Follow TV Tropes


Immigrant Parents

Go To

Sometimes, a typical (Insert Main Nationality Here) character turns out to have parents who aren't originally from here; they immigrated from some other country, very often The Old Country, and usually still have enough Tropistanian mannerisms to stick out like sore thumbs. They may talk funny (assuming they speak English), dress funny, and perhaps even reveal that their "hip everydude" offspring has a hilariously foreign name. Expect them to be a source of embarrassment when they show up, and there may even be some drama about the conflict between one's cultural heritage and the norms of the society in which he lives.


This has some basis in reality.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Maus is a retelling of the author's immigrant father's experiences.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) stars Kamala Khan, whose parents, Yusuf and Aisha, are from Pakistan.
  • Robin Series: Ariana's father, aunt and uncle are from Ukraine. Her mother is dead but also implied to be from the country, and Ari goes to live with her aunt and uncle after her father's murder.

    Fan Works 
  • 25m Distance Between Us:
    • Pauline's parents are Italian immigrants who moved to Metro Kingdom. The local, poor Italian immigrants tended to band together, so she ended up meeting Mario due to her parents. In this verse, Italy is in Another Dimension, but it's never mentioned how they travel between the dimensions.
    • Mario and Luigi's parents are Italian but the twins were born in the Mushroom Kingdom. Their family fled the kingdom when they were infants.
  • A.A. Pessimal's Discworld saga Strandpiel deals with a sort of immigrant family in Ankh-Morpork. The title is a Discworld-themed play on the "soutpiel" concept, used to describe South Africans with a foot in two places - one in South Africa, the other elsewhere. note  A girl whose father is Ankh-Morporkian and whose mother is from Rimwards Howondaland muses on what it is to be brought up speaking one language in the home and with family, but Morporkian in the wider world. Her mother is very uncompromisingly Howondalandian, and this shows. Bekki and her sisters grow up as a part of two communities and two nationalities; the wider story introduces "strandpiels" of other nationalities and backgrounds who also have to come to terms with multiple nationality. One set of children have four nationalities and three languages to get to grips with...

    Film — Animation 
  • Done cleverly in Kung Fu Panda. Po's father is a goose with a thick accent and Po is a panda without an accent. It's obvious to the viewer that Po must be adopted but the film doesn't make much of it and it's pretty much forgotten. Turns out this little tidbit is very important to the plot of the sequel.

  • Children of the River combines this trope with Parental Dating Veto and Star Crossed Lovers for maximum drama.
  • In Christina Dodd's Darkness Chosen series, Konstantine and Zorona Wilder—the patriarch and matriarch of the Wilder family—are originally from Russia; he the head of a powerful family of shape-shifting warriors, she a Gypsy. They immigrated to Washington state and grew grapes. All of their sons have traditional Russian names (Jasha, Rurik, and Adrik), they eat traditional food, and are very connected to their heritage.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, Bo's parents are Ukranian immigrants. They speak with a heavy accent and own a fish shop in Redington. They named their son "Francis Boris" after St. Francis—a name he doesn't like all that much, he prefers going by "Bo". His father was also part of a typical Ukranian dance troupe, and he has a cousin that is part of one as well.
  • Referenced in episode 1.01 of Boardwalk Empire
    Nucky: "Is that a bit of the Old Country I hear?"
    [woman comments about her husband saying her accent makes her sound like an immigrant]
    Nucky: "Well, aren't we all immigrants?"
  • One of the driving forces for comedy in Goodness Gracious Me is the disparity between first-generation Asian immigrants to Britain who preserve the old ways, speak their own language for preference, and preserve the cultural norms of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Then you get their British-born children, who dress western (where they can get away with it) speak with British accents, and have different norms and expectations. Who love their parents but find them exasperating and frequently embarrassing. The British-born children of Pakistani immigrant Citizen Khan have the same dilemmas.
  • Master of None has Dev's parents, who immigrated to the US from India. A whole episode, "Parents" is dedicated to showing both his and his friend Brian's parents' immigration stories.
  • In the Shake It Up! episode "Vatalihosit It Up", Gunther and Tinka's parents are shown to be just as crazy as them.
  • In To the Manor Born DeVere's mother still retains her Czechoslovakian name and accent.
  • On Youngers, Yemi's Nigerian mother is shown to be overly strict and religious. She considers his rap career "nonsense" and also makes him participate in the music ministry of her Pentecostal church.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Ivan Bjelnič's parents grew up in Yugoslavia, but migrated to the US during the country's political upheaval. Their revenue isn't as strong as it was in their old country, but they still try their hardest to support their son, which in turn has made him incredibly loyal to them.
    • Benjy Pathik's grandparents were nomads who travelled from city to city for years until they were able to settle in New York. While they enjoyed the modern excess, their daughter came to be at odds with it and pursued a career in psychiatry, which in turn has greatly influenced how she treats Benjy.
  • The parents of Mr. Invincible, one of the Golden Age heroes of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, arrived in the United States just in time for Invincible to be born an American citizen rather than a Greek citizen. They both have heavy accents, try to do things as Greek as they can do them, and complain about Mr. Invincible "abandoning his Greekness" by assuming the name "Mike Phillips" rather than his birth name, Mikos Phillipidakos.

    Western Animation 
  • The Betty Boop short "Minnie the Moocher" had Betty arguing with her Poirot-speaking German parents.
  • Gunther's parents in Kick Buttowski seem to come from a Scandinavian country where the Viking lifestyle has apparently never fallen out of fashion.
  • Implied to be the case for the parents of Hector Cruz and his older sister in Ozzy & Drix—Mr. and Mrs. Cruz both speak with noticeable Latino-accents while neither of their kids do.
  • A Pup Named Scooby-Doo had Scooby's parents show up in one episode. Cue accents, hats and the fact that his full name is Scoobert.
  • Rugrats: Didi Pickles' parents are obviously not originally from the United States—although it's never confirmed where they're originally from, it's implied that Didi's parents are from somewhere in Russia, such mentioning borscht (a popular soup in Eastern European countries, including Russia) and talking about The Old Country. During production, voice actress Melanie Chartoff asked which "old country" they were supposed to be from. Answer: "The Jewish one!"
  • The Weekenders has Pteratishkovna "Tish" Katsufrakis, whose parents have heavy accents, wear unusual clothes, and immigrated from some country with an unpronounceable name.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: