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Like Father, Unlike Son

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Children sometimes share traits with their parents. Sometimes these traits are so pronounced that they are basically a Generation Xerox of their parent, probably thanks to it being In the Blood that they turn out like their parents.

However, sometimes children have traits that completely contrast with those of their parents, sometimes so much so that they can be seen as a Foil to their parents. The contrast can be as simple as a clash of different personalities such as for example, a stoic parent with a Hot-Blooded child or a Wacky Parent, Serious Child dynamic. The contrast however can be more complex such as a contrast in powers, political views or even a sense of morality. The contrast may even make a parent and child a Shadow Archetype of one another.


Sometimes the contrast may come about because the child doesn't want to follow in their parents' footsteps for whatever reason. Sometimes it maybe the result of bad parenting, or it could be that the parent intentionally wanted their children to be as different from them as possible. Sometimes it may have come about simply because of the environment the child was raised in, regardless of the parent's involvement. Sometimes it's because the child takes after someone else, such as their other parent. Sometimes though there is just no explanation for the contrast between the child and parent other than that they are what they are, separate individuals.

The contrast between the child and their parent may sometimes be seen negatively by either one or both, such as a child viewing their parent as amazingly embarrassing or the parent being ashamed of them. If the contrast between parent and child is too great, it may naturally lead to a case of Archnemesis Dad and Antagonistic Offspring. However sometimes, even with the conflicting traits, there maybe no animosity between the two as they may genuinely care for one another regardless of how different they are. For Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas and there are evil parents who want good kids.


Supertrope to Wacky Parent, Serious Child; Jock Dad, Nerd Son; Feminine Mother, Tomboyish Daughter; Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter; and The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter. Subtrope of Foil. A Generational Saga often has multiple iterations of this, commonly with a grandparent/grandchild pair who are more similar to each other than they are to the generation in between.

The more dramatic and extreme the contrast between parent and child, the more likely the trope is being used to to setup a Flash Back in which we see the parent in their youth or childhood, acting exactly the same as their child acts now. This can be to trigger a Not So Different bonding moment, or it can trigger the parent doubling down on their refusal to accept their child's personality traits because they "know" it ended poorly when they tried it. Other ways in which the more extreme contrast can cause friction include the child seeking Stand-In Parents due to being embarrassed, or an enraged declaration of "You're Not My Father!" (Or "I Am Not My Father" if speaking to other people).


See Sibling Yin-Yang when the contrast is between siblings and not between a parent and child. See Contrasting Sequel Main Character when the contrast is specifically between main characters but not necessarily ones that are related.

