about unless you read the comments for the fics and entered Word of God territory, but Lawrence is this to Connie. See, she had had a Teen Pregnancy and was able to give the baby to relatives. When she got pregnant with Lawrence, and it failed to keep Paolo with her, she banked on being able to leave this baby with her relatives too, but they refused because Lawrence was mixed race. So Connie was stuck with him and resented him for it. That he later admitted to being gay just made it worse.
Empath of Empath: The Luckiest Smurf believes this of himself since he sees Papa Smurf focus most of his efforts on raising a hundred of Empath's fellow Smurfs instead of getting his only biological son out of Psychelia. Interestingly, most of Empath's fellow Smurfs feel that of themselves whenever Empath comes home for a visit, particularly Hefty.
Grouchy in "Days Of Auld Lang Smurf" also believes this of himself when he sees that his "resurrected" Papa Smurf focuses most of his attention on Handy, Hefty, and Sassette than he does on him.
In Despair's Last Resort, Kaito reveals he is this before his execution. This also serves as part of the reason why he kills Chiyo. His work as an animator is the only way he believes his parents will see him as something.
Film - Animated
Nuka from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. The scrawny, barely a mane growing lion voiced by Andy Dick. Little cub Kovu gets picked over him to take on Scar's heritage (Kovu not even having been sired by Scar, though it's implied Nuka is, being the son of Zira, who was apparently one of Scar's mates. Everybody got that? Good. Moving along...), and gets treated unfairly by the lionesses just cause... just cause. This makes his death even more tragic, when he chases Simba up a dam, proclaiming he's doing it for his mother, and that this'd be his moment of glory, with a mad driven look in his eyes. Just before the footing gives away from underneath him, and he ends up crushed by a bunch of logs. His mother for the first time in the movie shows she actually does care and frantically tries to dig him out. He ends with a whimper. "Sorry... I tried..."
A deleted storyboard set continues with Nuka saying "I got your attention now . . . " and then expiring.
His mum not even warning him to be careful should have raised a red flag...
The mother in Crossroads quite blatantly tells her high school graduate daughter who she abandoned years ago that she was a mistake and that she never wanted to have her. She is remarried and has two sons.
In Ever After, Danielle gets the short end of the stick because she was the biological daughter of her deceased father. And before his death, it probably didn't help that he said "I love you" to Danielle and didn't say it to the stepmother, only increasing her jealousy of Danielle. Interestingly, the same thing happens to the youngest daughter who isn't as beautiful as her elder sister and isn't as cruel and snobbish, being more down-to-earth and kinder.
Jacqueline's treatment as the unfavorite of the stepsisters is lampshaded by her, when she predicts that she'd be the one treated as a servant, if Danielle weren't around. When Danielle falls ill and can't wait on her family, the stepmother sure enough orders Jacqueline to do their chores. Jacqueline is not pleased.
The Goonies. Played for laughs in how Mama favors Francis over Jake.
Jake: You always take his side, Mama. You always liked him better than me.
Mama: (Smacks Jake) That's right!
Still Jake is not the real Unfavorite, as he's not chained in the basement like Sloth.
Kevin McCallister in Home Alone seems to be this, as most of his relatives either ignore him, bully him, or regularly accuse him of being a troublemaker.
In the sequel this is shown to be compounded by Buzz being a Manipulative Bastard as well as a bully.
Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham actually manages to play this trope compassionately without villifying the parents for it. This is arguably attributable to the fact that the Unfavorite in this case is mostly so by default, rather than actually being unloved or undervalued.
Albert in The King's Speech was this as a child, due to his stuttering. But this becomes subverted as when they became older, his older brother preferred a more carefree frivolous lifestyle while Albert was The Dutiful Son. His father George does approve of the adult Albert (though still frustrated by his speech impediment) and his last words were that Albert would be a better king than his brother, even though he didn't say it to Albert directly.
The Lord of the Ringsmovies, especially the 3rd, hit this trope pretty hard for Faramir. It's text, not subtext, in his father's dialog. While Faramir is a grown character and, logically, "should've gotten over it by now", his father's scathing treatment of him makes it almost impossible for anyone not to sympathize. This factor, combined with some deleted scenes present in the extended versions, helps explain why Faramir initially decided to capture Frodo and the Ring, which is the opposite way he chose in the book. It's also notable that the favorite, Boromir, actually admires and defends Faramir, and is fed up with their father just as much as Faramir.
However, a good reason not to get over it: while in an ordinary family, grown adults are supposed to be independent of parents and get on with their life, this is a ruling family, and therefore Faramir will remain defined by his relationship with the present ruler for the rest of his life. He could not get over it, however much he might have wanted to, unless Boromir had become regent and treated him differently.
Well, one does have to take into account that Faramir's appearance in the movies is set only days after his beloved brother was found dead and his father's dickery toward him has been turned Up to Eleven. Yeah, the man has a right to some puppy-dog eyes.
Much of the plot of Ordinary People revolves around Conrad (Timothy Hutton) being disfavored by his mother Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), who preferred his older brother, Buck.
Tonny from Pusher 2 is this compared to his father's other son and his kid half-brother.
Gordie in Stand by Me, whose parents never forgave him for being the one to survive.
In the new Thor movie, Loki's Start of Darkness is a result of his jealousy over the fact that his father, Odin, has always favored his brother Thor. It turns out that Odin chose Thor to succeed the throne of Asgard because Loki is adopted, and isn't Asgardian. Loki could never have ruled no matter what Odin's preference was. Odin's actual feelings towards Loki are left ambiguous — it could be that he genuinely loves Loki as a son, or it could be that he only took the boy in to use as a political pawn.
Despite that Loki still loves Frigga—who didn't feel sad when they saw Loki hug Frigga after he kills his father, King Laufey.
In Tower Of Terror, Abigail feels this way toward her sister Sally, since everyone was going to something for her on Abigail's birthday. That thing was going to be Abigail's suprise birthday party.
As the movie Walk the Line showed, Johnny never could quite match up to his dutiful dead brother in his dad's eyes.
Spoofed in Walk Hard, where Dewey Cox's father shouts "The wrong kid died!" even in completely inapplicable situations.
Welcome To The Dollhouse has Dawn. Punished constantly by her parents, especially when younger sister Missy (the apple of their eye) constantly baits her.
In Willard, despite being the strongest of the rats, Ben can never get the same level of affection as Socrates. after he decides to stop taking it Willard directly states "I hate you."
Multi-generational one in The Wolverine. Shingen claims Ichiro never considered him a worthy son, instead favoring his granddaughter, Shingen's daughter Mariko. Whether he is telling the truth or not, however, is left up to the viewer. Given subsequent revelations about his father, he might also have simply been mistaken; Viper implies that Ichiro chose Mariko as his successor because she'd be easier to manipulate than Shingen.
In Romeo Must Die, who's the unfavorite is very unclear. Po is the one who ended up going to America with their father Ch'u, while Han went to prison in order to help him escape. However, Ch'u has Po killed when he was about to compromise a major business deal. It's implied that Ch'u has always preferred Han, in spite of the fact that Han rejected him by becoming a police officer, and largely only cares for his brother.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is her father's favorite, and her mother's least favorite. Lydia is her mother's favorite, and her father's least favorite. This is nice indicator of what each parent values. Jane is adored by both of her parents, Mary is almost universally ignored, but the second-youngest Bennet daughter Kitty is perpetually told to shut up and stop getting in everyone's way.
Similarly in Persuasion, plain, sensible and sensitive Anne is ignored and dismissed by her family while her beautiful but vain sister Elisabeth is admired by all.
Similarly in Mansfield Park, Fanny's mother only cares about her sons and babies her youngest daughter, but ignores her older two daughters. Fanny only realises this when returning for a much anticipated visit after years away from home.
In Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Ferrars dotes on her daughter Fanny and younger son Robert, but doesn't seem to particularly like elder son Edward.
Cosette in Les Misérables is a truly extreme Tear Jerker example, who, after being put in the care of the Thenardier family (with her mother paying them all she can), is despised, terribly abused and forced to be the inn's servant at the age of five. In contrast, the real daughters of the Thenardier family are treated like little princesses.
Gavroche, the other child of the Thenardier family fits this trope too, as his mother only loved her daughters and his father didn't pay any attention to any of his children. He's so neglected that, as a baby, he's left to cry on and on with nobody paying any attention to him. He's later abandoned and lives on the streets. While on the street he takes two younger boys who are actually his brothers that his mother gave away as infants and were (accidentally) abandoned by their adoptive mother under his wing.
In The Dream Thieves, toward the end of the book Ronan Lynch reflects on the fact that, of the three Lynch brothers, he was their father's favorite and youngest brother Matthew was their mother's favorite, leaving oldest brother Declan to be no one's favorite.
Aral Vorkosigan got a bit of this from his father. His older brother had been one of the first casualties of Mad Emperor Yuri's Civil War, and his father sometimes acted as if the wrong brother had died.
Thomas Raith in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. In Blood Rites, it is revealed that he is Lord Raith's only surviving son, because Raith always kills his sons when they are old enough to become a threat (although he keeps his daughters around him). Thomas is still alive only because he was clever enough to avoid his father's earlier indirect attempts to get him killed.
It's unclear how clever he is; while Thomas is smarter than he looks, we've rarely if ever seen him accomplish anything that's really extraordinary for his kind. However, Thomas is the youngest son, so that might be why he survived as long as he did.
Roald Dahl's Matilda has parents that are completely unappreciative of her superlative brilliance. Her father cares far more about son Mikey, a total nonentity, and the mother is more interested in bingo.
Ebenezer Scrooge, of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol fame is heavily implied to be this, sent away to Boarding School for years at a time by his resentful father. In some versions (at least in The Film of the Book with Alistair Sim), it's explained that Ebenezer's father blames him for his mother's Death by Childbirth. His kind-hearted and beautiful younger sister Fan is kept at home and is the apparent favorite, possibly due to an implied resemblance to her mother.
Fan could easily be the child of a second marriage, which gets the Fridge Logic out of the way.
Actually, it makes more sense for her to be his older sister. The film didn't mention what order Ebenezer and his sister were born in, but Fan managed to marry and have a child before Ebenezer had the chance to, which might imply she was older. (And legal marriage age during this time was 21, so there was little chance she was married as an extremely young teenager, as she'd have to be if she was Ebenezer's younger sister.)
In Teresa Edgerton's Green Lion Trilogy, Ceilyn. His parents were Kissing Cousins in a notoriously strait-laced segment of society, and felt that their marriage was all right only if it were platonic, so they were ashamed to have had him. Sometime after Ceilyn's birth, his father had a vision and felt that he and his wife had been absolved and blessed, so Ceilyn's younger siblings are beloved but he is seen as a reminder of shameful behaviour.
In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett's daughter Ella is her least favorite child; when Scarlett's other daughter Bonnie dies, Scarlett wonders why Ella couldn't have died instead.
Taken to new and extreme heights of Southern Gothic in Gillian Flynn's debut novel, Sharp Objects; the narrator, Camille, is her Ax-Crazy mother's Unfavorite, which is how she managed to survive to adulthood as nothing more than a self-harming, self-destructive alcoholic. Her more tractable younger sister died in childhood as the end result of their mother's Munchausen's by proxy, and her much younger half-sister is a sex-and-death-obsessed psychopath after thirteen years of the same treatment. Fun book.
The most obvious example is the protagonist Malcolm in Expecting Someone Taller. Like most of Holt's male leads, Malcolm is a total wimp, and his parents unabashedly compare him to his super-perfect sister Bridget. Becoming the heir to practically unlimited power makes Malcolm immediately think that it was originally meant for Bridget. In fact, Malcolm's lack of self-esteem and desire to do good make him the perfect person to inherit said power; Bridget would totally mess it up.
Another example is Kevin Christ in Only Human, who's the younger brother to Jesus and the second son of God.
In Scout's Progress, Aelianna Caylon, despite being acknowledged as the foremost mathematical mind on Liad and the indirect saviour of many starship pilots, is The Unfavorite of her mother's children, and has been a target of her brother's abuse ever since they were children, when they overheard a conversation in which Aelianna was recommended to their mother over her brother as the best candidate for being her heir. Her brother was chosen instead, but has abused the position by taking out his resentment on Aelianna ever since; their mother refuses to recognize the situation.
One of the reasons Kareen yos'Phelium turned out so unpleasant was that she was the unfavorite, even though she was her mother's eldest child and would have been the clear heir except that she turned out to lack aptitude for the family business. Passing her over as head of the family would have been one thing by itself, but it's suggested that her mother pretty much regarded her as a waste of space and ignored all the useful aptitudes she did have.
In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, the king abused all three of his daughters impartially — until the youngest had to be sacrificed to the gods. Then he was explicitly abusive because he had lost her, being stuck with two unappealing daughters. Also, both Orual and her tutor the Fox heap praise on Istra while ignoring Orual's other younger sister, Redival — though, to be just, she was a very poor student and sly and treacherous.
Tyrion Lannister of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire: his mother died giving birth and he is a dwarf. No, not the fantasy kind. His father Tywin hates him. Interesting, however, in that the favorite, Jaime, is actually the only one in the family who truly loves Tyrion and will ever take his side.
