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Series: The Fosters

The Fosters is a drama on ABC Family. Produced by Nuyorican Productions, a company owned by Jennifer Lopez, it first aired in 2013. The series revolves around a interracial lesbian couple who have both biological and adoptive children together. They decide to take in Callie, a troubled teen, as their new foster child.

Not to be confused with the Cartoon Network animated series about imaginary creatures that reside in a foster home.


  • Action Mom: Stef, by virtue of being a cop.
  • Adult Fear: Callie's Back Story. Dad drove drunk and crashed, killing her mother and at least two other people and going to prison for manslaughter leaving her and Jude in foster care where she was raped. Call a cab, people!
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Stef and Lena already had Brandon when they adopted Mariana and Jesus. They care for children so much that they agree to foster and later plan to adopt Callie and Jude. Lena also desperately wants to have a biological child. By the end of Season 1, she is pregnant and the whole family is thrilled.
  • Amicably Divorced - Mike and Stef. They are partners on the police force for a time, they make an effort to parent Brandon together, Mike is civil to friendly with Lena, as well as acting as a family friend to Stef and Lena's shared kids. Any tense moments the do have are because they disagree about family issues.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Callie gets the crap beat out of her in the first episode and her face is still bruised into the second episode.
  • Berserk Button: For all their teasing and Becca's attitude towards Cole, when Cole gets called a freak for trying to use the men's bathroom on a field trip, all of the Girls United group (sans Callie) stand up for him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Callie when she goes down into a burning basement to help rescue Becca
  • Bittersweet Ending: "I Do". On one hand, Lena finally gets the wedding she's always wanted and Stef is able to overcome the lingering doubt about being gay that was instilled by her father. Also, they decide to adopt Jude and Callie. On the other hand, Liam gets off scott free, Lexi and her family is temporarily leaving the country but since they're undocumented the logistics are unclear, and Mike takes much of the flak for the shooting since he feels that Stef has a family to think of and revealing the truth at this point would kill her career. Also, Callie decides that running away is the solution to the problem of the attraction she and Brandon have.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: They're not biologically related, but the romantic tension between Brandon and Callie causes a lot of drama. They eventually decide to not pursue it, as both realize Callie needs a family more than she needs a boyfriend
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Averted. When Stef is shot and we finally see her post-surgery in the emergency room, the room is littered with blood, tools are in disarray, various waste (bags and containers) litter the floor, and it looks pretty much like what it is: the aftermath of a lot of people worried and working to save a life rather than keep things neat.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Callie, fresh out of juvie, though in truth, she doesn't really have any sort of rebel streak. Her birth parents and the people she's lived with before the Fosters, on the other hand, may have been less than stellar. As a result, she's learned to mostly just shut up since people rarely listen and trust her. This in turn means she'll silently take the blame for whatever people assign to her.
  • Disappeared Dad: In the back-ten premiere, Callie learns their dad had been out of jail for a year and hadn't contacted her.
  • The Dreaded: Liam
  • Elaborate University High: On the oceanfront, no less. Perhaps made more unusual in that it's a charter school (which recieves less public funding per student than a non-charter school in exchange for greater flexibility).
  • Financial Abuse: Mariana's been stealing Jesus's ADHD medication to give money to their biological mother.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Callie has a younger brother and he joins the family at the end of the episode
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: Between Brandon and Callie, though Callie isn't yet his foster sister, it's pretty much a given that she will be if she sticks around long enough.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Averted. Their house is realistically nice for a mid-career professional couple, but it's old and small and a bit crowded with five kids.
  • Frozen in Time: The events of "I Do" happen shortly after the Supreme Court overturned California's Prop 8 ban on gay marriage. Given the production lead times, they must've made "go" and "no-go" versions.
  • Happily Adopted: The twins.
  • Has Two Mommies: Let's just say this show's probably not Pat Robertson's favorite lead-in...
    • Callie takes this up to eleven, as technically speaking she has three mommies and two daddies, if you look at it a certain way.
  • Informed Judaism: Emma casually mentions she's Jewish when bringing over kugel for Stef's father's memorial. To the show's credit, it actually is a Jewish custom to bring food to those sitting shivah and kugel is an Ashkenazi dish that's not particularly well known to the general public
