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Chocolate Baby

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If looks could kill, the entire bloodline of that baby’s real father would be dead.
"Old Aunt Susie just came back
With the child and the child is black."
Cole Porter, "Well, Did You Evah?"

Two parents, who are the same race (or, in science fiction or fantasy, species), are having a child. Except when the child is born, it is either racially mixed or has some other trait(s) it couldn't have possibly received from its parents. In other words, Mommy had an affair and was knocked up with the cad's baby.

Even before DNA testing, this can resolve the question of whether or not the baby is the father's. If the mother is the main character, expect her to either have been raped or not know why she had a child that doesn't look like its father. In very old stories, the theory of "maternal impression" may be used to explain it - either seriously, or as a way of bamboozling the putative father.

The most well-known subtype of this is a white couple that gives birth to a half-black child. The title comes from a scene in the movie Life where the (white) warden of an all-black prison sees his illegitimate grandson for the first time and is revolted to see that the kid is racially mixed. Then you have cases where the father has no idea the kid isn't his when it's clear to everyone else.


As these are sure to be Three Month Old Newborns, expect the race to be completely obvious from birth, even though a black newborn's skin tone usually takes a while to darken.

In Real Life, this can also happen if both parents are of mixed race, then their genes can combine in such way that they have a child that appears to be fully of one race. Sometimes the infant's parents are of different races, while sometimes both parents are themselves mixed race. In one instance in the Netherlands, a white couple who underwent IVF found themselves the parents of a black infant because the lab hadn't sanitized its equipment adequately after performing an IVF procedure for a black couple. However, the old wives' tale of a white parent and a light-skinned black parent (possibly passing as white) producing a dark-skinned baby is quite literally one in a million.


This trope has been known to overlap with Red-Headed Stepchild in some examples that involve hair colour instead of skin colour. In darker-skinned families, this trope occasionally overlaps with Albinos Are Freaks if the father mistakes the baby's albinism for a sign that the mother cheated with a lighter-complexioned man. Compare Oblivious Adoption, which tends to be more innocent, and Random Species Offspring, which is more fantasy-oriented and doesn't involve cheating. If it's not a plot point, it's likely Hollywood Genetics at work.


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  • Almost literally in a commercial for Klondike Krunch bars. A pair of Klondike Original bars have a baby who is a Klondike Krunch bar, which makes the father suspicious. While the family is at home, the milkman (a Krunch candy bar) shows up at the door, and the father looks at the mother, shocked. The commercial ends with the narrator saying, "Klondike hooks up with your favorite flavors to bring you the best ice cream ever conceived."
  • A commercial for New Castle Brown Ale features an Indian family coming clean with their white son that he was never part of said family, before offering the drink as consolation.
  • A commercial for Rubicon flavored spring water has a family of anthropomorphic water bottles relaxing by the pool. The father (an ordinary spring water) watches his wife (another ordinary spring water) get a little too close with the pool boys, who are anthropomorphized fruits. Then he looks at the children, the fruit-flavored Rubicon waters, and has an awful realization...
  • An infamous ad the the mobile phone game Emperor And Beauties shows a Chinese emperor being congratulated for the birth of his daughter, who is black. Rather than suspecting his wife of infidelity, he accepts his daughter, and has her drink lots of milk, which somehow causes her skin to turn white.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Vision of Escaflowne has a variation of this: while Prince Chid is supposedly the son of an interracial couple, Marlene and the Duke of Fried, even complete strangers pick up on the very Anglo-Saxon Chid's total lack of physical resemblance to the father. It's then quickly revealed that not only is Chid's real father actually Allen but that the Duke of Fried knows this despite his vocal insistence that Chid is his own son.
  • Becomes a recurring plot point in Gosick where the queen fell in love with the alchemist Leviathan, an African man. The birth of their child and the subsequent murder by a cuckolded king play a major role.
  • In Sensual Phrase, this is the backstory of Sakuya. His mother was raped by a white man, so when she found out she was pregnant, she decided to wait to see what the baby looked like. If it looked like her husband, she'd keep it; if not, she'd give it up for adoption and lie that it was stillborn. The baby came out Asian, so she called her husband to come away from his work overseas... but when the baby opened his eyes, they were blue. Since she didn't want to tell her husband about the rape, he thought she had cheated on him, and threw her out.
  • In Naruto Gaiden, Sasuke's daughter, Sarada, comes to doubt being the daughter of Sakura when she realizes that neither of her parents wears glasses while she does. Adding to her suspicion is her mother's inability to answer basic questions and her discovery an old picture of her father with Karin, who does wear glasses. Turns out that it's a Red Herring and Sakura was indeed Sarada's biological mother all along.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, a Trumbeak and Toucannon have a clutch of eggs that all hatch into Pikipek, except for one which turns out to be a Rowlet. How this happened is mystery because a Pokémon's species is normally determined by its mother, not by the father, so it probably isn't a case of the mother cheating.
  • Maria from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is a Mage Born of Muggles in a world where magic is almost exclusively found among the upper class. It led to rumors that her mother must have had an affair with a nobleman, which eventually resulted in her father walking out on the family.
  • In GTO: The Early Years, all of Kiwamezawa's siblings, including the girls, look just like him (even if they're in elementary school). They look nothing like either of their parents, but exactly like the delivery man.

    Comic Books 
  • In an issue of Teen Titans, Red Panzer reveals that he's ashamed of his dark skin because he was raised by a die-hard Nazi father. At first, his father suspected that his wife had been unfaithful. The truth, which Red Panzer thought was worse, was that his mother had black ancestors.
  • Deadpool had a case of this with his daughter, Ellie Camacho. He had Ellie with Ambiguously Brown Latina, Carmelita Camacho. Ellie's appearance varied considerably during the first volume of Gerry Duggan's run. But since the latest volume started in 2016, she's been consistently depicted as more black. Some examples include these. In addition to her appearance in the Deadpool 2099 story arc.
  • Zigzagged in the case of Marvel super villains the Mandrill and Nekra; both were the legitimate progeny of their mothers' respective spouses, but because Nekra's mother had been exposed to a blast of experimental radiation whilst pregnant at the same time as Mandrill's father (before he went on to conceive Mandrill), both of them were mutants who had visible deformities from birth: Nekra had unearthly pale white skin, growing up to look like a vampire with The Power of Hate, whilst Mandrill was born with brown skin and excessive hair, ultimately mutating into a humanoid baboon with a brightly colored face who possessed superhuman physical abilities and Living Aphrodisiac pheromones. However, despite the fact they weren't illegitimate, their respective families and everyone around them still presumed they were the result of adultery and thus they grew up as abused outcasts for their appearances, which ultimately led to their becoming super-villains.
  • After the (not so) pious Helene (by Wilhelm Busch) marries rich fat guy Schmöck (whose name doesn't coincidentally sound like shmuck), she bears twins who look very much like her lover (and cousin) Franz.
  • In The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Boomerang's Imagine Spot that accompanies a dinner with his girlfriend shows him getting married to her with Dormammu as his best man. When it shows him raising their children, it's very clear that Dormammu is the father.
  • The cover of The Boys #57 depicts this. Bonus points: the man on the right is Stormfront, a Nazi.
  • Urbanus: Urbanus' son Bumba is black because he and Urbaniëtte conceived him while Urbanus was covered in shoe polish.
  • In one Condorito strip, the title character plays a doctor who receives a man carrying a baby, the man says that his child was born with "deeply shut eyes" and that he may need surgery to correct them, upon looking at the child Condorito asks him if him or his wife had any oriental relatives which the man denies, Condorito then answers "Then it's you, my friend, who need to open your eyes because your child is Japanese".
  • Red Ears: In an African village, a local Chief accuses the visiting European scientist of getting frisky with one of his wives when the baby comes out white. The scientist tries to convince him otherwise by pointing to a flock of white sheep which, thanks to the miracle of genetics, has an unexplained black sheep in its midst. The Chief then whispers that he'll stay quiet about the scientist's escapades if he'll return him the favor.
  • Downplayed in Y: The Last Man. A female astronaut was in a space station with a male African-American and a male Russian astronaut during the Gendercide that killed off every male on Earth. She has Sex for Solace with both men and becomes pregnant with the only surviving male baby. He turns out to be white, so Russia gets to claim him as a citizen.

    Comic Strips 
  • This Argyle Sweater cartoon by Scott Hilburn shows a doctor showing an anthropomorphic crayon couple their new baby. Oh, no! The mother is blue and the father is red, but the baby is...GREEN!

