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This should answer where Huey, Dewey, and Louie came from... but then, just who is their dad?

"Yeah, I've got three nephews, too... at least that I know of."
Mickey Mouse to Donald Duck in this Mother Goose and Grimm strip (actually, Mickey has TWO nephews... at least that 'we' know of)

Many cartoon characters intended for children, especially the "iconic" ones, always seem to be surrounded by kids when the plot calls for it. These children are never their own, however, but the offspring of a brother or sister of the main character we never get to see. For whatever reason, they also tend to be the result of multiple births.

It's common for main characters in a cartoon series to be unmarried. This allows for plots to involve things like dating, but since Status Quo Is God, they probably won't ever stay with any partner for very long, let alone get married. And since these are generally kids' shows we're talking about, no marriage means they'll never have children.

Thus, nephews and/or nieces become the safest way to integrate young family members into a children's show. The main character's romantic life can remain unburdened for plot purposes, and they can spend a lot of time hanging around kids without inspiring audience worry that anything untoward is going on. Unseen aunts and uncles also mean that when the plot calls for the main character to go off on some adventure where having a kid in tow would hinder the plot, the kids can disappear for a while without anyone asking who's watching them.

Also works as a reverse Parental Bonus. Single characters can be easily placed in risqué situations that imply they are less than fully chaste, as well as Ship Tease moments.

Note that kids who are (at least implicitly) the biological children of single main characters aren't unheard of — it's just that the precise circumstances of their family situation will never be addressed, never mind the fact that pantsless cartoon characters have no apparent reproductive organs. Occasionally, characters will even have sons or daughters running around completely out of nowhere, with no effort whatsoever given to explaining who the parents were.

Note: The concept of an uncle at least looking after a child is an old tradition: if a parent died, the uncle would become the foster father (and in many cases marry the mother). For instance: The Lord of the Rings,note Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Star Wars, etc. In some cultures, (such as the ludicrously-often-used-for-examples Trobriand Islanders), the uncle is the "standard" parent while fathers have very little to do with raising their biological children (they're busy raising their sister's children instead, obviously).

For the non-animated version, where the absence of parents is most likely part of the plot, see Nephewism.


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    Asian Animation 
  • In Motu Patlu, Motu does not have any children of his own, but he does have a nephew named Chotu.

    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD has Tharg's Nephew, Joko-Jargo, take his place for the Regened special issues.
  • DC Thomson:
    • The Dandy had this with its two most popular characters. Desperate Dan lives with his Aunt Aggie, who has two children, his nephew Danny and niece Katey, who occasionally live with him. It was also the case with Korky the Cat, who was often featured alongside his three nephews — Nip, Lip, and Rip.
    • The Beano:
      • Biffo the Bear is also a good example with his two nephews Bruin and Bertie. The character also strangely had a human aunt, which is still much less surreal than the Nazi ostrich aunt of Big Eggo, the unloved ostrich who Biffo replaced.
      • Averted in the case of Dennis the Menace's dog Gnasher, who in 1986 was seen to be father to several puppies, with the puppies' mother seen in the background of a couple of frames.
  • Fat Freddy's Cat from Gilbert Shelton's The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers has three nephews who finish each other's sentences in the time-honored manner. They actually ask him why so many cartoon characters have nephews and nieces. His answer is pretty much the same as the one on this page, at which they ask, "So are you saying that Huey Dewey and Louie are the illegitimate sons of Donald and Daisy Duck?"
  • The Baby Ponies are an example as according to a My Little Pony generation 1 comic. Majesty has a magic mirror that produces a baby pony based on whichever pony was looking in it at the time.
  • Parodied in an issue of The Simpsons comic book. On one page of a story, Mr. Burns has a brief conversation with his three nephews, who look like smaller versions of him dressed like Huey, Dewey and Louie (and they talk like them too).
    Burns: Yes, nephews? What is it?
    "Louie": There's a sunken galleon...
    "Huey": Off the coast of Spain...
    "Dewey": They say it's full of treasure!
    Burns: I'm sorry lads. I'm busy with young Gary now. We'll have that adventure another time.
    Nephews and Smithers (who is dressed like Donald): Awwwwwwww!
  • Sjors and Sjimmie, a very old dutch comic based on Perry Winkle & the Rinkeydinks, has one of the weirdest setups ever. Sjors is white, Sjimmie is black. They are living with a man called the colonel is neither a family member nor their guardian and his daughter Sally is living with him and has somewhat of a husband and wife relationship with him.
  • A Spongebob Squarepants comic has SpongeBob getting a visit from his triplet nephews, named Spongebrian, Spongekevin, and Spongecarl. The fact that they're a parody of Donald's nephews is made more obvious when SpongeBob sees that they've grown up to be punks. In a piece of irony, they become captivated by Squidward's hobbies.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cars seems to be edgy about introducing parent-child relationships, presumably because of the questions it would raise. In Cars 2, the visit to Italy has the cast staying with Luigi's uncle. However, it's subverted later in Italy when Francesco points out his mother in a crowd. Cars 3 went so far as to feature famed racecar-driving father and son Richard and Kyle Petty playing an uncle and nephew.

