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"Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger, there is a possibility that you might be safe."
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This is the family with issues, from which many, many kinds of Freudian Excuse can be taken. It's often very wealthy and powerful, when it's not royalty, and has many traditions. They have secrets, skeletons in their cupboards (sometimes literally) and are overly proud of their long (and bloody) history. Abusive behaviors of some kind are almost certain to have occurred. While they may display affectionate behaviors as well, to them Cain and Abel is a way of life — though if you piss off one of them, the rest will instantly band together to destroy you in order to uphold Family Honor.

They're very likely to feature at least one Magnificent Bastard, Evil Matriarch, Manipulative Bastard, "Well Done, Son!" Guy, Unfavorite or Black Sheep. There may be a Lady Drunk. While not frequent, Brother–Sister Incest and other kinds of canonical incest are most likely to be featured within this family. They also like to wage war with other families. Decadent Courts typically feature several of them. If they've been screwed up for a while, they're likely to have a Tangled Family Tree.

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This family is often contrasted by the existence of a more traditional, if poorer, family, where everyone loves and supports each other despite occasional bickering. Compare the old Dysfunctional Family, where the infighting tends to happen over more mundane and lighthearted reasons instead of serious matters like nature, tradition, status or anything of the sort.

A subtrope of The Clan. See also Royally Screwed Up, It Runs in the Family and Dysfunction Junction. Contrast Thicker Than Water. If the family is screwed up in the narrative sense, because of complexity, Continuity Snarls and the like, see Tangled Family Tree instead.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • The Batman Family. Almost all of them are orphans brought together by tragedy. First Dick was raised by Bruce and suffered tension to the point that they seemed ready to break. Then Bruce took in Jason, who was ultimately killed (and brought back to become a wayward son). Barbara was crippled and had to rebuild her life as a paraplegic superheroine. Tim volunteered and his family fell apart for it, Cassandra was drugged into becoming the very thing she feared most, Stephanie was tortured half to death, it took Helena years before she gained acceptance and started to trust the others, and Damian's problems start with being raised in a clan of assassins... they're all waifs, misfits, and strays that would belong nowhere if not together.
  • The Wilsons. Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson may actually be the only sane one left. His wife, Addie, was ostensibly on the side of angels, but her methods weren't. They only seemed to get worse with time. Eldest son Grant was a Psycho for Hire who ended up killing himself when going up against the Teen Titans. Middle child Joseph "Jericho" Wilson was the White Sheep; a genuinely nice, artistic sort and a Titan in good standing...until he made contact with Raven's demonic side and the corrupted remnants of Azarath and went nuts as a result. Rose, the youngest, and the product of Slade's affair with a brothel keeper/mercenary gouged her own eye out in an attempt to be just like daddy (that, before her Heel–Face Turn). So yeah.
  • The Osborns of the Spider-Man mythos. First we have Norman Osborn, an already unhinged businessman who was severely neglectful and emotionally abusive to his son Harry throughout his childhood before becoming the murderous Green Goblin who killed Gwen Stacy, among other things. Harry grew up to be a drug addict, a divorcee, and generally mentally unstable. After his dad apparently died, Harry didn't take it too well and ended up becoming the second Green Goblin himself. Then there's Normie Osborn, Harry's young son who was kidnapped by his grandfather in the Go Down Swinging storyline and forcibly bonded to the Carnage symbiote, becoming "Goblin Childe". And to top this all off, Harry's mother Emily was eventually retconned as having faked her death to escape Norman.
  • New Gods: Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips has a family as messed up as you'd expect for a God of Evil. His mother Heggra had the only person he ever loved killed to make him even more of a bastard, which worked so well he had Desaad poison her, he killed his brother Drax for the Omega Effect, and his father Yuga Khan is so powerful and tyrannical even Darkseid fears him. In turn he's a hateful parent whose children's relationship varies from wanting his approval (Kalibak), wanting him dead (Orion) and wanting to overthrow him with no hope of doing so (Grayven). The New 52 making him and Highfather, divine leader of New Genesis only makes his family more of the mess.
  • The Endless from The Sandman portray this trope very well. They argue, they're petty and some of them are downright bastards. In The Sandman: Overture we meet the Endless's parents - in fact, the universe's parents - Night and Time, who are just as dysfunctional as their children.
  • The Roark family from Sin City. While we don't see a lot of politics among them, the members that we do meet (Cardinal Roark, Senator Roark, and Roark Junior) are evil to the core, and John Hartigan states that the bad shit that they get up to on the Farm on North Cross and Lennox has been going on for generations.
  • Venom's family from Spider-Man; most of them want to kill each other.
  • The Pyms over at the Marvel Universe. Hank Pym and The Wasp, their robot son Ultron who later marries Jocasta who has the brainwave patterns of his mother... Yeah. When Viv Vision (Vision's daughter, which makes her Ultron's granddaughter and Hank's great-granddaughter) tries to explain the history of Speed and Wiccan to Nadia (Hank's daughter from his first wife), she ends up causing her to Logic Bomb.
  • From Preacher, Jesse Custer's family will literally send chills up and down your spine. Trying to describe the revulsion that they inspire does not do the book justice.
  • We can officially list Bruce Banner's family at this point. It would take a long while, a lot of space on this page, and several spoiler blocks to list all the issues he, his kids, his cousin, and his ex-wife have. Don't even get started on his father.
  • Fantastic Four, Marvel's original dysfunctional family. Famous for operating so brilliantly as a team in the face of danger that they are the stuff of cosmic legends, but immediately falling apart into all kinds of internal strife from passive-aggressive warfare to spontaneous fistfights to stewing in bottled self-pity/resentment, all with a big helping of Poor Communication Kills, whenever the action abates.
  • Enforced in Nikolai Dante: Dmitri Romanov encourages his children to be cruel, lying, ruthless, heartless backstabbers in order to strengthen the family and ensure strong leadership.
  • The Pride in Runaways is a collection of messed up families. Every single one of them has some strange quirk besides Alex's family and are all rather lacking in any sense of morality, only obsessed with their own children. Said children hate them for being crazy obsessed murderous supervillains and the parents never listen to them at any point and think killing the kids that aren't theirs can only help in the long run. The Runaways themselves could possibly count, turning into a makeshift family with a constantly shifting dynamic that goes through members with surprising speed.
  • X-Men:
    • The Lensherr/Maximoff/Amaquelin/Android/Dane family is screwed up in so many ways. The patriarch's a Well-Intentioned Extremist supervillain with a terrible case of Heel–Face Revolving Door, the son's a Jerkass Smug Super bigot with marital problems, the daughter's insane, the other daughter has mental health issues of her own, the son-in-law's an android, the grandkids have their own problems, and everybody keeps losing track of just how many family members there are. (Given that Magneto and Professor X apparently share a soul or some such, we can throw Legion and all of the X-Men (as Charles's adopted children) in there as well.)
    • Nightcrawler and Rogue are stepsiblings, thanks to Mystique being the former's birth mother and adopting the latter after she ran away — who abandoned Kurt as a baby and raised Anna Marie to be a weapon against Ms. Marvel. Then there's the fact Mystique had slept with Sabretooth, a freaking sociopath, at one point and the product of this affair was Graydon Creed, a human supremacist because they treated him like crap when he turned out to be human. And both Raven Darkholme and Victor Creed themselves had abusive parents.
    • Where to even start with Wolverine. One legitimate son is a manipulative sociopath who enjoys toying with others for his own amusement, while another he hasn't seen since he was a baby. His "daughter" is a depressed and likely suicidal ex-child soldier and prostitute struggling to turn her life around. He has a who knows how many illegitimate children, many of whom were sent to kill him and he was forced to kill first, only later discovering who they really were, and his father wasn't actually his biological father; his actual biological father Thomas Logan tried to kill him. And we still haven't even touched on his brother "Dog" Logan and adopted daughter.