    Fan Works 
  • This Warrior Cats fanfiction. In it, Squirrelflight has been cheating on her mate Brambleclaw with his blue-eyed half-brother, Hawkfrost. When she has kittens, one of them has blue eyes. However, this indicates some artistic license as ALL kittens have blue eyes at birth, and it takes them at least six months for them to turn a different color. Even then, just blue eyes shouldn't be a clear indicator, nor can fur color. A litter of three kittens can have three different-colored pairs of eyes and three different pelts. Cats are also superfecund: any given litter can have more than one father.
  • A piece of fan art for The Legend of Korra plays with this. Toddler Korra happily announces to her parents that she can bend, then demonstrates Firebending to her Water Tribe parents. Her father casts a suspicious glance at his wife who is sweating and smiling nervously.
  • In The New Retcons, Anthony figures out that James Allen can't be his son because a pale blonde (Elizabeth) and a pale redhead (himself) can't produce a tan brunette. Turns out when he threw a fit upon finding out Elizabeth wasn't a virgin on their wedding night, he drove her straight into Warren Blackwood's arms, leading directly to James's conception.
  • Toyed with in the AU one-shot Naruto fic Red Hair, in which Naruto (who apparently never learned about his parents in this universe, as the story was written before canon had him discovering their identities) is quite surprised when his youngest is born with, you guessed it, red hair. He thankfully never once thinks that Hinata cheated on him, as it is evident that the child has his eyes, but does wonder where the hair came from, briefly considering that the Kyuubi's chakra may have caused it. Tsunade quickly clears it up when she tells him the girl is the spitting image of his mother Kushina, whom he immediately names the child after.
  • In A Taste of the Good Life, Scootaloo is a pegasus filly born to a unicorn mare with a unicorn husband. While this isn't necessarily impossible in canon, it's clear to everyone (except maybe Scootaloo) that her father is her "Uncle" Snare Drum, a pegasus.
  • In Ask Craig's Spooky Gang, a South Park Character Blog set in a Monster AU, Kenny is a zombie in a family of werewolves. This is explained as supernatural in origin (as in the show, his parents were involved with the Cult of Cthulu while pregnant with him), though it's shown to cause similar tensions to this trope. (For example, his father calling him "no son of mine" at his birth.)
  • There's a Power Rangers fanfic out there that applies this to the Master Vile (dad, humanoid alien) Rita Repulsa (daughter, human alien) and Rito Revolto (son, talking skeleton) family. Rita apparently takes after her (never seen) mother, while Rito bears an uncanny resemblance to his parents' former butler. Of course, the real reason is Related in the Adaptation.
    Rito: I always wanted to ask Jeffries what he thought about such a wild coincidence, but pop vaporized him on the day I was born. Never did figure that out.
    Elgar: Uhhh. I don't think you've done the math there.
  • Discussed and subverted in the Frozen one-shot Raising Elsa. Elsa is a platinum blonde with a strawberry-blond father and a brunette mother. Idunn freaks out when Elsa's hair starts growing in because it looks like Elsa is one of these and begs her husband to believe that she didn't cheat. He believes her and says that, even if Elsa wasn't his, he wouldn't abandon her. In reality, Elsa's ice powers are why her hair is so light.
  • The Queen of Hearts revolves around Elsa trying to figure out if she's really Anna's full sister or not. Since they were children, rumors have existed that Elsa was an illegitimate heir to the king. The rumors say that the king and queen couldn't conceive so they asked a mountain man, with little connection to humans, to impregnate Queen Matilda. Elsa and Anna never questioned their heritage, however after hearing of the rumors Elsa starts thinking twice about her parentage. Anna is the spitting image of their father, while Elsa doesn't look like him at all. They later find letters that make it seem like the king of Corona might be Elsa's father. It turns out that a man named Daniel Kristiansen is Elsa's biological father. Surprisingly, they also have a half-brother they didn't know of: Hans, who was a Child by Rape. Only Hans' oldest brothers know that he is their half-brother.
  • Subverted in the RWBY one-shot To Claim a Rose. Ruby's half-sister Yang looks like their dad, but Ruby is black-haired rather than blond. Kids at school tease Ruby over being one of these, with her black-haired (non-biological) uncle being her alleged father. However, it turns out Ruby just takes after her mother Summer. Qrow did love Summer but she only had eyes for Taiyang.
  • The one-shot All My Kittens explains why Duchess has three kittens of different colors in The Aristocats by explaining her sons as this. Marie's father was a purebred stud while her brothers were the result of a fling with a moggy stray.
  • Subverted in Leave Your Spirit. Kya is Zuko's daughter but no one suspects it because Kya is the spitting image of her mother Katara. Not even Katara thought anything until she noticed Kya's nose resembled Zuko's.
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: Just as in canon, Cersei's children. However, the person who reveals this isn't Stannis Baratheon (who is dead thanks to For Want of a Nail), but Original Character Gwyn Parren. Gwyn knows this because House Parren is directly descended from the youngest son of Orys Baratheon. Every single one of his male descendants has intermarried with the Lannisters (either of Casterly Rock or Lannisport), and every single one of the progeny of those unions was of black hair and blue eyes like the Baratheons, until Gwyn herself was born (and that was after ten generations of Lannister marriages, meaning she has more Lannister blood in her than the Lannisters themselves do). Even then, her full figure and other features clearly denote her of Baratheon descent. It's through her own family history, complete with a family song that sheds light on this, that Gwyn realizes that Cersei's "trueborn" children cannot be Robert's.
  • RWBY: Scars: Ruby and Yang are the daughters of Taiyang through different mothers. Yang takes after their blond father, but Ruby is black-and-red haired. It's assumed she just really takes after her mother. In this case, she really isn't Taiyang's. She's the biological daughter of her Honorary Uncle, Qrow. Tai knows that he's not the father, because Qrow and Summer were a couple that broke up, but no one else outside the trio (and Qrow's sister/Yang's mother Raven) know about the Family Relationship Switcheroo.
  • The Queen of Sunshine and Bright Things: Maleficent believes that Elsa's ice powers are the result of her mother cheating with a wandering fairy.
  • In Turning Tables, gossip columns tended to sensationalize Morgan's parentage, making various outlandish claims about who the father really was. The most common one was Rhodey, made especially egregious since he is a dark-skinned Black man and Morgan is completely white.
  • The Female of the Species:
    • Sarafina's husband was Scar, yet only one of her two cubs are his. Nala looks nothing like Scar and it's an Open Secret that she's not his daughter. Sarafina had Nala with a nameless rogue during the period when Scar's personality began to change for the worse.
    • Kovu isn't Scar's son, however Scar seemingly doesn't realize this due to their strong resemblance.
  • In The Love Club, Nessarose is the biological daughter of the Ambiguously Brown Turtle Heart. She's very light skinned and her hair is only slightly wavy, so she largely passes as white. Her parents have kept this secret her entire life. Her father Frexspar only reveals this to his eldest child Elphaba on his deathbed (along with the secret that he isn't their biological father either).
  • Beneath her smile is a oneshot Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town fic where Sasha ends up pregnant from an affair with the player character. Her husband Jeff doesn't think twice and considers it a miracle that Sasha got pregnant again after 20 years.
  • A Dovahkiin Spreads His Wings: Besides Cersei's children (which is canon), more than a few people comment that Ned Stark's bastard son actually doesn't look that much like him, being darker of hair and eye, leaner in build and almost uncannily pretty. Because "Jon Snow" is Ned Stark's nephew by his sister Lyanna, who fell pregnant from Rhaegar Targaryen.
  • Common People gives a Navajo grandmother to Roy Harper. Jason is rather surprised by this tidbit of information, as the older teen is a pale redhead, but doesn't make a big deal over it since mixed kids come in many shapes.
  • The Gaps in F r i e n d s h i p (a sequel to Seven Saviors): Subverted with the Equestrian Vinyl Scratch. She explains that she and her Octavia are fraternal twins, born to Earth Ponies... but Vinyl's a unicorn, and except for her eyes, she doesn't have either of their colors, so their grandmother assumed an affair was involved. A blood test and examination of their father's family tree proved that Vinyl and Octavia are full sisters; Vinyl just takes after her father's great-great-grandfather.
  • Escape From the Moon: Discussed in the first sequel The Mare From the Moon. There are some ponies who've accused Princess Cadance of infidelity since she's an alicorn, her husband is a unicorn, and her alicorn daughter Flurry Heart has proportionately greater pegasus traits than any of the others. The real reason for this, which isn't widely known, is that Cadance was born a pegasus before becoming an alicorn.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug fanfic Blessed, Sabine Cheng and her husband Tom Dupain are having fraternal twins, a boy (Nathaniel) and a girl (Marinette), and are very surprised when their son comes out with red hair, to the point where they get a blood test to confirm he's Tom's son. It's not until years later, when Marinette becomes Ladybug, that Sabine - who used to be Tikki's partner as the heroine Lady Luck - discovers that Nathaniel's hair color comes from Tikki giving her a kiss on the belly the night she retired from heroism due to her pregnancy.
  • Beyond the Wall: Fairy Dust was born a pegasus, even though her parents are earth ponies. In fact, she's the only pegasus in the entire village. She's never discriminated against for it...until Whisperleaf's mother starts to worry that she might use her wings to someday fly away from the village.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Me, Myself & Irene, Charlie Bailygate's wife gives birth to three black sons, despite both he and his wife being white. He almost aggressively refuses to consider the possibility that they aren't his sons. Even after his wife leaves him for her black paramour, he continues to raise and love them as his own.
  • Done in The Brothers Solomon where we are led to believe that one of the brother's sperm was used to impregnate the surrogate mother but as it turns out the baby was actually her black boyfriend's, but they were so clueless they didn't care.
  • The Naked Gun 33 1/3 had this at the very end of the movie, where Frank's wife gives birth to a black baby... or so it appears. As Frank is chasing his black partner Nordburg through the hospital, it turns out they were in the wrong delivery room, and the chief comes out of a separate room with Frank's actual wife and child (Cue OJ Simpson joke).
  • In the 1995 Drew Barrymore film Boys on the Side, Drew's character finds out she's pregnant while on the run for killing her abusive boyfriend. Her new police officer boyfriend has fallen in love with her and is there when the baby is born... a black baby, from her cheating on her then-boyfriend.
  • In a Russian movie, roughly translated into English as "Stop Fooling Around", has a white Siberian couple having a black son. It is immediately explained, though, that the mother's father was an American WWII sailor, resulting in a black grandson.
  • In the Ron Howard film Parenthood, ne'er do well son Tom Hulce comes home and his family is shocked — shocked! — to see his son Cool, because he's Black.
  • Bait-and-switched in The Constant Gardener. The protagonist's wife has an ambiguous relationship with her black coworker throughout the film, and after she goes into labour we see her nursing a black baby. Turns out she miscarried and is looking after the child of a single teenage mother on the same ward who's dying of TB.
  • Parodied in Scary Movie 4, where Brenda gets with the Amish guy from not-The Village, and in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, is shown giving birth to a baby that is very obviously sired by not-Jigsaw.
  • In Cinderella (1997), a white King (played by Victor Garber) and his queen Constantina (played by Whoopi Goldberg) manage to have Prince Christopher, who is... Asian! To be fair, this was the result of Colorblind Casting, but it's still somewhat odd.
  • Happens in Barney's Version with his first wife Clara: Barney marries her because she's pregnant even though they don't really love each other. When the baby is stillborn, the doctor asks who the father was, and when Barney replies it was his child, he says "then you must be... an albino."
  • Hilariously subverted in Due Date. Ethan continuously hints at his suspicions of Peter's wife cheating on him with her black friend, Darryl. Towards the end of the film, Peter walks into a delivery room and stares in horror at a newborn black baby; thankfully, he just walked in the wrong room.
  • In Life the Superintendent's daughter, Mae Rose, gives birth to a very obviously not white child. This leads to a hilarious scene where the Superintendent lines the prisoners up and compares the baby to each of them, trying to root out the father.
  • In Stilyagi, the father of Polly's son John is not Mel, but a nameless visiting black man from America.
  • In Superman Returns Superman is upset to learn that Lois Lane has had a son with her fiancé. Then the kid starts tossing furniture around.
  • A rare fatherless version in Secrets & Lies. Cynthia finally meets Hortense, whom she gave up for adoption when she was 15, and is very surprised to see that she is black. At first, she is sure it is a mistake as she would have remembered sleeping with a black man, then she DOES figure it out evidently she was raped by an unseen assailant. She had assumed her white boyfriend was the father.
  • In the German low-brow comedy Erkan und Stefan, Stefan imagines walking through a park with the sexy woman he met, and their children. But then he notices (what, only now?) that the baby in the buggy looks just like his Heterosexual Life-Partner Erkan. Complete with his trademark moustache.
  • Skin 2008 is based on the true story of Sandra Laing, a dark-skinned girl born to white South African parents during apartheid. The film makes the point that both black and white South Africans usually have more mixed heritage than they usually admit, making racial classification far from simple. Interestingly, her father is never portrayed as questioning whether she's his daughter, but essentially disowns her when she marries a black man.
  • In the comedy Crazy Boys in Spain (Les Charlots Font l'Espagne), the Charlots tried to help a white boy locate his parents at a camping site. The boy kept asking for chocolate. 4 minutes later his black parents showed up. No explanation was given.
  • After the Thin Man: Asta the dog, a white terrier, comes home to the missus to see she's got a litter of puppies... one of which is too darkly colored to be his. He spies a nearby black Scottish Terrier sneaking through a hole under the fence and drives off the intruder angrily, then fills in the hole.
  • The Mexican movie ¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño? centers around a girl from an upper-class family who gets drunk in a party and ends up pregnant, with the only suspect being a younger man named Renato. The boy agrees to marry the girl and look after the kid and the movie is about them learning to accept their differences. At the end of the movie, it's revealed that the kid is Asian and looks nothing like Renato. Turns out the parent was a small Asian man who was also in the party. Renato knew he wasn't the father all along but decided to go with it because he didn't want the baby to grow without a father like he did.
  • In Mandingo, a white woman seduces (or rather, demands the sexual services of) a slave out of revenge for her husband's own infidelity with another slave. She conceives and spends her pregnancy terrified of this trope. When it comes true, she smothers the child to keep her secret, but he sees it anyway and kills her and the slave responsible.
  • The World Unseen: Amina relates that her mother was recognized to have Black ancestry when she was born, given her features and skin color differed from the Indians. This was due to her grandmother being raped by a Black man.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Discussed, when the other characters meet Malcolm's daughter, Kelly. As Malcolm is white and Kelly is very much not, Eddie notes that they have absolutely no family resemblence.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Reboot: Brought up when Justice introduces Jay to "their lovechild", but Millie's black girlfriend Soapy answers the door first. Jay mentions that he's gonna request a Daddy DNA Test before the confusion is cleared up.

