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Meet the In-Laws

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"A few months ago, [my girlfriend] was like 'Okay, it's going well, so, now, uh, I should meet your parents'. 'Cause that's what people do, when a relationship is going well. They meet each other's parents. And I've never understood that. I've never been with my girlfriend and thought like, 'Oh, honey. Tonight is going great. But do you know what would make it perfect? CHARLES and ELLEN MULANEY!'"
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A tense moment in any relationship is the moment of meeting your future in laws, or introducing your love interest to your parents for the first time as the opinions of parents are powerful things. In many cultures, this is obligatory as a form of knowing and being close to each other's families. Everyone wants to make a good first impression in the face of possible disapproval and for this reason can be played for laughs or drama. See also: Meeting-the-Parents Sequel

Related tropes: Obnoxious In-Laws, Love-Obstructing Parents, Dating What Daddy Hates. May result in If You Ever Hurt Her.


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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • We get a flashback in chapter 7 of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying to when Hajime met Kaoru's father. It went surprisingly well despite Hajime being a hardcore otaku, although Kaoru get's a Thousand-Yard Stare when she remembers it due to how embarrassing it was for her.
  • Haru met Tsurezure's mother and older sister in chapter 30 of Ojojojo (although she was actually there to tutor him). She had talked to his older sister on the phone beforehand but they had assumed it was a prank call. Played for Laughs when Haru's father asks to meet Tsurezure, even though they already met before the Relationship Upgrade.
  • Space Patrol Luluco: Keiji tells Luluco that she still has to do this in order to give her the motivation to find Nova following his Heroic Sacrifice.
    Keiji: You're supposed to introduce your boyfriend to your dad, right?
  • Summer Wars starts off with Natsuki bringing Kenji to meet her family. Although it's something of a variation because it's her extended family rather than her parents and they're not actually dating.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust:
    • It's mentioned in the passing in chapter 9 that Hikari was finally introducing Touji to her family. She probably would have done it sooner but she had been under quarantine ever since Shinji and Asuka got her out of Unit-03.
    • In a slightly less conventional example, Asuka and Shinji both meet each other's mothers during a cross-synch test in Chapter 10. Despite Kyoko's mental instability and Asuka viciously calling out Yui for all the crap she put Shinji through, it goes rather well.
  • In the sequel of The Child of Love, Asuka talked Shinji into meeting her parents while they were talking about their future wedding. Shinji wasn't really keen on it (her parents had abused her as much as his father abused him), but she convinced him.
  • A Crown of Stars: After Daniel brought them and their families to the Second Chances shelter, Hikari and Misato took advantage of the moment to introduce their respective significant others to their parents.
  • Danny and Kara:
    • Chapter 8 has Kara meeting Jack and Maddie, appropriately titled "Kara meets the Fentons".
    • Chapter 10 has Danny going to Metropolis to meet the Kents, appropriately titled "Ghost Boy Meets The Man Of Steel Part 1".
  • Chapter 6 of Dating A Team Magma Grunt has the titular Magma Grunt meeting Brendan's parents (it was entirely unplanned, Norman just happened to be passing by when the two of them were on a date and invited her over for dinner). Despite the very obvious age gap, his parents approve.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl sets up a meeting between her adoptive parents and her new boyfriend, although Dev-Em isn't keen on meeting people who -he thinks- will want to murder him for daring to touch their little girl. The meeting is awkward, and Kara's adoptive parents don't like their daughter's suitor at all, but they'll put up with him for her sake.
    Kara: I'd like you to meet Mom and Dad.
    Dev-Em: Oh, capital. 'Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Zor-El, I'm the man who's boffing your daughter.' 'Good of you, Mr. Em. It's about time somebody did.'
  • It's mentioned in passing in I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again! that it was a lot less awkward and confusing the second time that Sakura introduced her teammate-turned-enemy-turned-teammate-turned-boyfriend-turned-husband-turned-teammate-turned-boyfriend Sasuke to her parents.
  • MGLN Crisis ends with Nanoha introducing her parents to her boyfriend, girlfriend, and daughter (although they already know the former two). Poor Momoko faints from shock.
  • One Year has four examples- two for Yu and Yukiko, and two for Kanji and Naoto.
    • At the end of July, Yu meets Yukiko's parents, who'd known about his relationship with her for some time, even though Yukiko only recently told them about it. While Yukiko is somewhat nervous, the Amagis strongly approve of Yu, even if they conclude that it's too soon for him to tie the knot.
    • In September, Naoto meets Kanji's mother. The meeting largely goes well, although Kanji's mother ends up asking Naoto some difficult questions about her future plans.
    • In November, Kanji meets Naoto's grandfather. While the elder Shirogane quickly realizes that Kanji isn't detective material, and Kanji isn't looking forward to asking him for Naoto's hand in marriage, he concedes that the outcome was a good one.
    • On Christmas Eve, Yukiko meets Yu's parents. This meeting is the most difficult of the four, since Yu's parents believe in him putting his education first and making whatever sacrifices are necessary for a better future- even his relationship with Yukiko, if necessary. After the meeting ends, they still hold this belief, but despite that, they come to like Yukiko.
  • In chapter 7 of The Second Try, Shinji got to talk to his wife's stepmother for first time.
  • The Wrong Reflection's first chapter has Eleya introduce her operations officer-slash-boyfriend Gaarra to her family while attending her sister's wedding. Her parents are mildly annoyed that Eleya isn't planning to marry Gaarra anytime soon (it's because they're already in violation of fraternization rules as a commanding officer loving one of her senior staff).
  • In the 'Discworld, the essentially gentle and unworldly Wizard Ponder Stibbons is allowed a girlfriend. She's an Assassin and is a product of a border country in Howondaland where there are occassional disagreements with the neighbours over the figurative garden fence. He discovers her family fit the picture of the Amoral Afrikaner, taken Up to Eleven as a courtesy detail. His first encounter with Papa Wolf and Mama Bear is even more terrifying than the border war he has just, unwillingly, been drawn into at her side. Ponder adapts, and realises his in-laws are actually quite well disposed towards him. The alternative, he realises, would be unspeakable. Read more in the works of A.A. Pessimal.

    Film — Animated 
  • Shrek 2 is about Shrek meeting Fiona's parents who aren't very happy about their daughter marrying an ogre. Her mother tries to accept it but her father is less than open minded, he also secretly promised the Fairy Godmother Fiona would marry her son Prince Charming to repay her for making him human.
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    Film — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Parodied. Thanos the Mad Titan is a galactic conqueror and his "children" are kidnapped members of species he has culled. When Thanos is in the process of capturing his favorite daughter, Gamora, he meets Peter Quill, and treats it like a perfectly ordinary Meet the In-Laws situation.
    Thanos: Ah. The boyfriend.
    Quill: I like to think of myself as a Titan-killing, long-term booty call.
  • Much like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Get Out is about a white woman bringing her black boyfriend to her white parents and all of the awkwardness involved. It then gets much more horrifying.
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: A white woman brings home her black fiance to meet her parents. His parents later show up as well. The film came out in 1967 when it was a very controversial subject.
    • The races are flipped in the Guess Who remake, with a black woman bringing her white fiance to meet her parents.
  • Midway through Mr Baseball, Jack Elliot's Japanese girlfriend Hiroko takes him to dinner with her parents. In a twist on the Introduction by Hookup, Hiroko's father turns out to be Uchiyama, Jack's team manager. Jack and Uchiyama both realize they've been set up.
  • A major subplot of Thor: The Dark World is Jane Foster of Earth meeting Thor's parents, Odin and Frigga of Asgard. It's only slightly complicated by the fact that Asgardians are gods of Norse Mythology and that any relationship Thor and Jane could have is a Mayfly–December Romance; the real problem is why he brought her to Asgard in the first place.
    Odin: She does not belong here in Asgard any more than a goat belongs at a banquet table!
    Jane Foster: Did he just...? [outraged] Who do you think you are?
    Odin: I am Odin. King of Asgard. Protector of the Nine Realms.
    Jane Foster: [chastened] Oh. Well I'm...
    Odin: I know very well who you are, Jane Foster.
    Jane Foster: [to Thor] You told your dad about me?
  • In Beau Jest, a young Jewish woman is dating a gentile man. She told her parents, who dislike him, that she would break up with him. So when her parents finally convince her to bring her new boyfriend to a family dinner, she hires an actor to play the role of her boyfriend. The problem? He isn't Jewish either, even though his name is Bob Schroeder. So the guy has to pretend to be Jewish, even though his only experience with Judaism was playing a role in a production of Fiddler on the Roof. In the end, though, after everything is revealed, it turns out her parents never had a problem with her dating gentiles. It was just that her previous boyfriend reminded them of a cousin they didn't like. Naturally, she ends up breaking off her relationship and starting to date Bob for real, and he even seriously considers converting, having grown to like Jewish culture.
  • Meet the Parents. The first movie is about Greg Focker meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time and trying to make a good enough impression to get their blessing to propose to her. The sequel, Meet The Fockers, flips things around to show Pam and her parents meeting Greg's Bourgeois Bohemian parents.