  • The chapter book Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell gives an origin of sorts for Cadance; she was an orphan pegasus, who, after saving her Earth pony village from an evil sorceress, was transformed into an alicorn and princess by Celestia, who then adopted her as her "niece". However, the canonical status of this book is in question, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Family Affair, Uncle Bill, a bachelor, acquires his nieces, Cissy and Buffy, and nephew Jodie after his brother and sister-in-law die in a car crash.
  • Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard goes the same way as Family Affair. In addition, the whole extended Duke family seems to be made up almost entirely of cousins.
  • The Horrible Histories mascot, Rattus Rattus, has a nephew called Scrappus who he occasionally has to look after.
  • The Muppet Show: Kermit the Frog often looks after his nephew, Robin, whose parents have never been shown. When Robin (as a tadpole) is introduced on Muppet Babies (1984), there's a very brief mention of his mother being Kermit's older sister. She doesn't get a name or anything, but she exists. His parents are also briefly mentioned in The Muppets (2015), although this doesn't clarify their relationship to Kermit.
    • In the movie The Muppet Christmas Carol, Robin plays Tiny Tim, while Kermit plays Bob Cratchit. So in this story, Robin is Kermit's son — via Miss Piggy. (However, this is one of the Muppet movies where the Muppets are actors playing characters, so make of it what you will.)
    • In Muppets Tonight, Miss Piggy acquires two nephews, Andy and Randy Pig.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch lives with her spinster aunts, Hilda and Zelda. Her parents do show up at times (these roles are rather prone to The Other Darrin), but she doesn't live with them. Her mortal mother has a good excuse — if Sabrina claps eyes on her, she'll turn into a ball of wax. This actually happened, although this didn't impede her mother's ability to speak, or try to have a sense of humor about it. And she did get better. Sabrina just can't look at her anymore or it will happen again. Her father just doesn't seem to be around; he lives with his second wife (Sabrina's parents are divorced) and his stepson, as his job keeps him far away. There's an episode or two where she moves in with him in Paris, until his job got him reassigned to Pluto. Sabrina thought that was a little far out of her comfort zone.

  • The Barbie line has had a lot of kid's dolls over the decades; however, none are Barbie's kids. Barbie's first sibling, Skipper, was introduced for girls who wanted a doll closer to their own age. Skipper was made as Barbie's sister instead of her daughter because it was considered that being a mother would tie Barbie down too much and make her domestic. Since then Barbie has had a rotating door of siblings ranging from infants to preteens: Tutti, Todd, Stacie, Chelsea, Kelly, and Krissy. Despite this, their parents never appear in the toy line itself. Barbie's friends, such as the Happily Married Midge and Alan, have had children in past playsets but Barbie and Ken never do despite their ever-changing ages.

