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Amazingly Embarrassing Parents

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She's in her workout clothes, by the way.
"Your most important responsibility, as the parent of an adolescent, is to be a hideous embarrassment to your child. Fortunately, most of us parents have a natural flair for this."

Children in fiction live in terror of their parents ever getting a chance to interact with the other kids in school. This is for a very good reason — parents in fiction seem to be on a quest to humiliate their children in front of their peers.

They always have a thousand-and-one stories about things their unfortunate offspring did when they were two years old, and they're always a thousand-and-one percent certain that everyone wants to hear them. And in that respect, they're absolutely right, just not for the reasons that they think — the Alpha Bitch and her ilk are just dying to hear humiliating childhood stories because they'll be able to tease the poor protagonist about them for years to come. Sometimes, childhood stories aren't even necessary: the parents' mere behavior, presence, or lifestyle are all it takes to turn a casual scene into something terribly awkward. Especially if the parents are bent on proving how "hip" and "cool" they are by dropping the "latest" slang terms. Older offspring whose parents are deeply embarrassing when their good friends are around just have to remember that Friends Are Chosen, Family Aren't. If they're a teacher, they'll become an Embarrassing Relative Teacher, making things even worse.

If the hero lets slip that they don't like their parent's behavior, then the parents tend to be hurt. Due to the Rule of Drama (or, Informed Wrongness, more accurately), the situation will be contrived for maximum hurt and the hero is likely to have to spend the rest of the episode trying to make amends, with the whole thing ending on An Aesop with the hero learning to value the parents that embarrass him or her in front of other people and the parents gaining empathy for their child. Also, baby photos, middle names, and the Homemade Sweater from Hell are a must. Parental Sexuality Squick is related but doesn't require the kid's peers to be present.

Though sometimes it may not even be funny. A parent who is genuinely screwed-up, malicious or abusive can go beyond 'embarrassing' and into 'humiliating' territory.

Truth in Television, of course. You may actually have parents like this or even be one. Anyone with an Easily Embarrassed Youngster for a kid will usually be seen as this by their kid at least once.

Contrast Famous Ancestor.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • A Cricket Wireless commercial has a mom dancing to K-Pop and becoming internet famous, much to her daughter's embarrassment.
  • Toyota has an ad campaign with a very smug kid pointing out the parents who are blatant caricatures of aging baby boomers humiliating their children by merely existing and driving something that isn't the company's big honkin' SUV.
    • A follow-up ad marketing the car to the kids, rather than either set of parents, the same kid is in the backseat when they pull up alongside another kid with embarrassing parents, who have been singing "Morning Angel" 30 times in a row. He's embarrassed and traumatized by the singing, not the car; the apparent selling point is that the Toyota SUV comes standard with a back-seat monitor so the kid could have been able to drown them out.
  • A Star Wars-themed Disney World ad involves a father walking through a hardware store with his kids. He dons a welding mask and picks up a long fluorescent light, quoting Empire Strikes Back, before swinging his "Lightsaber" around until he falls over. Lesson of the day? Go to Disney World to work these impulses out.
    • ANY of the commercials in this campaign ("show us your Disney side") seem to imply that for adults, showing off their Disney side equals acting ridiculous, inappropriate, and immature almost to the point of mental illness.
  • In a 2011 San-Disk radio commercial, a mother asks her husband (the father) if he remembered to give their son the USB flash disk for his power-point presentation, and if he happened to edit out the baby pictures of him crawling around in diapers. The father tells her no, having her freak out then asking the time of the presentation and the current time, the father then suggests maybe they can put him in another school. It is done in a comical fashion, of course, but it is rather embarrassing because we can easily guess the outcome. The announcer ends by advertising this device with the slogan to keep the things you want to keep and take out the things you do not.
  • A State Farm radio commercial from 2013 has a young man speaking to a female associate on the phone. He looks at the time and in response tells her that State Farm is there 24/7. His mother, on another line, at home, takes this literally, and asks him where were they when he needed to be changed, and tucked in (past the year of ten). The son, obviously, is very annoyed, tells her to hang up, and the female associate is flabbergasted that she tells him that she should end the phone conversation, but he pleads her not to disconnect.
  • A commercial for a feminine-hygiene products delivery service called "Hello Flo" features a young girl who's feeling left out because all her friends have gotten their first periods, and she hasn't yet. So she gets the idea to fake it with red nail polish. Her mother finds it (and knows she was faking it), and throws her a "First Moon Party" to which everyone is invited. Eventually, the girl is so embarrassed that she confesses to lying about it, and the mother tells her she knows. The girl asks if she's going to be grounded for lying, and the mother replies, "Why do you think I threw you the First Moon Party?" (Implying that the embarrassment is punishment enough.)
  • One UK ad for drinking yoghurt Actimel has a boy who mentions his mother's strange and embarrassing behaviour ever since she started drinking the product. Her antics include picking him up from school on roller skates, zooming around the supermarket on a shopping trolley, and chasing pigeons from the pavement. The implication being that Actimel gives you enough energy and vitality to be more childish than your own kids.
  • In a 2023 Sotyktu commercial, a teenage girl is grossed out by her dad trying on a speedo.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Girl from the Sea, Morgan's mother Min reacts to learning her daughter is gay by being awkwardly cheeky about it, like greeting her by literally exiting a closet, or saying Morgan dating girls puts her at lower risk of a teen pregnancy.
  • Jonesy: Jonesy's father loves to make puns and her mother is a self-proclaimed dork.
  • In Time and Time Again from the Superman comic book titles in 1991, Jimmy Olsen's mother ruins the date her son has with Lucy Lane by showing Lucy pictures of her son when he was a child.
  • Titeuf sometimes finds his father to be this, notably when he becomes jobless and is taking him to school by holding his hand and kissing him on the cheek in front of his friends before leaving.
  • X-Men: #30 of X-Men: Gold has Rachel having to deal with her mother "momming" said mother's temporally displaced teenage self over drinking champagne at a wedding, and the latter dismissing it and saying that she should "mom" Rachel instead - who is muttering about wishing aliens would invade to end the sheer awkwardness. It's worth noting that thanks to her own time-travelling, Rachel is about halfway between her mother and her teen mother in age.

