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"I work for children... literally, the admiral is five. Goddamned nepotism. When I asked for orders, he sent me a box filled with melted chocolate and a birthday card made from macaroni."
General Knoxx, Borderlands

A trope often found in situation comedy, it's where the boss (often a somewhat unpleasant one) places a relative or in-law in a position of power. Invariably, the relative will be incompetent or worse. A variation on this trope might be to actually have the relative be the protagonist, and have to earn the respect of his or her subordinates before they can actually accomplish anything meaningful. The trope can also be subverted if the relative is actually competent, in which case the grumbling can quickly subside. It can be averted in cases where nepotism is expected, such as a prince becoming king when his father dies, in which case most people just accept it as the way things are supposed to go.


Very much Truth in Television, and sometimes a way for the relative to get their feet wet in the business, especially if they're being groomed to take over the business when the current owner retires or is otherwise unable to make decisions. Naturally, given how controversial (and rather common) this practice is, please refrain from adding any real-life examples here.

A sub-trope of Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!. Compare Sleeping Their Way to the Top and Royal Favorite. Can be one of the ways for someone to end up in the Wrong Line of Work, if they're incompetent in the field their relative puts them in. The opposite of this trope is Coattail-Riding Relative. When this occurs among RPG players (romantically connected to the GM or otherwise), see Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend. In general, Nepotism may be an expected payback if someone who was Vicariously Ambitious helped get somebody else into a position of power. When an authority figure deliberately tries to avoid this, they're engaging in Anti-Nepotism.


Not to be confused with the trope Nephewism, although the word "nepotism" comes from the Latin word "nepos" which means "nephew" (the term originated from the tendency of Medieval and Renaissance-era churchmen to appoint their "nephews" — who were often their unacknowledged bastard sons — to comfortable sinecures). Also not to be confused with Neopetism.

Fun fact: This trope, when applied to friends instead of relatives, is known as cronyism - after all, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." See also The Power of Friendship...



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth manga, Randolph Miller, director of the Seselagi Art Museum, hires his niece Monet Kreskin because she needs a job after graduating college, even though she knows nothing about art. It's actually in large part because she knows nothing about art, and won't be able to tell that he sold the painting "Officers" to pay the museum's debts, replacing it with a fake.
  • Discussed and defied in Action Heroine Cheer Fruits; Misaki Shirogane realizes that Hatsuri Momoi would be the perfect candidate to join the Cheer Fruits, but since their families have a business relationship it would look suspicious if they just let her join no questions asked. The girls hold an audition, but Hatsuri fails because she goes overboard with the pyrotechnics; that night at home her father offers to put a word in with the Shirogane family but she refuses, saying that she has to earn her spot on the team with her own talents.
  • Baccano! has two examples, both of which are played atypically.
    • The first is Ladd Russo who, while definitely not incompetent, is completely off his rocker. His uncle made him a hitman mostly to channel his homicidal urges more efficiently.
    • The second and more serious example is, surprisingly enough, Luck Gandor. While he certainly doesn't seem like someone who got his position from connections alone, careful examination of the evidence (and eventual confirmation in The Slash) would reveal that he's been in the higher ranks of The Mafia since age fifteen or younger, and only because his brothers were in charge. He has quite a bit of a complex over it, and goes to considerable lengths to leave no possible doubt that he's capable.
  • Ren's old teammates in Big Windup! feel that he's in the pitcher position only because he's related to the school board director and that he is incompetent. He's actually a good pitcher, but the team just doesn't co-operate with him.
  • City Hunter has Saeko Nogami: she's an extremely competent police officer of her own, but it's implied that she gets away with her non-standard methods and some other stunts of hers (such as hospitalizing six suitors) by virtue of being the eldest daughter of the superintendent general. Her sister Reika was heavily implied to having got back her job as a police officer after quitting thanks to this... Then she quit again, and for good.
  • Code Geass. While several members of the Britannian Imperial Family may be very qualified and competent, there are plenty of others who were less so. Clovis and Odysseus come to mind, who each have "son of the emperor" as their best qualities.
  • This trope nearly destroyed The 108 Dragons in Crying Freeman. The former leaders' son was an uncontrollable monster. The granddaughter was even worse.
  • Masaki Kirihara, the Hero Antagonist police officer of Darker Than Black is the daughter of a high-ranking Japanese politician, and some of her connections and position probably come from him, although she is very competent. In one episode, he draws upon his connections to offer her a promotion to a desk job — it's ambiguous whether this is out of concern for her safety or whether he's trying to have her Kicked Upstairs because he's a member of The Syndicate himself (or possibly both). In any case, she turns him down. By the second season, she's so frustrated by this (and other meddling in the police department) that she quits and barely looks back.
  • The Death Note manga states that Touta Matsuda has relatives in the Police Force, hence why he has a job there despite being more or less well-intentioned, yet incompetent. Until he goes all Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, that is.
  • Detective Conan:
    • In the fourth Non-Serial Movie, Captured in her Eyes, one of the suspects was involved in a crime some years back, but wasn't pursued by the police because he was the son of the police superintendent. It's subverted when it turns out that his father never had any hand in protecting him, and in fact was stunned to find out that his son was never investigated in spite of how heavily he was involved. Furthermore, the movie ends with the superintendent making it clear that his son will be prosecuted for the role he did play in the crime (blackmailing the victim).
    • In a filler case, a very rich guy got away with being a middle-class girl's absolutely terrifying Stalker with a Crush because of his rich family. The poor girl realized that the only way to stop him from killing her would be brewing a plan to kill him first. Which she did.
  • In Detective School Q, Sakurako Yukihira defies the trope by not only being a Teen Genius in her own right but by hiding the fact that she is the niece of Morihiko Dan aka the director of the prestigious detective school that the members of the cast attend. She explains to Kyuu that, much as she loves and admires her uncle, she doesn't want other students to know their blood bond so she will be able to develop her detective talents in her own right.
  • One of Ayumi Himekawa's main motivations in Glass Mask is to actually avert the trope. Both of her parents are veterans in the fields of visual media: her father Mitsugu is a famous film director, her mother Utako is pretty much the other Grand Dame in Japanese acting aside from Chigusa Tsukikage. Ayumi herself is very beautiful and genuinely talented in acting, but she's absolutely determined to not let people even utter the trope in front of her, and prove that she can reach stardom on her own and without any influence coming from her parents.
  • Heat Guy J
    • Daisuke Aurora has his job in part because his older brother is the police chief.
    • Also, on the villains side of the equation, Clair has his position of "Vampire" (Mob Boss) because his father specifically stated it in his will (the other members of The Mafia are not happy about this, partly because Clair is only 19, and partly because he's Ax-Crazy).
  • Jewelpet
    • Jewelpet Twinkle: Akari's older sister Monica had help from their mother Marie in getting launched as an idol, as Marie is an editor for a magazine and thus has a lot of connections in the mass media industry. Monica is aware of this trope and tries to break away from it.
    • Jewelpet Kira Deco!: Pink doubts her usefulness to the Kira Deco 5 and believes she made it into the team because the scientist who recruited the members is her cousin. This is subverted late in the series when a flashback shows that the scientist chose the members based on how their traits and abilities balanced each other out and considered Pink as seriously as anyone else.
  • The Zabis all got their positions in Mobile Suit Gundam because their father, Degwin, trusts them more than anyone else. It's played for tragedy in the case of Garma, whose obsession with proving that he deserves his job ultimately gets him killed; Dozle, Kycillia, and Gihren all establish early on that they are fully capable of doing a good job.
    • Garma's characterization gets completely inverted in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, which makes him play the trope straight. In the anime he wanted to prove that he didn't just get his job because of who his father is; in The Origin, he literally throws a stompy-foot temper tantrum to Daddy and demands to be given an important position so he can show off to Char.
  • Naruto has a half-example of sorts: the Hokage. All of them are related in some way, ever since the first one, Hashirama. The second was his brother, Tobirama, who also created the Resurrection Technique used by both Orochimaru and Kabuto, the Third was Sarutobi, their apprentice. The Fourth was Minato, who followed in the Master-Apprentice Chain from Jiraya, and was eventually replaced by Tsunade, Hashirama's grandaughter. Danzo would later point it out to the Fire Daimyo, saying how this chain has left the village soft on military issues, since the Hokage so far all had pacifist philosophies, resulting in Konoha's destruction by Pain. Jerkass Has a Point, wouldn't you say? Not if he's using that example. Pain's turn to evil instead of the pacifism Jiraiya taught him was the direct result of his own interference. Though he probably doesn't know that.
    • In addition to the relations, the Fourth is the father of the title character who strives to become Hokage himself. The eldest grandson of the Third also has the same goal, albeit to find some way to step out of his grandfather's shadow and be seen as something other than the Hokage's grandson (although his uncle Asuma did not have any apparent ambitions of the sort, though he did have a strained relationship with his father that resulted in him joining the 12 Guardian Ninjas for a while).
    • If Naruto actually becomes Hokage, he'll not only be part of the Master-Apprentice Chain and the son of the Fourth Hokage but also related to the First, Second and Fifth Hokage on his mother's side of the family. Naruto becomes the 7th Hokage, so this happens. The 6th Hokage, Kakashi Hatake, also applies, as he was a student of the 4th Hokage and part of the Master-Apprentice Chain.
  • Bizarrely enough, this gets referenced in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Since Shinji winds up becoming an accomplished EVA pilot and his father is the supreme commander of NERV, it's inevitable folks might start to look at things a little funny. In one episode, Gendo's superiors at SEELE joke about him having given Unit-01 to his son like it was a new toy, and in the second Rebuild movie, Asuka refers to Shinji as a "Daddy's Boy" who only got the job because he was well-connected. In reality of course, Shinji would give anything to not have to pilot the EVA, and Gendo is the last person to do his son any favors.
    • It's also suggested that accusations of this have shaped Ritsuko Akagi's view of the world since her mother Naoko worked at NERV's predecessor GEHIRN and it's implied she had something to do with Ritsuko gaining a position. To combat this Ritsuko has tried to be as little like her mother as possible, including dyeing her hair, but her breakdown at the end of the series comes about largely because she realizes she failed at this as well including sleeping with (and being heartlessly used by) Gendo just as her mother did.
  • In New Game!, a variation happens. Umiko Ahagon and Nene Sakura are not related and had never met prior to the latter joining the former's company as a debugger, but gradually became friends over the course of their work. Sometime later, Nene applied for a job as a programmer, and Umiko hired her since while Nene didn't have enough skills at the moment, she did have potential. Tsubame "Naru" Narumi, who was hired at the same time, was displeased to hear about the circumstances behind Nene being hired since Naru herself had worked hard and paid her own way through school to prove that she could be a programmer. Naru isn't exactly wrong, but she does come to realize that Nene is more skilled than she gives her credit for.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, Cuuko first shows up working with kidnappers, and then immediately after that case is resolved she gets into the Planetary Defense Organization because her uncle works in HR. Nyarko is pissed for several reasons, but chief among them is that she had to do it the hard way, including taking an annoyingly difficult entrance exam.
  • One Piece: This is implied to be the reason why Spandam ended up being chief of CP9, despite being a General Failure and all-around waste of human life. His father, Spandine, was also chief of CP9, and almost as bad as him, though he was also decidedly more competent and had standards, unlike his son.
  • In Saki Achiga-hen, the Senriyama mahjong team includes the coach Masae Atago's (whose daughters play for another school's team) niece, Hiroko Funakubo, who, unlike many of these examples, is actually quite competent. Masae is pleased when she sees Hiroko doing well, hoping to avoid rumors of nepotism, but Cera, one of Hiroko's teammates, says people will make those rumors anyway.
  • In She Becomes a Tree, Kisaki's Office Lady coworkers spread rumors that she got her job due to knowing one of the president's relatives. Kisaki seems to be quite good at her job, since her tree body parts enable her to work several times as quickly as other employees and other people routinely dump work on her, so the rumors seem to be mainly due to the other women disliking Kisaki for her being a tree/human hybrid.
  • This issue is explored thoroughly in Smile Down the Runway. Sakuma Mii, the head of the novice department where Ikuto is first assigned to when he is hired as a full-time employee in Aphro I dite, is the daughter of the company's main sponsors. She spends most of her time lazing about and passes her actual work to the head designer of the company, and is seen as incompetent by pretty much everyone else. Later, she helps her former private tutor Hazime Yanagida to get a position as a department head in Aphro I dite, and he faces similar criticism from his subordinates. Ikuto is also accused of getting preferential treatment when his colleagues find out that he used to work for Yanagida. However, Yanagida mentions that it's alright to use one's connections to open up new opportunities for themselves, as long as they can prove themselves worthy of the position afterwards. Yanagida certainly proves his worth when his first Capsule Collection results in a resounding success; while Mii, who cannot do the same, loses her position to Ikuto.
  • In at least one incarnation of Tenchi Muyo!, Mihoshi's grandfather is the Grand Marshal of the Galaxy Police. Given that Mihoshi tends to be either a Genius Ditz, The Fool, or a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, and in any case causes massive headaches for the Galaxy Police, one theory amongst fans is that the only reason she was allowed to join, never mind stay employed, is because of this family tie. It doesn't prevent them, in the original OAVs, from sending her to patrol a sector of the galaxy considered a boring backwater... but that ends up blowing up in their faces.
    • As far as the OV As are concerned, it was revealed in supplementary materials (and implied in the show itself) that Mihoshi was, at one time, actually competent but as a result of a Noodle Incident that nearly killed her, she became the person she is today.
  • Downplayed in UQ Holder!. Shinobu became the Token Human among the Fairyland Hall staff (at an entry-level position) because she was friends with the boss' adopted son.
  • This is how Daigo became a CEO by 27 in ...Virgin Love. The fact that he is extremely competent definitely contributed though.
  • Doujima of Witch Hunter Robin is the daughter of a leader of the STN-J, and acts more like the spoiled, unpleasant version, coming to work late and reading fashion magazines instead of doing her job. She does get nicer over time. And the earlier behavior was sort of Obfuscating Stupidity anyway, as she was a Double Agent sent to observe the actions of Solomon, the witch-hunting organization.
  • In Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, Relie runs the same academy that her younger sister Philuffy studies at. When Lux, who Philuffy is interested in, becomes a student, Relie does everything she can to make them get together, including making them sleep in the same room. More seriously, she prevents Philuffy from going out on combat missions because of the risk of Philuffy's Half-Human Hybrid status being discovered.

