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"As far as I know, Peter Parker doesn't even have a mother; he was merely created spontaneously when Aunt May and Uncle Ben came down with nephewism, a common affliction in fictional characters."
The Comics Curmudgeonnote 

So Bob's parents aren't around. What happened to them? You tell me. What happens to Bob? He lives with his aunt and/or uncle, of course. Sometimes a cousin or two will be thrown into the mix. This trope, nephewism (coined by Josh Fruhlinger of The Comics Curmudgeon) usually occurs when a character's parents are completely absent (as in, not part of the story in any way), missing, secretly the Big Bad, or established as dead.

It's an easy way to graft characters to an already-existing dramatic family, and to give your old characters (and hence the viewers) an emotional attachment to them. The advantage for the writer might be that one's expected to be more distant from aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews than it is from parents and children. It also lets them avoid having to depict a youthful protagonist with secrets as constantly lying to their actual parents about what they've been doing on the sly.

If it's a sitcom, expect the new addition to be a Cousin Oliver. If it's used in a soap-opera setting, expect the niece or nephew to be a Troubled, but Cute teen, who can stir things up without breaking any existing characterizations. If it's an adventure story, expect the aunt/uncle to be keeping secrets about the parents, or who/what their niece/nephew really is. Also expect them to die fairly early on in the story to get the hero motivated.

And speaking of adventure stories, if Bob has special powers to be used in his upcoming adventure, then his aunt and/or uncle may also be his Muggle Foster Parents.

This trope can also be used in reverse, to apply to a person besieged with nieces and nephews in their life. In these cases, it is often used to allow plots in which canonically single characters fulfill a parental role without significantly changing their character. Strangely enough, nephews in these situations often look and act like clones of their uncles, in defiance of everything we know about heredity.

A frequent useful side-effect of Nephewism in comedic series is that said Nephew can vanish back into Unseen Nephewspace without explanation when the presence of a child is no longer needed, or becomes otherwise undesirable (say, an episode about the protagonist going on a "Hot Date", or going on an adventure without them).

The non-animated cousin of Chaste Toons. Compare Raised by Grandparents (same trope but with a different relative) and Promotion to Parent (which is where an older sibling acts as a parental figure to their younger sibling).

Not to be confused with Nepotism.note 


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  • From about the early-1980s until 2015/2016, Froot Loops mascot Toucan Sam had three nephews by his side, who at first made only two appearances in the 1980s, but became regular recurring characters starting in 1994. The nephews were dropped in 2016 when Froot Loops instead shifted to the short-lived 'Whatever Froots Your Loops!' ad campaign which lasted for three years with Toucan Sam only appearing in them, usually with a new batch of characters. As of 2021, following Toucan Sam's permanent redesign for the USA and Canada, the nephews have never been seen again since.
  • When Puffin Books launched the Junior Puffin Book Club for readers who were still on Young Puffins and Picture Puffins, the mascot, a puffin chick named Smudge, was said to be the nephew of Fat Puffin, mascot of the established Puffin Book Club for slightly older readers.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Aishiteruze Baby, Yuzuyu, whom the protagonist Kippei is saddled with raising, is technically his cousin, but given that her mother, Kippei's aunt, is basically the same age as his older sister, it's more of this trope.
  • Played with in Bokurano. Daichi and his siblings' paternal uncle serve as a Parental Substitute and helps them out while their father's missing, but Daichi and his siblings don't actually live with their uncle, since Daichi wants to ensure his father has a home to return to.
  • Charlotte: After Yuu and Ayumi's parents got divorced, their mother left them in the care of their uncle then disappeared from their lives.
  • Gon from Hunter × Hunter was raised by his father's cousin (whom he calls his aunt) after his father Ging left him to become a Hunter. Until Ging's apprentice Kite told Gon about Ging, Gon thought his parents died in an accident.
  • In I Want Your Mother To Be With Me!, Ryo's older brother and his wife go overseas for work and leave their preschool-aged daughter Haruka in her grandparents' care, and Ryo's, since he just moved back in with his parents. Ryo becomes much better with children, and Haruka becomes best friends with Asahi, his love interest's son, giving him more chances to spend time together with her. Interestingly enough, this becomes a case of nephewism that eventually ends; in chapter 29, both of Haruka's parents are so tired of having to work without getting to see their daughter that they decide to find jobs in the same town that Ryo and his parents live in.
  • The Littl' Bits, Lillibit lives with her uncle Dr. Snoozebit.
  • In Please Teacher!, protagonist Kei Kusanagi lives with his uncle and aunt. He’s estranged from his parents.note 
  • In Saki, after Koromo's parents died, she lived with her aunt and uncle, as well as her cousin Touka.
  • Majiru Itoshiki, an Adorably Precocious Child/Mouthy Kid is the nephew of the protagonist of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Majiru was abandoned by his father and so decided to crash at his uncle's place.