  • One joke about a chocolate baby Crosses the Line Twice:
    Son: Father, you and Mom are white, but I am black. Why is that so?
    Father: Son, that was such a wild time, just be happy you don't bark.
  • A similar one, between an African shepherd and a European priest:
    Shepherd: Father, I have an urgent problem to discuss with you.
    Priest: Yes, my son?
    Shepherd: See, my wife just gave birth to a completely white baby. You're the only white man around here!
    Priest: Let's not jump to conclusions, my son. It might be a simple coincidence, an accident of nature. See, for example: all of your sheep are white, but the last one born is black!
    Shepherd: [lowers his voice] Sheesh, okay, okay. I'll shut up about the baby if you'll shut up about that sheep.
  • An English expectant father goes to see his newborn...who is black. As soon as he comes in, his wife screams at him, "NOW try to deny you're sleeping with that Nigerian woman, you bastard!"
  • Similar to the one above, a Dumb Blonde has a c-section, and after the baby is examined and returned to them, she sees its wispy red hair. Horrified, she turns to her husband and gasps, "Oh my god! You cheated on me!"
  • This classic joke: An old man on his deathbed is surrounded by his family: His wife of many years, and his three sons, two of which are strong, handsome men, the third which is somewhat scrawny. As the man is breathing his last, he asks the sons to leave the room so he can talk privately to his wife. "My dear," he says, "I do not wish to pass from this world with any doubt, please tell me, for this has vexed me for many years, my third son, so unlike the other two, is he really mine? Do not lie to me as I lay dying!" The wife takes a deep breath. "I swear to you, he is truly yours." And, with that, the man dies satisfied. The wife breathes a sigh of relief. "Thank God he didn't ask about the other two!"
  • Another classic: A prince spots a humble peasant toiling in the fields and notices a startling resemblance between them.
    Prince: Say, did your mother ever work at the palace?
    Peasant: No, but my father did.
    • Fun fact: this joke was already known in the Roman Empire. In that version, it involved Emperor Augustus and a young country bumpkin whom he asked if his mother was ever in Rome.
  • The subject of an old joke: "You have the mailman's eyes."
  • A traveling salesman walks up to an old farmhouse, where several sheep are wandering around outside. A little girl is sitting on the porch. She looks up at him and asks, "Are you my da-a-a-a-a-addy?"
  • A woman gave birth to a black boy while her husband was away. She writes to him:
    The husband is amazed. He writes to his mum about that. Soon after, he receives a reply:
    "Dear son. When you were born, I, likewise, had lactation problems, and you were nursed by a cow, but it wasn't until now that you grew horns."
  • There is a joke about a woman who gave birth to a red-haired boy, with no one in the family having that hair color. The doctor is kind enough to help her, so he questions her husband about the frequency of his sexual life... which turns out to be low enough for him to blame it on rust.
  • One joke about a farmer going to a divorce lawyer: The lawyer tries to find some grounds on which the farmer can leave his wife. When the lawyer asks "Is she a nagger?", the farmer replies "No, we're both white. But my wife had a baby recently and he's a nagger, so that's why I want a divorce".
  • There is a joke about a Chinese couple having a chocolate baby. They named the child "Sum Ting Wong"note . Note that the joke came way before the mess-up regarding the names of the pilots in the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 disaster.
  • There is a joke where an old man marries a younger woman. Two years in a row he brings her to the birthing ward. Each time, the doctor is amazed, but the old man merely states that "I always keep the engine running". The third year, the doctor says "Well, you might want to get your oil changed, 'cause this one came out black".
  • "My wife and I didn't want any more kids, so we got a vasectomy; turns out it doesn't work like that, it just changes the color of the baby."