    • There's also the can of worms that is the Summers family. First, there's the fact Christopher Summers aka Corsair became a Space Pirate when an alien spaceship attacked while he was on vacation with his wife Kathrine and their sons Alex aka Havok and Scott aka Cyclops. The two boys were parachuted out of the plane by their mother and the landing caused a head injury to Scott which rendered him unable to control his mutant ability. After being abducted Christopher and Katherine's third son Gabriel was ripped out of his mother by evil alien D'ken after he killed her, which led to Gabriel being artificially aged, raised/used as a slave by the Shi'ar, end up trapped on Krakoa while it got sent into space and promptly going nuts, murdering D'Ken, becoming evil and marrying Deathbird. Back on Earth, Scott had a baby with the clone of Jean Grey created by Mr. Sinister aka Madelyne Pryor. The baby Nathan Summers grew up to a badass Anti-Hero Cable who himself has an evil clone called Stryfe. Cable adopted a miracle baby whom he named Hope who is destined to be the mutant messiah. Also, from the Age of Apocalypse, there's Cable's counterpart and half-brother, Nate Grey, made from Scott and Jean's genetic material by Mr. Sinister (who can't get enough of Scott and Jean) to be a Tyke-Bomb directed at Apocalypse and then burn out and die afterwards, who migrated over to the main reality. Rachel Summers is Scott and Jean's daughter from a dystopian alternate reality who's compared (by Wolverine, who would know) to a Holocaust survivor, and from another alternate reality, there's Ruby Summers, because Scott can never keep it in his pants and slept with Emma Frost giving birth to Ruby (Ditto for Megan Summers). It's also worth noting a lot of these heroes in this family like Cyclops and Havok and Jean (and Nate, though his was at least well-intentioned) have all turned evil at some point. And that's not counting the ancestors. In short, X-Men family trees may be messed up but they've still got nothing on the Big Screwed-Up Family that is the Grey-Summers clan.
  • While fairly mundane compared to some of these examples, the Chu family from Chew includes Tony (a cibopath — someone with Postcognition applying to anything (or anyone) he tastes), his fraternal twin Antonelle "Toni" ( a cibovoyant — essentially the precognitive version of a cibopath), his older sister Rosemary (who, along with her husband, absolutely hates Tony for unknown reasons), Olive ( Tony's daughter, who hates her dad in part because she inherited cibopathy from him), his younger brother Harold (a drag actor under the stage name "Miso Honey") and his older brother Chow (a professional chef who insists that the government faked the Bird Flu epidemic and so insists on involving himself in the illegal underground trading of poultry products).
  • Paperinik New Adventures: Where do we even begin with the Ducklairs? First off the father: Everett is one of the smartest minds on the planet but his Science-Related Memetic Disorder caused him to turn everything he touched into a superweapon: it took him several years of meditation far away from civilization to resolve that. He is also an alien escaped from planet Corona. He brought his daughters with him, to save them from becoming the queen of said planet. Unfortunately, due to a series of accidents upon their arrival on Earth, he left them when they were children and found them again as adults. He still has regrets over this. His daughters, Korinna and Juniper, are basically two kids trapped in adult bodies because of this, and they refuse to forgive him. They also plan to turn Earth into a new Corona. And then there is Serifa, Everett's wife and Korinna and Juniper's mother, who is just interested in using her children to obtain the title she never got. Man, is this enough for everybody?

    Comic Strips 
  • No matter what medium they appear in, The Addams Family is always a spectacular aversion of this. They might be creepy, kooky, spooky, mysterious, and ooky, but without exception, they all love each other dearly. Their level of affection for non-family members can vary widely.

    Fan Works 
  • Two examples in The Lion King Adventures:
    • Simba's family. He becomes a murderer in Series Five, his parents are possessed by aliens and his uncle is a psychopath. Not to mention his girlfriend's eyes glow red whenever she's feeling particularly evil.
    • Tama's family is just as bad. Her parents were abusive, three of her brothers were drowned and two of them ate each other.
  • Shinra High SOLDIER has two screwed up families which merge together through the marriage of their son and daughter. Let's begin with Julia, a sadistic, petty and arrogant psycho stemming from a violent, murderous, incestuous father and a highly emotionally unstable mother. Julia's husband Sephiroth is a cold-blooded, amoral and sadistic killer. Julia's father-in-law is the insane professor Hojo, whose main hobbies involve torturing and experimenting on teenagers and chopping people up with his battleaxe. The only seemingly normal member of the family is Tseng, Julia's foster brother, although even he begins displaying sociopathic tendencies toward the end of the story.
  • In Family Ties the canonical screwed up British Isles family arguments wind up causing World War III. The screwed up psyches and relationships are expanded on in Vincere and the related drabbles confirming Rape as Backstory for both England and Ireland and confirming Northern Ireland as a child by rape and Brother–Sister Incest.
  • In What About Witch Queen? it's implied that Von Schwalbe family is this. Among who we get to see of them, Hans attempted regicide, Michael considers killing his younger brother or seven-year-old niece to be par for the course, Margaret schemes to prolong a war and Friedrich has occasional attacks of Unstoppable Rage during which he can't even recognize whom he's attacking. When one of them has a mental breakdown, the others rush to him... because they want to grab the throne for themselves. Out of all of them, Ferdinand stands out like a White Sheep, and he considers his brother hugging him to be suspicious.
  • In The Strex Family, the titular group consists of a "father" (who happens to be a renegade angel and not all that much older than his eldest "son"), a son working in "reeducation", another son who has a Glasgow Grin and synthesia plus a rather unique form of reeducation, Half-Identical Twins who were genetically engineered and are actually fifteen years old while appearing thirty-something, one heart-of-gold son who keeps the rest in line, a son obsessed with knives, and a daughter who is generally a Spoiled Brat or Broken Bird depending on the day. And in Procedure, Carlos joins the group, and he's worse than all of them.
  • Inverted twice in the Pandora Hearts fanfic Beyond The Winding Road. The Tale family is rather large and not without its conflicts but still very open and healthy in dealing with its problems. The Lyman family, on the other hand, is small and consists mostly of strained or broken relationships.
  • When Harry learns he's adopted in Dark Dynasty and is reunited with his father, it should be a great thing... except that his father is Once Upon a Time Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One, infamous for trading babies and luring people into Deal with the Devil. Harry himself is born from Rumple's deal with Cora, meaning he's the Queen of Hearts'offspring and the Evil Queen's older half-brother - technically, as she's physically in her thirties and he's around twelve. Timey-Wimey Ball and all this.
    • It gets better: as Cora doesn't remember her son - courtesy of Dumbledore - she assaults him when they meet and later bargains with Pan for his death - for the record, Pan is Rumple's father, so Harry is targeted by his own granddad. Oh, and when they find Baelfire, the guy is revealed to be Sirius Black, making Harry his own brother's godson. And before that, Henry developed a crush on Harry, who's his - unknown to everyone - biological uncle by his father's side and adopted uncle by his mother's side. And because he came out to Snow White, she freaked out and kicked him outside.
    • As Emma perfectly resumes it:
    God, did she feel sorry for what that kid had to endure at Christmas.
  • Maud Pie in My Little Pony: Totally Legit Recap claims that her and Pinkie's family is this and is one the reason she comes close to completely cutting herself off from pony society to settle down with her rock family.
    Maud: Pinkie, look at our family's track record with offspring; I know we call our business a rock farm, but it would be more accurate to call it a personality disorder farm. Because that's the only thing we actually produce. It's better if I don't have biological offspring and I'll be happy with my rock children
  • In Infinity Crisis, Sara has issues with Black Siren while Thor is confronted by the returned Hela and the ‘ghost’ of Loki, and Thea muses that she thought she had a screwed-up family.
  • Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation: In the XXVth century, the descendants of the original Superman and Supergirl form a large family divided against itself by petty jealousies and conflicts. Suffice to say that the head of the House of El isn't sure who is scheming his son against: his brother or himself.
  • Nobody Dies: With the way the pairings are working out, the Ikaris and the Sohryus are going to have multiple connections, along with the continual creation of Rei descendants and the AIs, there's going to be a very large and extensive family tree of lunatics.