Contrast Generation Xerox, and Like Father, Like Son.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Wapol's father when he was alive was a benevolent king who was very much loved by his people. Wapol on the other hand, is a spoiled Royal Brat who is so selfish that nobody can believe he is his father's son. When he took over the throne after his father died, he not only abused his power but also abandoned his people when Blackbeard attacked. Suffice to say, Wapol is hated very much by his subjects to the point that they arm themselves when he decides to show his ugly mug again.
    • Garp is the greatest Marine to have protected the peace of the World Government, having notably brought in the Pirate King Gold Roger to justice. His son Dragon is the leader of the Revolutionaries who aims to topple down the World Government.
    • Doflamingo is a manipulative asshole who only values the lives of those who prove useful to his goals, and even then towards them he doesn't take kindly to betrayal. In regards to his true origin, this is not surprising as he's actually a former World Noble, the same people who keep slaves and freely shoot others without repercussion. What's surprising however is in regards to his parents. His parents, namely his father, were actually genuinely good people unlike their World Noble contemporaries, who even decided to step down from their privileged but abusive social status to live among the common folk.
    • Sanji is nothing like his father, Vinsmoke Judge. Judge is a warmongering king, a Bad Boss, and a brutish man who believes in Might Makes Right and Virtue Is Weakness. Sanji on the other hand, is a low-class pirate and, while he has his faults, is a hero who refuses to be associated with his family or their Underworld activities, and is willing to help others in need. It's later revealed to be justified; Sanji was genetically altered along with his then-unborn quadruplet brothers with the intention of turning them into ruthless killing machines, but his dead mother, Sora, took a dangerous drug that reversed gene modifications to save her sons, at the cost of his own life. Sanji was the only one who was born a normal kid who still retained his empathy as the result of the drug; Ichiji, Niji, and Yonji weren't so lucky.
  • Big Mom's children are mostly like her, but there are exceptions. Charlotte Praline, Charlotte Chiffin, and Lola are all incredibly nice people, unlike their tyrannical and brutal mother. The former two take it a step further by actually loving their husbands, instead of their mother's route of treating her spouses like living sperm banks.
  • Naruto:
    • At first glance, Naruto's son, the eponymous protagonist of Boruto, is an exact copy of his father. However as we get to learn more about his character, differences start to appear. First of all, Boruto has the complete opposite early childhood that Naruto had, living with two Doting Parents and a little sister. He's also a Brilliant, but Lazy Child Prodigy, very unlike how his hard-working Boisterous Weakling father was. And compared to how Naruto was at his age, Boruto is well mannered and socially adjusted. He also resents that his dad is too busy with his job and can be mouthy to him (Naruto always respected Minato, no matter what) or the Hokage title nor he has any will to purse his father's path. He also breaks the usual Master-Apprentice Chain by having Sasuke as his master and not someone on the Generation Xerox spectrum of Naruto's side. It's also telling that his hairstyle resembles Sasuke's (during his youth) rather than Naruto's.
    • Chocho is a sassy, Fat and Proud girl. This contrasts with her father Choji having been shy and insecure as a child (and even as an adult Choji is softspoken). Chocho gets her spunk from her mother.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, Dreyfus is an ambitious Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar who won't let anything stand in his way, even going as far as to stage a coup against his king. Dreyfus' son Griamor is a loyal and devoted knight who has sworn to protect one of the kingdom's princesses. Their contrast is even highlighted by their powers. Dreyfus' power is to literally blast through anything in his way. Griamor's a Barrier Warrior. Despite their contrasts though, Dreyfus is a "Well Done, Dad!" Guy who cares deeply for his son.
  • Pokémon:
    • Jessie is very similar to her mother Miyamoto in many places. They both have similar hair colors, they're both extremely loyal to Team Rocket, and they're both excitable, borderline Woman Children. However, while Miyamoto was The Ace of Team Rocket and the favorite of the then-boss Madame Boss, Jessie is at the bottom of the barrel and is a pick in the side of the current boss (and son to Madame Boss) Giovanni.
    • Girly Serena wasn't the Rhyhorn Racer her hotblooded mother Grace was pushing her to be. When she found her true dream of being a Pokémon Performer, they had a Skiddo race before Grace gave her blessing.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Bardock was a serious and proud warrior who would slaughter innocent races because it's in his blood, and despite being a low-class warrior, he was abnormally strong. His oldest son Raditz is similar, only openly more cruel and is a weak Dirty Coward. After getting hit on his head, Goku grew up as a cheerful and friendly Idiot Hero and he can be a Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Goku's first son Gohan is humble, soft-spoken, nerdy and does not enjoy fighting for the sake, unlike his Blood Knight father. In times of peace, Goku continues to train while Gohan focuses on his scholarly pursuits. Goku's second son Goten started out as similar as Goku himself, but at the end, Goten has become tired of fighting and is more interested in dating girls.
    • Vegeta is a very serious and extremely proud Prince who loves fighting and he used to be very violent and he didn't care for anyone. Present Trunks is cheerful and a brat, while Future Trunks is humble, soft-spoken and he wouldn't risk the safety of his comrades for a fight like his father. Present Trunks would eventually become as someone similar to his self from the alternate timeline.
  • Bakuman。: Moritaka Mashiro draws manga while his father Masahiro seems to be a salaryman who in fact used to be the captain of the karate club during his highschool days. The series makes it clear that Mashiro has much more stronger parallels to his late uncle Nobuhiro; his uncle is an infamous mangaka who used to be pen-pals with the woman he loved but couldn't confess his feelings to, while Mashiro has a long-distance relatioship with his girlfriend Azuki (the daughter of said woman). Mashiro's father is surprisingly supportive about Mashiro's carreer as a mangaka, thanks to experiencing Nobuhiro's dedication to his profession. The one thing Mashiro and his father have in common is their taste in manga.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: the first three protagonists are all related, and all very different.
    • While Johnathan was every bit a gentleman and a Gentle Giant so pure his mere presence makes flowers bloom, his grandson Joseph is a loud, Boisterous Bruiser with propensity for Zany Schemes. Johnathan's tactics in combat were limited to "let's get him in a position where I can Overdrive him", while Joseph's solutions lean on the side of Crazy Awesome and outthinking his opponents. It most likely comes from the fact that while Johnathan was raised to be a British lord, Joseph's parents vanished early in his life, leaving only Erina and Speedwagon to raise him.
    • Joseph and his grandson Jotaro are even further opposites. While Joseph in his older years is still a loud, cheerful Boisterous Bruiser, Jotaro is very much The Stoic whose emotions are next-to-impossible to divine (ironically, he hides them because he believes he's easy to read). Joseph's enemies in Battle Tendency often found him amusing, while Jotaro sometimes manages to defeat his opponents through sheer intimidation alone. Moreover, when Joseph appears in Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro clearly thinks little of him, while when he himself appears in Diamond In Unbreakable, all the new characters consider him pretty much the coolest person in existence.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna is pretty much the exact opposite of her father. She's a tiny, white haired, unaligned dragon who is The Stoic. He's a large, black haired, chaos aligned dragon who is Affably Evil. Even their names have a Sky/Earth contrast, being named after a storm and mountain deity respectively.
  • I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying: Kaoru's father is a professional chef, while the only one who can eat her cooking is her husband.
  • Major 2nd:
    • Goro from Major was a Child Prodigy baseball player who ended up going pro as an adult. His children in the sequel Major 2nd grew up wanting to be like him. His daughter is quite a baseball player. His son on the other hand... Daigo has a weak arm and can't pitch well. Daigo ends up so frustrated by his inability to pitch that he becomes cynical and quits baseball for several years. He returns thanks to Hikaru, but ends up becoming a catcher.
    • Subverted with Hikaru. He initially seems to be in an identical situation to Goro, but it turns out that Hikaru simply doesn't know how to play baseball. When taught proper poses, it becomes apparent that Hikaru has a natural talent for pitching.
  • The manga version of Soul Eater (the anime never reaches this point) paints the antagonism between Lord Death and Asura in another light as it is revealed Asura is a fragment of Death embodying Madness due to Order Death willingly casted away to further embody Order -as there has been revealed Madness does is not purely a force of chaos, as it can manifest from desires of Order, Knowledge, and Power, among other aspects-, making Asura the son of a Truly Single Parent. Guess who else is a fragment of Death? Death the Kid, who represents Madness due to Order.
  • In Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, Pop has this dynamic with his father, Junk. Junk is The Blacksmith in the village where Pop was born and raised, with the physical strength and knowledge of weapons required for his line of work. Pop, meanwhile, is a Squishy Wizard whose specialty is spellcasting instead of brute strength or weapon-wielding.