  • Zig-zagged in the Sherlock Holmes short story "The Yellow Face." A woman gives birth to a black child, but at the time, she was essentially married to a black man, so no one questions the child's parentage. On the other hand, the child was actually a lot darker than her husband, meaning the child could have been the result of an affair anyway, but that doesn't cause anyone to think that there was something else going on: the woman tells us that that's common in matches like theirs. The only problems the child's race causes are in the woman's later marriage to a white man, and that's mostly because she tried to conceal that she had a black child.
  • Played straight, but with inverted colors in the ancient Greek romance Aethiopica by Heliodorus of Emesa (3rd century AD): Queen Persinna of Ethiopia, wife to King Hydaspes, gives birth to a white daughter. Fearing that she will be accused of adultery, Persinna gives the girl (who is called Chariclea) away. The narrative follows Chariclea's turbulent life until, after many adventures, it is revealed that Chariclea is, in fact, the perfect image of a picture of Andromeda that her mother had been looking at while she conceived, and so Chariclea really is Hydaspes' daughter with Maternal Impression explaining her looks.
  • The title story in Jhumpa Lahiri's short story collection Interpreter of Maladies has this too. Bobby, Mrs. Das's illegitimate child with her husband's co-worker, is significantly fairer than his siblings. However, no one really guesses about Mrs. Das's infidelity just by looking at the child since she and her husband are both fair-skinned Indians.
  • Arthurian legends, collected and written into a novel by Chrétien de Troyes, explain that Sir Yvain has a half-brother from a previous marriage when his own father took a dark-skinned Moor as a wife in Spain. Demonstrating just how shockingly little provincial Europeans knew about genetics when interacting with people from other races... Yvain's brother has checkerboard-colored skin, with alternating light and dark patches. (Ironically, such things have been known to happen in real life, with mosaicism and genes that are only partially expressed, but they are extremely rare, and in any case it is clear that these northern Europeans who had rarely seen a Moor except on the battlefield honestly believed that this would be the result of a mixed coupling).
  • In The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, the antihero's mother spends a lot of time praying fervently with the local minister. The child resembles said minister; the author attributes it to Maternal Impression, but in a manner that suggests his tongue is in cheek.
  • In explaining the Red-Headed Stepchild idea, the backstory of The Prisoner of Zenda also falls into Chocolate Baby. In the 18th century, the red-headed prince of Ruritania visited England and met the beautiful wife of a certain English nobleman. The two men fought a duel, the prince leaving the country with serious wounds and the Englishman later dying of a chill. Some months later, the wife gave birth to a red-headed child and it wasn't much of a mystery who his real father was. Thus, it's been an embarrassment to their family since then whenever someone is born with red hair.
  • In the short story "Désirée's Baby" by Kate Chopin, a foundling girl who appears to be white marries, and has a baby who's obviously mixed. After her husband turns her out, Désirée apparently kills herself and the child. At the end of the story, it's revealed—in a letter written by his mother—that the husband is the one who's mixed. He burns the letter to protect his good name.
  • In Passing, Nella Larson's exploration of black women who engage in or resist passing themselves off as white, the fear passing women have of giving birth to children who could not pass comes up in conversation.
  • Jewel in As I Lay Dying is red-haired and noticeably taller than his father and brothers. It's revealed that he was the lovechild of his mother and the local minister.
  • In A.B. Guthrie's novel The Big Sky, Boone's wife gives birth to a red-headed baby, which makes him think she cheated on him with his red-haired friend. In a rage he kills his friend, beats up and abandons his wife, and goes back home to Kentucky... where he finds out that red hair runs in his family. Whoops.
  • Used in one of the Outlander books in which Claire saves a white (also possibly married) woman's abandoned child. As a doctor, she's able to identify (despite the child being recently born) that the father was black, and strongly suspects it might have been why the child was abandoned, the setting of the novel being the mid-18th century.
  • A rare 'Vanilla Baby' variant in A Song of Ice and Fire: King Robert Baratheon has black hair. His wife Queen Cersei is blond, as are all three of their children. Nobody initially thinks anything of it, since there's nothing particularly strange about children resembling their mother. On closer investigation, however, all of Robert's illegitimate children have black hair. Furthermore, throughout history, every time a black-haired Baratheon fathered a child from a blond woman, the baby had black hair. This is used as proof that that the royal kids aren't his. They were fathered by the queen's twin brother, Jaime.
  • In Morpho eugenia by A. S. Byatt (filmed as Angels and Insects), a brown-haired man married to a blond woman has lots of blond children that resemble their mother remarkably much and him not at all. It's not until he finds her in bed with her brother that he really sees the oddness of this.
  • The Conqueror books do this with eye colours — Chagatai, Ogedai, and Tolui all have the same golden eyes as their father, Genghis Khan, but Jochi, the eldest brother, has brown eyes. The fact that Borte fell pregnant with him around the time of her kidnapping doesn't help matters, and Chagatai takes great pleasure in telling everybody that Jochi is a 'Tartar bastard'.
  • The Sacrifice of Tamar: Tamar's grandchild is born with dark skin. Her Orthodox Jewish son is filled with righteous wrath, believing his wife cheated on him; the daughter-in-law can only cry and deny it. Then Tamar confesses to her son that he was conceived when she was raped by a black man. She never told anyone, because she had made love to her husband that same night and always hoped the baby was his.
  • Talma Gordon: Isabel's third child was born with dark skin. Captain Gordon assumed she had been unfaithful, but it was actually from inherited genes on her side.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Even before it was revealed that Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze are the kittens of Leafpool and Crowfeather, everyone already knew it. None of them look anything like Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw, except for the eye color of both Squirrelflight and Hollyleaf. Squirrelflight is a dark ginger cat with green eyes. Brambleclaw is a brown cat with amber eyes. Jayfeather is a gray cat with blue eyes, Hollyleaf is a black cat with green eyes, and Lionblaze is a golden brown cat with amber eyes. Crowfeather is a black/gray cat with blue eyes. Leafpool is a brown cat with amber eyes. Three guesses who Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze's real parents are...
    • There are also Oakheart and Crookedstar. They're both brown, and their parents, Shellheart and Rainflower, are gray.
  • In Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky, Clair, the wife of a man, Hugh, from a very upper-crust white family gives birth to a daughter that has caramel skin. The husband's family (except the grandmother) immediately disowns the child and the husband accuses the wife of cheating and leaves her for a short time, even though a DNA test proves that he is the father. It turns out that the husband's family supposedly has black ancestry due to the rumor that the man's grandmother had an affair with her (half) black groundskeeper and became pregnant. When her son was born, he had white features and she promptly passes him off as her husband's child. The grandfather reveals the secret of the alleged affair to his son and he reconciles with his wife and daughter.
  • The Wicked Years:
    • Subverted in Wicked. Elphaba's green skin is a testament to her father not being her mother's husband (although in this case potions, rather than genetics, are to blame). Her mother was raped by a traveler when the potion he gave her knocked her out. Elphaba's father Frexspar never doubted Elphaba's parentage; he blames her skin on his failure as a preacher.
    • Elphaba's younger sister Nessarose is either the daughter of Melena and her white husband Frexspar or her Dark-Skinned Redhead lover Turtle Heart. It's impossible to tell, though her light skin and hair point towards Frexspar. The family tree in A Lion Among Men confirmed that Frex is her biological father.
  • A rare example of a central character intentionally cheating on her (white) husband with a man of a different race comes from Andrea Levy's most popular novel, Small Island. Also notable in that Despite his racist beliefs, her husband Bernard wants to keep the baby and raise him together.
  • The original Forrest Gump novel ended with Jenny giving birth to one of these, lying to Forrest that it's his, and he's stupid enough to believe it. In the film, the son is white and obviously Forrest's.
  • In the book Waiting For June the white character is pregnant and everyone assumes her best friend, who is black, is the father, especially when the baby comes out black but it turns out that the father is Native American and the mother is half black.
  • In the book version of The Help it's revealed that Constantine, an old maid that raised Skeeter, was half-white and half-black. Thus when she gave birth to a white child, she eventually had to abandon her, because people kept assuming she'd either kidnapped her or was just the babysitter. Years later, the child returns and completely upsets people when they realize the truth.
  • In a weird variation, one character from Larry Niven's A Gift From Earth was treated like the Chocolate Baby despite having been fathered by a Crew man on a Crew woman, because the man who fathered him had had testes transplants from an organ-banked Colonist.
  • In the epic, Jerusalem Delivered, Clorinda is described as pale-skinned, although both of her parents are Ethiopians. Apparently, her mother's excessive praying to an icon of St. George caused this (as well as her exceptional martial skills).
  • Featured in the back story of Tanis Half-Elven from the Dragon Lance series. His elvish mother and her husband had been ambushed by human mercenaries who murdered her husband and raped her. Her royal brother-in-law was horrified when she gave birth to the clearly half-human Tanis, but still raised him as if he were family even though he constantly faced prejudice for being half-human among the generally xenophobic Qualinesti elves.
  • Discussed in Good Soldier Svejk by Yaroslav Hasek. (Since it's set in 1914, Svejk has some odd ideas about how heredity works.)
    A medico who used to go to The Chalice once told us that it's not quite as simple as all that. A half-breed like that [1/4 Ethiopian, 3/4 Czech] brings half-breeds into the world again and they can't be distinguished from white people. But suddenly in a later generation, a negro turns up. Imagine the catastrophe! You might get married to a young lady. The filly is quite white and suddenly she gives birth to a negro baby. And if before her ninth month she went without you to the Variety Theatre to watch wrestling where a negro was performing, I think the whole thing would give you something to think about.
  • Like Water for Chocolate: Toyed with; Tita's Fiery Redhead sister Gertrudis runs off with a Revolutionary soldier named Juan... and their firstborn son is dark-skinned which neither of his parents is, so Juan believes Gertrudis is cheating on him. Tita clears this up via showing him some letters that explain the truth: Gertrudis's biological father is Jos&eacute Treviño, whom Mama Elena wasn't allowed to marry because he is of mixed race, and had a years-long affair with instead. Therefore the "chocolate baby" looks like his maternal grandfather rather than either of his parents—save for his blue-green eyes, inherited from Gertrudis.
  • In Sarum, a Neolithic stonemason's wife gives birth to a daughter whose very long toes mark her as the offspring of his neighbor, whose own elongated toes were also inherited by the neighbor's legitimate children. Unusually, the stonemason accepts the little girl without reservation on the sensible grounds that she hasn't done anything wrong, but schemes to get even with his wife and her lover.
  • Parodied in Slimy Underbelly, in which the villainous Eldritch Abomination Ah'Chulhu was born with a tentacled head and a human body. To a Cosmic Horror mother, whose husband is outraged by the child's human features.
  • The prologue of Silver Phoenix has one of the emperor's concubines give birth to an obviously mixed-race baby. A coverup ensues when it becomes clear that the child isn't the emperor's.
  • Second Apocalypse: Serwe's baby is officially the child of Kellhus, but it's obvious that he's really the son of Cnaiur. Both of the child's official parents are blond and pale, but the child has Cnaiur's darker Scylvendi features. Furthermore, all of Kellhus's actual children share his blond hair, even though their mother is brunette.
  • Used in the short story El "Clis" de Sol (The "Clis" of the Sun) by Costa Rican author, Manuel González Zeledón, the story deals with a dark-skinned old man whose (also dark-skinned) young wife gave birth to two beautiful twin girls who happen to be white and blond; despite this, the old man is extremely proud of them, and when asked why his daughters are white when both him and his wife are dark-skinned, he laughs it off and says that when his wife was pregnant there was a "Clis of the Sun" (solar eclipse) and she happened to be outside when it passed, so that's why they're white. When asked how he came to that conclusion, he answers that it was that young Italian teacher who was in the town several months ago who explained it to him.
  • In The Thorn Birds Father Ralph notices that the oldest Cleary son Frank has black eyes, which is all but impossible given that his mother Fee has gray eyes while his father Paddy has blue. During an argument, Paddy blurts out that Frank is the result of Fee's affair with a married Maori politician who abandoned her after she got pregnant. Ralph realizes he must have suspected this all along, as not only does Frank's eye color not match his parents or siblings, neither does his stature or coloring—short instead of tall and dark, rather than fair.
    • In the author's final novel Bittersweet, snide comments to this effect ("a slap of the tar brush") are made regarding youngest sister Kitty, as she has a darker skin tone than the others. Her mother turns a deaf ear to this, as despite her many flaws, she has not been unfaithful to her husband, but is still too snobbish and in denial to admit that either she or her husband likely has a trace of Aboriginal heritage.
  • A variant in the novel Boy, Snow, Bird has a white woman giving birth to a black baby despite not having an affair. It turns out that her husband's family, whom she assumed were white, were very light-skinned African-Americans who had selectively bred themselves over generations to be light-skinned in order to pass as white.
  • The origin story of TJ in Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. His white biological mother gave birth to a mixed-race baby (TJ) after cheating on her white boyfriend with a guy who was mixed black and Japanese. Her boyfriend left her after this proof of her infidelity and she was unable to raise the baby by herself, ultimately placing him for adoption. He's raised by two white adoptive parents in an almost entirely white community and confronts a number of racial issues during the story. Much later in the novel, TJ tracks down the biological son of his adoptive father and proclaims 'I think we have the same father', much to the guy's surprise.
  • Doglands: Furgul and his sisters are lurchers who were conceived during a One Night Stand that their racing greyhound mother had with a stray that got into the kennels. It isn't until Furgul starts growing that it becomes obvious he isn't a purebred. This is trouble because dogs that aren't fit to race end up "disappearing".
  • In Agatha Christie’s The Moving Finger, a village is being plagued by a series of poison-pen letters that accuse people of all sorts of scandalous gossip. Mrs. Symington receives one that claims that her red-headed son is the product of an affair, and is found dead with a suicide note shortly afterwards. This trope is then discussed by the other characters, with one pointing out that it is possible for hair colors to skip a generation. It is ultimately subverted though. It wasn’t a suicide, and the letters were a Red Herring meant to disguise the fact that Mrs. Symington was the intended target all along.
  • In Many Waters, Oholibamah is unusually tall and pale by the standards of her culture, which point to her being fathered by one of the Nephilim. Neither she nor Yalith realize this until it's pointed out, though. Matred also notes that Oholibamah's supposed father is rather old and that she was born ten years after her older siblings.
  • Downplayed in A Thousand Splendid Suns. On one occasion, Rasheed comments on the fact that Aziza's eye colour is neither his or Laila's. That's because her real father is Tariq, whom Laila had slept with prior to marrying Rasheed, although she otherwise looks like Laila and so no one is any the wiser. It's later revealed that Rasheed actually knew for years that Aziza wasn't really his.
  • In Tales from Netheredge, the royal couple of Bow have two children, one of whom looks like neither parent: he's very pale, very thin and has unusually light eyes and hair. The real fathernote  turns out to be Myr of the North, the half-fey court mage, and him parenting the child was a part of a plan to increase the amount of magical power available to the court.
  • Invoked in Number the Stars, when Annemarie's family is hiding her Jewish friend Ellen from the Nazis. When an officer comes knocking and demands to know why Ellen has dark hair while her "sisters" are blonde, Mr. Johannsen passes her off as his daughter by showing the officer a baby photo of his deceased eldest daughter Lise, who had dark hair as a baby.
  • Invoked in A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Chestnut, a published diary about life in the Civil War-era Deep South. The passage it's most remembered for is when she talks about male slaveowners raping female slaves and siring children with them while their wives feigned ignorance:
    This only what I see. Like the patriarchs of old our men live all in one house with their wives and their concubines, and the mulattoes one sees in every family exactly resemble the white children—and every lady tells you who is the father of all the mulatto children in everybody's household, but those in her own she seems to think drop from the clouds, or pretends so to think.
  • In the K.J. Charles romance/mystery novel Proper English, one of the obnoxious in-laws of the main character had an affair with an African-American jazz musician who was on tour in London. The resulting baby is quite obviously biracial, but, this being a Genteel Interbellum Setting, there's no such thing as a DNA test and the law dictates that any child born to a married woman counts as legitimate pretty much no matter what. However, while his legal father, the victim of Who Murdered the Asshole?, hates him and uses him as a pawn to get more money out of his own parents, the actually decent members of the family unreservedly accept and love him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • King Robert Baratheon, his brothers, his forefathers, and even his bastard children all have dark hair. All three of his children by Cersei Lannister are blond. They were fathered by Cersei's twin brother Jaime. Everyone in the Seven Kingdoms knows this but Robert, who died with his best friend deciding to spare him the knowledge of it so he may die peacefully.
    • In an extreme case of denial, Tywin spends three and a half seasons ignorant of the inverse implications (that ALL his grandchildren are blond, and not diverse as if Cersei was taking on multiple 'surrogate fathers'), until Cersei shouts it in his face.
    • Averted with Jon, who does look like the son of a commoner and his high-noble parent, though the truth is far worse.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Barney's mother never married, and is implied to have been fairly... outgoing in her fertile years, resulting in Barney being white and his half-brother, James, being black. When Mrs. Stinson gives her two sons a name, "Sam," and an address, the two brothers naturally go on a quest to meet one of their fathers. When they meet Sam, they discover he's black, meaning he's James's dad, not Barney's. Nevertheless, Barney fails (or rather refuses to accept) making the connection and assumes Sam is his father, too. In the episode James in introduced, "Single Stamina", Barney's friends tell Robin that James is exactly like him, except gay. They don't bother to mention he's also black.
  • My Name Is Earl:
    • Joy's second child, Earl Jr., was black, despite Joy and Earl both being white (Joy's first child, Dodge, was conceived before they met so he was always treated as not being Earl's biological son). Earl was too shocked at first to really get upset and Joy tried to explain that Earl might have had a "repressed Black gene" in his lineage from his great-grandmother. Earl doesn't really believe it and asks the doctor to confirm his suspicions (which the doctor does, in no uncertain terms.)
    • A later episode had Joy explain to her parents that Earl Jr. was 'reverse albinism' "You know how two black people can have an albino child..."
    • The trope was then sent up in the cliffhanger of the final episode when everyone thinking that Earl Jr. was Darnell's child, a DNA test reveals he's not the father either. And in a twist of fate, it turned out Earl was the father of Dodge, conceived at a Halloween party (wearing a costume and mask) and Earl was blind drunk.
  • On Desperate Housewives, the Hispanic couple Gabby and Carlos had their Asian maid as a surrogate, but the baby turned out to be black. It turned out there had been an embryo mix up and the child wasn't related to them at all.
  • Played realistically on an episode of ER where Benton, while working in Louisiana as a small-town doctor to make some extra money, and ends up caring for a near-term teenage girl. Her father's racist attitude clues Benton into the possibility that the baby will be mixed-race, in which case, the girl and child might both be in danger. The baby is white when it's born, to the angry relief of the girl's father, but then Benton warns the girl and her mother that it's not always so obvious at first. He arranges for the girl and her newborn daughter to spend a few days in town by claiming the baby is jaundiced (which the grandfather accepts) so that if the baby's skin begins to darken, they'll be safe. It turns out the baby is white, after all, and he sends them home.
  • On Sophie, the titular character is devastated when her boyfriend Rick leaves her for her best friend Melissa, especially since Sophie is pregnant with what they all thought was Rick's baby. It turns out Rick wasn't the only one cheating when Sophie gives birth to a black baby. The father is a black man named Andre whom Sophie had a one night stand with.
  • In the Season 8 Law & Order episode "Blood", a baby is given up for adoption by her parents. When detectives find the baby, they discover that she's visibly black, leading them to suspect an affair, but they ultimately realize that the father is actually African-American himself, but so light-skinned that he's been passing for white his entire life. The man's social-climbing ex-wife killed the second wife, who was trying to reclaim the baby, to keep the secret from getting out so that she wouldn't have to live with the social stigma of having been married to a black man and having borne a son by him. Whew.note 
  • Referenced in an Ashes to Ashes (2008) episode — a suspect's alibi rests on his having been there when the police came to break up the domestic dispute resulting from one of these.
  • Done on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where Gul Dukat leads a Pah-Wraith cult, which includes a pregnant woman and her husband. She gives birth to an obviously half-Cardassian baby, which he tries to play off as a miracle that the Pah Wraiths sent to symbolize his union with them. He later asks the mother if he husband believed this story, and she comments that he wants to, but...
  • The Cold Case episode "Libertyville" plays with this trope as the victim is a black man passing for white who marries a white woman and has a daughter. However, this is not why he was killed. The daughter has white features. She and her mother meet their black relatives during the Medley Exit.
  • Done implicitly due to actor selection in Power Rangers Mystic Force. Udonna, who looks Irish, has a son with Leanbow, who looks Spanish. The kid, Bowen, looks Arabian, with skin about eight shades darker than either of theirs - a shade fairly close to that of his parents' close friend Daggeron. No comment is made on this matter.
  • Waynetta Slob in Harry Enfield and Chums feels that she's failing to keep up with the other families in the neighbourhood as she lacks a 'Brown Baby'. So Wayne gets one for her... Waynetta takes out a separation. Wayne then gets a black girlfriend (played by Naomi Campbell), who gives birth to a brown baby that the Slobs adopt after getting back together. In short, it's a very rare gender reversal example of this trope!
  • Nip/Tuck: Gina claims that the baby she is carrying is Christian's from their one-night-stand. Big shock when the baby (Wilbur) is born and he is black. Very black. Gina, as a sex addict, has had countless different partners, to the point that she actually doesn't remember the encounter (similar to blackout drinking). It evolves into a protracted legal battle when Christian wants to be a father to the boy anyway, but Gina doesn't want to share custody with him (since Christian is not the biological father), to the point that she is able to track down the biological father to help her. However, after seeing her parent, the father decides to ally with Christian so they can have Gina declared unfit as a parent. The father, who is a middle-aged, married man, admits that while he regrets the affair, double crosses Christian, and he and his wife have decide to raise the child by themselves. The judge ultimately accords them custody and cuts out both Gina and Christian.
    • However, two years later the couple die in a car crash, and in their Will leave Christian with sole custody, as, despite his numerous character flaws, he was a devoted father.
  • Glee:
    • Caucasian Rachel mentions having two dads, one white, one black, but she doesn't know which of her fathers is biologically related to her. This sounds silly at first, but when the dads were actually cast, the black one was played by the light-skinned, mixed-race Brian Stokes Mitchell, making it entirely possible that he could've been the one to sire her.
    • Referenced when seemingly pregnant, white Terri talks to her sister. Probably an Actor Allusion — the actress who plays Terri also played Gina in the Nip/Tuck example above and both shows were created by Ryan Murphy.
      Terri: If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell anyone?
      Kendra: Oh my god. Is the baby black?
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: One game involves enacting generic soap-opera scenes, but as Funny Animals, and the child of a bull (Brad Sherwood) and a cow (Ryan Stiles) is described as "something unexpected". Colin Mochrie, saddled with this role, squeezes out from between Ryan's thighs... and baas.
    "You've been sleeping with Carl!... after the Rams game?!... He's covered in WOOL you HARLOT!!!"
  • In the Lifetime series Any Day Now, main character Renee had an aunt who was half-white and had married a white man. In the present day, Renee had to meet up with her cousin and the man's wife was shown as a little taken aback to see this lily-white man and black woman being cousins.
  • Californication. One of Hank's one-night stands insists he got her pregnant right up until the baby is born... which is when she (finally) remembers having sex with a hot black Starbucks barista around the same time as her dalliance with Hank.
  • In the series 2 finale of Sea Change, Trudi gives birth to a Vietnamese baby, after everyone had spent half a year thinking that the father was Jack, who is white. This winds up being better, because Jack is the ex-husband of Trudi's sister, and it sidesteps the squickiness of Jack's children having a half-sibling who is also their cousin.
  • In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob becomes convinced that their baby, Richie, somehow became switched with someone else's baby at the hospital. He contacts the other people and invites them to their house to discuss the issue. When they come in, they're a black couple with a black kid ... and they think it's pretty funny.
    • So did the audience; they laughed so long and hard that the normally single-take scenes featured a very noticeable cut where the audience's reaction suddenly drops off. They tried re-shooting, but once the big reveal was out, the follow-ups just weren't as significant.
  • In the US version of Shameless, Liam Gallaghar is a very dark skinned baby. Everyone assumes that the mother had sex with a black man during one of her drunken episodes. Frank Gallagher treats the baby with the same care (or lack thereof) as his other children and it's never an issue for anyone. When tests are finally done, it is revealed that Frank is actually the father, thus subverting the trope. His grandmother supposedly had an affair with a black man.
  • Subverted in the second series final of Kath and Kim. When Kim's baby, who none of the main cast have seen yet, is brought in, she's Indian. Cue flashback to seven episodes earlier when Kim tried to seduce an Indian waiter the night she got back together with Brett. Then a nurse comes in and apologizes for the mix-up.
  • Done on Blue Heelers. The woman, a high school teacher, claims that her baby is a result of recessive genes, as her grandmother was Maori. Neither her husband, the hospital staff or the police are fooled, and it's soon confirmed that she's been having an affair with an Aboriginal student.
  • On Sisters, Teddy's note  fiance Dr. Sorenson has an ex-girlfriend who is pregnant with "his" baby. When the baby comes out, it's part-Asian. Dr. Sorenson is relieved, and doesn't hold a grudge.
  • In the miniseries adaptation of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, society wife DeDe has cheated on her husband, Beauchamp, with a Chinese grocery boy — and gotten pregnant. Though she goes to great lengths to keep the secret, she breaks down and confesses to a friend during a visit to an art gallery that she's got good reason to fear that the betrayal will be obvious once everyone sees the baby. The friend assumes this means the baby will be brown, but DeDe, increasingly upset, says no, it won't be brown. When the friend asks what color the baby will be, DeDe, now too upset to speak, points at a nearby painting — a solid yellow canvas.
  • A recurring sketch on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In involved the Farkel Family — a huge family of rhymingly named red-headed, glasses-wearing children belonging to the dark-haired Fanny Farkel and her oblivious, equally dark-haired husband Frank (Jo Anne Worley and Dan Rowan). The entire family is introduced to visitors one after another along with their trusted friend and neighbor, the red-headed, glasses-wearing Fred (Dick Martin), who complments Frank on his "fine-looking family."
    • The Farkel family almost always included twins Simon and Gar Farkel[1], one of whom was black and the other white. They were always of the same sex, although whether they were male or female depended on available cast members and guest stars, suggesting that they were also supposed to be identical twins.
  • On The Practice, a woman was accused of murdering her husband. Her neighbor alibied her, and she was acquitted. This trope comes in because the woman was nine months pregnant, insisted on going through the trial even when she was in labor, and would not take a plea deal. She was white, as was her dead husband. The neighbor who alibied her was African-American. The acquittal happened just before she was rushed to the hospital... where she delivered a dark-skinned baby.
  • One episode of Too Cute focused on a family of Siberians: proud white and gray-furred parents Maksim and Solomeya... and their litter of black-and-white kittens, whom the narrator notes look more like the handsome black tom next door. Oops?
  • On Switched at Birth, Daphne is abandoned by her father in her early childhood because of this trope—the Latina mother can't explain to the dark-featured French-Italian father why they have a pale-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed baby (it turns out that she was switched at birth with another baby, who grows up dark and busty in a houseful of pale, waifish redheads. Her parents explained away her strange coloring as a sudden recurrence from the mother's Italian heritage). Later it turns out that John had also suspected this of Bay for just the same reasons, getting both their DNA secretly tested. It explains why he's not surprised about the DNA results when Bay later gets them to as well. Even so, though he thought Kathryn must have cheated on him, he'd already decided that no matter what, Bay and she are still his family.
  • A variation in Roots (1977). When Kunta Kinte finds Fanta as an adult, she refuses to have sex with him since she is her master's bedmate and any children she has have to be brown (indicating that they are the product of a mixed race couple).
  • A sketch on Chappelle's Show has Dave quitting his job after Oprah announces him to be the father of her child. She apologizes when the baby turns out to look just like Dr. Phil. Cue Dave saying "Stedman, we gonna get this bitch."
  • Call the Midwife:
    • In this BBC series, there's a classic case with the heartwarming twist that the husband accepts what happened and dotes on his newborn son even though the kid couldn't be any more obviously unrelated to him. (The husband was in his 50s and it was a second marriage for both of them; he had lost his first wife to cancer and never had any children, so he was simply happy to be a father.)
    • Played straight in a Series 3 episode where a mother knows her child's biological father is not her husband but a black man with whom she had an affair. When her husband finds out he is angry and the baby is put up for adoption. To make matters worse, the traumatised woman then had to lie to her neighbours that the baby was stillborn.
  • In Living Color! had a recurring skit called the "The Dysfunctional Home Show". One episode featured the wedding of the pregnant (white) daughter and her black groom. During the ceremony, she goes into labor and gives birth to a white baby. When the angry groom demands to know why the baby is white, every white man — including the priest — bolts from the room.
  • In the Saturday Night Live parody of the Insane Clown Posse song Miracles:
    Thrilla Killa Klown: Ass Dan's kids look just like Ass Dan! And my two kids look just like Ass Dan! [gets a confused look for a second]
  • On Arrested Development, Michael meets a white and black gay couple who gave their sperm to a white woman who would act as a surrogate for them. They say they mixed sperm from each of them together because they don't want to know which of them is the father. Michael looks at them incredulously, obviously thinking that the presence or absence of this trope, when the time comes, will give it away.
  • On 30 Rock, Jack's erstwhile rival Devon Banks (played by Will Arnett) mixed his sperm with his black husband's to fertilize via surrogate mother. All three of the resulting triplets are obviously dark-skinned, but Devon seems oblivious.
  • The same variation came up on Modern Family when Cam and Mitch were debating having a second child via surrogacy, but didn't want one father to be more connected to the child than the other. They consider mixing the sample based on a suggestion from one of their friends, but reject it when the see the resulting child is Mexican (though we don't know the race of the biological mother, so her genes could obviously be throwing off the results, and the child's fathers don't seem to care either way). Interestingly enough, Cam and Mitch are both white, so they shouldn't be too concerned about their child's features revealing paternity. But they ultimately decide that they have enough of a connection with their adopted daughter Lily that they don't need to conceive a child of their own to feel a connection.
  • Discussed in a "Six Million Dollar Man & Bionic Woman" sketch on The Benny Hill Show: Steve asks Jamie if she cheated on him because neither of them have red hair but their kid has bright red hair. She blames rust from their bionic parts.
  • In the Black Mirror episode "White Christmas", a white couple break up because she becomes pregnant and wants to have an abortion over his objections. In this world, however, a break-up can involve being "blocked", which means they can neither see nor hear each other, appearing only as outlines on each other's Augmented Reality eye implants. Seeing her outline is enough for him to realize she hadn't gone through with the abortion, and to know when she's had the baby (who is similarly blocked). He watches the child grow up for years, embittered that he was being kept from his own daughter. Eventually, the mother dies, lifting the block, and when he actually sees the girl for the first time, it's obvious one of her parents was East Asian.
  • Averted with Hyde from That '70s Show when it is revealed in one of the later seasons that his mother's husband wasn't his biological father, his biological father was a black man that owns a record store franchise. He jokes that his mother must have been relieved the he "came out white". Everyone acts awkwardly around Hyde's father when they find out, except Hyde himself.
    William Bartnett: Hi, I'm Hyde's father. I'm black, and that's okay.
  • The Bold and the Beautiful put a twist on a standard "Who's The Daddy" storyline after Amber drunkenly slept with both Caucasian boyfriend Rick and African-American best friend Raymond at separate intervals. She grew more and more terrified as her due date approached, knowing that if Raymond turned out to be the father, it would be very obvious. Ironically, it turned out Rick was the father after all.
  • Inspector George Gently: Zigzagged in "Gently in the Blood"; the Victim of the Week is a single mother with a dark-skinned baby, whose parents and whose long-time boyfriend both abandoned her when she gave birth to the boy, despite her insistence on having been faithful to her boyfriend. Attempting to ascertain the identity of the father forms a major part of the investigation. It ultimately turns out that the baby's father really was her boyfriend; he was actually a half-Arab who was born with white features, and whose mother was killed by a firebomb sent by racist neighbors when he was a little baby. This caused him to be taken in by his only slightly less racist aunt, who brought him up actively lying about his father's true ethnicity, hoping that he would have an easier life if he could successfully believe himself to be white as well as pass as it.
  • New Tricks: Plays a role in the solution to "The Curate's Egg". A Polish woman had an affair with the black son of The Vicar. When she became pregnant, she married her boyfriend, hoping the baby would be white and she could claim it was his. The baby was not white.
  • Used in an Eugenio Derbez sketch of "La Familia P. Luche", in which Ludovico and his wife tell their young son the story of him being born:
    Ludovico: When you going to be born, I just couldn't believe I was going to be a father!
    [flashback of Ludovico with his then pregnant wife]
    Ludovico: Oh no! That child is not mine! I'm pretty sure it's of that Japanese ex-boyfriend of yours!
    [back to the present, cue a close-up shot of the very Asian-looking kid]
  • In the Only Fools and Horses episode "From Prussia With Love", Del and Rodney befriend a pregnant German girl who doesn't want her baby, and Del concocts a scheme to sell the baby to the Boyces, who are having trouble conceiving. In the end, it turns out the father of the child is West Indian. Marlene wants to go ahead, but Boycie doesn't see how they can claim it's theirs.
    Marlene: We could say it's a throwback.
    Boycie: For God's sake, Marlene! I might be able to con people into buying my cars, I might even be able to convince them you conceived and gave birth in seven days flat, but how the hell am I going to persuade them my granddad was Louis Armstrong?
  • Maury:
    • Apparently Truth in Television: an episode featured a white woman who cheated on her also-white husband with a black man, had his baby, and passed it off as her husband's. The boy was clearly mixed-race, but her husband was fully convinced he was his son and was devastated by the obvious DNA test results. You kind of feel sorry for the guy when he breaks down crying, even if you can't help but wonder how this got past him in the first place.
    • There was another episode where two white parents had two very dark-skinned black children. Since the woman had cheated around the time of their pregnancy they were afraid that they were both unsure of the father. However it turns out her husband was their father, as the segment ends with Maury telling the audience how not everything is what it seems.
  • Hope & Faith has an episode where the sisters' father had a fling with Faith's friend Mandy, and Mandy shows up pregnant. He decides to marry her to care for his child. Then she goes into labour at the wedding, and the baby is black. Naturally the wedding is off.
  • Addressed in Shadowhunters when Clary finds out Valentine is her father. She tries to suggest that Luke might be her real father, due to his affair with Jocelyn in the past. Luke is black by the way, and points out that they'd probably know if he was her father - since Clary is an extremely fair-skinned redhead.
  • In Versailles, the lily-white Queen of France and her even paler husband King Louis XIV are hoping their child turns out to be a boy, but the queen is nervous about her pregnancy and doesn't want many people there to see it. As it turns out, the day of the birth everyone has to be kicked out of the delivery room because the baby is not only a girl- she's also half black.
  • In Poldark, Elizabeth gives birth to a dark haired son a month early who is probably Ross's child, not her husband George's.
  • A humorous fan-theory about The Cosby Show invokes this trope to explain why the two eldest daughters Sandra and Denise are significantly lighter-skinned than the rest of the family. It's suggested that during Claire's law school days, she had an ongoing affair with a white classmate or professor, and thus the girls are actually biracial like their actresses. The irony (or Fridge Brilliance) of this theory is that interracial dating was something of a taboo on the show.
  • The Mexican Telenovela, "El alma no tiene color,'' ("The Soul has no Color") a woman who was raised by a black nanny is forced to break up her boyfriend and marry the son of a wealthy businessman to save her father from financial ruin. After the wedding she slowly falls in love with her husband and they conceive a child. Much drama ensues when she gives birth to a black daughter. The nanny was the heroine's biological mother all along.
  • Chewing Gum: One of Tracey's friends (a white girl) is pregnant and the potential fathers are three black men, who are all ready to acknowledge paternity. However when she gives birth the baby is white and she admits that she had a one-night stand with a white guy.
  • In the Masterpiece Theatre edition of Les Misérables, the Thenardier children—Eponine, Azelma, and Gavroche—all have this appearance to them.
  • On Legion (2017) Ray and Irma Whitecloud are expecting a Native American girl, so when Irma gives birth to a white boy, Ray thinks his wife has been unfaithful and leaves the family. In fact, Cary Loudermilk is a mutant and shares a body with Kerry Loudermilk, who was the expected daugther.
  • Bull has a variation in "Child of Mine," where a mix-up among sperm donors at an IVF facility results in a white couple having a half-black baby. It gets messy (and Bull and his legal team get involved) when the biological father decides to sue the couple for custody.
  • Father Brown: Subverted in the episode "The Devil's Dust", where one of the big reveals is that a missing girl is the product of an affair between her (white) mother and her husband's black best friend. Said girl turned out lily white, which her biological father sees as nothing less than a God-given miracle.
  • In the Mini Series Queen, a woman who befriends the biracial title character warns her that she’s playing a dangerous game in passing for white and letting herself be courted by a white man, asking how she intends to explain “giving birth to a black pickaninny” should the couple marry.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, episode "Hell's Bells": When Xander is about to marry Anya, someone falsely claiming to be him from the future gives him a vision of miserable married life, in which, by the way, one of their children has ears like Spike's demon friend Clem.