    Comic Books 
  • A non-comedic example occurs in Judge Dredd — when Rico gives Deputy Chief Judge Sinfield's clone, March, a failing grade at the end of his provisional period for being too ruthless, Sinfield responds by sending Rico to oversee the mutant townships in the Cursed Earth.
  • Subverted in the X-Wing Rogue Squadron, when Councilmember Beruss refuses to send aid to Rogue Squadron, despite her nephew Avan being a member.
  • In a Silver Age Tommy Tomorrow story, Tommy's Venusian partner assumes that, as his dad is head of the Venusian Planeteers, that he'll get a cushy assignment. His dad instead puts him on convoy duty to Pluto to punish his son for bragging.
  • Scrooge McDuck has been known to hire not only his nephew Donald, but his great-nephews and his brother-in-law's nephews, Gladstone and Fethry, on occasion. This isn't too surprising since his in-laws all live in a once-small farming town where his corporate HQ is located, where he employs basically everyone. They really don't get special treatment, either.
  • Paperinik New Adventures has Sputhon, a dimwitted low-level Evronian officer, who got a job on the staff of Zotnam, commander of the invasion force of Earth, because, as explained in his character sheet, he's the second cousin of a schoolmate of the Emperor's spore-in-law (on a lateral line). Brought Up to Eleven by the fact that Evronians reproduce asexually and don't have families.
  • Discussed in White Sand, when Praxton notes that his son's lack of serious magic power means that regardless of how hard Kenton tries, Praxton won't be able to promote him to appropriate rank without people accusing him of nepotism.
  • Iznogoud: As "Scandal in Baghdad" opens, the scandalmonger who offers his services to Iznogoud demonstrates his abilities by sniffing out the fact that the guard on duty got his job through family connections. It quickly emerges that almost all of the palace guards are related to each other somehow, and all got their jobs that way!
  • Subverted in Lucky Luke: A cavalry colonel's son is randomly affected to his unit and the father is way harder on him than any of his other men (to avoid anyone thinking this trope is in effect). When the son finally calls him out on putting him on cleaning duty for the slightest/imagined infraction and volunteers for a dangerous mission, the father cries tears of joy as he finally made a man out of his boy.
  • Originally, G'nort had been inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, despite being horribly incompetent, thanks to an uncle who had been a famous and influential Lantern. However, later stories retconned the circumstances of his (and by extension, his uncle's) acquisition of a power ring.
  • In MAD, one article shows what would happen if people practiced Brutal Honesty toward each other. In one example, a company executive apologizes to a female employee for not promoting her, saying that he's giving it to the son of a dear friend of his. The woman pleasantly tells the man that she doesn't mind, since she intends to embezzle from the company.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Pamela Smuthers brags about getting a position as a wartime singer due to the governor of Texas pulling strings to make sure her marvelous singing talent is heard, only for Etta to point out that said governor is Pamela's father. Pamela doesn't seem to see how that has any bearing on the conversation.
  • The Punisher MAX: One of the North Vietnamese officers in Platoon is only there because his father is a general. Unusually for the trope, he's entirely aware of how out of his depth he is for everything.
  • In Sturmtruppen the Second Lieutenant is so dumb the soldiers wonder how he's still alive, and at one point one of his antics was so embarrassing the Captain flat-out asked him for one reason to not dishonorably discharge him on the spot. A mention the Lieutenant's father was a feldmarshall was enough for him to keep his post.

    Comic Strips 
  • This has happened in Dilbert with the son, wife, and nephew of the Pointy-Haired Boss.
  • Colonel Escargot's son in Beau Peep. The Colonel goes easy on him in training and expects he'll become a sergeant very quickly.

