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Grounded Forever

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Roseanne: That is not funny! You're grounded until menopause!
Darlene: Yours or mine?
Roseanne: Your father's!
Roseanne, "Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore"

Grounding is a standard parental discipline technique. But a frustrated parent may blurt out that their child will be detained for a ridiculous amount of time, often past the point they would reach the age of adulthood, for something very minor. Occasionally, the punishment may be for something quite serious, but the parent lacks the capability to think up a different punishment.

Alternately, a teacher (usually a Sadist Teacher) will give a student a severely extended detention, usually long enough to extend well after the kid has graduated.

A subtrope of You Are Grounded, often falling under Disproportionate Retribution. Almost always undone via Snap Back. An inversion would be grounding the child for a ridiculously short amount of time for a very serious offense.

Not to be mistaken with the show Grounded for Life.


Compare Longer-Than-Life Sentence, where prisoners are sentenced to serve an amount of time that's way longer than anyone can be expected to live.


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    Comic Books 
  • Variation in one issue of the The Simpsons comic book, where Bart says that if he doesn't find the school puma by the next day, he'd be doing detention till he's 80.
  • An episode of Dennis and Gnasher has Dennis's parents ask themselves how much trouble he could have got into in the ten minutes since the school holidays started, only for a long string of neighbors to come to the door to complain. With each one, Dennis's grounding is increased by a year, until finally he's grounded forever.
  • In Ms. Marvel (2014), Kamala is grounded forever after her parents find out that she snuck out to the party in the first issue. She is grounded even more forever in issue 5 when her midnight snack convinces her parents that she snuck out again. Grounding her is pointless anyway since the world's about to end.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Dr. Storm threatens Sue with this.
    Dr. Storm: You're grounded 'till you're thirty!
  • Robin Series: Jack decides to ground Tim indefinitely after hearing from Ari's uncle that Tim and Ari had sex (which they didn't) and furiously cuts off Tim's attempt to explain what actually happened. Luckily Dana goes to get Tim's side of the story, which includes Ari's uncle trying to kill Tim over a misunderstanding.
  • In one Superman comic, Dick Grayson recalls his first encounter with Superman back when he was still Robin. A major crime operation was supposed to occur at the harbor in Gotham that evening, but Bruce Wayne's presence was required at a social event, and Dick was under strict instructions by both Bruce and Alfred to stay and home and finish his geography homework. Dick snuck out and tried to stop it anyway, only to have to be rescued by Superman who had also heard about the operation and decided to stop it himself. When Bruce returned home, he heard that the operation had been stopped by a caped hero, and figured that Dick had disobeyed his orders. He went up to his room to see if he was still there, ready to "ground him until he's 30" if he wasn't.

    Comic Strips 
  • In FoxTrot Peter has been grounded for intervals of decades, centuries, or life. It never seems to stick of course.
  • In the book Garfield's Big Book Of Super School Excuses, one excuse for "Why I Can't Go Out With You" is "I'm grounded until college".
  • In Bloom County, Oliver's dad grounded him until his 45th birthday for having launched a shuttle chair to Washington D.C. and almost killing Cutter John and a tuba player.

    Fan Works 
  • Stars from Home, Ruth and Charles have threatened Scott with this on separate occasions, both in Fear Leads To Anger situations.
    Charles: If you ever do anything like that again...
    Scott: Grounded for the rest of my natural life?
    Charles: No, no. I'll have you resurrected and re-ground you.
    Scott: Won't you be dead by then?
    Charles: My brain will be put into a supercomputer.
  • Syngenesophobia features a Played for Drama example; the first punishment the Loud Sisters receive for what they did to Lincoln is being grounded indefinitely.
  • Quizzical: In "The Big Finish", as Princess Luna says:

    Films — Animation 
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Franny does this to Wilbur:
    Franny: Mister, you are grounded 'til you die!
  • After a father/daughter argument near the beginning of The Croods, Grug threatens to keep Eep in the family cave "Until you're older than... y'know... [gestures to Gran] her!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • New Moon:
    Charlie Swan: Bella, do not ever do that to me again. Ever. And you're grounded for the rest of your life.
  • Basket Case 3: The Progeny
    Sheriff: 'Cause you are grounded, little miss! You are grounded for the next ten years! And no more car, and no more allowance, and you can forget about that pony I promised you!
  • The Lindsay Lohan remake of The Parent Trap has her saying "We've been grounded 'til the end of the century." To be fair, the film was released in 1998, but still, two to three years is still a long time to be grounded. Then again, "end of the century" was most likely an exaggeration.
  • In Ever After, as punishment for his disobedience, the king tells Prince Henry that he'll "deny [him] the crown and... live forever!"
  • In The Breakfast Club, Bender keeps goading Vernon to give him more Saturday detentions. By the end of it, Vernon states that he has Bender for "the rest of [his] natural born life" (it actually comes out to two months worth).
  • In Camp Nowhere, the father of the twelve-year-old protagonist cheerfully informs him, "By the way, you're grounded until you're thirty," after the phony summer camp cover is blown.

