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Designated Parents

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When there is a group of friends all the same age, generally there is the couple in the group who act as the adults, sorta the parents of the group. Together they are like the superego of the gang and are actually recognized as the "Mom" and "Dad" of their friends. The "Mom" friend would be supportive, affectionate, and wise, while the "Dad" friend would be the overprotective and scary parent who leads the group. Sometimes, the roles can switch depending on the medium and the culture the produces the work.

Compare Promotion to Parent and the girl and boy in A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family when the group is a family.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Reliable rule-follower Joe and warm, caring Sora in Digimon Adventure. Both of them have a tendency to sacrifice their own wellbeing for the others. Each of the kids has a "Crest" that channels their strongest virtue into power for their Bond Creature— Joe's is Reliability and Sora's is Love.
  • Hikitsu and Inami from Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden were recognized as the parental figures of the Genbu Celestial Warriors.
  • Tenya Iida and Momo Yaoyorozu act as this for Class 1-A in My Hero Academia—Iida is the Team Dad, protective, stern and LOUD, and generally invokes this trope, trying to be responsible for the rest of the rowdy class; Yaoyorozu, meanwhile is the calm-headed and down to Earth Team Mom of the group who tries to keep everyone together.
  • Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club constantly refers himself as the club's "dad" and calls Kyoya the "Mom". Their actual roles are the reverse, though. Tamaki is emotional, overdramatic, and caring, whereas Kyoya is clever, strict, and practical.
  • Sugawara Koushi and Sawamura Daichi from Haikyuu!!. Sugawara acts as the gentle and caring (but occasionally chaotic) 'mom' of the team and Daichi acts as the 'dad' who getts them into line.
  • Saiyuki has Sanzo and Hakkai. The former is the team leader who controls the finances of their journey, and exercise discipline on Man Children Goku and Gojyo by beating them up when they start bickering (usually over food), while the latter is the gentle medic who typically cleans up after the rest of the guys.

    Comic Books 
  • Young Justice: To Superboy's consternation the team has unanimously agreed that he is the team mom and Robin is the team dad. This despite S.B. trying to claim Wonder Girl as the team mom on several occasions, her temperament just doesn't fit despite her being team leader and everyone on the team agrees. This was especially prominent in the early days of the team when S.B. didn't have a family or even a name, the team was the closest thing to a family Secret and Slo-bo had and Impulse was also rather familyless as his parents were not even born yet, though he did have a more familial relationship with his guardians than the others.

  • Carlisle and Esme Cullen of The Twilight Saga are the adoptive parents of Edward, Emmett and Alice Cullen, as well as Rosalie and Jasper Hale despite the fact that everyone except Carlisle is about the same age.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the season four premiere of Angel, "Deep Down", most of the Fang Gang of Angel Investigations have gone their separate ways, with Angel, Cordelia, Lorne, and Wesley all enmeshed in some situation that keeps them from seeing the group. Subtracting these characters from the group left us with Gunn, Fred, and Connor: i.e., a romantically involved adult couple and a teenage boy. Gunn and Fred were clearly growing into the role of acting as Connor's parents, worrying about his tendencies toward destructive rebellion in the way that his own parents might worry about it.
  • On some episodes of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Penny assume the role of parents to Sheldon, especially Penny. Not so much with Howard and Rajesh, since they don't live in the apartment complex.
  • An interesting example: On Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Buffy was dead, Willow and Tara became sorta the surrogate mothers while Xander and Spike became somewhat of the substitute fathers for Dawn. Buffybot became the public face of Buffy for Dawn at school before Buffy was brought back from the dead.
  • Piper and Leo from Charmed started to fulfill these roles after they got married and Prue died.
  • In Community, Jeff and Britta serve as the mom and dad of the study group in several situations. Repeatedly Lampshaded, Subverted, Deconstructed, and Played for Laughs in the show's typical Better than a Bare Bulb fashion.
  • In Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor and (when she's around) River Song are like this, especially with Amy and Rory. Winds up being a bit ironic, since Amy and Rory are River's parents.
    • Played for similar irony in the very first series, where Ian and Barbara are the "parents" of both Susan (and later Vicki) and the Doctor, even though he's by far the oldest and Susan's grandfather.
    • Played more straight with the Doctor and Romana to Adric (child) and K-9 (pet) in season 18.
  • Ross and Monica, though brother and sister, act as the grownups on Friends in earlier seasons. Later, Ross becomes more childlike, while Chandler matures and marries Monica so they become the adults of the group.
  • Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother to the point that they question Ted's new girlfriends to see if they are right for him. In the few times where Marshall and Lily don't fill this role, it's usually taken up by Robin and Ted.
  • Nate and Sophie on Leverage act as the Team Dad and Team Mom respectively, with Eliot as the older brother, and Hardison and Parker as the younger siblings.
  • John Sheppard and Elizabeth Weir on Stargate Atlantis are this to the entire expedition, especially the command team.
  • Eric and Donna from That '70s Show were noted in an episode where the gang were dining and ditching a restaurant to be the parents of the group. After they broke up there was an episode where they fight over their friends' attention with clear overtones of divorcés working out a custody dispute.
  • Senator Lance and Valerie Prevert on You Can't Do That on Television, they appear to be ALL the child cast members' parents.
  • Criminal Minds has Hotch (The Leader) and Rossi (the Cool Old Guy), who the team jokingly refer to as 'mom and dad' on at least one occasion. Hotch is The Stoic and rather authoritarian, making him the Team Dad to Rossi's more emotional and empathetic Team Mom.