    Comic Books 
  • The Runaways are a team of Heroes With Bad Publicity, whereas their parents were villains with good publicity.
  • X-Men: Nightcrawler is one of the kindest mutants of the series and a devout Catholic as well. His mother Mystique, on the other hand, has committed many villainous acts, and his father Azazel fancies himself as Satan.
  • In White Sand, Praxton is the most powerful of the Sand Masters and their leader, as well as a firm believer in "stronger is better". His son Kenton is the weakest of his diem and a perpetual student, with ironclad belief that ability beats raw power. The only trait they seem to share is sheer stubborness, which explains why they're not on best of terms.
  • In the Ultimate Marvel universe Wolverine had a son, Jimmy Hudson. He gave him as a baby to a friend, specifically to Give Him a Normal Life and make sure that he does NOT turn like him.
  • Batgirl (2000), Cassandra Cain, is the daughter of Lady Shiva (Sandra Wu-San) and David Cain, both of them feared assassins. Cassandra herself is a superheroine who deeply believes in Thou Shalt Not Kill.

    Fan Works 
  • The grown up Godzilla Junior in The Bridge is a Gentle Giant towards humans, a leader of his allies; and was effectively Terra's Big Good while being a Horrifying Hero at worst. His adoptive father, the late Senior, was a highly destructive Chaotic Neutral, solitary, and absolutely loathed humans. Granted the traits they do share such as desires for revenge, bouts of rage; and single minded focus make Junior fear he's not unlike his father enough.
  • In From Muddy Waters, Izuku is almost nothing like his father in personality. All For One thinks nothing of people who aren't affiliated with them, happily murdering dozens of heroes to steal their Quirks to hand Izuku as presents. He's utterly self-assured, emotionally manipulative, and does everything For the Evulz. Izuku wants to be a hero who saves people like All Might. He's highly emotional, overly apologetic, and terrified of being ostracized for his parentage. This is what convinces All Might that Izuku couldn't be All For One's son, as they were just too different in personality, even if their Quirks are eerily similar.
  • In The Lion King: Hidden Stories, Mheetu is nothing like his hateful and cruel father Scar. He's a cheerful, loyal lion who loves his siblings.
  • Yamujiburo:
    • Ash and Misty's son Cane is nothing like his parents. His two parents adore Pokémon and are very loud and self-confident. Cane is awkward and shy. He doesn't really care for Pokémon and instead only went on a journey because he was bored.
    • Dawn and Zoey are both self-confident but their daughter Aurora is a Shrinking Violet.
  • In Pain And Blood: Like his mother, Aksel is a studious bookworm with ice powers. However, while Elsa has a strong love for her younger sister Anna, Aksel hates his older brother. Likewise, Aksel is easily angered while Elsa is stoic.
  • Discussed in Raisa's Secret. Raisa interacts with Quentin Lance (and his typical bad attitude) and wonders how "a man so predisposed towards mistrust and judgement could produce such a sweet girl as Miss Laurel."
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: It doesn't take long for the Hogwarts staff to determine that "Rigel Black" bears little resemblance to Sirius Black. Ironically, the true Arcturus Rigel Black is indeed quite a bit like Sirius — but Harriett Potter, who's impersonating him, is still quite different from James Potter. She has a sense of humour, but is generally reserved, respectful, and studious. (She certainly wouldn't get any positive attention from Professor Snape if she was like either James or Sirius.)

    Film - Animation 
  • In Aladdin and the King of Thieves: Aladdin and his father Cassim may look alike but they quickly realize that they have virtually nothing in common with Aladdin seeing theft only as a means to survive while Cassim enjoys being a thief, too much to resist using Aladdin's wedding as a way of stealing the oracle. Aladdin wishes to stay and own up to his responsibilities while Cassim runs away from them. This argument causes their falling out.
  • In The Book of Life, the Sanchez family has a long line of bullfighters for which Carlos is a part of. As such he hopes for his own son Manolo to uphold the family tradition. Manolo however prefers to be a musician who plays songs rather than a bullfighter who finishes off bulls.
  • Hotel Transylvania: the trope is played with. Dracula hates and fears humans, justified because they killed his wife, leaving him to raise his daughter alone. His daughter Mavis, however, despite being told all her life that humans hate and fear monsters, is curious and adventurous, wanting to meet them and see the world. In the end, Drac relents because his daughter's happiness matters more to him, and because he gets to see with his own eyes that the world has changed since he was a young vampire in love.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Stoick the Vast is a big bearded man who is every bit a typical Viking warrior whose main defining feature is his strength. Stoick's son Hiccup is a rather scrawny weak kid who is more of a Gadgeteer Genius than a fighter. Despite this, Stoick cares for his son and eventually becomes proud of him as well.
  • Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove is a Gentle Giant who enjoys baking and other similar hobbies. His father who is introduced in the sequel is a short statured man who doesn't view such things as being merits of someone he would consider as successful. Upon seeing the lengths Kronk's friends would do to help him out and their overall view of him however, Kronk's father gives his approval in light of his son's character rather than the standards that he personally believes in.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel is one of seven daughters. The other six are blonde and brunette, and perfectly content being mermaids. Ariel is the only redhead, and the only one who finds any interest at all in the surface world. This drastic contrast causes severe friction between her and her father, Triton.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Jughead was a notorious Celibate Hero as a teenager. In the Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again film, he has a Dirty Kid son.
  • In Austin Powers, Dr. Evil is an Affably Evil James Bond styled villain who frequently carries the stupidity of one in more than one way. His son Scott is somewhat of a Jerkass but is far more intelligent and competent. In particular, Scott is smart enough to know that shooting a person is far more efficient than just simply leaving them in an overly elaborate Death Trap.
  • Finally cemented in Avengers: Endgame that while Tony Stark shares a strikingly similar personality and characteristics with his father, Howard Stark, they differ in several key ways. One of which is parenting as Tony is an excellent and admirable father to his daughter, Morgan, than his father ever was to him.
  • Black Panther (2018) has a big one between T'Challa and his father, though T'Challa is still proud to be his father's son. When T'Challa has to choose between bringing an ally to Wakanda for medical treatment, he brings him home. When T'Chaka (the father) has to choose between leaving his young nephew alone in Oakland or taking him home, he abandons him. When T'Challa found out, he was not amused.
  • In Big Bully, a dynamic like this exists between the two main fathers and their respective sons. David is a nerdy guy who was bullied when he was a kid. David's son is the typical 90's cool kid but a bully. Roscoe is a big guy who was once David's bully who decides to continue his antics when David returns back home as a full grown man. Roscoe's son is somewhat of a nerd and is also ironically the victim of David's son's bullying.
  • Back to the Future,
    • George McFly in the first movie's original timeline was a spineless geek who let Biff Tannen continue to bully him even after they graduated high school. George's youngest son Marty is a cool but hot headed kid who stands up to bullies especially if they call him chicken, although the "original" version of his eldest son Dave appears to be closer to George personality-wise.
    • Marty's own future son in Back to the Future Part II is also a contrast to himself. Whereas Marty stands up for himself and has some smarts in him, his future son is a pushover and appears to be a bit of a dumbass.
  • In Matilda, the title character's parents are incredibly horrible and stupid people who prefer watching mindless Soap Operas and Game Shows. Matilda's father in particular is an incredibly dishonest car salesman. Matilda in contrast however is a very sweet and extremely intelligent girl who loves books and learning. She's also fully aware how wrong and dangerous the stunts her father pulls to make a quick buck. How she could be the child to such horrible people is beyond baffling.
  • This seems to run in the Skywalker clan of Star Wars. Luke is completely unlike his father Darth Vader, being a kind and compassionate Jedi with Incorruptible Pure Pureness while his father is the The Dragon and Mascot Villain of the series. This even carries over to the next generation seen in The Force Awakens, where Kylo Ren takes after Darth Vader, his grandfather, being a violent psychopath, as opposed to the sarcastic rogue that is his father, Han Solo.
  • The films based upon Robert Anderson's plays, Tea and Sympathy and I Never Sang For My Father, are driven by this trope. Both works feature sons who can't live up to their father's expectations, and feel an uncomfortable mixture of father worship and repulsion towards his domineering personality.

