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How Dad Met Mom

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"This is the story of how your father met your mother. Now including Marty."

Simply put, an episode/chapter/scene/whatever detailing how a character's parents met, almost always in the form of the child or children being told the story by one of the parents. This trope usually comes into play when at least one of the parents is an important character, and thus worthy of giving an explanation on how they ended up having a child with the other character. The story is almost always told by one or both parents, but on occasion can be told by a third party, especially if the child is now an orphan. It's also all but guaranteed to be told to the audience through flashbacks.

Often comes in the form of a Whole Episode Flashback. See Everyone Meets Everyone and How We Got Here. May result from Tell Me About My Father.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Jack in the Box had a spot for the Hot Mess burger where Jack was in an 80's rock band, with one female fan getting really into his music. The spot ends by cutting to the modern Jack watching the scene on tape, pausing right before the fan takes off her shirt, and telling his son, "And that's how I met your mom."

    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan shows us how Eren's parents Grisha and Carla met, via a Whole Episode Flashback as told by Keith Shadis, a friend of the Yeagers.
    • There's also the case of how Grisha met his first wife Dina, which we see through Grisha's flashback arc, which details most of his life from his childhood until he arrived at the walls on Paradis Island.
  • In Bleach's final arc, after Ichigo is kicked out of the Royal Realm, Isshin tells him about how he and Masaki met.
  • Lady!!: In the manga, it's stated that George met Misuzu when he travelled to Japan for work, and Misuzu worked as his interpreter because he didn't speak Japanese. They fell in love, but unfortunately, not everyone took it well...
    Duke Woburn: "You are staining our family with a foreigner's blood!"
  • In Naruto, when he meets the last of his mother (Kushina Uzumaki)'s conscience inside his body, Naruto tells her that her red hair is beautiful, and she goes to tell him how she and his father ended up together.

    Fanfiction 
  • The MCU fanfiction You Are My Sunshine begins with Tony Stark meeting (and later bedding) Mary Fitzpatrick at a charity event. This one night leads to Peter, Tony's son, being born.
  • The Discworld is an intrinsically dangerous place. Ankh-Morpork is a dangerous city. The oldest daughter of wizard Ponder Stibbons is not surprised to hear that her parents' early courtship involved so many things trying to kill her father whilst he was in the company of her adventurous Assassin mother, that Ponder finally decided if he was going to die young, he might as well die married to her. Rebecka concedes this was sort of romantic, in its way. note 
  • In It Takes Three, there’s a chapter where Nick’s mother Amelia, tells the story of how she met Nick’s father Max and then Judy tells the story of how her parents, Stu and Bonnie met.
  • The premise of How I Met Your Mother (And How I Met Your Father) is Makoto and Kyoko Naegi telling their daughter Kiki how they met and fell in love with each other during the two years in Hope's Peak prior to the events of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.
  • Oni Ga Shiku Series: One of the flashback chapters focusing on Majima and his connection with the Midoriya family also reveals how Izuku's parents met. Majima took in Hisashi after his father was murdered as per his request, and some time later Inko tried to pick Majima's pockets while she was a homeless orphan, so he also took her in. Izuku only learns the story after the Akatani arc, when he demands that he's no longer Locked Out of the Loop regarding his family's yakuza connections.

    Films — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Aloha, Bobby and Rose opens with Rose's mother telling her how she quit her job one day and then met Rose's father. He was strikingly handsome, and she describes their romantic first date.
  • Definitely, Maybe: When Will Hayes' daughter, Maya, learns about sex education, she asks her father how he met her mother. He tells her under the condition that he changes the names of the people in the story. The whole story is told through flashbacks.
  • Not in the finished film, but a case of What Could Have Been in Moulin Rouge!. In earlier drafts of the script Satine was a Single Mom Courtesan; Christian would have adopted her son after her death and the framing scenes would have shown him some years later telling the boy the story of their love. In the finished film, however, there is no child, and the framing scenes have Christian writing the story on his typewriter, as per Satine's Last Request.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens with Ying Li telling the story of how she met their father, Xu Wenwu, to her son Shang-Chi. Wenwu had hoped to conquer her Hidden Elf Village but she was able to fend him off. Eventually they fell in love.
  • In Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love, Barry and Suzie are asked this question at one of the doctors' offices. They explained that a friend introduced them. On their first date, Suzie felt a sense of inevitability, like this was the man she was destined to marry. She wrote Barry a letter telling him about her feelings, saying she wasn't sure she was happy about it.