  • Blackbird (Arrow): Like many of Ray_Writes' stories, the Lances. It's telling that the person who ultimately came through for Laurel in the end was the ex-boyfriend who cheated on her with her sister (even if said ex-boyfriend has changed significantly since they last saw each other) and the aforementioned sister instead of her parents, who either failed to realize she had been kidnapped for three years (Quentin) or arranged the kidnapping to save her other daughter in order to assuage her own guilt (Dinah). In the end, despite the parents' desperate attempts to blame the family's issues on Oliver and his relationship with Laurel, all the relationship actually did was just expose and magnify the problems that were already there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: The Skywalkers, especially in the expanded universe. Marrying into said family has caused this to extend to the Solos as well. In the Bantam Era, the Solos and Skywalkers were relatively normal, well adjusted. It wasn't until Del Rey decided to inject massive amounts of wangst, killed off many popular child characters starting with Anakin Solo, as well as turning Jacen Solo into Jacen In Name Only that everything became messed up. Gets even more interesting in the Expanded Universe now that Jaina Solo (Han and Leia's daughter) has accepted a marriage proposal from Jag Fel. Jag's dad is defected Imperial Baron Soontir Fel, who married Wynssa Starflame...only, that wasn't her birth name. Y'see, she's Wedge's sister. Legacy establishes that Jaina and Jag establish a kinder, gentler version of The Empire, and their descendant is starting to flirt with Cade Skywalker in a Kissing Cousins scenario...

    Now that everything set after Episode VI has been wiped away and replaced with The Force Awakens you might hope things would be better for the Skywalkers. You would be horrifically wrong. There are familiar elements like Han and Leia's son turning to the Dark Side but it plays out in different and equally tragic ways. This family cannot catch a break.
  • The Godfather: The Corleones. They are a mafia family after all. And there's murders, assassinations, assassination of in-laws, fratricide...
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera:
    • The Largo family. It has Rotti, Pavi, Luigi, and Amber. They're constantly bickering, and Luigi and Amber are eerily close.
    • The Wallaces, Nathan and his daughter Shilo, are screwed up enough to count even though there are only two of them. Three if you count the heavy implication that Missing Mom Marni still hangs around as a ghost. But even aside from ghost mom, the fact that Nathan is poisoning Shilo to keep her dependent on him makes him count all on his own.
  • The Royal Tenenbaums. They'd probably be happier if it weren't for dad. Many elements of the film—particularly child prodigies' unfulfilled potential — are lifted from J.D. Salinger's Glass family stories.
  • The Pascals from The House of Yes. Insanity, incest, murder... all at one Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Winter's Bone: Nearly everyone in the area is related to one another, and almost all of them are meth-addicted and unhelpful in Ree's quest to find her father
  • Asgard's royal family in Thor, especially Odin and Loki. Thor and Loki go without saying. And that is before Thor: Ragnarok reveals that they have an even eviler older sister, Hela, who is also the Goddess of Death, and was imprisoned by their father a millennia ago for wanting to violently conquer all realms.
  • The Prescotts in the Scream series. Sidney's mother was the village bicycle who was murdered for breaking up a marriage, she had a long-lost half-brother who became a film director and then tried to kill her because "she got all the attention", her little cousin was a narcissistic, fame-hungry psychopath who engaged in mass murder to try and make herself a celebrity like Sidney, and of course, Sidney herself is frequently stalked by serial killers. Fortunately, by this point, Sidney has gotten very good at dealing with said serial killers.
  • Madea's family in Madea's Family Reunion. Her niece Lisa is in an abusive relationship with a man she doesn't love. Meanwhile, her sister Vanessa was allowed to be raped by her stepfather so that he wouldn't leave her mother, Victoria, who was sold by her junkie mother for 10 dollars and a fix.
  • Billy's family from the Black Christmas remake. Billy himself was born with a liver condition that caused his skin to turn yellow, but that's the least of it— his birth father (the only one who cared for him) was killed by his mother, who then locked him in the attic for most of his life. When her new husband was impotent she raped Billy resulting in the birth of his sister/daughter Agnes and making Billy even more The Un-Favourite, not to mention more insane. Eventually Billy snaps and murders (and eats) the parents but spares Agnes (mutilating her in the process). Years later he and Agnes reunite for a killing spree.
  • The Browns from Buffalo 66 fit this trope. The mom is a sports nut that ignores anything that doesn't have to do with the Buffalo Bills, the father is a basket case who lip-synchs to old records and accuses his son of trying to stab him (a knife was on the dinner table), and Billy is a Manchild who resorted to a life of crime.
  • Melancholia: The only issue-free person is Clair's little boy, who's also the only person who can make his severely depressed aunt smile. And then a planet falls on top of them.
  • The Essenbecks in The Damned (1969). A wealthy German steel family scheming, backstabbing and murdering each other to gain favor with the Nazis, several members sexually deviant (to be kind) or otherwise having skeletons in the closet.
  • The Talbots from The Wolfman (2010) got issues to say the least. To expand upon that, they're all either werewolves or have been murdered by werewolves.
  • The Brewsters of Arsenic and Old Lace are without exception either insane or homicidal or both. Our protagonist is delighted to discover he was adopted.
  • Cries and Whispers: The three aristocratic sisters who serve as the protagonists have an extremely strained relationship, aggravated by their personal flaws and situations in life. The eldest sister Karin is trapped in a loveless marriage and is repelled by any sort of intimacy, so she projects an aloof exterior to shield herself. The youngest, Maria, is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who's unashamed of cheating on her husband and toys with Karin. The middle sister Agnes does sincerely wish they were all close again, but she's rather obsessed with their dead mother and had a rivalry with Maria over Parental Favoritism when they were children.
  • In Crooked House: Aristide Leonides wanted to control every aspect of the lives of his family and insisted that they all live together in the one mansion. As a result, the entire house is a seething cauldron of rivalry, jealousy, insecurity, hatred and bitterness.
  • In What a Carve Up!, the general consensus is that the Brougham family is completely mad: including amongst members of the family. Ernie Brougham, who was unaware of this reputation, is deeply shocked. His best friend Syd, however, is completely unsurprised.
  • In Shy People, Ruth was married to an older abusive man at the age of 12, Tommy suffers from mental health issues and lives in a cage, Candy is pregnant while still in her teenage years, Mike is disowned by the mother and constantly at odds with her, and the whole family isolated from civilization and believes that they're being haunted by the ghost of the deceased family patriarch.

    Music 
  • The Tom Waits song "Cemetary Polka" runs through a list of aunts and uncles, each of whom is screwed up in their own unique way.
  • Most Anti Christmas Songs at least give a mention of having one of these that makes the holidays a special kind of hell.
  • "Dollhouse" by Melanie Martinez is about one of these. The protagonist's dad cheats on his wife, her mom is an alcoholic due to it but ignores the cheating, her brother uses illegal drugs, and yet they keep a facade of normality.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Greek mythology. Just about anyone with any relation to the gods falls under this, not to mention the gods themselves. And a lot of people were related to the gods.
    • The House of Atreus is the best example. Menelaus is the only adult member who doesn't commit some sort of unforgivable crime. Except for that time in Andromache when he threatened to murder her child if she didn't come out and admit she was bewitching his daughter Hermione, who was no bag of sunshine herself so that she would be barren; the plan was, naturally, to kill both Andromache and her little boy. Of course, that characterization can be attributed to Euripides's dislike of Sparta at the time.
    • The House of Thebes is another cursed dynasty. While the founder of the House Cadmus did quite well for himself and married Harmonia, the daughter of Ares, all of their descendants fared poorly. The most famous ones are of course Oedipus and company mentioned in the Theater folder.
  • Norse Mythology has this in spades. Whether it's Odin's family or Loki's many kids, there is always a reason to have a duel or a shouting match.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The McMahon family. At any given second during the heyday of the Attitude Era, you can count on a ton of dysfunction going on with this family, usually as a result of Vince McMahon. Even when it seems like they're all one big happy family, it's usually the result of one of them pulling a complicated plan. Just to give you an idea of how screwed up this family is, The Undertaker kidnapped daughter Stephanie in order to convince Vince to hand over the company to him...and then it was revealed that Vince was Undertaker's "Higher Power" and the person telling him to pull off this scheme in the first place, which means that Vince basically had his own daughter kidnapped. And that's not even going into all of the crap from 2000. This quote sums them up nicely:
    Triple H: What the hell kind of family did I marry myself into?!