  • Insistent Terminology: Callie is fairly insistent that Jude is her brother while Sophia is her half-sister, despite the fact that they have the same blood relation to her.
    • Though this is probably because she grew up with Jude and has shared her pains and experiences with him. Meanwhile Sophia is basically a stranger.
  • Instant Death Bullet / Only a Flesh Wound : Averted; when Stef is shot, it's presented firmly in the middle. The person isn't incapacitated immediately, but they're also not running around willy nilly. And even though the shot itself is perhaps a 5 on the regularly 10 point getting hit by a bullet movie list, it's treated as extremely life threatening. Even the aftermath is so since it's specifically mentioned that while said person survives the shooting, bullet fragments risk causing paralysis.
  • Jerk Ass: Liam
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stef's dad, who apologizes to her for scaring her away from church.
  • The Lad-ette: Emma
  • Limited Wardrobe: Stef seems to live in her uniform.
  • Meaningful Name: The Fosters is about a family with the surname Foster who have foster children; this series has a Double Meaning Title.
  • Mistaken for Evidence: mistaken for evidence of the wrong thing, at least. In the webisodes, one of the girls finds what she thinks is a pregnancy test in the trash, and speculates that it might be why Gabby ran away from Girls United. It's actually not a pregnancy test, but a HIV test—Gabby is HIV positive
  • Mistaken For Homophobes: The Riveras, being fervent Catholics, are suspected by Stef and Lena to be homophobic, causing the Fosters to be leery about the church camp they're encouraging Jesus to attend with Lexie. Turns out they're totally OK with gay relationships, because "what's more Christian than family?"
    • May be a case of Truth in Television since American Catholics support same-sex marriage at a rate above the general population, despite their church's official stance.
  • Missing Mom: For Jesus and Mariana, we come to find that their birth mother is a drug addict and was pretty much incapable of raising them. For Callie and Jude, their family was driving and their father happened to be drunk at the time, resulting in him running a red light and T-boning another car. Their mother was killed, their father sent to jail for manslaughter, and the two of them going into the foster system since there were no other relatives.
  • My Beloved Smother: Lena's mom manages to be this despite the fact that her daughter is fully grown
  • Foster Family Of Fear: Not Stef and Lena themselves but since a shockingly high percent of foster kids in Real Life are subject to sexual abuse, there's a strict rule about no relationships between foster/adopted siblings; Stef mentions this when it's suggested that Brandon might be attracted to Callie and vice versa.
    • The foster father Callie and Jude had before Stef and Lena (the one who got Callie sent to juvie) didn't seem to be a very nice guy at all, terrible enough that Callie was willing to be sent back to juvie in order to get Jude out of his house.
    • It looks like Liam was abusive to Callie.
  • Pet the Dog: The audience already knew that Rita cared for the girls at Girls United, but the scene where she brings Cole home from the hospital shows her tough veneer cracking just a tiny bit
  • Playing the Heart Strings / Lonely Piano Piece: At the same time when Callie and Brandon play a duet. The impromptu song becomes the closing background music for the episode.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Veers slightly towards more realistic dictation as people tend to interrupt each other/talk over each other, there are occasional pauses in dialogue, and people drop 'ums' and 'ahs' regularly. Similarly, conversations are often presented in natural arrangements; when Callie and Mariana talk during bedtime, Callie spends the first part of the conversation talking into her pillow away from Mariana.
  • Shout-Out: one piece of graffiti in Wyatt's house reads "Bad Wolf"
  • Token Minority: Mariana overhears the captain of the dance team tell her friend (who Mariana beat out for a spot) that this was the reason, something which gnaws at Mariana for a long time. Her friend finally tells her the real reason she was picked: Lena had been cutting a lot of programs in order to save costs, and the team figured she wouldn't cut the dance team if her daughter was on it
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Callie and Mariana are a somewhat subdued example (Callie is a bit more of a tomboy than Mariana, but is still fairly girly herself). Emma and Lexi are a bit more pronounced example.
  • Wacky Cravings: Lena eats spaghetti and potato chips for breakfast because "the baby wants it".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Girls at Girls United collectively call Callie out for wanting to live on her own as opposed to working towards getting back into the Fosters' house; they all come from broken or unsupportive homes, and think Callie is throwing away her life to not be trying to get back with a loving and supportive family
  • You're Not My Father: Inverted. Jesus considers (and calls) Lena and Stef his moms while he refers to his birth mother by her first name (Ana). His sister is a little more forgiving with their birth mother though it's suggested she really shouldn't be.
    • Likewise, when Callie finds out that she and Jude have different biological fathers, she flat-out tells her birth father that she still considers Jude's biological father to be her father, not him.

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