    Comic Books 
  • In the very early Batman comics, Bruce was raised by his aunt and uncle after the death of his parents. (At the time Alfred was not the Wayne family's Old Retainer, he only signed on as Bruce's butler after he became an adult.) Then they decided to Retcon that and had Alfred act as Bruce's surrogate father after the death of his parents. His aunt and uncle were pretty much wiped from existence.
    • The New 52 reintroduces Uncle Philip and Aunt Agatha. Curiously, though, they're now relations of Bruce's mother, not his father, and, more pertinently, Philip is more of an Evil Uncle (or at least a highly shady executive in his brother-in-law's company, whom Bruce does not seem to think very highly of).
    • Bruce DOES have another maternal uncle in Jacob Kane, father of his cousin Kate Kane (who's Batwoman), but the two rarely interact and aren't implied to have ever been close at all.
  • One of the most-cited aversions is from The Dandy's sister comic The Beano, where Dennis the Menace's dog Gnasher is the father of his sidekick Gnipper.
  • Subverted in ClanDestine. Aspiring superheroes Rory and Pandora Destine were raised by their Uncle Walter and grandmother Florence... who turn out to actually be their (much) older siblings posing as their uncle and grandmother. Until Walter explained what was really going on, they sure looked like an instance of this trope...
  • In Condorito, Condorito has his Nephew named Coné. Coné was actually a Doorstop Baby but why he is called a Nephew is never known, they seem to live together, but in some instances is clear that Condorito lives alone. Also Yayita's niece Yuyito. Yuyito's parents are never talked about.
  • Desperate Dan from The Dandy lives with his Aunt Aggie. Colonel Blink from The Beezer and Our Man from The Numskulls (also from The Beezer) also live with their aunts.
    • Korky the Cat is often seen with his three nephews.
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics:
    • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe Scrooge McDuck is uncle to Donald Duck, who is uncle to Huey, Dewey, & Louie. Not a parent among 'em. Scrooge's sister Hortense and husband Quackmore Duck are eventually revealed to be the parents of Donald and Della Duck, the mother of Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They were first depicted long after the other characters were, and, in any case, are obscure enough to have made no appearances outside of Disney Comics.
    • Huey, Dewey, and Louie are a particularly odd case in that, in their first appearance in 1938, their parents were mentioned and they were explicitly just visiting. They never left, and by 1942 Donald was shown onscreen listing them as dependents on his tax forms. Some German Donald Duck fans have even come up with a theory that in Duckburg it is simply the done thing to have children raised by their uncles (or aunts) instead of their parents, and coined the technical term Veronkelung ("uncling") for it. It certainly runs in the family — although Scrooge's parents didn't die until he was an adult, Carl Barks, Keno Don Rosa, and DuckTales (1987) all depict Scrooge leaving Scotland for America at age 13, spending his teenage years being raised, employed, and trained by his own uncle!
    • Donald himself, on the rare occasion a story dives into his childhood, is often depicted as being raised by Scrooge during his teenage years (with his Grandmother Elvira babysitting him often when he was even younger). The reason why he (and his sister, for that matter) ended up with Scrooge has never been explained, but most fans assume their parents died by the time he's an adolescent (if not even earlier), due to references to them slowly trickling away into nothing point by that point in the timeline.
    • In the Brazilian comics, Fethry Duck (Peninha, Portuguese for "small feather") has his nephew Dugan Duck (Biquinho, Portuguese for "small beak") and José Carioca has two nephews: Zico and Zeca.
    • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: Much like with Donald (see above) it is established in Italian Disney comics, that Mickey was raised by his aunt Melinda. Much like with Donald, why is aunt had to take care of him was never revealed. Mickey's parents are never shown or mentioned.
    • It's a trend — Disney prefers niblings to children. Mickey Mouse has two nephews, Morty and Ferdie, Minnie Mouse has two nieces, Millie and Melody, and even Pete has two nephews, Pierino and Pieretto. Daisy Duck meanwhile has three nieces, named April, May, and June. Goofy has an Insufferable Genius nephew named Gilbertnote . In the comics, Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, Fethry Duck and Gus Goose also have a nephew each. The Beagle Boys have both a set of three nephews and three nieces, while the Phantom Blot has only three nephews. Magica De Spell has various nieces, Depending on the Writer.
  • In The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat has a trio of nephews he's raising.
  • Benjamin Grimm a.k.a. the Thing was raised by his Uncle Jacob. It was often implied that he was also raised by Jacob's wife, Ben's Aunt Petunia, until a 1980s John Byrne story revealed that Petunia was an attractive brunette, much younger than her husband, and about Ben's age.
  • Due to Parental Neglect, The Flash Wally West considers his aunt Iris West and his uncle by marriage Barry Allen as his parents more than his biological ones.
  • Played with in the Marvel 100th Anniversary Special issue of Guardians of the Galaxy: in this possible future, Rocket Raccoon is accompanied by his "nephews" Uno, Duo, and Trey ... except they keep slipping up and calling him "Dad".
  • The Incredible Hulk: The only known relative of Rick Jones is his aunt. Also, although she is rarely brought up, a few stories and adaptations mention Bruce being partially raised by his aunt after his father kills his mother (and eventually gets arrested for it.)
  • Inverted by Little Dot, who had such a severe case of Aunt/Uncleism that there was a long-running comic series dedicated to them. (Dot lived with her parents, she just had a lot of uncles and aunts, most of whom had an eccentricity of their own mirroring Dot's obsession with dots.)
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In all the various continuities, Sabrina lives with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda. In the original comics, they were her Honorary Aunts who created her themselves by magic. In the popular TV sitcom and comics that followed it, however, they were retconned into her actual paternal aunts, whom she lives with because her father lives in a book and her mother will turn into a ball of wax if she sees her. In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, her mother was put into an asylum after she tried to run off with her infant, and thus Sabrina was raised by her paternal aunts.
  • The Smurfs: Like Donald Duck, Gargamel has three similar-looking nephews. They are not evil though.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Sir Charles Hedgehog is better known as Uncle Chuck, erstwhile guardian of Sonic the Hedgehog, famous inventor, and purveyor of the finest chili dogs on the planet Mobius. Early on in the comic, it's just accepted as fact that Sonic's parents were casualties of Dr. Robotnik's enslavement program the same as everyone else's parents, and Chuck was for whatever reason the important relative. Later on, it explains that Chuck is, in fact, the reason he has Nephewism in the first place; when he was forced to test his roboticizer on his gravely injured brother, he discovered that the machines his patients turned into had no will of their own (which made it rather unviable in its intended purpose of extending the lives of the injured and infirm). This sent him spiraling into depression and he abandoned the project, allowing Robotnik to swoop in and steal it for his takeover scheme.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Peter Parker has Aunt May and Uncle Ben; in almost all versions, they're his main role models for as long as he can remember.
    • In the comics his parents turned out to have been S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were killed by the second Red Skull. In the Ultimate universe, they were geneticists killed when Eddie Brock Sr. experimented on himself with the anti-cancer Symbiote the Parkers and Brocks created, becoming the first Venom and crashing the plane they were on. The 1990s animated series had Peter Parker's parents being spies, who were actually not dead (as per the full effect of Never Say "Die" that hit the show), but in Russia.
    • The trope also kind of applies to Mary Jane Watson, who for the first two decades of her fictional existence only had her Aunt Anna as a relative. It was then revealed that her mother is dead and that she was very much estranged from her abusive father. (The 1987 wedding ceremony by the way was performed by MJ's Uncle Spencer.)
  • Parodied in Svenska Serier (a Swedish comic anthology from the '80s and '90s) with Sven, an employed comic character whose schtick was that his employers/creators were constantly trying to make him more popular and marketable with anything they could think up. During a brief 2000 AD-themed story trying to use sex, violence, and sci-fi to boost ratings, it was revealed that Sven literally had no genitals, only a metal seal with a tag labeled "prepared for nephews". (And later the same seal was broken through unspecified means, and three nephews started living in his house. None of which he even knew, since he didn't even have any siblings or family.)
  • This occurs in Werewolf by Night: Jack's mother remarried her late husband's brother, meaning he is his children's stepfather as well as uncle.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Golden Age Holliday Girl member Ursula Keating was raised in seclusion by her reclusive spinster aunt. It is hinted that her "aunt" is actually her mother who had Ursula out of wedlock with John Hunter before Hunter fled into the criminal underworld and started using the name Lon Logix.

    Comic Strips 
  • Zipper Harris in Doonesbury matriculated to Walden College to fill the empty niche left by the graduation of his uncle, Zonker Harris.
  • Played with in Luann. Brad and Toni aren't technically Shannon's legal guardians, as she still has a father. But he's always off doing his own thing (and hasn't even appeared in the strip in years) and she is always staying with them, to the point where if they want to do anything as a couple they first need to find a sitter for Shannon. It's Nephewism in practice, just not in name.
  • Nancy: Nancy Ritz lives with her aunt, Fritzi Ritz, who was originally the lead character until Nancy came along. While it's never explained what happened to Nancy's parents (one of whom must be the sibling of Fritzi, as Nancy's aunt is confirmed to have never married), Nancy is confirmed to be an orphan. Nancy has been mentioned and shown to have other relatives outside of Fritzi (like other aunts as well as her grandparents and various uncles and cousins).
    • Sluggo's confirmed to be an orphan like Nancy is, and he technically lives with two uncles—but Sluggo's uncles work as truckers and are on the road a lot, so Sluggo (for the most part) lives by himself (but also spends a lot of time at Nancy's house, and Fritzi serves as a surrogate aunt/mother to Sluggo). In the Gilchrist-run, Sluggo's uncles are revealed to be a pair of Honorary Uncles who took him in shortly after arriving in Three Rocks (Nancy's hometown).
  • Shoe: Prof. Cosmo Fishhawk is shown raising his nephew Skyler, whose parents have never been mentioned.
  • Jughaid in Snuffy Smith lives with the "Smifs", his aunt and uncle, and no further backstory is present as part of the narrative.

    Fan Works 
  • In Batteries, Satsuki decides to take in Ryuuko's daughter, Hoshi (or, as the former wanted to call her, "Esther") because the hospital wouldn't let the latter have her back. In a fic before this one, Concerning a Drifter, she had this role, with Ryuuko residing in a mental home.
    • In another fanfic by the same author, Secret Sunshine, though not initially of her own choosing, Ryuuko ends up raising her niece, Kiko, after Satsuki gets pregnant and gives birth in secret before sending the latter and Kiko away.
  • Blind Courage: Zelda was raised by Impa, who is actually her first cousin once removed but is functionally her aunt.
  • Earth-27:
    • After the deaths of his parents and grandparents, Eddie Bloomberg came to the care of his aunt Marlene Bloomberg. And after Marlene's tragic death he passed to the custody of his aunt-by-marriage Danielle Cassidy/Blue Devil.
    • John Constantine became the legal guardian and mentor of his nephew Stanley Dover Jr. and niece Gemma Masters after they both lost their parents on different circumstances.
    • Lucifer Morningstar is taking care of his niece Elaine Belloc since her mother is dead and her father Michael is... let's say complicated.
    • Wolfgang Bogdanow passed to the custody of his aunt Tashana Bogdanow and uncle Werner Zytle/King Vertigo after the death of his father.
  • In the second arc of the Elemental Chess Trilogy, Roy and Riza are very startled to learn that one of their men is the first cousin once removed of their late friend Maes Hughes. He grew up calling him "Uncle Maes," making him more of an Honorary Uncle, but it still fits.
  • The Modern AU Fic Excalibaby has Arturia Pendragon stuck with this trope when her brother Arthur dumps his daughter Mordred into her care without a prior warning.
  • In The Fifth Act, Cloud Strife poses as an uncle to the younger Cloud Strife of the timeline to explain away the name and the resemblance.
  • In Savu0211's The First King, Amara was raised by her aunt after her mother was killed by a male lion.
  • In the Jem fic Fresh Blood, Roxy has abandonment issues because her parents left her with her neglectful and verbally abusive aunt and uncle as an infant. Roxy ended up running away as a teenager. Roxy's Story takes place in the same continuity and reveals that Roxy's father was involved in her mother's murder, which is why Roxy was sent with relatives.
  • In If Them's the Rules, Harry invokes this to explain why he took Tom Riddle as his ward. He says that he is a distant uncle of Tom's to explain why a man barely out of his teens is raising a kid by himself.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball fanfic Kedabory's Elmore Chronicles, Mx. Small is raising their niece Sophie after she left Canada to live with them instead of her strict parents.
  • In the Teen Titans Our Own League series, Jackson/Aqualad was raised by his Aunt Gail alongside her daughter Momi, both original characters. This contradicts canon where Jackson's mother raised him since she died when he was a baby in this verse.
  • RWBY: Scars: Summer was raised by her aunt Ivory after her mother was murdered.
  • She's Mine Then has Pepa decided to adopt Mirabel as her daughter after her mother Alma decided to send her niece away for having no gift and Julieta being unable to defend her.
  • The Cadance/Twilight My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic one-shot Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This takes the original cartoons usage of this and expands upon it. The reason why Celestia didn't adopt Cadance and instead raised her as her niece was that she had written Luna down as her adopted mother. Luna was still stuck in the moon at that point and Cadance didn't notice the fine print on the paperwork until adulthood. Still, Luna insists on calling Cadance her daughter despite not being around during her fillyhood. Cadance, however, is unnerved by having a pony she doesn't know well (and who is physically her age) as her mother.
  • In Two butterflies: gone with the wind., Mirabel was raised by Bruno after she failed to get her gift. She eventually forgets who her birth-parents are and takes to calling him "Papa".
  • A Veronica Mars/House crossover fic posited that Logan was House's nephew, and he went to live with him after his dad was arrested for Lilly's murder. Canonically, he became legally emancipated and started living in a hotel suite.
    • This is generally a popular trick in crossover fics, as the Relatively Flimsy Excuse is often the only one that can explain why characters from two different canons should give a damn about one another.
  • In You and Me (and Everyone in Between), Qrow has been raising his two nieces Ruby and Yang by himself for over a decade.