    Literature 
  • An important part of the Dunbars' Back Story in Bridge of Clay, involving a piano, a shop owner with atrocious handwriting and three incompetent piano man. Penny Dunbar tells the story to her son Clay before she dies.
  • In Call Me Sunflower, Sunny asks her mom how she and Scott met, hoping to remind her of what new love felt like and rekindle their romance. Mom is less than helpful - she remembers that they met in class but not which one, and doesn't remember their first date at all. That's because Mom was actually in a relationship with Scott's brother Mark when Sunny was adopted - her "relationship" with Scott was only to Give the Baby a Father after Mark's death.
  • Cemetery Bird: While Jay's dad Sam and her brother Kenny are driving her from Oklahoma back to Grandma's house in Illinois, Jay pretends to be asleep in the back seat while Sam tells Kenny how he met their mom, Emily. She was in the Young Adult Conservation Corps, and they were both working on a government project in Arizona. One night Sam and his friends got together with Emily and some other girls, and Emily got blackout drunk. Sam's roommate Duane wanted to take her back to their motel room, but Sam, realizing that she was a lot younger than her stated age of 21 and possibly didn't know what Duane's intentions were, talked Duane into leaving her alone, and instead cleaned up her vomit and let her sleep in his bed.
  • Counting to D: Sam's dad, a celebrated artist, was hired to create a sculpture as part of the same public works project her mom was the head architect for. They had similar artistic visions, and after the project was over, they decided to get married.
  • Elliott & Win: Win's parents met on a hippie commune in Oregon after his ma ran away from boarding school.
  • Experimental Film: Lois's parents met a theater school. She was seventeen. He was a twenty-four-year-old draft dodger from Australia. They were married five years later, had Lois two years after that, and divorced seven years after that.
  • How to Fly with Broken Wings: Sasha's dad, Fox, used to be in a rock band called Zebra Blue. Her mum, Maisy, was the wardrobe assistant on their tour. They were together until Sasha was three, when Maisy ran off with Zebra Blue's drummer.
  • In If I Fall, If I Die, Will's parents Diane and Arthur met at a poetry club. That night, she attended a party with him, where the two of them had drunken sex. Arthur was married at the time, but was so brazen about his affair with Diane that the marriage didn't last long.
  • Marcelo in the Real World: While Marcelo is on a camping trip with his coworker Jasmine, her friend Cody tells him how her parents met. Her mother Lila was a waitress at a restaurant her father Amos used to visit. They spent years bantering with each other. One day when Amos was almost fifty and Lila was almost forty, Amos said something flirty, and Lila told him that if he was never going to get serious with her, he could leave now. They were married a week later.
  • In Mermaid Moon, Sjældent tells Half-Human Hybrid Sanna how her merman father Bjarl and her human mother Lisabet met. Lisabet was washing clothes for her family where a river ran into the sea. Bjarl was swimming near the shore, looking for landish fruits to eat, when he heard Lisabet crying because she didn't want to wash clothes. Bjarl swam closer and looked up at her from under the surface. Lisabet looked down and was so startled she fell into the water, where Bjarl caught her.
  • Reggie from The Mermaid of Black Conch likes to be told the story of how his father Life and his mother Arcadia became friends. Life cut off one of Arcadia's pigtails in school. When Arcadia got home, her mother cut off the other pigtail to make it even. She's worn her hair short ever since. When Arcadia was eleven, her family sent her to be educated in a convent in Barbados, but she always planned to elope with Life. Unfortunately, Life became a Disappeared Dad before Reggie was born.
  • Navigating Early: Jack's dad was traveling across the country to finish his military education on the East Coast. The train got held up in Kansas, and while he was stretching his legs, he saw his future wife delivering a cake to a neighbor who'd just had a baby. He asked her, "What's a fella got to do to get a cake like that?" She answered, "I guess you'd have to have a baby." They were married a month later. Jack's father gave up his military career and became a farmer, until he left the farm to fight in World War II when Jack was nine.
  • Orange Clouds, Blue Sky: Skye and Starr's parents met at Con Edison while Mom was working in customer service. Dad encouraged her to pursue her interest in real estate. Now they're married, and Mom has a successful career.
  • In Queens of Geek, Charlie makes a video for her parents' twentieth anniversary in which she talks about how they met at college in Beijing before moving to Australia.
  • In Rogue, Kiara's parents met at a music festival. Her dad dropped out of college after her mami got pregnant with her oldest brother Eli.
  • Siren Novels: In Undercurrent, Vanessa asks Willa how her biological mother, the siren Charlotte Bleu, met her father. Willa tells her that they met at the bookstore Charlotte owned in the early '90s. Charlotte didn't want to harm a human, but seducing men is the only way sirens can gain strength, and Charlotte is from such a powerful lineage that her magic was able to overpower Vanessa's father's love for his wife.
  • Social Queue:
    • Zoe's mom was supposed to go on a date with her future husband's coworker Gerard. Gerard was clearly more interested in being seen with her than in actually being with her, so Zoe's dad asked her if she wanted to go on a date with him instead. She said yes, and they've been together ever since.
    • When Zoe asks Gabe how his parents met, he tells her that they met on a chat room for a show they liked in 2000.
  • The Syrena Legacy: In Of Triton, Emma's mom, Natalie, tells Emma the story of how she met her unnamed father, who died of cancer two and a half years ago. The Syrena princess Nalia, living in hiding on land as the human Natalie, was working at a freak show in a mermaid costume. Her future husband saw her swimming in the tank and asked her on a date. While he was walking her home, he told her he had seen her breathing underwater. Nalia, in a panic, tried to mug him. Instead of giving her his wallet, the man offered her a deal: he would give her money and a place to stay and never tell anyone that she wasn't human, and in exchange she would let him study her. The two became close friends, although they were never in love. After Emma was conceived in what Nalia calls a "moment of weakness," they entered a Marriage of Convenience.
  • In the Tempest (2011) trilogy, Tempest's father Bobby Maguire, a former professional surfer, has told Tempest and her brothers the story of how he found their mermaid mother Cecily on a beach in Hawaii. In Tempest Unleashed, Tempest learns the full version of the story: after Cecily's parents and siblings were killed in battle, Cecily spent several days drifting through the ocean in a dissociative haze before washing up on a beach in her human form. Bobby found her unconscious in the sand, carried her to his car, and drove her to the nearest hospital.
  • You Have a Match: Abby's dad Tom took an art class in order to impress a different girl. Savvy's adoptive mother Pietra was taking the same class, and brought him to Bean Well to meet Abby's mother Maggie because she thought they would be a good match.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cursed (2020): A lot of the sixth episode "Festa and Moreii", is dedicated to Merlin showing his newly-discovered daughter Nimue how he met her mother and why their relationship fell apart via magical visions. At one point, he nearly accidentally shows how she was conceived too, prompting her to quickly look away while shouting that she doesn't want to see this.
  • One episode of Hannah Montana features Miley and Jackson going back in time and having to force their parents to meet up like they're meant to do. This is All Just a Dream brought on by their dad attempting to tell the story and being ignored, causing them both to go listen and appreciate the slower moments on the road.
  • Taken to an unusual extent in How I Met Your Mother. The framing device is that the show is one giant flashback of Ted in 2030 telling his future kids the events that led up to him meeting their mother. He doesn't actually meet the titular mother until the series finale.
    • And again in the Spin-Off, How I Met Your Father, which uses a similar framing device of Sophie in 2050 telling her son the story of how she met his father in flashbacks. Compared to the previous series, Sophie's husband does appear in person, but isn't identified, leaving viewers to wonder which of the male cast does Sophie end up falling in love with.
  • Legion: "Chapter 22" focuses on how David Haller's biological parents met, fell in love, got married and brought him into the world. Thanks to Switch's Time Travel ability, she and David are able to observe Charles Xavier and his girlfriend/wife Gabrielle over three decades ago in the past, before David was born and also when he was a baby.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Bill Cosby has a stand-up routine about how his father would never give him any money but would instead tell him a story about how he made whatever it was Bill wanted to buy when he was a boy, and all of these stories ended the same way: "...and that's how I met your mother!"