  • The Hart Family is a real-life version. As are the Von Erichs, what's left of them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, the Giovanni Vampire clan fits the description (incestuous, power-grubbing necromancers) to a tee.
    • The new version, Vampire: The Requiem, brought them back as the Sangiovanni bloodline of the Mekhet in the Sourcebook Bloodlines: The Chosen. They're still one big, happy, inbred, necrophiliac family. You don't want to know how they got into the vampire business.
    • Likewise the inbred, insanely wealthy Crassus family is the Ghoul equivalent. Their masters use them not as servants or proxies, but as playthings.
    • Really, any ghoul family is this (VTM calls them "revenant families"). The Crassus just have the advantage of wealth.
    • Frankly, the Giovanni clan takes this Up to Eleven. How does an incestuous family of necrophiliac vampire mobsters take things too far, you ask? They've also married into the Dunsirns of Scotland, an equally inbred Cannibal Clan of corrupt bankers.
  • The Whateleys from Deadlands. Brother–Sister Incest, worship of evil spirits, locking less "viable" family members in the attic, and allowing their patron demon to consume the newest, youngest member of the family corporeally to become a god on Earth. Also, the entire family has incredibly weird genetics from swimming around in a shallow gene pool for so damn long. C'mon. Admit it. You're dying to create one of your very own (who is, of course, a nice guy). Bear in mind if you do make one, however, that yours is going to be from a fairly distant branch. That's the only way to make them playable. How bad does it get? Looking at the Family Tree in their Family Bible can cause Sanity Slippage.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Ravenloft setting was born from this trope. It's got enough of these families to write a book about how screwed up they are... and Arthaus did so, with Legacy of the Blood: Great Families of the Core.
    • The Karanok family in the Forgotten Realms city of Luthcheq is filled with insane devotees to the "god" called "Entropy," which seeks the destruction of all magic. The 2nd Edition sourcebook Old Empires details a few members of the family, and explicitly states that DMs should feel free to come up with however many more evil lunatics in the family he or she wants.
  • An epic case of this resulting in betrayal, a bloodbath and the shattering of an empire is the main backstory of the unimaginably brutal setting of Warhammer 40,000. It involves The Emperor and his twenty cloned sons, and various cases of Parental Favoritism, Cain and Abel, The Un-Favourite, and others, culminating in the great betrayal known as the Horus Heresy.

    Just the highlights: Horus was chock full of pride and superiority; Leman Russ didn't see anything suspicious with his father ordering an execution of Russ's own brother; Angron never forgave the Emperor and was always on the edge of Unstoppable Rage; Lorgar tried worshiping his father as a god; the Emperor himself never told his children anything and mistrusted them; Konrad Curze tortured the White Sheep Vulkan to prove his theories; Fulgrim cut the head of his best friend and brother Ferrus; and all the Primarchs jumped at each other's throats the moment Horus switched sides.
  • At one point or another, every ruling family in BattleTech has been like this. House Liao is probably the most obviously screwed up, with a long history of internecine familial conflict up to and including secession, terrorism, assassination and abortive coups (all in the same generation even). The Kuritas of the Draconis Combine are also notorious for killing each other off to ascend to the Coordinatorship, and while there are many members of the family with diverse goals, these too spend most of their time putting on an external visage of cooperation while attempting mutual treachery behind closed doors. The Clan invasion dampened this tendency somewhat, but it probably says something that a minor member of the ruling family far from succession who was quietly plotting in the background to weaken their enemy, the Clans, via cultural and psychological warfare was suspected of conspiring to claim the throne instead, and was nearly assassinated by the Secret Police for helping his nation. As most of its ruling caste are connected by their bloodlines thanks to the enormous importance placed on genetics and Designer Babies, the Clans are all in essence big screwed up families on their own. Even members of the same blood house were known to plot against each other politically, which was seen as especially serious business.
  • The Shiawase clan in Shadowrun, and by extension the Mega-Corp that bears their name. Shiawase (the corporation) prides itself on its 'corporate family' image, where employees are born, baptised, married and buried under the aegis of the corporation and considered 'part of the family'. Naturally, this means it's the mega most prone to infighting, as family members (both literal and figurative) struggle over their shared fortunes. Shadowrunners can make good money exploiting this tendency.

    Theater 
  • The Hubbard family in The Little Foxes. The planned first-cousin marriage between Alexandra and Leo would not have been the first in the family. The Hubbard siblings are all greedy and selfish and loathe each other. Leo's father Oscar basically forces Leo to steal $75,000 in bonds from his uncle Horace.
  • The Brewster family Arsenic and Old Lace, to the extent the only sane one in the family turns out not to be blood-related.
  • The Duke's family of The Revenger's Tragedy. Brothers and stepbrothers conspire to have each other executed and actually end up stabbing each other later in the play, the mother sleeps with her step-son, the youngest brother is a rapist, and the Duke himself has a history of having women who reject him poisoned.
    • The 2002 film adaptation just makes matters worse by styling the brothers as camp cyber-punk/glam-rock types and ramping up the incestuous subtext (e.g. the Duchess and Junior after Junior is arrested, not to mention Ambitioso and Supervacuo's somewhat excessive hand-holding and pawing at each other)
  • The Capulets in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Juliet's father decides to marry her off against her wishes a day after her cousin gets killed, to "cheer her up", and when Juliet protests he threatens to let her "beg, starve, die on the streets!" He also hits his wife, but when Juliet goes to her mother for sympathy, she's equally nasty. The musical went ahead and added incest (by some people's standards) into the mix by presenting Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, as also being in love with her. The Hungarian adaptation of the musical took this even further by making him epileptic (probably as a result of an injury incurred as part of his harsh, almost military upbringing as a designated champion for his family in their feud with the Montagues — who interestingly don't seem to fit this trope) and having a pervasive level of sexual tension with Lady Capulet, who at least knows well enough to firmly turn him down when he tries to lunge at her and kiss her. For that matter, Lady Capulet is cheating on her husband with a servant and ends up a Lady Drunk after Tybalt's death.
  • Laius, Jocasta and Oedipus, Polyneices and Eteocles, Antigone, Ismene and Creon, Eurydice and Haemon...no one in the entire family catches a break throughout Sophocles's Theban plays Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, and The Progeny.
  • Seneca's Thyestes and The Oresteia of Aeschylus:
  • The Lion in Winter, play and film. Henry II of England, his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, three sons, and one French king (who's also the boyfriend of one of the princes). Oh, and the French king's half-sister Alais, who is betrothed to one of the princes and is also Henry's mistress. Each plot against most or all of the others, over the course of the story. Lampshaded by Eleanor: "All families have their little ups and downs."
  • Alison's House: Alison fell in love with a married man. John was in a loveless marriage despite loving another woman, Ann's mother. Eben and Louise don't even seem to like each other. Elsa has gone away with a married man. Only Ted seems untroubled, and his banality is a dramatic contrast to the rest of the family. Ted, the youngest child, is symbolic of the new age.
  • A Delicate Balance: Agnes and Tobias haven't slept together in a long time, and their marriage has descended to a bitter Agnes passively-aggressively sniping at a weak-willed Tobias. There's Agnes's sister Claire, who is pretty much permanently drunk. They had a son who died young. Their daughter is calling it quits on her fourth marriage.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The Fey Family has a long history of in fighting, in murder, and dysfunction. The Kurain Master position is usually held by the oldest daughter of the Master, but Misty Fey turned out to be more powerful than her sister Morgan and stole the position out from under her, dooming Morgan Fey to become the "branch family". Her rage at this and her desire to make her daughter Pearl the next master leads her to try and get rid of Maya twice. The first by framing her for murder, the second by getting Pearl to channel her other daughter Dahlia, who would then murder Maya in Pearl's body. Did we mention Pearl is nine? And her father divorced because, in Kurain village, men are pretty much useless since only women inherit psychic powers.