Tyrion's uncles, Kevan, Tygett and Gerion, all loved him during his childhood and, in the present story, Kevan and his aunt Genna respect him. Tywin's distain just eclipses all this.
Jon Snow is treated this way by Catelyn Stark. Although he is actually Ned Stark's bastard son, Ned treats him like all of his children. Catelyn, on the other hand, treats him coldly and one point, deranged by grief and worry, wishes to his face that a near-fatal accident had happened to him rather than to one of her own children.
Made more ironic by the fact that there's a significant chance that Jon isn't actually Ned's bastard at all, but was placed under his protection and the ruse was designed to hide his true heritage. At least some portion of the readership assumes Jon may in fact be the child of Ned's sister Lyanna and Prince Rhaegar (which would make Jon a rightful heir to the kingdom Rhaegar and Lyanna's bastard).
Also, Samwell Tarly to his father Lord Randyll, who sent him to The Wall because if he didn't he would have arranged a hunting accident on him.
Additionally, Theon Greyjoy whose father,Balon Greyjoy, only holds disdain for his son in how he has spent the last ten years a hostage to Balon's hated enemies the Starks. Ignoring that the only reason his son was a hostage was because he gave his son away as punishment for his own crimes of rebelling against King Robert.
Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series had Tris. She was disowned and disposed of by her parents, who sent her to live with various relatives who used her as a live-in servant while constantly berating and bullying her. Particularly strange was that she seems to have been an only child — it was when she was moved away from her own parents that she encountered a "sibling rivalry" situation (her cousins, who got preferential treatment from their parents — Tris' aunts and uncles).
It's noted that at least part of the reason why this happened is that Tris's powers - which cover control over pretty much all weather - were unknown and uncontrolled at the time...which meant that they tended to synchronize with her emotions. They thought she was possessed, and it terrified them - but Tris does still think they could have handled it better. Also notable is that no one in her family is ever mentioned to have tried to make contact with Tris after she becomes known as one of the youngest and most powerful mages of her generation. (At one point in the second series, she tells her student that her family would probably like to have her back for her powers, but that'd be the only reason. She doesn't say whether or not her family attempted a reconciliation between books, though.)
There's also Daja, whose whole culture banished her, after she was the only survivor of a shipwreck that killed the rest of her family, due to the association of a lone survivor being bad luck. She understands the reasons behind it, but it still upsets her until they bring her back in.
Dovasary Balitang from Daughter of the Lioness isn't the Unfavorite to her parents, but the leaders of the hidden raka rebellion don't even notice her except as Sarai's quiet younger sister, until Sarai starts getting unruly and they wish she was more like Dove. Still, it doesn't make them consider putting Dove on the throne instead of Sarai. Not until Sarai actually elopes to get away from the increasingly oppressive rule of the Rittevons and Dove convinces them that it's not the disaster they assume it is.
Another Tortallan unfavorite is Beka Cooper from the Provost's Dog books. Her father's side of the family don't like to see her much because she's a Dognote policewoman. She and her siblings joined Lord Gershom's household, and his wife Teodorie dislikes Beka enough to forbid Beka's siblings from seeing her—Lady Teodorie loves her husband but hates his job and blames Beka for making him like it, as well as resentment that Beka isn't willing to study a ladylike trade the way her sisters do.
Josephine in Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard. She is the disturbed and unappreciated younger sister of protagonist Michael Crawford's wife Julia; their mother died giving birth to Josephine; the family says that they don't hold this against her but that Josephine holds it against herself. Josephine spent her youth coping with stress by becoming someone else; imitating a clockwork machine, or imitating her sister Julia (who charmingly made sure that people knew about this). Years after Julia's death, Crawford and Josephine are guests in someone else's home when Josephine slips into 'becoming' Julia for several days. Crawford then feels that he now knows Julia far better than he did when they were married - and doesn't like her much, and tries to help Josephine return to her own personality.
Harry is constantly compared unfavorably to his cousin Dudley by his aunt and uncle; his cousin is extremely spoiled whereas he is abused and coldly neglected. This becomes one of the ways the book shows Harry growing up, as "not being liked by parental figures" becomes less important than "war between good and evil".
Ron feels like this, though it's not true (his family never shows him anything but the utmost unconditional love). Specifically he feels overshadowed by his five older brothers, and his younger sister because his mum supposedly wanted a daughter most of all, and his famous best friend, who his mum treats like another son.
Molly has shown some unfavorite sentiments toward Fred, George, and Ron. More than once she's compared the three of them unfavorably to their three older brothers. When Ron needed dress robes for the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire his mother coldly left him with ugly, feminine looking hand me downs while making sure Harry got a nice green set that matched his eyes (granted she may have bought them with someone else's money), and she treated him rather nastily when he objected. Later, when Ron is appointed a school prefect (like Bill, Charlie, and Percy), Molly squeals, "That's everyone in the family!" prompting George to quip, "What are Fred and I? Next door neighbors?" She also apparently didn't have much faith in Ginny becoming a prefect either. Granted, Fred and George can be extremely annoying, but even so...
Molly bought Harry's robes with *Harry's money*, not her own. She specifically tells Ron that "there wasn't much selection", which is why he got the robes he got. That's not unfavouritism, that's growing up in a poor family and wearing the second hand clothes your parents can afford.
It's implied that Tom Riddle was one of these in his youth: the woman running the orphanage was glad to see the back of him. It's justified in that it's also implied that he was a Damien-esque nightmare even as a child.
Voldemort's mother, Merope, to such an extent that it stunted the growth of her magical abilities.
Sirius Black may be another example. His younger brother Regulus was 'the good son'. However, it's debatable whether or not Sirius took the 'unfavorite' role on himself by deliberately doing things he knew his family disapproved of, implying that he did not actually care whether or not his parents preferred him or his brother because he so deeply disapproved of their expectations and political views.
It's implied that most of this may have started after Sirius' acceptance into Gryffindor rather than Slytherin, like the rest of his family. A Nature vs. Nurture argument could be made here, but its apparent that most of his "misbehavior" was a reaction to his unfavorite status, which was probably due to his Gryffindor values. It's rather cyclic. His family hates him because he was a Gryffindor, he hates his family because they hate him because he's a Gryffindor and he hates them because he's a Gryffindor.
Except that Sirus was rebellious long before he got into Gryffindor. On his first train ride to Hogwarts he implies that he doesn't want to get into Slytherin.
And let's not forget Petunia's outburst about her sister in the first book.
Petunia implies that she herself held this position in the Evans family, especially after Lily's magical abilities are discovered. Though it's difficult to know just how much of this perception was due to her jealousy over Lily's powers, as we only ever hear her side of the story.
In addition, she never even says explicitly that they treated her differently or as second-best, only that she was upset that they didn't perceive her as a freak the way Petunia did, which upset Petunia to no end.
Severus Snape was revealed to have grown up with parents too busy fighting with each other to give a rip about him. Which is almost Greek tragedy-levels of sad, considering he was an only child.
In case there weren't enough examples already (did Rowling have issues with this?), the Dumbledore family had this in spades. Ariana, the youngest member of the family, was mentally ill and required constant care and supervision to the partial exlusion of her older brothers out of necessity. Because of this, Aberforth seemed to wind up the unfavorite of the family, being neither ill like Ariana or a prodigal genius like Albus, and remains rather bitter toward his brother even when they're both old men (although for different reasons). Strangely, Albus himself seemed to feel like the Unfavorite as a boy, since he didn't think his mother gave him the proper attention he deserved due to his brilliance, and resented having to waste his time taking care of Ariana when he had many other ripe possibilities before him. As an old man, he admitted that it was all ego and he needed to get over himself.
According to the website, Rowling herself wasn't exactly the Unfavorite, but her parents labelled her "the clever one" and her sister "the pretty one", with no thoughts about whether either kid particularly wanted to be put in those boxes.
In the documentary "J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life" she says that when she was little, her parents told her she was supposed to be a boy, and when she asked if they had also been disappointed when her sister came along, they said no. She then went upstairs and cried. It is heavily implied they favored her little sister. About her father she had the following to say: "I was very frightened of my father for a very long time. But also tried - well, it's a common combination, isn't it? - I desperately tried to get his approval and make him happy, I suppose. And then there came a point quite shamingly late in life where I couldn't do that anymore." She hasn't had any contact with her father since.
There have been other issues between J.K. Rowling and her father, besides issues of favoritism. Both admit they became distant after JK's mother died, and there have been issues over finances and money where JK's father is concerned.
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things is a great insight of being The Unfavorite. The narrator is a chubby, blonde high-schooler with average grades living in a glamorous upper-class family of beautiful slim dark-haired people.
In J. R. R. Tolkien's Return of The King, Denethor clearly ladles all the work on Faramir's shoulders partly because Boromir was his favorite. It is heavily implied that at least part of this is the immediate reaction of grief; Gandalf warns Faramir against doing anything rash, because his father loves him and will remember that.
Denethor himself was the Unfavorite to Thorongil/Aragorn's Favorite.
"Indeed [Denethor] was as like to [Aragorn] as to one of nearest kin, and yet was ever placed second to the stranger in the hearts of men and the esteem of his father." The Return of the King, Appendix A, J.R.R Tolkien.
Fingolfin, from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. After his half-brother Fëanor threatens to kill him then is exiled, their father Finwë chooses to accompany him into exile, relinquishing his crown, even though the text gives the reader no reason to think that Fëanor's attack on his brother was justified.
Flowers for Algernon has a rather extreme version of this. Charlie's mother Rose preferred her daughter Norma to her son Charlie due to Norma having an average IQ compared to Charlie's very low 68. This made Norma a Spoiled Brat and left Charlie mostly confused and afraid of his mother who would beat him for perfectly natural things like having an erection as would any pubescent teen boy. Terrified he would do something to Norma, Rose eventually forced Charlie's father to have him taken away by threatening to kill Charlie if he didn't.
It's actually a subversion. As his memories come back, Charlie realizes that his sister was expected to achieve everything for both of them, which put her under unfair pressure to do well and caused her to bully him.
Jacob Have I Loved takes this to biblical proportions, as implied by the title. The protagonist is overshadowed by her twin sister from birth, first because of the latter's frail health, then because of her beauty and musical talent. The title comes in when she parallels herself to Esau, Jacob's older, less fortunate brother, and decides she must be God's UnFavorite.
Subverted in Dragonlance because Raistlin Majere appears to be The Unfavorite of the universe while his twin brother Caramon is well-liked by damn near everyone he meets; really, though, people don't like Raistlin because he's a Jerk Ass.
Jochi in the Conqueror books is disdained by his father, Genghis Khan, due to suspicion he was conceived as a result of Borte's rape by Tartars. In Real Life, this resulted in tension between Jochi and Chagatai, which in turn was part of the reason the great khan named his third son as his successor.
Survivor's Quest has him, much older and as one of the main characters, realize that it wasn't quite like that. They did love the absent sister, and idolized their image of what she might become, but they never neglected him.
By the end of Galaxy of Fear, Zak no longer feels on equal terms with his sister Tash. At the start of the series she was a Bookworm, he was the one who liked machines and action and so on. But as the series progressed and she started developing her Force talents and applying the things she picked up from studying, he felt increasingly overshadowed. Not only could she do just about anything he could do, but better, but their serious, studious uncle trusted her feelings over his, and tended to dismiss him as being childish. To their credit, Tash sympathized with Zak and their uncle respected him when he was serious, just... Tash was Force-Sensitive and increasingly able to use it. When the family stumbles so constantly into danger, that means a lot.
In their mother's eyes at least, Anna and Jesse are clearly Unfavorites in comparison to Ill Girl Kate in My Sister's Keeper. As Jesse says, he's the "lost cause," a guy that spends all his time in a filthy garage apartment doing drugs and drinking. The unfavoritism leads to him becoming an arsonist and causing his fireman father quite a lot of grief. Anna, on the other hand, was only born to donate blood to Kate, who has leukemia. It's scary how her mother seems to think of her not in terms of who she is as a person, but as the sum of the parts that could be used to help Kate. Their father, on the other hand, seems to think of all of them equally, though of course because of Kate's condition he has to put the other two in the back seat from time - especially Jesse, who started consider himself "invisible" within the family, since Kate and Anna are often the center of attention whenever Kate's condition worsens.
Prince Roger of David Weber and John Ringo's Prince Roger series is the Unfavorite due to his resemblance to his treasonous father and his complete lack of accomplishment, compared to his fleet-admiral sister and senior-diplomat brother.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid includes this but the role is split between Rodrick and Gregory, mostly because the favorite is obviously the much younger Manny.
In The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, Sookie was unfavorite in comparison to her Jerk Ass brother Jason, because of her telepathy making her too weird for their little southern town. Although their grandmother was loving, she was weirded out by Sookie's ability and only acknowledged it as a gift when it would be helpful or useful for Sookie to put it to use.
Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books have Heralds Vanyel Ashkevron and Talia Sensdaughter, both very much the unfavorite child of their respective fathers (and in Talia's case, her father's various wives as well). Slightly subverted in Vanyel's case as he's his mother's favorite (although that mostly serves to make his brothers and cousins jealous), and he eventually reconciles with his father as well.
