is a television series
about 20-something bartender Ben Wheeler, who must take care of his infant daughter Emma, whom his ex-girlfriend leaves at his apartment door. At first, he is reluctant, but after bonding with the baby, he decides not to put her up for adoption like his ex suggested. Ben gets help from his older brother Danny, his best friend Tucker (who become his roommates), his childhood friend Riley, and his mother Bonnie.
It did well enough in its 10-episode first season to earn a second and a third season. In fact, the third season was ordered before the second one even premiered.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absurdly Youthful Mother/Improbable Age: The 40 year old Melissa Peterman cast as the mother of two men in their twenties stretches credibility a bit.
- The show tries to handwave it a little with two things: 1. Riley finding out about Bonnie's first wedding in Vegas when she was 18 shows that Bonnie was something of a wild child and 2. It's possible that Bonnie is a few years older than Peterman, and lying about her age.
- It was stated in a later episode that Danny was born when Bonnie was still in high school.
- Action Mom: Bonnie, as Ben's obnoxious friend Gene found out. The rather tall Melissa Peterman has had the nickname "Blondzilla" follow her through her last two sitcoms.
- Adam Westing: Former Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart has a recurring role as Tucker's boss, a much more Diva-esque version of herself.
- Adorkable: All three guys, especially when interacting with Emma.
- Increasingly, Danny and Riley. When Riley missed Halloween as a girl, Danny arranged (six months later), to trick or treat with her while dressed up as Super Danny and Riley Girl. And they still do it, though Riley says it's evolved from Trick-or-Treating into a crazy drunken pub crawl.
- Air Hugging: Izzy's awkward fist-bump thing with Danny.
- All Work vs. All Play: Implied that Riley's Mom and Bonnie Wheeler are this, respectively.
- The Artifact: Emma herself on more than a few occasions. As Ben's parenting skills improved and the show switched focus from "crazy childcare hijinks" to character relationships, Emma has been reduced to little more than a prop in a few episodes, and likely would fade out completely if not for the fact that she's in the show title.
- Baby Talk: Usually when someone is talking to Emma.
- The Bartender: Ben.
- Berserk Button: Do not call Riley "Fat Pants" or she will put you in a headlock. And while you're at it, don't eat Tucker's food.
- Big Damn Kiss: It happens. Though it's not nearly as clean cut as other instance; it some ways, it's actually kind of depressing.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Danny and Tucker respectively.
- Black Best Friend: Tucker.
- Bumbling Dad: Ben.
- Canon Discontinuity: In the second episode, Bonnie and Riley are talking about Mr. Wheeler, Bonnie's husband and Ben and Danny's father. They say his name was Danny Sr., he was completely irresponsible and his love of fireworks left him with no eyebrows and four fingers on his right hand. When he finally see him in Episode 9, his name is Ray and he's fairly well-adjusted with all fingers intact. Potentially justified since Bonnie hated him so much at that point, she might be deliberately smearing him (As far as the name, who knows?)
- Captain Obvious: Ben in the pilot, moments after finding a baby on his doormat.
Ben: There's a baby on my doormat.
- Comic-Book Time: The show's timeline is in a weird state of flux. Time is obviously passing, but Emma does not appear to be aging. Also possibly a case of Not Allowed to Grow Up since the show is called Baby Daddy. They did switch out the babies between Seasons 1 and 2 because the first set of twins aged out of the role.
- Compliment Fishing: An adorable example of this with Danny and Riley when she's trying to boost his confidence about public speaking.
Riley: I just wish you could see yourself the way I see you.
Danny: ...how do you see me, exactly?
- Cute Bruiser: Riley was known for playing field hockey and beating up Ben when they were kids and she's still very much capable of taking down a huge hockey player like Danny.
- The Cutie: Emma.
- The Diaper Change: Considering this a show that revolves around a guy taking care of a baby.
- Duct Tape for Everything: See the pic at the top of the page. A gag in the pilot.
- Dumb Muscle: At times, Danny doesn't come across as too bright.
Bonnie: It takes him a while, but he gets there eventually.
- Dynamic Entry: Danny kicks down a door in one episode. It goes flying. Made even better by the fact that Danny kicked the wrong side of the door. Instead of popping the lock (the weakest part of a door and the easiest place to do this) he essentially ripped it off its hinges with one kick.
