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.
A child was born, who wasn't supposed to be born; this is due to many different factors (i.e. One-Night-Stand Pregnancy, Child by Rape). 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 badly, could eventually lead 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), just unplanned, and That Thing Is Not My Child!, in which the "mistake" is negated by one (or both) of the parents. 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, the Law of Inverse Fertility, and But We Used a Condom!.
- An Alvin and the Chipmunks fanfiction actually sheds light on this, as Jeanette befriends a new chipmunk girl in school named Amanda, who comes from a very abusive home, and even tells Jeanette that her parents constantly tell her, to her face, that she was never meant to be born, and that she is a mistake.
- 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.
- Played for Laughs in Unplanned. Temari says that Shikamaru had a vasectomy after Shikadai's birth to avoid future mistakes. Neither Shikadai nor his friends are sure if that was a joke or not.
- Ennea Series: Five-year-old Hawks' mother told him he was an accident that she and his father regret keeping during one of her drunken rants.
- 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 Sous-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.
- 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."
- Juno: 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.
- Sightseers: Tina accidentally killed her mother Carol's dog in the film's backstory:
Tina: It was a mistake!Carol: And so were you!
- In the French Black Comedy novel The Suicide Shop, Alan's parents who run the titular suicide shop state that they didn't want a third child and that Alan was conceived when they tested a condom with a hole in it that was intended for customers who wished to off themselves by contracting a venereal disease. This plot point isn't brought up in the animated film.
- Cat Pack: Texas Jake was an unwanted pregnancy. His mother didn't want children and abandoned her litter once they were old enough to fend for themselves. Without a parent around, all of Texas Jake's siblings were killed a few days afterwards when a man threw them in a river.
- In The Red Tent, Dinah was completely unexpected. After some complications with her last pregnancy, Leah is cautioned by the midwife Inna to avoid pregnancy for a few more years, at least. Leah agrees, and she brews a tea out of a certain kind of fennel seed (possibly sylphium) which acts as a contraceptive. One day, she runs out of the seeds while Inna is away on business, and gets called to Jacob's bed again, and becomes pregnant once again. She wants to terminate the pregnancy, but Rachel and Zilpah advise her to keep it, because (somehow) they know that this baby is a girl (and they've been waiting for a daughter they can pass on their traditions to.)
- In Barbara Wersba's The Dream Watcher Albert once overheard his mother stating that she'd never wanted children and that he was the result of poor planning.
- 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 premarital 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.
- Married... with Children
- In the Backstory, Al & Peg got married because Al impregnated Peg with (what turned out to be) Kelly.
- In other episodes, Al has clearly stated that Bud was also an accident.
- 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.
- Malcolm in the Middle
- In an episode, Lois and Hal are fighting because he lied about getting a vasectomy years earlier, which led to Lois being currently pregnant with their fifth son, Jamie. When Hal tries to counter her argument on him needing a vasectomy, she fires back that they have a "rhythm child," a "diaphragm child," a "condom child," and "two abstinence children."
- During the epilogue of the final episode, after Reese moved in with Craig, and Malcolm went off to Harvard, Hal is telling Lois how happy he is that they only have to wait until Dewey and Jamie grow up and move out so that they can finally be alone. Lois then shows him the positive pregnancy test, and Hal lets out a Big "NO!".
- In the That '70s Show episode where Hyde's mom is introduced as the school's cafeteria lady during "career day," Fez sees her and Hyde get into another argument about how getting pregnant with him led to her abandoning a career as a professional water skier.
- In Roseanne, D.J.'s sisters tell him that he was an "accident"; but when he asks Roseanne about this, she gently explains that he was a "surprise".
DJ: What's the difference.
Roseanne: An accident is something that you would go back and change if you could. A surprise is something you didn't know was gonna happen, but you're glad it did.
- Averted hard in Gilmore Girls. Rory was an unplanned pregnancy, and Lorelei worked hard as a single teen mom, but she also goes out of her way to ensure Rory never feels she was a mistake. When Lorelei's asked to give a career day speech to the local high school, all the girls want to ask her about is her somewhat infamous Teen Pregnancy and press her on whether she regretted it. When the girls' moms find out Lorelei didn't claim her daughter was a mistake, they track her down to yell at her for it. Lorelei, of course, stands her ground.
Emily:: Rory, I know you heard a lot of talk about various disappointments this evening, and I know you've heard a lot of talk about it in the past, but I want to make this very clear: you, young lady, your person and your existence, have never ever been, not even for a second, included in that list. Do you understand me?
- Emily also makes it clear to Rory that she doesn't think Rory is a mistake after Straub and Francine come to dinner
- Played straight with Luke's nephew/Rory's Foil Love Interest Jess, who was also the product of a Teen Pregnancy, but with parents who spent most of his life neglecting him and don't feel particularly bad about it.
- Sookie and Jackson's third child was unplanned (Sookie believed Jackson had a vasectomy, while he believed she was still using birth control for other reasons), and while they get over these feelings before the birth, Sookie's initially devastated to be pregnant again.
