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"Straighten out their mess with togetherness!"

"Your single parent is really just waiting for you to set him or her up!"
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The children decide they want a new mother/father and they have the perfect person in mind. Now if only they can get their parent to listen to them.

Common variants include:

  • Escape the Wicked Stepmother: The children are hoping to head off another romantic option at the pass. ("So Dad wants to get remarried, but he picked a horrible person, so let's find him someone better.")
  • 'Parent Trap' Plot: The children scheme to get their divorced or separated parents back together. The trope namer and trope codifier is The Parent Trap, and Lampshades or references to this are common.

Usually, the kids come up with a crazy plan to set up their parent(s) and Hilarity Ensues. Strictly speaking, this trope can apply to finding a partner for a Cool Teacher, mentor, or grandparent; any adult who plays a parental role can participate in this plot. Some such examples may involve a Teacher/Parent Romance. If the people being set up are similar age or social status to the protagonist, that's Shipper on Deck, the supertrope to this.

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Usually a subtrope of Parent with New Paramour, unless the First Father Wins. Contrast Remarrying for Your Kids.

When writing examples, please provide context about characters' relationships and motivations. Do not just list character's names!


Examples

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    Escape the Wicked Stepmother 

Film - Live Action

  • In Au Pair, two rich kids plot to bring their au pair together with their widowed father in hopes that their dad will dump his child-hating fiancee.
  • Nanny McPhee: The sub-plot involves the kids' father (Cedric Brown) being single and his snobby aunt Adelaide saying that he needs a new wife and trying to force him to marry an evil woman named Mrs Quickly. At the end, the kids get him out of it by having him marry Evangeline the maid.
  • In It Takes Two, a rich girl and an orphan, who happen to look alike, conspire to set up the rich girl's dad, currently engaged to a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, with the orphan's case worker.

Literature

  • In The Penderwicks On Gardam Street, the girls invert this when they try to set their father up on terrible dates for fear of him falling in love with someone and saddling them with an Evil Stepmother. Eventually, they realize that their father and their single mother neighbor, Iantha like each other, and they try to set them up.

    'Parent Trap' Plot 
Film - Live Action
  • The Parent Trap: Two identical twin girls were Separated at Birth when their parents divorced and each parent took custody of one of the girls. When they eventually meet, they decide to try to get their parents to remarry. Also doubles as Team-Up Matchmaker.

Literature

Live-Action TV

  • Lucifer (2016): Lucifer attempts to do this with his parents in season two's "God Johnson". They even reference the movie of the same name.
  • New Girl: Jess throughout her life tries to trick her parents back together.
  • Supernatural: After Dean and Lisa break up, Ben tricks them into meeting one another again for a date in an attempt to bring them together again. It doesn't work, and Dean even lampshades the situation by irritably telling Lisa that they were 'Parent Trapped'.
  • Tucker: Tucker attempts this in the Thanksgiving Episode. It doesn't work and he realises that his dad is actually happy in his new relationship with Debbie.
Web Original
  • Baby Mentalist sets her parents up on a picnic date at the end of episode 3.

Webcomics

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    Unclassified 
Comic Books
  • In Titans, Lian Harper is a Shipper on Deck for her single father, Roy Harper, and Donna Troy. She often asks leading questions of both of them, inciting them to compliment each other or admit their feelings.
  • In X-Men, Carter Ghazikhanian used his psychic powers on a comatose Alex Summers, in order to make Alex fall in love with his single mother.

Film - Live Action

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Mr. Potts' kids try to match him up with Lady Truly, doing so pretty unsubtly by ending his story to them with "then Daddie and Truly got married! Yeah!"
  • The Mighty Ducks: Charlie tries to hook up his (presumably divorced) mom and his hockey coach. They start to date, but it apparently falls apart between the first two movies as the coach starts to travel around in his new career.
  • In Miracle on 34th Street, Susan wants a father for Christmas and encourages Kris Kringle to help her get one. In the modern version, she is much more personally active in trying to set up her mother and the nice neighbor.
  • In Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire, the elder Hansen kids set up their mom on a date so they can sneak out of the house despite being grounded. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite them when their mom's date turns out to be...well, look at the title.
  • In Pay It Forward, a boy arranges a dinner between his Single Mom Stripper and his Cool Teacher by writing letters to each party claiming to be from the other side. It works out eventually.
  • Sleepless in Seattle: Jonah sees how sad his widowed father is, and calls a talk radio show to find him a wife. Many many women mail letters, but only one really connects with him. He (and his friend) spend the second half of the movie trying to get them together.

Live-Action TV

  • On Glee, high school sophomore Kurt Hummel gets his father and the mother of his Unrequited Crush to hook up. This Zany Scheme is an Epic Fail on that side due to Incompatible Orientation, but the parents do end up falling in love and getting married.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The main character, Captain Sisko, is a single father of a teenage boy named Jake ever since his wife Jennifer died. In a few episodes, Jake introduced Sisko to this woman named Kasidy Yates in hopes they'll end up dating. They do.
  • Full House: DJ and Stephanie (whose mother died) set their father Danny up with Stephanie's dance teacher. It goes well until Danny, who is a Neat Freak finds out that she's a slob. They sort things out by the episodes end, but she is never spoken of or seen ever again.

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