In The Dead And The Gone, Alex Morales is left to take care of his siblings Julie and Briana after an asteroid hits the moon. Alex very obviously favors Briana over the more whiny Julie, especially after Briana gets asthma. However, Alex learns to like Julie after Briana disappears and is soon found dead in the elevator.
In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie grows up dealing with her mother's favoritism for her brother Neelie. When he was born less than a year after her, their mother compared the beautiful cooing baby to the colicky, plain-looking little girl. She immediately knew she could never love them equally.
In The Westing Game, Grace Wexler's preference for beautiful daughter Angela is so extreme that she doesn't even recognize her younger daughter, Turtle, after a few drinks. Subverted in that being ignored is actually better for Turtle than having her life micromanaged like it is for Angela, who's so stressed by My Beloved Smother that she starts setting off bombs.
Grace even refers to her daughters as Cain and Abel at one point.
Grace: "You know, of course, that if I do win the inheritance, everything I own goes to Angela." She says this with Turtle in the room. And when Turtle rushes out, Grace is bewildered.
The narration explicitly refers to Angela as "her (Grace's) favorite."
The Liavek anthologies had Nerissa Benedicti, who summed her situation up thusly: "I am the last of eight children, and any week-guest in the house can discover that everybody concerned wishes there had only been six." Nerissa ends up joining a religion of suicides at the age of fourteen. (Her brother Deleon, the second Unfavorite, ran away from home on his twelfth birthday.)
In the Agatha Christie book Sparkling Cyanide, Sandra Farraday. Sandra's mother explicitly says at one point that Sandra is the most difficult and least dear to her of all her children. Also from the same book, Iris Marle seems to be rather neglected compared to her beautiful, rich older sister Rosemary. Iris doesn't really seem to resent it, though.
Another Agatha Christie example is in Murder With Mirrors. Mildred Gulbrandson, the biological daughter of Miss Marple's friend Carrie Louise, is the Unfavorite as compared to Carrie Louise's adopted daughter Pippa, her stepsons Alex and Stephan, and later Pippa's daughter Gina. Poor girl just can't catch a break.
The end of the story, when Carrie Louise turns to Mildred for support and comfort and an earlier conversation between the former and Miss Marple implies that much of this 'unfavoritism' was Mildred's perception.
In J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury is the Unfavorite of his family. He was the second-born twin, which apparently is bad luck in his world. His twin, Zsadist, is kidnapped by a nanny as an infant and sold into slavery. Phury is not directly blamed for this, but it is inherent that his birth and its bad luck was the reason. His family falls apart, and notes that he had to drag his father's drunken body inside as dawn approached so that he would not die. It was also noted that when he left to find his brother, no one noticed his departure, and he did not attend his parents' funerals. He finally finds his twin, who is being horribly abused and tortured by an aristocrat, and helps him escape. In the process, he loses the lower half of one of his legs and uses a prothesis. He vows that he will help his brother, which includes beating him up on several occasions at his request. He takes a vow of celibacy, and becomes a drug addict. He eventually finds peace with his parents while withdrawing from the drugs, but spends most of the series with some serious guilt.
One of the first things we learn about Stiva in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is that he hugely prefers his daughter to his son. For some reason this comes off as charming and honest in the original Russian, and cold and cruel in the English translation.
Annotations for Warbreaker reveal that, while there were legitimate tactical reasons that King Dedelin considered when he decided to send Siri to marry the God King instead of Vivenna, he ultimately was more willing to sacrifice his youngest daughter because he didn't love her quite as much as her older sister.
Claudia Kishi of The Baby-Sitters Club often feels like this with her parents, due to her older sister Janine being a certified genius and good at academics. However, one of the Claudia books reveals that Janine also feels like the Un Favorite because Claudia is so pretty and popular.
In Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series, Wexford's older daughter Sylvia, who comes off badly in his eyes (and Rendell's) even when she's been victimized. By contrast, the other daughter, Sheila, is an extremely successful actress who never does anything in the least bit wrong.
Washington Square's main character Catherine Sloper is this to her father, in comparison to her older brother... who died several years before she was born and doesn't appear to have lived long enough to be named.
She had been hatched from a fifth egg to begin with; and every one knows the disadvantage of beginning life with four sturdy older birds on top of one. It was a meager egg, and a feeble baby that pipped its shell. The remainder of the family stood and took nearly all the food so that she almost starved in the nest, and she never really knew the luxury of a hearty meal until her elders had flown. That lasted only a few days; for the others went then, and their parents followed them so far afield that the poor little soul, clamouring alone in the nest, almost perished.
The Hon. Freddie Threepwood in P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle series. As the seemingly unnecessary "second son" who's constantly piling up debts and having to be hauled out of London, he's not a big hit with his father Lord Emsworth, who'd do anything to get him off his hands.
In Gene Stratton Porter's A Daughter of the Land, Kate. Mary is clearly the Favorite, but the other sisters also had their share.
"I am not! But it wasn't a 'fool thing' when Mary and Nancy Ellen, and the older girls wanted to go. You even let Mary go to college two years." "Mary had exceptional ability," said Mrs. Bates. "I wonder how she convinced you of it. None of the rest of us can discover it," said Kate.
Aren't most people blessed with fertility? Ah well.
Rachel had two sons. Leah had six.
And it doesn't stop with Jacob's wives. All his sons except Joseph were considered The Unfavorite, as Jacob lavished Joseph with a special coat that made his other sons jealous. When Joseph was taken away into Egypt without Jacob's notice, Joseph's other full brother Benjamin became the center of their father's attention.
Caine Soren and Penny from the GONE series get this a lot. Caine to the point where his mother put him up for adoption because she just had a "bad hunch" about him. (Granted, he did turn out to be evil...)
Zil gets this on a much smaller scale when he revealed that he was neglected and ignored by his parents in favor of his older, jerkass brother Zayn. Acts as a freudianexcuse for his ur...Arson, bigotry and attempted genocide.
In The New Baby, a picture book that was part of a 1980s series called "Happy Endings Books," about a society of anthropomorphic mice, the main character, Tippu, is afraid of becoming this, having just become a big brother. The book ends with his parents realizing that they just haven't been giving him enough attention, and him coming to realize that he could come to like the baby.
In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Jern was his mother's. His brother and sister were his father's, but the father dies first, and his mother cuts him off.
In Akata Witch, Sunny's father doesn't like her. Unlike her brothers, she has to struggle to have any relationship with him at all.
In A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, Christine believed herself to be the unfavorite "daughter" of her "mother" Aunt Ida compared to her son Lee. That led to Christine never having another child with anyone after she had Rayona.
The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes has Abby, who is the middle child and often feels left out for a variety of reasons: for one, each Hayes child has a particular skill- Abby's older sisters Eva and Isabel are skilled in sports and science, respectively, and their younger brother Alex is a tech/computer genius- but Abby's skill is creative writing, which doesn't have frequently visible results like trophies and awards. She's not hugely popular, she can't do maths (thus lowering her overall marks) and because she's old enough to be responsible but young enough to not be very outgoing, she isn't very loud or demanding, so she usually ends up fading into the background and is an afterthought to her parents. To be fair to said parents, they never actually abuse or alienate any of their kids, but their parenting does leave something to be desired.
In the Obsidian And Blood series, Acatl became this upon deciding to be a priest for the dead instead of following his older brother Neutemoc and become a warrior. Their parents, who had been peasants, really wished for their sons to reach a higher status in society, so the younger son's decision to go off and become a priest with no wordly possessions was not popular with them. Never mind that he managed to climb the ladder and become the High Priest of his order. It becomes a major plot point in the first book.
In More Than This, Seth's mother dotes on his younger brother Owen and largely ignores Seth.
Subverted in The Infernal Devices with Nate Gray's biological parents, but with if Aunt Harriet was ever supposed to pick which one of her sister's children would become more successful, it would be Tessa.
Live Action TV
No matter what Det. Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent does for his mother (including taking care of her while she's in the hospital) he still can't measure up to his brother, a homeless drug addict with an illegitimate son. Either way, Goren gets no respect.
Even more so, it's implied, from the father than the mother (who at least once in a while, when she's more or less in her right mind, will say something nice to him). This is thrown into some context when we learn that the mother actually had an affair, and neither parent was entirely sure whose son he really was.
One episode portrayed a wealthy family patriarch (played by Rip Torn) who had two sons, one favorite (a talented, handsome, successful historian), the other unfavorite (a businessman with constantly-failing schemes). Each one married a woman the opposite of him—the responsible one married a screwed-up mess of a woman, while the unfavorite's wife is very dutiful and responsible; the patriarch also has favorites among these two, preferring the latter to the former. Both brothers are murdered over the payout from their trust funds. Ironically, the favorite daughter-in-law planned and executed the murders: she set it up as a "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder, in which each woman would kill the other's husband. The "screwup" was originally in on the plan, but she chickened out, and the "responsible" one actually killed her own husband, as well. The ending implies that the patriarch has already picked his favorite and unfavorite grandsons.
An earlier episode featured a murderer who had grown up as the unfavorite compared to her dead older brother, for whom she was a Replacement Goldfish who could never live up to the impossible, Marty Stu level standards supposedly set by the original. Her turn to crime was motivated by her desire to curry favor with her parents at any cost, even if she had to resort to fraud and murder.
Eunice Harper/Higgins from Mamas Family. It's debatable just how much of her unfavoritism is in her own head.
An episode of Law & Order: SVU had the detectives visit a doctor who has a huge portrait of him, his wife, and his two daughters, a doctor and a lawyer, in his office. Later, they discovered the doctor also has a son... who was working as his janitor. Three guesses who turns out to be the violent rapist they're searching for.
Not to mention the woman who murdered mothers as a nurse in order to "free their daughters" of the pain of caring for them. Particularly depressing at the end when she is seen watching old films of her mother playing cheerfully with her brother while she plays alone in the background.
Another episode of Law & Order: SVU first focused on a Latina girl whom might have been raped by a rich, white, politician's son. At first, the detectives look to charge the son, meanwhile we learn about a Latino boy who was best friends with the rich boy, and his mother whom used to be the house servant for the rich political boy's family before she suddenly quit her job. Her son was in love with the same girl as the rich boy, but the rich boy (whom we find out was a jerkass) got her drunk and took her virginity. Later the rich boy is suddenly murdered and found in a ditch. After many dead ends, the detectives start believing that the mother's son might have done it. They were right, but the reason why, wasn't solely because of the girl alone. The boy found out he was the rich boy's half-brother from an affair the father had with his mother. This was the reason the mother suddenly quit her job. She was also paid not to talk about the affair and cause a scandal. The last scene shows the Latino boy pleading to his political white father, asking why he got rejected and not accepted like his half-brother.
Played for laughs with GOB of Arrested Development. Despite being the eldest son, GOB is loathed by both his parents for his often idiotic behavior, and as such is extremely jealous/admiring of his younger brother Michael, the family "favorite". Averted in that Michael hates being the favorite and GOB seems happier without any responsibility
Pretty much cut out by Lucille in the pilot episode:
"If you're saying I play favorites, you're wrong. I love all my children equally!" (flashback to earlier the same day) "...I don't care for GOB."
And this later bit:
Lucille: You're my third-least favorite child! Michael: *shrugs* ...I'm okay with that. The Narrator: (Later, as GOB enters the scene) And then Lucille's fourth-least favorite child showed up.
Even when Lindsey is revealed to be adopted Lucille mentions she still loves Lindsey as much as her other children and even more than GOB.
Buster seems to be the unfavorite to George Sr.
Though he doesn't seem to care too much for GOB, either. Lindsey and Michael were the only ones that he seemed to actively try to protect.
However, there is a possible reason for George Sr.'s dislike of Buster, in that Buster is actually Oscar's son, the result of an affair Lucille had. Given the enmity between the twins, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that George Sr. finds Buster a reminder of the affair. He just doesn't like GOB.
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace of the new Battlestar Galactica was The Unfavorite and apparently an only child. We learn that Starbuck's mother Socrata was in the Colonial military and Starbuck joined up largely to win her approval. When she graduated Viper school and earned her commission, her mother berates her for not being first in her class, despite managing to become an officer rather than an NCO like Socrata was.
Not quite a straight example. Socrata was bastardly and abusive to Kara because she knew Kara had a special destiny and didn't think she was trying hard enough to live up to her natural ability.
Sherlock Holmes appears to have been one in the Granada adaption of "The Greek Interpreter." Holmes does a double-take when he spots his brother, Mycroft, polishing their father's old antique magnifying glass. Evidently, it was the government bureaucrat — not the world-famous detective — who was deemed worthy of inheriting it.
Curious example on Dirty Sexy Money. In a first-season episode, matriarch Letitia says that Brian and Jeremy are their father's unfavorites; considering the fact that Jeremy is a drug-addicted layabout and that Brian isn't Tripp's biological son, this makes sense. But after learning about Brian's illegitimacy, Tripp starts liking him more, giving him a company job and calling him 'son' for the first time in the series.
Possibly the example most familiar to American TV viewers, Robert from Everybody Loves Raymond. With the slight reversal that Robert is actually the elder brother himself.
Marie (to Raymond): "You can never turn your back on talent."