  • Good Omens: Adam gets grounded.
    "When do you think they'll let you out, then?" asked Pepper.
    "Not for years and years. Years and years and years. I'll be an old man by the time they let me out," said Adam.
    "How about tomorrow?" asked Wensleydale.
    Adam brightened. "Oh, tomorrow will be all right," he pronounced. "They'll have forgotten about it by then."
  • In a more serious example, The Silmarillion includes a king, Thingol, locking his daughter in a tower lest she elope with the man she loves.
  • In another non-comedic example, Boo Radley of To Kill a Mockingbird as well as his real-life counterpart literally had this done to him by his abusive father, and ended up with an (undeserved) reputation as an Ax-Crazy recluse.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: After Harry accidentally sets a boa constrictor on Dudley, he is locked in his cupboard for several months straight as punishment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Picket Fences In the episode "High Tidings", Jimmy grounds Kimberly forever, alongside cancelling Christmas, after catching her having sex with her much older boyfriend.
  • Happened to Carmen a lot in The George Lopez Show. One notable occasion:
    Angie: Grounded. You are never leaving this house.
    Carmen: Dad!
    George: Carmen, you are so grounded, coffee will look at you and say, "Damn!"
  • Diff'rent Strokes: Played straight in the seventh-season episode "Cheers to Arnold." A friend of Arnold's steals from Mr. Drummond's liquor cabinet. When Arnold tries to explain, Mr. Drummond will have nothing of it and tells Arnold he's permanently grounded; of course by episode's end, things are cleared up and Arnold is pardoned.
  • 7th Heaven:
    Mary: So I guess I'm grounded for life?
    Annie: That's a given.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    Phillip Banks: You're grounded for 10 years.
    Ashley Banks: What? But that's not fair.
    Phillip Banks: Tell it to the judge... Oh yeah. That's me.
  • Roseanne episode "Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore":
    Roseanne: That is not funny! You're grounded until menopause!
    Darlene: Yours or mine?
    Roseanne: Your father's!
  • Similarly (maybe inspired by the Roseanne episode), on Now and Again, Heather's mother tell Heather that if Heather ever again has a boy over without telling her, Heather will be grounded till menopause.
  • Boy Meets World.
    • Played for Laughs: there was a significant gap in between the two actresses playing Morgan, resulting the character being absent for about half a season. The new actress is introduced by coming downstairs and remarking, "That was the longest time-out I've ever had."
    • When the gang is in college, this is inverted by Dean Bolander, who suspends Cory for one day (and puts him on probation) for striking a teacher instead of immediate expulsion like would normally happen. The justification for this is that it is obvious that the professor he struck is very sleazy, and made a pass at Topanga, which led to Cory striking him in the first place.
  • Spencer from iCarly, after seeing Carly making out with Griffin, grounds Carly "for till college". He also actually follows through on the punishment until he learns An Aesop, up to and including making Carly wear a horrible sweater, and disguising himself as a janitor at her school so he can catch Griffin when he visits Carly's school to make out with her.
  • The titular character of Jessie grounds the Ross kids from TV and internet for “the rest of their lives” in “Caught Purple Handed” after learning they had a party on the rooftop.
  • In My Wife and Kids, Michael punishes Claire by grounding her (and forcing her to do all the chores in the house) until she gets him an apple from the apple tree in the backyard. Then he gives her a few apple seeds.
  • There was a series called Grounded for Life.
  • One episode of Happy Days has an exchange along the following lines:
    Howard: ... I shall now determine a punishment that is judicious, reasonable and fair.
    [Gilligan Cut]
    Richie: "Grounded for life"?!
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Lois grounds the boys on a regular basis in addition to all the other punishments she gives them when they misbehave. The one that takes the cake, however, is in the episode "Health Scare" when she grounds Malcolm and Reese for an entire week for tracking mud on the floor they had every intention of cleaning up. When they sneak out anyway, Lois then decides to ground them for the rest of the school year!'' The only justification for any of this is that Lois and Hal were both distracted due to Hal potentially having a terminal illness, which turns out to not be the case by the episode's end.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Doin' Time in 2330. After Zack and Cody deliberately skip out on their punishment to take part in London's web show (along with The Cheetah Girls, Chris Brown and Maddie), Carey snaps, to some degree.
    Carey: (getting angrier and angrier) Oh, that is it! You are beyond grounded. The next time you see sunlight—Oh, actually, no!—You're never going to see sunlight again. Because by the time your punishment is over, the sun will have burnt out, collapsed into a black hole, and the last remnants of mankind will be living on a rusty little spaceship as the cold silence of space will slowly drive them MAAAAAAD!
    • The detention variant is used at the beginning of one episode of The Suite Life on Deck. When Zack asks Moseby how long will he be there, Moseby tells him that it's permanent, or until Zack graduates, but since he never will it might as well be permanent.
  • Hannah Montana had this as Miley Stewart (portrayed by Miley Cyrus) and her brother who are fighting over the same bathroom in which her dad, Robby Ray, says this to his daughter who is recently grounded from using the bathroom with Jackson, delaying her girls night out plans with Lilly and Oliver.
  • On The Cosby Show, after Theo accidentally throws a Wild Teen Party, Cliff first takes him to the Army recruiting center before being more lenient and making him serve food to the homeless...every day for 6 months.
  • In The Wonder Years episode "The Lake", after Paul's mom finds out he has a condom, Wayne says that Paul's been grounded for life. But knowing Wayne, he's most likely exaggerating.
  • Subverted in Family Ties, Mallory makes a mistake and her father says to her, "You're grounded until further notice." She looks at him like he's crazy, and says, "You can't ground me, I'm over 18!" Her father looks at her mother in stunned realization that she's right. "Darn, that worked so well when she was younger."
  • In an episode of Salute Your Shorts, Sponge is given permission to use his computer in order to connect to a phone line (use of phones is usually prohibited at camp). When the others find out, they use it behind Sponge's back and let him face the bum rap when they rack up an absurdly large phone bill. Sponge later laments that he's grounded for the rest of the summer, and if he comes back to camp the following summer, he'll still be grounded, and if he ever has kids and they come to the camp, they'll be grounded as well.
  • In the Lab Rats episode "Memory Wipe", this is said verbatim by Davenport to the kids after he finds them spying on him. Leo's attempt to erase his memory of him giving the punishment goes wrong.
  • The Worst Year of My Life, Again: This line is said when the main character decides to have a house party while his parents are out.
  • Two and a Half Men: Alan grounds Jake for three months after he sneaks out to a concert.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Dinosaurs episode "License to Parent":
    For scratching his father's brand new car, Robert Mark Sinclair was grounded for six to ten years. He is currently serving his sentence in his room.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: After Weiss has a meltdown towards her father Jacques and a party-goer at a charity ball (resulting her accidentally using her Semblance in the process), Jacques severely punishes her by removing her heiress status of the Schnee Dust Company in favor of Whitley and imprisons her in the family manor indefinitely until they can "come up with an agreement to her future." Weiss manages to escape the manor a few episodes later with help of the family's butler Klene and just in time since General Ironwood is planning on closing the borders to Atlas in less than a week after receiving reports from Mistral.

    Web Comics 
  • The Sapphire Lake kids' antics in Precocious usually get Autumn grounded for eternity, though after a few days or weeks they usually open to negotiations.
  • In Homestuck, after Jane blows up trying to get the mail, her dad sics this on her.

    Web Original 
  • In one Amazing Phil vlog, he discusses the time he got caught smoking when he was eleven and was immediately grounded, and comments that he thinks he may still be technically grounded. So he calls up his mother to ask — and she says, "Yes. Forever."

