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Kids Play Matchmaker

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Child finds a new partner for their single parent.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Sackett on Feb 7th 2014 at 7:00:59 PM
Last Edited By:
naturalironist on May 22nd 2018 at 9:53:43 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Merging with "Parent Trap" Plot and rewritten as per this thread. Launching soon.


http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_parent_trap.jpg

"Your single parent is really just waiting for you to set him or her up!"

The children decide they want a new mother/father and they have the perfect person in mind. Now if only they can get their parent to listen to them.

Common variants include:

  • Escape the Wicked Stepmother: The children are hoping to head off another romantic option at the pass. ("So Dad wants to get remarried, but he picked a horrible person, so let's find him someone better.")
  • 'Parent Trap' Plot: The children scheme to get their divorced or separated parents back together. The trope namer and trope codifier is The Parent Trap, and Lampshades or references to this are common.

Usually, the kids come up with a crazy plan to set up their parent(s) and Hilarity Ensues. Sub-trope of Shipper on Deck and Parent with New Paramour, unless the First Father Wins. Contrast Remarrying for Your Kids.

When writing examples, please provide context about characters' relationships and motivations. Do not just list character's names!


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Escape the Wicked Stepmother 
Film - Live Action
  • In Au Pair, two rich kids plot to bring their au pair together with their widowed father in hopes that their dad will dump his child-hating fiancee.
  • Nanny McPhee: The sub-plot involves the kids' father (Cedric Brown) being single and his snobby aunt Adelaide saying that he needs a new wife and trying to force him to marry an evil woman named Mrs Quickly. At the end, the kids get him out of it by having him marry Evangeline the maid.
Literature
  • In The Penderwicks On Gardam Street, the girls invert this when they try to set their father up on terrible dates for fear of him falling in love with someone and saddling them with an Evil Stepmother. Eventually, they realize that their father and their single mother neighbor, Iantha like each other, and they try to set them up.

    'Parent Trap' Plot 
Film - Live Action
  • The Parent Trap: Two identical twin girls were Separated at Birth when their parents divorced and each parent took custody of one of the girls. When they eventually meet, they decide to try to get their parents to remarry. Also doubles as Team-Up Matchmaker
Literature Live-Action TV
  • Lucifer (2016): Lucifer attempts to do this with his parents in season two's "God Johnson". They even reference the movie of the same name.
  • New Girl: Jess throughout her life tries to trick her parents back together.
  • Supernatural: After Dean and Lisa break up, Ben tricks them into meeting one another again for a date in an attempt to bring them together again. It doesn't work, and Dean even lampshades the situation by irritably telling Lisa that they were 'Parent Trapped'.
  • Tucker: Tucker attempts this in the Thanksgiving Episode. It doesn't work and he realises that his dad is actually happy in his new relationship with Debbie.
Web Original
  • Baby Mentalist sets her parents up on a picnic date at the end of episode 3.
Webcomics Joe: They yell a lot. Joyce:...But what if we play them a song? We should play them a song.

    Unclassified 
Comic Books
  • In Titans, Lian Harper is a Shipper on Deck for her single father, Roy Harper, and Donna Troy. She often asks leading questions of both of them, inciting them to compliment each other or admit their feelings.
  • In X-Men, Carter Ghazikhanian used his psychic powers on a comatose Alex Summers, in order to make Alex fall in love with his single mother.
Film - Live Action
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Mr. Potts' kids try to match him up with Lady Truly, doing so pretty unsubtly by ending his story to them with "then Daddie and Truly got married! Yeah!"
  • In It Takes Two, a rich girl and an orphan, who happen to look alike, conspire to set up the rich girl's dad with the orphan's case worker.
  • The Mighty Ducks: Charlie tries to hook up his (presumably divorced) mom and his hockey coach. They start to date, but it apparently falls apart between the first two movies as the coach starts to travel around in his new career.
  • In Miracle on 34th Street, Susan wants a father for Christmas and encourages Kris Kringle to help her get one. In the modern version, she is much more personally active in trying to set up her mother and the nice neighbor.
  • In Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire, the elder Hansen kids set up their mom on a date so they can sneak out of the house despite being grounded. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite them when their mom's date turns out to be...well, look at the title.
  • In Pay It Forward, a boy arranges a dinner between his Single Mom Stripper and his Cool Teacher by writing letters to each party claiming to be from the other side. It works out eventually.
  • Sleepless in Seattle: Jonah sees how sad his widowed father is, and calls a talk radio show to find him a wife. Many many women mail letters, but only one really connects with him. He (and his friend) spend the second half of the movie trying to get them together.
Live-Action TV
  • On Glee, high school sophomore Kurt Hummel gets his father and the mother of his Unrequited Crush to hook up. This Zany Scheme is an Epic Fail on that side due to Incompatible Orientation, but the parents do end up falling in love and getting married.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The main character, Captain Sisko, is a single father of a teenage boy named Jake ever since his wife Jennifer died. In a few episodes, Jake introduced Sisko to this woman named Kasidy Yates in hopes they'll end up dating. They do.
  • Full House: DJ and Stephanie (whose mother died) set their father Danny up with Stephanie's dance teacher. It goes well until Danny, who is a Neat Freak finds out that she's a slob. They sort things out by the episodes end, but she is never spoken of or seen ever again.
Western Animation
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Keen on Keane", the girls try to set up their father figure The Professor with their teacher Ms. Keane. It works, until they break up over an argument involving cats.