  • The calypso song "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)", popularized by Harry Belafonte, contains a mini-story about a Jamaican man who goes with his wife to the hospital, but when the baby is born, its eyes are blue - meaning it's not his child.
  • The song by Mecano Hijo de la Luna tells the sad story of a Gypsy woman who prays to the moon for a husband. The moon says she will have a Gypsy husband, but that she must sacrifice her firstborn child to the moon. When the child is born, it is entirely white, like an albino - not cinnamon-colored like either of its parents. The father thinks he has been tricked, and stabs his wife to death, and abandons the baby on the hillside. The moon happily adopts the baby.
  • The narrator of The Who's "Substitute": "I look all white, but my dad was black".
  • In Ray Stevens' "Fred", the title dog (whom Ray treats as a human friend) brings home a female dog who is pregnant. In the final verse, Fred gets hit by a car just before the female dog gives birth. Ray then remarks, "Now old Fred's gone and I'm kinda glad / 'Cause if he were here now he'd sure be mad / 'Cause ain't one of them pups looks anything like him."
  • Steely Dan's "Haitian Divorce": "it changed, it grew, and everybody knew." This after a "divorce" which just consisted of the wife flying down to Haiti and partying for a few days.
  • The Sonora Santanera's "Capullo y Sorullo" tell the story of a marriage, the eponymous Capullo(the wife) Sorullo(the husband) who are very very white, and very very blonde("like butter") and have 9 children, eight are blond like them, but the ninth end up being black. Played for Laughs, as when Sorullo eventually asks to Capullo about it, turns out the black kid was the only one that was his.
  • "Lil' Nigga Ain't Mine" by Jaheim is about a "vanilla" baby. The baby is described as a light-skinned, light-eyed, redhead baby. Both Jaheim and his girlfriend are dark-skinned.
  • A variation: "Embarrassment" by Madness is, according to Word of God, about racist parents being angry that their daughter has had a mixed-race baby.
  • Italian popular folk song "Tammurriata nera", written in 1944, is about a Neapolitan woman giving birth to a black baby, much to the neighbors' shock. The song implies that, during that period, many women had sex with American soldiers for money (when it was consensual, of course).
  • In the music video for "Can't Truss It" by Public Enemy, a married black woman in the 1800s is raped by 3 white men, and becomes pregnant as a result. She never tells her husband about the rape, and he's all excited about having a baby with her. The truth comes out when she gives birth, and he is absolutely crushed. To add insult to injury, one of the white men who raped her gives her husband a sort of Post-Rape Taunt.
  • "16" by Highly Suspect:
    Well I thought I was a father
    But baby is not my daughter
    Cause baby's a different color
    Well baby I'm not a brother