(Turns her back on Robert and walks out the door)
Robert was originally going to be cast as shorter then Ray and being forced to literally look up to his younger brother. The actor being taller took the gag from funny to hysterical.
It gets to the point that, when Marie tells Robert he was always the favorite, a lie used in an attempt to get Robert to conceive a child with Amy, nobody believes it. At all.
Lorne in Angel. When he visits home for the first time in years, his parents say "We ate the wrong son." His cousins used their empathetic powers to hunt. Lorne used his to read people's destinies and so was considered a freak. He preferred music over hunting, even though music didn't really exist in his dimension.
Taxi: Alex's sister Charlotte worriedly drops by to tell him their father Joe had suffered a heart attack. Contrary to what she expected, Alex doesn't even mind. May sound like an uncharacteristically selfish act from him, but it turns out in a later conversation that apart from deserting the family frequently since Alex was a kid, their father lent much less attention to him than to Charlotte, for whom Joe bought a brand-new car as her 21st birthday present.
An interesting example in Frasier: both Crane brothers considered themselves to be The Unfavorite, though in reality neither was. Though this gave birth to a destructive competiveness between them and rendered them utterly incapable of working together for any length of time, they both concede in one episode that their competiveness motivated them to excel academically and professionally.
This was specifically in their mother's eyes. To their father, they both sort of were unfavorites due to Martin having nothing in common with either of them. Both grow closer to Martin throughout the series, although Frasier (whom Martin lives with, and who is practically rugged and manly compared to Niles) probably becomes closer.
Monica on Friends is treated like this by her parents, while her brother can do no wrong (the reason given in the show is that they thought their mother was barren, which means that Ross was their "Miracle Child," and by the time Monica was born, the amazement was over.) Possibly why she is so screwed up. Interestingly, Ross actually calls them out on it a couple times.
Though when her dad realises that they've been doing this, he gives her his Porsche to make up for it, so, you know, "every cloud".
Of course, he gives her the Porsche after he destroys all her childhood memories by using the boxes they were in to protect said Porsche from water damage. That silver lining only came after a flood, though his general behaviour does improve.
The episode in which Chandler fakes Ross's death as a joke ends with Ross on the phone to his mom explaining he's fine. "No, Mom, even if I had died, you wouldn't be childless ... Monica!"
The odd thing about this situation is that it's actually The Unfavorite who grows up to be the happier and more successful child. 'Star child' Ross gets divorced three times, has two illegitimate children, struggles with mental anger issues at one point, and although a doctor of paleontology, has a rather mediocre academic career. Meanwhile Monica is Happily Married to a loving husband, adopts baby twins and becomes a renowned Executive Chef at a very fancy restaurant with people queuing outside for her food. In any other family, the mother would be disowning Ross and praising Monica to the skies.
Also when Ross' daughter Emma is born his dad congratulates him on his first child, completely forgetting that he has another one, a son named Ben from his first marriage. So there's also an unfavorite grandson.
Chandler, despite being an only child claims he still suffered from this trope, because his parents prefered his imaginary friend to him. More Parental Neglect and Hilariously Abusive Childhood though. (Interestingly he and Monica eventually fall in love, possibly because they understand each other's insecurities so well).
Averted with Rachel, who - when compared to her spoiled sisters Jill (Reese Witherspoon) and Amy (Christina Applegate) - is apparently the only child that her father (Ron Leibman) can claim to be proud of, thanks to Character Development that allowed her to grow and become a more responsible adult.
Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl is a strange example, as he is an only child for two-thirds of season one. Sadly, once his step-siblings Serena and Eric move in, he still obviously takes a back seat to everyone else.
Also Blair, who is an only child but continually overshadowed in her mother's eyes by Serena and later even Jenny. Heartbreakingly.
In How I Met Your Mother, Robin's father wanted a boy so badly that he treated her as a boy growing up, even naming her after himself - Robin Charles Scherbatsky, Jr. This lasted until her parents divorced and she started living with her mother and became a girly teenage pop star in Canada. And yet, she still longs for her father's approval.
Mohinder Suresh of Heroes is his father's Unfavorite, as compared to his Ill Girl older sister Shanti. This is due to having been conceived expressly in order to be a cure for her, but born too late; Chandra half-hated him for the failure, half-didn't want to get emotionally attached again.
Nathan Petrelli of Heroes could also be said to be the Unfavorite of his family. Angela actually told Peter he was her favorite compared to Nathan. Especially since it's later revealed in season 3 that Nathan was the only one in the family to be born without powers and had to be given powers via a formula.
Although Arthur Petrelli does claim that Nathan is his favorite, but given that he previously tried to have Nathan killed, the truth of this statement is debatable.
And Angela's claims that Peter is her favorite are somewhat suspect given that Angela spent the whole of Season One helping Big Bad Linderman manipulate things so that Peter would become a living bomb and Nathan could eventually become President of the United States, allowing The Company the defacto ability to rule the world.
And also in the first season, when Angela tells Peter he's her favorite, she goes on to add that she knows it never looked that way when he was growing up, as he often ignored while his parents focused on Nathan. In "Six Months Ago", Peter also mentions having never gotten along with his father and being unsurprised that he wanted nothing to do with his graduating from nursing school. The Petrelli parents ignoring Peter while he was growing up, leaving Peter to turn to his big brother every time he needed help, seems to form the crux of the brothers' unusually close relationship.
Apparently this has been retconned or reverted, because Angela begins to treat him with respect in season four. It culminates in her horror when she discovers that Nathan has had his throat slashed open by Sylar. She even closes his eyes as a sign of respect for both him and for the dead. She goes so far as capturing Sylar, burning a dead shapeshifter who looks like Sylar in order to throw off suspicion, getting shapeshifter Sylar to turn into Nathan, and then having Matt Parkman alter Sylar's memories and personality to actually BECOME Nathan Petrelli. Creeeeepy. It's implied at the brief part of season five we're shown that Sylar's personality is resurfacing.
The Graphic Novel "Truths", it's revealed that the only reason Nathan was given powers synthetically was because Arthur felt that powers had been given to the wrong son. This mostly stems from his belief that Peter is too soft-hearted. Moments before his death though, Arthur expresses pride in the fact that both his sons are willing to do what needs to be done, so Peter may no longer qualify. At least not from his father.
In Judging Amy, one episode feature a large, loud, and boisterous family who did not know what to make of their youngest(?) child, a quiet, apparently unathletic, and introverted kid. Apparently, forcing him into dog piles and over-enthusiastic games of football constituted abuse so the family had to learn An Aesop about different personalities.
An episode of Lois and Clark featured the mother of a deceased criminal known as "Bad Brain Johnson". To try and get her attention, her Un Favorite second son built a fully functional mind control machine, to offer her the whole world as a gift. Not only was he met with equal disdain as usual, but not even the machine at full power could force her to tell her son she loved him.
Arnold Rimmer in Red Dwarf is a powerful example of an Unfavorite. His brothers were all high-flyers in the Space Corps; Arnold was a technician, the second lowest in rank on a mining ship. While he's a comedic character, some of the abuse he goes through would reach Woobie standards, and goes a long way to explaining why Rimmer's such a git. Unfortunately, it's still difficult to side with him, given the frequency with which he uses his screwed-up past as a carte-blanche excuse for being a jerkass. In some of the darker moments of the books, the tragic side does become clear.
Not least in the story which shows just how small the difference in history between him and Ace Rimmer (what a guy!) is.
There are several scenes in the show which give Rimmer a more sympathetic POV. Curiously, a deleted scene in Series 6 shows that his brothers all ended up screwed up in later life, making Arnie perhaps the least screwed up of the lot ultimately. Another source of his angst is in Series 2, where he laments that he just wanted his father to congratulate him on something, but will never get the chance now.
Then in Series X one of his brothers Howard appears and reveals that although he claimed to be an Officer he was actually a vending machine repairman, just like Rimmer.
Series X goes a long way into explaining why he's the unfavorite: He's actually the result of an affair between his mother and the gardener. After a BSOD, he realizes that his real father would have been proud of his accomplishments and he no longer hears the man he believed was his father belittling him in his head.
There's a bit of this buzzing around Lore, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, who considers Data the favorite of their father. The "older brother" of the two androids Noonien Soong created, Lore (who has emotional awareness, while Data didn't), went a bit off the rails and was deactivated (but not before he was able to call a giant life sucking entity to the colony where he was built in order to destroy it). During his first appearance in Datalore, Lore spends a lot of time convincing Data that Lore was the second of the two built: to "perfect" the mistakes Soong made with Data (turned out it was the other way round. Lore terrified the colonists, who petitioned Soong to make one ''less'' human). The whole favoritism thing comes to a head in the episode Brothers when discovering that Soong has spent the last years of his life perfecting an emotion chip for Data without the "faults" that Lore's had. Lore deactivates Data, takes his place, steals the emotion chip and murders their father before leaving.
Lore: You didn't fill Data with substandard parts, did you? No, that honour was bestowed upon me. You owe me, old man. Not him. Me.
Supernatural: Even though Dean's Daddy issues are a lot more obvious, you could say that both of them fit this trope. The only affection Dean ever gets from John is when John is possessed or about to die, a regrettable incident that happened when he was 9 gets hung over his head for 17 years. And as for Sam, he's disowned when he wants to be normal, John actually blames him for his brother's impending death in In My Time Of Dying and he gets two utterly dismal goodbyes while Dean at least gets an apology and a smile. And the worst thing? He told Dean that he might have to kill Sam if he goes bad, and Dean thought he had to basically commit suicide (just not right away) because John gave him an order and he failed and, as shown by Long Distance Caller is still devoted to his father. Oh, John. You might have been a good man but you failed at being even a halfway decent father.
Lampshaded by the Yellow-Eyed Demon who tells Dean that even though John argued and yelled at Sam a lot, it was 'more concern than he's ever shown you.'
Strange version: Lucifer regards himself as this, but Gabriel points out that they all know that God loved Lucifer more than any of the other angels, more than Michael and more than Gabriel himself. The reason Gabriel believes Lucifer hates humans? He felt that God cared about them more and would demote him to this trope.
In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, it's revealed that Mary's sister Renata was the favorite of the Albright family:
Mary: The minute she was born, my life changed. I mean, she was showered with attention, she was given everything, she was supported endlessly and I had to stand by and rinse out her things! Nina: [astonished] Wow... so you're the good sister?
Young Dracula: Despite being the child that most takes after him, Ingrid is consistently ignored and humiliated by her sexist father.
One of the most famous routines of the Smothers Brothers involved them arguing about which one their mother loved most. Tommy, despite being older, gets the worst of the unfavorite treatment. While his brother Dickie got a bike, Tommy got a wagon with only one wheel. And instead of getting a dog, Tommy got a chicken.
It's not so much that they like Max more, he's just a lot easier for them to deal with compared to Carmen, as her problems were usually a lot more serious then Max's. Angie herself calls George on this in the episode "I Only Have Eyes For You" after George punishes Carmen more harshly then Max and she accuses him of liking Max better.
Angie: No! It's just that he's easier right now. I know she's a handful, but you can't dismiss all her problems as teenage drama, you have two kids and you should be treating them equally.
In the later seasons it actually was the opposite. Carmen's problems were much more serious than Max's were, and he felt unloved and ignored.
On Charmed, Chris seems to be not just the Unfavorite of his father (for complicated backstory reasons involving an alternate future), but of the universe in general: his brother is the Chosen One by virtue of being the first child born between a Charmed One (a trio of Chosen Ones in their own right) and a Whitelighter. Chris is...the second such child, which is apparently less impressive in terms of destiny, and winds up with a bit of inferiority complex as a result.
Later, when they already know he's the Kid from the Future and she's already pregnant with him:
Piper: Damn, this was easier with your brother. The Force Field blocked about everything...
Chris: Hey! You used a force field with him and not with me?!
Piper: Oh, no, no, that was his, not mine.
Chris: WHAT?! HE HAD POWERS ON THE UTERUS?!
In Veronica Mars Cassidy Casablancas, the younger of two sons, was clearly the unfavorite as the victim of bullying by his father and the 'favorite', his elder brother, as the dad and sibling had competitions to see who could make him cry first. This character would also come under the All of the Other Reindeer umbrella.
In Dallas, J.R. Ewing's Freudian Excuse was that Jock and Miss Ellie were constantly comparing him to Bobby and finding him wanting.
Gary was actually more explicitly Jock's Unfavorite due to his supposed weakness, alcoholism, and disinterest in the family business. Still, Gary was Ellie's favorite, and Bobby was Jock's, leaving J.R. to be the one son who was the favorite of nobody. And while Jock and J.R. were, at least, pretty close, at times Miss Ellie barely tolerated J.R.
A Played for Drama example from Mad Men. Justified in-universe in that Don was the bastard son of a whore being raised by his father's widow and family.
Poor, poor Purple Parrots. Legends of the Hidden Temple seemed to put the shortest, slowest players on Purple Parrots, to the point where, in challenge wins, they are dead last. This has caused them to be a minor case of Base Breaker: you either don't like them, or you support them as the underdog.
Earlier on, Cory considers himself to be this, although a lot of that is Middle Child Syndrome. Eric is actually usually established as Alan's favorite early on, which Alan is eventually forced to admit to and apologize for when he discovers this is a big part of the reason that Eric is so lazy and spoiled.