    Video Games 
  • In the first few Animal Crossing games, upgrading Tom Nook's store to the highest level introduces Timmy and Tommy, twin assistants whose jobs mainly seem to be following you around when you're on the second floor. (In New Leaf, they've inherited the general store for themselves, while Tom Nook runs a housing shop.) Tom Nook says that Timmy and Tommy are his nephews, although lazy-type and jock-type villagers in New Leaf seem to believe that he rescued them from street life.
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Koopalings go back and forth as to their relationship to Bowser. Initially, materials stated that they were his children, but in more recent games, they are stated to not actually be related to him.
  • Donkey Kong has a few minor instances:
    • The instruction booklet of Donkey Kong 64 (in the words of Cranky Kong) describes Diddy as "Donkey's little nephew wannabe." Given that they're different species (Donkey's a gorilla and Diddy's a monkey), the likelihood of them actually being related is extremely small; however, the Kong family itself spans diverse species, indicating that one needs only be a primate to be called a Kong. The quote itself seems to derive from either a writer on the Rare Scribes website (who postulated that Diddy was DK's nephew), or DK's in-game data in Super Smash Bros. (although it should be mentioned that this was added to the English localization and wasn't in the Japanese version, suggesting this was never Nintendo's intention).
    • Cranky Kong has been inconsistently identified as the father or the grandfather of the modern, tie-wearing DK. There is a Donkey Kong Jr. who rarely makes cameos, but presuming the grandfather/grandson relationship is correct, it means the middle generation just vanished in the Donkey Kong Country universe where there is no explicit "DK Jr."
  • In Wii Party U, the host, Party Phil, gains a new sidekick named Party Penny. She's not his daughter, she's his much younger sister.

    Web Comics 
  • Last Res0rt has the Vaeo family with Vince, his daughter Cypress, and his nephews/ her cousins, Nathaniel and Damien. It's been heavily implied so far that the Vuelos Incedent killed off Cypress's mother and Nathaniel and Damien's real parents.

    Web Original 
  • Arlo occasionally mentions his nephew (they go on trips together and share game consoles), which, according to Word of God, is the puppeteer's real-life son. This is to explain how someone like Arlo is related to a human.