    Fan Works 
  • Agreement and Disputation: Holmes describes Mycroft's secretary as having procured the job solely because of his uncle's position in the House of Lords. He takes great pleasure in rattling the fellow.
  • Jokingly referred to in Anyone Can Become A Hero when Gyro finds out Johnny didn't vote for him for Class President.
    Johnny: Sorry, but I don't support nepotism.
  • This shows up many times in First Try Series:
    • The reason Tetsuo passes Naruto despite hating him for being the Kyuubi and obviously undertrained: if he fails Naruto, he also fails Satoshi, who's his wife's favorite nephew.
    • This is why Kakashi passes Team 7 in Team 7, he wants to teach Naruto but has to pass Sakura and Sasuke. Made bittersweet by Sakura and Sasuke bombing the Bell Test and Naruto (attempting to) deliberately fail it.
    • In Team Tetsuo, rather than Sakura and Sasuke do the Genin Exam and have Naruto, his favorite student, held back another year if they fail, Tetsuo decides to pass them on the spot so he could take them on months-long training trips to whip them into shape to get Naruto to the Suna Chunin Exam. Although in his defence, he was getting the Rookie of the Year and Top Kunoichi, so he assumed that he'd just need to shape them up a bit.
  • Discussed in Bait and Switch when Captain Bronok Zell is talking about his ship's apparent Wesley-equivalent.
    Zell: I’ll be along shortly but I have to go deal with something in Main Engineering. This idiot acting ensign Command saddled us with keeps breaking things with his science projects. Would’ve kicked him off months ago but he’s some ambassador’s kid or something so we’re stuck with him.
  • In All-American Girl, Celestia, while trying to help her niece DJ reconnect with her biological family and her Equestrian heritage, recruits her husband to a high-profile military posting and offers her brother the previously vacant position of Princess' Hoof (ie, King's Hand). When pressed, she admits to playing nepotism, though not entirely for DJ's sake - she's also trying to combat government infiltration by a group of pony supremacists called the Purehooves.
  • In Entropy, the first and second fics have Supreme Commander Asmos Rose, Amy's mother, actually in charge of GUN. Amy joins at Rouge's recommendation and though she took a callsign (Mjollnir) to separate her civilian and GUN selves, she became a part of a team (the Femme Fatalex.) It's not discussed on how she got the position, but it's plausible that her mother had a hand even if they note that there was notable friction between Amy and her mother.
    • A more obvious example is in the second fic Chaoskampf. As the whole world is nearly destroyed due to the Big Bad, Asmos creates the Rozen Resistance and has several Chiefs of different divisions. We have Asher Rose, Asmos' other daughter and Amy's older sister, as Chief of Medicine and finally, her oldest son, Andrew Rose as Chief of Engineering. The latter is more telling as Milo Prower, who has just as much talent in technology as his little brother, points out:
    Milo: (Talking about how the resistance base was built) We had a lot of help. Andrew is not the perfect engineer, but he's a good designer.
    Sonic: Why weren't you made Chief then?
    Milo: Take a guess...
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, this is taken to a ridiculous extreme: wealthy parents create an entire new division of their company to give their idiot daughter something to "do" with her life and let her feel like she's accomplished something. Note that while she heads the company on paper and claims its accomplishments as her own, the actual work is done by other (more competent) individuals.
  • Harry Potter fic Returning has Rose Weasley jokingly suggest this as an explanation for why James and Dominique made the Gryffindor Quidditch team, captained by Dominique's sister Victoire. The team is just under half Weasleys, not counting James Sirius Potter.
  • Defied in the Inquisitor Carrow Chronicles. Fudge is scandalized that due to Carrow's new anti-corruption measures, the son of a pureblood Ministry worker was denied a job after it was proven he wasn't remotely qualified for the job, made a scene and got bodily tossed out of the Ministry. He tries to assure the father his son will get the job, only to be informed the man isn't remotely concerned, since as far as he's concerned his son has proven his worthlessness.
  • In Where Talent Goes To Die, it turns out that Talent High School, conceived as a knockoff of Hope's Peak Academy actually turns out to be mainly designed so that the family members of the founders can go to school at a prestigious high school, with Ultimate titles they may not have actually earned, in order to get a leg up in getting into college and finding a job, with the actually talented Ultimates boosting the school's prestige. Mitamura and Iwasawa are implied to be beneficiaries of this practice.
  • In Where Talent Goes on Vacation, it's revealed that somehow, Talent High School awarded the Ultimate Tech Support title to two individuals (Ultimate titles usually only go to one person)- Chiyuri Nagato and Yuichi Asakura. Since the former happens to be the daughter of Class 32's homeroom teacher, the latter believes she got it by virtue of nepotism and despises her for it. However, Chiyuri and her mother soon point out that since the elder Nagato wasn't involved in recruiting Chiyuri, so she didn't get the title because of her mother's influence.
  • Witness (Good Neighbors): Several of Shouto's coworkers mistakenly believe that Endeavor coddles his son, giving him cushy assignments and treating him well because he's his successor. Those more aware of what's really going on use this misperception to their advantage while turning a blind eye.
  • Fallout: Equestria: In the backstory, Princess Celestia saw the Mane Six (and especially Twilight) as something like her children, and tried to keep them out of the war as much as possible, sending them off on diplomatic missions to keep them safe. After she gave up the throne, her sister Luna recruited them to help win the war since she saw them as saviors. That didn't work out either. When Littlepip meets Celestia at the very end, she gives Littlepip a way to escape her Heroic Sacrifice, only for Littlepip to point out that someone still needs to do it, and there's no good reason for it not to be her except that Celestia likes her.
    Celestia: I... I suppose I've always played favorites.
  • Subverted in Son of the Sannin. Yugao couldn't show any favoritism towards her foster son Haku while acting as the proctor in the Chunin Exam finals for the sake of being impartial and didn't even wish him good luck before his match started despite how much she wanted to. At most, she gives a small smile when he shows off some swordfighting skills that she had a hand in teaching him.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Mulan, Li Shang is determined to prove that this isn't why he was made a captain, despite the general who promoted him being his own father.
  • Top Cat: The Movie: Lou Strickland has no experience in the police but becomes the new Chief of Police after his father-in-law's retirement. It's eventually revealed that Strickland was given the position by a robot posing as the former Chief, who doesn't even have a daughter.
  • Despicable Me: Implied to be why the head of the bank insists they should give more loans to Vector, who is his son.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie The Mask, Stanley Ipkiss vents about the nasty supervisor at his job.
    Ipkiss: BACK OFF, Monkey Boy, before I tell your daddy you're running this place like it's your own personal piggy bank. Or maybe we should call the IRS, and see if we can arrange a little vacation for you at Club FED!
  • In District 9, Wikus' father-in-law denies that this is the reason he promoted Wikus to lead the alien eviction team. However, the trope is played with in that it seemingly hates Wikus, and promoted him with the hope that he would get killed or injured.
  • Initially averted in Gladiator when Marcus Aurelius decides to appoint Maximus as his successor, bypassing his own son Commodus. But Commodus himself enforces the trope rather... forcefully.
    • This was a common aversion to nepotism used by Roman Emperors. Since the Romans held that adopted children had the same inheritance rights as biological ones, many Emperors decided that it would be easier to find a worthy successor and adopt him into the family than to train a relative into a worthy successor.
  • Played for drama in Casino; Sam Rothstein is forced to hire an incompetent idiot in a cushy job because he's the brother-in-law of a powerful local official. Rothstein finally gets sick of the guy's incompetence and justifiably fires him. The brother-in-law amiably agrees that the guy's an idiot, and is willing to compromise on his relative holding a less responsible position, but Rothstein is such a perfectionist he refuses. This results in the official causing trouble for him later on.
  • The crew of the Spaceball One is largely composed of assholes. Named Asshole.
  • In The Princess Diaries 2 a relative is not placed in a position of power, but is hired to build the bathroom in Mia's suite, prompting the queen to remark that "nepotism belongs in the arts, not in plumbing."
  • In both the film and book of American Psycho, the protagonist Patrick Bateman works at an investment firm which his father practically owns. It is heavily implied that his job is a complete sinecure; the only remotely work-related activity he's shown to do is scheming to get more prestigious accounts assigned to him. (Presumably they're more prestigious because they actually earn money for the business, which is why Patrick is not let near them). Nevertheless, he feels infinitely superior to his brother, who lives on explicit parental handouts because he earns his own money.
  • Captain Maitland of Kelly's Heroes is a war profiteer who is never seen to lead his men or even pay attention to anything they say, but he goes unpunished because he's a general's nephew.
  • In the Heart of the Sea: George Pollard, Jr. is chosen over Owen Chase as Captain of the Essex because Pollard is coming from a well-established family and his father is one of the investors.
  • Die Another Day: It's pretty obvious that the main reason why Colonel Moon even holds such a high rank in the North Korean military, a position that he then abuses for his own gain, is because his father is a General.
  • In Deewaar, Ravi finds out at the end of a job interview that the position had already been filled by the General Manager's brother-in-law. Afterwards, he tells one of the others who have come for an interview that unless they have a relative who has a high position in the company, they're wasting their time.
  • The Rocketeer: The protagonist's girlfriend auditions for a theatrical role, only to end up as an extra because the director gave the role to his talentless daughter. Fortunately, the lead actor intervenes after realizing how useless the female lead is. Unfortunately, he's the Big Bad.
  • In the film version of Crazy Rich Asians, this is how Kitty (a bad actress) keeps getting jobs; her boyfriend Alistair is financing the films. Amanda also mentions that was how she got the job as the Youngs' general counsel because she grew up around them.