    Comic Strips 
  • A wonderful "Revenge of the Kid" occurred in On the Fastrack when Melody was showing Laurel's baby pictures to Bob. Melody excused herself briefly; Laurel followed her out, there was the sound effect of a flashbulb and a piercing scream, and Laurel came back to hand Bob a Polaroid photo with the words, "My mother on the throne." Cue another piercing scream from out-of-frame.
  • Connie and Walt in the comic strip Zits both drive Jeremy crazy by doing this. There is no Aesop, though, and Jeremy drives Connie and Walt crazy in plenty of other ways, so it evens out.
    • Zits also exaggerates the trope at times by making Jeremy embarrassed by his parents' innocuous actions:
      Jeremy: My parents seem to be on a personal quest to humiliate me at every turn.
      Walt: [pokes head into room] Hey, guys, how's it going?
      Jeremy: I rest my case!!
    • Jeremy takes some extreme measures to avoid parental embarrassment, to the point where when his father was still driving him to school Jeremy got out to walk the rest of the way at the end of their driveway.
    • One Sunday strip had Jeremy and his friends swapping stories about their parents' embarrassing habits, such as Hector's dad going outside to get the paper in his underwear every morning. As they're talking, Connie and Walt come in wearing gaudy gardening outfits, with Connie saying "Jeremy, if you need us, we'll be out tending to the arugula, dressed like this in broad daylight." Cue Jeremy declaring "Checkmate," and his friends conceding defeat.
    • Occasionally his parents do this on purpose— in the pre-cell phone days of the comic, Walt got Jeremy to end an overlong phone call by picking up the extension and singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" into it. While accompanying himself on the accordion.
    • In one comic Jeremy's dad uses the phrase "That's what I'm talking about", causing Jeremy to shudder. According to Jeremy, when his dad uses slang that's the least bit modern, the world feels out of balance and weird. Cue his dad using VERY outdated slang that even confuses his mom, which relieves Jeremy who states that things are back to normal.
  • Odin toward Loki in Twisted Toyfare Theatre.
    Loki: Daaad, you're embarrassing me!
    Odin: Nonsense! Now, gaze upon these naked baby photos of Loki.
    Spider-Man: ...His horns have grown.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Death of Superman: Even Superman isn't invulnerable to feeling embarrassed by his parents. Clark invites Lois over to meet Ma and Pa Kent. They then proceeded to mortify him by telling her stories about his past girlfriends.
  • Despicable Me: Gru's mother, when she shows the girls Gru's old childhood photos.
    Gru: Mom... not cool.
  • Dinosaur: Aladar is horrifyingly embarrassed of his adoptive lemur parents once they go full-on Fish out of Water.
  • Fire and Ice (1983): Necron's actor, Sean Hannon, talked about how upset he was when he learned of the idiotic characterization of Juliana, Necron's mother. He was actually embarrassed by it and then realized what an interesting dynamic it created. He incorporated that embarrassment into Necron's character, explaining why Necron was so impatient with Juliana.
  • Frozen (2013): The Trolls are essentially a family of this to Kristoff. When he introduces Anna to them, they assume the two are a couple, and when he and Anna try to correct them, they start asking Anna why she's not dating him and begin singing a song about all the potential reasons they think she might not want to date him. And then try to start a sudden wedding for the two on the spot.
  • A Goofy Movie: Goofy is this to Max, and in Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas Max brings home his girlfriend Mona to meet Goofy only for his dad to embarrass him by doing such things as showing off a huge baby picture of Max.
  • Incredibles 2: When Bob tries getting Violet and Tony back together without Violet being in on the plan, Violet's surprise makes tap water shoot out of her nose while Bob unknowingly hams it up to try and charm him, including complimenting the water even after learning it's tap. Later, the whole family drives the two of them to the movie, all the while admitting that they were planning on being in the theater, but in a different row. While Bob and Helen claim that they just wanted to watch a movie, Violet does not buy it.
  • Inside Out: Riley's parents are this at the end, in a sweet way: they show up to her first hockey game in San Francisco complete with jerseys, foam fingers, and face paint, cheering loudly for her even before she gets on to the ice.
  • The Lion King (1994): In a brief scene, Simba gets annoyed when his mother Sarabi interrupts his conversation with his friend Nala and cleans him by licking him, messing up his small mane in the process.
  • Monsters University has Squishy's mom, Mrs. Squibbles. In her first scene, she interrupts Oozma Kappa's Initiation Ceremony by turning on the basement washing machine and making Squishy have to yell over it.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Jefferson Davis, after not getting a return "I love you" after dropping Miles off, sounds his police siren and uses the intercom to insist that Miles say "I love you" back, in front of the whole school. Naturally, Miles' classmates mock him incessantly for this.
  • Turning Red: When Ming finds Mei's notebook full of romantic drawings of a clerk from a convenience store, she furiously presumes he's preying on her and confronts him during business hours. She drops the drawings Mei made of him as a sexy merman in front of him and the whole store, which includes Tyler (the school bully). The next day, after Mei's transformation activates, and Ming mistakes her distress for her first period, another transformation is triggered by Ming sneaking onto school grounds to bring her pads in front of Mei's entire math class. Ming is caught by security and haughtily protests being escorted through proper channels because she pays the taxes that fund the school.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Particularly cruel version from Truffaut's The 400 Blows: Once Antoine's parents learn that he's been skipping school, they decide to punish him in the most humiliating way imaginable to a preteen boy — by going down to school, storming into his classroom, slapping him in front of all his classmates, and letting him (and everyone else in the room) know, in no uncertain terms, that there's more to come once he gets home. They then leave him to stew in terror and suspense for the rest of the school day.
  • Jim's dad from American Pie may as well be the poster boy for embarrassing dads. He has a habit of walking in on Jim at the worst possible times and also trying to prove that he's cool.