    • Surprisingly subverted with the von Karmas. While Manfred von Karma himself is an Amoral Attorney of the highest caliber and murdered Miles Edgeworth's father before adopting him with intention of raising him to be another Amoral Attorney before having him convicted of his own father's murder fifteen years later, he seems to have treated both Miles and Franziska with no more unkindness than your average demanding parent. The murder thing is still sort of messed up, though.
    • Although not all of them are actually related, Troupe Gramarye from Apollo Justice certainly fit this trope. Accidental shootings, blackmail, suicide, frame-ups... Trucy's lucky that she's not being raised by them, really. Same goes for Apollo.
  • The Matou/Makiri in Fate/stay night. Although they're not a big family anymore (if they ever were) they more than make up for it in how screwed-up they are. Not the best family to give your extra daughter away to.
    • Also the Einzberns. Chasing after the Holy Grail and nothing but the Holy Grail for a thousand years? Turning your girl children into homunculi? Trying to summon the devil to win the Grail War? They must be so pissed when the Grail is destroyed in every route without Ilya ever even getting to the finals.
    • Really, this trope seems to apply to pretty much every mage family since only one child can inherit the family magic with each generation with siblings being kept in the dark about magic at best or made servants (without the capital "S") to the heir. Even Tokiomi Tohsaka, a relatively moral mage claiming to be acting in his family's best interests describes the idea of Rin and Sakura growing up and one eventually killing the other as an ideal situation.
  • The Tohnos of Tsukihime are kind of this trope as well. Luckily, it seems they've been killing themselves and each other for so long that by the end there's only Akiha and the relatively normal branch families left. Yay?
  • Little Busters! has the Saigusa family, once fairly powerful but gradually lost it, and got a little screwed up as a result, mandating all daughters have TWO husbands from other powerful families, somehow this managed to work out for a while. Things get complicated when one of the husbands doesn't stand for itnote , and breaks into and kills some of the higher-ups in the family, and then twins are born of both him and the second husband. The family doesn't want the daughter of 'that' man to drag the name of the family down, so the family, unaware of which is the daughter of which, decides that the twins should compete at everything, and the 'worse' twin is declared the 'bad' daughter and gets to enjoy ridicule and beatings for things as little as using her left, her dominant hand, because its different, and gets beaten for screwing up when she uses her right. To make things even more fun, the 'good' twin was raised by a branch family while they were 'competing', a branch family that believes belts are a good motivator, just ask the scars on her back. She's also told to hate and pick on her sister, lest she wants to take her place.
  • Exaggerated in School Days: Makoto's father is such a notorious womanizer that his son winds up having sex with several members of his family throughout the series. In fact, one of the main heroines in the series, Sekai, is actually his paternal double half-niece because her mother Youko is his sister!
  • Umineko: When They Cry features the Ushiromiya family. Oddly enough, though, they also qualify as a Badass Family.
    • Starting with the family head, Kinzo, who is completely insane, obsessed with black magic and with the Golden Witch, Beatrice, who happens to be a Legacy Character, and in fact is based on two people: his mistress Beatrice Castiglioni, and his daughter Beatrice II, with whom he had a child with through rape. He's also hostile to his own children and is, in fact, dead.
    • His eldest son, Krauss, is a failure as an investor and doesn't get along with his siblings for being a Manipulative Bastard. This causes much stress for his wife Natsuhi (a girl from an Impoverished Patrician clan, whose Arranged Marriage to Krauss was brought up as a way to pay off the family's debts to Kinzo), who in turn puts a lot of pressure on their daughter Jessica to be a suitable heiress to the family (even though it's her future husband who will be the head, not her), especially since Krauss and Natsuhi couldn't have a child after trying for years. In fact, poor Natsuhi has so much baggage over not being able to produce an heir sooner that when she's given a child to raise by Kinzo, she pushes a servant who was looking after the child off a cliff because the child reminded her of her failure. Said child later starts making creepy calls to Natsuhi and possibly attempted to frame her for murder.
      • Said child is actually a result of Kinzo's Parental Incest with his mistress's daughter. Said child grows up in an orphanage and brought as a servant to the family, and orchestrates the murders that occur on the island.
    • His eldest daughter Eva has some major issues with her older brother and treats Natsuhi poorly, not to mention they pretty much had a "competition" to see who'd first give birth to a child who could be appointed as successor. She also dislikes Shannon, and is against her relationship with Eva's son, George. When she finds the gold in Episode Three, she becomes a witch and basically goes insane. Beyond that, in Episode 6, when George tells her he's going to marry Shannon, she basically goes insane again, and George kills her. Not to mention how Kinzo denied her the right to be the successor despite her intelligence and investing talent, solely for her gender. Except in one timeline.
    • His other son, Rudolf, is a known philanderer. This philandering, in fact, caused his own son Battler (the main protagonist) to leave for six years when he remarried way too soon after the death of his first wife. It has also caused a lot of Epileptic Trees since the fourth arc regarding Battler's parentage. As for that remarriage? The woman he married and with whom he had Ange, Kyrie, is a Yandere Runaway Fiancé who leaves her younger sister Kasumi to be forced into her own Arranged Marriage with the ditched fiance. Kasumi herself goes insane, abuses poor Ange and tries to get revenge years later. In fact, it's implied that Kyrie goaded Rudolf into trying to murder everyone on the island except Battler in an attempt to gain the inheritance money. It blows up in their face. Literally.
    • The youngest daughter, Rosa, is a horribly Abusive Mom towards her daughter, Maria. This is because she is incredibly stressed out as a young, single mother whose husband left her, and even now, she's trying to convince him to come back by cosigning a loan for him that threw her deep into debt. He, of course, has no intention of returning, and Rosa knows that even as she tries to do this. Some of the abuse also comes from her own frustration at having been bullied by her siblings when she was a kid, which Rudolf comes to acknowledge at some point. And it's later shown that, again as a kid, she tried to help Beatrice Ushiromiya aka Beatrice II to escape... but she died, and the adult Rosa still blames herself for it.
  • In Long Live the Queen all the noble families are screwed-up in some fashion, but the biggest is the family of the Duchess Arisse of Lillah. Her three marriages, as well as the marriages of her children, have secured her immense power, enough to be called Nova's Eastern Queen. Too bad this resulted in her being the Only Sane Woman leading a family of broken and messed-up individuals.
    • Her stepson from her first marriage turned out to be a Depraved Homosexual who abused and killed an ever increasing number of servants. Eventually, it became too much and Arisse had him killed.
    • Her second husband, a commoner, possibly raped a teenaged duchess and "seduced" her (Arisse's) son Kevan who was either a preteen or in his early to mid-teens at the time it started. When Arisse found out about this she tried to make him stop and when that failed she had him killed as well.
    • Kevan became estranged from his mother and ended up as a rage-fueled Jerkass Woobie, obsessively devoted to his family to a suicidal degree. He also moved in with his older sister and the two got a little too close for comfort.
    • The whole "affair" was discovered when a very young Thaddeus walked in on his father and half-brother, an event that made him rebellious, broody and gave him extreme trust issues he never quite got over.
    • And finally there is Arisse's stepson from her third marriage, who is constantly targeted by assassins send by a foreign duke who is set to inherit his lands if he dies. His mother was also the woman who was most likely raped by Arisse's husband number two.
  • Grisaia no Kajitsu: Makina and Yumiko's family is this, both are extremely wealthy and powerful:
    • Yumiko's grandfather was an empty soulless man, who was only concerned with endlessly expanding his company, in any ways necessary, he also made his son into a puppet, turning him into the same empty shell of a human being that he was. Yumiko's mother was a nice person, but her parents didn't really care about her, or her daughter, only seeing them as assets that tie them to the wealthy and influential Sakaki side of the family.
