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A Mistake Is Born

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When an offspring was a "mistake".

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
justanotherrandomlurker on Dec 29th 2012 at 9:08:44 AM
Last Edited By:
Basara-kun on Mar 2nd 2018 at 4:22:22 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Bubbles: This is our dad. He made us in his laboratory by accident.
Professor Utonium: Well, what can I say.
Robin: Don't worry, Professor. I was an accident, too!
* The professor's eyes bulge in shock*
Robin: (Later) Your dad is funny.
The Powerpuff Girls, "Superfriends"

A child was born, who wasn't supposed to be born; this is due to many different factors. Whatever the cause and effect, there is one thing that is for sure: the child is a "mistake", and more often than not, that child is painfully made aware of that fact. If the child takes it bad, could eventually leads to Bastard Bastard, Betrayal by Offspring and even Self-Made Orphan in the worst of the cases.

Compare Surprise Pregnancy, in which the offspring is not necessarily considered a "mistake" (but also overlaps this), and That Thing Is Not My Child!, in which the "mistake" is negated by one (or both) of the parts. Contrast The Baby Trap, in which the "mistake" is made with the main purpose of And Now You Must Marry Me. See also Teen Pregnancy and But We Used a Condom.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Fan Works 

    Film 
  • Inverted in Elf, when one considers that Buddy was the result of a brief high school romance between Walter Hobbs and his high school sweetheart, Susan Wells; Susan became pregnant with the baby, never told Walter, and put the baby up for adoption after he was born. Even when Buddy sets out in search for Walter, and DNA tests confirm he's his son, Walter isn't, at first, willing to embrace Buddy, or acknowledge that he is, indeed, his son.
  • Knocked Up: A girl gets knocked up after a One Night Stand.
  • In the Film of the Book version of Matilda, Mr Wormwood describes himself as being the father to 'one son, and one mistake'.
  • In Pirate Radio, Carl explains to his bunkmate how he came to be: "My mom had sex with my dad, and then he left."
  • Also inverted in Ratatouille, when one realizes that Linguini is essentially the illegitimate son of famed chef August Gusteau; a letter from Linguini's deceased mother to Chef Skinner (Gusteau's former Sou Chef, now owner of the restaurant) even admits that Linguini was born of the results of an affair between them, and begs for him not to reveal the information.
  • When Minnesota teenager Juno MacGuff conceives a child with her insolvent boyfriend, she nearly terminates the pregnancy. However, having second thoughts, Juno finds a childless couple in the personal ads, and offers to gestate and birth the child for them to adopt.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert was always told he was born three months prematurely, but at one point in the series, both Marie and Frank confess they gave into temptation, Marie got pregnant, and they got married to "right the wrong"; Robert being born prematurely was a story they both made up to hide the fact that they engaged in premartial sex.
  • In Frasier, Martin tells Frasier at one point, "I wasn't the one who convinced your mother to marry me; you were."
  • In Grounded for Life this is why the parents are "grounded" for life - they had sex in high school, she got pregnant, they had to get married. Another see also: Teen Pregnancy.
  • Hey, Vern! It's My Family Album! parodies this in a segment about Ernest's mean Uncle Lloyd Worrell, who has a dimwitted son, whose name actually is Mistake, and even unsuccessfully tries to mess with Mistake's mind with psychological torment.
  • In the Backstory of Married... with Children Al & Peg got married because Al impregnated Peg with (what turned out to be) Kelly.
  • Arrow
    • Thea Queen is the love child of Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn, conceived while Moira was married to Robert Queen and Malcolm to his wife Rebecca. Thea's heritage is hidden from everyone for over two decades until Malcolm spills the beans following the death of his son, Tommy, his only legitimate heir. By this time, Moira and Malcolm are bitter enemies and Moira describes the affair as a one time slip of judgment, which means Thea was almost certainly a mistake.
    • Present-day Oliver loves his son William and would die for him. However, in season 2, we see a flashback where an in-his-early-twenties Oliver is completely freaked out after finding out his long-term fling, Samantha, is pregnant. He literally goes crying to his mother insisting he's too young to be a father and he doesn't want a baby.

    Music 

    Other 

    Theatre 
  • In King Lear the first scene is the Duke of Glouchester talking with another man about his bastard son, and how he was a mistake... with the bastard son right there. Is it any wonder Edmund is a Bastard Bastard?

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • Bart was a mistake, as can be seen from Flashback episodes. Lisa & Maggie weren't planned either, but Bart was conceived before Homer & Marge decided to get married.
    • During an argument between Homer and Grandpa, Abe blurts out that Homer was an accident.
    • On a later episode, Marge considers having another child, and Homer incredulously responds "An on-purpose baby?"
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • Powerpuff Girls are born by a mistake of Professor Utonium, since she wanted to created a single girl as her daughter, but then the Chemical X was added by mistake, giving birth to 3 little superheroines.
    • Also, various supervillains are born by mistake in the series, prominently PPG's Arch-Enemy Mojo Jojo, which also has an accident with the Chemical X, becoming him since a normal monkey to a uplifted maniac mastermind.
    • In the season 4 episode Superfriends, appears Robin Snyder, a new neighbor that moves in next door to the girls and befriends them. While introducing her to the professor, there's a (un)noticeable moment with an uncompfortable conversation.
  • Family Guy: Across numerous episodes throughout the series, it is revealed that all three of the Griffin children were mistakes. Chris in particular was due to a condom break, for which the subsequent lawsuit paid for their house.
  • In Rick and Morty, Jerry and Beth only got married because they accidentally conceived Summer when they were teenagers.
  • In Bojack Horseman, Bojack was conceived when his upper-class mother had an ill-advised fling with a literal workhorse. She has never let Bojack forget this.

Feedback: 43 replies

Dec 29th 2012 at 11:05:12 AM

I'm not sure why you say it's rarely discussed, I see it all over the place. See also The Baby Trap, when it's only a "mistake" on one parter's side.

  • The Simpsons: Bart was a mistake, as can be seen from Flashback episodes. Lisa & Maggie weren't planned either, but Bart was conceived before Homer & Marge decided to get married.
  • Likewise, in the Backstory of Married With Children Al & Peg got married because Al impregnated Peg with (what turned out to be) Kelly.
  • Knocked Up: A girl gets knocked up after a One Night Stand.
  • In King Lear the first scene is the Duke of Glouchester talking with another man about his bastard son, and how he was a mistake...with the bastard son right there. Is it any wonder Edmund is a Bastard Bastard?

Dec 29th 2012 at 12:23:20 PM

  • In the Film Of The Book version of Matilda, Mr Wormwood describes himself as being the father to 'one son, and one mistake'.

Dec 29th 2012 at 6:38:33 PM

  • Another example from The Simpsons: During an argument between Homer and Grandpa, Abe blurts out that Homer was an accident.
  • In Frasier, Martin tells Frasier at one point, "I wasn't the one who convinced your mother to marry me; you were."

Dec 29th 2012 at 9:50:18 PM

In Grounded For Life this is why the parents are "grounded" for life - they had sex in high school, she got pregnant, they had to get married. Another see also: Teen Pregnancy.

Mar 27th 2017 at 4:26:03 PM

How is this different from Surprise Pregnancy?

From Radar.The Powerpuff Girls - WesternAnimation.The Powerpuff Girls:

  • In the season 4 episode Super Friends, a new neighbor moves in next door to the girls. While introducing her to the professor, the following exchange occurs:
    Bubbles: This is our dad. He made us in his laboratory by accident.
    Professor Utonium: Well, what can I say.
    Robin: Don't worry, Professor. I was an accident, too!
    * The professor's eyes bulge in shock*
    Robin: (Later) Your dad is funny.

Fanfic.Triptych Continuum: As insinuated in Tricks of the Trade Show, Sweetie Belle, Rarity's sister, as Rarity learns from her dad:

we weren't..." An even longer pause. "...expecting Sweetie." Very awkwardly, "Took us a while before we got you, and we kind of thought — you were gonna be it. Sweetie was..." Stopped.
She understood the hesitancy: a father who wasn't comfortable with discussing birth, because it might lead into his child considering the activities between her parents which led to pregnancy. Rarity had an excellent imagination, and thus when matters of self-preservation arose, knew just when she had to shut it down.