  • A Bad Moms Christmas reveals this is why the protagonists of the original are quite screw up: Amy's mother Ruth is a critical and perfectionist show-off, Kiki gets downright irked at Sandy being overwhelming and smothering, and Carla's mom Isis is as much of a hedonist apathetic about family as herself (Carla doesn't mind, aside from how Isis never comes unless it's to get money for gambling).
  • Invoked in the 1989 Batman (1989), when Alfred regales Vicki with the story of his one attempt at teaching a young Bruce Wayne horseback riding and the disaster that resulted, while Bruce facepalms at the memory.
  • Blinded by the Light:
    • On the first day of school, Javed's father, Malik, shouts at him from the car to stay away from girls and "follow the Jews" to success. Matt also views his father this way.
    • Eliza also feels this way about hers. They believe she's only with Javed to shock them, mention that Eliza once brought home a "colored fellow" before (which she tells him is a term no one uses anymore) and her dad offers him wine even though as a Muslim it's forbidden. As they're Conservatives and she's a leftist activist, it's clear she finds that an embarrassment as well.
  • Adam Sandler's parents in Click. They constantly joke about his small penis.
  • CODA (2021): Ruby has to suffer from her dad talking (through sign language) about how Miles, her new boyfriend, should use a condom while they have sex, in a very over the top way (the two aren't actually sexually active). It would be amusing to many people watching the film, but much the opposite for her.
  • Crush: Paige's mom Angie embarrasses her through her flirting with the track coach, and getting overboard in her acceptance of Paige being a lesbian through sex toys she offers her.
  • In the second live-action Death Note film, Light's dad Soichirou gives him the bollocking of a lifetime, right in front of his girlfriend and all his work colleagues. Although that's not really the most important thing on his mind at the time, hyuk hyuk...
  • In Eighth Grade the protagonist Kayla is hanging with her high-school mentor Olivia and her friends at the mall when one of them dramatically points out a creepy old guy who has been watching them for a long time. It turns out to be Kayla's dad. Kayla's dad is also so embarrassing at home with his constant attempts to convince her You Are Better Than You Think You Are that Kayla has to negotiate with him that on Fridays she gets to do whatever she wants at the dinner table, which means ignoring him in favor of her phone.
  • A sketch in one-off comedy special How to Irritate People has Michael Palin's character being repeatedly showed up by his parents in front of his new wife, mostly via his father's being as annoying as possible to get Palin to switch the channel on the TV, and then by his mother's displaying No Indoor Voice while listing every single ingredient in the dinner that she intends to cook... and then doing it again when she remembers that she bought pork instead of chicken.
  • In La Famille Bélier, Gigi and Rodolphe Bélier really embarrass their daughter when she brings home Gabriel, the classmate she loves secretly.
  • Life of the Party has Michael's mother, Evelyn, who attempts to boost his self-esteem by telling everyone in the intervention about how he was classroom monitor on his first day of school... on account of having soiled his pants.
  • In Marmoulak, Faezeh's mother confides her son-in-law's moral and physical shortcomings to Reza quite frankly, which mortifies her daughter.
  • The core plot in Meet the Fockers, as the title characters are a couple of hippies with plenty of embarrassing stories regarding son Greg, Cannot Keep a Secret, and have no boundaries whatsoever, especially when it comes to sexuality.
  • In My Best Friend is a Vampire, Darla has a set of these, whom Jeremy meets when picking her up for their first date. It does actually help them bond, though, since Jeremy is quick to reassure her "I have parents too", and they share some laughs.
  • While North starts with two neglectful parents that inspire his son to "divorce" them and become a free agent, the parade of potential parents he meets afterwards are mostly this (along with stereotypes). The writer also said his inspiration was seeing his nine-year-old looking at himself and his wife at the dinner table "with the expression on his face you could tell he was thinking, 'I can do better than these two.'"
  • The Nutty Professor: The Klumps when Sherman brings Carla over. They talk openly about sex, bodily functions, marriage, and other embarrassing topics, so much so that Sherman tries to slit his wrists with a butter knife.
  • The plot of the Australian film The Rage in Placid Lake, about a kid so embarrassed by his hippie parents (who among other things send him to his first day of school in a girl's uniform) that he deliberately becomes the ultimate conformist.
  • Real Genius: Mitch Taylor's parents.
    • After speaking with them at the science fair, Dr. Hathaway asks them if, by any chance, Mitch is adopted.
    • An exchange late in the movie between Mitch and his new girlfriend Jordan:
      Jordan: Are you going to take me home to meet your parents?
      Mitch: (horrified) No!
      Jordan: Why?! Are you ASHAMED of me???
      Mitch: No, them!
  • Patrick Winslow is embarrassed of his stepfather Victor Doyle in The Smurfs 2.
  • Played for tragedy in Stella Dallas, as Stella's brassy, uninhibited manner embarrasses her daughter Laurel when they're hanging out with the smart set. Stella's outrageous outfits and pancake makeup and general brassy demeanor make her the laughingstock of the fancy resort she took Laurel to, embarrassing Laurel and leading Stella to decide to give her daughter to Stephen and Helen.
  • Played to a "T" in the Sylvester Stallone comedy vehicle Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, as the mother treats her tough detective son as if he was a seven year old and insists on coming along to his investigations.
  • Mrs. Witwicky in Transformers 1 and 2. Specifically in 2, she snacks on pot brownies at Sam's college (she thinks they're regular brownies) and gets high.
  • Actually invoked by Mama Boucher in The Waterboy. During lunch with Vicki Vallencourt, Mama constantly brings up embarrassing facts about her son Bobby, such as how much he wets his bed and how much his feet smell. After Bobby becomes so embarrassed he walks away saying "Excuse me, ladies, while I go hang myself...", Mama says "Now, you see what you did?".
  • You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah: Stacy is trying to look cool in front of the popular kids when she runs into them at the movies, but her dad comes out of the theater in a bathrobe, kisses her on the forehead, and talks about them snuggling, embarrassing her in front of them.