    • Makina's mother is psychopathic womanchild, only caring about herself and furthering her own agenda, and had taken part in ordering the assassination of Makina's father, her own husband, the only decent person in the family, for trying to come clean of the corrupted family. The Irisu family as a whole is split into two, the main family and branch family, who are constantly warring between themselves for the leadership of the family, not being afraid of using any method (assassination, harassment, etc.) to grab power.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick has this with Elan, his Evil Twin Nale, and their also evil father Tarquin who raised Nale after divorcing Elan's mother. Elan is a Chaotic Good bard who likes his role as support, Nale is an egotistical villain with complexity addiction, and Tarquin takes being Genre Savvy to the level of outright treating people like characters in a story who can be replaced. This means Tarquin is a control freak who wants to tell the greatest story ever with himself as the villain, Nale wants to usurp his father since he doesn't care for storytelling tropes, and Elan deeply wishes they could all just get along despite knowing that there's little to no chance of it. In the end it leads to Nale's death at Tarquin's hands and Elan eventually rejecting his father entirely in a weaponized anti-climax as the only thing that would hurt Tarquin as much as Nale's death hurt Elan.
  • The descendants of Melete and Syllor, so much to the point where Melete doesn't want anything to do with her family, not even the nice ones. They can't even be divided into "bad" and "okay" - it's more like "avoid if you value your life" and "decently tolerable".
  • In God Mode Marceline's family seems really screwed up. But what can you expect when red eyes run in a family?
  • At least three of the 11 noble families from Tower of God.
    • The Zahard family, comprised of the King of the Tower and his adopted daughters, is by nature of the adoption requirements full of rather peculiar individuals, but the most disturbing thing is that there is a strict rule against romance, dating, and sex that is enforced with the threat of assassination.
    • The Koon family, which is quite the inverse: The family head, Koon Eduan, is a notorious playboy and has the greatest amount of wives throughout the whole tower. His children are basically are uncountable so that when two meet they have to confirm that they really are of the same family, despite rather obvious signs. Family branches easily fall out of grace and Koon Agero Agnis's experiences with his family lead him to mistrust everybody. Children who don't win a competition against one of their brothers get kicked out of the family at the tender age of ten.
    • Finally, there is the Hendo family. The name of the head, Hendo Lok Bloodmadder, is fitting. The less you know about them, the better.
  • Girl Genius takes a mostly-feudal society with Real Life amount of grand scheming and backstabbing and adds an equal amount of mad scientists, so it's an entirely expectable result for many nobles.
    • Valois/Sturmvoraus/Other-Last-Names-in-the-Line clan look like this. At least, Tarvek called it "a bunch of evil-minded, cynical, backstabbing old fools" and mentioned that "the only caretaker who showed him love or kindness" was a construct usually seen in the moods from "foul" to "murderously foul" and whom Tarvek himself defined as "terrifying". According to Tarvek, the only way to keep them in line would be to bury them in a cemetery. Oh, and his sister slowly died because their father tried to upload into her brain a copy of the insane lady he was infatuated with. And the level of abuse his distant cousin Violetta constantly piles on Tarvek from her introduction on was already adjusted for the discovery that he pulled her butt out of a big meat grinder not long before. And Violetta's deeply moved by the death of one particular relative, because she's pretty sure Aunt Margolotta never tried to kill her... or at least never tried very hard, which by Sturmvoraus standards is "She was always nice to me".
      Tarvek: And how is it even possible you're on my side here?
      Violetta: Oh, well, you know, family...
      Tarvek: That means I should be looking for the knife in my back.
    • The Heterodyne family was known primarily for their bloodthirsty and tyrannical ways until Bill and Barry gave the family a bit of an image makeover with their heroics. Armored toys in the nursery is a telltale sign, though little iron cages were used more sparingly.
    • The Mongfishes aren't much better. Case in point: Lucrezia and her sister Serpentina. Then the rest of their clan trying to subvert Lucrezia's minions and hijack her scheme — not because they disagree about the whole Zombie Apocalypse thing, they only want a good share of its fruits.
    • And then there's Lucrezia and her other sister, Demonica, not to mention Demonica's daughter Zola. During a complicated argument between The Other and Zola, she simply asks why Zola, whom she'd knocked out, strapped down and prepared to hijack with her own brain, doesn't just give her the information she needed earlier. Zola's only response is a meaningful silence.
  • The Masters Family in Chess Piece fit this rather well. Danny's cousins both seem to want to boink him. One is much younger and the other has tried poisoning him.
  • The bloodline-obsessed Jansen clan and the Calley family in Concession. Raj Jansen, the good ol' Evil Matriarch of the clan, had one of her nieces raped in order to carry on her bloodline, and ...Jesus Christ. Joel Calley is a Satanist with magical powers and one of the most massive and convoluted evil plans I've ever seen, because his brother Julian murdered Joel's twin sister Miranda when they were kids AND took over his late father's company rather than letting his mother have it. The aforementioned father was a religious douchebag, a "Well Done, Son!" Guy and, possibly, an Abusive Parent. The only one who seems anywhere near normal is Lorelei Calley. Oh wait, she's tried to seduce several of Joel's friends (including his boyfriend, unsuccessfully). Never mind.
  • In Digger there's Grim Eyes, whose mother went insane and beat up her father, further encouraged by her aunt due to jealousy. When she was born, her mother started abusing her as well, and her father killed her in order to protect his daughter, resulting in his exile from the tribe and leaving her all alone. In short, the only member of her family who wasn't completely insane ended up leaving her. It's a wonder she grew up to be relatively normal and stable.
  • Drowtales, let us count the ways. First off, the Val'Sarghress ruling family—Quain has Mel locked up and possibly raped and stole her daughter to raise as her own, Laelle is dead and being used as some kind of creepy golem, Syphile hated herself and pretty much everyone around her. Her son is pretty much the only one who turned out alright, and given that drow society is matriarchal, this isn't really something for Quain to be proud of. The Val'Sharen clan is also screwed up: Snadhya'runes, Zala'ess, and Sarv'swati made a coup against Diva'ratrika, their own mother, and blamed their sister for it. During this, Zala'ess suggested they take Diva's dead body and hang it naked from the gate, and although her sisters vetoed the idea, it was on the grounds that there were too many chances to be seen rather than that it was distasteful. After forcing Sii'lice into hiding, they tainted Nishi'kanta by force. And the Vloz'ress clan: fronted by an insanely powerful sorceress with the mind of a child who likes to turn people into dolls and can swallow the auras of others, now led by Kiel, who is the equivalent of fifteen or sixteen, and pretty much tainted to the core.
  • There's the royal family of Spain, the Estabens, of Pacificators. The King set up a contest between his four children to see who would inherit his throne. What's this contest? A war. Princess Belinda managed to mislead her brothers, so nobody died in this war. In response to this, the King named her the heir. Oh, and he knew that she was poisoning him the whole time.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has the Soulstealer family. Lorenda grew up with a single mom because her mother, Kria, ate her boyfriend, Lorenda's dad, for cheating on her. Beyond that, Kria is a mass-murdering cannibalistic whim-driven Dirty Old Woman. Her uncle Aliph is better known as Dark Pegasus, a would-be conquering Evil Overlord who created the arts of necromancy and the undead. Lorenda herself has been shown engaging in murder/cannibalism. The most normal member is Lorenda's adoptive brother Devin, who's an undead ex-slave that Kria used to keep and decided to rear after Aliph's spell to redefine the undead suffered a case of Gone Horribly Right and he went from a mindless zombie to a full-fledged sentient.
  • In Urban Underbrush, the rabbits can choose one of five screwed-up Christmas by joining any of their friends.
  • The Travorias in Dominic Deegan, White Sheep Luna was mistreated by the rest of her family because of her orc-like teeth (result of a curse), her mother tried to drive her to suicide, one of her sisters had a habit of enchanting rich men into challenging her husband to duels to the death then claiming their money afterwards, another sister is a lawyer (and the second most ethical of the lot after Luna), and the third sister was an assassin.
  • The titular family of The Scumthorpe Files. Most of the members of this large clan despise each other, and the patriarch — Larry Scumthorpe — is a Stupid Evil Corrupt Corporate Executive who cares about nothing but money. Of Larry's 8 children, one is a Supervillain, another is a Basement-Dweller, and there's also the good-for-nothing loser and the psychopathic Serial Killer. The most well-adjusted person in the whole family, Lester, is a Tiberium mutant.