    Western Animation 
  • Mr. Chan from The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan has ten children. No mention of their mother was ever made in the series.
  • Animaniacs features elderly Slappy Squirrel, who lives with her young nephew, Skippy. How he came to live with her is never explained; this is probably intentional, considering the number of other cartoon tropes the show satirizes.
    • One (more dramatic than usual) episode, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock," actually brings this up: after Slappy goes crazy from overexposure to bad daytime TV and gets put in a home, the local Child Welfare agency actually takes Skippy from his aunt when they can't locate his parents.
    • Sherri Stoner recently answered this question (while in character). Skippy's parents are apparently on sabbatical and send Slappy an alimony check every month.
  • In CatDog, Rancid Rabbit had a convenient niece who was even named after him as Rancy.
    • The episode "Back to School" features the Greasers' nephews, Biff, Squeak and Bartholomew. (The last one was actually smarter than his uncle Lube.)
    • CatDog actually uses this trope a lot — the episode "Harasslin' Match" features Winslow's nephews, Brat and Runt.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood features O the Owl, nephew of X the Owl. O's parents are never seen in the series, and when a situation calls for a parent to be present, like in "The Family Campout", O will always bring his uncle with him.
  • In the 1978 animated series Fangface, teenager Sherman "Fangs" Fangsworth transformed into a werewolf every time he saw the moon (or anything remotely resembling the moon). Although this was supposed to be due to a curse that caused a werewolf to be born into his family every 400 years, the next season, Sherman's nephew "Baby Fangs" was introduced who also turned into a werewolf. (One of the episodes in the first season did mention Sherman had an uncle but nothing was ever clear about Baby Fang's origins.)
  • Disney:
    • The most famous example is probably Donald Duck and his triplet nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Scrooge McDuck also took over this role in DuckTales (1987). Since Scrooge was supposed to be Donald's uncle, this means the boys now live with their uncle's uncle — their great uncle. The in-universe explanation is typically that Donald has a sister (called "Dumbella Duck" in "Donald's Nephews", the theatrical cartoon that introduced Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and "Della Duck" in the comics by Al Taliaferro), who apparently saddled him with her kids and then dropped off the face of the Earth. Unusually for the trope, Donald does not have the luxury of giving the kids back to their parents when the plot calls for it. He claims them on his taxes in one short, explicitly refers to himself as their parent in Quack Pack, and the Disney comics often mention the fact that he is their legal guardian and solely responsible for their care and upbringing.
      • According to one source, Della literally dropped off the Earth — she was an astronaut who left them in Donald's care before a mission. Maybe the Evroniani got her?
      • This Played for Drama in DuckTales (2017), Donald's sister (again called Della) adventured with Scrooge and Donald, then disappeared right before the triplets were hatched and raised by Donald, it would eventually turn out that Della got stranded on the moon. Their father, however, remains unmentioned.
    • So that the boys had someone to play with, the Disney comics gave Daisy three nieces — April, May, and June — by an unknown and unmentioned sibling.
    • One origin story revealed that Donald was apparently orphaned as an egg and adopted by Scrooge and Grandma Duck (who were brother and sister); the monikers of "uncle" and "grandma" were mostly because Scrooge objected to the idea of becoming a father at his age. Later on, Scrooge found out they were actually blood relations (while not mentioning anything about the parents), prompting him to reduce Donald's salary. Of course, now that nearly every artist takes Rosa's stories as canon, the old idea of Scrooge and Grandma Duck being siblings has pretty much died — its origin was apparently in Italy, where the Duck-stories have gone in a very different direction from the American and Scandinavian ones. The most common post-Rosa interpretation has Donald and Della as the children of Scrooge's sister and one of Grandma Duck's sons, who appear in flashback and historical stories and never anywhere else.
    • A fun example occurs with Jose ("Zé") Carioca. Back in the day when they were running out of stories, they started inserting Zé into unlocalized Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comics. Thus, Zé's Nephews, Zico and Zeca, exist solely because they needed to replace Huey, Duey, and Louie in stories where Zé was taking Donald Duck's place.
    • Mickey Mouse has twin nephews, Morty and Ferdie (full names Mortimer and Ferdinand), although this is seen mostly in the Disney comics.
      • Several sub-series show Morty and Ferdie's mother: Amelia/Felicity Fieldmouse, a conspicuously more humanoid mouse depicted as a soccer mom that enrolls her sons in a soccer team to keep them out of mischief (and herself off-panel).
      • Minnie likewise got a pair of nieces, Millie and Melody.
    • Even Disney Villains aren't immune to this trope. In 101 Dalmatians: The Series, Cruella had an Enfant Terrible niece named Ivy (and several other relatives who only showed up once). And in one episode of The Emperor's New School, Yzma employed the help of her twin nephews, Zim and Zam. Also, in comics, Magica de Spell had a niece named Minima.
    • Also in 101 Dalmatians: The Series, Anita had a Friend to All Living Things niece named Amber. This is especially interesting since Anita is a married character herself, although if you think about it, all the puppies would have grown up by the time any of the Dearlys' children would have been old enough to do more than gurgle happily or cry.
    • According to the House of Mouse episode "Clarabelle's Big Secret", Uncle Waldo is actually not only the uncle to Abagail and Amelia Gabble, but also a distant uncle to Donald Duck.
  • Gravity Falls: Due to events in their backstories, Grunkle Stan and Grunkle Ford never had children. Although Stan was revealed in Gravity Falls: Journal 3 to be briefly married, it didn't work out as she just wanted his car.
  • Inspector Gadget is the guardian of his niece, Penny, for reasons never explained. The 2015 cartoon gives Dr. Claw a nephew named Talon.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures shows a multi-generational example of this; the title character has both an Uncle and a niece he lives with. Jade's parents are referred to a few times, however; in the first episode, they drop her off with Jackie and are rarely seen thereafter. In a Time Travel episode, Jade goes back in time and meets Jackie as a child, who tells her he has been sent to the United States by his parents to live with Uncle. In another episode, Jade's parents actually appear and refer to Uncle as Uncle, resulting in Jade being utterly confused.