Feedback: 35 replies

Mar 2nd 2014 at 1:06:59 PM

Parent Trap Plot can overlap with this. As it did in The Parent Trap.

Eamples:

Mar 2nd 2014 at 1:22:03 PM

Made the laconic version shorter.

Mar 2nd 2014 at 6:37:11 PM

Can we expand it to tho general case where they do this for grownups that aren't their parents? And is this not a case of "Shipper Deck But More Specific?"

Mar 19th 2014 at 9:00:29 AM

No, although a subtrope this is different to Shipper On Deck because of the different role it has in the story. Friends ship friends because they want their friends to realise their love for each other. A child ships his/her single parent because he/she wants a replacement mother/father.

As for some examples:

Despicable Me 2 - the adopted girls constantly ship Gru and Lucy throughout the story, (despite the fact that one of them never even meets Lucy).

Mar 19th 2014 at 11:06:41 AM

Mar 19th 2014 at 1:08:57 PM

  • In It Takes Two, a rich girl and an orphan, who happen to look alike, conspire to set up the rich girl's dad with the orphan's case worker.
  • In Au Pair, two rich kids plot to bring their au pair together with their widowed father in hopes that their dad will dump his child-hating fiancee.

Mar 19th 2014 at 2:25:24 PM

Pulled a hat from this. Hats are supposed to be given when the draft is fully ready for launch. This one doesn't even have a single example listed yet.

Mar 19th 2014 at 2:53:11 PM

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Mr. Potts' kids try to match him up with Lady Truly, doing so pretty unsubtly by ending his story to them with "then Daddie and Truly got married! Yeah!"
  • Rugrats In Paris: Angelica overhears the Child Hater Coco claim spur-of-the-moment that she's getting married in order to please her boss, and thus when caught quickly yells out that she knows a meek single father looking for a spouse: Chuckie's dad Charles.

Apr 21st 2014 at 6:13:50 PM

^^ You are being rather annoying. There are examples. They just are down in the comments. I know it's become rather typical for people nowadays to add the examples to the draft, but that has never been a requirement before. It used to be everyone would leave the examples in the comments and then add them at the end when it is much easier.

Whatever, there you go, 5 examples added. (I didn't include the one for the ponies trying to get their teacher and brother together).

Apr 21st 2014 at 8:31:39 PM

^ it is indeed your responsibility to add examples...

Apr 22nd 2014 at 6:35:30 AM

Classic television series The Courtship of Eddie's Father revolved almost entirely around this plotline. Six year old Eddie would manipulate events in each episode to try and hook his widowed father up with an attractive woman.

Apr 22nd 2014 at 8:36:08 PM

^^ No. It is not a requirement for examples to be formatted and added to the main description section. It is just required that there be examples given in the comments, and that these be collected and added during launch.

Notice that the edit description page does not allow you to see the comments sections so that you can add the examples. If this was a requirement you'd think the edit page would be designed to make it so you could do that.

What is this? Has tvtropes been taken over by the overlords of the other wiki?

Apr 22nd 2014 at 9:51:31 PM

^ it's just in case you forget to add the examples when you launch it...

Feb 8th 2015 at 2:39:32 AM

Film:

Apparently, the kid matchmaker plot also occurs in Sleepless In Seattle, Kindergarten Cop and The Mighty Ducks. Perhaps someone can add context to these examples.

Feb 8th 2015 at 8:42:59 AM

I haven't seen Kindergarten Cop in almost twenty years, but...

  • The Mighty Ducks: Charlie tries to hook up his (presumably divorced) mom and his hockey coach. They start to date, but it apparently falls apart between the first two movies as the coach starts to travel around in his new career.
  • Sleepless In Seattle: Jonah sees how sad his widowed father is, and calls a talk radio show to find him a wife. Many many women mail letters, but only one really connects with him. He (and his friend) spend the second half of the movie trying to get them together.