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Brak Show, Dad grounded Brak for 3 years.
  • On Codename: Kids Next Door, Mr. and Mrs. Sanban grounds Mushi for life after she "kills" Kuki's Posh Party Rainbow Monkey in "Operation: C.L.U.E.S." When she brings it back to life as a monster in "Operation: S.P.A.N.K.E.N.S.T.I.N.E.", it's increased to five life-time groundings, though her boyfriend sneaks her out of the house before the end of the episode.
  • Zig-Zagged in Goof Troop. In "Axed By Addition" Pete threatens to ground PJ forever if he fails his math test, a threat the latter takes very seriously and even plays sick in order to get in one last day of freedom. Once Pete finds out the truth, he yells at PJ for not guessing he was bluffing... and then says he's grounded forever for that, though he has a change of heart when he finds out that PJ didn't even fail in the first place.
  • Johnny Test: Hugh did this quite frequently. Once, he threatens to ground Johnny and his sisters forever, but one of the sisters reminds him that he can't ground them past 18, so he says he'll ground them UNTIL 18. In "Johnny Long Legs", he threatens to ground them for two lives.
  • Arthur: After Arthur and D.W. ruin their father's souffle, he loses self-control, and gives them a four-month ban on TV. His wife helps him to think rationally again.
  • An episode of El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera ends with Manny admitting to his dad that he expects to be grounded until he's 30 for his actions. It appears as though his dad understands that Manny learned his lesson and will let him off the hook... until a Smash Cut depicts 30-year-old Manny shackled up in his room. Thank goodness for Negative Continuity.
  • Cow and Chicken At the end of "Send in the Clown", Cow and Chicken's father grounded Cow and then told the parents of the clown that cows should not play with clowns. They sadly were never in love again as they were grounded for life. Chicken asked why, and the father explained that clowns and cows just don't mix.
  • Rocket Power:
    • In one episode, Otto and Twister go out into a hurricane to retrieve Twister's video camera. When Raymundo tracks down and rescues them, Ray grounds Otto forever, to which Otto replies, "That's cool."
    • In a different episode, Ray declares that if his kids were caught sneaking out after dark, they would be grounded until they're his age. Subverted in the end when he only gives Otto three weeks of garbage duty.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012) had this in the episode "(Sweet) Truck Ride"; after Blythe Baxter made her first attempt to rescue her Littlest Pet Shop friends from a runaway truck filled with sweets, Roger Baxter grounds her and takes away her cell phone. While Blythe is grounded, her Littlest Pet Shop friends recover her confiscated cell phone and continued to film a reaction of the same incident, with Roger Baxter in hot pursuit of the same runaway truck filled with sweets, resulting in a major death of his dummy pal (while getting a traffic ticket by a police officer). Roger later apologizes to Blythe, forgives her and joins her in his father/daughter race.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mommy Fearest" had Emma Goodlady planning to ground the Powerpuff Girls forever so she can commit more crimes. But the plan failed when the Professor found out that she is really Sedusa, and the Professor tells the girls to call the police and stated that the crook will never deceive them again.
    Sedusa: HA! Never! (In her sweet tone) I will talk that sap with the professor, He will believe me! (In her evil tone) BUT YOU ALL BUGEYED CREEPS WILL ALL BE GROUNDED FOREVER! (Laughs evil)
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King ends with the Goblin King grounding Willow for 1,000 years. Of course, they're immortal, so it is most likely a normal length of time for such a punishment. As the Goblin King takes the evil magician with him for 1,000 years, the magic show was discontinued by the employees who operate the amusement park.
  • On The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy received the detention variant twice. The first time was when he switch bodies with Cindy, their attempts at destroying each others' lives include getting themselves 1,800 days of detention. The next comes from after Jimmy sent the teachers into another dimension. When they make a Big Damn Heroes return (It's a Long Story), Jimmy claims to have learned his lesson, but they still sic him with 900 days of detention.
  • One of Doug's Fantasy Sequences depicts Mr. Bone making him write lines until they're both old men.
  • The ChalkZone episode "School of Destruction" had Rudy Tabootie's father Joe tell his son that he is grounded until college after finding out that he sneaked into the rock concert of the titular band.
  • Steven Universe:
  • Darkwing Duck:
    • Gosalyn Mallard usually gets grounded for life by her father (along with her allowance being suspended until further notice)
    • When Honker is held responsible for an art theft that was actually committed by the villain Splatter Phoenix in the episode "A Brush With Oblivion", his parents ground him in his room. His father makes a list of things Honker isn't allowed to have, including going out, having friends over, watching television, and sunlight, food, and water. His wife points out that those last few items are a bit excessive.
    • In "Star Crossed Circuits", Drake tells his daughter Gosalyn that she's grounded for 50 years after being informed of what house rules Gosalyn had broken by the D-2000.
    • "Fraudcast News" has Launchpad mention that Darkwing once told Gosalyn that she was grounded until her senior year of high school in response to Darkwing asking what he could've done to Gosalyn to drive her to siding with the Bugmaster, unaware that Gosalyn was merely pretending to work with the villain in order to help bring her down.
  • In The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, when Loki and his Anti-Antichrist son are falling down a bottomless pit after the latter defies Loki to save June, Loki grounds him for an eternity.
  • One episode in The Fairly OddParents has Timmy's dad threaten to ground him "for infinity" if his case of glass sculptures ever gets damaged.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Raid the Cave", Star is worried her parents will do this for her when she tells them that her spellbook was stolen by Ludo. While they're initially shocked, it doesn't come to that.
  • In one episode of Stickin' Around, Stacy goes to Picture Day thinking that she's dreaming and causes chaos because she believes that she won't face repercussions. The next day, she was evidently given detention for a very long time before her mother convinced the school board to shorten her sentence to 2 years.
  • An episode of Kim Possible used the detention variant, after Ron is caught cheating in school thanks to a mishap that gave his naked molerat advanced intelligence. The ending scene sums up the punishment:
    Kim: So how much detention did you get?
    Ron: I dunno she just gave me one of those sideways eight thingies.
  • The Canadian animated series Detentionaire uses both the grounded and detention variants of this trope. After Lee Ping is framed for a massive prank he didn't commit, he is sentenced to detention for the entire school year while his strict mother (a teacher at his school) grounds him for the same length of time.
  • Ducktales 2017: At the end of "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake!", Doofus's parents finally stand up to him after adopting Mark Beaks' robot son Boyd, causing him to get half of the fortune Doofus inherited, and tell him he's grounded "INDEFINITELY!"

