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Big, Screwed-Up Family

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Image by bubug (Instagram). Used with permission.
"Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger, there is a possibility that you might be safe."

This is the big 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 Abusive Parent, Evil Matriarch, Archnemesis Dad, 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.

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 Dysfunctional Family, where the infighting tends to happen over more mundane issues instead of tradition, status or anything of the sort.

A subtrope of The Clan. See also Domestic Abuse, Destructive Romance, The Family That Slays Together, Royally Screwed Up, It Runs in the Family, Dysfunction Junction and Formerly Friendly Family. 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.

Example subpages:

Other 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.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The Osborns. 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. Really in every Spidey medium, you will see that this family had a knack for causing problems in Spidey's life.
    • Most of Venom's family want to kill each other.
  • 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) brothers-in-law only makes his family more of a mess.
  • The Endless from The Sandman (1989) 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.
  • 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.
  • The 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. The fact that Vision being Ultron's son links them to the aforementioned Pym family does nothing to help.)
    • 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 became the Space Pirate Corsair 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 and raised/used as a slave by the Shi'ar, getting trapped on Krakoa while it was 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 become the 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, Havok, Jean and Nate (though the latter's 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?
  • Spider-Man 2099: The O'Hara - Stone family is just one big ball of mess.
    • Tyler Stone, former lover of Conchata O'Hara, and father of Kron Stone and Miguel O'Hara, is THE supervillain of the setting. A Corrupt Corporate Executive of the highest order, he's single-handedly responsible for most of the bad things that happen in the Marvel 2099 universe. His business tactics include human experimentation, firing people with "prejudice", and forcing drugs on his employees (as shown with his own son, Miguel). In addition, he's all but stated to have murdered his wife, was abusive to Kron, and at different points he decides to experiment on and/or kill both his sons.
    • Kron Stone started as The Bully - an extremely aggressive one. Already having attempted to kill Miguel since childhood, as an adult he becomes a serial killer, and tries once again to kill both Tyler Stone and Miguel. Eventually he becomes Venom 2099.
    • Conchata O'Hara is a clinically insane woman (though it's a case of Ambiguous Disorder) who also has a Dark and Troubled Past and Ambiguous Criminal History. She is an abusive parent to Miguel, clearly favouring her other son Gabriel over him, and physically abusing Miguel even as an adult. She also commits several crimes on-screen, including illegal substance abuse, grand theft auto, blackmail, attempted murder and attempted suicide. And the victim of the blackmail and murder? Tyler Stone.
    • Conchata's husband, George O'Hara, is hardly any better. He is an extremely negative portrayal of the Standard '50s Father, physically abusive to his wife and Miguel (whom he uses as a means to advance his career), while being demeaning and neglectful towards Gabriel. He is also very racist in an era that's portrayed to have largely forgotten such attitudes. While it's not shown, the abuse got so bad that Miguel honestly thought about killing him at a point, but decided not to because he wanted him to rot of old age instead just so he would suffer.
    • Miguel O'Hara is Spider-Man, but before that he was just a hair away from becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive himself. Miguel is convinced that insanity runs in the family, and as Spider-Man he is highly aggressive and reacts extremely with extreme violence under emotional distress. He also contemplates patricide (towards both Tyler and George) a few times over, and openly calls his mother a "crazy woman".
    • Gabriel O'Hara seems to be the Only Sane Man in his family, but he's very jealous and very angry towards Miguel, to the point that he was a Red Herring for the identity of Green Goblin 2099. He's also a cybernet (read virtual reality) addict, and has a tendency to attract highly questionable girlfriends, occasionally blaming Miguel for his relationship troubles (and he's partially right too).
  • When you think about it, The Flash family is mostly this, barring the Garricks, the Quicks, and Max Mercury. Thanks to the events of The Flash: Rebirth, Barry Allen came back to have a Dark and Troubled Past with a dead mother and his father framed for the deed thanks to Eobard Thawne; Wally West had Abusive Parents that he eventually disowned; Iris West is Barry's wife — and the adopted sister to Wally's asshat of a dad — who came from the future and once underwent Comic Book Death; Impulse is the grandson of Barry and Iris thanks to a tryst between Barry's son Don — and one of Thawne's descendant Meloni, Inertia is an evil clone of Impulse, and Eobard himself is part of this mess as even without Meloni or Interia, one of his ancestors is Barry's Evil Twin Cobalt Blue.