Mar 27th 2017 at 5:09:58 PM

Other

Jan 6th 2018 at 1:00:56 AM

I'm not sure about this being a sub-trope of The Baby Trap. The Baby Trap page states very near the beginning that someone intentionally gets pregnant, but does so without their partner's consent. This trope would be about pregnancies that were explicitly not planned. I also think this could be where the difference between this and Surprise Pregnancy lies. Suprise Pregnancy is about women who didn't know they were pregnant until a period ranging from quite late into pregnancy to the actual birth. While child from a Surprise Pregnancy is by definition not part of the plan, there are plenty of "accidental children" that are not born from a Surprise Pregnancy. In other words, you can not be wanting the child but still know you're going to be having it quite early.

Mar 29th 2017 at 11:56:59 AM

A Western Animation example:

  • Family Guy: Across numerous episodes throughout the series, it is revealed that all three of the Griffin children were mistakes. Chris in particular was due to a condom break, for which the subsequent lawsuit paid for their house.

(sentence #2 might be TMI, your call)

Mar 29th 2017 at 12:14:12 PM

May overlap with Resentful Guardian or at least that's where some those exemples are also listed, but this trope might fit more for how the kid feels over it

Mar 29th 2017 at 1:06:31 PM

Joueur Du Grenier: During Fred's playthrough of Beat Takeshi (one level of which requires the protagonist to beat the crap out of his wife and children), the live reenactment has Fred kicking one of the kids while yelling "Die you fucking genetic mistake!"

Apr 23rd 2017 at 1:05:09 PM

Western Animation

  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • Powerpuff Girls are born by a mistake of Professor Utonium, since she wanted to created a single girl as her daughter, but then the Chemical X was added by mistake, giving birth to 3 little superheroines.
    • Also, various supervillains are born by mistake in the series, prominently PPG's Arch Enemy Mojo Jojo, which also has an accident with the Chemical X, becoming him since a normal monkey to a uplifted maniac mastermind.
    • In the Superfriends episode when the girls befriended a new neightbor, Robin Snyder, there's a (un)noticeable moment in which they invited Robin to their house and she meets Professor Utonium with an uncompfortable conversation:
    Bubbles: This is our dad. This is Robin from next door.
    Professor: Why, hello there, Robin. It's very nice to have you as our new neighbor. I'm the Professor.
    Bubbles: Yeah. He made us in his laboratory by accident.
    Professor: Well, what can I say?
    Robin: Don't worry, Professor. I was an accident too.

Apr 23rd 2017 at 5:54:50 PM

I would suggest limiting this to examples where a character either refers to themselves as this or is directly told by or stated to be such by someone else, just to limit the number (i.e. pretty much every result of a Teen Pregnancy ever is going to qualify)

Apr 23rd 2017 at 9:37:23 PM

  • In Rick And Morty, Jerry and Beth only got married because they accidentally conceived Summer when they were teenagers.

Apr 24th 2017 at 10:54:06 PM

Western Animation

  • In Bojack Horseman, Bojack was conceived when his upper-class mother had an ill-advised fling with a literal workhorse. She has never let Bojack forget this.

Apr 25th 2017 at 1:36:33 AM

  • Capitalized the title.
  • Corrected punctuation (periods at the ends of sentences).
  • Examples section

Apr 27th 2017 at 6:40:36 AM

Music:

Apr 27th 2017 at 10:16:02 AM

I think there has to be a distinction between "unplanned pregnancy" and "considered a mistake." They are by no means the same thing.

Apr 27th 2017 at 11:40:42 AM

Agreed. I think "You Were A Mistake" is a better title, except that Fast Eddie has ruled against adding more stock phrases.

Apr 27th 2017 at 11:42:38 AM

Although the title would fit in nicely alongside "Why Couldn't You Be Different."

Apr 27th 2017 at 2:40:53 PM

Not if it's not an unplanned pregnancy.

Apr 27th 2017 at 2:42:41 PM

"considered a mistake" sounds pretty broad and vague.

Apr 29th 2017 at 2:30:16 PM

True, and yet that is still narrowing down the trope considerably.

Apr 29th 2017 at 4:13:33 PM

Film

  • When Minnesota teenager Juno MacGuff conceives a child with her insolvent boyfriend, she nearly terminates the pregnancy. However, having second thoughts, Juno finds a childless couple in the personal ads, and offers to gestate and birth the child for them to adopt.