    • The latter example is part of a running gag where Uncle is never referred to by any other name. His actual name is never revealed, and even people who are not related to him call him "Uncle."
      • Except for his friend from his acting days that called him "Chuckles".
  • The title character of James Bond Jr. is actually Bond's nephew. Of course, this hasn't stopped rampant speculation that he's an illegitimate son. (This is James Bond we're talking about here, so there are many opportunities for such children; Bond even impregnated Kissy Suzuki in Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice.)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders, the main child-age characters in the show. Apple Bloom, being Applejack's younger sister, is cared for by her older siblings and her grandmother due to her parents being deceased. Sweetie Belle's mother and father have been clearly shown on-screen, but several episodes imply that she lives with her older sister Rarity instead (or at least regularly stays over). Scootaloo's parents wouldn't appear until the final season, leaving many fans to assume she was an orphan until it was revealed that she was being raised by her aunts, as her parents live abroad for their research work.
    • Oddly enough, this seems to apply to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, the rulers of the kingdom; at the end of the first season, we were introduced to Prince Blueblood, previously established as Celestia's nephew, and in the second season finale Twilight Sparkle's brother marries Celestia and Luna's niece, Princess Cadence. Granted, the former was only called Celestia's nephew in an early episode prior to his debut, while the latter is only stated to be such in merchandise. Word of God says that Blueblood is only very, very distantly related to Celestia (hence why he's not an Alicorn), while Cadence was adopted by Celestia (though why she's considered an adopted "niece" rather than an adopted "daughter" is anyone's guess).
    • This is averted in My Little Pony Tales from way back in 1992, where all ponies from main cast had parents (although Patch was adopted)
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In an episode from the last season, Fuzzy Lumpkins went on a camping trip with his three nephews — Wuzzy, Buzzy, and Scuzzy.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: One episode is about Po the panda befriending a young snow leopard cub named Peng, who wants to be a famous kung fu master like Po. At the end of the episode, Peng tells Po that he is actually Tai Lung's nephew, causing the panda to freak out.
  • Popeye was sometimes seen with his nephews, Pipeye, Pupeye, Poopeye, and Peepeye, although Swee'Pea arguably filled this role anyway.
    • The strangest thing about Poopeye (aside from his name; seriously, what self-respecting person would answer to that?) is that he and his brothers first appeared in an episode where Olive Oyl dreamed about what might happen if she married Popeye and they had children. That cartoon was "Wimmin is a Myskery", a Fleischer short that was remade by Famous Studios as "Bride and Gloom" fourteen years later, well after the nephews had become regulars.
    • As the series wore on into the 1950s, the number of nephews dropped to three, and then two. Clearly done in the name of animation economy, but it has some unfortunate implications.
    • Also Popeye slightly subverted this by officially adopting Swee'Pea.
    • In the theatrical shorts, Swee'Pea was usually portrayed as Olive's nephew. He's always been an orphan in the comics.
    • Some 1960s TV shorts had Olive's bratty niece Diesel Oyl. note .
    • Popeye would later gain a biological son, Junior, with Olive Oyl in an animated series from Hanna-Barbera, as would Bluto. Wimpy's nephew Francis played the trope straight, however.
  • In Regular Show, it was revealed in "Exit 9B" that Garrett Bobby Ferguson has a son. It's unclear to whether the son is illegitimate, conceived before divorce, a clone, or a product of asexual reproduction.
  • Scooby-Doo's nephew Scrappy arrives as one, calling Scooby his "Uncle," even though at that point a Scooby sibling had yet to materialize. In his second series, a flashback episode reveals that Scrappy's mother is Ruby Doo (Scooby's sister). Ruby later returns in an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Her name's presumably a reference to Joe Ruby, one of the co-creators of Scooby Doo.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) cartoon did this to both Sonic the Hedgehog, giving him Uncle Chuck, and to his nemesis Dr. Robotnik, giving him his nephew Snively. Neither Sonic nor Snively's actual parents are ever mentioned. However, the comics adapted from the cartoon fill in the missing links, giving Sonic a father, Jules, and Robotnik a brother, Colin. The comics also have it that it's Uncle Chuck's own fault he suffers from Nephewism. He originally devised the roboticizer with medical applications in mind, and was forced to use his brother Jules, Sonic's dad, as a test subject when he was grievously injured. Ge abandoned the project when it turned his beloved brother into a mindless automaton as an unforeseen side effect of healing him, which ultimately allowed Robotnik to find it and use it to get cheap labor for his takeover campaign.
  • Touché Turtle and Dum Dum: The episode "Hero on the Half Shell" sees Touché's nephew Teeny Turtle come for a visit. Naturally, he wants to be a swashbuckling hero like his uncle and tries to help him capture an escaped convict.
  • Walter Lantz cartoons:
    • Woody Woodpecker has a nephew and niece named Knothead and Splinter, respectively (Get it?) They started off in the early 1950s comics as Woody's adopted wards rather than any kind of real relatives. The retcon took place when they made some cartoon appearances in the late 1950s. It gets weirder though; for the first two months of the comics appearances (New Funnies 182 and 183, both 1952), both kids are boys. One simply changes gender without explanation in month three (NF 184).
    • Chilly Willy also had a niece and a nephew in the comics. They were named Ping and Pong, but didn't appear in the cartoons like Knothead and Splinter.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Parodied in "Stanley S. SquarePants", in which Mr. Krabs mentions his "three adorable nephews" who "solve mysteries". Krabs, for the record, does also have a daughter, Pearl... who's a whale. Presumably either Oblivious Adoption or one hell of an Interspecies Romance was involved.

