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Family Disunion

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In fiction, the most life-changing events seem to happen at family gatherings. No family is immune, but especially not at a reunion, wedding or funeral, though it is also a staple of Christmas Movies. No matter what sort of family gathering — particularly one involving a Big, Screwed-Up Family — there are shocking revelations, death, divorce, or even attempted murder.

If this makes family gatherings sound dangerous, don't worry. There is almost always reconciliation in the end, and everyone comes out of it learning valuable lessons about life, love, and the value of family.

It often leads to a Prodigal Family situation.


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     Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1942): In "Who Killed Col. South?" all of Col. South's niephlings, his daughter Sunny and a handful of his daughter's friends come to South Haven for a reunion. Col. South is then murdered, along with one of his nephews, by another nephew who also tries to kill Sunny. His remaining niephlings all prove to be jerks as well, with everyone more concerned about who's going to get the inheritance and the inconvenience of sticking around for the murder investigation than South's death and deriding his daughter for her worry.

     Fan Works 
  • Second Bloom: At the Karibi family reunion, Sakura finds out about her family- namely, that they have a bloodline limit and that two of her cousins were, in the original timeline, her teammate and the leader of a foreign ninja village. And then, Root attacks- an attempt to kidnap the children of the family and massacre the adults that was actually successful the first time around.
  • In Rose Redemption AU, Steven rigs things so that he and his mom could spend family time with Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond, hoping that the three of them could reconcile. What follows is a full-on flop of a day at Funland, followed by arguing.
  • The Black Sheep Dog Series: After three years of being The Runaway, Sirius Black is unexpectedly reunited with his estranged family when his brother stole Voldemort's Horcrux. Both parties are forced to change their views on each other and the world as they try to reconcile. But their fundamentally different views, stubbornness, and secrets make this endeavour more challenging than anything else.
  • Why Fairy Tail Can't Have Family Unions is essentially about Sting and Rogue trying to talk the Fairy Tail guild out of having one. This is because every time a Fairy Tail wizard had a reunion with a missing parent or sibling, it usually involved some sort of war or conflict. Once they realize this trope is in effect, Erza states that if they have a deliberate family reunion, they might end up causing a global war.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Filipino film Four Sisters and a Wedding, CJ's upcoming wedding brings all four of his sisters home, resulting in a lot of messy interpersonal reactions.
  • Everybody's Fine: One daughter is secretly questioning her sexuality while the other is divorcing her husband. Meanwhile, one of his sons is mildly unhappy while the other is dead, likely due to a drug overdose.
  • What's Cooking?: Four families (African-American, White, Latino, and Asian) celebrate Thanksgiving in Los Angeles. There's adultery, someone comes out, some gunplay, a pregnancy, and there's plenty of ruined dinners (literally and figuratively) to go around!
  • Jumping the Broom: There is a Culture Clash between Sabrina and Jason's family, with Sabrina's family being wealthy and Jason's family being working class.
  • Monsoon Wedding: The whole family has come from all over the globe and in doing so, friction develops, especially as the Creepy Uncle is reunited with the niece he sexually abused as a child, and the fallout when it all comes out.
  • The Celebration (or Festen, in Danish): in which a son chooses his father's 60th birthday to reveal to the rest of the family, and all their friends, that said father sexually abused him and his twin sister for years, leading to her suicide. Understandably, an exception to the "almost always reconciliation" rule.
  • In Knives Out, all the family is back in town for Harlan's birthday. After he dies, they all have to stay in town while an investigation occurs. Every family member is quick to insult and demean each other.

  • Pact: Happens in the first chapter, when the Thorburn family gathers at Hillsglade House to hear who Grandma's heir will be. Rosalyn's death sets in motion events that lead to Molly's death and threaten Blake's life and the lives of everyone in line for her inheritance.

     Live Action Television 
  • The Haunting of Hill House (2018): The surviving Crain family members are not on the best of terms at the start of the show, and only all reunite at the funeral of the youngest sibling, Nell. This sets them on the path to confronting their personal demons at the titular haunted house, and coming out of it as a better family. It's also lampshaded.
    Shirley: That's funny, Nellie was always trying to get all of us together in one place. Even Dad tried for years.
    Theo: Someone should've told her she didn't have to try this hard.
  • House of the Dragon: While appearances are maintained in order not to offend the dying King Viserys, the last dinner between the Targaryens-Velaryons of Dragonstone and the Targaryens-Hightowers of King's Landing goes south the minute Aemond decides to mock the Velaryon children of Rhaenyra by calling them "Strong", as in a double entendre that they're bastards of Harwin Strong. That dinner is one of the last straws towards the Dance of Dragons.
  • Nirvana in Fire: Jingrui's disaster of a birthday party. You know it's a failed family get-together when you find out neither of your "fathers" is actually related to you, one of them was trying to kill you all along, and he's decided to finish the job now, along with the rest of your family and all the guests who now know too much. Ouch.
  • A Prince Among Men has a rare mother and child only example. ‘Family Matters’ revolves around Gary’s attempts to reunite with his mother. He ends up being hit by a woman who he thought was his mother but was actually another old woman, arrested, let out, and then rearrested by his mother, who thought he was sending her death threats.
  • The Umbrella Academy is kicked off when the adopted superpowered Hargreeves siblings gather for their father's funeral, and find out they have to help stop the apocalypse. But their various traumas, addictions, neuroses and resentments combine very badly to the point where they end up being the ones who cause the Apocalypse in the first place.

  • August: Osage County: A family reluctantly comes together following the father's suicide. The three daughters each have their own way of dealing with their prescription-drug-addled mother's cruelty, particularly as displayed during a climactic dinner, and they all ricochet off each other as the family disintegrates.

     Video Games 
  • Both Another Code games kick off with Richard attempting to reunite and bond with his daughter, Ashley. They both end with a lot of family secrets revealed and someone nearly getting killed by a third party.

     Visual Novels 

     Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: The episode "Coup DeVil" has Cruella hosting a reunion for the DeVils, in which her mother challenges the whole family to try and steal the farm from the Dearlys. In the end, Cruella finally stands up to her mother, finally earning her respect.