  • The Lashiecs from Heartcore are as screwy as they come, which is not helped at all by the fact that they are a family of demons. Amethyst has a major bone to pick with her father Royce after forcibly syphoning her power and scarring her. Her mother, Lilium, also doesn't care much for Royce and tends to but heads with Ame as well. Sukina gets along well with her big sister Ame, while Royce is not above hurting her to get Ame's goat. Not to mention, Carval is her half-brother, being reincarnated from Volaster and "fathered" by Royce, and he's certainly not above blowing Ame to bits (or anyone else: he's bloody insane!).
  • Implied by Anpu in Godslave when he calls his family "terrible". Then there's a fact that Heru convinced all the rest to lock Anpu up in a jar for two thousand years, Oziris is a living corpse and Isis once set a child on fire.
  • Precocious: The Et clan. Every member of the Et's extended family seems to be either a kook, a crook, a thrill-seeker, a mad scientist, or just a bit touched in the head. Even the Ets we know are scared of their family.

    Web Original 
  • New Vindicators has plenty of examples of this trope, including the Seven Fallen Seraphim and their extended families, since they're all older than history and their children are the reason for Neo-Sapiens in the first place. The Loder dynasty is another-there are superheroes, supervillains, a superhero grandpa who gets de-aged, and one of Magnus Loder's cousins eventually turns out to be an immortal who, in one timeline, puts himself up as a god and rules the solar system for decades.
  • The Fiametta triplets from Survival of the Fittest v4. One (Rosa) is pretty much the poster girl for Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, and has been known to hit on Anything That Moves, another (Frankie) regularly uses drugs, and the last, and the one male out of the three (Ilario), not only is heavily pressured by his father, but has to look after the other two in spite of actually being the youngest (albeit by a matter of minutes), and is somewhat neurotic as a result. You can add to that mix a clueless stepmother with no emotional connection to the children whatsoever and a father who only really cares about his son, showing it by... insisting that he must perform well at school and more or less ignoring his daughters.
  • Lawn Justice: Every time a new member of Shelly or Ophelia's family is revealed, it gets a little more screwed up. And now that Shelly is pregnant, probably with Oscar's baby, which combines the two families it's going to get much, much worse.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device the Emperor is quick to list the flaws of all of his sons, both loyal and disloyal (apart from Sanguinus), making it look like this is the case. Magnus' recount of him being bullied by others for his psyker powers (and the Emperor, their father, doing nothing about it) supports this theory. As Horus Heresy can attest you, this is very much canon. Corvus Corax seems to agree in this regard; when he finds himself in the middle of a traitor Primarch panicking after having killed one of his Loyalist brothers to be par for the course as far as the family goes, and is really only missing more death and despair.
    "It shall be a regular family reunion. Awful, awkward and an atrocity upon family values."
  • Whateley Universe: Sara Waite has one fucked up family. Let's see... Her daddy is Gothmog, Demon Lord of Lust and Perversion; her mother mutated into a freakish Deep One thing that drives Sara (then known as Michael) insane when (the then) he killed her; the Necromancer is her uncle; her blood-sister is the ultimate elvish Faerie Queen; her family tree includes several Great Old Ones; Tennyo, if actually part of the Mythos, is possibly a relative, and therefore Sociopathic Hero and Hello Kitty fan, Jade, would be too (adopted); Sara herself is an omnisexual, tentacle-raping, part-demon, part-were, part-fey, part-Deep One, part-Great Old One, part-human who is supposed to destroy the world, but decided to Screw Destiny.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers there's the Cain-Davis family, of which Herbert and Psyche are probably the two most prominent members. Nearly every member of the extended family that's been shown onscreen is either evil, highly traumatised, just kind of a jerk, or some mixture of the three. The few decent ones almost always seem to end up dead or broken.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Carolina's family is this. Her mother/Allison was never around much and died when Carolina was young. Her father/the Director acted very coldly towards her and barely acknowledged Carolina as his daughter, being obsessed with trying to bring back his dead wife. The closest thing Carolina has to siblings are tortured A.I.s, created at the hands of her father and all have varying issues (suffering PTSD, being Ax-Crazy, murdering Freelancers and taking the other A.I. fragments to become metastable, attempting suicide, etc)
  • RWBY: Jacques Gelé married the heiress of the global Dust corporation, the Schnee Dust Company solely to take control over the company. He has no interest in his wife beyond obtaining her prestigious surname (Schnee) and the power that name gives him, and he has no interest in his three children beyond what they can do to further his business goals. The loveless marriage has driven Mrs. Schnee to drink and she now takes no part in the lives of either her husband or her children even though she still lives with them. Jacques has an ongoing grudge against General Ironwood, solely because his oldest daughter Winter managed to escape his suffocating control by joining the Atlesian military, and he has attempted to indefinitely imprison his second daughter Weiss in her bedroom rather than permit her to pursue her own life goals. Whitley, his youngest child, only handled his father's cold, manipulative and controlling behaviour by allowing himself to be moulded into a carbon-copy of his father. As a result, he places himself into a position to benefit from the disinheriting of his rebellious sisters so that he is the sole heir to the Schnee Dust Company, even if it means having to permanently destroy any trust or sibling bond between himself and Weiss.
  • SCP Foundation has the Brights. Adam and Evelyn Bright, both wealthy and powerful members of the O5 Council, married and had five anomalous children - which, given that they're the heads of an organization dedicated to capturing and imprisoning anomalous beings, inevitably leads to a certain degree of screwed-up-ness. Generations later, there's a whole lot of Brights within the upper echelons of the Foundation and in many of the Groups of Interest, and they're all scheming to steal power from each other and doing horrible things to each other in the name of ideology. The tale Code Brown depicts one of their family reunions, which goes about as well as one might expect.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • If you count her creations as her children, Princess Bubblegum's "family" counts. Her "son," Lemongrab, was "the first of her experiments gone wrong," and has an Ambiguous Disorder due to some kind of error in his creation. He's a perpetually unhappy, sour, bitter, angry, isolated person who was sent by Princess Bubblegum to a castle outside of the Candy Kingdom walls, presumably to keep him away from everyone else. And they DESPISE each other. If you think about their family situation long enough, it gets very depressing.
    • Bubblegum eventually created a second Lemongrab to keep the original company. The two discovered how to create candy life of their own and made a bunch of other Lemon children. The Lemongrab family is even more screwed-up than the Candy Kingdom, and may be almost as big.
    • Cinammon Bun isn't much more functional, but he at least seems to be happy in his weirdness.
    • Goliad is even worse than Lemongrab. She isn't even a day old before she decides that she wants to be The Social Darwinist tyrant. She also has incredible Psychic Powers. It's not a good combination. Her "brother" Stormo seems like a pretty good guy, if locking himself into psychic combat with his sister for all eternity to keep her from ruling the Candy Kingdom with an iron fist is any indication.
  • The Fire Nation royal family in Avatar: The Last Airbender fits this trope to a T. Zuko's great-grandfather Sozin was an idealistic man who started a war he ended up regretting at the end of his life, which included the murder of his best friend. and the genocide of all a nation, except only one. His son was a brutal tyrant who got angry and demanded that his younger son murder his grandson. Said son, Ozai, was going to do it before his wife murdered her father-in-law. Their children are psychologically damaged, though at least the son repents and ends up leading the Fire Nation at the end. Iroh is a good man but was politically marginalized and only able to help provide a good example for his nephew. Commenting on it later, Toph says that given what his family was like Zuko actually turned out a lot better than you might have expected. Ironically enough, Zuko’s family come the time Korra takes place seems to be the most normal of the Gang’s. He’s retired to let his daughter be Fire Lord (she only speaks in one scene but she comes off as very well adjusted and wise), his grandson is in the military and helps Korra on occasion, and he has a granddaughter who was never mentioned.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • In Book 2, Korra's family shows signs of this, at least until Unalaq's defeat.