Exceptions and Variations:

  • Tommy McAnairey: Averted with Tommy being the proud father of his daughter Drimnagh, although she debuted seven years after her father. However we don't know who her mother is yet.

    Comic Books 
  • Swedish comic character Bamse, a super-strong anthropomorphic bear, not only eventually ended up getting married and having children, but so did some important supporting characters. And in line with the educational aspirations of the comic, they took the opportunity to explain the basics on pregnancy and childbirth.
  • British children's comic The Beano completely avoided this in its Dennis the Menace strips (not to be confused with the American character of the same name) — Gnasher, Dennis's dog, had an actual son named Gnipper. He also had a lot of other children, but Gnipper is the only one who really features. Then there's Dennis's baby sister Bea, who arrived in the mid-90s after an entire arc of Dennis wondering why the adults were acting differently.
  • While it doesn't directly involve children, one of the funniest variations on this idea appeared on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Or, rather, it's what didn't appear in the cartoon: a female ninja turtle. Why did we have to wait until the live-action series for a female ninja turtle? According to an old interview with the show's handlers, apparently the presence of a female ninja turtle would inspire children to "ask where baby turtles come from." However, the real reason that there were no female turtles in the cartoon was that the original creators, Eastman and Laird, absolutely hated the idea. One shot character (and brief Love Interest for Raphael) Mona Lisa was intended to be a turtle, but Eastman and Laird basically said "no way!", so she was changed into a lizard instead. When Venus de Milo was introduced in the live-action series, this was the result of Executive Meddling. When Peter Laird got sole ownership of the Turtles later on, he made sure to remove her completely from canon and reinforce the "no female turtles!" rule. (Kevin Munroe, writer/director of the 2007 movie, said that you don't even joke about Venus to Peter Laird.) Funnily enough, the IDW comics would introduce two female turtles—Jennika and Lita—only these ones mutated from humans and aren't presented as love interests, Jennika being more of a Cool Big Sis (and later entering into a relationship with Sheena Murphy) and Lita being a little girl. It also brought Venus back, albeit significantly overhauled.
  • Astro City knowingly references this with Looney Leo, a cartoon character who was brought to life by a bit of indiscrete mad science. He remembers having three rascally nephews before entering our reality, but no apparent siblings. Subverted later on, as, having grown depressed from the decades in our world, he is confirmed to have had countless sexual relations... including with a prostitute who turned out to be Really 17 Years Old.

  • In Geronimo Stilton, Geronimo has a nephew, Benjamin, who apparently lives with him. The whereabouts of Benjamin's parents is not known — Geronimo has a sister and a cousin, but they're Benjamin's aunt and uncle as well. In fact, Geronimo himself has no acknowledged parents, either. He has a grandfather and various relatives in different parts of the world (principally Scotland and an Expy of Transylvania) but no mother and father.

  • Kids Praise: Averted: in the Time Skip between the second and third albums, Psalty's managed to get married and have triplets.

    Video Games 

  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob & Jean's adopted Cute Monster Girl daughter Molly was spontaneously generated in a lab accident. Molly now has two clone "sisters" and a robot who calls her "Mom." So Bob and Jean now have three kids and a grandchild.