  • The Beast Player: According to Sohyon, Asson was a kind and gentle man unlike either of his parents.
  • Harry Potter downplays this a bit. While Harry definitely has some traits shared with his father James, and is compared a lot to him at first (mainly because of their uncanny resemblance) there's a big difference between them in regards to their interactions as Hogwarts students. While Harry as a student is the type of guy who would stand up for the little guy, James when he was a student was a bit of an asshole especially in regards to his treatment towards a young Snape (though Snape was, by common consent, hardly a defenceless victim). James' attitude in this matter in fact kinda makes him comparable to Draco Malfoy whom Harry is vehemently against, albeit with a spine and a heart of gold that Draco didn't possess. If anything, Harry takes much more after his mother. If Quidditch is added to the equation, Harry would be a Lovable Jock while his father James would be a Jerk Jock.
    • Draco Malfoy invokes this with his son Scorpius. Draco was himself a Jerkass who gradually became disillusioned with the Pure-Blood Supremacy. As an adult, he completely abandoned the ideal, married a humble woman and raised his son to become more tolerant. Scorpius wasn't allowed to spend much time with his paternal grandparents.
  • Ward of Hurog has his father's looks, but is otherwise very different - while his father was abusive towards the whole family, Ward is a Gentle Giant who spent his childhood trying to protect himself and his siblings from his father.
  • In Dune, Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib often feels horribly constrained by his role as the Physical God to an entire people. His son Leto, by contrast, embraces this role. Also, whereas Paul tries to get everyone to follow him willingly and constantly worries whether he is doing the right thing, Leto has no compunctions about bullying the galaxy into following him and is utterly convinced that his way will preserve human civilization for thousands of years.
  • Done with the Steward of Gondor's family in The Lord of the Rings. Denethor is The Strategist, scholarly, and has powers of foresight thanks to his strong Numenorean blood. His eldest son Boromir is a frontline warrior who is more akin to the Warrior Poets of Rohan and his clairvoyance is very limited. (While Denethor and Faramir have the same prophetic dream several times, Boromir has it only once.) Denethor's youngest son Faramir is similar to himself—however, the contrast makes Boromir his father's favorite.
  • In Worm Theo Anders's parents are both neo-Nazis, and in fact co-lead a Nazi supervillain gang. Theo made his opinion of that lifestyle clear when he became a superhero and named himself after the Jewish legend of the Golem.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Samwell Tarly. His father is a Colonel Kilgore, he is a plump, pacifistic nerd. This led Sam's father to disavow and disinherit him, and force him to join the Night's Watch under threat of death.
    • Tywin Lannister's father was an airheaded weak-willed hedonist and spendthrift who knew nothing about politics. He is an aspiring tyrant, practical with money and an astute politician. In turn, his son Tyrion has his political acumen but not his ruthlessness. His other son Jaime has no ambition at all other than being a Kingsguard. His daughter Cersei has all his ambition and ruthlessness but her politics isn't as sharp as his.
    • Roose Bolton is a cold-hearted tyrant of the same caliber as Tywin (and an ally of him). His son Ramsay is an impulsive psychopath, not very smart and only a real expert on torturing people, sucking at pretty much anything else.
    • Daeron II the Good was very much unlike his father Aegon the Unworthy. While Aegon was a hedonist who cared nothing for ruling, Daeron was a principled and self-controlled man who took his duties seriously. This helped fuel the rumors that Daeron was not Aegon's biological son but rather the son of his uncle Aemon the Dragonknight who was the Knight in Shining Armor.
    • In the case of House Targaryen, this pattern occurs for several generations including Daeron’s. Prince Daemon Targaryen lived and loved dangerously and epitomized everything good and bad about being Targaryen, while his sons Aegon III and Viserys II were Boring, but Practical, with Viserys serving as a capable Hand of the King to Aegon and his sons. Aegon’s eldest son Daeron I was an ambitious Young Conqueror, while Baelor I was a Cloudcuckoolander who was called “the Blessed” and “the Befuddled” in equal measure. Viserys’ son was Aegon IV the Unworthy, the hedonistic father of Daeron II.
  • The Dresden Files. The Carpenter family is a wholesome Catholic family...
    • ...except for Molly who hit her teens and started going punk and dyeing her hair in unique colors. She is also a warlock who ends up apprenticed to Harry Dresden, resulting in Harry figuring out that there's a subversion of Not So Different with Molly's mother, who was a warlock but gave up her magic altogether...
    • ...and her oldest younger brother who, while devout, is far more Hot-Blooded than calm and serene Michael Carpenter.
  • Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games is a lot like her father but very different from her mother. Her mother is docile and soft spoken, is a healer and when faced with the death of her husband she completely breaks apart and shuts down. Katniss is driven and energetic, loves being out hunting in the woods but can't stand the sight of injured or sick people and when faced with the loss of the boy she loves she rallies and channels her pain into becoming the figurehead of the revolution. They do have one big thing in common though - both fell deeply in love with a man from their opposite social standing and started a family with him, something Katniss initially swore she would never do.
