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One Normal Night

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"One normal night is a perilous trick,
Normal is hard to attain
Children are crazy
and Parents are quick,
Passions are hard to explain..."
Uncle Fester, The Addams Family

So, the youngest child is now all grown up, and is no longer clueless to the phenomenon known as love, experiencing some of the associated symptoms like longing looks, a more bubbly personality, and long pauses between responses. The parents, and quite possibly siblings, who notice these changes will start to express some concern amongst themselves, before addressing the situation to the person in question, who, by that time, will tell the family that he/she is in love with someone, and is planning to introduce the significant other and their family to his/her own. But, there's a catch. Turns out he/she feels quite embarrassed with the current status that the family is in right now. So, before the significant other arrives, some ground rules have to be applied: Don't be a Doting Parent, don't drag out any Embarrassing Old Photo, father, whatever you do, try to resist the temptation of falling into your typical habits, do not tell stories like "I Used To Change Your Diapers", keep those tacky, moth-ridden sweaters you used to make me out of sight, and especially don't reveal my full name. Just, for the love of God, give me one normal night.


May overlap with Give Him a Normal Life. May also involve Bad "Bad Acting" if the people involved are not used to behaving to the normal standards of society. Expect stock phrases such as "You're Not My Father", "Where Did We Go Wrong??", and, the extreme "You Are Grounded!". Expect massive Facepalms from the child if they start to think the family isn't respecting his or her request, or are acting even worse than they normally do. As a last-ditch effort, the child in question might use Stand-In Parents to make the illusion a reality.




Live-Action Television

  • In conjunction with Stand-In Parents, this happens in an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place when Max brings over a girlfriend.
  • Inverted in Soap when Danny introduces Elaine, whom his family presume is somebody very close to him as he rarely introduces his girlfriends so Mary asks everybody to pretend to be normal (e.g. asking Burt not to admit that he believes he can turn himself invisible). In fact, Elaine is a Mafia Princess who is forcing Danny to marry her and Danny shows off all the craziness in his family in an attempt to scare her away. She concludes that they're all pretending to be crazy as no family could ever be that insane and refuses to let Danny go.


  • The Trope Namer is a song from the musical The Addams Family, where Wednesday, upon telling the titular family of her boyfriend's arrival, requests that they try to be normal for just one night to leave a good impression on his family. Her boyfriend then sings a verse where he implores his parents to try to be normal for just one night to leave a good impression on her family.
  • The plot of The Birdcage: the son of a Camp Gay nightclub owner is engaged to the daughter of a conservative politician, and when her parents come to visit, the household scrambles to pretend to be a "normal" nuclear family.
  • You Can't Take It With You: Alice brings home her beau and asks that her family act normal.

Western Animation

  • An episode of the Casper animated series had Fatso convince the rest of the ghostly trio to help him pretend to be a lord to impress a visiting woman ghost. She turned out to be Miss Banshee in disguise, who was furious that they "cheated" on her...with her.
  • Inverted in one episode of Doug, where Judy is so embarrassed of her family being "ordinary" that she comes up with a ridiculous scenario for them to act out for her crush, with her parents playing the roles of eccentric bohemians and Doug playing the role of...the butler, since he's supposedly too boring to be part of "her" family. Doug turns the tables by adding a "secret agent" role to the proceedings, culminating in him jumping onto the table in the middle of the lasagna and making a dramatic Final Speech. The boy in question thinks the whole thing was staged for his entertainment, not to deceive him, and Judy decides to roll with it.
  • Happens with Bart in The Simpsons. He brings home a date and soon feels very embarrassed by his family. His date asks him awkwardly, if there isn't at least one sane person in his family. Bart looks to Lisa...but she is so high from her Happy Pills, that she is just mumbling to herself with a drunk expression.