In Victorious, Trina is implied to be this. How much? After getting her wisdom teeth removed, her parents went on vacation for the sole purpose of not wanting to take care of her.
It's not without justification. Tori has a nice, caring and generous personality. While Trina tends to act like a whiny brat to get her way who has to hang out with her sisters friends because she can't make any on her own.
In the episode of Leverage "The Snow Job", despite being the one that practically runs the crooked business, his father clearly favors the older fun loving air head son.
Unfavorite pets appear from time to time on the various Animal Planet Heroes shows, when an irresponsible owner takes excellent care of one dog/cat/horse/whatever, while allowing another to starve in the yard without shelter or medical care.
Oh god Skins loves this one; Chris became an unfavorite after his brother died, Freddie is constantly passed over for his attention-seeking sister Karen, Cassie is ignored in favor of her baby brother, Katie's mum has always favored her over Emily, and in Gen 3 the Nick and Matty situation is... complicated. Sid manages to be the unfavorite despite being an only child - his father constantly wonders why Sid can't be more like his best friend Tony (who is actually a borderline-sociopathic Manipulative Bastard but hides it well).
"If you'd like to took at the relationship between nurturing and growth, I'd like to point out that my brother is 8 inches taller than me."
Given the way his mother is described (and acted in her appearances on the show), it's kinda clear that she was dispassionate at best towards all of her children and her husband. Leonard, however, seems to have gotten the worst of it.
Smallville: Earth-2Tess, proving that despite her crap life, our Tess is actually better off without being raised as a Luthor. Though at least she was still alive, unlike Earth-2 Lex, who was apparently also The Unfavorite. Apparently neither of them had a chance against their superpowered adoptive brother, Earth-2 Clark.
Poor Tess can't seem to catch a break with Earth-2 Lionel in either world, given that on Earth-1- even though Lionel acknowledges that she isdefinitelya Luthor- he still treats her like crap and considers her both inferior and expendable.
The irony of the situation is that Lex thinks he's The Unfavorite. Granted, Lionel is far from the greatest father in the world, but he didn't get abandoned to a rough life probably on the streets like Lucas or to an Orphanage of Fear and then an abusive household like Tess. He might not like their father, but at least Lionel considered Lex worth something, unlike his half-siblings. (It's heavily implied that Lionel abandoned Lucas and Tess just to see how they'd both fair without his influence, using two different methods- allowing Lucas to be raised in a much poorer neighborhood by a single mother, and removing Tess from her mother completely. No word on why the hell her mother was okay with this plan.)
Poor Edith from Downton Abbey. Her older sister Mary is her father's favorite, and her younger sister Sybil is clearly her mother's favorite. That leaves her as the overlooked middle child.
Lampshaded in series 4.
Robert: I love all of my children equally.
Edith: I don't know why people say that when it's hardly ever true.
This trope showed up once on ER, as the favored child was laying in a hospital because of something The Un Favorite was Mis-blamed for.
Impressively averted in Malcolm in the Middle, where despite Reese being a delinquent, stupid, slacking D-student who causes more trouble than all his siblings combined (which is saying something), Lois doesn't treat him any worse than she treats Malcolm, the family prodigy. In fact, when a Sadist Teacher tries to blackmail her by claiming she's never risk Malcolm's reputation to save Reeses's, rather than dismiss Reese for being a failure, she claims she would throw Malcolm under the bus for Reese in a heartbeat — because Malcolm can always take care of himself, while Reese needs to be protected.
However in the episode 'Hal sleepwalks' Hal in sleepwalking state does admit that he prefers Reese over Malcolm because Malcolm "is creepy" and Reese is "normal, like him".
In Xena: Warrior Princess, Joxer was disdained by his family. His parents are warlords, his brother Jett is an assassin, and Joxer is a clumsy wimp who can't do anything right. The family is embarrassed by his other brother Jace for being Camp Gay, but they respect him because he's successful as a singer and musician. Joxer eventually makes peace with his two brothers.
Star Trek: Enterprise's Malcolm Reed failed to follow his family's naval tradition, joining Starfleet instead because of a fear of drowning. This is heavily implied to have made his father- a life-long navy man- rather cold and distant out of disapproval. There's no evidence that his sister was favored more than he was, but it's pretty likely that he would have felt like the Unfavorite anyway
In The Vampire Diaries, Damon Salvatore considered himself to be this to his father Guiseppe, on account of his willful and rebellious nature (in contrast to his more dutiful brother Stefan) leading to all manner of sibling rivalry later on. Although Guiseppe's attitude towards his sons does at least have some basis in reality - Stefan genuinely was the better-behaved and more moral of the two - his treatment of Damon borders on parental abuse. The same kind of situation arose between Klaus Mikaelson, who was somewhat arrogant and impulsive as a boy, and his more sensible elder brother Elijah - when we see a flashback of the family, their father Mikael is shown punishing Klaus incredibly severely, publicly humiliating him and actually coming pretty close to killing the boy just for pulling a dumb prank on his brother. And it only got worse when Mikael discovered that Klaus was not in fact his biological son. Some time down the road, Mikael actually devotes his life to attempting to kill Klaus - admittedly, Klaus is an Ax-Crazyvampire overlord by this point, but it's heavily implied that he was The Unfavorite right from the start, whether he deserved to be or not.
The Borgias Rodrigo Borgia heaps all of his affection on his daughter Lucrezia, and his younger son Juan, completely overlooking his eldest son Cesare. While the inept and obnoxious Juan is encouraged to pursue the military career Cesare always wanted, Cesare is forced into the Priesthood against his will, and is regularly treated harshly by his father while Juan's frequent crimes and mistakes are swept under the rug. Rodrigo does eventually reconcile with Cesare somewhat, admitting that he finds Cesare so hard to love because he is a cold, ambitious Magnificent Bastard, and therefore he reminds Rodrigo too much of himself.
Chris from Everybody Hates Chris is treated far worst than both his younger brother and sister throughout the whole series.
In The West Wing, Ellie Bartlet clearly sees herself this way when it comes to her father; he swears it's not true. Incidentally, he says that she's "always belonged to Abbey," which could make him The Unfavorite parent.
In Breaking Bad, Jesse sees himself as this - and it's somewhat understandable, given that his parents kick him out (twice), won't help him when he's homeless, and his dad snubs him even after he's gone through rehab and off the drugs (of course, this is all in hopes that he'll clean up his act). Compare their treatment of Jesse to that of his younger brother Jake, who Jesse imagines to be his parents' darling. Somewhat subverted in that Jake claims that all his parents ever talk about (despite him not being around) is Jesse.
In House of Anubis, Patricia is implied to be this. Early in the first season, when making a desperate call to her mother (while believing Joy has been killed), there was just one line that, while it never really was explored in detail, brought up some theories about her home life.
"No, mum, this is not just another bid for attention. One of my friends could be dead!"
And then we met her twin sister Piper in season 2, who is nicer and more talented than Patricia, further supporting the idea. However, since her family life has never been explored, this is still not known for sure.
Appeared in The Golden Girls between Dorothy and her sister. Dorothy felt that she was the Unfavorite daughter and Gloria the favorite, but Gloria later points out that Dorothy was actually the favorite, and that Sophia doted on her less because she was the strong, trustworthy one. The real Unfavorite, however, was their brother Phil, who was variously described as a cross-dresser, a moocher and generally trailer-trash. Sophia didn't like his wife or kids much, either.
Blanche has also suggested that she was the Unfavorite, because she became boy-crazy and a troublemaker as a teenager. It seems more likely though that she was actually at least her father's favorite, but just didn't receive the adoration her ego demanded.
"I, Claudius" has Claudius as this, his father died while he was still young and his mother prefers the older brother Germanicus. Before she commits suicide she apologises to Claudius for this but says she wished he had died instead of Germanicus. Despite this Germanicus was one of the only people nice to Claudius and when he dies Claudius says he was dearer to him then anybody else.
The JAG episode "Desert Son" has Lieutenant Williams, son of a retired General who received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. It doesn't help that in addition to being overshadowed by his brother, a model Marine officer until his death, but he's also a screw-up in general who refuses to own up for his own failings.
The premise of the song "Better Version of You" by Paul and Storm is the parents informing The Unfavorite that his unborn sibling will be the favorite.
The song "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold is about a boy who believes he's this after his younger sister is born and his mother tells him they need to attend to her needs because she's a baby. He ultimately leaves home six months after his eighteenth birthday "to find the love he had lost." (Many of the details match up with Andrew Gold's own life, but Gold has denied the song being autobiographical.)
Jonathan Aaron Steel, the protagonist of WASP's epic concept album The Crimson Idol is this, forever unfavourably compared to his brother Michael, and the problem intensifies after Michael's tragic death.
April from For Better or for Worse was the Black Sheep and completely ignored by almost her entire family (the main exception being her grandfather). The fact that she's regarded by much of the Hatedom as being the strip's Only Sane Man is probably very much related to this fact.
Making this even harsher, creator Lynn Johnson admitted that the Patterson family was based on her own, and that April represented the second daughter she wanted but never had. Apparently that went out the window, since as noted above, April is often the victim of Informed Wrongness.
Peter Fox from FoxTrot tends to be this in the Fox Family.
All three of the Fox kids do crazy things. Peter, being the oldest, tends to draw more attention since his zany antics include things like driving like a maniac, skipping homework, playing a guitar loudly and badly, and wrecking the house by throwing a football around indoors. In comparison, Paige's obsessive shopping, Jason's scientific screw-ups, and their mutual back-and-forth teasing is kind of small potatoes.
When his older brother Chad is visiting from college, Jeremy from the strip Zits seems to fall into this.
This wasn't helped by early depictions of Chad, which gave him a gleaming, perfect smile, the rest of his head unseeable, atop a perfect body to go with the notion that he could do no wrong. Later depictions make him look...like Jeremy with a beard.
CHIKARA: UltraMantis Black treated Crossbones this way when UMB was the leader of the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple. UMB fawned over Hydra and Delirious, but always belittled Crossbones. This despite Crossbones being the only loyal member of the group (Delirious, Vökoder [Tim Donst] and Hydra [unmasked and repackaged as Dieter Von Steigerwalt]) all abandoned the Order for the BDK.)
New York baseball has two teams. The Yankees, perennial playoff contenders, 27 time world champions, rich as all hell...and the Mets. Note that for some New Yorkers, this makes the Mets the favorites, because they're pitiable, lovable losers most of the time, while the Yankees are perpetually successful.
Chicago is the same way. The White Sox are the successful world champions while the Cubs...perpetual underdogs.
Los Angeles has two pro basketball teams: The Lakers, 17-time league champions and home to some of the greatest players in the game's history... and the Clippers, who have long been one of the biggest jokes in sports.
Los Angeles also has the Dodgers. 6-Time World Champs and another of Baseball's most celebrated squads. And then they have the Angels, a sad-sack expansion team who, for four decades, could never catch a break. The Angels came out of nowhere and won the 2002 world series which brought the team to prominence. Both teams are now respectable draws and sell out most of their games.
In the NFL, Eli Manning was treated this way by the sports media, compared to his older, record breaking, Super Bowl winning brother Peyton Manning whom the sports media treated like quarterback royalty. This became subverted, after Eli lead the New York Giants to a Superbowl victory against Tom Brady's New England Patriots in the 2007-2008 season, when the team seemed unbeatable and was one win away from completing a perfect season. He did it again against the same team in 2011-2012 season, surpassing his older brother and finally getting the sports media's respect.
Warhammer 40,000 backstory has strong vibes of this in the Primarchs. With a few exceptions the vast majority of them defected because of their father's disapproval and/or withering apathy. In the words of Roboute Guilliman, "The Emperor was a great scientist, a great leader, but a terrible father".
The Emperor's main problem was that he had a very clear idea of what his generals should be like, but neglected to consider that those generals even saw him as a father. As a result, you got Lorgar - who saw an entire world annihilated to teach him not to be religious; Perturabo - whose hopes and dreams were straight-out ignored in favor of "here is a siege, go fight it"; Fulgrim - whose obsession with perfection was left unchecked until it consumed him with the aid of a daemon; Angron - who saw the people he cared about left to die because the Emperor abducted him from a hopeless battle rather than deploying his high-tech military in support; Magnus - who was publicly humiliated; Mortarion - who spent years fighting to free his homeworld, only for the Emperor to steal his thunder in a spectacular way; and Horus - the most powerful military leader in the galaxy - who was left completely in the dark about why the Emperor was retiring to Terra, leading Horus to the not illogical conclusion that he was being left to do gruntwork while the Emperor sat back and enjoyed the spoils.
On the tabletop itself several armies could lay claim to this. The long suffering Dark Eldar went ten years without receiving an update. Now that they have a new rulebook and set of models the mantle passes on to the Witchhunters, though their chances of getting an update are looking grim.
The Necrons were also this, their army was pretty bland, with zero personality and very little to no updates. Now they got a massive change along with a lot of new figures and a revised back story making them more interesting, although there are those who feel that the changes removed what made them scary in the first place.
And then there's everything Games Workshop does that isn't 40K, which tends to be stepped over because 40K is a massive cash cow and Warhammer and the The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings strategy battle games are not.