  • Meiko and Kaito in Vocaloid fanon, presumably due to the fact that of the Crypton Future Media Vocaloids, they're the "oldest" and most mature looking. Kaito is typically seen as the Vocaloids' bumbling Team Dad while Meiko plays a wiser but more aggressive and/or hard-drinking mother figure. Very occasionally, Meiko will be depicted as a less responsible Hard-Drinking Party Girl while Kaito is the responsible one.
    • Likewise, the PowerFX Vocaloids have V2 characters Sweet Ann and Big Al to act as the parents of their little group.

    Video Games 
  • No other Final Fantasy game has had anywhere near so clear Designated Parents as Gladio, a macho and protective Team Dad, and Ignis, a domestic and neurotic Team Mom, from Final Fantasy XV. (The other two party members, Noctis and Prompto, are more childish in personality as well as being shorter.) What makes this even better is the fact that Noctis will sometimes tease Ignis by saying "what're you, my mother?" when the latter nags him to be sure he purchases enough supplies for their journey. Additionally, many fanfictions also take this viewpoint and will make fun of/treat Gladio and Ignis as the Team Dad and Team Mom, respectively.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, Chiaki and Kanata sometimes refer to themselves as the mum and dad of Ryuuseitai, given that they're the two third-years in a unit also populated by three first-years. It is admitted that it's not clear who would be the mum and who the dad, though, given they both are very much on the quirky side.
    • Kuro and Keito also compare themselves to parents in Quarrel Fest, looking over their energetic junior Souma. Here, though, strict but sometimes hot-headed Keito is definitely Team Dad and level-headed, empathetic Kuro is definitely Team Mom.
  • Persona 3: Mitsuru Kirijo and Akihiko Sanada act as this for SEES. Mitsuru makes it her priority to ensure the well-being of the younger members, to the point of making sure they keep up their grades at school. Akihiko is a bit laid back, but he often mentors younger members on missions. Helps that they represent the Empress and the Emperor Arcana respectively.
  • Senran Kagura: As class representative, Ikaruga is seen Team Hanzo's strict but kind Team Mom, while Katsuragi is the goofy and laid-back (as well as perverted) Team Dad. They are the oldest of the group, being third years and all.
    • Yumi and Yozakura of Team Gessen often switch between the roles of Team Mom, but although Yozakura can be seen as a sort of Team Dad as well, being the disciplinarian of the group. Yozakura had a number of younger siblings, after all.

    Web Original 
  • Kitten of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device is a male Team Mom to his brothers the Adeptus Custodes. The 'same age' is zigzagged; on one hand, they're all brothers. On the other, he's older than at least 9,000 of them by centuries, if not millennia The math? . On the first hand, Brother Santodes and Whammudes, fellow survivors of the Heresy, consider him the 'Daddy' of the Custodes.

    Western Animation 
  • Pearl and Garnet from Steven Universe. Pearl's status as the Crystal Gems' Team Mom is lampshaded quite often and with the absence of his real mother, Steven seems to be happy to see Pearl as his mother, with her acting quite motherly to him in return. Garnet is a Rare Female Example of the Team Dad trope, being somewhat more stoic but at the same time loving towards Steven and more willing to let him figure things out on his own.
  • Applejack and Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Applejack's Team Mom status is best displayed in "Dragonshy", wherein she shows saintlike patience with Fluttershy's crippling shyness, while Twilight tends to try and keep everyone in line, making her more of a Team Dad.
  • Edd and Eddy in Ed, Edd n Eddy. The former is a Neat Freak who's often seen scolding his friends when they act up (making him the "mom" of the trio), while the latter is a bit more aloof but still makes sure to break up fights between his friends (putting him in the "dad" category). In a way, Ed is essentially their "child".
  • Katara and Zuko are this in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Katara as the Team Mom is the most caring of the group, often to the point of being naggy. She can easily pass herself off as Aang's actual mother, and Sokka even says to Toph that Katara had replaced Kya in his mind. Zuko is the Team Dad, he is caring but not sentimental like Katara is. He is instead focused on discipline and order within the group. He encourages Aang to work out problems on his own and breaks up a fight between Toph and Bumi. Zuko and Katara are seen discussing on how best to deal with Aang's obsession with Sokka's non-benders club, and they take over leadership when he temporarily disappears in the finale.
  • Kanan and Hera in Star Wars Rebels very much act like parents to Ezra, Sabine, and Zeb. They even call themselves "Mom and Dad" one time.