Jan 5th 2018 at 12:45:14 PM

So, if I'm reading the history right, this hasn't been edited by anyone other than Arivne in ~5 years+.

We need someone to grab this.

I'd say launch it, 'cause we have the hats for it, but I at least want to add some distinction between this and Surprise Pregnancy.

Also we need to add all those unadded entries.

Anyone agree / disagree with Nazetrime's comment, and would be willing to think up some clarifying sentences?

Also, anyone dislike the title?

Jan 5th 2018 at 12:49:21 PM

I say don't launch it. It has enough hats but that has never meant that a trope's ready for launch, especially one as old as this. My issue from April remains unaddressed (largely because there's no one to address it, mind you).

Jan 5th 2018 at 2:42:14 PM

Why better get this as Rolling Updates?? So everyone can fix the description as well adding the examples (which are the half of the already added on the draft) so this can be launched correctly.

Or that someone get this as Up For Grabs so he/she can fix this to be launched (I offer to do it BTW)

Jan 6th 2018 at 10:06:12 AM

Fan Works:

  • Downplayed in A Good Compromise. In an emotional moment prompted by the description of a five-year-old boy infected with the Teplan blight, Tyria Sark describes the conception of her daughter Sameen as "selfish" due to conveniently neglecting her contraception while honeymooning with her husband. The implication is not that she actually thinks Sameen was a mistake, but rather that she thinks she shouldn't have impulsively brought a child into that kind of world.

Jan 7th 2018 at 6:08:57 PM

Is there a problem if I take this as Up For Grabs?? I want to edit this as well adding all the examples left in posts (also, PPG dialog as the beginning of the draft to exemplify this)

Jan 7th 2018 at 6:39:45 PM

^ Like I said, only Arivne and OP edited this in its "recent" history.

And Arivne last edited this 8 months ago, so really, you have no competition.

Administrivia.Up For Grabs:

Trope Launch Pad Drafts are automatically considered Up For Grabs after at least two months of inactivity by the OP (original poster).

Jan 8th 2018 at 6:40:20 AM

OK, finally taken this. Added all the examples left and added some things on the description to differentiate this from Surprise Pregnancy. Also stated that The Baby Trap contrasts this since the "mistake" is made with a purpose.

Tell me if there's something more to add/fix or if this now is ready to be launched.

Jan 8th 2018 at 7:12:58 AM

Rererepeating: "I think there has to be a distinction between "unplanned pregnancy" and "considered a mistake." They are by no means the same thing. "

Jan 8th 2018 at 3:42:25 PM

On a later Simpsons episode, Marge considers having another child, and Homer incredulously responds "An on-purpose baby?"

Jan 8th 2018 at 5:13:01 PM

Arrow:

  • Although it is never said as such, Thea is the love child of Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn. Moira was married to Robert Queen and Thea's heritage is hidden from everyone until Malcolm spills the beans after the death of his son, his only legitimate heir. Given that both Moira and Malcolm were married to other people at the time and ended up bitter enemies, Thea was almost certainly a mistake.
  • Although present-day Oliver loves his son William and would die for him, we see a flashback where an in his early-twenties Oliver is completely freaked out after finding out his long-term fling, Samantha, is pregnant. He literally goes crying to his mother insisting he's too young to be a father and he doesn't want a baby.

Jan 10th 2018 at 4:42:23 PM

^^Shortened the description (like the half of it was about Surprise Pregnancy) to fit into the draft. You can rewrite it if you want and I'll add it to the draft

Also, added all the other examples, now looks more complete :D

Jan 19th 2018 at 6:59:06 PM

^I like it, but good part of the examples referes to the "mistake", so I'm not sure if change it or not. What do you say, people??

Feb 21st 2018 at 10:51:59 AM

I think it's kind of dumb to refer to this trope as an unwanted pregnancy when most contempt of this nature is directed at the target not only after he's born, but when he's able to be affected by it emotionally.

Mar 2nd 2018 at 6:33:35 AM

^I agree with this

Well, this also seems more than ready. Before launching it, I was thinking in using this image with the I'm just a little mistake quote, refering of this music video and so invoking Music and Simpsons entries here. What do you think?

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