    Films — Animated 
  • Big Hero 6: Cass gained custody of her nephews Tadashi and Hiro after their parents died.
  • The Secret of Kells: Abbot Cellach has raised his nephew Brendan from infancy and is devastated when he thinks the latter was killed in a Viking attack at the age of 12.
  • Surf's Up: Lani was apparently raised by her uncle, the Geek/ Big Z.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the few adaptations of Spider-Man that shows Peter Parker's parents, Richard and Mary Parker, briefly before they drop him off at Uncle Ben and Aunt May's and then die in a plane crash. He actually gets bitten by the spider while investigating his father's research at Oscorp.
  • Cantinflas in El Bolero De Raquel spent the entire movie taking care of his godson Chavita.
  • Casper has the little ghost living with his trio of chaotic and disruptive ghost uncles. However, the prequel explains that they are not really his biological uncles, but ghosts that oversee his care for magical reasons.
  • The Fastest Gun Alive: Harold was raised by his aunt, who tried to bring him up as a law-abiding churchgoer. It didn't take.
  • Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: Following the death of their parents, Connor and Paul were raised by their uncle Wayne, a wealthy hard-partying womanizer who freely admits he wasn't ready to take care of two children. He's the one who teaches Connor how to seduce women, turning him into the smooth-talking and commitment-phobic womanizing Jerkass he is in the present, and it's made clear that Connor still idolizes his uncle long after his passing (by contrast, Paul turned out the exact opposite of his brother, becoming a mature and responsible adult who's about to get married).
  • Gifted: Frank has raised his niece Mary since she was a baby following the suicide of her mother, his sister Diane.
  • In Johnny Belinda, Belinda was raised by her uncle after her mother died in childbed.
  • In Like Normal People, Virginia's parents are never shown and rarely mentioned. The only relative we see is her Aunt Katie, who talks to her on the phone and tries to forbid her from marrying Roger. Her father is so far out of the picture that social worker Bill Stein gives her away at her wedding.
  • M3GAN: Gemma took in her niece Cady after her sister and brother-in-law died in a car accident.
  • In Manchester by the Sea, Lee Chandler has to take care of his nephew, Patrick, after his brother (Patrick's dad), Joe, dies of a heart attack.
  • In The Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen, Nancy's stated to be Tom's niece—there's no (known) reason why she couldn't have been his daughter, which wouldn't have altered the movie's plot in any way. If anything, it would've made way more sense for Nancy to be his daughter instead of his niece.
  • Vanilla from No Kidding lives with her (rather vague) aunt. She likes to lie and say it's because her parents are dead.
  • Nowhere Boy is the Real Life story of John Lennon as a teenager living with his Aunt Mimi. Re-connecting with his mother and finding out what happened to his father are major plot threads in the movie.
  • Pumpkins: At the start of the film, the old man is shown to live with his niece.
  • In Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Aila is raised by her uncle Burner since her mother committed suicide and her father was imprisoned.
  • In Star Wars, Luke was raised by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru Lars before they were killed by the Empire. Of course, when Darth Vader is your father, maybe it's for the better.
    • Interestingly, the prequel movies reveal Owen to be Anakin's stepbrother whom he only met as an adult (and for all we know, only once). The scripts' early drafts and some novelizations actually have Owen as Obi-Wan's brother instead, only masquerading as Luke's uncle.
    • Also averted. Neither of the twins was placed with their mother's older sister since that would have been too obvious.
  • Stella Maris was raised by her aunt.
  • Orphaned Gillie Evans from Tiger Bay lives with her aunt Mrs Phillips.
  • Vivah: Following the deaths of her parents, Poonam is raised by her uncle Krishnakant and her aunt Rama.
  • Mary from When Taekwondo Strikes lives with her uncle Louis, a priest. It's never stated what happened to her parents, only that she's Louis' last remaining relative.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy famously lives with her Uncle Henry and Auntie Em—while it's never explained what happened to Dorothy's parents in the movie (in fact, the movie never even mentions her parents), it's mentioned in the original book series that her parents are dead.