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology, the Minotaur was born after King Minos offended Poseidon by refusing to sacrifice a sacred bull to him. As revenge, Poseidon had Aphrodite make Minos's wife Pasiphae fall in love with bull and conceive by it. Pasiphae later gave birth and it became abundantly obvious that Minos was not the father. The word "Minotaur" is a mockery of the situation, meaning "Bull of Minos".
  • In one urban legend, a white couple's black firstborn is explained by the husband, at his bachelor party, having had unprotected sex with a prostitute whose previous customer had been a black man. The gender-flipped version has the wife being impregnated by a black male stripper at her bachelorette party.
  • Half's Saga: In her husband's absence, Queen Hagny of Hordaland gives birth to the twin boys Hamund and Geirmund who turn out to be "black and strikingly ugly". Afraid of her husband's reaction, Hagny swaps the boys with the pretty newborn son of a serving woman. After the switch has been discovered and reversed three years later, their father King Hjor finally accepts his sons, although he gives them the shared nickname Heljarskinn (Hel-skin) on account of their blackness. No explanation is offered for the twins' looks, suggesting that their dark skin is simply a freak of nature.
  • In an odd variant, a semi-common legend is that of a dragon or some other monster that assumes a human form and takes on a lover. Usually, they have a long and happy relationship — until the kids come along, and have things like fangs, scales, and eye slits.
  • One of the hadiths has a follower of Mohammed complain to him about his wife giving birth to a black child. Mohammed reminds him that he had no complaints when his red camels gave birth to a grey one. The man guessed the camels' ancestor was grey, a.k.a. recessive genes. Mohammed then replied that maybe the same case happening to him (his or his wife's ancestor was black).