  • The Metzger Family of Supurbia are shown to be incredibly dysfunctional if not outright abusive, with the source of the problems coming from its female members.
    • Batu (a Mongolian parody of Wonder Woman) is initially dismissive of her son Eli as the women of her tribe are the ones who inherit enhanced reflexes, fighting skills, and strength. To that end, Batu focused all her energy on training her daughter Sara despite Sara repeatedly showing no aptitude for fighting or any skills. When it becomes clear Eli inherited powers and Sara didn't, Batu flat out calls him an abomination. She later took him back to her tribe thinking they were going to Mercy Kill him, and only changed her mind upon learning they were gonna use Eli as breeding stock to make more warriors (which actually brought out her maternal instincts). But she then starts to reject Sara, up to outright disowning her after Sara attacks her father and leaves him with brain damage. By the end of the comic, Sara's been sent off to military school and it's clear Eli and Batu have no interest in speaking with her.
    • Sara becomes increasingly frustrated when both of her parents start focusing more on Eli, her resentment making her desperate to find a way to prove she has power. She later gladly accepts a dark power up from sorcerer Hector Hunt, gaining magical abilities and a desperation to show she can be useful. She's even willing to stay in Hector's realm to gain more power and potentially become a villain, but is sent home where in a fit of anger she gravely injures her father. Officially becoming her family's Black Sheep, Sara's sent to military school off-panel and it's clear no one in her family's speaking to her.
    • Jeremy Metzger, Batu's human husband and the father of their kids, repeatedly tries to be a good father to both of his kids but regrets how his attention can't be on both of them at the same time. He first spends a lot of time trying to comfort and support Eli due to his mother's neglect, which becomes more complicated after Eli displays his powers and Batu tries to have him killed. Jeremy's thus torn between trying to support and protect all three members of his family from each other, until Sara rejects his attempt to help her and she does... something to him. By the end of the comic Jeremy appears to be suffering permanent brain damage thanks to Sara's attack and needs to be fed like a baby. The fact that he can no longer speak or do things for himself means Jeremy's no longer able to keep the family together.
    • Poor Eli is the youngest of the family, struggling with his mom's neglect and the realization she might outright hate him. Things don't go easier for the kid when he has to deal with his mother attempting to have a Mercy Kill pulled on him and then his sister almost murdering their dad.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Taken Up to Eleven with the Many and their Hive Queen Ghidorah and their Evil Plan for Monster X. They have a twisted idea of themselves and Monster X — Ghidorah's "sister-daughter" — as being a growing family, a notion which the mind of Ghidorah's surviving left head (from which Ghidorah is slowly regenerating) seems to buy into. Ghidorah seeks to make Monster X, specifically the Vivienne Graham half of Monster X, just as Ax-Crazy as the rest of them via Being Tortured Makes You Evil including but not limited to forcibly inflicting Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil on her. And as a side-note, there's also how Ghidorah's sociopathic right and middle heads abuse their Youngest Brother (the left head), causing and fostering practically all of San's psychological issues, and worse yet the heads' lack of empathy for Ghidorah's "shed skins" (such as the San who serves as one of the story protagonists).
  • Child of the Storm has two - and it's the only work with its own Tangled Family Tree page.
    • Harry's family.
      • On one side, the House of Odin, which goes back over a million years, and whose current patriarch is gruff and emotionally distant thanks to his own abusive childhood, whose sons are someone who's literally lived two different lives (and when he died in one, he went nuts when he came back in the other), and a Reformed, but Not Tamed adopted son with guilt and self-worth issues, and an illegitimate older son who basically chose the mortal world. Then there's the grandchildren - Harry, who has more psychological issues than one can throw a stick at, and his thousand year old, dead, half-sister, Torunn, who Thor had no idea even existed until after she'd died (which also relates to why he had so many issues about missing Harry's early life).
      • On the other, there's the Evans-Dursley-Grey family: the Dursleys are awful inhabitants of Stepford Suburbia (and Dudley becomes an absolute monster, then a vampire, who Harry ultimately kills), the Evans parents were S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, Jean (Harry's second cousin) nearly died and went insane at the age of six when her powers manifested at the death of her best friend, Maddie was stolen at birth and raised as a Human Weapon, and Lily, aside from her issues with her sister, ended up as the White Phoenix of the Crown.
      • Plus, there's his godparents - Sirius Black and Wanda Maximoff, who are examples in their own right.
    • Carol's family.