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer is being raised by his Aunt Polly. She's also raising Tom's half-brother, Sidney Sawyer, which implies that she's their father's sister, and is also the aunt of the boys' cousin Mary, who lives with them as well. Polly herself does not seem to have ever married or had children of her own, but is the closest thing to a mother that any of the three have.
  • Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series, does this twice. First, when Alex's parents die, he gets sent to live with his Uncle, Ian Rider, and when he dies, he gets to live with Jack Starbright, who isn't actually family, subverting the trope, the second time.
  • In the Samantha series of the American Girls Collection after spending five years being raised by her grandmother since her parents' deaths in a boating accident, Samantha moves to the Big Applesauce to live with her Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia.
  • Angie's First Case: Angie and Kit have spent years living with their aunt since their parents died.
  • Tobias gets shuffled between an uncaring aunt (his mother's sister) and uncle, who apparently live on opposite sides of the U.S., at the start of the Animorphs books until he gets stuck in hawk morph.
  • Another:
    • Kouichi Sakakibara lives in Yomiyama with his maternal aunt Reiko shortly after being hospitalized, since his father's away on business and his mother is dead. At the end of the story, we learn that his aunt is actually the Extra.
    • Mei Misaki is in a similar situation. When she was two, her family was struggling financially, so she was adopted by her aunt, who had been suffering from depression after suffering a stillbirth around the time Mei was born.
  • The Belgariad employs this with Garion being raised by his "Aunt Polgara", in actuality, his great-great-great-etc-aunt, sister to his royal ancestor some 3000 years ago. Unlike many examples, she's very much there for the adventure when the call comes.
  • Ben Safford Mysteries: In Murder Out of Commission, Abby Carr's aunt and uncle primarily raised her after her mother died and her father refused to give up his career as a globetrotting scientist. Surprisingly, Abby and her father still have a close relationship.
  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard: Richard was raised almost entirely by his aunt and uncle after his parents' divorce as a young child and both his parents were largely incompetent and disinterested in raising a child.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edmund and Lucy are left to live with their aunt, uncle, and cousin Eustace while their parents and elder siblings are away.
    • Prince Caspian was raised by his uncle, Miraz, who'd secretly murdered his father to claim the crown. While Caspian's paternal grandfather had presumably died when Caspian's father became king, the absence of his mother or of his maternal grandparents is not explained. (Although Caspian's tutor says that Miraz didn't take on the title of king, having previously been known as "Lord Protector", until after the queen died, so Caspian's mother is in fact dead, we just don't know how.) However, it turns out that Miraz was only willing to keep Caspian around so long as he had no other heir; as soon as that changes (with the birth of Miraz's son), he quickly pivots to wanting Caspian out of the way.
  • Circle of Magic: Trisana Chandler's parents are alive, but they don't want her because of her frightening and uncontrollable connection with the weather. She's been passed around from one relative to another, usually exploited as free labor before they get frightened of her, too, and shuffle her further along, until finally her parents decide to confine her in a Living Circle school. Tris can count the number of relatives that actually were kind to her on one hand.
  • Subverted in Codex Alera. At first it seems like Tavi's aunt and uncle will play the role of the typical "Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen" and die early on to get Tavi's heroic journey started. In reality, they remain major characters... and Tavi's aunt turns out to actually be his mother. It's worth noting that unlike most nephewism couples, Tavi's aunt and uncle are brother and sister, rather than husband and wife.
  • In Discworld, young wizard Ponder Stibbons was brought up by his aunts. This becomes important in Unseen Academicals when he somehow experiences a flashback to attending a football game with his father... whom he's never met. He describes it as "deja vu without the original vu."
  • In Dolphin Island by Arthur C. Clarke, the main character begins his adventure by stowing away on a transcontinental hovership that's made an emergency landing where his home is—this act made guilt-free by the conveniently uncaring (and immediately forgotten) aunt he lives with.
  • Emily of New Moon: Emily goes to live with her aunt Elizabeth, aunt Laura, and cousin Jimmy after her father dies (her mother also died long before the start of the first book).
  • Galaxy of Fear: Tash and Zak Arranda's parents died on Alderaan, and they were taken in by their uncle-by-marriage, Hoole. While nothing secret is found out about their parents, Hoole starts out with tons of secrets and a refusal to let the kids get close. Eventually he thaws.
  • Ghost In the Noonday Sun: At the beginning of the book, Oliver is being raised by his aunt while his uncle is away on a three-year whaling trip.
  • A common plot in the Goosebumps series was for the protagonist to be palmed off with an aunt and uncle while the parents made a flimsy excuse to disappear — usually just long enough for the protagonist to encounter the ghost/vampire/werewolf/mummy/whatever horror made up the subject of the book. The best (or worst) example is probably Werewolf Skin, where Alex apparently has to live with his aunt and uncle indefinitely (his parents have been called out of the country on business). He even starts going to the local school.
  • Gracefully Grayson: Grayson's parents were killed in a car crash when she was four. She lives with her Uncle Evan, Aunt Sally, and cousins Jack and Brett. Grayson remembers very little about her parents and often wonders what her life would be like if they were still alive. After Grandma Alice dies, Grayson receives some letters written by her mother. She learns that her parents knew she was trans and accepted her, but her relatives essentially forced her into the closet.
  • Harry Potter: The main character is technically the nephew of the couple he lives with. In practice, he's more an abused servant with nowhere else to go than a family member. Dumbledore arranged for him to live there so he wouldn't learn about the whole "Boy Who Lived" thing until he could have some perspective — and because he needed Harry to live with a family member as part of a magical protection, and his mother's sister Petunia was the only candidate.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon was raised by his Uncle Garrow (mother's brother) and Aunt Marian. The latter died sometime prior to the story, while the former dies near the beginning.
  • James and the Giant Peach opens with James living with his unspeakable aunts, Sponge and Spiker, after his parents were eaten by a rhinoceros.
  • Jane Eyre: Jane lives with her maternal uncle's family. Sadly, her maternal uncle was the only one who really loved her, and he died so early that Jane grew up bullied, abused, and constantly maligned. The Reeds constantly remind Jane that she is living on their charity.
  • Jane, Unlimited: Jane's parents died in a plane crash when she was an infant. After their deaths, her mother's sister, Aunt Magnolia, took Jane in and raised her.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: The ever-aunt-afflicted Bertie Wooster is an interesting example because while his parents are established as dead, their deaths are never used as plot devices. Since this is a comedy series, they could just as easily have been written off as absent.
  • Land of Oz: Dorothy has her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. One of the books implies that her mother was Uncle Henry's sister; he makes the internal observation that his niece is "a dreamer, as her dead mother was". They genuinely love the little girl, even though her merriness and laughter are strange in their hard existence.
  • The Lord of Bembibre: Álvaro Yáñez was raised by his uncle Rodrigo after his parents' deaths when he was a little kid.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Sebastian Verlac was raised by his aunt Elodie after the death of his parents.
  • In Paris in the Twentieth Century, Michel lives with his aunt, his father's sister. So he is trapped with Monsieur Boutardin, who considers him a shame for his artistic qualities, like his father.
  • In the novel People Might Hear You by Robin Klein, the main character Frances lives with her Aunt Loris.
  • In Pollyanna, the orphaned title character is sent to live with her Aunt Polly, the namesake of the first part of her name.
  • While Carla's mother is alive in The Red and the Rest, she hasn't appeared at all in the story. Instead, her uncle and surrogate father Mel tries to rein her in.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet," the client explains to Holmes that five years earlier, his widowed brother died, and he at that time adopted his niece and brought her to live in his own household; it's shown that she calls him "Dad" even though he's her uncle.
  • In Le Silence de la mer, the protagonist girl's uncle raised her. The 2004 TV film makes them grandfather and granddaughter instead.
  • The Sleeping Beauty Killer: Angela's aunt Paula and uncle Frank helped her mother raise her due to her father being out of the picture. After Angela's mother died when she was in her teens, Paula and Frank became Angela's primary caregivers. As a result, Angela is still close to her aunt, seeing her as a second mother (her uncle died a few years back), and she and her cousin Casey grew up viewing each other as sisters. Unfortunately, this arrangement also contributed to Angela's bitter jealousy of her cousin; although Angela was always treated just the same as Casey by Frank and Paula, from a young age she was keenly aware and insecure that Casey had something she didn't (in this case a loving, stable family), which persisted into adulthood.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • When Robert Baratheon fathered Edric Storm with Lady Delena Florent, he sent the boy to live with his younger brother Renly, who wasn't that enthused about raising a kid while being a teenager himself, and had him surrounded by servants and maesters. After Robert and Renly's deaths, Edric lived with middle brother Stannis for a while, until Stannis' Number Two Davos saw fit to send him away for the boy's own sake.
    • If you buy into the most popular theory that Jon Snow's parents are Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen, Jon is the nephew of Ned Stark. Ned Stark raises his nephew Jon as his own and passes him off as his own son to protect him from the current king Robert Baratheon. Jon's biological father was killed in battle fighting the Robert Baratheon before Jon was born and Jon's mother died shortly after giving birth to him.
  • In Sword Art Online, Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya's parents died when he was young, and he was adopted by his mother's sister, Midori, and her husband, Minetaka. He didn't know the truth until he hacked into government records, and it took him a while to come to terms with it. Midori's daughter Suguha learned that Kazuto was her cousin during the time he was trapped in the eponymous game, resulting in her developing a crush on him, as her cousin, that she desperately tried to get over (since they're adoptive siblings and Kirito already had Asuna).
  • This Side of Paradise: After an incident where Amory's appendix bursted during a trip in Italy and having to be sent back to America to get an operation to remove it, his mother had an intense nervous breakdown which resembled severe alcohol withdrawal symptons, leading to Amory having to live the next two years in Minneapolis with his aunt and uncle.
  • The Thorn Birds: Invoked. Meggie's son Dane wants to be a priest when he grows up and appeals to the family's priest and lifelong friend Father Ralph for help getting established. Father Ralph's mentor decides that they will employ this trope to explain just why Father Ralph is so attached to the young man, letting everyone else in the Church believe that Dane is the son of Father Ralph's (non-existent) sister. The truth is that Dane is the product of Ralph's affair with Meggie, but only she and her mother know this; Ralph himself only learns it after the young man dies.
  • Jupiter Jones in The Three Investigators series lives with his aunt and uncle.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings adopted his "nephew" Frodo (actually his first cousin once removed) at age 21; by our standards, this may seem a bit long in the tooth for adoption, but hobbits don't "come of age" until 33. They use the terms "uncle" and "nephew" due to their 78-year age difference. Prior to this Frodo had been living with various other relatives; justified in that Hobbits are fascinated by genealogy and tend to have large families. (Bilbo and Frodo are somewhat unusual in that each of them is an only child.) This means they have lots of relatives and know exactly how they're related to each of them; it's pointed out in the story itself (by yet another relative) that Frodo is Bilbo's "first and second cousin, once removed either way".
    • King Théoden adopts his nephew Éomer and niece Éowyn after their parents die. They live with their cousin Théodred until he also dies, and Éomer becomes heir to the throne.
    • Likewise, Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit is the guardian of his nephews Fíli and Kíli, who are also his heirs since he doesn't have any children. Their mother is still alive, though.
  • In Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, the title character is an orphan who lives with her flighty maiden aunts, who treat her as if she is very fragile. When one of the aunts is sent to live in Arizona for her health, they give Betsy to their "horrid Putney cousins" to raise. This turns out to be the best thing for her.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci begins when Sébastien arrives at his aunt Ursule's home in Saint-Isidore. It is not explained why he is moving with his aunt or what has happened to his father (Ursule mentions his mother is dead), and his parents are not even mentioned after the first chapter.