  • The secretary asked "How did you get your big executive job? You've only been here three months!" The young man shrugged and said, "I ran into my father and he took a liking to me."
  • "Young man, let me congratulate you, I don't think we've ever seen anyone rise so high and so fast in our company! To think that three months ago, you joined us as an intern, became a manager two weeks later, and on the board of executives a month after that! I don't mind telling you that your name is at the top of the list to take over as CEO once I retire. Is there anything you'd like to say?" "Thanks, dad."
  • A woman goes to a law firm and says "I got fired from my job, and replaced by the CEO's son, a complete idiot who spends the day harassing female employees and making the others do his work. Can you help me?" "Certainly, ma'am. The law firm of Harris, Harris, Harris, Harris, Harris & Sons has a great deal of experience with nepotism."

  • Discworld
    • Played with in Making Money — Hubert Turvy is a relative of Topsy Turvy-Lavish, the manager of the bank at the beginning of the novel. The bank has for long been the private toy of the Lavish family, so Topsy passes it on to Moist Von Lipwig, who also keeps Hubert around. The reason it's not a straight example is that rather than being incompetent, Hubert is a genius; he's just nuttier than a fruitcake. May be an inversion since in addition to her own nephew being brilliant, the "rightful" heirs the Lavishes are entirely corrupt, incompetent, and just plain awful. (A gathering of Lavishes requires a very careful seating chart based on who's suing who this week.)
    • Played with in Moving Pictures — when CMOT Dibbler takes over Century of the Fruitbat Moving Pictures, he hires his nephew Soll to deal with actually making the clicks. Soll turns out to be pretty competent, but it's not clear how much Dibbler cared. Reference is made to him hiring other nephews; at one point he says to Victor "I've been like an uncle to you", and Gaspode reflects that he's been like an uncle to most people there because he is. When Detritus is made Vice-President of Throwing Out People Mr Dibbler Doesn't Like The Face Of, he intends to hire his nephew.
  • The Belgariad (and Mallorean) make the whole Tolnedran Empire like this; the current ruling house and its supporters hold most government jobs. It's said that even the customs officers change after dynastic succession. This isn't presented as entirely negative: families in the Empire are so extended and politically active the nepotism is less about giving incompetent family members sinecures as about filling positions with people who can be trusted not to be conspiring against the current imperial family.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: A large portion of the population of Barrayar is certain that Miles Vorkosigan only got his positions because of his father the Regent/Prime Minister or his foster brother the Emperor. They are mostly wrong. It was nepotism that got Miles into the Imperial Military Academy, despite him not meeting the physical requirements, and nepotism that kept him in the Imperial Service after the Kyril Island incident.
    • Nepotism as a whole is rampant through the series. Though the efforts of Aral and Gregor have for the most part they have eliminated "Vorish nepotism," a large part of gaining promotion is based on who you know. Barrayar remains a place with a hereditary emperor and hereditary nobility (who are all very much Royals Who Actually Do Something); while Miles as a young man is very sensitive on the issue of nepotism, in one of the later books of the series he wryly notes "the whole Barrayaran Vor system runs on nepotism. It's not a vice for us, it's a lifestyle."
  • In the early Garrett, P.I. novels, the city watch is virtually useless, having degenerated into a sinecure for bureaucrats' freeloading nephews and so forth.
  • Plays a significant role in the Honor Harrington universe.
    • Most of the truly incompetent Manticoran officers are kept on the rolls because of powerful relatives in the aristocracy, although the 20 years of war with Haven tends to thin their ranks significantly. There are also some people who reach high rank faster than normal or end up with plum assignments because of their family connections, who end up proving that they have the skill to go along with the rank nonetheless (Michael Oversteegen is the most obvious example, getting a heavy cruiser - a senior-grade captain's slot - while still a captain jay-gee and then using it to blow four enemy heavy cruisers out of space in a single engagement).
      • Also averted with Michelle Henke, who is a noble in her own right as well as standing in succession to the throne (however distant) and is so terrified of being accused of this that it actually holds back her career quite significantly because the admiralty cannot promote her for her actions without fear that she'll see it as nepotism.
      • Considering how often incompetents are shuffled off to "non-critical" posts and how it inevitably spectacularly blows up in their faces when Haven launches a surprise attack there, one wonders why nobody in the Admiralty has wizened up yet and just start beaching or outright discharging incompetents, politics be damned. Then again, we've already seen how incompetent politicals also get in the way of proper governance. It is acknowledged as the biggest weakness of having a House of Lords.
    • Apparently averted with Haven, amusingly: when you meet their officers, very few get their jobs because of having relatives in high places (although to be fair, after two revolutions the people in the high places change significantly).
    • Stated to be one of the problems facing the Solarian military: most of their senior military leadership gets their positions through having relatives who are also senior military leaders.
    • The Mesan Alignment is the trope's logical conclusion; its leadership is composed of clones or carefully chosen and selected/engineered children of other leaders.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: According to her critics, the only reason Lydia is a general is that her grandfather is The Emperor. Her soldiers know better.
  • In Andrei Belyanin's Inverted City, the protagonist is a well-educated but undisciplined Don Cossack named Ilya Ilovayskiy sent by his widowed mother to serve in his late father's host. Who is in command of the host? Why, Ilya's own first cousin once removed General Ilovayskiy XII (Ilya just calls him "uncle"). Ilya's rank in the host is Khorunzhiy, a junior officer rank corresponding to a Second Lieutenant. Ilya frequently pulls stunts and displays the amount of insubordination that would get another Cossack whipped or kicked out (the first thing he does in the novel is steal his uncle's prized Arab horse and nearly gets the horse and himself killed), yet his uncle feels obligated to forgive his nephew in memory of Ilya's father. Given this, it can be easy to see that Ilya got his officer rank not on his own merits.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the first chapter is from the viewpoint of a character who's been played under the command of a teenager of noble blood, who's leading his own ranging despite never having been beyond the Wall before. The Night's Watch seems to be vulnerable to this beyond the cultural belief that nobles are more suitable, because it relies on the aid of others to sustain itself, and a lord is more likely to be helpful if his son is a prominent ranger than a random builder (though this can be justified because the noble has appropriate training from a young age). It's noted that the five youngest Lord Commanders of the Watch have all been close relatives of the Lord of Winterfell, and one of them was ten years old
  • One of John G. Hemry's 'JAG In Space' books (Burden Of Proof) has a rising star officer as the chief suspect after an explosion aboard a spaceship. The problem is that he is the son of a vice admiral and, despite evidence of his incompetence and laziness, pursuing a case against him could potentially wreck the protagonist's career.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, the killer in one of the short stories have been getting scot-free on many crimes and other things because his uncle is one of the leaders of Thorn.
  • Defied in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Michael Wenton-Weakes's mother, who upon becoming his boss has him downsized, then tells him to his face the only special treatment he'll get is her telling him his tie has a stain on it.
  • Warrior Cats: It's not uncommon for leaders to appoint their family, significant other, best friend or former apprentice deputy.
    • Ashfur calls shenanigans when Brambleclaw is appointed deputy in Sunset, saying how convenient it is that the Number Two should be the leader's daughter's mate despite the fact that Brambleclaw hasn't had an apprentice yet, which goes against the Warrior Code. Ashfur dismisses the fact that the choice was preordained by StarClan, which supplants the Warrior Code, because Leafpool, the medicine cat, happens to be another daughter of the leader, so she could easily be faking their messages to further the position of her family and cats close to it. His complaints are moot because StarClan really does want Brambleclaw to become deputy, and he soon proves himself to be very capable.
    • Raggedstar names his son Brokentail deputy, leading to disaster as Brokentail murders him to become leader faster, and he proves to be a cruel and bloodthirsty one as he advocates mercilessly training Child Soldiers and driving out the weak to fend for themselves.
    • Crookedstar and Onestar both make their siblings (Oakheart and Ashfoot respectively) their deputies. They are good, but they both die before making it to leader.
  • Super Powereds:
    • The premise of the books is that someone has discovered a way to make "Powereds" (people suffering from Power Incontinence) into Supers, giving them full control of their abilities. The main characters are the first test run of the procedure. They all have far-reaching, dangerous powers, and they were chosen because it was more important that they get their powers under control than the guy who teleports randomly every time he sneezes. The exception is Alice Adair, who simply levitates whenever she gets emotional. While hardly pleasant, she just has to stay inside and she's fine. However, her father is the richest man on the planet and owns a significant stake in the company that is running the procedure, so he insists she be part of the first run. It's implied that he knew she was a Gravity Master, and that if she didn't get her power under control before that part of it manifested, she would start leveling buildings. And then in Year 3, it turns out that Alice's father started the entire project to turn his Powered wife into a Super (who is supposedly dead, but actually in a coma). He put his daughter into the program because she is physiologically the closest person on the planet to his wife, and thus the best test case to see if the process would work on her.
    • A notable aversion in Year 2, when Alice joins the Subtlety class. Professor Pendleton absolutely refuses to show her any kindness or support and constantly tries to convince her to give up, since the class is completely outside of her skill set. Even when she does prove her skills, he threatens to throw her out for cheating. The only reason he doesn't is that cheating is part of the point of the class. The reason this is worth pointing out is that Alice is Pendleton's niece (though she doesn't know it), and in fact the only reason he agreed to teach at all was that she was going to the school.
  • In Memoirs of a Geisha, this was why the Chairman's future son-in-law and heir nearly didn't go through with the marriage to his daughter, because he feared the Chairman might change his mind and leave the company to an illegitimate son instead simply because they were blood-related (as had happened to another company to much scandal). This is what led Sayuri to emigrate to America, because, as she put it, a child raised in America would likely never come back to Japan. (Understandably, she's mum on whether she gave birth to the Chairman's son.)
  • X-Wing Series: In Wraith Squadron, Jesmin Ackbar tries out for Wedge Antilles's eponymous special operations unit out of desperation to serve on the front lines. She had previously spent most of her career as a Desk Jockey because no New Republic officer wanted to potentially have to explain her death to her famous uncle, Admiral Ackbar. When the elder Ackbar finds out she's been accepted to the squadron, Jesmin makes him promise to forgive Wedge if anything happens to her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The 100, Cage Wallace is both the head of Mount Weather's security and heir apparent to the Hereditary Republic, thanks to being the President's son. When actually given full control of Mount Weather, he tends to screw up royally.