      • There's Steve, her great-grandfather, who's biologically and mentally in his late 20s thanks to his ice stint. Then there's her grandmother Alison Carter, who's a badass Super Soldier and Super Spy who effectively controlled SHIELD for decades despite not leading it, but also had significant issues with living up to the legends of a father she never knew (and had to keep secret) and the mother who she lost at 17 (and had to pretend was 'just' her older sister), as well as further issues with her daughter, Marie, who she pushed away by trying to push her into following a similar path (trying to make her fight evil when she wanted to 'make good'), and her son, who Jumped at the Call but ended up undergoing Cold-Blooded Torture and got divorced after his young son shot himself with his gun.
      • Oh, and Marie married Joe Danvers, who turned out to be emotionally abusive to their older two children, Carol and Stevie, when they didn't follow his... old-fashioned expectations, and actually tried to get Harry to Mind Control Carol into being a Proper Lady - for which he paid dearly, but that had a lasting psychological effect on Carol in particular.
  • 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 PandoraHearts 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 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.
  • In The Little Stark, after eight-year-old Ariel is turned into a human and found by pre-Iron Man Tony Stark, her family expands from just her father and six sisters to include Tony, Pepper, Rhodey and Happy on land, to the point that she admits that she considers Tony's house a home after less than a year on the surface.
  • The Star Trek fics by EstellaDoreaBlack establishes that Tasha Yar (who survived her encounter with Armus in this version of events) has a very complex family dynamic that spreads across the modern Trek series. Not only does Tasha marry Data, but Doctor Pulaski and Benjamin Sisko each played a role in her original rescue from Turkana Four, Tuvok was essentially her adopted father while she attended Starfleet Academy to the extent that his daughter Asil freely refers to Tasha as her sister, and she learns later in life that her mother was Owen Paris’s younger sister, making her and Tom Paris cousins after they spent years as close friends since meeting at Starfleet Academy. On Data’s side of the family, Tasha obviously has to deal with Lore on occasion, but on a more positive note her relationship with Data leads to Tasha being regarded as Lal’s mother, she has a moving talk with Noonien Soong about her relationship with Data before his death, and forms a tentative bond with Data’s ‘mother’ Juliana Tainer.
  • 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 A.I.s, 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 people who ultimately came through for Laurel in the end were the ex-boyfriend who cheated on her with her sister (even if he 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.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Describes Mittens's horrific adoptive family in "The Survivor." Their bad behavior is largely explained because of early childhood disorders and abuse for Jack (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, foster home abuse) as well as Emily and Claire (Borderline Personality Disorder and parental abuse, as well as possible Attention Deficit Disorder for the latter). Manifests in many ways.
  • The Black Sheep Dog Series explores how deeply dysfunctional the House of Black is in a much more vivid detail than canon. From the complicated family politics where the honour of the clan is valued much more than the individual well-being, the deep-rooted tradition of oppression and prejudice that dates back to centuries. Most of the family members can barely stand each other, parent-child relationships are strained at best, and even the most Perfectly Arranged Marriages (by the family's standards anyway) is not without its own pressures.
  • The New Retcons: During the course of the story, the Patterson family descends from a Dysfunctional Family into this:
    • Elly goes insane shortly after Elizabeth and Anthony’s wedding and believes it’s the 1970’s and Michael and Elizabeth are small children and that her teenage daughter April is her husband’s hygienist. Then it’s revealed that She had a daughter out of wedlock named Claire from a Teen Pregnancy and she was afraid of her tracking her down. And that she was married to a man named Stan Watson before meeting John, resulting in Michael. Shortly after she regains her sanity, she’s murdered.
    • John refuses to do anything about Elly’s madness or April’s banishment until Elly gets arrested. He also cheated on Elly for the past few years, particularly with Kortney, who had stolen from Elly in the past and threatened to beat up April.
    • Michael is initially the Only Sane Man alongside Deanna and the two take in April and work to change their lives to break away from Milborough and the rest of the family… but then learning the above plus Robin’s autism diagnosis, Michael’s repressed bisexuality and two miscarriages result in them divorcing. He also has a years long mental breakdown.
    • Elizabeth and Anthony quickly realize that the person they thought they married isn’t who they actually married. And then it’s revealed that James Allen is the result of Elizabeth sleeping with Warren Blackwood during the honeymoon. They later decide to stay together, but it’s heavily implied that they’re doing it just for the kids.
    • April struggles to distance herself from the family, but keeps getting sucked in the drama which affects her college education. The shock of John getting Kortney pregnant causes her to drop out entirely. She also starts seeing her half sister Claire as a mother figure and in the end, pretty much only speaks to her and Elizabeth anymore.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Wedding (1978): Both sides of the wedding party are full of dysfunctional or quirky individuals, although not all of them are defined by those quirks and some of them seem normal.