  • One Nation, Under Jupiter: Both of Diagoras' parents are devout Roman citizens.
  • Wicked: Elphaba is the (non-biological) daughter of a deeply devout Unionist preacher. Her younger sister Nessarose is similarly religious, but Elphaba is an agnostic atheist. Both daughters defied their father by becoming particularly infamous witches (something condoned by Unionism). Elphaba became the Wicked Witch of the West while Nessarose became the Wicked Witch of the East.
  • Subverted in A Frozen Heart, a tie-in novel to Frozen. Prince Hans is the youngest of 13 sons of a dysfunctional royal household. His older brothers, except for one, were molded into becoming ruthless and unfeeling men by their father, the King of the Southern Isles. Though Hans starts out not wanting to become like them, but as he becomes increasingly desperate in trying to control Arendelle in Queen Elsa's absence, he ends up becoming Not So Different from his family (namely, becoming the king of Arendelle by attempting to assassinate Elsa and Anna), courtesy of their toxic influence.
  • The History Of Bees features two opposing sides. George and Tom are the complete opposite of each other. George is a simple hard-working commercial beekeeper, attempting to create a long-lasting business for his son to inherit. While Tom is a book-smart college student with dreams of becoming a writer and leaving his old life behind him. Likewise William is a smart inquisitive entomologist, that spent his early years diligently studying insects, completely lost in the exploration of knowledge. His son Edmund however is a self-indulgent slouch with no drive for work or the pursuit for knowledge.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Family Ties. The very liberal parents, Steven & Elyse have two daughters who don't have any particular political leaning. And then there's their son Alex, who is a hard right winger, who tries to remake his younger brother in his own image.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • This has happened to the Northerners. After the War of Five Kings has ended and the fallen lords's sons took charge most of them aren't as honorable or fond of the traditional feudal system. That's mostly because they saw what the old way of oaths and loyalty gave to their fathers and with the Boltons instead of the Starks in charge, you don't show respect as much as you show usefulness. Even those who aren't that extreme refuse to help the Starks simply because they asked. As well as the above, Smalljon Umber is also less noisy than his father.
    • Myrcella was sweet and kind, completely unlike her cruel, self-obsessed mother. Cersei talked about this after Myrcella's death.
      Cersei: She was good. From her first breath, she was so sweet. I don't know where she came from. She was nothing like me. No meanness, no jealousy, just good.
    • While Gendry does have a lot of Robert's physical traits, in terms of personality he is almost the exact opposite. Robert was a boisterous irresponsible king who preferred fighting, drinking, and whoring to actually ruling. Gendry is a bastard who is more reserved, practical, and levelheaded and only fights to protect himself and others and doesn't seem to enjoy it. He also thinks things through much more than Robert tended to do.
  • The Munsters. Marilyn's parents are never seen, but she's the dramatic contrast — a "normal" human — to her family of literal Classic Hollywood Monsters.
  • Never Have I Ever: Fabiola's mother is a girly (and heterosexual) woman. She's decidedly neither of those things. That being said, they do get along better than most versions of this sort of contrasted mother/daughter and have a healthier, more loving and open relationship than most children and their parents in the series.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): "Beauty Is In The Eye of the Beholder" has dramatic visual contrast instead, with the main character looking like (to the audience) a normal human while her parents (never seen) and the rest of the world (as depicted by the hospital staff & TV) all look alike.
  • Namond Brice from The Wire doesn't have the stuff to become a gangster like his father Wee-Bey.
    Dennis: "They got the same blood but not the same heart."
  • Luke Cage (2016): Zip, an enforcer in Cottonmouth's gang, gets seen as this by Shades and Turk compared to his father, in the span of a couple episodes.
    • First, it's Turk, criticizing Zip's willingness to work for Diamondback as an errand-boy:
    Turk Barrett: Romeo would roll over in his grave, the way you're hop-skippin' with these cats nowadays. He was a man on these streets. You's just a boy.
    Zip: What the hell are you talking about? You're down here in his [Diamondback's] pocket, same as me.
    Turk Barrett: I'm doing business with him, yes. But I ain't his boy. And I definitely ain't his bitch.
    • After Zip later attempts to kill Shades, and fails, Shades gets hold of a gun and kills Zip's men, before beating a confession out of him:
    Shades: Romeo would be ashamed of you. You're such a disappointment.
    Zip: You're the second person whose told me that today. I'm my own man, Shades!
    Shades: Tell him yourself. [shoots Zip in the head]
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk takes a lot of effort to prove to himself that he's not like his abusive father.
  • Frasier: Martin Crane is a retired cop who loves beer and sports. His two sons Frasier and Niles are both opera-loving, sherry-drinking psychiatrists. Whilst they start the series estranged, by the end of the run all three have a much happier relationship.