  • An old Bob Saget episode of America's Funniest Home Videos once featured a production video in which the ultimate horror of the workplace was "The Boss's Kid".
  • This gets played with on Bad Blood. Mob boss Vito Rosetti got his position because he is the son of the previous Don Nico Rosetti. However, everyone, including Nico, agrees that Vito is the more competent mob boss and is the one primarily responsible for making the Rosetti Family the most powerful mob family in Eastern Canada. Vito always makes a big deal about the importance of family but he actually sidelines his own son Nico Jr and promotes Declan Gardener, a man with no family ties to the Rosetti clan, to be his Number Two. He justifies this by claiming that he is preparing Nico to be the head of a legitimate Rosetti business empire and Declan's loyalty and long service to the Family has made him an honorary Rosetti in Vito's eyes. This all falls apart when Vito goes to prison and an attempt is made on Nico Jr's life. Vito tells Declan that he is just an employee and that Vito would gladly sacrifice him to protect his real son.
  • Extensively played with in Battlestar Galactica. Lee Adama gets accused of this by Kendra Shaw concerning his assignment to command of the Battlestar Pegasus by his Admiral father, which "your daddy just gave to you, like he was tossing you the keys to a new car". However, Adama only appointed him to the post after first going through two senior officers who both died in quick succession. Likewise with Lee becoming President — while Adama was committing something close to a military coup by refusing to recognize Zarek's control of the Colonial government despite being legally entitled to that position, Zarek was an unreliable power-seeker and Lee one of the few people available who he could trust. Baltar also espouses this for sympathy baiting in his political writings when he questions whether the fleet will ever be run by someone whose last name isn't Adama. But while the above examples are justified, Adama senior does have a strong tendency to let Lee, his assumed daughter Kara, and others close to him get away with a lot of crap and spends an inordinate amount of time and manpower to search for Thrace when she is stranded on a planet, even at the expense of fleet security.
  • Blue Bloods:
    • In this case, there is no string-pulling (indeed The Patriarch often goes to dramatic lengths to make clear to the public that he is NOT doing this). Rather the Reagan family are brought up with tradition and heroic tales of police work until they each determine to become competent cops on their own account. Frank is actually worried that Danny might have been transferred to Major Case as order to curry favour with him since he worries that Danny is a Cowboy Cop and might not be qualified for the job.
    • Played with in one episode. An officer's name is recommended to him for promotion, which he initially rejects because he's the son of one of the chiefs and the name came recommended by Grandpa Henry. Frank is trying to avoid developing an "old boys club". Then he interviews the officer in question, who to his surprise agrees with him that he shouldn't be promoted because of connections. Frank is so impressed by the officer's humility that, coupled with his favorable record, he gives him the promotion after all.
  • The Borgias is almost centered around this with its depiction Pope Alexander VI and his family (especially Cesare Borgia).
  • Cases of the 1st Department: Ondrej Kavalir is a young intern who works with the 1st department. He is a son of somebody important from the presiding committee, the highest division of the Police. Head of the department likes him because he likes political advantages and loyal people. His colleagues are not too thrilled about young Ondrej because he makes lots of mistakes. He's not absolutely hopeless, but his last mistake is massive and he doesn't join the 1st department permanently. However, he was considered to replace Petr Andel who is a much better and much more experienced policeman.
  • In one episode of Diagnosis: Murder, the killer is a doctor who wants his son to follow him into the medical profession despite his son's obvious incompetence, to the point that he secretly arranges for his son to be given the answers to one of his medical exams before he sits it, and murders another student who finds out about the cheating and threatens to expose it.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", it's implied to be the reason Karl, who has acrophobia, works as a crane operator, which gives him self-esteem issues as a result. He tells the Doctor it's his dad's company.
  • In The Dukes of Hazzard, Boss Hogg's incompetent sheriff, Roscoe, is his brother-in-law.
  • In Family Matters, Carl Winslow was more than ready to be Captain, but his superior decides to give the position to his Son. However, instead of an arrogant man, the New Captain is actually a nice guy who values the Carl's opinions on every matter. When Carl manages to defuse a nasty gang war, His new Captain says that he rather go back to his old position (as he was content with it), and have Carl take it, since he's proven he deserves it. Needing no further opinions, Carl was granted the promotion.
  • Game of Thrones: This is usual in Westeros, but Reginald Lannister is a peculiar case that openly annoys his benefactor.
    Reginald: We've worked through the night, my Lord. Perhaps we'd profit from some sleep.
    Tywin: Yes, I think you would, Reginald. And, because you're my cousin, I might even let you wake from that sleep! Go! I'm sure your wife must miss you.
    Reginald: ...My wife's in Lannisport...
    Tywin: Well, then you'd better start riding. (beat) Go, before I change my mind and send her your head! If your name wasn't Lannister, you'd be scrubbing out pots in the cook's tent. Go.
  • In a few episodes of The George Lopez Show, his boss's son works there and doesn't do much of anything. George also gets Max a temporary job there to show him the meaning of hard work.
  • Get Shorty: The incompetent Small Name, Big Ego Yago obviously received and maintains his position as cartel boss Amara's lieutenant by being her nephew.
  • Probably the only reason why Hiro hasn't been sacked from his job in Heroes. At least he has the proper excuse of running/teleporting around saving the world.
    • In the Volume 3 episode "The Butterfly Effect", when Angela becomes the head of the Company following Sylar's murder of Bob Bishop, her first act as the new boss is to fire his daughter Elle, telling her point-blank that the only reason they kept her around for so long was because of Bob's influence.
  • Almost a running gag in Hogan's Heroes: low-level officers (captains and lieutenants) are constantly showing up, nominally working under Klink, and pushing him around. Whenever he tries to discipline them, they always turns out to be a general or field marshall's nephew. In one episode, Hogan even disguises a Russian soldier as such an officer. After he's annoyed Klink for a while, Hogan has him "disowned" by his "uncle", and Klink sends him to the Russian Front — where he's been insisting on going all episode.
  • House of Saddam: Saddam Hussein places members of his family in high-positions of power once he becomes President. In an ironic twist, Saddam's predecessor was his own cousin, who had made Saddam his deputy before being overthrown.
  • This is inverted in season 3 of Justified. The corrupt sheriff and his sister despise each other and he would never contemplate using his position to get her a job. However, on election day it is 'discovered' that she is actually an employee of the county and this violates local anti-nepotism laws. The sheriff is disqualified from running and his opponent becomes the new sheriff. Boyd Crowder bribed the sister and the county clerk to put her name on the payroll list so that Boyd's candidate would win the election.
  • Subverted in Just Shoot Me!: the boss's daughter is the only person in the whole show who is competent.
  • Zig-zagged in Season 17 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, when the Chief manages to get his son Mike installed as Benson's second-in-command. It's played straight in the sense that the way Mike gets the job is nepotistic — the Chief basically hands the position to Mike, allowing him to bypass the normal interview process and not even giving Benson a choice in the matter — but subverted in the sense that Mike is in fact good at his job, eventually earning the genuine respect of the rest of the unit. An unusual case in that Mike doesn't seek out these favors and in fact doesn't seem particularly thrilled with his father's string-pulling; his father does it of his own accord, often without even asking Mike what he wants.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The "Conquistador Coffee" sketch presents the sales rep being dressed down by his boss for causing the ruination of the company with his sales campaign ("Conquistador Coffee brings new meaning to the word 'vomit'"). All he can say back is "Sorry, father."
  • On Murphy Brown, the head of the network (played by Gary Marshall) put his nephew (Paul Rubens) in charge of the Show Within a Show FYI.
  • One sketch on Not the Nine O'Clock News saw a football team manager called onto the red carpet for a dressing down by a representative of the board over the team's dismal performance, which turned out to be a result of ridiculously rampant nepotism- every single player on the team was related to the manager, including his 81-year old mother playing on the left wing and his dog as goalkeeper. When the board representative sarcastically exclaimed that he was surprised the manager wasn't playing his cat, the manager defensively claimed it had a groin strain. At the end, the board representative told the manager that they'd decided to give him one last chance to win in order to preserve his job, in response to which the manager appreciatively thanked his uncle.
  • Used in the Season 7 premiere of The Office which is actually named "Nepotism", in which Michael hires his nephew as the new office assistant due to having been estranged from him. However, he is an apathetic and horrible assistant who messes up everything, which eventually leads to Michael spanking him, at which point he runs off and quits.
  • In Other Space the crew of the UMP Cruiser has some issues with this: the crew members Stewart picks are his childhood best friend and the girl he has a crush on, while their science officer is the son of a UMP executive and bluntly states that he's there because of nepotism and does not want to be there. Even the ship's computer was designed to deal cards and is partially there to add the names of their sponsors to their first contact message. Stewart's sister Karen may have also been placed there because of their relationship - specifically that they were hoping she wouldn't attempt a coup against the captain if it was her brother (she does). That's five out of seven crew members, not counting the stowaway.
  • Back in the early days of Parks and Recreation, during an interview Leslie mentions her mother is a big political figure in Pawnee and helped her with her job interview...and then immediately tells the reporters it wasn't Nepotism. But Characterization Marches On and Leslie showed the real reason she has her job.
    • In a later episode, Ben is trying to be a tougher boss to his interns in Washington D.C., then learns the hard truth about politics:
      Ben: Ellis is Congressman Murray’s nephew, Nathaniel is related to Donald Rumsfeld, and Britney’s dad is Ben Bernanke’s dentist. Every single one of these twerps is seriously connected. So, new plan: instead of firing them, I am going to kiss their asses like crazy.
  • Power Rangers: Beast Morphers: Implied at one point. General Burke is leader of Grid Battleforce, and his children, Ben and Betty, are security officers (and assistants in pretty much any department that needs them). On learning of the relationship, Zoey comments that "That explains a lot." The Rangers don't mind though, because, despite the siblings' periodic bumbling, they're genuinely nice people, honest in their desires to help out, and competent in the field when push comes to shove.
    • Subverted with Ravi. His mother is the Commander for Grid Battleforce but shows no favortisim and treats him like the rest of her staff.
  • The Sopranos.