    • The groom was previously sent to military school for delinquency and once had a fling with his new fiancée's sister. The groom's dying grandmother Nettie Sloan has shades of an Evil Matriarch. One of her daughters is a sometimes superficial executive whose husband has fallen out of love with her, another is in love with their African-American butler and resents Nettie for forbidding the match, and the third daughter is a heroin addict. Her other son-in-law is an Italian former busboy who Nettie snobbishly forbids from talking about his past, with his secrecy making many people mistake him for a mobster. His brother shows up at the wedding without an invitation and has a raging libido. Nettie's sister is a socialist and has no sense of tact or grace. Nettie's granddaughter and grandniece seem well-adjusted, but the former seems to resent her new sister-in-law and the later has a stash of marijuana.
    • The bride still has Pubescent Braces and her sister seems to dislike her. Said sister is an Elective Mute who Really Gets Around and has an odd grasp of reality. Her interactions with their Hot-Blooded father hint at unconsummated Parental Incest. Their brother initially seems like a drug addict, but actually has epilepsy. Their mother feels tempted to cheat on her husband with one of her new son-in-law's uncles. One of their aunts is a Serial Spouse and her daughter is preoccupied with marijuana. Their uncle and other aunt are a devoutly religious couple who sometimes annoy people and have lots of kids, the eldest of whom mistakes an obvious sex joke about the Manly Gay Reedley looking at mens’ flies for a reference to the film The Fly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bullet: Bullet is a former sports player turned burglar and junkie. His brothers are a graffiti artist and a shell-shocked veteran, his dad sees all of them as disappointments and his father is a somewhat fraught peacemaker.
  • 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.
  • The Sharpe family in Crimson Peak isn't terribly big (at least to start with), but is certainly very screwed up. Sir John Sharpe blows through the family fortune and violently abuses his wife and their two children. The kids, who are kept shut away in the attic through their childhoods, begin an incestuous relationship with one another, and the daughter murders their mother with a meat cleaver to keep it a secret (and probably killed their father too). As adults, the siblings continue their relationship, while the brother marries wealthy women for their fortunes to save the family's home, and the sister murders them out of jealousy. By the events of the film, Thomas Sharpe has married his fourth wife, the siblings have had (and lost) at least one child together, and the ghosts of all of their victims haunt the family's estate as it literally crumbles to pieces.
  • 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.
  • 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 Godfather: The Corleones. They are a mafia family after all. And there's murders, assassinations, assassination of in-laws, fratricide...
  • Greedy: None of Joe's relatives want part of his vast fortune; everyone wants 100%. They're so eager to screw each other over that they hire detectives to dig up dirt on each other like political rivals in an election. When Joe hires an attractive young woman to be his nurse, they join forces against her and locate their long-lost cousin Danny so he can help keep the money in the family. Danny has morals at first, but gradually becomes consumed by greed and will do anything to become Joe's heir. He eventually hires an actor to pretend to be his father so they can have an argument in front of everyone and Danny can choose Joe over his father. But his cousins are worse. Danny cares about Joe deep down, but his cousins want to have him declared mentally unfit so they can put him in a nursing home and take everything. When Joe loses his money and his house, Danny is the only family member who offers him a place to stay.
  • The Pascals from The House of Yes. Insanity, incest, murder... all at one Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Knives Out: The Thrombey family is shown to be this after the suspicious death of famous author and family patriarch Harlan is investigated. Harlan's son-in-law Richard is cheating on his daughter Linda, he fired his son Walter from the family publishing business, daughter-in-law Donna is virulently xenophobic and racist and grandson Jacob is not-so-jokingly called a Nazi by the rest of the family, he cut off his daughter-in-law Joni for stealing from him, who because of this cannot afford granddaughter Meg's pricey college tuition, and he got in an altercation with his disinherited grandson Ransom, who ultimately is the one who murdered him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Murder, She Said, the Ackenthorpe family are all just waiting for the patriarch Luther to die so they can claim their inheritance, and cannot get together for a simple family gathering without dissolving into acrimonious bickering.
  • 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 Roberts in the Scream series. Sidney's mother (maiden name Roberts) 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 murdered her own mother on top of that, 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.
  • Secret Beyond the Door...: Nobody in the Lamphere household is exactly psychologically stable.
  • 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.
  • 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. Star Wars: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