  • Jesus comes upon a crowd preparing to stone a young adulteress. He interrupts them, crying, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!" After a moment's silence, all of the townsfolk shamefacedly drift away. Satisfied, Jesus turns to leave, when suddenly a rock flies from behind him and hits the woman square in the jaw. She falls over, clutching her face, as Jesus spins around in surprise. "Mo-om," he groans. "You're embarrassing me!" A variation of this had the rock fall from sky, with Jesus rolling his eyes. "Daaaaad... I was trying to make a point!"
  • A Very Senior General in the British Army took the passing-out parade for a squad of newly-minted junior officers, who included his own daughter. Knowing her father's dubious sense of humour, she steeled herself for the ordeal. The general passed down the ranks, commenting and complimenting, attended by the squad's CO and the RSM. Finally he arrived at his own daughter. Pretending not to know her, he turned to the RSM, who played along and prompted him.
    Underofficer Brown-Windsor, SAH!
    (General Brown-Windsor, pretending to have his memory jogged) Oh yes. You seem familiar from somewhere. Believe I might have met your mother once? (pauses, reflects that he also has a son) Probably twice, come to think about it...

  • 2666: Amalfitano is a dark example of this. He's going insane, and his relationship with his daughter suffers for it.
  • In the Agatha Raisin mystery novels, Bill (although an adult) has such parents; his romantic relationships usually end when he tries to introduce his girlfriend to his parents.
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. The main character, 'Fat Charlie' Nancy, is convinced that he's got the most embarrassing dad on the face of the planet. He's probably right. One could rightfully consider his dad, Anansi, to be a literal GOD of embarrassment. The nickname "Fat Charlie" was bestowed on him by his dad, and just stuck all those years, even though he's not really that fat, because Dad's a Physical God whose penchant as The Nicknamer blends right into his power as a Reality Warper.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Harris from The Cornersville Trace Mythos' How to Get Suspended and Influence People and Pirates of the Retail Wasteland are food disaster hobbyists and gave their son the middle name "Noside."
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • Susan Heffley causes her sons a lot of embarrassment and ruins their fun with her bit trait of a Cloudcuckoolander and her tendency to pop up at Greg's school when he has left his bag or lunchbox at home.
    • Rowley's parents are the sort who won't allow their son to watch anything rated above "G". Which might account for Rowley's current state of mind. However, Rowley doesn't find them embarrassing.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles, a Doorstop Baby, at one point longed to know his parents. But at the novel's end, he dreads the prospect of embarrassing his beloved with possibly criminal relations.
  • Gangsta Granny: Ben finds his parents embarrassing because they want to get him to dance (which he can't do anyway) in outfits he doesn't like.
  • Girls Don't Hit: Joss mortifies her daughter Madison by inquiring into her sex life with her boyfriend.
  • In The Glass Castle, Jeannette's parents become a source of shame for her after she moves to New York, and they follow years later to be with their children. She had grown up in poverty as her father drank like a fish and her mother suffered wild mood swings, and after moving to New York, her parents became homeless squatters, leaving Jeannette reluctant to tell the truth about them for fear of losing her status and career.
  • Played straight and subverted in Gone with the Wind. Wade Hampton (Scarlett's son from her first marriage) is forced to admit that he's been facing bullying and ostracism at school because of Scarlett's unladylike behavior of owning her own businesses, and Rhett's apparent lack of a War record. Rhett, partly motivated by compassion for him, and for step-daughter Ella, and partly motivated by fear that his own biological daughter, Bonnie, might face the same treatment when she's old enough to start playing with other children, starts changing his outward behavior and trying to fit in with the Old Guard social set of Atlanta. Scarlett, however, scoffs at the idea of children's social life being of any importance whatsoever and keeps right on doing as she pleases.
  • Played with in John Moore's Heroics for Beginners. The main character thinks back to how he once snuck out of the castle to take his then-girlfriend to a small jazz club, only for his father, King Eric the Totally Cool, to show up with his trademark shades and a saxophone so he can jam with the band. As the hero puts it "Parents should not be cooler than their children."
  • Honor Harrington has a father who is a dignified former naval doctor from a well-thought-of family... and her mother makes up for it in sheer embarrassing abilities. The very first thing she does onscreen is observe how nice the ass of Honor's second-in-command is, and telling her she needs to tap that.