  • The Finneys of Sharon Creech's novels Absolutely Normal Chaos and Walk Two Moons seem to take in cousins as necessary: in the former book, Carl Ray, who lives in another state, stays with them when he comes to Ohio allegedly looking for a job, though he ultimately reveals it was actually to find his birth father; in the latter, Ben's mother is explicitly out of the picture due to being in a mental institution, and where his father is in this isn't made clear.
  • In Garrison Keillor's WLTA Radio Romance, a boy named Francis With, after his father dies in a railroad accident and his mother gets sent to a mental institution, gets sent to live with his uncle, who works as a salesman for popular Minneapolis radio station WLT. As a teen, Francis starts working at the station as a gofer, and eventually becomes an indispensable fixture at the station. Changing his name to Frank White, he moves on to television after the golden age of radio ends, and eventually becomes a TV network news anchor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted in The Addams Family where we have an uncle living with his niece. In the original series, Fester was Morticia's uncle (though in all other versions Fester is Gomez's brother).
  • Used to the point of overdose in Are You Afraid of the Dark? A large number of the protagonists were either living with aunts, uncles, and grandparents or visiting for the weekend, summer, holiday, etc. It was generally used as a way for the kid to stumble into the episode's inherent weirdness without having people wonder why they had lived beside it for years and not noticed it before.
  • The American sitcom Bachelor Father (1957-62) was about bachelor attorney Bentley Gregg, who raised his adolescent niece Kelly after her parents died in an automobile accident.
  • The Barrier: Hugo and Julia's employer Alma has her young nephew Sergio living with her, apparently because his parents aren't around. He turns out to be a child Alma took away from a poorer family because he produced antibodies for a disease for which she's trying to find a cure.
  • The Bernie Mac Show: Bernie is forced to take in his nieces and nephew when his sister is institutionalized due to her drug addiction.
  • The Brady Bunch has the trope naming Cousin Oliver moving in with the Brady family; why he has to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins is left unsaid.
  • Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul: In a villainous example, the Salamanca crime family includes five to six cousins, an Evil Old Folks uncle, and one grandmother, but no direct parents.
  • The Brittas Empire: Colin was raised by his aunt after the death of his parents in a combine harvester, which makes it hit harder for him when she dies in “Blind Devotion”.
  • El Chavo del ocho has Popis, Doña Florinda’s Identical Niece who at first spent a lot of time with her in Vecindad, but after Carlos Villagrán (who played Quico, Doña Florinda’s son) departure from the show she turns into a permanent resident (and Quico’s replacement). Also Malicha, the Replacement Scrappy after La Chilindrina left the show, is Don Ramon’s goddaughter and lives with him in Vecindad.
  • Columbo: In "No Time to Die", Columbo's niece-in-law is kidnapped on their wedding night. The fact that Columbo's nephew seems closer to Columbo than his own father, barely mentions his parents, and is quirky enough to sing "I'm a Jolly Good Fellow" at the hotel (before going to bed with his new wife) makes him seem more like Columbo's son instead.
  • Cousin Pam on The Cosby Show is taken in by Cliff and Clair while her mother is off caring for an ill relative.
  • CSI: NY: Paul, the Victim of the Week in season 9's "White Gold," was raised by his uncle after his parents were killed in a car crash when he was nine. The uncle referred to him to the detectives as "my boy" and "my Paulie."
  • Used at least twice on Desperate Housewives, first with Edie's nephew and then with Carlos and Gaby's niece.
  • The Devil Judge: Elijah is Yo-han's niece. He raises her because her parents died.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Classic series companion Sarah Jane Smith was raised by her paternal aunt Lavinia.
    • Eleventh Doctor companion Amy Pond was raised by her aunt, saying that she "doesn't have a mum and dad." This turns out to be a plot point — her parents were retgoned by the space-time anomaly in Amy's house. Interestingly, even after they were brought back to reality, they were never shown or mentioned again.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard. There were five regular Duke cousins (three originals, two temporary replacements). None of them were siblings, and all of them mentioned being raised by "Uncle Jesse" with no sign of any of their parents around. What happened to Jesse's five siblings and their spouses? The writing off of the replacement cousins introduced yet another sibling to Jesse as they leave Hazzard to go help an aunt who is also not a parent to any of the five, either.
    • At least one set of parents (Luke's) were killed in a fire.
  • Emergency!: One of the few things we learn about Gage is that he was raised by an aunt for a time.
  • ER. Susan Lewis becomes her niece's foster mother after her sister abandons her and is preparing to adopt her and become her legal mother as well when she returns.
  • Family Affair: In both the original series and the short-lived revamp, Mom and Dad died, leaving Buffy, Jody, and Cissy to be raised by Uncle Bill and his manservant, Mr. French.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, of course. He has a Disappeared Dad, while his mom is alive and well in Philadelphia (and comes to visit occasionally); she just sent him to his aunt and uncle to keep him off the streets and out of trouble. His dad does show up, just once, for one of the most emotional episodes of the series. Here's the climax.
  • Full House has a mild example in that the girls' Uncle Jesse helps their father raise them after their mother dies. They also have family friend Joey as a father figure and occasionally call him Uncle Joey, even though he isn't blood-related.
  • Game of Thrones: At the end of Season 6, it is revealed that Jon Snow, supposedly the illegitimate son of Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark, is actually Eddard's nephew because Jon is the son of Eddard's late sister Lyanna Stark with the deceased Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Jon is raised by Eddard as his own, who keeps The Newphewism secret to protect Jon from the newly crowned King Robert Baratheon, who would have likely had Jon killed for being the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, despite his friendship with Ned.
  • Veronica on The George Lopez Show. Her mother died and her father is a no-good con man. She is there to replace Carmen, who "went to college".
  • Jess is Luke's nephew on Gilmore Girls. His mother's inability and unwillingness to deal with him is the reason he was sent to Stars Hollow in the first place. His mother Liz does eventually show up in town, but it's quite obvious that he'd rather keep their relationship at a distance. In fact, he tells Luke that the only reason he even showed up for her most recent wedding was for Luke's sake.
  • Grimm: Nick was raised by his Aunt Marie after his parents died in a car accident. Over the course of the first season Aunt Marie dies. This triggers Nick's Grimm Powers. A Wesen Nick encounters mentions having been engaged to a Grimm woman, who left him to care for her nephew after his parents were killed in a car accident. It is implied that the accident was actually a murder, because of the magical coins Nick's parents were protecting, which leads to Nick looking into their deaths more. In the season finale, Nick finds out his mother is alive.
  • In 1982, Happy Days added K.C. Cunningham, Howard's niece.
  • In His Honor, Homer Bell, the titular character is raising his niece Casey due to her parents being deceased.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): As stated in her journal in "...The Ruthless Pursuit of Blood with All a Child's Demanding", after Claudia's mother died giving birth to her and she was abandoned by her father, she was raised by her aunt.
  • Iron Chef: Chairman Kaga has at least one nephew and, depending on what you consider canon, may have two more. Notably, Tamaki, the Chairman of the 2012 revival, isn't stated to be his nephew (and in fact his relation to the Kaga family, if any, is unknown).
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki: Yui and Shiro Kanzaki are orphans, so Yui lives with their aunt. Shiro had been sent to live with relatives in America thirteen years prior to the start of the show then was killed and replaced by his Mirror World counterpart.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O similarly has orphaned Sougo living with his uncle due to the death of his parents in a bus crash, actually caused by one of the main villains in an effort to find the child who would become the future Zi-O.
  • The official biography of Dr. Smith in the background material of Lost in Space mentions that he was raised by his aunt and uncle after his parents died in a car accident when he was a child, but his uncle was a terrible influence on him. This is never shown on camera but he does mention his aunt in one episode.
  • This is the cover story that Lyla, Nixie, Sirena, Mimmi, and Ondina all use in Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure: they're staying with their beloved Aunt Rita for an undisclosed period of time. It's a complete fabrication; they're only related to Rita in that they're all from the same mermaid pod (and even then, Mimmi was actually born into a different pod), but the younger mermaids needed some excuse to be in town, and daughters of the local high school principal suddenly showing up would have been too implausible.
  • Merlin's mother is still alive on Merlin, but he lives with his uncle Gaius because of his growing magic and destiny in Camelot.
  • Marilyn in The Munsters is the teenage niece of Lily and Herman (daughter of Lily's sister) and the granddaughter of Sam Dracula a.k.a. Grandpa. Born in Romania like the rest of the family except Eddie (American by birth) and Herman (who was... well, created, in Germany), it is unknown for how long has she been living with her relatives, but the fact she uses the last name Munster (which can't be her original last name as she is not Herman's biological niece) seems to imply that she was officially adopted.
  • Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote has no children, but loads of nieces/nephews. This is justified by the fact that she is one of five children herself, plus her late husband Frank also had multiple siblings. Very few of the nieces and nephews appear more than once, with Grady Fletcher being the only real repeater among them, but it's explained in more than one episode that he is actually her adopted son; after his parents died when he was a child, Jessica and Frank raised Grady essentially as their own.
  • Odisea Burbujas has Mimoso a mouse and godson of Patas Verdes (a toad), he’s also the Tagalong Kid.
  • In Open All Hours, Arkwright raised Granville after his mother died when Granville was very young, and as an adult, Granville lives and works with him at his corner shop. However, their relationship is more like boss and employee than uncle and nephew.
  • Princess Agents:
    • Wei Shu Ye was adopted as a child by his uncle Wei Guang.
    • In a weird variant Yuwen Yue's grandfather is actually his great-uncle, who adopted him after his father's death.
  • Promised Land (1996). Russell and Claire Greene become their nephew Nathaniel's legal guardians while his father, Russell's brother, is in prison.
  • Pushing Daisies: After her father Charles's sudden death, Chuck is sent to live with her agoraphobic aunts Lily and Vivian. Lily is actually Chuck's mother, but since Vivian was engaged to Charles at the time, Lily had Chuck in secret at a convent and had the child raised only by Charles, who told Chuck her mother was dead. Vivian and Charles broke up for obvious reasons, and Lily assumed the role of aunt to Chuck.
  • Search: Played with; Dong-jin is raised by both his mother and his uncle, but he has his uncle's surname and is entered on his family register. His mother did this to avoid anyone connecting him with his father, Min-guk.
  • Shining Time Station has a lot of its adult protagonists matching this trope: Stacy Jones is aunt to Matt and Dan, Schemer is uncle to Schemee, and Billy Twofeathers is uncle to Kit.
    • JB King is also uncle to his bullying nephew Buster in the episode "Bully for Mr. Conductor".
    • Ginny Johnson mentions her nephew and his wife in the episode "Billy's Party".
  • Nog in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, although he has his father around it seems that in Ferengi culture the older brother has authority over the whole family with Quark (Nog's uncle) being more like his official tutor than his own father.
  • Super Sentai:
    • In Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, Ryouga has been the adoptive parent figure to his niece Mai for most of her life, since her parents were killed when she was a baby.
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has Nossan living with his sister and young niece after his brother-in-law's death some time previously. Word of God states that the writer originally envisioned the character as an older man with a wife and daughter, but the executives said no so this trope came into play instead.
  • Jake in Two and a Half Men spent a lot of time with his Uncle Charlie, due to his father’s parasitic living off of his brother; yet in the first seasons and before the general Flanderization that the characters suffered, Charlie had a very good relationship with Jake and was much more of a father figure to him than Alan himself.
  • Elena and her younger brother Jeremy from The Vampire Diaries both live with their aunt Jenna. Their parents died in a tragic car accident relatively recently before the events of the show. It later turns out that Elena is a double example; on top of being raised by Jenna, her "parents" were actually her uncle and aunt.
  • Wendell & Vinnie: The series opens with Vinnie Bassett taking custody of his nephew Wendell after Wendell's parents die in a car crash.