    Pro Wrestling 

  • This American Life had an episode called Slow To React, which featured a mixed-race man who had been born to a white girl who got pregnant in high school, she quickly married her white boyfriend, never mentioning that she'd also been sleeping with a black classmate. When the baby was born, he seemed light-skinned enough that she figured she was in the clear. Over the next few months, his skin darkened, but by then, everyone was used to thinking of him as white. Even when it became painfully obvious, no one wanted to say it out loud. He was in college before he really admitted to himself that he was part black.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Pathfinder classic Adventure Path "Rise of the Runelords", Tsuto Kaijitsu is kind of the Black Sheep of his family — in a family of Humans, he's a Half-Elf.

  • William Shakespeare uses this one in Titus Andronicus, in which the empress Tamora gives birth to a black child, the son of Magnificent Bastard Aaron the Moor rather than Tamora's husband Saturninus. Tamora's sons (by her first husband) want the baby killed, but Aaron prevents them from doing so. Then he kills the midwife to make sure no one knows what happens and plans to switch the baby with the (white) child of peasants.
  • An old Venezuelan play, Salto Atras, plays with this: The baby from the marriage between a very white upper-class girl and her very white and German husband is born dark-skinned. The girl swears that she didn't commit adultery, so her stiff and comically bigoted parents try to dispose of the baby and find a whiter one to replace him before her husband finds out, while they try to discover if there are any "dark secrets" in the family tree who can explain this happening. They couldn't make the switcheroo, but when the husband meets the baby he is delighted. Turns out that his grandmother was a Sassy Black Woman from the coastal town of Barlovento who was imported to Germany by his grandfather out of love, so the baby reminded him of the mulatto relatives his in-laws haven't met yet.
  • In one production of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", the adult bear costumes were brown, but Baby Bear's costume was white. When Papa Bear asked, "Who's been sleeping in my bed?", a man in the audience said, "Well might he ask."
  • Westeros: An American Musical:
    • This is spelled out about Cersei's children as early as the opening number telling Robert's life story. Cersei is blonde and married to the black haired Robert. While talking about their marriage, she has the following to say about her children:
    Two sons and a daughter I spawned.
    The seed is strong, but their hair is blonde.
    • Further emphasis is put on the situation when Eddard spells out how to prove that the children aren't Robert's in "Plot Development":
    We got centuries of Robert's kin with onyx-headed prominence.
    Now suddenly there's blonde kids when black hair has predominance?

    Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate, a human man is tipped off about his human wife having an affair with party member Coran by the fact she somehow managed to have a half-elven baby.
  • The Sims:
    • Usually averted, but a rare bug can cause this in The Sims 2 (responsible for The Strangerhood above) even if you've ensured the skin color of both parents, supervised the... conception... and played that family to full term.
    • Another possible cause is user-made custom skin tones that have been modified to abide by the game's genetics system but were assigned weird values.
    • The Sims 3 is a little better at mixing genes of parents together, since it operates on either-or range sliders rather than an either-or default skin tone assignment. Meaning, two parents of the same range slider can have a child that is the average of slide values on that same slider. Hair color, however, operates on a Lamarck Was Right basis. And is also prone to weird bugs.
  • In Max Payne 3, during the chapter in the football stadium you can stop to watch TV. One of the fictional shows is Amor e Damas, a parody of Brazilian telenovelas in which the shocking reveal is the pregnant woman, after getting into a fight with her husband's mistress and going into labor, giving birth to a curupira (a creature from Brazilian folklore with ginger hair and backwards feet).
  • According to this article, it's possible for this to happen in Fable III.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: Amiti is the only white boy in Thailand-counterpart Ayuthay. Furthermore, he's a blue-haired Adept in a nation of dark-haired non-Adepts. And he's still shocked to learn that he was fathered by a foreigner. He even looks an awful lot like the party's other Mercury Adept.
  • In-universe in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, The Handmaiden is this to other Echani, since her species has little genetic variation so full-blooded same-sex siblings look like identical twins. She takes after her non-Echani mother, a Jedi named Arren Kae, who is strongly implied to be Kreia, who was not married to her father. This makes her stand out like a sore thumb next to her full-blooded Echani half-sisters, even though the game itself uses the same model for all of them. When questioned about this by the player character The Handmaiden expresses surprise since non-Echani rarely tend to notice the difference.
  • In Xenogears, Elly believes herself to be this, being a purple-eyed redhead with two blond, blue-eyed parents and is convinced that her father's wife is not her real mother, and believes she's actually the daughter of her childhood nanny, a "Lamb" (surface dweller) woman. Her parents themselves never seem to think twice about her being their daughter, and in the end, it turns out to be because Elly is the Reincarnation of Elhaym, one of the first humans on the planet, and looks the same in every incarnation regardless of her parents.
  • Pretty much the entire plot of Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location's Show Within a Show, The Immortal and the Restless, centers around this trope: Vlad the vampire insists that Clara's baby cannot possibly be his son. Despite the very obvious signs that this trope is averted.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening Lissa feared she was this since she didn't have the Brand of the Exalt anywhere on her body like her brother and sister did. Her Kid from the Future Owain does have the Brand, proving she really was a member of the royal family. It's further confirmed in Fire Emblem Fates, where Owain/Odin's daughter Ophelia also has the Brand (and if Shigure or a male Kana are fathered by Owain/Odin, they also have it on them).
  • Dragon Age:
    • Can be done accidentally with the Human Noble in Dragon Age: Origins. Most of the origins have at least one unseen parent who the Player Character might conceivably take after note . Bryce and Eleanor Cousland, however, are both quite pale, leading to some incongruity if their child has one of the darker skin tones available in character creation. The second game changes the Player Character's family to match them to avoid this.
    • In Inquisition, Morrigan's son Kieran can potentially have the player character from Origins as his father. However, the game has no way of controlling for said PC's appearance, so the boy is lily-white (matching his mother) regardless of how dark his father was. This led to quite a few jokes about Morrigan's supposed infidelity and a popular mod that adjusts Kieran's skin tone to better reflect his parentage.
  • Possible in Crusader Kings II, though somewhat unlikely without player intervention (the ability to seduce other characters is limited by distance from a ruler's capital, and AI characters will usually refuse affairs with characters of other religions). A European woman may have an affair with an African, Bedouin, or Indian ruler and birth a child with her lover's graphical culture (the game having no way of simulating a mixed-race child). Due to Artificial Stupidity, the woman's husband may not notice.
  • Zagreus of Hades bleeds blood instead of ichor, suggesting he has mortal heritage. Since both Hades and Nyx both predate the existence of mortals, this has led to some doubts as to his parentage. Achilles writes in the codex that such doubts could be easily resolved just by looking at him, as he's a very obviously a Patchwork Kid of Hades and Persephone, the latter of whom is Semi-Divine in this iteration.
  • One of the sidequests of Cyberpunk 2077 has you see if a bartender's wife is cheating on him. One of his main pieces of evidence is this trope. As it turns out, the wife isn't cheating and the kid is his. She had a full-body cyber conversion done before she met him and so looks nothing like her original self, but as she puts it, "You can't change your genes."

    Web Animation 
  • This occurs at the end of The Strangerhood for Dutchmiller and Catherine. Their kid looks disturbingly like Dr. Chalmers, the only African-American in the cast.
  • In Sanity Not Included, gameplay from Super Smash Bros. Brawl is used to tell a story about this. A husband (green Yoshi) is watching his wife (pink Yoshi) give birth. She lays an egg, and out pops... Diddy Kong. Yoshi turns to Donkey Kong and shouts, "George, I'm going to kill you!". DK does his shrugging taunt.
  • Discussed in a Camp Camp blooper reel; child David questions how, in Blue's Clues, Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper managed to produce a paprika shaker for a child when you don't get paprika from mixing salt and pepper. He concludes that Mrs. Pepper was cheating on Mr. Salt with another shaker.