    Video Games 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, the son of Bipin the Gasha Seed farmer can grow up to have a completely different job than his father depending on certain player choices. While Bibin's son growing up to be either a warrior or a musician has varying degrees of contrast to his father, it is if he grows up to be a complete "slacker" that he contrasts the most with his hardworking father.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow:
  • The Howe family in the Dragon Age series. Its patriarch in Dragon Age: Origins, Rendon Howe, is a morally bankrupt individual who betrays and slaughters the Cousland family to usurp their holdings, supports Teyrn Loghain's betrayal of the king, then kidnaps and tortures his opponents, cracks down on the Denerim Alienage elves, and even has the freaking Queen imprisoned. In short, while Loghain is a textbook morally ambiguous villain, Howe has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Come Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, we meet his two kids: the oldest son Nathaniel is a chivalrous and honorable individual who spent too little time with his father to recognize his wickedness and thus falsely idolizes him, while the oldest daughter Delilah recognized it long ago and cut all ties to her family, also helping Nathaniel to see the truth once they reunite after many years.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Eggs Benedict in Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location and his father are strongly implied to share similar physical traits...and that's about it. While his father, William Afton is a sociopathic serial killer, Eggs (Michael Afton) just wants to help free the ghostly children from their Animatronic tombs.
  • Canon Foreigner Lucy in Injustice 2 is a pretty typical, well-adjusted little girl, which is quite impressive given that her biological parents are Harley Quinn and the Joker. Harley did arrange for her to be raised by her sister, knowing full well she and "Mistah J" were not parenting material.
  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Huey Emmerich turns out to be one of the most evil, narcissistic characters in the series, while his son Otacon in Metal Gear Solid has certainly made mistakes but is always going out of his way to do the right thing, even when doing so is difficult. Christopher Randolph, voice actor for both Otacon and Huey, has discussed his personal theory that the reason Otacon is such a moral paragon is because he knows about what horrible things his father tried to do, and has made the conscious attempt to reject that part of his personality.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield:
    • The Isle of Armor Downloadable Content has Mustard (and, to an extent, his wife, Honey, as well) and Hyde. Mustard was the Galar region champion in his prime (for 18 years) and is still a formidable trainer even in his current age. Honey, despite not being into Pokemon battles until Mustard suggested for her to try it out, turned out to be quite good at it herself and is also a capable Pokemon battler in her own right. Hyde, their son, is a Child Prodigy who specializes in inventing gadgets and devices instead of Pokemon battles. Given that Pokemon battles are given similar comparisons to real-life spectator sports here, this contrast also makes for an example of Jock Dad, Nerd Son as well.
    • It's "daughter" instead of son in the Crown Tundra Downloadable Content, but the example fits otherwise. Peony goes to the Crown Tundra with his daughter Peonia in the hope of exploring and solving mysteries in the area, but Peonia is only interested in battling in the raid arena within the region instead, and, the moment she spots the playable protagonist, she asks you to join her father in the expeditions in her place (Peony later mentions that she's asked some other trainers to battle him so she could get away from him in the past). As Peony is more excitable and emotional than Peonia, this example also overlaps with Wacky Parent, Serious Child, too.
  • Zig-Zagged in TRON 2.0. Jet is a laid-back Playful Hacker that contrasts greatly with his serious father, Alan, a pioneer of computer security (to the point where their opening conversation has Alan grumbling "You sound like Flynn"). Jet also has a talent for combat and isn't good with thinking ahead, where his father has absolutely zero ability to defend himself, but has a terrifying gift for strategy. The zig-zag kicks in on a meta level; Tron takes after Alan in terms of appearance and personality, but Jet is the one who takes after his "brother" in terms of kicking butt with a disc. It also kicks in when you factor Jet's mother and Alan's not-so-late wife, Lora. Personality-wise, Jet is more Lora's boy than Alan's, which is why Ma3a, Lora's Virtual Ghost, knew he would be willing to help. Jet's job as a video game programmer? Well, it's not the job his parents picked, but it is the function his "sister" Yori had in the first film.
  • Zagreus of Hades is easily identified as Hades's son on sight thanks to their Shared Unusual Traits, people are also note that he's otherwise nothing like his father. He takes this as a compliment.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Mr. Boss oppresses kids and is an enemy of the KND. His daughter Numbah 86 is against adult tyranny and is a member of KND. Despite this, they care for one another partially thanks to Mr. Boss having a Double Standard to his treatment of kids whether or not they are his own.
  • In The Legend of Korra, the Spin-Offspring of the characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender contrast a bit from their parents.
    • Aang in the first series was often a playful happy-go-lucky kid. Aang's son Tenzin is grew up to be a stern mentor figure who's often a stick-in-the-mud. Despite this, Tenzin was considered the favorite of Aang's three children (in part due to being the only Airbender among them) and it's implied they had an extremely close relationship, though in the present Tenzin feels he can barely keep up with Aang's power and fame and has a strained bond with his siblings Kya and Bumi.
    • Toph in the first series was an independent girl snarker who ran away from her strict home which wanted her to follow tradition. Toph's older daughter Lin is a serious Iron Lady who became Da Chief in order to follow in her mother's footsteps as a cop despite Toph's own wishes against such a choice. The contrast is even more highlighted in their actions as police chiefs. Whereas Lin is a strict By-the-Book Cop who only did things not by the book after resigning from her position, Toph abused her position as she immediately covered up for her other daughter Suyin when she got arrested.
    • The Earth King in the first series was a Nice Guy and Friend to All Living Things, but was a Puppet King who was not even aware of the corruption going on in his own kingdom. His daughter on the other hand is a Jerkass dictator who is fully in control of the Secret Police that once controlled her father. Furthermore, she is allergic to animals but has no problem eating Exotic Entrees. Rumor has it that she even ate her father's own pet bear.