TV Specials:

  • The 2015 TV version of The Wiz plays with this trope more than most versions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz do. It portrays Dorothy as having only recently come to live with Aunt Em, still grieving her parents' deaths, and initially trying to go back to her childhood home in Omaha. But her journey through Oz makes her realize in the end that her true home is now in Kansas with her aunt.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Gobo hears regularly from Uncle Traveling Matt in Fraggle Rock. Several flashbacks reveal Traveling Matt's own uncle, Traveling Gobo, whom Gobo is named after. Theirs is the only family relationship established between any Fraggles.
  • In LazyTown, Stephanie is staying with her uncle Milford Meanswell (who is a puppet while Stephanie is a live actress, oddly enough) for the summer. Her parents are never seen, and she seems to have moved in permanently as she has had many episodes taking place during non-summer seasons.
  • The Muppets:
    • Robin the Frog in The Muppet Show is the nephew of Kermit the Frog, and seems to spend most of his time with his uncle. Robin's father was referenced only once on the show.note  Additionally, one episode of Muppet Babies (1984) (in which he appears as a tadpole) established that his mother is Kermit's older sister. So he has parents, somewhere, but they're never seen. The Muppets (2015) has an episode that reveals his parents have recently divorced, but we still don't learn anything more about them.
    • Muppets Tonight: Andy and Randy Pig are nephews of Miss Piggy, and their parents are never seen or mentioned, though whether they live with Piggy or not is never mentioned either.

  • The Lone Ranger: In a 1943 storyline, the Lone Ranger and Tonto pursue a criminal up north to the Canadian border, and while there encounter a young man who turns out to be the Lone Ranger's nephew Dan Reid, son of the Ranger's older brother who was killed in the ambush by the Cavendish gang. Dan's mother was killed in an Indian attack on the wagon train traveling west where she was supposed to meet her husband. Dan was raised by a woman he believed was his grandmother, and when she dies, Dan leaves with the Ranger and Tonto and becomes a regular character on the show.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Arthurian Legend: If King Arthur is mentioned having kids (other than Mordred, in the versions where he's Arthur's son), it's only in the context of how they died. Meanwhile, medieval writers loved creating new nephews for him, or changing their favorite knight into his nephew, which also gave him a fluctuating number of siblings. Eventually it got more or less codified into just the Orkney brothers (children of Morgause), sometimes Yvain (son of Morgan le Fay), and rarely, Galeschin and Elaine the Younger (children of Elaine).

  • In Charley's Aunt, Mr. Spettigue has a niece, Amy, and a ward, Kitty. As the title suggests, Dona Lucia has a nephew in Charley; however, she did not raise him and in fact they have never met prior to the beginning of the play, which is a major plot point.
  • In the stage musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (and the 1967 film adaptation), J.B. Biggley, the president of the World Wide Wicket ("WWW") Company, employs his nephew, Bud Frump, in the mailroom of the company. This is where the protagonist, J. Pierrepont Finch, is sent to work. Frump uses his relationship to Biggley as license to bully the others in the mailroom. This is especially true regarding his treatment of Finch, whom he quickly realizes is a real go-getter whose drive for success may trump his nephewism. Just prior to the end of the play, when WWW's chairman of the board, Wally Womper, threatens to fire everybody in the company — including (especially) Biggley and Frump — Finch sings the show-stopper song "Brotherhood of Man" in an effort to change Womper's mind. (In the lead-in to the song, Finch tells Womper "we're all brothers," to which Biggley adds "some of us are uncles.") Womper relents and retains everybody except Frump, who vows revenge.
  • Mame Dennis and her nephew, Patrick in Mame and Auntie Mame. He's an orphan, so the cause of the nephewism isn't unknown, but Mame still has a case of it. It's hinted that Mame is really Patrick's biological mother.
  • Laurey from Oklahoma! appears to have been raised by her Aunt Eller.
  • A common trope in Shakespeare, especially in Romeo and Juliet where family ties draw the line between the two opposing camps. To wit: Tybalt is Lady Capulet's nephew (specifically her brother's child) and Lord Montague addresses Benvolio the same way. Both are implied to have grown up alongside their respective protagonist (Juliet and Romeo, respectively).