    Western Animation 
  • The Angry Beavers: In the first episode, we see the main characters' pregnant mother. Not even a minute later, she goes off-screen to give birth.
  • Ben 10 started out with an unusual solution to this trope: while Ben's and Gwen's parents were mentioned occasionally, every adult to appear on the show who was related to a child was a grandparent. (Eliminating the middle man, indeed.) The first depiction of a direct parent/child relationship occurred in the third season, and the trope was abandoned entirely in the fourth season.
  • Defenders of the Earth: Rick, Jedda, and L.J. are clearly the offspring of three of the adult heroes (Kshin is Madrake's adopted son) and the fate of Rick's mother is even explored in detail. (She's murdered on screen by Ming, and later becomes the team's Benevolent A.I.. Yeah, this is a kid's show.) Ming averts it too, but he's clearly not the best parent, seeing as his son became The Starscream when he appeared.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Gadget has a Disappeared Dad, Geegaw (her mother is never even mentioned), and Monty's parents Cheddarhead Charlie and Camembert Kate appear as characters in the show, Kate even in two episodes. The one-shot wonder Tammy has both a mother and a sister, too. Norton Nimnul's only known relative, on the other hand, is his nephew Normie.
  • The Flintstones: Fred and Wilma have Pebbles and Wilma was even shown as being pregnant onscreen. Bamm-Bamm, on the other hand, was adopted.
  • Darkwing Duck in his first episode adopted a daughter, Gosalyn. She's more than happy with the idea of crimefighting being a family business, too. Apparently Saint Canard was willing to let a single father adopt what up until (and, apparently, after) then was a very ... spirited young girl. Or they may have assumed some things about Launchpad. There's even neighbors with two kids of their own (presumably, Gosalyn may be in their care while Darkwing's flying off around the world). Of course, there's the possibility that they just wanted to get rid of her. The trope's prevalence leads to many Cowboy BeBop at His Computer instances of Gosalyn being referred to as Darkwing's niece.
  • Felix the Cat is a weird example. He had three kids named Inky, Dinky and Winky, and they inexplicably got retconned into his nephews to preserve this trope. The first Felix the Cat Cartoon note  had the character find out his girlfriend (or wife) is pregnant, which causes him to commit suicide. No, really.
  • Max Goof, the son of Goofy, whose lack of a mother was actually addressed a few times. Interestingly, he seems to have been more or less accepted in the 'modern' (if not iconic) Disney canon. Goofy's wife (among other female... anthropomorphic dogs?) was shown and heard quite frequently in the old '50s cartoons, but as The Faceless, probably because the animators of the time couldn't bring themselves to draw a sufficiently silly looking female face to match with the male characters.
  • Phil Mendez's Kissyfur had a surprisingly well-written father-son relationship at its core. (Incidentally, the show was originally to be named "Bear Roots" and to this day nobody knows how Mendez was convinced "Kissyfur" would be a better title.) The prime time special that preceded the ongoing series established that the mother died while performing in the circus the family originally belonged to. That was why the father decided escape with his son to the swamp.
  • In M.A.S.K., Matt Trakker has a son, Scott, with no sign of a mother. Although it's curiously never mentioned in the series, the comics, toyline and even the novelisations of cartoon episodes all identify Scott as being adopted.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit provides another aversion. In one of the Oswald shorts, "Poor Papa", Oswald has so many kids he tries to kill the stork. Under Walter Lantz, Oswald had two sons named Floyd and Lloyd.
  • Pete: Some version of Pete Jr. has existed since 1942, and, like Goofy, he had children in Goof Troop—but his wife was present until the movies where she and his daughter both disappeared, though his son hasn't been seen in anything since An Extremely Goofy Movie (then again, before Goof Troop he had been missing for fifty years).
  • In the Scrappy Age of Animation (1980s), Plastic Man in his animated series was given a son in the second season. Unlike most of his contemporary toons, Plas actually married his longtime girlfriend and had a kid. An odd fate for Hugh Hefner's favorite superhero.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Filburt (male turtle) and Dr. Hutchinson (female cat) not only get married, but have several children together, all hatched from a giant egg (one looks inexplicably disturbingly like Heffer, who, uh, kept the egg warm.)
  • Aside from the throwaway gag mentioned above, it's averted with Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants, since he has a daughter, Pearl... who's a whale. We can safely assume she's adopted.
  • Sylvester the Cat had a son, Sylvester Jr. Mrs. Sylvester is shown in only one 1960s cartoon, "Goldimouse and the Three Cats".
  • The bulldog Spike from the Tom and Jerry cartoons has a pup called Tyke, who featured in an extremely short lived spin-off Spike and Tyke, his wife however was never seen nor mentioned.
  • Adventure Time: Averted strongly. Jake and Lady Rainicorn not only have kids together, they also aren't married. They're boyfriend and girlfriend, although they've been together for over 6 years and move in together when they have kids.
  • Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Averted with Clara Cluck. She has two chicks, a male one and a female one.