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Alone Among Families

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“I wish I had that” cliche.

An orphan, an infertile woman (or man), or any other character missing a family has the isolation emphasized by being surrounded by families. This can be a place with many happy families, even solely occupied by such people in defiance of statistics, or the character's being sharp to notice such things.

The family arrangements will naturally parallel those the character feels lacking in: a Lonely Rich Kid sees parents fussing over their only child, a sibling-less orphan sees parents with their children, an only child sees sibling groups, an infertile woman sees parents with newborns, etc.

The romantic equivalent is Alone Among the Couples.

See also Alone in a Crowd, Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere.


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  • Somehow everpresent, or possibly inverted, in commercials for Oncor frozen entrees, which all have more or less the same script:
    Customer: Al, I can't eat all these Oncor Frozen Entrees!
    Al: (a supermarket employee stocking the shelves) That's because Oncor is a two-pound family size entree.
    Customer: But I don't have a family.
    Al: You do now. Mine. We'll be over at 8:30.
    Customer 2: Al, about these Oncor Frozen Entrees...
    Al: Tomorrow night at 6.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto as a boy orphaned by the attack of the Kyuubi on Konoha as backstory, gets one of these moments in volume one.
  • Spy X Family: The group picture in episode 6 (an adaptation of Mission 7 and 8) has Damian standing alone while the other children are with their families.
  • In the Turning Red spinoff 4★Town 4★Real, Jesse is revealed to have felt this way as a kid due to being an orphan.

    Comic Books 
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel): When Snake Eyes returns home from Vietnam, he arrives at the airport, but his family is not there to greet him. Several other soldiers are met by their families, drawn colorfully and larger than life, while Snake Eyes seems to shrink.
  • Robin (1993): Prior to Tim Drake's eventual adoption by Bruce Wayne, the fact that Jack Drake was incredibly neglectful was highlighted by Tim's wistfulness about his friends' families on several occasions.

    Films — Animation 
  • A variation of this is seen in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure where during "Always There", the stray dog Angel, who wishes she had a family, is seen walking down a neighbourhood by herself and observing some dogs who live happily with their owners.
  • During the wedding reception at the beginning of Rugrats in Paris, the DJ puts on a song for all the children and their mothers. All the other kids dance with their mothers, while Chuckie stands alone, establishing how alone he feels without a mother. At least he has his dad to keep him company.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Child Is Waiting: Every Wednesday, the families of the mentally disabled children come to visit them at the institution. Reuben always gets dressed up to wait for his parents, but they never come.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix starts with Our Boy Harry on a Trauma Swing while watching a family playing together.
  • In Muppets from Space, where Gonzo is angsting about being the Last of His Kind. Looking at photos of the other Muppets, he notices that each of his friends has relatives, whereas his photo is of him standing all alone, way off in the distance.
  • In The Secret Garden (1993), after her parents die in an earthquake, Mary Lennox takes a ship to England and waits for someone to pick her up. No one comes to claim her when her number is called, so she's told to step aside and wait while the other orphans accompanying her are greeted by loving relatives. By the time someone finally comes for her, it is well past dark and Mary is the only child left.
  • In X-Men, Rogue in the train station particularly notices affectionate gestures from mother to son.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. When Harry is dropped off at the station to get on the Hogwarts Express, he's the only one there without a family.
  • Ukiah Oregon: Max, a widower, both loves and hates staying over at Ukiah's house, because it reminds him of his own loss.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This was emphasized with Connor in the season 4 finale of Angel, when he takes all the mall people hostage. He talks about it as well, about how he sees all the families while he's alone.
  • Gilmore Girls: In "Afterboom", Lane feels lonely after she played with her band Hep Alien, and she's alone among happy couples and happy families. Lane is excited and feels like celebrating, but others are otherwise occupied: Gil makes out with his wife, Zach is surrounded by hot female fans, and Brian is with his family who came to see them play. Lane invited her best friend Rory, but she couldn't come. Lane can't even talk to her family because she moved out of her home against her mother's wishes and without her approval.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Poppy Proudfellow lost her entire family to a landslide during a previous "Migration", leaving her completely alone compared to the large family groups that make up the Harfoot community. This loss explains why Poppy is more cautious than her best friend Nori, who is more open to taking risks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pokémon: Card art of the Pokémon Cubone often showcases the Pokémon's orphaned state, such as the Cubone card in the BREAKthrough 77 set, which shows one crying lonely on a bench while, in the background, several happy human families are shown enjoying their time together.

    Western Animation 
  • Fairly OddParents: At the beginning of the episode "Fairly OddBaby," Cosmo and Wanda start noticing all the other families with babies during a walk with Timmy, causing them to burst into tears because they want a baby of their own but aren't allowed to have one.
  • X-Men: Evolution: As part of X-23's training, she was forced to hang out by herself in populated urban areas to learn how to blend with the crowds. In the accompanying montage, she is shown sitting completely alone on a bench at a park, angrily observing the other children playing with their parents.


Video Example(s):


Chuckie Alone

All of Chuckie's friends dance with their mothers while Chuckie, whose mother passed away, stands in the corner alone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

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Main / AloneAmongFamilies

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