Playing With / Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe

Basic Trope: A man can't be sure of his paternity the way a mother can of her maternity, and his belief is only as good as her word.
  • Straight: Julianna goes to drink at bars in the evening, and comes back late; when she has a baby nine months later, her husband Helmut wonders whether he's the father.
  • Exaggerated: Helmut finds his wife Julianna talking to a male friend on the phone, and instantly demands of her whether any of their nine children are his.
  • Downplayed: Helmut and Julianna have a polyandrous relationship, and Charily has a few of the same characteristics as Helmut. When the baby is born, it's hard to identify the father, but neither man minds.
  • Justified:
    • Prior to, or without, DNA testing, a man has only the woman's word and any chance resemblance to go by.
    • The setting lacks any access to DNA testing, women frequently have multiple partners, and it's not considered socially acceptable to question a mother's identification of paternity, even when there seems to be evidence to the contrary.
  • Inverted: Julianna's baby obviously does not resemble Helmut, and yet Helmut never questions whether he's the father.
  • Gender-Inverted: Julianna wakes up after a coma, and Helmut tells her that unbeknownst to her, she had been pregnant and this is her daughter — who looks like neither of them. Julianna wonders whether she is the mother.
  • Subverted: Helmut wonders whether he's the father. Julianna told him that he is indeed thr father.
  • Double Subverted: Knowing that Julianna has slept with other men, Helmut is still suspicious.
  • Parodied: Chocolate Baby, where white man Helmut asks white woman Julianna whether he's the father.
  • Zig Zagged: Helmut wonders whether the baby's his, has DNA testing done, which confirms it, learns that the lab is sloppy and doubts it again, gets a better lab to confirm, is told by Julianna that she slept with his identical twin, and learns that his twin had in fact been in jail during the time she claimed to have slept with him.
  • Averted:
    • Julianna and Helmut both know that they have only had sex with each other. Therefore, no one other than Helmut could possibly be the father.
    • Julianna and Helmut are shipwrecked for ten months, and the baby is born shortly after they are saved.
  • Enforced: Rule of Funny
  • Lampshaded: "Am I the father?" "Good question."
  • Invoked: Julianna sleeps with other men, not caring what Helmut thinks.
  • Exploited: Julianna becomes pregnant and gets Helmut to marry her.
  • Defied:
    • Julianna only has sex with Helmut.
    • Helmut doesn't care whether he's the baby's biologcal father.
  • Discussed: "Are you sure that Helmut is your baby's father? It sure is hard to tell." "Yes, I'm sure. I've never had sex with anyone else."
  • Conversed: "Think he's the dad?" "It's hard to say."
  • Implied: The baby does not resemble Helmut, but neither Helmut nor Julianna seems to notice this.
  • Played For Laughs: Julianna gives birth to a Chocolate Baby. She knows that Helmut is not the father, but pretends not to know and tries to dodge the question.
  • Played For Drama: The story takes place modern times, but in a fictional setting where DNA testing is illegal.

Back to Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe
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