    Honor: Mother!
  • Referenced in Jingo, when two fishermen from rival nations start arguing over fishing rights and claim to the newly-risen island of Leshp. Their sons, who are about the same age and couldn't care less about either issue, trade a look that conveys a lot of mutual understanding, starting with the sheer galactic-sized embarrassment of having parents.
  • Journey to Chaos: Sathel has a tendency to smother Tiza when the girl is preparing for dangerous missions, and in front of her teammates too. However, this is nothing to compared to what Retina does to stop the smothering; kisses and bridal carries.
  • The Kingdom Keepers hints at this with Finn's parents. When his mother first meets Jez, she gushes about Finn meeting "a cute girl", earning a look.
  • The heroine of Knowing Me, Knowing You by Helen Bailey is constantly embarrassed by her parents (who are ABBA impersonators) breaking out into song in public. Becomes plot-relevant when she learns she's adopted, and wonders whether she'd have better luck with her birth family.
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali: When Rukhsana's parents come around to accepting her lesbianism, she soon grows embarrassed by how much they start overcompensating (e.g. seeking out another Bengali lesbian for her, the way they'd done with guys earlier), though it's out of love.
  • Alice's parents in The Magicians, on the one occasion she returns home with her new boyfriend Quentin, seem determined to come across as embarrassingly eccentric as possible: her father spends all the time renovating the house with magic, making it unlivable and making himself even more miserable in the process; her mother spends all her time studying fairy music that may not actually exist, and lectures Quentin unprompted on the subject for almost an hour - during which one of her breasts slips out of her cardigan and she barely notices. In between cringing in embarrassment, Alice makes it clear that this actually happens to a lot of adult magicians who can't figure out what to do with their lives.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Rilla is very embarrassed by her mother and aunt's behavior, especially around her friends and part-time classmates.
  • In Betty Macdonald's Onions in the Stew a recurring theme is how embarrassing Annie and Joan find Betty & Don.
  • Radar Paper Towns is embarrassed to bring girls home because his parents own the world's largest collection of Black Santa Memorabilia consisting of 1200 pieces.
  • Paraiso Street: Cali Capistrano views her Alcoholic Parent Danny this way, which he goes out of his way to reinforce. As he says, "I'm a parent... that's what we're for."
  • Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is sort of a version of this trope; her relative lack of breeding and unsubtle attempts to set her daughters up with prospective husbands — and in the case of Mr. Bingley and Jane, to act as if they're already engaged after they've just met — prove mortifying to her two older daughters at least (the younger ones are equally embarrassing as their mother). The consequences of this are more serious than usual since Jane's embarrassing family is one of the major reasons Mr. Darcy persuades Mr. Bingley not to marry her.
  • In the very last Manly Wade Wellman Silver John novel, Voice of the Mountain, the main villain Ruel Harpe is described after embarrassing a young witch in his service as being rather like "one of those parents who enjoys embarrassing their children on purpose."
  • The Spier parents from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, especially Simon's father. It makes Simon uncomfortable when some of his father's jokes toe the line of Dude, Not Funny! while Simon is still in the closet.
  • Stephanie Plum's mother and grandmother (especially Grandma Mazur) are so embarrassing that even Stephanie's father can barely stand it. As an example, when Stephanie's mother sets her up on a blind date in the first book, Grandma Mazur pulls out a gun during dinner and accidentally shoots the main course while showing it off. Stephanie often begs them to calm down to no effect, while her father, being The Quiet One, merely mutters "Christ" under his breath when they get particularly bad.
  • Reunion David Schwartz is a middle-class boy (the son of a Jewish doctor) in interwar Germany, who makes friends with an aristocratic classmate named Konrad von Hohenfels. When David invites Konrad, David's father barges in to recount an anecdote (to David's immense embarrassment), forutnatley Konrad doesn't mock David for it. However, as time goes by Konrad admits the reason he never lets David meet his parents is that they hate Jews. Eventually they grow apart and David is sent to the US when the Nazis come to power, but the titular reunion happens when David is given a list of former students killed in the war, and finds that Konrad was executed for his role in plotting Hitler's assassination.