    Video Games 
  • Age of Empires III: Kanyenke is the paternal figure of Nathaniel Black, since John Black sacrificed his life to prevent the Russians from invading the Colonies
  • Another Code: Ashley is raised by her Aunt Jessica. This is initially because Ashley's dad, her older brother Richard, faked his death for a decade, but later is the result of him remaining perpetually absent even after he re-enters his daughter's life.
  • Dr. Neo Cortex's niece Nina Cortex from the Crash Bandicoot series. Parodied in Crash Twinsanity when Neo first introduces her.
    Neo: My daught... err... NIECE!
  • Occasionally comes up in the Dark Parables series, which stands to reason as they're based on classic fairy tales. Most notably, The Final Cinderella states that the title character and her stepsister were taken in by their Evil Uncle after their parents' deaths, and he subjected them to a Cinderella Plot in the extreme.
  • Diddy Kong is Donkey Kong's nephew. Either he's adopted, or the sibling of a gorilla can have a monkey for a child.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins: The City Elf Warden was raised alongside their cousins Shianni and Soris. Shianni never knew her father and lost her mother to a fever at a young age, while Soris lost both of his parents in a purge, so both were taken in and raised by their mutual uncle Cyrion.
    • Dragon Age II has a minor example of this if the game is played using an imported save in which Alistair was made king in the first game. He has a brief cameo alongside Bann Teagan, whom he introduces as "my uncle. Sort of." They're not related — Teagan is the brother of Queen Rowan, who was married to Alistair's father King Maric. Teagan and his brother Eamon are therefore the uncles of Alistair's late half-brother Cailan, but not Alistair himself. However, they are the closest thing Alistair has to actual relatives (as far as he knows) and they helped to raise him.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that Cassandra Pentaghast was raised by her father's brother Vestalus after her parents were executed for taking the wrong side in the second attempt to overthrow King Markus Pentaghast. She and her older brother Anthony were spared owing to the fact that they were children, and had nothing to do with the situation.
  • Ghost of Tsushima: Jin Sakai was raised by his uncle Lord Shimura after his father was killed by raiders. The two developed such a strong bond that they're father and son in all but name, which Shimura tries to rectify by formally adopting Jin as his son and heir. Unfortunately, this doesn't end up happening, because Jin decides to renounce himself as Shimura's heir and embraces his new identity as The Ghost, abandoning the ways of the Bushido, in order to better protect the people of Tsushima from the invading mongols. This puts him at odds with his uncle, who is a devout follower of the samurai code.
  • Link, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, lives with his uncle. As it's eventually explained, they are all that remains of the bloodline of the Hylian Knights. The manga gives a backstory to the absence of Link's parents.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots:
    • Sunny calls her caretakers "uncle". Of course, anyone who's played the second game knows exactly what happened to her mother.
    • Also Meryl, until we find out that Campbell is actually her father, not her uncle.
  • In the PC adaptation of Monopoly Junior, Andy and Sandy are the respective nephew and niece of Mr. Monopoly.
  • Ayden, the titular hero of Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is raised by his uncle Brennan. Turns out Ayden's father and Brennan's brother is a famed warrior who died in battle, while Brennan is a simple farmer - Ayden begins the game as a Farm Boy while fantasizing taking his father's sword to go on adventures.
  • Shin Megami Tensei series:
    • Persona 4's main character (whose canonical name is Yu Narukami) gets sent to live with his uncle for the duration of the game because of his parents' travels for their work.
    • Likewise, Naoya of Devil Survivor is the Hero's cousin, who was raised by his aunt and uncle (the Hero's parents) and treats the Hero like a younger brother.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Shuichi Saihara lives with his uncle due to how busy his parents are in show business. His uncle not only looks after Shuichi but also employs him as an apprentice detective, resulting in Shuichi becoming the Ultimate Detective.
  • In Double Homework, Morgan lives with her uncle. Her father is confirmed to be dead, and her mother can be presumed dead as well.
  • Yuuichi Aizawa, the protagonist of Kanon, starts the story by going to live with his aunt because his parents are leaving home for an extended period of time and would rather have him live with Akiko until graduation than be home by himself.
  • Akira from Spirit Hunter: NG has a Disappeared Dad, so after his mother passed away he was raised by his aunt Natsumi. After two years with her, he regards her and her daughter as his immediate family, a sentiment they reciprocate.

  • Partial subversion in Girl Genius — in flashbacks, Agatha is being reared by her uncle Barry Heterodyne because her parents have disappeared; but by the time the story begins, Barry's gone missing too, and she's being reared by her foster parents Adam and Lilith Clay (better known as Punch and Judy, construct sidekicks of the Heterodyne Boys).
  • The relationships in Homestuck are seriously convoluted, but pretty much all count as Nephewism (John's "Dad" is actually biologically his half-brother, Dave's "Bro" is biologically his father, and Jade's "Grandpa" is biologically her father). The only one of the B1 kids whose biological relationship to their guardian is accurately described from the start is Rose (though even their shenanigans are involved).
  • Last Res0rt has the Vaeo family with Vince, his daughter Cypress, and his nephews/her cousins, Nathaniel and Damien. It's been heavily implied so far that the Vuelos Incident killed off Cypress's mother and Nathaniel and Damien's real parents.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil's parents are quasi-absent from the story, with mentions of them few and extremely far between, while his uncle and aunt are the people who organized the expedition and part of Mission Control. While he states to have never actually lived with them, his interactions with them during the Slow-Paced Beginning can easily get him mistaken for their oldest son.
  • The Weave: Tally has been raised by her aunt Eliza from the age of ten on, which was when her mother died under unknown circumstances and her father just left her behind.