- Vaporwave artist Blank Banshee has a song called "Teen Pregnancy", in which it's only lyrics are a sample from Degrassi Junior High in which the pregnant character Spike says "I'm just a kid" and "I'm just a little mistake." This was confirmed by Simpsonwave music video by Lucien Hughes, in which the song is starred by Bart Simpson using various "flashback" chapters in which appears that Bart was a mistake, just like in those referenced episodes.
- Implied in The Eels's "Novocaine for the Soul":
Life is good, and I feel great'Cause mother says I was a great mistake
- Franco De Vita: The theme of "Somos Tres" ([Now] We Are Three). A young man is told by his girlfriend that she got pregnant after their latest affair. The man, far from being horrified, tells her that he'll always love her, and that he'll gladly welcome their child once he or she is born; he even proposes to marry the woman so the two can raise the child together.
- Implied in Sum 41's "Fatlip":
The doctor said my mom should've had an abortion
- In King Lear, the first scene is the Duke of Gloucester talking with another man about his bastard son, and how he was a mistake (albeit one Gloucester doesn't regret too much, because the sex that produced him was fun)...with the bastard son right there. Is it any wonder Edmund is a Bastard Bastard?
- In Hades, Lord Hades himself was prophesied by the Fates to never sire a living heir. He took this to mean he was infertile. This was not the case, and the resulting child (Zagreus) was instead stillborn. If that weren't enough, Nyx opted to resurrect Zagreus in defiance of her daughters without Hades's knowledge, but didn't finish the process until some time after Persephone fled out of grief. Thus Lord Hades is stuck with a child he never wanted, whose birth drove his wife away, and whose continued existence is an insult to the gods all on its own. Naturally, the two get along very poorly.
- In the series, For Love Nor Money, the character of Heather Lees was conceived through the sexual arrangement between John Lees and his sister-in-law, Aoife, but although she is John's daughter, a man her half-brother, Eamonn, despises, he still showers her with love as if she were fully his sister.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Reynir suspects to have been "a mistake" because all four of his older siblings are proto-Designer Babies with a few Chocolate Baby traits, while he's very obviously the natural child of his parents.
- Less Is Morgue: Riley's Mom straight up tells them that they wish they hadn't had them.
- 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!"
- The Most Popular Girls in School: In Episode 24, Mrs. Van Buren tells her three quarreling daughters that they're all "lovely, accidental treasures. Mistakes... but treasures."
- 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.
- In "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", during an argument between Homer and Grandpa, Abe blurts out that Homer was an accident, leading to some great Hypocritical Humor:
Homer: He said I was an accident... he didn't want to have me.Marge: You didn't want to have Bart.Homer: I know, but you're never supposed to tell the child.Marge: You tell Bart all the time! You told him this morning!Homer: [flustered] But when I do it, it's cute!
- In a later episode, Marge considers having another child, and Homer incredulously responds, "An on-purpose baby?"
- The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
- The Powerpuff Girls were born by a mistake of Professor Utonium, since he wanted to create a single girl as his daughter, but then the Chemical X was added by mistake, giving birth to three little superheroines.
- Also, various supervillains are born by mistake in the series, prominently PPG's Arch-Enemy, Mojo Jojo, who also has an accident with the Chemical X, transforming him from a normal monkey to an uplifted maniac mastermind.
- The season 4 episode "Superfriends" introduces Robin Snyder, a new neighbor who moves in next-door to the girls and befriends them. While she's introduced to the professor, there's a (un)noticeable moment with an uncomfortable conversation (shown above in the page quote).
- "Gettin' Twiggy With It" has this throwaway gag after Mitch flushes the class hamster down the toilet:
Mitch: (smiling nervously) It-it was an accident?Blossom: You're an accident!
- The Smurfs (1981): In the origin story for the Season 5 episode "Sassette" (where the Smurflings create a female Smurf their age), implied by Snappy, the Smurfling who helped create Sassette, when he is angry that he and the other Smurflings were punished "because of her." (They had gone to Gargamel's hovel and taken one of his spells, which was against Papa Smurf's rules. He assigns them extra chores as punishment.) Sassette sees her fellow Smurflings at work and, wanting to play, wonders what's up, after which Snappy makes his comments in anger, implying that Papa Smurf didn't want her. A devastated Sassette runs off and shows up at Gargamel's castle, thinking he's her true "Pappy." In the end, a search party finds Sassette, and Snappy apologizes for his words said in haste while Papa Smurf assures Sassette that she is wanted and a welcome part of the Smurf being (after which, of course, he reverses a spell cast by Gargamel to use an unknowing Sassette as his hired gun).
- 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.
- The Fairly Oddparents has this exchange:
Dad: My dreams were shattered years ago.Timmy: How many years ago?Dad: How old are you?
- In Daria, Jodie's baby brother, Evan, was unplanned by mother Michele's own admission. She's eager for him to go to daycare so that she can get back to her career; father Andrew, meanwhile, is just glad to finally have a son.
- In Final Space, Gary is this according to his mother. It's not clear if she means he wasn't a planned pregnancy or if his birth threw off her wider plans, since the baby Gary crying resulted in her husband John discovering her true allegiance.