  • My Beloved Mother have Sinbell's adoptive mother, Milan, appearing in his school after he forgot his lunch. Problem is, Milan is a caretaker robot, in a society prejudiced towards robots and that Sinbell is trying to hide the fact that he's Raised by Robots from his peers. Milan's good intentions quickly backfires with Sinbell becoming an outcast among the entire school, and it isn't pretty.


    Mythology & Religion 
  • This even shows up in The Bible:
    • Mary does this to Jesus twice. First at the Finding in the Temple, where she asks him where he’s been while he’s wowing everyone in the temple with his answers to their questions, and second at the Wedding at Cana, where she tells him there’s no more wine before he even starts his miracle.
    “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

  • In episode five of Mystery Show, Jake Gyllenhaal refuses to tell Sloane his height, but his mother is more willing to (try to) help.

  • Ivy's parents from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. Her father calls her 'sweetpea' and has thoroughly researched the 'teenage lifestyle' so he can be prepared for whatever she throws at him. Her mother, while not as bad, has still recollected childhood memories that elicit the classic "Mom." from Ivy.

  • Older Than Steam: Shakespearean plays
    • In Romeo and Juliet, while the Nurse is technically not one of Juliet's parents, she otherwise fits this trope to a T. She's filled with embarrassing stories about Juliet as a toddler, and she loves to tell them at great length long after her audience has lost interest. Juliet has to beg her to shut up on more than one occasion.
      • Then throw in that this is Shakespeare, many of her rambling stories included double-entendres about how Juliet is expected to have sex and become pregnant very soon.
    • Gloucester in King Lear loves to parade his illegitimate son about and tell all and sundry about the fun he had with his mother.

    Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate, CHARNAME's adopted parents, the monks of Candlekeep, include a few of these, but the two best examples have to be Theodon and Jessup, who, if not dramatically cut off, will happily ramble on to CHARNAME and their party about what a cute little nudist toddler they were, regaling them with a story of one incident when CHARNAME stole the cloak of Khelban Blackstaff and made it into a cape, giving it back only when Khelban used a spell to catch them, and commenting on how they wished they had a chance to show off some of CHARNAME's baby pictures.
  • EarthBound (1994): In literally his third sentence to the main party, Jeff's father Dr. Andonuts blurts out that his son still wets the bed sometimes.
  • In Final Fantasy XV, before Noctis leaves for the road trip, his father asks Noctis' friends/bodyguards to guide his "wayward son" and care for him. Since Noctis is 20 and surrounded by his Vitriolic Best Buds at this point, he finds this quite embarrassing. (Other scenes show that Noctis hates the caution and formality everyone in his family has to act with.)
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, Nah loves her mother Nowi but considers her as such since she's very child-like in behavior (or so it seems) and in looks.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, Aliza's mom, Alicia, tells several embarrassing stories to the main character and Lyria in the introductory Fate Episode for her SSR version. Aliza can't stand them because it reminds her of when she used to be weak and cry.
  • Growing Up:
    • Alexandra Beaufort is initially nervous about talking about her parents to you because they live and work at the carnival instead of having "normal" jobs. If you've befriended her well enough when you give her her missed homework, she'll be happy to take you around the carnival because she knows you won't judge her family for it.
    • Vivica's mom dotes on her and takes her out to dinner in the beginning of her route, but Vivica absolutely can't stand it because her parents dote on her brother more than her since she's adopted. You can go to dinner with them to help ease the tension a bit.
  • In I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, Antecedent dotes on her daughter Anemone, perhaps a little too much:
    • She embarrasses her Anemone when she hits puberty by baking her a red velvet cake that says "Welcome to Womb-manhood!" and proudly telling the other grown-ups that she's "becoming a woman".
    • If the female puberty option is chosen for Sol, Sol and Anemone get close to finishing the year of natural function required before qualifying for blockers around the same time. So Anne waits until she's in a room with both of them to give them the reminder practically out of the blue. If another puberty option is chosen for Sol, Anne will mention that Anemone is about to get her blocker.
  • League of Legends has a case of this where the generational gap is vastly distant, but the effect is still the same. Sivir is an acclaimed treasure hunter/mercenary who just happens to be the last remaining descendant of Azir, the last emperor of the Shuriman Empire who was recently resurrected centuries after he and the land fell due to ancient cataclysm. He wants his last remaining family member to take her rightful place in the Resurgent Empire, but Sivir is completely uninterested and wants to continue operating on her own, creating some genuine friction as well as endearingly awkward laughs.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, when Paya's conversations with Link turn to how she got her name, she reluctantly reveals that it comes from a papaya-shaped Distinguishing Mark, but she's too embarrassed to say where exactly it is. Her grandmother Impa eventually reveals it's on her left buttock, leaving Paya mortified. It's actually a bit of an Out-of-Character Moment for Impa; asking about the birthmark most times will lead Impa to gently lead Link away from the topic, and she only reveals where it is after realizing how big of a crush Paya has on Link.
  • The Delta Episode of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire involves Steven's father embarrassing him in front of the player by poking fun at his impatience, culminating in a loud "Dad!" from Steven with a literal >:( face.
  • In Roots Of Pacha, Igrork can't help but brag about the protagonist, his adopted grandchild, to everyone.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Anise Tatlin's parents are the most embarrassing parents to ever live due to being so bad at telling when people scam them out of their money with unbelievable offers. They even think the thieves who stole from them had a very good reason to do so, which isn't even the case. Their overall stupidity is just perhaps the reason their daughter turned into a conniving Gold Digger desperate to solve their horrendous financial situation.
  • In Yakuza 5, Mayumi's father visibly embarrasses her when he bluntly tells the man she's been trying (and largely failing) to have a relationship with that she's in love with him, but that it clearly will never be reciprocated.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories has Kent see his parents this way. When the heroine meets his parents, they are very enthusiastic about their son's relationship and mention that, logically speaking, nothing is stopping them, and even talk about their genetics being compatible. Kent tries to set things straight since their relationship is still pretty fresh and he's convinced that, if the heroine regains her memories, she'll hate him again. Amnesia LATER makes it worse for Kent because his parents make no secret of the fact that they consider the heroine as his future wife and their daughter-in-law. And mention how he tried to wash the entire futon when he got the cover dirty.
    Kent: Mother, father. Would you please cut that out?
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice has Apollo Justice's adoptive father, Dhurke Sahdmadhi. He cheerfully talks about having pictures of a little Apollo running around naked outside, tries reading his diary with Trucy's help, and teases his son about how him being agitated reminded him of how he used to throw tantrums as a little kid.
  • In Reflections on the River, Ah Niu is not actually related to Zheng but describes himself as a good source of embarrassing childhood stories about Zheng anyway. However, his comments are actually more than just embarrassing — the very fact that he can tell stories about Zheng's childhood reveals that Zheng's claim to be magically ageless is a fiction.