    • Zig-Zagged by Chris. He isn't totally incompetent and his status as Tony's cousin/"nephew" doesn't exempt him from hazing like random strip searches and having to buy everyone's meals. However, he rises up the ranks much faster than he probably would on his own merits, and is allowed far more free passes and second chances than Tony would ordinarily grant. Played straight when Tony privately tells Chris that he plans to eventually make Chris his Underboss rather than any of his longer serving and more qualified soldiers solely because he is “blood”.
    • Subverted by Jackie Junior, who feels that since he is the son of a legendary mafioso, he is entitled to be a powerful and respected mob boss. Nobody takes him seriously, Tony actively prevents him from getting involved in anything, and his attempts to be a badass criminal end up getting him killed.
    • "Little Carmine" Lupertazzi is a straight example, he really isn't cut out for the mafia, and likely wouldn't have ended up with the kind of money and influence he has if it weren't for his dad.
    • Subverted by Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri. He marries Tony's sister, but his rise from Junior's flunky to #3 in the family is accompanied by him revealing himself to be much more competent and reliable than his initial appearances indicated.
  • The Spy: Ma'azi is a rather trivial and untalented man, but his uncle is a powerful Syrian general, so he has more authority than his rank would suggest.
  • Succession focuses on a family-owned media empire. The patriarch is a skilled and ruthless businessman, but he's given his pampered and rather incompetent children high-ranking positions in the company that they're obviously not qualified for.
  • One episode of The Thin Blue Line has Grim wanting to join a secret society called the "Todgers". He proudly rattles off a list of why he thinks they are better than the Freemasons, including better costumes and ceremonies — until Fowler chips in with "... and better nepotism."
  • On Vegas Ralph Lamb is appointed as the new sheriff of Las Vegas and immediately hires his brother and son as deputies despite them having no policing experience. He is taking on the Mob and he needs deputies he can trust explicitly. He does get called out on this a few times by other law enforcement officials.
  • The Wire: This is a big part of the show's thesis on why systems on both sides of the law don't work very well.
    • D'Angelo Barksdale is a softie and not really cut out for the game. However, his kinship as Avon Barksdale's nephew gives him great leeway.
    • The dangerously incompetent Roland Pryzbylewski owes his police career to being the son-in-law of the influential Major Stan Valchek. He's prone to overreacting and panicking when out in the field, which causes all sorts of problems in his career that Valchek can't erase. Sadly, Prez is actually quite competent when analyzing data and working the paper trail. If he'd relied on his own devices to pursue a career based on his strengths rather than accept a handout from his father-in-law, he's probably have made a great analyst for the FBI or CIA.
    • Proposition Joe has a big problem with this, his nephew Cheese being a major, but not the worst, example. His organization is not depicted in much detail but it is suggested he suffers from being Surrounded by Idiots.
      Sergei: Family cannot be helped.
      Joe: Who you tellin'? I got motherfucking nephews and in-laws fucking all my shit up all the time, and it ain't like I can pop a cap in their ass and not hear about it Thanksgiving day. For real, I'm livin' life with some burdensome niggas.
    • Another of Proposition Joe's nephews is Drac, the talkingest motherfucker ever heard on a wiretap. He is so incompetent that he doesn't even speak in drug slang ("COCAINE, NIGGA!"). The Major Crimes Unit even contemplates busting a dealer higher up the chain in hopes that Drac gets promoted. When Burrell asks Daniels why he thinks Drac will get promoted even though he's a knucklehead, Daniels replies, "We do it all the time", which Burrell chuckles at.
    • Frank Sobotka, along with his son Ziggy and nephew Nick. In one scene, Ziggy is cursing out a customer for being impatient. Frank assures the customer he'll square things with the customer's shipping agent, and yells at Ziggy, telling him he's fired. Frank storms off, and Ziggy looks at the customer contemptuously before wandering off as well. La La informs the customer Ziggy is Frank's son, and so the "firing" was just for show.
    • Namond Brice got pushed by his mother De'Londa into street dealing. He coasts on his incarcerated father Wee-Bey's name and street reputation, but everybody realizes he's not cut out to be a player. Everybody, that is, except his own mother, who seems to think Namond could build a street empire the way Wee-Bey did with Stringer and Avon—with disastrous results. Colvin sees potential in Namond and eventually persuades Wee-Bey to give parental custody to him.
  • Despite his father being the deputy director of the FBI, Without a Trace's Martin Fitzgerald makes it clear from the first episode that he neither wants nor expects any special treatment. His supervisor bluntly tells him, "Good, because you're not getting any." Despite this, for the duration of the show, he had to fight accusations of it—it's assumed that the very reason he got such a plum position so soon after graduating from the academy is because of this and for the first few episodes, he overcompensates to prove his mettle—his father's attempts at displaying it—protecting him from an Internal Affairs investigation—and people determined to bring him down to prove that it wasn't happening.
  • ER: In the show's later seasons, Dr. Simon Brenner joins the staff and is soon revealed to be the nephew of former Chief of Staff Donald Anspaugh, making him both an example of this and Nephewism. (What's more, nepotism is from the Greek word for. . . nephew). However, despite his Jerkass ways, he never throws his familial connections around and is an excellent physician.
  • Punky Brewster has a part-time job as a server at her foster father's restaurant Punky's Place during seasons three and four of her eponymous sitcom.
  • Veep eventually reveals how the incompetent, unlikable Jonah Ryan got a job in the White House: His uncle basically controls all the politics in New Hampshire.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The closer you are to someone higher on the card (specifically those in the main event), the more likely you're going to get a push. Especially when that person is Hulk Hogan.
  • Nearly every booker in the history of professional wrestling is guilty of this, at least to some degree. When Dusty Rhodes became booker of WCW back in the early nineties, his son Dustin (aka Goldust) got pushed to the moon, but he at least had talent — Erik Watts, son of Bill Watts, was absolutely terrible but he got pushed at the expense of everyone else. The fans were aware of this and had no issue booing Erik out of the arena.
    • In fact, it's widely believed that the reason Dustin went to WWF after he was fired from WCW (for blading in the infamously bad "King of the Road" match, which he must have known was against company policy) instead of letting Dusty get him rehired again was because he wanted a chance to make a career for himself out of his father's shadow and away from accusations of nepotism. It drove a rift between the two of them for years, but they made up eventually (helped by the fact that Goldust became such an iconic character).
  • If you're a second- and/or third-generation wrestler, expect a little favoritism. Ric Flair's son David didn't even want to be a wrestler (he wanted to be a state trooper), but the large paychecks WCW was paying him changed his mind. The fans are very vocal about their hatred of this treatment unless the wrestler proves to have actual talent. Special mention must go to The Rock, who debuted as goody-two-shoes Rocky Maivia (grandson of High Chief Peter Maivia) and was absolutely hated. "Die, Rocky, Die!" chants were not uncommon — until Rocky turned heel, joined The Nation of Domination, let himself loose on the mic and became one of the two biggest wrestling superstars in history.
  • TNA is even worse than WCW in this regard, if that was even possible. Though, it was at its absolute worst during the Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff era, who, of course, brought in their guys and put the spotlight on them while basically pushing all the homegrown talent down the card. Dixie, a well-known money mark, did nothing to dissuade them and was even guilty of this herself at times, especially when it comes to Vince Russo.
    • It was so apparent that they eventually lampshaded it by debuting Ethan Carter III (NXT's Derrick Bateman), Dixie Carter's (kayfabe) nephew, who was showered with all sorts of attention in the narmiest way possible. Ironically, he's very popular with whatever is left of TNA's dwindling fanbase.
    • TNA owes its very existence to this trope — the promotion was born after WCW folded. Jerry Jarrett created it to not only replace WCW but to also put the spotlight on his son, Jeff Jarrett. Though eventually they lost control of the company to Dixie, and the nepotism became so bad under her rule that even Jeff was sick of it, tried to buy the company back, and when that didn't work, left and started another promotion.
    • Then there was Garrett Bischoff. Garrett actually does seem to have talent, but he's still very green and got shilled by every main-eventer in the promotion, which did not endear him to the fans all that much.
    • Brooke Hogan. Despite having no talent as a performer, not even being a wrestler, she got a disproportionate amount of screen-time — her romantic storyline with Bully Ray eventually became the main event angle of TNA, which just screams of nepotism.
  • More recently in the WWE, it's been said Roman Reigns has been getting a Main Event push because of his Anoa'i family ties along with having the look and size Vince loves despite the fans having turned on him by Wrestlemania 31. That being said, Roman worked hard to improve in the last year and it became very clear that he does have talent. The problem is that the company still has no idea how to write his character and refused to let him use the one character that worked until it was too late, so people still hate the character despite him being a face. Occasionally, brilliance shines through, though it's muddled up by the company's terrible writing.
    • While Roman finally managed to win the fans over, the same accusations came to be leveled at Nia Jax, distantly related to Roman and The Rock (her father is The Rock's grandfather's first cousin). While she isn't as overpushed as Roman was, the backlash against her is far more vehement as, despite her intimidating size and presence, she's not only a mediocre ring worker, but she's proven to be a dangerous performer, repeatedly injuring other women she has to work with. WWE has been heavily criticised for continuing to employ her despite calls for her to be sent back to developmental for further training at best, or be released at worst, before she cripples someone.
  • As with so many other things in wrestling, Vince McMahon is the king of this trope. Not only did he make himself one of the WWE's most prominent villains during the Attitude Era, but his children Shane and Stephanie have also had prominent roles as onscreen characters. Like Dusty and Cody Rhodes above, it's mitigated somewhat by Vince and his kids having genuine charisma and skill at drawing heel heat, and have even wrestled decent matches themselves. It also doesn't hurt that they've had multiple occasions of being Butt Monkeys who suffer from Laser-Guided Karma. However, it did manage to infamously ruin The InVasion Angle when the angle started with Shane buying WCW out from under Vince and Stephanie buying out ECW and the two children teaming up to take on their father, turning the angle from the "WWF vs WCW (and ECW)" story that everyone wanted to see into yet another "McMahon vs McMahon" affair.
  • A milder example cropped up in All Elite Wrestling when they hired Dr. Luther, a bona-fide ring oldie who just entered his 50s, on the basis that he's a very old friend of top star Chris Jericho. The general consensus of the fans is that it's hard to say that Luther has Still Got It (unlike Jericho, who's having one of the best runs of his career) and his ring work is considered mediocre at best, but since he's not pushed and hangs around the lower card mostly putting over young up-and-comers it's considered a harmless enough case of Jericho doing a favour for an old friend.