  • The Rishans in Alien Dice were originally a slave race. A generation after their creation and after public breeding was allowed, unexplained instances among the Rishans involved unusual skin color, some being pink, tan, red, yellow and black. This clued off the Galactic Consol that they weren't genetic constructs as the slave traders selling them claimed, and were really genetically engineered humans.
  • When Aeris plays the Moogle mating game in Final Fantasy VII: The Sevening, Cloud points out there's one yellow moogle among the white and pink ones.
  • This Loading Artist manages to make it literal and inappropriate.
  • In one of the Something*Positive 1930s strips (this one, to be exact), where black midwife Hetty is delivering a white girl's illegitimate baby, and the girl's parents freak out when it's a black child, blaming her for "getting the black all over that baby" when she delivered it. As she replied: "Woman, I pull 'em out. I don't put 'em in."
  • TheOdd1sOut parodied this in a comic he made in which Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's mother gives birth to a red-nosed baby, making her husband suspicious. We then see a frame of the husband confronting a red-nosed clown.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures:
    • Abel is revealed to be an extremely complicated version of this in his side comic. Specifically, Abel is born with wings, something that is not at all unheard of in the setting but is unusual and indicates that his parents couldn't really have had them. He and his mom receive large amounts of flack over this from everyone but his father steadfastly believes that she was faithful. As part of The Reveal Abel finds out that his dad is a shapeshifter who killed his mom's real husband and has been impersonating him since before Abel was born. Abel's wings and other oddities are part of his race's Shapeshifter Default Form.
    • It's also heavily insinuated that this is the case with Devin since his father took one look at him and walked out the door. This has naturally led to rampant speculation among fans.
  • A sort-of example in Vinci and Arty; Vinci is a raccoon. His parents are chihuahuas. Arty assumes Vinci must have been adopted, but it turns out both his parents had "recessive raccoon genes" from further back, so Vinci is "a pureblooded raccoon, but I could have registered as a pureblooded chihuahua".
    Artist's Note: Fortunately, Russ knew the mailman was a three-toed sloth.
  • Implied in The Kenny Chronicles with Death Golden — her parents are baboons and she's a lemming. Her name comes from the heart attack she gave her "dad".
  • In Krakow, Guinness is the only naga in a family of humanoid demons. At one point her older sister tries to convince her that her mom had an affair with the mailman, but it's later shown that her maternal great-grandma is also a naga so it was just recessive.
  • Very... odd example in Dueling Analogs here. In this case, it's because Samus is part Metroid. The bigger questions is: what is she doing with Mega Man and how did he even expect the baby to be his? He's a robot. The more you think about that comic the less sense it makes.
  • In Pokémon-X, it's indicated that Brendan gets his white hair from Mailman Joe.
  • Justified in Schlock Mercenary with Dr. Edward Bunnigus. Because her parents are severely inbred, eugenics laws mandated that they have genetically-tailored children instead of natural. They wanted a daughter with the body of a stripper and the intelligence of a brain surgeon, and don't mind at all that she's black.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent:
    • Reynir is a strange inversion since he is the only one of five siblings who is actually genetically related to both his parents. He is the youngest of five children and is a green-eyed redhead (like his father) where his four siblings are blue-eyed and dark-haired. His siblings are proto-Designer Babies, created from ova and sperm taken from donors immune to The Plague, whereas he was unplanned and natural (when he is depressed, he describes himself as "a mistake"). While Reynir has no doubt that his family loves him, he resents that he isn't immune, and therefore can't do a lot of things his older siblings can.
    • Reynir's siblings, meanwhile, play with that trope in their own way (standard consequences, non-standard cause) due to their dark hair being something a natural child of their parents couldn't possibly have. For the record, their mother is blonde in addition to their father having the redhead features he transmitted to Reynir.
  • Oglaf has this subversion. The queen has a surrogate mother bear her royal heir, but one of the "twins" is an egg, causing the queen to question its legitimacy. The midwife is a fish woman.
  • Strongly implied in Blindsprings: Princess Tamaura is the youngest child and the only redhead in her family. She is also a strong nexus of Orphic power in an imperial line that is clearly dying out and the Alt Text describes her as raised in a cloister. Her older sister Ariana is enraged that Tamaura has usurped her place as the high priestess, a position that appears to be reserved for the youngest child, and refers to Tammy as a "pretender". All of this leads to a lot of muttering about "Bastards at Court" behind Tammy's back where she can hear it.
  • Erfworld: Played with. Due to the mechanics of Erfworld, every Ruler is a Truly Single Parent; they choose to have their capital produce a child, and roughly sixty turns later the child is popped. Normally, the child looks and acts very similar to their parent, just like the real world. However, when Queen Jillian of Faq pops a son, he looks and acts quite a lot like the Transylvitan warlord who Jillian has been sleeping with. He even has the flight special, which is very rare for warlords out of Transylvito.
  • Awkward Zombie has this strip, in which a pair of Dartrix have an egg hatch into Ditto, prompting them to glare suspiciously at each other. Ditto can't breed more of itself with other Pokémon, so the only way this could work is if both parents were actually Ditto.
  • One Rage Comic has a woman having a black child. She tries to explain, but her husband — white as a snowdrift, by the way — is ecstatic because he thinks his son's "Gonna be an All-Star!"

    Web Original 
  • Played with in the Furry Basketball Association: Bruce Bounder's mother is a hare, and when she got pregnant by one of her many boyfriends, she gets married to the suspected father, who is a rabbit. When Bruce is born, he's a pure hare, which means his mother got married to the wrong guy. His father is not pleased and never forgives Bruce for it, going so far as refusing to allow Bruce to use his patronymic. Bruce refuses to put his girlfriend's kids through the same thing and is a dad to both of them, even though he knows one isn't his for similar reasons.
  • Topless Robot referenced this trope during a Fan Fiction Friday feature (where a terrible and often NSFW fanfic would be mocked for laughs) of a fanfic where Starscream gave birth to Megatron's children.
    I would give anything for this third baby to come out as a boombox just to see Megatron lose his shit.
  • Plague and Treachery on the Oregon Trail contained an adulterous woman who tells her husband that their son isn't black, he just has melanism. It turns out he is indeed another man's son... but that man is also white, and Waffles really is melanistic.
  • Implied in, of all things, the legendary Tough Pigs series "My Week With Grover's Mom", when looking at the rest of Grover's family.
    Uncle Ralph and Aunt Betsy, by the way, are the only known members of Grover’s family who aren’t blue. Imagine what a surprise it must have been for Grover’s grandfather when his green child was born. It probably caused quite a stir in town.

    Web Videos 
  • Parodied in The Nostalgia Chick with the "Baby Daddy Surprise" doll. The commercial has Dan exclaim that the dark-skinned baby doll in Elisa's arms isn't his child, then storm off to tattle on her.
    Lindsay: [offscreen] With Baby Daddy Surprise, it's always a surprise!
  • During The Runaway Guys' Wii Party series, they play a minigame involving rocking babies to sleep. Jon ends up with a baby with noticeably darker skin than his Mii, leading to a lot of jokes along these lines:
    "I'm going to have a hard time explaining this one to my girlfriend..."
  • "If Everyday Objects Went to War" # 15 from Cracked. A spoon gives birth to a spork. Her husband is not pleased.
  • Sometimes invoked in the comments section of Lasercorn's videos that feature his son Tyler aka "Babycorn." Tyler is biracial, and while the vast majority of viewers love him to pieces and are happy enough to see him when he appears, occasionally a commenter will ask if he's adopted or why he doesn't look like Lasercorn. One went as far as to say "Dude I hope your girlfriend is black." Lasercorn's wife is indeed black, and their son naturally has a skintone that's about halfway between both parents. A biracial child generally won't resemble either parent at first glance since their makeup combines wildly different genes, but yes, Babycorn is Lasercorn's biological son.
  • Literal example in the sequel to the Cousins' infamous NSFW Skittles commercialFor context... . The wife from the first commercial gives birth to what seems to be a giant orange Skittle, but when they cut the umbilical cord, it's Reeses' Pieces that come gushing out. Then a Jersey beefcake walks in to talk sweet to his peanut butter baby while the husband looks horrified.
  • Vision of Escaflowne Abridged: Technically Vanilla Baby, but the abridged series has a field day with this since Prince Chid and his (late) mother are both pale, blond-haired, and blue-eyed, while his supposed father is Ambiguously Brown. Hitomi breaks down corpsing every time she tries to say "Prince Chid's father" because of what an obvious Vanilla Baby he is.
    Duke Freid: Prince Chid is my son! ... What? My genes are just recessive, that's all.
    Millerna: Which ones?
    Duke Freid: ALL of them!

    Western Animation 
  • In the Warner Bros. cartoons:
    • Done in a somewhat literal way as a gag in "Porky's Poppa" (1938), where Porky, "delivering" swaddled bottles of milk from a cow, discreetly overlooks the chocolate one.
    • In "Baby Bottleneck" (1946), Daffy and Porky are caught in their baby factory machine and are mistakenly sent by stork to a mother ape in Africa. She is delighted to see the black Daffy but is distraught when a pink Porky appears.
  • Joseph Gribble on King of the Hill, who has obvious Native American features despite both his parents supposedly being white. His "father" Dale, usually an overly-suspicious nut, is completely oblivious to his wife's cheating with her "massage therapist" John Redcorn for the majority of their marriage. When Peggy learns of the affair (one of the last people to do so, told by Hank, who thought she knew all along but was staying out of it like everyone else), she mentions Nancy claiming that Dale's grandmother was Jamaican. His conspiracy theorizing eventually kicked in for his son, so now he "knows" that his son is... an alien!!! Born by impregnating Nancy with stolen sperm. Stolen from Dale. On another occasion, he finally realizes that Joseph looks different, and has a psychic dream where he sees an Indian man having sex with Nancy. His conclusion?
    Dale: I must be an Indian! That explains why I like tobacco so much! And hate the federal government so much!
    • It is sometimes implied he does know but comes up with ridiculous conspiracies to explain the difference because he loves his wife and son so much.
  • In the Disney cartoon "Ugly Duckling", the duckling's father accuses the mother of cheating. After a short fight, they separate.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch features the Potato Heads in the delivery room. She gives birth to a carrot. After an awkward moment of silence, Mr. Potato Head looks at her, horrified, and spouts "You... whore!"
  • Family Guy: A particularly warped version turns up, in which Brian is thought to have impregnated Carter Pewterschmidt's prize-winning greyhound — but when the puppies are born, they all look like Ted Turner.
  • Similarly, an episode of South Park has the boys trying to crossbreed Cartman's pig with Kyle's elephant so they'll get pig-sized elephants. When the pig finally gives birth... "Hey. It kinda looks like Mr. Garrison."
  • In Batman Beyond Mary and Warren McGinnis, both redheads, have two black-haired sons. A popular fan theory is that this is the reason for their divorce. An odd example, because while he is the father, "Epilogue," an episode of Justice League Unlimited, reveals that Warren McGinnis's reproductive DNA was overwritten with Bruce Wayne's without anybody's knowledge in an attempt to produce another Batman, making Terry and Matt Bruce's genetic sons, despite their being conceived by Warren. This wasn't initially intended, the writers came up with the idea after someone realized the genetic impossibility.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Cup Cake (earth pony) gives birth to a unicorn and a pegasus. Her husband Carrot Cake (also earth pony) gives an explanation involving far-back genetics and a relative who isn't even related by blood. Once he finishes the explanation he gives the audience a nervous Aside Glance and says, "That makes sense, right?" That said, his unicorn daughter Pumpkin Cake does share his color scheme (same color mane and fur), and neither of them bears much resemblance to their mother either. And something like what Carrot described must have been going on in order for both of those pony types to have arisen even if Cup had cheated on Carrot with either a unicorn or a pegasus, as all the alicorns known to exist are female.
  • Rocko's Modern Life has this as a background joke. Near the end of the series, Filburt (a turtle) and his (cat) wife had several children... one of whom looked like Filburt's cow friend Heffer. The implied reason was that Heffer sat on the egg for them.
  • In Moral Orel, Clay and Bloberta Puppington are brunettes. Their older son Orel is also brunette. The younger son Shapey? Blond. That was an early hint that Shapey's real father was Coach Stopframe. It's likewise hinted that Block Posabule and Lunchbox Hymentact were the same by their own non-matching hair colors, but this is never confirmed.
  • Wordlessly invoked in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Wicked": one of the pointless acts of cruelty Mrs. Robinson commits is switching the name labels on two very different-looking babiesnote  in a maternity ward. When their parents pick them up, each father looks at "their" baby, looks at the other father, shoots a furious look at their wife, and starts a brawl with the other father.
  • In the ThunderCats episode "Leah", the title character's facial markings suggest that she is part-Cheetah since Cheetara (who is pure Cheetah) has similar markings. However, neither of Leah's parents have such markings, though the possibility that one or both of them might have Cheetah ancestry which showed up in their daughter's facial features cannot be ruled out.
  • Tigtone: The King-Queen of Propecia is a pair of opposites sex conjoined twins in an incestuous relationship. Their son Prince Lavender is a normal human without any obvious signs of inbreeding and looks different than his parents. It is confirmed in the beginning of the second season that he was born from the female half of King-Queen having an affair. How she manage to do this without the male half knowing is a mystery.