    Web Animation 
  • Subverted in Pokémon: Path to the Peak, when Ava's father starts rapping along to "Pokémon World"note  while she and her friends are in the car. Ava and her friends are all seen cringing, but it then cuts to all four of them singing along.
  • Rwby Chibi has many moments from Taiyang, who does his best to still be cool. Albeit the top moment is from an episode where he and Cool Uncle Qrow are brought before the schoolmaster regarding something Tai's daughters did, and Tai and Qrow start bickering Like an Old Married Couple, leading the schoolmaster to decide that the girls have been punished enough.
  • Two More Eggs: In a "Bad Snaxx" segment, a boy's response to his mother serving him cereal with cream of casserole instead of milk is "I don't want to be your child anymore."

    Web Original 
  • This example from Not Always Right:
    [I noticed condoms along with the other party items the mother is buying]
    Me: Oh, are you having a party soon?
    Mother: [nods] My little James is growing up. He's going to have an orgy with all his little friends, aren't you Captain Muffinpants?
    Me: [suppresses laughter] Will that be all?
    Son: YES! YES THAT WILL BE ALL! [runs to car]

    Web Videos 
  • Dad: Dad, naturally, is seen as embarrassing by Daughter. This is brought up in "Can't Be Stopped":
    Drive Daughter to Electric Zoo
    Drop her off, then Dad sneaks in
    The beat takes over and body begins
    I'm cutting shapes, 2 stepping
    They take their phones & start gramming
    Now Daughter sees, she's horrified...
  • CollegeHumor: In "The Six Ways You'll See Your Dad," one of them is "The Clown", where the son starts to see his father as an unfunny dork.
  • Kevin's Dad in Kev Jumba's videos. His dad is a strict and incredibly stereotypical Chinese father.
  • Whenever the LPer Masae Anela's mother (under the alias "MomAnela") guest stars in one of her videos (generally for Mother's Day specials), she seems to enjoy embarrassing her daughter with inappropriate comments. Most frequently, she'll make teasing remarks about Masae's bust size, though it's not unheard of for her to go further than that...
    MomAnela: [Mr. Game & Watch] would make a good tattoo. Where would you put that? Okay, where would you put that tattoo, on your body? I'd like to know. Tell me right now; time is ticking. Let me know.
    Masae: My... my shoulder.
    MomAnela: [disappointed sigh]
    Masae: What?
    MomAnela: Okay, go on.
    Masae: What?
    MomAnela: Right here, by your right-
    Masae: No!
    MomAnela: You know, right above your-
    Masae: No! Anyway, what number was that again, sorry?
    MomAnela: Even the lip of your-
    Masae: NO!
  • The parents of the Mc Cormack family in the Foil, Arms and Hog Mc Cormack sketches.