    Web Original 
  • The Comics Curmudgeon, although not actually containing any examples of Nephewism, is the Trope Namer and provides the page quote.
  • The Little Pickle Town installment LEMON BOY (set to the song of the same name by Cavetown) focuses on Franklin, an uncle who ended up raising his brother's son Milo after the latter's death by lung cancer. The video explores their relationship as Milo matures, with more elaboration in the short comic A Plant Called Milo.
  • Sekai No Fushigi: Kazuki and his girlfriend Mayu decide to adopt the latter's nieces after her sister died in an accident and her brother-in-law attempted to take them to an orphanage. The children are cold towards the couple at first, but they eventually warm up to them after Kazuki saved the second niece, Hiyori, from a car accident.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: Skippy Squirrel does not appear to have any parents, and lives with his Aunt Slappy. According to Slappy's creator and voice actress, Skippy's folks are on sabbatical.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko was essentially raised by his uncle Iroh, as his father is the abusive Big Bad and his mother is mysteriously gone. Iroh took Zuko under his wing when a) his own son died in the war and b) Zuko's mom disappeared, having been banished long before the series started. Eventually, Zuko considers Iroh to be more like a father to him than his actual father ever was.
  • The Beetlejuice cartoon plays with this trope by inflicting nephewism on Lydia's parents. Thing is, they don't actually have a nephew — it's Beetlejuice, pretending to be Lydia's "cousin B.J." so he can be part of family events. Charles and Delia both seem kind of confused by this, but never actually question the matter; they each seem to assume that B.J. is the other's nephew.
  • Care Bears:
    • Shreeky from the 80's series is first introduced when she comes to visit her Uncle No Heart at one point. Shreeky's "visit" ends up being the remainder of the series (or else she just visits No Heart frequently). Her parents are never mentioned.
    • In The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland, the pretext for getting the Care-a-Lot crew involved with the plot is that Swift Heart Rabbit is the niece of Wonderland's White Rabbit.
    • Wonderheart Bear on Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot lives with her uncle Tenderheart. No parents are ever mentioned.
  • The eponymous Casper the Friendly Ghost lives under the care of his ghost uncles in some continuities. Wendy the Good Little Witch also lives with her unfriendly witch aunts.
  • El Chavo Animado, Popis is Doña Florinda’s niece and seems to live permanently in La Vecindad (her character was upgraded from the original live-action series as La Chilindrina was unable to appear due to the fact that the actress who played her, María Antonieta de las Nieves, holds the copyright).
  • Cupcake & Dino: General Services has the titular duo living with their uncle.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: O the Owl lives with his uncle X, without his parents being seen or mentioned.
  • Duckman has Ajax, Charles, and Mambo's Aunt Bernice and later, their Aunt Beverly stay with the family as a maternal figure.
  • Huey, Dewey, and Louie more or less created this trope. In the cartoons, when they're not living with their Uncle Donald, they're living with their Great-Uncle Scrooge.
    • Backtracking to the triplets, the only piece of Disney media that Donald's sister Della had appeared in prior to DuckTales (2017) was a single Dutch comic that stated she was lost in space, and due to some wormhole shenangians, is completely unaware so much time as passed on Earth. The show would run with the first part of this idea; the first episode movie implies that Donald's twin sister Della died or went missing, with it eventually being reveal said incident was her getting lost in space. The circumstances surrounding that event was what resulted in Donald becoming overprotective towards his sister's unhatched eggs, and his subsequent estrangement from Scrooge prior to the beginning of the series. She's eventually revealed to still be alive on the moon and manages to return halfway through the second season.
    • In the same series, Lena is much like the triplets in that her only known family is her Aunt Magica. This is later subverted when it turns out Lena is really a Living Shadow to whom Magica is essentially a Truly Single Parent, a relation neither wants to acknowledge — Lena because Magica is a terrible guardian, and Magica because she doesn't see Lena as even a real person, much less family.
  • Sarah and James from Fireman Sam were this for the first five seasons, with Sam himself being their only known relative. In season six, their parents, Charlie and Bronwyn, were introduced.
  • Foofur: The puppy Rocki is under the care of her Uncle Foofur. In one episode is shown that her father (Foofur's brother) is a sailor and that's the reason why she's with her uncle.
  • Gravity Falls has protagonists Dipper and Mabel, who aren't being rasied full-time by their great-uncle, "Grunkle Stan" (and later their other great-uncle, Ford), but are nonetheless under his care for the summer break that the show takes place over. Dipper and Mabel's parents are only mentioned in passing throughout the series, but are never seen save for their arms in the opening episode.
  • Inch High, Private Eye is assisted by his niece Lori. Completely subverted in his only comic book appearance (Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #14, Gold Key, October 1974) where Lori is Inch's secretary and she has the hots for him.
  • Inspector Gadget had his niece, Penny, living with him (and secretly solving his cases). The show's second season implies that both of Penny's parents are dead and that Gadget's her only living relative (or at least her closest living relative).
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has the eponymous grown Jackie living with Uncle, who is shown to have raised him. In the first episode, they are given care of Jackie's niece, Jade (technically his first cousin-once-removed), who, despite having living parents in Hong Kong, spends the rest of the series and after with her uncles. Jade's parents show up exactly once at the end of season two, where they wonder if Uncle is their Uncle as well. note 
    • In Season 5, the Enforcers are revealed to each have an identical-looking nephew, with all three being members of Jade's Dragon Scout troop.
  • James Bond Jr. is the nephew of James Bond. He mentions his uncle once every episode or so, but little is learned about their relationship.
  • King Leonardo and His Short Subjects: King Leonardo has his twin nephews, Duke and Earl.
  • King of the Hill: Peggy's niece Luanne lives with the Hills during the beginning of the series, due to her mother being an abusive alcoholic and her father hiding out in an oil rignote . Hank and Peggy are the closest things to parental figures in her life (even if Hank doesn't see it that way) and she acts as a Cool Big Sis to her cousin Bobby.
  • Early Disney shorts and media assigned a pair of nephews to Mickey Mouse. Morty and Ferdy's parents are never mentioned. They appear in some children's books, but otherwise nowadays seem to have vanished from existence.
  • Mixadel from Mixels appears to live with his cousin and uncle, with his parents never mentioned and his uncle treating him like a second son more than a nephew.
  • Mr. Magoo is more often than not accompanied by his college-aged nephew Waldo. Depending on the Writer, he either lives with Magoo or is just visiting.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Cadance and Prince Blueblood are apparently Princesses Celestia and Luna's niece and nephew, respectively. How this works out, since Celestia and Luna are both well over 1,000 years old, is never explained in-show, but side materials elaborate that Cadance was an orphan who got adopted into the royal family shortly after her alicorn ascension, while Blueblood is so distantly related that it's easier to just forget all the "great-great-great..." and just call him "nephew".
    • Scootaloo's parents are usually busy so she's left in the hooves of her two aunts, Lofty Love and Holiday.
  • Tito Dick from The Nutshack is Phil and Jack's uncle. Phil has lived with him for a long time (the theme song explains that Dick raised Phil), but Jack begins living with him in the first episode.
  • In Over the Garden Wall Lorna lives with her "Auntie" Whispers.
  • Hunter from The Owl House was taken in by his uncle, Emperor Belos, after the rest of their family was killed by wild magic. Belos is one hell of an Abusive Parent however: he raised and trained Hunter to be his right hand man, the Golden Guard at just 16 years old, is implied to be physically abusive towards him, and Hunter is expected to be eternally grateful to him, because as someone who has no magical powers, nobody else would ever want him. It later turns out that Hunter is actually a Grimwalker, a clone of Belos's brother Caleb, and the latest in a long line of Belos's failed attempts to make a "better version" of his brother. Hunter is nearly killed by Belos after discovering this, and runs away as a result, eventually being taken in by Luz's mother Camila in the human realm.
  • The main character of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero lives with his aunt and uncle while his parents spend most of the series trapped on a Death World.
  • Popeye:
    • Popeye has four nephews that appear in several Popeye cartoons: Peepeye, Pupeye, Pipeye, and Poopeye.
    • The 1960 short "Popeye's Junior Headache" gave Olive Oyl a niece named Deezil.
  • Punky Brewster: In the episode "Punky the Heiress", Punky finds out she has an aunt and an uncle. But they're a couple of ne'er-do-wells—servants of Chester Henderson and his estate—who use Punky to embezzle the fortune of Henderson's granddaughter.
  • Rolling with the Ronks!: Mila lives with her uncle Walter, but it is never explained where her parents are.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • Scrappy-Doo. Ruby Doo, Scrappy's mother, is still alive but allows her son to travel alongside his uncle.
    • In a A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, the gang are all elementary school-aged children who have their parents accounted for. Except Freddy's that is, where only an Uncle Eddie ever appears on-screen, not his parents.
  • Before Apu from The Simpsons became a married father of eight, his nephew Jamshed, the son of his brother Sanjay, played this role in his life. He also had a niece, Pahusacheta, from the same source.
  • Gargamel takes care of his niece Denisa in several episodes of The Smurfs (1981). Unlike her uncle, Denisa is actually a nice good-hearted girl, much to her uncle's annoyance.
  • Played for a one-off gag in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Stanley S. SquarePants". Mr. Krabs reveals he has three nephews who solve mysteries, whom he tells to go solve the mystery of why they didn't get hired at the Krusty Krab.
  • Sumo Mouse: Yama lives with his Uncle Herbie and Aunt Dot with absolutely no mention of his parents at all. Also Nadia who lives with her Uncle Hieronymus Claw, the Big Bad.
  • Parodied in Teen Titans Go! when the characters are telling their tragic (fake) backstories. Raven's backstory parodies Spider-Man's. She lived with two old people and the man later died of natural causes in his 90s. Raven refers to them as just "old people", but the man's grave says "Uncle" (and only "Uncle").
  • Time Squad: Buck Tuddrussel tries to explain that Otto is his nephew to his ex-wife who is of higher rank. She doesn't believe him, knowing that Larry had admitted to her that he was kidnapped/adopted.
  • In Tripping the Rift, Chode is under the care of his nephew Whip, who is 15-16. Of course, the fact that Chode is a stumpy purple tentacle monster and Whip a reptilian chameleon-like creature makes the relation kind of weird.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • Young Justice starts out with the well-established Kid Flash, who is The Flash's nephew-by-marriage. When the team is formed, they add Miss Martian, the Martian Manhunter's niece in this continuity. Later, Green Arrow brings his niece, Artemis, to the team, which is when Robin lampshades it. Played with because Artemis isn't really Green Arrow's niece; she just doesn't want the Team to know who her real family is.
    • Billy Batson is also being raised by his "Uncle Dudley," though Word of God says that he's really just an Honorary Uncle. For that matter, we could throw in Red Arrow and Guardian, who only think they're nephew and uncle: they're actually both clones of the original Roy Harper.

    Real Life 
  • Many medieval Popes had 'nephews' to whom they were close. The thing was, as often as not, said 'nephews' were the pope's unrecognized illegitimate children. Innocent VIII was the first to actually recognize his bastard children. This is where the term nepotism comes from, since Popes frequently appointed their nephews (both actual nephews and "nephews") to high-ranking Church positions, even when said nephews were clearly unqualified, and nepos is Latin for "nephew".
  • Most real life custody arrangements do have either grandparents or aunts/uncles assuming custody if the parents die, followed in likelihood by unrelated godparents, whose express purpose is to raise the godchild in the event of the death or incapacity of the child's parents.
  • This trope may have started just after the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918. A LOT of bachelor aunts and uncles suddenly found themselves having to care for their nieces and nephews.
  • In some matrilineal cultures, the mother's (eldest) brother plays a much bigger part in the raising of a child than the father. This concept is known as an "Avunculate". Some theorize that this may have roots in evolutionary biology; since a father can never be 100% certain his children are truly his, it makes sense for him to also invest in the children of his sister since they are guaranteed to share some of his DNA through his sister.
  • In the past it wasn't uncommon for unmarried women to help raise and care for their siblings' children. This was particularly prevalent in the US between 1900-1930 and in the Commonwealth between 1950 - 1980, thanks to many women losing potential husbands in the Civil War and World War I. This is also where the term "old maid" came from. Furthermore, sometimes parents would give unexpected or unwanted children to their childless sisters to raise when said sisters were unable to conceive.
  • In more recent times, you sometimes have children who are the biological child of a brother or sister that accidentally got pregnant or got someone pregnant when unmarried and who are then raised as the "son" or "daughter" of their grandparents and the "sibling" of their birth parents.
  • A rather unusual example happened with King Jeongjo of Joseon-era Korea. When he was ten, his father (the infamous Prince Sado) was executed via confinement in a rice chest. Because his status as the son of a criminal would have been a black mark on his succession to the throne, his grandfather Yeongjo had it recorded that Jeongjo was the adoptive son of the late Prince Hyojang, Sado's half-brother who died seven years before Sado's birth (and predeceased Jeongjo's own birth by twenty-four years), and his wife Hyosun, who had died less than a year before Jeongjo was born.
  • Among social mammals such as monkey troops or colonies of small rodents, babies whose mothers die are sometimes taken in and cared for by their mothers' sisters. Whether or not such babies' fathers are alive is usually a moot point, as males don't contribute much to the rearing of the young.