    • Later, in Books 3 and 4, the extended Beifong family is effectively this, due to a police incident involving Lin and Suyin Beifong. It only gets worse in Book 4, where Baatar Jr., Suyin's oldest son, is engaged to that Book's Big Bad, and former protege of Suyin, Kuvira.
  • Bojack Horseman: It's small wonder that Bojack is so unstable given his family. His father was an abusive jerk who took out his frustrations at being unable to fulfill his dreams of being an author on his family. His mother took out her frustrations with everything on Bojack. We later find out that her family was also broken. That said, the series also makes the point of not excusing or justifying any of Bojack's mistakes and wrongdoings with his shitty childhood.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The Unos. Nigel Uno, aka Numbuh 1, the main protagonist of the series, is the greatest KND operative on the planet and also a Properly Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist. His Bumbling Dad, Monty Uno, is a decommissioned Numbuh 0, founder of the Seventh Age of the Kids Next Door. His brother and Nigel's uncle, Benedict Uno, is Father, the Big Bad of the series. Benedict's children and Nigel's cousins are the Delightful Children from Down the Lane, who also happen to be the permanently Brainwashed and Crazy long lost Sector Z. To top it off, Nigel's grandfather is Grandfather, the Predecessor Villain and Greater-Scope Villain of the series, whose rule and subsequent downfall were the impetus for the start of the Seventh Age. Not even Nigel's mother, who married into the family, is immune — she's Numbuh 999, the first female operative of the Kids Next Door.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The Bagges as a family have equal shares in baldness, glasses and heartlessness especially when combined with a fell need for profit. Ma Bagge who is the oldest seen member certainly paved the way that her two sons would tread. The oldest named Horst was encouraged by her to prove himself through being a hunter (of sapient deer) and make a fortune through any means (as she herself did as an unscrupulous wig-making executive), which for him ended up meaning stealing the mountain-land from the population of goats and kicking them off a cliff. The younger, Eustace, was simply neglected and abused as he was considered unworthy and incapable of anything great, which in an way encouraged him to end up an unhappy, miserable jerk who...likewise abuses his dog Courage and isn't kind to almost anyone and has his fair share of crimes motivated by greed and spite like the rest of his family, just less successfully.
  • The Lanes from Daria certainly qualify. The parents are never home, leaving major character Jane and brother Trent to fend for themselves. Speaking of them, while Jane is comparatively normal, she's still quite jaded, while Trent is a lazy burnout who's never worked a day in his life. The rest of the kids are even worse: Penny is bitter and spends most of her time peddling handcrafts, Wind is an overemotional man who's been divorced at least 3 times, Summer is worn down by raising 3 out-of-control kids, and the rest of their family hates them, including an alcoholic self-proclaimed bum, and a grandmother who screams "What the Hell is wrong with you?" into Jane's ear.
  • Ed and Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy are implied to have bad families. The former has parents who are abusive and his mother is seemingly far too submissive to his bratty little sister Sarah and the latter has two abusive parents who berate him for his bad grades and an abusive Big Brother Bully.
    • Interestingly averted with Double D, not only because of his being an only son but while it's implied that his parents are hardly ever around, being so busy with work that they mostly communicate with him through sticky notes, they do at least do somewhat care for him with said notes.
  • The Griffin family in later seasons of Family Guy have become a complete incarnate of this trope. To the point where they're just as screwed-up as the Barones.
  • Gravity Falls: The Northwest Family are very reputable throughout Gravity Falls, but we get hints about them not being as good as they appear: Pacifica's jerk behavior, and her father Preston's "encouragement" of his daughter: "You're a Northwest. Don't lose." Then it turns out the whole family has been one 150-year-long line of cheats and swindlers, starting with their distant ancestor Nathaniel Northwest, who was chosen as a "patsy mayor" and seems to have amassed his fortune based on a fake reputation as a pioneer hero. Preston himself is a classist creep who was willing to endanger his party guests by not following through on an old curse and let the townspeople enjoy a party, just to maintain his sophisticated image. Not to mention treating Pacifica like a dog, including controlling her Pavlov-style with a bell, and encouraging her Alpha Bitch attitude. Pacifica herself seems to be averting this, putting aside her prejudices and ending the 150-year-old curse by opening her family's party to the town. Her name means 'Peaceful', after all.
  • The Patakis in Hey Arnold!. Abusive father, alcoholic mother, one daughter that pretends to be the perfect girl is massively messed up on the inside, and another daughter that's overly grumpy, and, compared to the rest, looks like the Only Sane Man in this screwed-up setting. Not really big as a family, but quite big in name, though. It's the nearest of a really screwed-up family one could see in a kids' show. Interestingly, both Helga and Olga each see each other as "getting the better deal from their parents". Helga just wants to be noticed by her parents, darn it! But they're too busy pouring all their love and adoration on her perfect older sister Olga. Unfortunately, Olga (who is not perfect, she just seems that way) is being crushed under her parents' ridiculously high standards, and a lifetime of this has turned her into a neurotic Extreme Doormat, deathly afraid of even the slightest hint of The B Grade. She is incredibly envious of Helga's freedom to be her own person, away from the ever-watchful eyes of her parents.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has the Demon Sorcerers, Shendu's brothers and sisters. While Shendu was imprisoned in a statue, they were banished to a prison dimension and hate Shendu for never trying to release them (even before his imprisonment). They're not above annoying each other whenever. Then there's Shendu's relationship with his son Drago. In the finale, while they're Sealed Evil in a Duel, Shendu admonishes Drago for trying to take over his father's world while Drago complains about how Shendu was always off fighting wizards.
  • The Puppingtons in Moral Orel. Clay is an alcoholic that thinks abuse is how you show love, and is estranged from his father Arthur after Arthur blamed him for his mother's death (which to be fair, is a fair cop). Bloberta is a neat freak who had her own brush with alcoholism (and sent Clay on his path), only married Clay so she can feel needed, and cheated on him at least once and tried to do so again. The one time we know Bloberta cheated on Clay resulted in younger son Shapey, who's still breastfed at seven and until near the end of the series only spoke in screeches and one-word sentences, and was accidentally swapped for another boy and neither parent either noticed or cared. Orel is the Only Sane Man, but that doesn't mean much when his attempts of following God's word end up setting the town on fire, or killing a woman, or causing a zombie apocalypse. Of course, this is just ONE family in a Big Screwed-Up Town.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Heffer's adoptive family, the Wolfes, could qualify as this — His dad is quite harsh (although not with Hef), his mom is implied to be a Stepford Smiler, his sister is a Bratty Teenage Daughter, his brother is a high school dropout who could be a crossdresser and his grandpa is prejudiced against wallabies and beavers. His biological family is actually worse: His father apparently doesn't want anything to do with him (also being implied that Hef wasn't the first one to look for him) and his mother... is now a car seat.
  • The Blakes from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated; not only is Daphne's mother committed on a regular basis, Daphne and her sisters once caught their father in the kitchen, jay-bird naked, gnawing on a can of soup.
  • The Cuyler clan of Squidbillies is pretty much the Trope Codifier as they are every Deep South hillbilly stereotype incarnate, albeit they're a bunch of squids. The man of the house, Early, is a violent alcoholic eager to assert his masculinity and prone to abusing his son and mother/grandmother. His seldom-seen/conscious sister Lil is a gravely-voiced meth dealer/user running a Mexican drug ring, caked in vomit and gaudy makeup and "ain't worn a shirt since '89." Grandma Ruby Jean is a senile Dirty Old Woman that medicates herself with random pills, talks with Squid Jesus, and is desperate to find either the sweet release of death or another man to sleep with. Rusty is the teenage half-squid/half-human bastard son of Early and Krystal, who idolizes and wishes to impress his father (who was in jail for the first fifteen years of his life) and somehow manages to be a (marginally) better parent to the son he had with this human half-sister, Tammi. The only reason this family of brash, self-centered, Jesus-fanatic, hypocritical, foul-mouthed, Ax-Crazy, inbred mollusks are still free to terrorize the area of Dougal County, Georgia is because the only authority there is slow on the up-take, Too Dumb to Live, and in the pocket of the local Corrupt Corporate Executive.


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