    Puppet Shows 
  • One of the less blatant examples is Scooter from The Muppet Show, whose uncle owns the theater. He's only a gofer, but still portrayed as fairly naive and incompetent, and still gets his way when he drops his uncle's name. By the second season, he's mostly over it.
  • The French satirical show Les Guignols de l'Info had a field day mocking President Nicolas Sarkozy's various attempts at putting his son Jean in posts of high responsibility.

  • In one of the Storyteller sketches on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, he describes how he applied to work a bank, and met with the irascible owner, who immediately gave him a job. And that's how he became a manager at Finnemore and Finnemore.

  • The antagonist of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is the boss's nephew.
  • In the Musical A New Brain, while Gordon is in the hospital, his boss keeps threatening to replace him with the boss's son.
  • In City of Angels, Buddy Fidler employs his nephew as a gofer. No wonder he refers to the movie industry as a "business of refuse and nephews."
  • Axel, the main character of Don't Drink the Water, is embarrassingly incompetent at his job and only has it because his dad is the boss. He really is a good guy, he's just in the wrong career.
  • Allegro averts this. Even though Charlie, after becoming a doctor, works under his uncle, Physician-in-Chief Bigby Denby, he isn't portrayed as incompetent and has a conscience that his uncle lacks. (It's worth noting in this context that Oscar Hammerstein II spent most of his early career writing shows for his uncle Arthur.)

    Video Games 
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley accuses a work foreman robot of having done this by passing up Wheatley for a promotion in lieu of... an exact copy of himself.
  • Claude C. Kenny, protagonist of Star Ocean: The Second Story, feels pressure from this, as revealed in flashbacks. Some cadets believe that Claude only got to his position because of his father Ronyx Kenny, a high ranking member of The Federation and one of the heroes of Star Ocean 1.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: General Lee Oliver of the NCR supposedly got his position through cronyism via his close ties to President Kimball. Naturally, he is an inept commander who is more concerned with his own reputation than the lives of his men.
  • Fallout 4 introduces Arthur Maxson, last seen as a child in Fallout 3, the leader of the Commonwealth Brotherhood of Steel, who took over as leader of the Brotherhood when he was still an adolescent. It's strongly implied he only got the position because of his lineage since the Maxsons founded the Brotherhood. He was appointed by the Lost Hills Elders and actually wields less power than them and is implied to be taking orders from them, strongly implying he's actually a Puppet King.
  • General Knoxx of Borderlands works for "Admiral Mikey", who takes this trope to the logical extreme by being a literal toddler. Hilarity Ensues. Doesn't really help that Knoxx is one of the few antagonists of Borderlands that you (could) have sympathy with. Of course the game itself acknowledges itself as a big joke.
    General Knoxx: I work for children... literally, the admiral is five. Goddamned nepotism. When I asked for orders, he sent me a box filled with melted chocolate and a birthday card made from macaroni.
    • In the sequel, it seems that this trope is probably the reason that Axton was able to stay in the Dahl military as long as he could, as his wife was his commanding officer. Eventually, however, his antics went a mite too far (specifically, leveling a building filled with terrorists, as well as a dignitary he was supposed to protect) and his wife made him go AWOL, as well as more or less divorcing him.
    • In a meta example, head writer Anthony Burch is not above joking that nepotism played a role in his sister Ashly getting the role of Tiny Tina as well as a DLC focused around said character.
  • The player character of Good Job! is the child of the featured company's CEO, and as such is mostly graded on how quickly they get tasks done - regardless of how much damage they cause to the company in the process.
  • Played with in Mass Effect 3. Primarch Victus' son, Lieutenant Victus, a so-so officer, was given a big assignment, disarming a centuries-old turian bomb on Tuchanka, which he screwed up horribly at first. His failure worked both ways: it looked horrible for the Lieutenant for failing his mission, and even worse for his father because he's accused of this trope (promoting someone to a position they're unsuited for is considered to be a failure on the part of the promoter in the Turian Hierarchy).
    • It does end up working out in the end, unusually for this trope.
    • Also it wasn't totally because of nepotism, but actually because his father trusted him to be able to follow orders and keep his mouth shut because their mission was top secret and would really piss the Krogan off if they found out.
  • It's implied in the StarCraft fluff that General Edmund Duke only got to be in command because the Dukes are one of the Old Families who have tremendous influence on the Confederate government. He himself is a clear example of General Failure (his one great victory in the game is against his own people since he knows all about them).
  • In Pokémon Ranger, the Go-Rock Quads, admins of the Go-Rock Squad, are the children of the Big Bad. They're not especially incompetent, but at one point you can catch a Commander grumbling about how he'll never get promoted because he's not related to the boss.
  • In This Is the Police you play Jack Boyd, the Police Chief of Freeburg who is being forced into retirement because the city's corrupt mayor wants to give the job to one of his relatives. At first it seems like he is going to give the job to his nephew before announcing that his brother-in-law will take over instead.
    • A local businessman contacts you and offers to donate enough money to the police department that you can hire three additional police officers. His only condition is that you hire his nephew as one of the officers. The guy is incompetent and has the lowest skill level possible in the game. You cannot fire him without losing the funding but assigning him to certain tasks might result in him quitting on his own which does not penalize you.
  • Tyranny: The Disfavored ranks come from old military families, and while their childhood-enforced training and discipline shows, it's clear that their families intentionally refused to teach them diplomacy and forgiveness; when it comes to purging the Tiers, they do even more damage than the Scarlet Chorus, who will at least give everyone a violent fighting chance to surrender and join the gangs.
  • The final boss of Yakuza 5, Aizawa, makes the valid point that Daigo only got to be Chairman of the Tojo Clan because he was born into a high ranking, well connected family and was personally supported by Kiryu, a previous Chairman who Daigo had been close with since he was a child. However, this is also pretty rich coming from Aizawa, as his whole involvement in the plot stems from his father, the Chairman of the Omi Alliance, trying to accumulate more power to pass to his son upon his impending death, despite Aizawa not being anything special on his own merit.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Gyakuten Kenji 2, this is first implied, then revealed to be the reason as to why Sebastian Debeste, the son of Chief Prosecutor Blaise Debeste, easily became a prosecutor even though he's pretty much incompetent for much of the game.
  • Subverted in Shining Song Starnova. While Kamijou may be the eldest son of Golden Calf’s founder, he is repeatedly shown to be a highly competent and hardworking individual entirely deserving of his position as the company’s acting CEO. Not that his competence stops the board of directors from resenting him for the perceived nepotism…