    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.
      • The line being cursed is a result of Hephaestus. Harmonia wasn't just Ares's daughter, she was Aphrodite's as well, the wife of Hephaestus, and she had given up immortality for Cadmus. After realizing Harmonia was not his, he made a cursed necklace and gave it to her. The necklace became a family heirloom and brought disaster among the descendants. Harmonia herself didn't fare well either, being turned into a snake after an argument with her father.

    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 takes this Up to Eleven. Incest, necrophilia, necromancy, cannibalism and human trafficking are only the tip of the iceberg. One of the sourcebooks outright states that the Giovanni are pretty much the inbred, cannibalistic hillbilly clan from your favorite slasher flick, only with Italian accents and enough money to buy small nations. And several of the Giovanni associate families, like the Crassus revenants or the Dunsirns, are worse than the Giovannis proper.
    • The reboot, 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • The Brewster family in Arsenic and Old Lace, to the extent that the only sane one in the family turns out not to be blood-related.
  • The Weston family in August: Osage County. Drug abuse, affairs, incest, Bastard Angst, and suicide are just the tip of the iceberg of family skeletons.
  • Tennessee Williams:
  • 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.
  • The D'Ysquith family from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Featured members include snooty Upper-Class Twit types, an Armoured Closet Gay who hides his desires as extreme misogyny, a Wealthy Philanthropist with a whopping case of White Man's Burden, a eugenicist, a horrible actress, and a charming, clever young man who somehow finds his way into the family earldom after his mother was banished from the family all through the strength of his guile and quite a bit of murder. The D'Ysquiths are such Asshole Victims that the second act opens with a song about how all the remaining family and friends hate the D'Ysquiths and are tired of attending nonstop funerals for them.
  • 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."
  • 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 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 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:

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The Fey Family has a long history of in-fighting, 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.
    • As time has gone on, with more members introduced and their family relationships expanded on in the wider Fate series, Saber's family - which includes Vortigern, Morgan, Mordred and the Orkney siblings - has also been revealed to be this, arising from the family's conflict over whether Britain should remain in the Age of Gods or enter the Age of Man.
  • 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!
  • When They Cry:
    • In Higurashi: When They Cry, the Sonozaki family is considered likely to be this, what with being a Yakuza family in charge of the Town with a Dark Secret that appears to have been trying to kidnap villagers to sacrifice to the local demons. They sure have done a number to their daughter, Mion. They aren't as bad as they appear at first glance. While definitely a Yakuza family that torture its daughters in every generation for failing to live up to their standards, most of the stuff about them being possessed by demons, summoning demons, and sacrificing for demons is made up BS that the family refuses to deny because it adds to their scary image and makes it easier to maintain their grip on power there.
    • 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.
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: Makina and Yumiko's families are this, and 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 tied them to the wealthy and influential Sakaki side of the family.
    • Makina's mother is a 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 of The Silver Eye, 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 Jahad 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 Khun family, which is quite the inverse: The family head, Khun Edahn, is a notorious playboy and has the greatest amount of wives throughout the whole tower. His children are basically 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 Khun Aguero Agnes'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 Hendrock family. The name of the head, Hendrock 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". The Von Blitzengaard branch is even worse.
      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. When Agatha inherits her family's title, her subjects celebrate that their new Lady hasn't killed anyone for two whole minutes!
    • Lucrezia Mongfish apparently bred her daughter Agatha to be a host, is at least partially responsible for her son's death, and did not get along with her sisters at all if her introduction to her nephew and niece is any indication. Though to be fair, at least one branch of the family is trying to hijack her plan for a Zombie Apocalypse for their own ends.
  • 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: As a direct consequence of institutionalizing Parental Neglect, all the noble houses (Vals) are thoroughly screwed up.
    • Multiple houses traditionally adopt commoners as lifelong bodyguards as a callback to an old fable about an ill princess and her adopted sister, but have forgotten the moral of the story (the crown must always treat the people as equals if they are to rely on their help) and don't give their stepchildren the respect they deserve. This leaves the common-born protectorates bitter and prone to Bodyguard Betrayal.
    • The Val'Sharen are the ruling class due to their ancestry to the Drow's Crystal Dragon Jesus, but have let arrogance consume them. Snadhya'rune in particular is a textbook psychopath who seeks to turn the Drow empire into a demon-infested fascist state that worships her as their demon-ascended goddess.
      • Zala'ess and Sarv'swati helped Snadhya'rune overthrow their mother in a False Flag Operation. Zala treats her children like pawns, and Sarv is violently impulsive.
      • Sil'lice defected to the rebels because of the above's antics, but is driven by Honor Before Reason, alienating her from her family and allies until she is demonically-possessed and forced to discover how dishonorable the rest of the functioning multiverse is.
      • Nishi'kanta was demonically-possessed by Zala, ostracising her from society.
      • Diva'ratrika, the matriarch and empress of the drow, was a ruthless commoner-hating, child-beating Orcus on His Throne before her overthrowing. She resorts to body snatching to survive.
    • The Vloz'ress are also demon-worshipers who see Demonic Possession as a path to enlightenment.
      • Kiel has fused with a demon, giving her knowledge about the multiverse and the social developments of other worlds, but also making her reckless and impulsive.
      • Kharla'ggen is a Psychopathic Manchild who has the power to turn people into living dolls.
      • Ven'ndia, Kiel's mother, has been turned into one of these dolls.
    • The Val'Saghress, despite being La Résistance against the Sharen's tyranny, are also screwed up.
      • Quain'tana locked up her daughter Mel'anarch, ordering her to be raped by her soldiers and mutilated when she resisted. She also abused her other children until one of them sacrificed her life to call her out on it.
      • Laelle, who was supposed to be Quain'tana's heir, was possessed by enough demons to drive her into a coma and used as a creepy golem until she exploded. She's now a giant mass of demons in the shape of a Drow, under Kiel's employ, and still presumed dead by her House.
      • Syphile resented being rejected for problems outside of her control and took it out on her stepdaughter, Ariel.
      • Ariel was pushed to murder at a young age, and then killed a slave on impulse.
      • Kel'noz seeks to undermine his mother's army of raiders and rebels and turn it into a stable military dictatorship, against Quain'tana's wishes.
      • Mel'anarch is enthralled to Snadhya'rune and hates her mother for instigating all of the above Saghress antics. She snaps under the rape and Kel's manipulations, and snipes Kel under Snadhya'rune's orders.
    • 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 Sil'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 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.
    • The Wilkins family have been described as a pack of self-aggrandizing weasels with a collective case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. They are all highly competent in their individual criminal fields (though some of their specializations are very narrow, e.g., custom lair construction; tailored supersuits for villains; themed super-vehicle customization; etc.), and would be a force to reckon with if they could stop their in-fighting for more than a few minutes at a time, but they never do.
    • Eisenmadel's family is almost as big a mess as Carmilla's. Her great-grandfather was the Nazi Theme Agent The Green Knight. While her grandmother, the original Eisenmadel, rejected her father's beliefs and became an anti-Fascist superheroine. Then her mother join with the branch of the family which clung to The Fourth Reich's attempts to subvert the US government, with Erica herself joining her grandparents in opposing them.
  • 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 Willow Schnee, 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 Willow 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 deeply resents General Ironwood, solely because his oldest daughter Winter escaped his suffocating control by joining the Atlesian military, and he tries detaining 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.
  • The Jacksons in Mommy Sleeps in the Basement. Tom is a controlling jerk with two wives, who neglects his first wife in favor of his second, and even then he blamed her for their baby dying of SIDS. He also beats some of his children. Neither of his wives are happy and Claire in particular wants to get away. All of the children are neglected because their parents can't afford to properly provide for them. And that's before it's revealed Claire is not part of the family willingly.