  • In Goof Troop and its movie spinoffs, Goofy and Pete have this dynamic with their respective sons:
    • Goofy is a very goofy klutz of a father who isn't very bright. Goofy's son Max is a cool kid who is way smarter and more sensible than his father.
    • Pete is a boisterous loudmouth jerk who lies for a living. Pete's son PJ is a Shrinking Violet Nice Guy who is way more honest than his father.
  • Rarity from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a sophisticated fashionista who can easily fit in with any of the upper class. However, her traits contrasts with both of her parents who can be best described as the run of the mill middle class uncultured gaudy clothes wearing ponies. The contrast between her and her parents is even highlighted by their accents. Rarity has a Mid-Atlantic accent which sounds very cultured and almost British. Her father and mother have accents that are very undeniably American, an exaggerated Midwestern Accent and Joisey accent respectively.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Jake is a fun loving adventurer who lives life without a care in the world. His son Kim Kil Whan is a no nonsense businessman who takes matters very seriously to a point that he can come off as Jerkass even towards his own father. Kim Kil Whan however genuinely loves his father though, he just feels that Jake should be more responsible and get a job (though we're not sure wht Kim's thoughts are on Jake being a hero.)
    • Finn's father Martin is the exact opposite of his son in personality. Instead of being selfless and moral like his son, he is a criminal with truly sociopathic behavior and Lack of Empathy. His appearance is also different, dressed in red and bald, unlike his son, who is dressed in blue and has long hair. The episode "Min and Marty" does show a bit light on his character, showing Martin was nowhere near as bad as we see him now.
  • In My Dad the Rock Star, the eponymous title character Rock Zilla is a Hot-Blooded Rock Star makeup wearing expy of the show's creator Gene Simmons. Rock's son Willy is an average bespectacled kid in looks and a more quiet and intellectual sort of kid. Even as musicians, they have different approaches, with Willy being a trumpet player and his dad loving the guitar.
  • In El Tigre, one of the more prominent elements is a rather pronounced recurring parent child contrast within the Rivera family. The good-aligned members use the Bronze Boots, which give them Super Speed while the villains use the Sombrero of Chaos, a hat that transforms into a mech suit.
    • Puma Loco is a Evil Genius supervillain who primarily uses technology and his Transforming Mecha, through the Sombrero of Chaos. His son White Pantera is a superhero who is a physical fighter who uses the Bronze Boots to aid him. This setup is actually a recurring theme that seems to skip generations. Dark Leopard, the first Rivera supervillain, was a Mayincatec themed villain with abilities similar to Puma Loco. Golden Leon the first Rivera superhero and Dark Leopard's son is a conquistador themed hero with abilities similar to White Pantera. Mighty Cheetar Golden Leon's son is a Steampunk pirate themed villain with abilities similar to Puma Loco. Justice Jaguar Mighty Cheetar's son and Puma Loco's father is a Mexican sheriff themed hero with abilities similar to White Pantera. Despite these differences in alignment, the Rivera family however has a deep familial love and respect for one another.
    • El Tigre himself is also a contrast to his own father with the addition of being also a contrast to his own grandfather. He is a physical fighter who uses mechanical grappling hook-like claws. While he does indulge in villain activity once in a while and abit of a trouble maker, he is at most an Anti-Hero as most of his deeds are on the side of good. Turns out he is a Legacy Character to the first Rivera with superhuman abilities, the original El Tigre (and Dark Leopard's father.) The only difference though is that the original El Tigre has a Split Personality and talks to himself having gone mad from whether to become a hero or villain. He's also much more powerful than either of his descendents with the implications Manny will grow just as strong when fully grown.
    • Outside of the Rivera family there is Frida Suarez. Frida is a troublemaker who in more than one occasion is the one who encourages Manny to partake in more bad acts. Frida's father is the ever strict no nonsense law-abiding Chief of Police of Miracle City and Frida's mother from what little was shown of her, pretty much shares her husband's police viewpoints. Despite the contrast, hurting Frida is enough to set at least her father's Berserk Button off.
    • This continues in the future according to Word of God; Manny and Frida marry and end up having triplets. with one becoming Good, one Evil and the other Undecisive. Furthermore, Word of God confirmed Manny would choose a side and Nick let the viewers pick, the final episode implies he picked Good.
  • Stan Smith from American Dad! is an extremely patriotic Republican CIA agent who advocates things such as the legalization of guns. Stan's daughter Hayley is a Granola Girl whose political views completely contrast those of her father, such as being against guns. Despite the contrasting views, the two actually care for each even if they don't show it often. Stan in particular doesn't like people calling Hayley a whore.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are Cranky Neighbors who are often very serious and grumpy in demeanor. Their son Rocky in contrast is a Nice Guy with a rocker-like personality. Furthering the contrast is that Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are gray colored "human" Muppets while Rocky is a brightly colored furry "monster" Muppet. Though they have their differences as shown in "The Boss" episode what with Rocky not having a high paying business oriented job, they do care for one another despite Mr. Robinson's personal reservations on the matter.
    • Jamie is a Barbaric Bully that beats up her classmates a lot, and likes seeing them suffer. In the only two appearances of her father, however, he was shown to be a nice man who loves his family and helps people in danger.
  • In The Proud Family Coach Collins is a stereotypically hardline and masculine guy. His son Michael is effeminate, small and interested in fashion (to the point of being Ambiguously Gay).
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Jimmy is an an adventurous boy genius. His dad, Hugh, is a rather dull-witted pie and duck enthusiast and his mom plays up a stereotypical house wife image. However, Judy Neutron is much smarter than she lets on and it's revealed that the super-intelligence actually runs in his dad's family, as revealed in the family reunion (unfortunately, the only other super-genius was his baby cousin who is also evil.)
  • Dexter's Laboratory