Feb 16th 2018 at 11:44:20 AM

This is really common in Hallmark movies. -Penderwicks on Gardam Street resist having a stepmother before finally realizing that they would like THIS ONE -Lian Harper in Titans is arguably an example, considering how

Feb 16th 2018 at 11:51:29 AM

(Sorry, format problems) she says that her dad things Donna is “special,” and asks Donna if she likes Roy in a pretty transparently shippy way.

Feb 17th 2018 at 12:32:06 AM

Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.

Feb 17th 2018 at 6:24:16 AM

Film

  • In Moms Got A Date With A Vampire, the elder Hansen kids set up their mom on a date so they can sneak out of the house despite being grounded. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite them when their mom's date turns out to be...well, look at the title.

Feb 17th 2018 at 9:34:58 AM

  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The main character, Captain Sisko, is a single father of a teenage boy named Jake ever since his wife Jennifer died. In a few episodes, Jake introduced Sisko to this woman named Kasidy Yates in hopes they'll end up dating. They do.
  • Nanny Mc Phee: The sub-plot involves the kids' father (Cedric Brown) being single and his snobby aunt Adelaide saying that he needs a new wife and trying to force him to marry an evil woman named Mrs Quickly. At the end, the kids get him out of it by having him marry Evangeline the maid.

Feb 22nd 2018 at 7:21:28 AM

Tried to add examples, but I’m on mobile so I can’t access all of the formatting. I’ll fix it tonight if nobody beats me to it.

Feb 22nd 2018 at 9:19:14 AM

I'm confused about how this differs from Parent Trap Plot. The description here says that the difference is that "the couple being brought together has a history as an official couple," which seems like a clear if minor distinction, but I don't actually see that anywhere on that page.

The Parent Trap Plot page is very confusing, with no Laconic and a lot of ZC Es. But the trope description there seems to imply that it is about when children who are friends have parents that don't like each other. Only a few of the examples on the page actually back this up, and I'm not sure that the trope namer would actually count with that definition.

To me, this draft is more clearly written and has about the same # of examples. Before people move forward with this draft, I think we should discuss and consider merging with/improving Parent Trap Plot.

Feb 22nd 2018 at 12:32:39 PM

I agree with Troper/naturalironist. At the very least, this would be a super trope to Parent Trap Plot if I understand it right. I'm new, so I'm unsure how exactly we go about merging or even launching (I'm just here to add examples and write copy for info I'm given), but that seems like a good idea.

Feb 24th 2018 at 9:15:02 AM

This trope is basically a better-quality version of Parent Trap Plot, which needs a lot of help. Started a thread at the Trope Repair Shop proposing to do a Trope Transplant, where we copy the description and examples from here onto that page. If you have opinions on this, feel free to jump in over there.

I would request that people refrain from launching this page until this is resolved.

Feb 24th 2018 at 9:40:08 AM

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_parent_trap.jpg
Image suggestion from the opening credits of The Parent Trap (1961)

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Feb 24th 2018 at 9:55:02 AM

See also this YKKTW for a slightly different focus on this type of plot: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=jfj4wc9f9l7shjnz8agcx9io

Feb 24th 2018 at 11:21:51 AM

Full House: DJ and Stephanie (whose mother died) set their father Danny up with Stephanie’s dance teacher. It goes well until Danny, who is a Neat Freak finds out that she's a slob. They sort things out by the episodes end, but she is never spoken of or seen ever again.

Feb 24th 2018 at 10:26:10 PM

Comic Books

  • In X Men, Carter Ghazikhanian used his psychic powers on a comatose Alex Summers, in order to make Alex fall in love with his single mother.

May 20th 2018 at 8:33:37 PM

The title has to be specific that the kids play matchmaker for their own parent, not anyone else.

May 20th 2018 at 11:56:59 PM

The Powerpuff Girls episode "Keen on Keane" has the girls try to set up their father figure The Professor with their teacher Ms. Keane. It works, until they break up over an argument involving cats.

May 21st 2018 at 8:55:18 AM

Adding the Full House example, Michelle tried to set Danny up with her elderly pre-school teacher, because Michelle wanted the feeling of having a mother (her mother died before the series began).

May 21st 2018 at 10:58:06 AM

Tropes Are Flexible, so I would think setting up parental figures would count.

May 21st 2018 at 11:19:47 AM

Would agree that setting someone up with your single mother is still covered by the trope.

May 21st 2018 at 7:30:19 PM

After looking over the TRS thread for Parent Trap Plot, I am hatting this draft.

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