    Video Games 
  • Kari from Dead In Vinland asks her mom Blodeuwedd how she and Eirik met. Blodeuwedd recounts that her adoptive father (well, really kidnapper) Thorvald wanted her to marry a wealthy and prominent man, but Blodeuwedd was rebellious and chose a poor man "with a big heart" — the only one of Thorvald's huscarls who didn't try to seduce her. Kari's reaction? "I think I prefer the you from the past."
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: After the Heliopause arrives, the protagonist can sit with their dad to listen to the story of how he met their mom. Geranium, who worked part-time at a clinic, thought that he was "too cool" for Flulu and that she and Rhett would get together since both of them are tough fighters, but he fell in love with her when he took care of her after she got injured in an attack. They then applied to work at the Stratospheric together, though Flulu only wanted to "get off [Earth] before anything", but she didn't realize her love for Geranium until they were in space.
  • Episode 3 of Life Is Strange: Before the Storm opens with James Amber, Rachel's father, telling the story of how he met her mother. Specifically her biological mother Sera; he goes on to explain how their relationship soured because of her drug addiction and why he doesn't want Rachel to meet her.
  • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the Player Character can discuss with their sibling what they were told about how their parents, Alec and Ellen, met. The joke is that their stories don't match. If Scott Ryder is the NPC twin, the version he was told is that Alec put on the spec ops bad boy act to draw Ellen in, which worked like a charm. If Sara Ryder is the NPC twin, the version she was told is that Ellen thought Alec's attempt at playing the stoic bad boy was adorable, so she approached him once it was obvious that he wasn't going to make a move. Whether Alec embellished things when he shared his version with Scott or if Ellen never actually told him the truth is left to the player's imagination.