Warhammer has the Beasts of Chaos, the first children of the Dark Gods. Since they are unable to do anything not Chaos-related, while the humans who offer their devotion to Chaos do so willingly, the Dark Gods provide boons and power to the humans while the Beastmen are left to squat in the mud and kill things. Unsurprisingly, they are not happy about this.
The title character of Sophocles' Electra is neglected and abused by her mother and step-father. She loathes them both and isn't terribly hesistant about letting it be known. Orestes is also the unfavorite, but has been in exile since childhood so it's not as obvious.
In The Lion in Winter, Richard is Henry's Unfavorite. John is Eleanor's Unfavorite. Geoffrey, poor guy, is the Unfavorite to both.
The Broadway show Next To Normal features this trope spectacularly with the song "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" after it is revealed that the son has been dead the whole time, died when he was eighteen months old, but he haunts the mother throughout the show. She perceives him as a perfect son (while he really has just as many issues as the rest of the family), leaving the living daughter a wreck.
Beat in The World Ends with You typically sees himself as the Unfavorite of his family, especially compared to his younger sister Rhyme. As a result of being unable to live up to their standards, he stops trying at school altogether, which Neku notes is at odds with the Hot-Blooded personality he demonstrates.
In Silent Hill: Homecoming Alex's younger brother Joshua is clearly the favorite of his parents, to the extent that Alex tells his mother to "stop pretending you care about me" at one point when she tries to apologize to him. It's later revealed that Alex's parents had to choose one of their children to be sacrificed to Silent Hill's god in order to keep it from destroying Shepherd's Glen. They chose Alex and, knowing he was doomed, purposely remained distant with him to make the inevitable sacrifice easier.
The titular "Bastard of Kosigan" from a Neverwinter Nights mod, whose situation at home was so uncomfortable for him that he ran off and became a mercenary after his father (the only person defending him from his uncle's abuse) died.
Hawke's younger brother Carver in Dragon Age II sees himself as this, despite little evidence to support his claims. A classic case of Younger Brother Syndrome. Carver's uncle Gamlen is also one, since his parents made his sister their sole heir, despite disowning her after she eloped with an apostate (illegal) mage.. The game compares the two of them on occasion.
Sebastian Vael also has elements of this. As the youngest son of three in the Starkhaven royal family, he envied his brothers and resented the fact that he wasn't even Spare To The Throne. When he rebelled and became The Hedonist, his parents packed him off to The Church of a neighbouring city-state. It's probably not a coincidence that the relative he describes in the most detail is his grandfather.
Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. He was so much of an unfavorite of his clonedaddy Big Boss that he swore revenge against his 'superior' twin, commandeered a walking nuclear death-tank, and held the world for ransom for the remains of Big Boss. Talk about family issues.
Interestingly, in the ending of Metal Gear SolidOcelot reveals that he was actually the superior twin, even though he'd always believed otherwise, making this something of a subversion.
Actually, Ocelot uses Recessive and Dominant... which doesn't mean inferior or superior. It's just inherited gene prioritisation.
Also, technically, it's not just Liquid, but pretty much ALL of the Les Enfants Terribles children who were UnFavorites to Big Boss, as he hated the project, especially when it was performed without his consent. In fact, the project was the reason why he broke away from the Patriots and eventually attempted to overthrow them.
Metal Gear Solid 2 had Fatman, who was neglected by his parents, and apparently, even though he built a nuclear bomb at Age 10, and was rather famous (or infamous) within the bomb trade for this feat, he was hated within his own school.
Though it may not be confirmed as we never see his parents,Nozomi Suemitsu aka the Gourmet King from Persona 3,he constantly in his older and less rotund bother's shadow
Persona 4 takes this trope a step further with Kou Ichijo. It's revealed that Kou was raised in an Orphanage of Love and then adopted as a child because his adoptive parents though they couldn't have any children of their own... until they actually do. When they do, Kou feels that they've literally cast him to the side now that they have a "real" child.
Flora, in the Professor Layton series, seems like this sometimes because the Professor keeps trying to leave her at home when he goes on investigations, but allows Luke — who is younger — to tag along. Although the Professor's reasoning is good (he's unwilling to take a young lady into dangerous situations), it seems a bit wince-worthy, especially since Luke is only the Professor's apprentice and Flora is his actual foster daughter.
Although it's arguably justified by the differences in Flora and Luke's backgrounds. Luke, as the professor's apprentice, is used to solving puzzles and hazarding dangerous situations. Flora has not had that sort of experience, and also is implied to still be recovering from the trauma of her dad first trying to pass off a robot as a replacement for her mother, then being raised by Ridiculously Human Robots after her father's death.
In FEAR, it turns out that the Point Man was the unfavorite grandchild of Harlan Wade, as he did not possess the same Psychic Powers of his brother, Paxton Fettel.
If you play Crusader Kings 2, you will most likely have your share of unwanted sons. Daughters are always wanted, no matter how bad their skills and social capabilities are, because you can marry them off to establish alliances, but if you practise primogeniture (eldest son inherits), and your firstborn is an unlikeable fool, it might be a good time to get him killed. Elective Monarchy is a possible solution to the problem, but if you choose that inheritance law, every unlanded adult son you have in your court gives you a prestige penalty, meaning you might want to marry them off to some foreign duchess to get them out of your feet, while keeping your intended inheritor around and preparing him to take over after you croak.
In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, visiting the past shows you how badly the Chief treated poor Rekoteh. He laments that she's weak compared to her brother Rolan (not that he's a good father to him) and banishes her from the house until she can prove herself by finding the Dragon's Mark.
In Mysteries and Nightmares: Morgiana the title character's younger sister Arabella was actually given Morgiana's horse just because she cried when her own horse broke its leg and had to be put down. Needless to say, this sort of disparity didn't end well.
Sakura Matou (or better said, Sakura Tohsaka in Fate/stay night was the Unfavorite for blood family, leading her to be given away to another family. Then her adoptive family's treatment of her was somewhere south of "holy shit" on the abuse scale. Can't blame her for going batshit on them all.
Though technically, her adoptive family treated her like that because she was the favorite of the family head, and was trying to make her the rightful heiress of the family. Granted, said head (Zouken) was completely insane and her adoptive brother Shinji abused her out of spite for making him the unfavorite. Oddly enough, he initially raped her because the head's treatment meant that she actually needed magic infused semen to survive... later on, though...
And not to mention, the Fate/Zero sequel explains that Sakura's blood family gave her away not because she was The Unfavorite, but because Sakura's massive magic potential was about to be wasted away due to old family rules that only allowed the eldest kid (in this case her older sister and "favorite kid" Rin) to be trained in magic, so they actually wanted her to develop into a good Magus even if it meant she should be raised by others (therefore they were trying to play with the trope itself). And neither Tokiomi nor Aoi had any idea that Zouken and Shinji would treat Sakura THAT badly. Only Rin was sorta aware of how something was very wrong with the Matous, and that was after Tokiomi was murdered and Aoi went the Fate Worse Than Death way; the damage to Sakurawas already done back then.
A better example would be Shinji, his uncle Kariya and perhaps even his father Byakuya. Zouken held them in contempt and treated them horribly because they did not possess any sort of magic circuits, and were as therefore useless to him. Kariya is perhaps the biggest and most tragic example of this but Shinji was also full of insecurities and developed into such a pathetic person that he's even the unfavorite among the fans. A good part of the horrible shit Shinji did took place in an horribly, horribly wrong attempt to make himself look more appealing to Zouken.
Subverted in Tsukihime. Shiki really was the unfavorite of Makihisa and upon being wounded was promptly disinherited and kicked out. However, that's because not only were they not related - therefore making Shiki incapable of becoming the Tohno family head - Shiki was the son of Nanaya, the guy whose family Makihisa just killed off. He was kept around to take care of SHIKI (Makihisa's favorite) if he happened to Invert.
Higurashi: When They Cry: Shion Sonozaki, though much of her ill treatment comes from Oryou, her cruel grandmother. It doesn't end well for her as she becomes Shion's first target in the Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening chapters.
Saddest part? She's supposed to be the favorite. She and her twin sister Mion did the Twin Switch at the wrong time, causing the wrong twin to be tattooed with the mark identifying her as the family heir.
Shizune Hakamichi turns out to be this in Katawa Shoujo, due to being deafmute and thus "not normal" in the eyes of her Jerk Ass father Jigoro.
Little Busters! has Haruka compared to her twin sister, Kanata. Though it turns out eventually that even if they were favored, the other sibling wasn't much happier.
Sil'lice of Drowtales was not even acknowledged by her mother Diva'ratrika as someone worthy of even being in the line of her throne and she was largely ignored by her mother. In the end, when Diva'ratrika is betrayed by her three of her daughters, who try their best to kill her and completely undermine her role, Sil'lice is the only one of her daughters who stays true to her mother and her and her entire army of children and grandchild are nearly wiped out for it. Diva now works with Sil'lice in her attempts to take down her sisters, well not revealing she is her mother reborn in a different body.
Vy'chriel was absolutely and understandably despised by her adoptive mother Zala'ess Vel'Sharen. This is because Vy'chriel was adopted into the Vel'Sharen household as a "Protector Twin" who act both as sisters and guardians to the true Vel'Sharen children. Vy'chriel, angered by her twin's disobedience to Zala'ess' orders, killed the real Vy'chriel in single combat, turned her body into a golem and took up her name. Zala'ess, her loved her actual daughter, despised Vy'chriel for doing this.
Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick. His father's epitaph reads "Devoted Husband - Mighty Wizard - Passable Father", and his ghost keeps showing up to harass Roy about his choice in Character Class.
Although it turned out his father wasn't likely the favorite either. Though he only has himself to blame since he looked down on his own father for being a fighter too.
Eugene harasses Roy chiefly because he doesn't get to go to Lawful Good Heaven until Roy (or another Greenhilt descendant) fulfills the blood oath Eugene made as a younger man. The middle Greenhilt is then supremely incensed when he learns that he's Lawful Good Heaven's Unfavorite because he abandoned the oath for other pursuits.
Eugene's unfavoritism was well in place long before his death. In On the Origins of PCs, a still-alive Eugene tells Roy all about the Blood Oath solely so that Roy can relate it to favored Julia when she gets old enough to do something about it.
To add to the above comment, Eugene only starts pushing Roy into finishing the oath because it gets passed down to the eldest, i.e. Roy. So when Roy died, it got passed to Julia, until Roy was brought back to life.
Nale for his father Tarquin. In Tarquin's eyes, Nale is nothing but an incompetent over-reaching upstart who cares more about satisfying his ego than about results. Nale is equally contemptuous of his father, seeing him as nothing but an old man too afraid to grasp ultimate power. When Nale finally makes it absolutely clear that he wants nothing from Tarquin and will never be a willing pawn Tarquin kills him on the spot as. That said, Nale did kill his best friend Deader Than Dead, and made it clear he did not want his father's favor, the only thing that has kept Tarquin from killing him for years. A fact Tarquin tried to get through to him, but Nale's ego wouldn't let him grasp.
Wally from Zebra Girl is a subversion — while he's at the bottom of his pack of werewolves (and explicitly referred to as the Omega), and constantly teased and berated by his pack-mates, Doyenne, the pack leader, confides in Jack that she feels he has the most potential out of any of the pack, and derides the others as brutish murderers who use their animal sides to excuse the evil in their all-too-human hearts. Of course, in her next breath, she matter-of-factly states how she's going to have to kill them...
Rayne from Least I Could Do claims in one strip that he was locked in a cage and fed newspaper as a child. His friends know it's BS, but Mick remarks "his stories amuse me so."
Played with in Narbonic. Dave's brother Bill is actually a pretty boring, ordinary guy, but Dave is stubbornly convinced that Bill is cooler, better looking, and otherwise superior to him in every way. There's no indication whether this is related to parental favoritism.
Dominic Deegan: Miranda Deegan has pretty much disavowed any knowledge of her oldest son Jacob. Her reasons aren't entirely unjustfied, though; Jacob took up necromancy after one of her oldest enemies attacked her home and gravely wounded her youngest son, Gregory, whom Jacob would use as a guinea pig for several horrible experiments - one of which almost killing Gregory in the process. And, uh...yeah.
Red Mage too, although technically that was entirely concocted and implanted in his mind by Thief.
Riff from Sluggy Freelance is the Unfavorite to his stepbrother (who is apparently his mother's new husband's son). When said stepbrother asks if he is better than Riff, his mother tells him that it's not nice to "rub it in". Riff is thus somewhat pleased, albeit humiliated, when Bun-bun and Kiki's attempt to stand in for him at a party with a mechanical look-alike fails and results in him getting disowned.
Mizuna of Adventurersthinks she's one of these, bringing up how she was always compared with Karashi when younger. When she mentions this to Karashi, the latter says that the comparisons were always favorable; eg. "Mizuna is so much more advanced than Karashi was at her age!"
Isaac Jenner from Demonology 101, both in the eyes of his father and The Powers That Be. This is his primary reason for his numerous attempts to murder his brother Gabriel.
Monette of Something Positive was the Unfavorite of her biological father (we're not quite sure where her mother is in all of this). When her father gained custody of her and her sisters, he dropped her off at her grandmother's house. While Grandma was on vacation. Grandma also kept pit bulls. And her father tied raw steaks to her head. Oh, and did we mention that at the time she was less than a year old? Of course, being Something Positive, this is generally played for laughs; however, it's given genuine emotion when her father visits her for Thanksgiving at the MacIntire residence in Texas. His ill treatment of her is what prompts Faye and Fred to adopt her and make her their daughter.
In Instant Classic, when Author is born, he has an unexpected twin brother. His parents are dismayed, the father going so far as to name the boy Xauthor, declaring him to be the evil twin at birth and treating him accordingly through his entire childhood and early adulthood, despite him not doing anything remotely evil until he snaps due to being told he's evil for YEARS He's also got a goatee.
What Birds Know has Dores, stuck in the shadow of her brother Ian. Her family completely fails to recognize her talents, seeing her instead as a lazy, irresponsible and ill-tempered brat. Her mother is by far the worst about this, to the point that when the parents are worrying about their daughters taking several days too long to return from their errand, she argues against sending help, muttering that she'll just ground Dores later, and freaks out when Ian volunteers to help. "This is not going to happen!"
Ann "Bootsie" Khoeler in Friendly Hostility; her parents praise her brother for doing so wonderfully at college, and continue to praise him when he reveals he sold her as a slave to cover his poker debts.
Concession: Joel's father preferred his older brother Julian and left him the entire company in his will. While the author claims these implications were just meant as gags, there are hints that his mother would have preferred a daughter; Joel's twin sister Miranda died when they were young, so it's possible he feels his mother would rather he had died. According to Joel, the situation is even worse; he was so traumatised by the death that he was put in a mental hospital. While there, Joel became convinced that their older brother Julian had killed Miranda and their parents thought Joel had done it. Understandably, he's severely messed up by the time the main storyline starts.
Brisbane of You Say It First is one of these. We never see his parents, but hear that they seem to hate him. They didn't attend his wedding and the fact that all they did was sign the card Brisbane's brother added to his gift is treated like a huge step in repairing the relationship. He also sadly told his wife that she would be able to meet them, but he wouldn't be allowed to be there.
Batman and Sons play around with this a bit. What's clear is that Terry is the favorite, being Batman's biological son. At first glance, any Robin could be the unfavorite, considering how Batman treats them but there are Pet the Dog moments between Batman and the Robins. The true unfavorite is Damien, who Batman flat out refuses to acknowledge as his unless Talia produces a positive DNA test.
Kevin of Kevin & Kell faces this, exacerbated by being one of 38 siblings, meaning that he only stands out in the worst possible ways. As a child, he was looked down upon for being fearless (which is considered Too Dumb to Live by rabbits), and when he got older, he was disowned for marrying Kell, a predator.
Sal Walkerton in Dumbing of Age has always felt overshadowed by her twin brother, who is both Brilliant but Lazy and "whiter" than her - they're mixed-race, but Walky himself considers her black and himself "generically beige". By her teens, she was so starved for attention that she had a breakdown and held up two convenience stores, at which point her parents shipped her off to Catholic school.
Survival of the Fittest has Lyn "Laeil" Burbank. While actually a niece rather than a daughter, her uncle and aunt still give her the same unfavorite treatment, treating her like something that just has to be tolerated, while lavishing all their attention on her Jerk Jock cousin, Anthony, who regularily makes her life hell. Once she's on the island, though, it isn't long before she gets bloody revenge on him.
In Mother of Learning, Zorian's parents disapprove of his lack of interest in the family business and by his poor charisma.
In Welcome to Night Vale, football player Michael Sandero gains a second head and supernaturally enhanced abilities and his mother announces that she likes the new head better and updates her billboard "Which Of My Children I Like Best" accordingly. Michael is The Unfavorite versus his other head. It becomes an Exaggerated Trope when in a later episode, his mother has the original head amputated.
Azula, Zuko's little sister, is also an example, at least in her own mind: "My own mother...thought I was a monster." She tries to laugh it off at the time, but this perception of her relationship with her mother contributes heavily to her Villainous Breakdown in the series finale.
Except in her own mind her perception of her mother says that she always loved Azula. And in an earlier flashback she told Zuko to play with Azula, so it's not like she thought Azula should be shunned.
Ursa did love Azula. She was simply concerned about her budding little sociopath of a daughter. We see nothing in her onscreen behavior that says she thought Azula was "a monster". Can't help but wonder where the kid got the idea. Perhaps Ozai told her a few stories about "what your mother said when you weren't around" so he could guarantee that he was Azula's Well Done Daughter Guy. Also, it's possible that "perception" was saying what the mentally broken Azula wanted it to say, not what she believed the real Ursa actually would say, and she knew it, which is why she got so upset. Wordof God pretty much confirms this◊
Ozai himself, father of both of the above, used to be this too. After his older brother Iroh's son died, his father Azulon ordered him to kill Zuko to let him know what it feels like. To put this into perspective, though, Fire Lord Azulon only ordered this after Ozai tried to use his nephew Lu Ten's death as an excuse to steal his brother's birthright, and after he openly scoffed at Iroh's grief for his lost son causing him to abandon the siege of Ba Sing Se. Still...ouch! Of course, considering he was perfectly willing to kill Zuko, it probably wouldn't have done much good.
The series implies that Mai's parents treat their younger son Tom-Tom much better than her. When Mai was a little girl, she was forced to be stiff and rigid at all times, never showing any emotion, in case it damaged her father's political career (leading into her emotionally-stunted teenage years). By the time Tom-Tom was born, her father was already a governor and given control over an entire "colony" (said colony being a conquered Earth Kingdom City), so they're free to be more expressive and affectionate with him... and Mai is still neglected.
On the other hand, there's Ty Lee. Taking care of sextuplet daughters is no easy task, yeah, but Ty Lee herself felt so neglected that she ran away to a circus to get something similar to love and affection. Heck, in The Beach she angrily and tearfully confronts Mai on how she used to be an only kid and had her parents's attention, only for Mai to snarkily and bitterly point out the emotional neglect she dealed with.
Tenzin's older siblings, big brother Bumi and sister Kya, also had this issue since their father Avatar Aang, intentionally or not, prioritized Tenzin over them because he was the only air bender between the three (Kya being a water bender and Bumi being a non-bender only to become an air-bender himself later in life). This ended up damaging the relationship between the three siblings considerably since Bumi and Kya ended up treating Tenzin badly whenever they could.
Lin Bei Fong and her younger half sister Suyin also had some un-favoritism issues due to their mother Toph neglecting them.
Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold! is the poster child for this trope, with her prettier, more intelligent, and away-at-college older sister Olga. Ironically, Olga herself confesses to Helga that she'd rather be this trope: her parents' excessive attention and ridiculously high expectations (especially Bob's) pushed Olga into a permanent neurosis and becoming an Extreme Doormat, while Helga might be ignored by them but managed to both develop a thicker skin and is free to do whatever she wants.
Rugrats played with this a couple times. In one episode, Angelica convinces the twins Phil and Lil that every family has a Favorite and a Reject; each one spent the rest of the episode convinced that they were the Reject, and mistaking normal parental behavior as signs of this, until, in the end, they make up and decide to be Rejects together (and Angelica even decides to become a Reject). In another, Angelica's parents are going to have another baby, and she has a horrible dream about being rejected in favor of it (until it grows gigantic and tries to eat her).
This was quite the plot point of The Rugrats Movie. After Dil's birth, Tommy felt abandoned by his parents and attempted to return him to the hospital with the help of his friends, only to later grow fond of Dil and accept him.
In one episode after the movie, Tommy starts to feel like the unfavorite out of his friends after Angelica teaches them how to cry and fake injuries to get attention from Tommy's parents, but Tommy won't do it. The parents are fussing over the other kids, but Stu does take a moment to apologise to Tommy and say he's glad there's nothing wrong with him. It's kind of sweet, but also sad.
An example of the second variant is in Metalocalypse: Pickles, the drummer of the most famous and successful band in history, lead singer of the (arguably) other most famous and successful band in history, apparent college graduate despite being an alcoholic since he was six, is still second in his parents' eyes to his brother, an ex-con who lives in their attic, sponges off everyone he knows, is responsible for destroying Australia, and works for the company Pickles owns.
Further expanded in Fatherklok, where Pickles' father straight out calls him trash.
And again in Motherklok, appropriately enough. Pickles still seeks the approval of his mother, despite the fact that no matter what he does, even when it's exactly what she says he should do, she isn't satisfied. He finally tells her to go f*riff*k herself at the end of the episode. It also represents a rare moment of growth for an adult Unfavorite, especially considering the quasi-demonic powers the band seems to have; he resolves the issue with his mother without turning evil or lashing out at the people who care about him. Even Offdensen, the closest person the band has to a moral center, tells him he should tell his mother to go f*riff*k herself. As an added bonus, her reaction is a lot more realistic than shows where the parent rushes to fix a misunderstanding or prove how much they don't care by not reacting at all.
Sometime between the original run of Family Guy and the current series, Meg Griffin went from mildly ignored to outright hated by the rest of her family (caused in part by the running joke that Meg may or may not be the result of an affair Lois had behind Peter's back,) which in turn cost her a chance to become an Olympic swimmer. Lampshaded in that the show itself has pointed out her unpopularity via doing an entire episode around the family being the subject of a reality tv show. In the episode, the people filming the Griffins point out that Meg is the least liked member of the family, resulting in her being replaced with an attractive actress. And this episode was before the Un-Cancelled portion.
You could go on for days about the Comedic Sociopathy Peter and Lois inflict on poor Meg. Lois in particular; she tried to steal Meg's boyfriend in one episode, couldn't even say "I love you" to the girl on her own wedding day, and tried to get her to kill herselfnote She left a bottle of sleeping pills and an Emily Dickinson book next to Meg and said "Whatever happens, happens" in a bored tone of voice. In one memorable episode, Meg calls them and Chris out on how they treat her like shit despite being disgusting, horrible excuses for human beings... but then goes right back to being their punching bag after seeing that without her as a common "enemy", the family would rip each other to shreds.
Hints from the show and Word of God imply that Candace may possibly feel like this trope, but the Flynn-Fletcher family actually averts this trope, with the parents love their children and stepchildren equally.
In Wolverine and the X-Men, Magneto rules Genosha with his two daughters, Lorna/Polaris and the Wanda/Scarlet Witch, by his side. Pietro/Quicksilver, meanwhile, is back in the US running the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants until he's "proved himself" to his father. Even when Wanda starts to fall out with her father, he dismisses his sons requests to aid him and is instead told to get his sister to come to her senses.
In X-Men: Evolution, Magneto basically dumps Wanda in an insane asylum when she's 8 or so. His reasoning was that unlike her brother, her almost uncontrollable powers would have eaten away at too much of his time. Later when she comes after him wanting revenge, he decides to have a psychic alter her memories to make her less likely to come after him. He still never visits her though (Unlike her brother, who was given a cell phone so they can keep in touch).
Which of the twins are the Unfavorite changes with the medium and writer... though generally it doesn't really matter who is less loved because Magneto is almost always a terrible father to both of them, regardless of writer or medium. To be somewhat fair, in the original continuity he didn't even meet them until they were almost adults, and didn't discover that they were actually his children until even later... but that poofs away because he still treated them like crap even before knowing it. Only in the animated 90's series he is given a consistently more sympathetic POV about it.
Cyclops also had some of this in Wolverine and the X-Men where, rightly or wrongly, Xavier pretty much kicked him to the curb by demoting him to being just another X-mook while promoting Wolverine to leader and always finding time to smother the clawed one with love and support while leaving Cyclops out in the cold.
In the Animated Series of Disney's Hercules, one episode centered around Phil, Herc's Satyr Mentor, coming to terms with his mother always raising his brother (a door-to-door shoe salesman) onto a pedastal. At the end of the episode they learn she was doing it on purpose to keep him from getting a big head, and the brother always got the same treatment.
The very end of that same episode hints that Phil's sister gets the same treatment. Pretty fair all around.
It depends on the writer, but each of The Simpsons kids has, at one point or another, been treated as the unfavorite. Lisa's most often made this (what with Bart being a hellion, Maggie an infant in need of constant care, and the whole family being average or stupid except for her), which is spoofed in the "Sherry Bobbins" episode. She sings, "I'm getting used to never getting noticed!" But there's also the running gag of Homer forgetting Maggie exists ("We have three kids!" "Marge, the dog doesn't count!") and while strangulation does technically count as giving Bart attention...
This mentality is one of the things that makes Lisa The Scrappy; despite Lisa’s constant complaints, she is very much the favorite. Like Maggie, Bart is only noticed when he’s blowing something up, yet when Lisa is in trouble they drop everything tooth and nail. In "Hardly Kirk-ing" Marge takes the family out on a TV-free day. When she says that they didn’t have time to go hear jazz in downtown Springfield, Lisa complains that as a middle child she never get what she wants. Yet no one notices that Bart is no where to be seen.
In one flashback episode, the parents meet with Bart's school counselor to try to help him be less miserable in school, only to discover Lisa is a prodigy and immediately write Bart off.
Homer: Face it, Bart's six. His life is over. Lisa is the wave of the future!
Yet when the same thing happened to Lisa they went straight to the principal and demanded that he do something.
Lifeline from the G.I. Joe series is a latecomer to this trope, having become the Unfavorite of his all-pacifist family when he joined a military organization. Never mind that he's a field medic who never carries weapons or participates in combat, the fact it's soldiers he saves is enough to earn him the permanent silent treatment from his relatives.
Hank Venture from The Venture Bros.. While in the first season Dr. Venture seemed equally neglectful towards both sons, the following ones made his Parental Favoritism towards Dean more and more apparent. This has become especially prominent in season 4 after the clone slugs were destroyed and Brock left - Dr. Venture wised up and decided to be more fatherly, but only towards Dean.
In one episode, when tricked into thinking he's been kidnapped along with the boys, Dr. Venture even tells the kidnappers to torture Hank but not Dean. Later he explains that he suggested that because Hank could deal with it while Dean, the more immature of the two, would take it way too seriously. He also explains that the reason he's so hard on Hank is because he reminds him of himself when he was younger (after hearing this, Hank doesn't quite seem to know how to feel about it). Also it should be mentioned that being his dad's favorite is probably screwing up Dean worse.
In truth, it frequently zigzags between the two of them. Dr. Venture seems to prefer Hank in an adventuring context, and Dean in a scientific context. Needless to say, he's not the greatest father. Of course, given that his ownupbringing included his father having drunken sex on top of his son, Rusty easily has a Freudian Excuse.
Hank Hill from King of the Hill is the Unfavorite of his two brothers. His older brother, an illegitimate child born of Cotton Hill's affair with a woman in Japan, gains a surprising amount of affection since his mother is perhaps the only person Cotton ever genuinely loved. His younger brother Good Hank was born when Cotton was in his seventies, and at the right age to appreciate having children. Meanwhile, Hank was born in a bathroom in New York, not Texas (which, it should be noted, was Cotton's own fault), and Cotton never quite forgave him for failing to be a native Texan, hating him literally since the day he was born. Being saddled with a Jerkass father like Cotton affected Hank well into adulthood and left him with his uptight, close-minded personality.
Ed from Ed, Edd n Eddy is presumed to be mistreated by his parents on many occasions, while his little sister Sarah gets whatever she wants.
Before Evil Con Carne was cancelled, and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy became their separate series, one episode involved a father, his older and younger sons, and their pet weasel accidentally finding themselves trapped on Evil Con Carne's island. Needless to say, the father had a less than favorable relationship (on his part) with his older son, whom he showed was willing to allow being potentially tortured by Con Carne and his cohorts when forcing his obedience. This is of course played for laughs. He even entrusts the pet WEASEL to drive the boat away from Con Carne's island to safety.
Saranoia and Carl from the show Yin Yang Yo are both the unfavorites to their parent(s). It caused Saranoia to go quite insane while Carl has yet to go down that road, he's just very lonely and desperate.
In Pepper Ann, Nicky is convinced she's the Unfavorite, though a lot of it is circumstantial (and the fact that people other than her parents really do tend to favor her sister). For example, when they were kids, the exercise equipment was put in Nicky's room... because it was either put it there or in her sister's room, and they feared the sister, who has very weak arms, would be much more insulted by it than the surprisingly-strong Nicky.
In The Buzz on Maggie Jerk Jock Aldrin is revealed to be this. He's spent at least 8 summers as the work force on his Uncle's farm while his younger, cuter siblings Maggie, and later, Pupert are given the Favorite Hat and all the privileges related to it. The first time the Uncle looks like he's going to praise Aldrin for developing more muscles, he ruins the moment by determining this means the teenager can do even MORE heavy-lifting. It's much better at home, where all children are given praise and acceptance at some point. The Mom does express more concern about Aldrin's grades than she does over Maggie's (but then again, Aldrin may need a tutor to maintain eligibility for sports) but she also praises her son for taking an after-school job in fast-food. Still, the Uncle's behavior goes a long way towards explaining Aldrin's "Look at me!" attitude and tendency to show off.
A large part of the plot of the first Franklin movie, Franklin and the Green Knight, is Franklin worrying that he'll become this when his new baby sister is born. This worry is only increased when everyone fawns over the upcoming baby during a baby shower. Later, this fear is soothed when he meets an armadillo with a baby brother who tells him that his parents have enough love for both him and his brother. Franklin's friend Snail has a similar fear - he worries that Franklin won't have any time for him once the baby is born. Oh, and Franklin's worries being soothed turns out to be reasonable, as there is no evidence in the fifth and sixth seasons of the show (both of which feature a version of Franklin's new sister, Harriet, that is able to talk and walk), that either child is treated as a favorite.
An episode of American Dad! has Stan trying to get rid of his annoying Chinese in-laws by convincing Francine that they prefer their birth daughter Gwen to her. She really starts believing it when they find the parents' will and discover that everything goes to Gwen. But even after being thrown out, Francine's father comes back to save Stan from a burning building, and he explains the will by saying that Gwen is an Asian Airhead who needs all the help she can get, but Francine is intelligent and can take care of herself, and married a good man, so they don't worry about her.
Suga Mama on The Proud Family tends to favor her son, Bobby over Oscar, despite the fact that Oscar is clearly the more successful of the two. Then again, Oscar is the Butt Monkey of the series. It's later revealed that Suga Mama went through the same thing with her sister Spice, who got the family's hereditary psychic power while she did not.
In the same episode with Spice in a Heartwarming Moment Suga Mama stands up for Oscar, showing him that while she doesn't always like him she will always love him.
In an episode of Jonny Quest The Real Adventures, Jonny is trapped in a hallucination where he thinks he is the unfavorite and that his father prefers Jessie. This ends when his father punches the hallucination's lights out.
A rather weird example with Uncle Ruckus in The Boondocks. He was the Unfavorite to his father, yet the favorite to his mother.
In Camp Lazlo, there are strong indications that Edward is this in his family.
Robot Default of Robot and Monster is typically overlooked by his mother in favor of his Aloof Big Brother Gart, who also owns the family's blinking light factory after having it handed down from their father, primarily because Robot's inventions tend to rarely work as intended and he has a knack for accidentally embarrassing the family name. In the episode "Family Business" it's suggested she actually does care for him somewhat; when he finds a piece of a family painting with himself on it in her chest compartment it's later revealed that it's only there so her insides don't clunk, then when Gart is about to tell Robot she decides to let him keep thinking what he thought at first, feeling he deserves it for his earlierBatman Gambit that showed he cares for his family regardless of how they treat him.
PJ on Goof Troop, while treated fairly by his mother, is routinely emotionally and financially abused by his father who repeatedly spoils his sister, Pistol, and, on one occasion, rejects him in favor of his best friend. In the episode "And Baby Makes Three" he tries extra hard to avoid becoming this compared to the new baby, as does Pistol eventually, but he and she both seem to take it for granted that she is already treated better.
Bloberta was revealed to be this on Moral Orel. Her mother preferred her sister Modella and younger brother Lunchbox over her as they were much better singers. Her father was shown to care about her, but afraid to speak up in front of her mother.
On Futurama it's pretty clear Larry is Moms least favorite son, and that's saying something.
Johnny Test serves this to his very uptight father, Hugh.
In T.U.F.F. Puppy, Kitty wishes that she was more like her sister, Katty, even though said sister is a criminal.
A lot of kids have suspicions that they might be this.
That being said, in all likelihood there are probably a number of Unfavorites in the big bad world.
A study indicated that most parents do, in fact, have favorites. Equal treatment or attempts at same aside, most people are people and just relate more to one kid or the other, and therefore prefer to spend time with him or her and pursue their shared interests. In order to have a favorite/unfavorite dynamic at least two siblings must exist. Therefore, all other things being equal (though perhaps this is unrealistic), you have exactly a 50% chance of being the favorite. Doing the math to figure out what the actual probability of being the favorite assuming there must be at least one favored and one non-favored for larger sets of siblings is left as an exercise to the reader.
It's entirely possible to have more than half of the population the "unfavorite" if families have more than one child, or even if they have only one seeing as how you don't actually need siblings to be an unfavorite child.
Sadly, Truth in Television. If the child shows signs of disobedience, has strong opinions, strong will, does not live up to expectations of his parents, fails to perform well in school, hobbies, social circles or does not fulfill the parents' demands, he has good chances of ending up as the Unfavorite.
This often happens to children with sexuality or gender issues.
Many times the favorite can be the child who is always in trouble as they are often seen as the baby, or needing extra attention, while the harder working and smarter child has more pressure constantly put on them.
A lot of families do have these, particularly if they were hoping for a child of a certain gender- For example, if a family wanted one boy, one girl, and the firstborn was a girl so the second one was supposed to be a boy, but turned out not to be, then there would likely be a great deal of resentment against her.
In any case, in families that are poorer, oftentimes when they have one child, they'll be able to afford new clothes and such for that child, but when the second one comes along being able to afford to take care of both will undoubtedly be harder, so the second child ends up with a lot of hand-me-downs from their older sibling, which can lead to them feeling like they are loved less, particularly when they're at an age when they can't really understand financial issues.
If one child has some sort of disability or chronic illness, then the other siblings can often feel like this, due to the extra time, attention, and focus that the child with needs gets.
in some cultures, disabled kids themselves are, because they are seen as cursed or affected by dark magic ect.
According to the history... Date Masamune, despite being the rightful heir of the Date clan and quite liked by his father, is the Unfavorite for his mother. Thanks to him plucking his eye out, she has deemed him unworthy to inherit the clan and favors his younger brother. This has gotten so bad that at one point his mother tries poisoning his food just so he'd die and his brother could take over. Masamune's response? Kill his brother just so his mother can see him rule, like it or not. After his father's death, he ends up banishing his mother to her home clan (his allies, which also goes on to be one of his most trusted allies in Sekigahara).
Wilhelm felt very close and dearly loved his grandmother Victoria, who died in his arms. It would seem she got along better with him than with her son, the Prince of Wales, who appears to have been her least favorite child. Wilhelm on the other hand occupied a special space in her heart because he was the only one of her grandchildren who remembered her late husband, Prince Albert. This may have contributed to the deep antipathy between Edward VII and Wilhelm II. And it was George V who declared war on Wilhelm, not the other way around.
A lot of the bitterness between Wilhelm and his mother can be put down to Bismarck's political maneuvers. Victoria, Princess Royal/Empress Frederick, was a liberal, as was Wilhelm's father. Bismarck saw that when the Crown Prince came to the throne he would be ousted and so set to work distancing the oldest surviving children (Wilhelm, Charlotte and Heinrich) from their parents and succeeded. It backfired on him eventually but the damage couldn't be undone. When Bismarck saw the writing on the wall for him he went to Victoria and tried to get Wilhelm to keep him but she just replied that there was no chance of that since there was no relationship between herself and her son. Bismarck had seen to that. It also stopped Wilhelm from listening to the liberals and pushed him into the arms of the military and while he was the favorite of his grandparents it did nothing to stop his ego from getting too big and being a major factor in starting WW1. He apparently tried to bully his relatives and did nothing to endear himself to them which wouldn't make him popular in anyone's family. Even with historial revision there's very little evidence that any of his outer family liked him.
Frederick III's reputation as a liberal was exaggerated due to the way his diaries were heavily edited when they were published. And the bitterness between Wilhelm and his mother was less due to Bismarck's manoeuvers than these manoeuvers were made possible by the existing coldness and distance between the the two. That the dour Calvinist Georg Hinzpeter was appointed governor to Wilhelm and his brother Heinrich was Vicky's own choice, it was she who wanted to impose an even stricter regime on her sons than the one her father had imposed on her brother Edward. Left to the tender "mercies" of their harsh taskmaster, Wilhelm and Heinrich felt little better than prisoners.
Families both royal and common in general would've been prone to this in the past,as later children would had to deal with the first-born inheriting the family wealth while they got less,if any. And royals would naturally give the most attention to the heir to the throne (firstborn,usually)
Lindsay Lohan's siblings Cody (aka Dakota), Ali and Michael Jr. are apparently this to their father.
In certain cultures, daughters.
In some countries, it is common for women to have abortions if the child is the "wrong gender."
This has actually gone so far in mainland China as to have started to flip the preferred gender—used to be, sons were preferred because they could continue the family line. Now, however, Gender Rarity Value has kicked in: it's become rather expensive to marry off a son.
It's possible to get permission to have a second child.
Or if you are rich enough to not care about fines/state taxes/additional expenses/etc., as many as you can afford.
Chinese traditionally favored large families, and in relation to this trope, gives a bigger pool to choose the Favorite or Heir from. You sure as heck don't want to be the Unfavorite.
Animals do this a lot. Strong, healthy young have better survival chances than runts,and are often favored by parents. Sick young are often rejected, as nature won't allow time to be wasted on a baby that will not survive. Even species that don't usually do it will if food is scarce or if they have more than they can feed-especially mammals,who only have so many teats to go around. Marsupials, for example,have young that latch onto a teat and stay there for weeks or months. If there are more babies than teats, the extras must be abandoned. Sometimes, even other young will attack small or sick offspring, especially if food is scarce-birds and live-bearer sharks (whose young eat each other inside the womb at times)for example.