    Real Life 
  • It's all relative: Billy Joel once stated that the only thing he had to do to get his teen-aged kids to behave in public was to threaten to start singing.
  • A Dave Barry column quoted Billy Joel, then went on to show how Barry trumped all of them. Being a humor columnist, he managed to show up to pick his son up from school once in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. There's a picture in the book. It is, if anything, more ridiculous than it sounds. Read more here. According to him, embarrassment is the ultimate weapon for parents. He even suggests using it as legal punishment:
    Judge: Young man, this is your third offense. I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you the maximum sentence.
    Youthful Defendant: No! Not...
    Judge: Yes. I'm going to ask your mom to get up here on the court karaoke machine and sing "Copacabana".
    Youthful Defendant: NO! SEND ME TO PRISON! PLEASE!!
  • Neil Gaiman once described it in his own philosophical way: "The trouble with parents, and this is speaking as a parent, is that by our very nature we embarrass our children... You could be King, you could be President, and your own children will still say, 'Oh my God, Dad, just stop singing. We're in public. It's so embarrassing. And put that down...'"
  • Kōyō Ozaki's father was a male Geisha. He was so embarrassed by his father's profession that he refused to talk about him to his friends.
  • On his elder son's 13th birthday, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco brought the kid up on stage at Madison Square Garden and got the crowd to sing "Happy Birthday" to him, sending him off stage afterwards with "It's all downhill from here, kid."
  • Astronaut Scott Parazynski did a Darth Vader impression and told his son "Luke, I Am Your Father"... from orbit. The fact that his son was actually named Luke raises the possibility that he was planning this for a very long time.
  • Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, who was notorious for her antics (keeping a snake named Emily Spinachnote , doing handstands at state dinners, putting a tack on a gentleman's seat, riding in cars with men at a time when this was seen as scandalous, placing bets with bookies at the White House, using an officer's sword to cut her wedding cake because the knife was too dull...) probably was this for her daughter Paulina. It didn't end happily; Paulina became depressed and an alcoholic.
  • This family whose elder members have fallen for a doomsday prophet but the kids aren't buying it.
  • Dressing up in costumes to wave at the school bus every day, for the win.
  • This is a major theme in the blog STFU Parents, which documents real-life incidents of parents sharing too much information about their kids over Facebook. Even though a good portion of the kids are too young to see said posts, you can't help but feel sorry for some of them. Considering that on the internet no information ever dies, you can't help but wonder if in a decade or so scouring Facebook for embarrassing childhood stories will become a standard bullying tactic.
  • In her autobiography Fierce, Kelly Osbourne speaks of being embarrassed by her father on numerous occasions as part of her experiences growing up. In one notable case, Ozzy wasn't terribly amused when he found out his wife Sharon had bought then-teenaged Kelly thong underwear as a present, and then proceeded to cut up the thong—in front of her friends.
    • More recently, it's Kelly's mom Sharon that seems to be distressing the young star, as Kelly has expressed embarrassment at her mother's willingness to overshare on The Talk.
    • And then there's the time Sharon had backup while they were on television. It might not have been too painful if the backup hadn't been Marilyn Manson. On the bright side, he managed to embarrass Sharon, and the three of them embarrassed Ozzy and Jack, too.
  • Actor/comedian Ray Romano often lampshades his status as this in his comedy routines and used to do so on Everybody Loves Raymond as well (though on the show he usually makes more fun of his own Amazingly Embarrassing Parents). In one memorable real-life incident, Ray won the award for best comedy lead at the People Choice Awards in 2006, during ELR's final season, and invited his then-teenaged sons onto the stage. Being that they were teenagers, they were ultra-embarrassed and refused. Ray being a comedian, he then decided to substitute them by bringing Angus T. Jones of the then-new Two and a Half Men on stage instead, resulting in hilarity for everyone involved. It's definitely worth watching, check it out on here.
  • Renzo Bossi, son of the Italian politician Umberto Bossi, is universally known as The Trout (Il Trota in Italian) thanks to his father. In Italy the heir or designed successor of someone is often called "dolphin", from the Dauphin of France (the heir to the French throne during the monarchy, translated in Italian as 'Delfino di Francia', meaning literally 'Dolphin of France;'note ). After the third time Renzo failed school, a television journalist snidely asked Bossi if Renzo was really his dolphin, prompting Bossi to reply: "That idiot there? At best he's a trout!".
  • The mother of the Woodhouse brothers, two political pundits with opposing viewpoints, called them in the middle of a show to chide them for their constant bickering.
  • In an interview, US President Barack Obama stated that he and his wife Michelle had decided to weaponize this trope.
    • They promised their daughters Sasha and Malia that if either of them ever got a tattoo, both parents would get the exact same tattoo, in the exact same place on their bodies, and would show it off at every opportunity, calling it a "family tattoo". By all accounts, the threat worked perfectly.
    • Then there was the time he semi-jokingly threatened The Jonas Brothers with a drone strike.
    • In 2016 Sasha and Malia were nowhere to be seen during President Obama's final turkey pardon because they'd become too embarrassed by the seemingly endless stream of dad jokes he'd make during the event. Instead, he was joined by two nephews.
  • John Dickens, father of Charles Dickens tragically so. He was notoriously financially irresponsible throughout his life and at one point while Charles was still a child, John was sent to debtor's prison and Charles had to drop out of school and go to work at a factory to help get his father out of debt. It got worse when Charles became a famous author, and John would send letters to his son's friends and associates begging for money.

Alternative Title(s): Amazingly Embarrassing Parent


Mashiro's dad

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents

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