    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 least troubled of the Gaang’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 Sequel comics actually elaborate a lot on the efforts Zuko took to rebuild and mend the family after Ozai's regime collapsed.
  • The Legend of Korra: 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. The show and the sequel comics take quite some time to elaborate on how they gradually make up and move past their issues.
  • 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, consisting of a father who emotionally abused his daughter while blatantly favoring his son, a mother who ended up lobotomized, a son who was killed in World War II, and a daughter who would become the embittered woman she is today. That said, the series also makes the point of not excusing or justifying any of Bojack's or Beatrice's mistakes and wrongdoings with their shitty childhoods particularly by showing that Bojack's half-sister Hollyhock has her own problems, despite being raised by eight loving fathers.
  • 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 a 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.
  • 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. This also extends to Peter and Lois' side of the family. Peter has an abusive sister who would regularly bully him as a child. Lois also had a domineering jerkass father who has gotten away with doing very despicable things. She also has a mentally unstable brother and a sister who looks for love in the wrong places.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat's family is one of these. His brothers would regularly beat him to the extent where he thought running away from home was better than living with them, his father was an alcoholic, and his mother was so abusive that even the sound of her voice over the phone is enough to make Mr. Cat run away screaming in terror. Mr. Cat himself is not much better, as the show itself describes him as "evil, sadistic, cruel, selfish, and psychopathic" in one episode.


Video Example(s):


Skywalker Family

This was made before Episode IX came out, btw.

How well does it match the trope?

4.43 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BigScrewedUpFamily

Media sources: