A woman has babies. That is, she gave birth to multiple babies at the same time, and now she, with help from her husband, has to figure out how the heck to deal with this many kids at once. Hilarity Ensues
Often the defining feature of works that it appears in for the simple reason of plausibility. Babies are a lot of work, and anyone who has this many is pretty much going to have to center a great deal of her life around them. While one would think that this would make the parents a little high-strung and frustrated with their baby-centered lives, quite often Babies Make Everything Better
anyway, despite the extremity of the situation. When used as a brief gag, it's usually tongue-in-cheek.
This trope came to prominence because of the relatively high chance of multiple births in the early days of in vitro technology. This was due to the procedure (no longer practiced by most above-board facilities) of implanting multiple embryos under the assumption that only one would actually take. While this is the extreme version of the trope, more down-to-earth works of fiction can still play this up with twins.
Anime and Manga
- This is the basic premise of Go! Go! Itsutsugo Land, a series about a set of 5 year-old quintuplets and the various misadventures of their daily lives.
- Mother of Champions from The DCU's "Great Ten" superhero team is a particularly bizarre (albeit non-comedic) variation. Ironically, she was barren before she developed her powers.
- One of Daria Big Name Fan Roger E. "The Angst Guy" Moore's works, Quinnts, splits the title character's sister, Quinn, into a set of, appropriately enough, quints, who each embody an aspect of the canon Quinn's personality (bossy, hedonistic, rambunctious, psuedo-intellectual and attention-seeking, respectively). Predictably, their version of Daria is a complete emotional wreck.
- Raising Arizona has this as a set-up: Herbert's poorly thought-out plan to have a child with his wife involves kidnapping one of the Arizona Quints, reasoning that the parents wouldn't mind losing just one. (He gets the idea from reading an interview with the father, who had jokingly commented that "We've got more than we can handle!")
- Quints, a Disney Channel Original movie about a teenage girl who gets five younger siblings at one shot and has to take care of them.
- Half a Dozen Babies, about a couple that have sextuplets.
- The titular miracle in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) involves Betty Hutton giving birth to sextuplets.
- An unusual variant on this trope in Italian film Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Adelina has the babies one at a time, the regular way. The problem is that she has to pop out a baby every fifteen months, because she is facing imprisonment for selling contraband cigarettes, and being pregnant or nursing keeps her out of jail. It works for a while but as time passes the steadily increasing size of her lower-class family starts presenting problems.
- Dorrie's Book by Marilyn Sachs is about a child whose mother's second pregnancy unexpectedly results in triplets.
- The Nursery Rhyme about the old woman who lived in a shoe...and had so many children, she didn't know what to do!
- Sister of the Quints, a young adult novel which may have inspired the above-mentioned Disney Channel movie, as it has essentially the same plot.
- A whole spate of Reality TV shows involved finding Truth in Television examples of this trope and filming it, the most well-known example probably being Jon And Kate Plus Eight. Shows in this vein seem to be waning in popularity thanks to Octomom (who actually has fourteen children), whose irresponsible invocation of this trope has caused the viewing public to strongly question the morality and motives of anyone who would decide to have this many children, let alone try to get a Reality TV show for it.
- Quintuplets starred Andy Richter as the father of a set of teenage quints.
- Several episodes during Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy are centered around a mom who chose to keep all 5 of her babies, even though the doctors had recommended she have 1 or 2 of the fetuses terminated.
- When Leslie finds out on Parks and Recreation that she is pregnant with triplets, her husband Ben, who is an accountant, has a panic attack at the prospect of having to pay for the upbringing of three children.
- In The Simpsons, Apu and Manjula get octuplets after she starts taking fertility treatments to increase the chance of pregnancy. We later find out that this wasn't the fault of the doctor they saw — several people had been slipping Manjula fertility drugs without her knowledge.
- This also applies to Cletus and Brandine Spuckler, who have far more children, even before season 8.
- Holidays of Future Past shows that each of Apu and Manjula's children also had a set of octuplets.
- In the series finale of Chowder, Chowder and Panini are married and have 50 babies, including 20 in one day. They are sort of like rabbits, after all...
- This is Shrek's nightmare in his third movie.
- The original Oswald the Lucky Rabbit pilot, "Poor Papa", has this, where a stork delivers way too many babies to him and his wife. This carries over to his appearance in Epic Mickey, where he and his girlfriend have spawned numerous offspring since his imprisonment.
- The same plot is reused in the Mickey Mouse short "Mickey's Nightmare", which as the title suggests, is All Just a Dream.
- Ditto "Porky's Romance", which was a parody of the aforementioned "Mickey's Nightmare".
- A 1935 Merrie Melodies cartoon (directed by Friz Freleng), "The Merry Old Soul", has Old King Cole marry The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe. Hilarity Ensues when he tries to take care of all those kids.
- In one Bad Future episode of Captain Planet, Linka is shown living in a deeply impoverished town with over half a dozen kids...all fathered by Wheeler.
- Bloo tells a phony story in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends to their next door neighbour about how he and Frankie are not only married, but have 64 children as well. Frankie is not particularly happy about this lie, and to make matters worse, Bloo asks her "What were their names again?"...
- Happens in an Imagine Spot in the Arthur episode, "Arthur's Baby", when Buster asks him what would happen if his expecting mom had more than one baby.
- The Ur Example is probably the case of the Dionne quintuplets, born in Canada in 1934. A tragic case, they were removed from their parents' custody and exploited as a government-operated tourist attraction.
- For a darker deconstruction of this, many cultures view the birth of twins as a bad omen, which may lead to them being killed shortly after birth.
- Then there's Nadya Suleman, the "Octomom," so called because of a dead-straight example of the "in vitro Gone Horribly Right" version resulting in the second set of surviving octuplets in US history (and first set where all members survived longer than a week.) Normally that many are not implanted, but she has said that the alternative was that the unused embryos would be destroyed. This adds to the six kids she had already, those not at once.
- In order to not look completely crazy she claimed to have only implanted 6 left-over embryos (of which 2 then split into twins) because she didn't want any of her babies to die. She was lying on both fronts: the doctor implanted 12 embryos. And she insisted on fresh embryos for each of her IVF-cycles, so there are still some of her embryos left in the freezer.
- However, she's not within a light-year of the record, set in the 1700s: Feodor Vassilyev's wife and the 69 children she had over her lifetime laugh at Suleman's measly 14. If each of the 67 who survived infancy had two kids each (that's on the far low end for that era), Feodor likely has 70,000 descendants by this point.
- While 19 Kids and Counting isn't exactly this trope (she obviously didn't have all 19 kids at once), she does have 2 sets of twins.