    Visual Novels 
  • Interestingly, in Daughter for Dessert, the player (and Mortelli) sees the story before it is told to Amanda. At the point of a gun, the protagonist divulges everything about his relationship with Lainie to Mortelli. He tells Amanda (thus filling in the parts that she didn’t hear from Cecilia) mostly offscreen after Amanda picks him up from jail.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, a large portion of "The Choices" is spent with Nicole recalling how she met Richard when they were children, but she isn't telling her children about it, just recounting it in her memories.
  • Big City Greens:
    • "Greens' Acres" shows how Bill and Nancy met: Bill was going door-to-door looking for work since the farm needed more money, and was employed by Nancy's con artist father to help Nancy with a scam.
    • There's also an episode showing how Bill's parents met.
  • Big Mouth: A segment in "The Planned Parenthood Show" shows how Andrew's parents met, as hearing "Groove is in the Heart" on the radio prompts a flashback to a concert where Barbara had a one-night stand in the 90's. Barbara got pregnant as a result, so she got an abortion, but on her way back from Planned Parenthood, she rear-ended Marty's car. Marty confronted her, but calmed down when he saw how upset she was, letting her cry on his shoulder. The sequence then shows them on their first date, at their wedding, and at Andrew's birth.
  • Bob's Burgers: "Sliding Bobs" reveals that Linda fell for Bob because she accidentally hit him and got her engagement ring stuck in his mustache, which she found very attractive on him, driving her to call off her engagement to Hugo. The Belcher kids spend the episode speculating on what could have happened if Bob didn't have a mustache when she hit him.
  • Dexter's Laboratory had an episode showing how the parents met when the mom was a germaphobe and the dad was a dirty slob. This also shows how she got her yellow gloves, which he gave to her so they can touch.
  • The Harvey Beaks episode "The Ballad of Muesli and Jangles" has Irving tell Harvey, Fee, and Foo tell the story of how he met Miriam, except the kids interrupt it to add their own twists (like renaming the characters or setting the story in space). It also shows how Miriam became a librarian (it started out as community service). The kids never catch on to what the story was really about.
  • King of the Hill: In the episode "Father of the Bribe", Minh tell Khan Jr. how she and Khan really met. The story they tell is that they met when they were high school students during a field trip. Although they did meet in high school Kahn was actually teen rebel, and Minh started dating him because she wanted a release from her stifling life of being a dedicated student.
  • My Dad the Bounty Hunter: Terry and Tess tell Lisa and Sean how they met each other during one of Terry’s bounty hunting jobs.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "Perfect Pear" not only tells the story of how the Apple parents met, but who they were, as told by several characters who knew their parents and played a role in their love story.
  • While it's never actually shown onscreen, storyboards for The Owl House episode "For the Future" reveal that Luz's parents first met at a Cosmic Frontier convention 20 years before the events of the series.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "The Way We Was", Homer tells the kids the story of how he and Marge met in high school.
    • In "The Way We Weren't", it turns out that Homer and Marge first met as children, but only saw each other for one night and lied about their names.
  • The episode "Moon the Undaunted" in Star vs. the Forces of Evil involves Star's mother, Queen Moon, meeting her future husband River when she was Star's age. Downplayed in that this is just a subplot, with the main plot revolving around Moon defeating Toffee and his army, and The Magic Book of Spells later revealed that while this was seemingly their first meaningful interaction, they had actually met before.
  • Steven Universe: "Story for Steven" is a Whole Episode Flashback of Steven's father, Greg, telling him how he first met Rose Quartz when he was twenty-two. Greg had actually told him their story before, but without mentioning Greg's manipulative ex-manager Marty (in Greg's debut episode, he boiled it down to "I was performing on the beach, and Rose was the only one who came to watch."). It's implied the flashback is portraying how the story feels more real to Steven after he'd seen his mother move and talk in a home video.
  • The episode "Razor's Edge" in Voltron: Legendary Defender consists largely of flashbacks where Keith experiences his mother's memories and learns how she ended up with his father.

 
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Lady Frances Russell

Sarah's mother Frances died when she was a little girl. As a result, Sarah grew up never knowing her. One day, during a camping trip, George's friends tell Sarah how George met Frances.

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