    Real Life 
  • Long time figure skater Tonya Harding was banned from figure skating after she admits that she beat up Nancy Kerrigan. And was sentence for 3 years in prison.
  • In the US Navy and Marine Corps, a FNAEB (Field Naval Aviator Evaluation Board, pronounced "fee nab") exists to decide whether to inflict this on designated naval aviators. Reasons for grounding a pilot can be just plain old inadequate performance, such as too many wave offs during carrier landings, not catching the middle 3-wire enough (implying too many overshoots and undershoots during carrier landings) unsafe flying, even medical conditions. Once the FNAEB grounds you, you lose your aviator designation for good. Till this day, no one grounded by a FNAEB has ever regained pilot status. Not every pilot brought before a FNAEB gets grounded, but a pilot who is "forgiven" is normally told "Don't let us see you here again."
  • Any naval aviator who voluntarily "turns in his/her wings" is considered to have permanently quit Naval Aviation for good, and is also grounded for life.
  • It happens on YouTube when you get three strikes (Either Community Guideline violation or Copyright Infringement), Your account gets terminated for good and all your videos get taken down with the phrase "This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated."
  • On the Something Awful forums, one of the punishments a mods can dish out is putting a user on probation for 100,000 hours, or roughly 11 1/2 years. Since making and paying for a new account to get around a probation leads to a permanent ban (whereas a standard ban does allow you to obtain a new account), this is effectively a permaban. Usually subverted in that the probation is lifted early a few days later.
  • Although the Overclocked Remix forums have a generally tolerant, genial and understanding moderation system, especially compared to other communities similar to it, you can receive warnings on your account that do not expire, and occasionally even for unusual reasons. One user has a warning point on his account that goes back to March 2016 over a disagreement with a moderator that climate change might still be considered a political topic due to social parlance over the subject being tied in with politics. This should not be considered the norm for the community, however, and has more to do with keeping troublemakers from getting away with weird subversion.


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