    • Dexter and Dee Dee's parents are average and ordinary. Dee Dee is a happy go lucky ballerina, kind of taking after her mother, who also walks on her toes. Dexter is a secretive, sneering Mad Scientist boy genius — with a pronounced German-type accent, yet (which no one else in his family has).
    • Mandark's parents are flower children. Mandark himself is a brooding, plotting Mad Scientist Evil Genius rival to Dexter. His sister Olga, who was introduced seasons before their parents were but pretty much forgotten after her debut episode, also qualifies as well as she shares more traits with Mandark rather than their parents, though she's more of a ballerina than a Mad Scientist.
  • In Danny Phantom, Sam Manson is an ultra-recyclo-vegetarian goth, who hates anything not black, and cultivates her gloomy persona. Her parents are super cheerful. Apparently this continues more when we meet her grandmother (implied to be paternal) who was much like Sam in her youth. It's implied that her grandfather's wealth were the reason why Mr. and Mrs. Manson turned out the way they were.
  • In Evil Con Carne, Hector Con Carne the Villain Protagonist of the series is an evil crime lord reduced to an anthropomorphic Brain in a Jar bent on taking over the world. Hector's son from the future Destructicus Con Carne whom Hector somehow conceived with his Mad Scientist minion Major Dr. Ghastly (it's complicated) is completely different in alignment to him. The muscular non-Brain in a Jar Destructicus decides to become a superhero who fights against the forces of evil such as his parent's organization. Destructicus however still loves his parents, though only Ghastly, both her present and older self, and Hector's older self returns their son's affections (again it's complicated).
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Wendy Corduroy is a cool, mischievous and pretty chilly lumberjane, compared to the hypermasculine intense and driven Manly Dan. Her brothers take more after their dad, though they're not as intense. The episode "Society of the Blindeye" has Wendy confess her cool nature is a coping mechanism to the chaotic nature of her family who drive her nuts.
    • Robbie, Wendy's ex, is a brooding goth boy. His parents are super cheerful and pleasant people who also happen to be in charge of a funeral home. Robbie himself lampshades the contrast as well as how he finds it weird his parents' chipper demeanor despite running the funeral home (pictures of him younger show him as a Cheerful Child though a time travel bit shows him he was kinda a jerk then.)
  • Kick Buttowski: The Buttowski family has three kids, with variations on the trope.
    • Eldest son Brad is a slacker who is very mischiveous and a trouble maker. His dad is a straight arrow car salesman.
    • Baby child Brianna is a stuck up pageant kid. Her mom is not quite a pageant mom, more average.
    • Kick is the middle kid, and is a stunts-obsessed daredevil with Hidden Depths. He has this in common with his mother, who is a retired daredevil. She tends to treat him like a baby now, though, and often has panic attacks at the danger Kick exposes himself to.
    • Kick's grandfather is old, slow, and grumpy, but he, being the father of Kick's mother, is also a retired daredevil, to the point that he looked and behaved almost exactly like Kick at that age.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Star, the main character, is upbeat and energetic to the point of being almost hyper. Her parents are stodgy, deadpan, and display a tiny bit of strictness. Eventually we find out Star's father is boisterous and adventurous like she is when out of the public eye, so it's just her mother that Star contrasts with. We eventually see Moon was more like Star when she was younger, but Moon was forced to grow up much faster when Toffee killed her mother, Comet Butterfly and thus became a queen much faster.
    • Marco, despite his protestations to the contrary, is a very safe person, to the point he is almost doing it unconsciously. His parents, however, are free spirits who embrace new experiences even if they are dangerous. Marco is trying to change out of his safe nature (and going to increasingly reckless lengths to do so.)
    • Solaria and Eclipsa are a much more extreme contrast. Eclipsa is a Lady of Black Magic who fell in love with a monster and abandoned her kingdom to marry him. Her mother Solaria was Mina Loveberry's mentor, and a militant swordswoman who took Van Helsing Hate Crimes to genocidal levels. Their names and motifs are literally night and day.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Jenny and Kiki's father, Kofi, is hot-tempered, stern, neutoric, and bossy. His mother Nanefua is a laid-back wise-cracker, while his daughters are fun-loving average teenage girls, though Jenny is more The Slacker while Kiki is dutiful.
    • Sour Cream is a mellow, laid back, extremely nice guy. In other words, the exact opposite of Marty, Greg's old manager and Sour Cream's complete jerk of a biological father.
    • Sadie and her mother Barb are both kind people, but while Sadie is gentle and a bit withdrawn, Barb is very overbearing toward Sadie and basically everyone else. That seems to be why Sadie acts the way she does.
    • White Diamond, Blue Diamond, and Yellow Diamond are all tyrannical Evil Overlords. Pink Diamond, who is The Baby of the Bunch of the Diamonds, is typically at her worst Innocently Insensitive and The High Queen of the Earth colony.
    • Mayor Dewey is a neurotic politician obsessed with his public image. His son Buck is a Mellow Fellow with something of a disdain for convention.
    • Greg is a very emotionally-supportive Open-Minded Parent who raised Steven with the Crystal Gems in very unconventional ways (like informally homeschooling him) and was pretty disorganized for most of his life. Late in Steven Universe: Future, we see Greg's parents were very conservative Control Freaks, albeit good providers, who he cut ties with in adulthood. Much like Sadie and Pink Diamond, there's a heavy implication Greg was overcompensating for the way his parents treated him—which backfires when Steven himself rebels, telling his father that Greg was the one with the better childhood.
  • King of the Hill: Hank Hill is a hard working man with a love of football and a dislike of anything out of the norm for him. His son Bobby is a goofball who has no desire for sports and is always interested in something new and unique.
  • Teacher's Pet: The Helperman family consists only mother and son. Leonard is shy, bashful, well-meaning and introverted while Mary-Lou is excitable, dynamic, perky and extroverted.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Like Parent Unlike Child, Like Mother Unlike Daughter


Mr. Whistler

Chip is obviously nothing like his father, a kind and noble wise man who's nice to others, and scolds him for his hatred of the Greens and nearly destroying their farm.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / LikeFatherUnlikeSon

Media sources:

Main / LikeFatherUnlikeSon