Frank Beardsley (Fonda) is a U.S. Navy warrant officer, recently detached from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and assigned as project officer for the Fresnel lens glide-slope indicator, or "meatball" (which would eventually become standard equipment on all carriers). Helen North (Ball) is a nurse working in the dispensary at the California U. S. Navy base to which Frank is assigned. Frank meets Helen, first by chance in the commissary on the Navy base and again when Frank brings his distraught teen-age daughter for treatment at the dispensary. They immediately hit it off and go on a date, all the while shying away from admitting their respective secrets: Frank has ten children and Helen has eight, from their respective deceased spouses. The rest of the film follows their struggle to make their relationship (and subsequent marriage) work with that many children to consider, and how to keep such a large blended family functioning harmoniously.
Helen and Frank Beardsley were in fact real people. The former wrote a book, Who Gets the Drumstick?, about their blended family's experiences, which formed the basis for the film though Desilu Studios bought the rights to their story long before the book was published.
Yours, Mine, and Ours provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: In the remake, Drake Bell and Miranda Cosgrove are playing brother and sister on the mother's side of the family. Wonder where they got that idea.
- Cosgrove's real life friend Haley Ramm plays one of her stepsisters in the same version.
- Babies Ever After: One of the final subplots is Helen conceiving and giving birth to her 9th (the family's 19th) child. Presumably the baby, being the first that Helen and Frank have together, is meant to represent the family's unitedness.
- Blended Family Drama: Frank and Helen have altogether eighteen children from their previous marriages, and the film is about making their marriage work with that many people involved.
- Butt-Monkey: Phillip, in the latter half of the movie. In a scene about the blended family's morning routine, Phillip can't manage to get his hands on any of the breakfast foods heading around the table (forcing him to settle for an "oatmeal sandwich" on the go), can't squeeze the last of the toothpaste out of the bottle (though Mike helps him with this), and is the only one who can't find a pair of galoshes that fits him, causing him to stumble and finally land his stocking feet in the mud (fortunately, Mike rescues him again). Later, he gets into an argument with the teacher about his surname (legally it's still "North", but he wants to use "Beardsley"), culminating in a fight with another kid that gets him a black eye. To top it all off, the poor kids Christmas bicycle falls apart as soon as he tries to ride it.Phillip: It had my name on it, all right.
- Good Parents: While the sheer number of children sometimes makes it difficult to pay each one the attention they need at any given time, Helen and Frank both do an impressive job at running and raising their respective families, and later their blended family. Near the end of the film, the judge presiding over their adoption process is astounded that the children "appear to be happy, well-fed, and normal":Judge: My wife has two kids and a poodle and can't seem to manage anything. What is your secret?Helen: Well, sir, it takes a great deal of love, a little discipline, and a husband who doesn't criticize.
- Kids Play Match Breaker: In the 2005 remake, the kids take it upon themselves to try and create conflict between their respective parents so they will divorce and the kids can go back to their old lives. However, the kids end up bonding through their shared antics, and when the parents do decide to divorce, the kids realize they dont want to split up anymore, and set out to fix things.
- Massive Numbered Siblings
- Morning Sickness: A reference to this is how one of the older boys finds out his mother is pregnant:Doctor: How are things going? Discomfort, morning sickness?
Mike: No, Doc, I'm fine.
Doctor: I meant your mother.
Mike: Why would she... morning sickness?
- New Child Left Behind: Helen discovers she's pregnant shortly after finally convincing Frank to go back on the Enterprise. Knowing he'll refuse to leave if he finds out (and with his projected absence being only six weeks), she opts not to tell him. His absence ends up being prolonged multiple times, and he doesn't learn of her pregnancy (and immediately fly back home) until about a month before she gives birth.
- Parental Obliviousness: Frank is so concerned by Louise's distraught behaviour that he takes her to the dispensary (where he meets Helen for the first time), and is informed that a girl Louise's age needs more privacy as she grows up. Frank feels a bit dense for not realizing this on his own.Frank: Poor Louise. Stopped being a little girl, and I never noticed.
- Parent with New Paramour: Both Helen and Frank have to contend with the children's (both their own and each other's) almost unanimously negative reception to their relationship. Fortunately, it turns out to be a Type 1 or Type 2 situation for all of them.
- Slipping a Mickey: When Frank brings Helen home for the first time, the three Beardsley sons independently decide to prank her by spiking her screwdriver, with extra vodka, gin, and scotch, respectively. Helen gets quite drunk as a result, which leads to her acting ridiculous.
- The trope is initially played for laughs, emphasizing Helen's whacky and embarrassing behaviour. It takes a serious turn when she ends up feeling so mortified about "acting like an idiot" that she starts crying and apologizing, and laments how badly she wanted to make a good impression on Frank's children. The culprits are suitably repentant, and Helen gets a formal apology. The incident does have a positive consequence: As she starts to get upset, Helen openly declares to Frank that she's in love with him, and he openly reciprocates. As well as marking a "They Do" turning point in their relationship, this sets an example (for Frank's children at least) that their relationship is not a mere dalliance, and that they're not going to be ashamed of it or hide it.
- Surprise Pregnancy
- They Do: If it's not clear by the end of the Slipping a Mickey scene, it becomes so when the scene cuts to a wedding invitation.
- Title Drop: Frank finally drives the point home that they are now one family by telling everyone, "There is no more 'mine', and there's no more 'yours'. From now on, everyone and everything is ours."
- Wedding-Enhanced Fertility: While it doesn't seem to happen immediately after the wedding, Helen is surprised and initially dismayed to discover that she's pregnant. However, after moving past the shock, neither she nor Frank are anything but excited about the new addition:Helen: You see, he won't have to worry about whether he's a North or a Beardsley.
- Wicked Stepmother: Strongly averted with Helen, who is a very warm and kindhearted woman in general, a loving mother to her own children, and equally loving to Frank's children. When she is brought home to meet them for the first time, she is eager to make a good impression. She isn't even angry after Frank's sons mortify her by spiking her drink, but rather takes the position that they obviously don't want another mother, and that she should step down. (Not that Frank lets her.)
- Frank's children, on the other hand, initially expect her to be a Wicked Stepmother, and some take longer than others to stop treating her like one. One of the little girls thinks that she has "mean eyes".
- Wild Teen Party: The remake has the kids throwing one as part of the plot to break up their parents. It gets derailed by Frank arriving and giving a rather awesome Get Out! speech:Frank: The teens that belong to this house's family will stay where they are for their proper punishment and the teens that don't belong have thirty seconds to leave — otherwise they will be conscripted as members of the United States Coast Guard! (Beat) The count starts now!!
[All of the other teens evacuate the house like hell]