    Literature 
  • Cut And Run: Despite being a thriller/mystery series half the time, this is essentially the plot to Stars & Stripes. While Zane meets Ty's family in book 2 of the series, book 6 is where Ty's grandfather inadvertently outs them as a couple and Ty's mother welcomes Zane into the family. Zane initially visits his estranged parents while his father is recovering from an injury, but Ty comes along later and starts off this plot with Zane's parents. They aren't planning to have it be this at first, but after Zane comes out to his father the rest of the book shows how his family, their ranch hands, and the locals react to Ty being there.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In X-Wing: The Bacta War, Corran Horn is introduced to girlfriend Mirax Terrik's father Booster when they inadvertently run into each other on Tatooine while the Rogues are trying to get supplies to go to war with Ysanne Isard. Booster is understandably furious that his daughter is dating the son of the man who once put him in prison (he later accepts them getting married but never really warms up to Corran).
  • Vorkosigan Saga: The first half of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is largely about Tej meeting Ivan's family, starting with disreputable cousin Byerly and ending with Ivan's stepbrother, Emperor Gregor. The second half is largely about Ivan meeting Tej's family, after they turn out not to be dead after all.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Gilmore Girls has Rory taking Dean to Friday night dinner to meet her grandparents. However, things start going downhill when Richard starts pumping him about his grades and college plans.
  • In Friends, Phoebe meets her boyfriend Mike's parents for the first time and initially acts very posh around them to impress them. After Mike encourages her to be herself, she horrifies them with stories how she spent her teenage years living on the streets after her stepfather went to prison and her mother killed herself.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • Leslie hosts a party to celebrate her and Ben getting engaged. Things go swimmingly at first... until Ben's divorced parents (plus his dad's new wife, who also happens to be the mother of his future half-brother) show up. Things get tense at many points throughout the episode, forcing the duo to put their foot down and demand that they put their differences aside until the wedding is over. Later in that series, the duo just decide to get married spontaneously, citing the absence of their parents as a plus.
    • This happens when Andy meets April's parents at their wedding, although things go surprisingly well and the drama's more or less non-existent.
  • A season two episode of How I Met Your Mother has Robin (who is currently dating Ted) meeting Ted's parents. Ted warns her that his mother always pesters his other girlfriends on when they plan on having children. However, Ted's mother instead encourages her to pursue her career, leading Robin to assume she does not like her. It turns out that Ted's mother simply doesn't want Robin to make the mistake of marrying too young as she did with Ted's father, who Ted doesn't know she recently divorced from.
  • Subverted in the finale of Sense8. When Mun tells Diego that Sun brought him to meet her family, Diego responds that it must be getting serious between them. Since Sun's only remaining family is her treacherous brother in prison, Mun is referring to her beloved dog.
  • Soap: Danny brings home his fiancees to meet his parents twice; both times it goes badly. The first time he's engaged to The Don's bratty daughter and they hate each other. The second time she's black (Danny and his parents are white) and much tension ensues. When her parents come over to meet the Campbells, the mothers agree that it's a horrible idea for the two of them to get married, and ultimately Polly (the fiancee in question) breaks it off with Danny.

     Theatre 
  • The premise of Beau Jest is that Sarah's family is pressuring her to introduce them to the nice Jewish doctor she's dating. Except that he's fictional, so she hires an actor to portray him. Hilarity Ensues.

    Webcomics 
  • There was a story arc in Sandra and Woo where Larisa went over to dinner at Landon's place for the first time. Landon's religious mother was convinced that she was either a witch or a succubus destined to give birth to the Anti-Christ. On the other hand, his father got along with her perfectly. Fortunately, his mother isn't an issue anymore since they got divorced and the father has custody.

    Western Animation 


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