Bringing Up Father is a retired Newspaper Comic strip which ran from 1913 to 2000. Originally written and drawn by George McManus, the strip featured the day-to-day life of "Jiggs", an Irish-American man with a habit for drinking, brawling and being generally uncouth, and his long-suffering, abusive wife, Maggie, who constantly tries to get the family into "society", now Jiggs has won a million dollars in a sweepstakes.
The over-reaching gag is that Jiggs prefers the simple life, eating corned beef and hash, drinking and partying with his buddies, and lazing about, while social-climbing Maggie beats him over the head with various utensils while attempting to force Jiggs into more civilized behavior: dressing up, meeting other rich folk, travelling the world and more. Filling out the recurring cast is their daughter Catie, a pretty, but horrifically spoiled, young woman who shares her mother's social-climbing tendencies, and receives dozens of marriage proposals from wealthy dukes, generals and businessmen.
This strip contains examples of the following tropes:
- Art Evolution: Maggie was initially very fat, and Jiggs was taller, burlier and hairier. Maggie eventually grew into a tall "old hen" build, while Jiggs grew more squat to make Maggie's beatings seem more believable.
- Also, Jiggs' best pal Dinty Moore was drawn differently in nearly every instance for no apparent reason.
- Brother Chuck: Maggie and Jiggs had a son in the first couple strips. He quickly vanished, not really working within the confines of the strip (which worked best with two women admonishing Jiggs).
- Deadpan Snarker: Jiggs' modus operandi, especially when having to deal with moochers and Maggie's social ambitions.
- Domestic Abuse: Played heavily for laughs as a major running gag. Maggie frequently beat Jiggs with frying pans, rolling pins and whatever else was available when he displeased her.
- Parodied by MAD with "Bringing Back Father", where the domestic abuse was played seriously.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The strip just wouldn't work without this.
- Dreadful Musician: Maggie has a habit of banging away at the piano while caterwauling loudly, something which naturally annoys Jiggs to no end. Whenever he comes across any of her previous music teachers, his immediate reaction is to punch their lights out.
- Henpecked Husband: Jiggs is one of the almighty versions of this, constantly being berated by his wife (and daughter) to act more civilized to get them into "society".
- Local Hangout: Dinty Moore's tavern, which is Jiggs' favorite haunt.
- Mister Muffykins: The family dog is a ridiculously skinny and small Cartoon Creature that makes Pluto look like a beefy pitbull in comparision which Jiggs is ashamed to take out for a walk whenever Maggie forces him to, even hiding it under an empty crate whenever he comes across any passerbys once.
- No Name Given: It seems that the family name is "Jiggs" sometimes, but it isn't very clear. And then, one wonders what Jiggs' first name is.
- Rule of Funny: Many gags blatantly ignored continuity, which wasn't seen as that important. Jiggs and Maggie would often suddenly be unable to read for the sake of a gag (being unable to order at a restaurant), when they were shown reading a newspaper only strips earlier.
- Running Gag: Several. Most common is Jiggs' constant (though mainly accidental) befuddling of Maggie's attempts to civilize him, and the resultant beating. Others include Jiggs running out to drink (filling various things with alcohol).
- Shown Their Work: George McManus was a very thorough researcher, designing all the women's clothes based off of the latest Parisian fashions.
- Social Climber: Maggie is probably the best-known comedic example prior to Hyacinth Bucket.
- Tantrum Throwing: Probably the Trope Codifier for this, thanks to a large number of strips ending in Jiggs running away from a rain of kitchenware thrown by Maggie.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Jiggs loves corned beef with cabbage. Justified in-universe by him being a first-generation Irish-American.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Jiggs and Maggie are hideous, cartoonish exaggerations, while their daughter Catie is drawn as a typical turn-of-the-century beautiful chorus girl.
- World War I: The strip's second year featured the outbreak of hostilities, and it was referenced quite often (the characters had just ended a large world tour).