    Web Comics 
  • Amazing Super Powers has perhaps the most clear-cut depiction.
  • In Demon Fist Grand High Pope Macront says that his nephew Alvin Theodora keeps acing IQ and tactics tests, and assigns him to head the team sent after Rory. In reality he turns out to be a breathtakingly arrogant Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Implied to be common among the Sharen clan in Drowtales, which place great importance on one's lineage and nobility compared to the meritocracy of the upstart Sarghress clan. Nihi'liir and Kio'nel in particular are implied to have only gotten their positions as overseer of a prison and head of a Penal Colony respectively because of their family connections, and both are young enough to lack the experience to effectively run them. Both pay for this with their lives.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Justin was hired at the comic book shop by his uncle out of pity. Subverted, as Justin went out of his way to prove he deserved the position. This is brought up when Justin's friend Grace is applying for a job there. The owner points out she's guaranteed the job if she wants it, states he's not going to interview her, and asks if - as a friend Justin recommended for the job - she wants it. (She takes the point and the job.)
  • In Freefall Mr. Kornada turns out to have gotten his position as Vice President of paper clip distribution from his nephew, Mr. Ishiguro, who gave him a worthless high-ranking job to keep him out of trouble.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Solomon David, one of the seven demiurges who rule Creation, plays with this. On the one hand, he gives generations of his sons important places in his kingdom's bureaucracy, where they can administrate entire worlds. On the other hand, he refuses to name any of them his heir, bluntly telling them that none of them are worthy.
    Solomon David: Contemplate these words, counselors: If you desire the crown—why here it is.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Referenced when Breya needs help with something and thinks of her brother (a bonafide genius and Omnidisciplinary Scientist who invented the teraport):
    Jaksmouth: Admiral, one of the tursto's strike teams has captured a wormgate intact. Triniko is doing her best, but right now we need a think-tank of wormhole physicists and engineers to sort out what we're looking at here.
    Breya: We could try to hire my brother away from that company of thugs he's hanging out with.
    Jaksmouth: Right. Sure. You know, that reminds me. I have a good-for-nothing nephew who could use a steady paycheck.
    Breya: Your non-sequitur looks more like a subtle accusation of nepotism.
    Jaksmouth: He's very qualified management material, for sure.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Daedalus, the leader of Hereti Corp, is eventually revealed to be "Dade Hereti", son of the company's founder Dr. Steven Hereti. Mild subversion in that it's implied Dr. Steve did not want Dade taking his position.
  • In Weak Hero, Jared Sun's uncle is the head of school affairs, which explains why Jared gets such good grades even though his intelligence is rather mediocre.

    Web Original 
  • Seemingly played straight but actually averted on Battleground (2012) with Jordan who is the son of the candidate's wife. While he believes that he is in a position of importance, he actually doesn't do anything and merely is given an office to keep him out of the way.
  • Featured in Grandmaster of Theft with regards to protagonist and established as one of the ways in which the Elites work. Cassidy dislikes the thought that this as the only reason she'll one day run the Family Business and chooses to work hard to prove that she deserves the position based upon her own talents, not family.
  • Auto-Tune the News: STRICTLY disallowed in New Orleans. Except for family members. And sexy turtles.
  • A frequent theme in online reviews of After Earth was pointing out that even if this didn't occur during production of the film, there's enough about this film that makes people think of nepotism that filmgoers were turned off by it.
  • According to Todd in the Shadows, this the only reason certain artists, including the aforementioned Willow and Jaden Smith, Rockwell, LMFAO, and Hot Chelle Rae have careers. It's turned into something of a Running Gag in his reviews with him loudly declaring "NEPOTISM!"
  • Not only is the trope name in the name of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic parody series Nepotism Adventure Series, it got to all of one episode before the topic came up.
    Twilight: I mean, this is why ponies become rulers, right? To help their friends get things they wouldn't have access to without their royal power?

    Western Animation 
  • The main plot of the "Benchwarmer" episode of Hey Arnold! is the basketball Coach Wittenberg's insistence that the other players give all of the most important roles to his son Tucker, even when he was not the best at them or if it meant a less surefire victory. In fact, Arnold gets benched for several games just because he passed the ball to Gerald as Tucker wasn't open, despite the fact that they scored. Thus most of their drilling revolved around learning how to "get the ball to Tucker." It takes Tucker himself calling out his father for putting too much pressure on him to win basketball games to get Coach Wittenberg to stop.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In one episode, Mr. Krabs gives his daughter Pearl control of the restaurant. She promptly flips the place upside-down and changes the target demographic to vegetarian teenagers, much to SpongeBob's dismay. She was actually making horrible business choices so that her dad would take the restaurant back as she didn't want to run the place.
    • Squidward lampshaded this trope when introducing Pearl at the Krusty Krab's talent show. Patrick found it hilarious.
    • In another episode, SpongeBob vouches for his incompetent cousin Stanley Squarepants as a good worker to get him a job. Mr. Krabs later says something to the effect of "You'd better not have talked me into hiring him just because you're related. Why, if that was the case I'd have hired my three nephews." Cue three smaller versions of Krabs in the room.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Brother from the Same Planet", the soccer coach selects Nelson to attend Pele's soccer and acting camp, causing Nelson to thank his father.
    • In "Bart Star", Homer coaches Bart's pee-wee football team.
      Homer: Now, just because I'm his father, he will get no special treatment. He calls me coach just like everyone else. Which he'll be doing, as our new starting quarterback!
      • Ironically enough, he began doing this because he began by treating Bart harshly. When he was told he was being too mean, he decided to be more supportive.
    • In another episode, Homer becomes the referee of the local soccer little league. In a unique fashion, it's Lisa who expects preferential treatment, but Homer subverts this by pointing out that while he's the ref, he will not show her special favor.
      Homer: When I put on these shorts, I'm not your father anymore, and judging by how tight they are, I'm never going to be anyone else's either.
    • In "O Brother Where Art Thou?", Homer's half-brother, wealthy auto tycoon Herb Powell, hires Homer to design the car that will break Powell Motors out of its slump. In part, this was because Herb thought Homer was the "average American" who knew what other ordinary Americans wanted in their cars, but Herb also doesn't give Homer any supervision or feedback. The results completely destroy Herb's company and reputation and Herb declares that he has no brother.
  • One might think this is how Sterling Archer keeps his job, the abuse Malory heaps on him notwithstanding. It's quickly revealed though that's he's a Bunny-Ears Lawyer when it comes to secret agent work.
  • In an episode of The Flintstones where Barney started working at the quarry, Mr. Slate found out Barney is his nephew and promoted him just because of that.
  • The Mayor in the Pound Puppies (2010) series tends to do this regarding civil service positions. McLeish is only head of Shelter 17 because he's the Mayor's brother-in-law.
  • Skeleton Warriors: When Grimskull's betrayal is publicly revealed, his brother's refusal to have him executed is perceived as this by the people.
  • Brad Caslor's 1985 short animated film Get A Job ends with Bob, the main character, receiving a telephone call where he is informed by a prospective employer that his job application was successful and he starts tomorrow. Bob ends the call with "Bye dad"!
  • In the Moral Orel episode "School Pageant" the only reason Junior Christein was cast as Jesus in 'Crooning Jesus' was that he was the nephew of a big-shot Broadway producer that Mr. Armature wanted to suck up to. It didn't work out so well: the town had expected Orel Puppington to get the role, and so were bored throughout the play, and Orel's solo as Judas ("I Hate You Jesus") was the only thing people remembered about it.
  • The Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy cartoon "Talk It Up, Pup" posits that since Doggie Daddy was umpiring a little league baseball game Augie was in and was at bat at the time, that Doggie Daddy shouldn't have called him out on strikes. Augie gives Doggie Daddy the silent treatment for 24 hours, which he's portrayed as deserving.
  • In the first episode of Sonic Boom, Amy says she's fine with getting the position of Sonic's sidekick via this.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Saddle Row Review", when Rarity is about to open her new shop in Manehatten, the landlord, Mr. Stripes, forces Rarity to hire his daughter, Plaid Stripes, under the threat of raising her rent.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Silencer", it's revealed that XY is the son of music producer Bob Roth, who's willing to do anything to help his son stay popular...including hosting a phony music video contest and stealing the winning video for him to use, which kicks off the episode's plot.
  • BoJack Horseman's agent, Princess Carolyn, has her intern replaced by Mr. Witherspoon's son, Charlie. He's later promoted after catching a hot bagel for his father, and by season 3, he's taken over the company after his father dies of a stroke.
  • Mentioned offhand in Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars: at one point during the "In the Empire" musical number, Candace goes into a tirade about how she's stuck buying Darth Vader's socks while Gladys in accounting got promoted to commander because she's related to a midlevel Darth, despite not knowing how to even hold a blaster.
  • Steven Universe: Ronaldo believes this is the case in the episode "Rocknaldo". Steven indulges in Ronaldo's desire to be a Crystal Gem, but he snaps when Ronaldo accuses Steven of giving Connie his mother's sword solely because she's his girlfriend, despite the fact that Connie has been training much harder and much longer than Ronaldo.


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