- Dysfunction Junction : Referenced in Season 3. Tucker's parents are coming for a visit and he pretends to be a train announcer. "Next stop, Dysfunction Junction."
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Fat Pants" is this for Riley.
- Fanservice: Many Rangers locker room Shirtless Scenes. Lots and lots of shirtless scenes.
- Five-Man Band:
- Formerly Fat: Riley.
- "Friends" Rent Control: Zig-zagged. The apartment is pretty decently-sized by New York standards and has three bedrooms, but looks a little shabby in that "converted factory or warehouse" style. As far as paying the rent, Ben is only a bartender, Danny is probably well-paid as a pro-hockey player, and Tucker has an entry-level job as a producer on a local talk show.
- Gentle Giant: Danny, especially when interacting with Emma◊.
- Has Three Daddies: Emma is being raised by Ben, Danny, and Tucker, although Riley and Bonnie have enough input that it balances out a little.
- Hold My Glasses: Or, in Bonnie's case, "hold my earrings."
- Honourary Uncle: Tucker, who calls himself Emma's "fruncle".
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Matt Dallas and Jean-Luc Bilodeau were costars on Kyle XY.
- Kiss of Life: Riley for Danny in "The Wheeler and the Dealer."
- Ladykiller in Love: Danny towards Riley.
- Lovable Jock: Danny.
- Mama Bear: Bonnie towards Emma.
- Missing Mom: Emma. So missing even Ben doesn't know - Emma literally shows up on Ben's doorstep one day with a note explaining that Ben's the dad and that's it.
- As of the end of season 2, she's back. Since Bonnie forgot to file the appropriate paperwork in time, they have to hunt down Emma mom Angela to resign them. She asks to see a photo of Emma, which is enough to make her come to the apartment and declare she wants Emma back.
- Mistaken for Gay: Ben and Tucker, in order to get Emma into day care. The problem is, Tucker doesn't know it.
- Season 3, "Foos it or Lose It" : Riley chases Danny's girlfriend to the airport and gives her a long, romantic speech.
- Mr. Fanservice: Danny.
- My Beloved Smother: "Mom has this thing about boundaries... she has none." Said by Ben after Danny revealed that she organized his "love drawer" when she came over. One episode dealt with Ben confronting Bonnie as she slowly takes over caring for Emma.
- The Napoleon: Tucker.
- Oblivious to Love: Two sides of the love triangle. Ben has no clue Riley loves him, and Riley is really clueless about Danny. As of early-mid season 2, the situation has evolved. Ben now realizes he has potential feelings for Riley but puts them aside because he isn't sure enough to put her through that uncertainty. Danny has tried to move on from Riley. While Riley finds out about Danny's feelings and reveals that she returns the sentiment (or is at least, very curious about them) but Danny doesn't know and both are still unable tell each other.
- One Head Taller: A non-romantic example. Many jokes are made about the fact that Derek Theler (Danny) is comically taller than the rest of the cast.◊ The jokes are usually made against Tucker (Tahj Mowry) since he's the shortest, and since Tucker and Danny are sliding into a little bit of a Those Two Guys dynamic.
- Pick Up Babes With Babes: Danny and Tucker actually have a contest where they see who can get more phone numbers as they push Emma's stroller for one city block. They tied, although Tucker had to cry for two of them.
- Reaction Shot: Emma gets one when her grandma 86's her dads plans to go out by revealing that she is going to have a night out.
- Recycled: The Series: More than a couple of reviews have called it Three Men And A Baby: The Series.
- Sibling Triangle: They seem to be setting one up between Ben, Riley, and Danny. Something of a played with version since it's not the tall athletic successful guy (Danny, pro hockey player) that's the main love rival. Instead Danny is the soft spoken Gentle Giant unable to reveal his feelings while it's his less successful quirky brother that the female lead is interested in.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: The girls have started getting more and more of their fair share of slapstick. Bonnie in particular has taken some pretty spectacular tumbles and even spent a decent amount of one episode hanging halfway out of a window.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Riley's mom Jennifer and Bonnie communicate solely as this. It evolves into Ham-to-Ham Combat when they finally start screaming at each other.
- Straight Gay: Ben and Danny's father comes out to his sons and ex-wife when he visits.
- Those Two Guys: Danny and Tucker.
- Two Girls to a Team: Bonnie and Riley, with Danny, Tucker, and Ben make up the complete group of five.
- World of Snark