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Pretending to Be One's Own Relative

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Pepe: I am Monsieur Pepe.
Mr. Farquhar: But you were the doorman!
Pepe: Eh? No, no, that's Mario. My brothers.

Due to certain circumstances, a character has to pretend to be their own relative. Reasons may vary.

Usually, the preferred relative to pretend to be is an uncle/aunt, cousin, or niece/nephew. Pretending to be one's own child can work if it's plausible for the character to get married (better if the spouse is in on the charade). If there's a Strong Family Resemblance, the character can even pretend to be their own parent (who may be dead or otherwise indisposed). Of course, if the character has for some reason turned into (or has to pass themselves off as) their own relative, this trope can apply too.

This can be more (or less) effective if the family they're from is extended and massive, or very enigmatic. Said relative the character pretends to be doesn't actually have to exist.

If a Familial Body Snatcher cannot believably pretend to be the descendant they take over, they may resort to using this method.

Tropes that have this in effect by default include:

  • My Grandson, Myself - The character is immortal and has to return to a place that knows their old identity, so they pass themselves off as their own grandchild.
  • Fake Twin Gambit - The character specifically pretends to be their own twin sibling, who may or may not exist.
  • Twin Switch - That (existing) twin also pretends to be their own twin sibling.

So any examples of those should go to those pages instead.

Contrast with Family Relationship Switcheroo. Compare Relatively Flimsy Excuse. Not connected with Mistaken for Related.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Matsuri and Suzu first met Haya when she's impersonating her brother Soga by capturing the real thing, stealing his exorcist ninja suit, and saying he'd been turned into a girl by an ayakashi (even threatening Ponosuke into playing along). All of it was just a way to get Matsuri to tell Haya what it was like when he actually had been turned into a girl.
  • Case Closed: Shinichi excuses frequently hanging out with his friends and family in his Conan persona by claiming to be a distant relative to the Kudos.
  • In the Beach Episode of Mayo Chiki!, the cast members who aren't in on Subaru's secret make an unexpected appearance and the main characters, in trying to deflect the question of why Subaru is in a bikini, introduce her as "Subaru's cousin Punyuru". Jirou immediately lampshades the ridiculousness of this explanation (or, at least, the name), but the others buy it anyway (well, most of them).
  • In Mint na Bokura, Noel enrolls into his Half Identical Twin's school disguised as a girl, and pretending to be Maria's full identical twin. When he wants to hang out with their new friends in his male appearance, he pretends to be his own cousin.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi Springfield uses age-changing pills to become older, and uses his father's name "Nagi". He passes himself off as Negi's cousin. Ako ends up falling for the older version of Negi, and she's very broken up when she finds out the truth. Don't worry, she recovers.
  • Inverted in Ranma ½: The first time Ranma makes a big spectacle in female form, he uses his real name, causing some of his classmates to assume the pig-tailed girl was a relative of his.
  • To Love Ru: When Saruyama fell in love with "Riko", who's actually Rito turned into a girl, Lala claims they're relatives to explain their resemblance and how she found a random girl Saruyama saw in the street.
  • In the anime adaptation of When I Woke Up I Became A Bagel Girl, after Bong Gi has turned into a girl, she poses as her cousin Ah Reum and takes that name for the rest of the show before returning to his old body. She first does this in order to get her paycheck from her old job.

    Comic Books 
  • Ben Reilly did this during the part of The Clone Saga where he believed he was the real Peter Parker, he let the existing Pete keep the identity and passed himself off as Peter's cousin to explain the resemblance.
  • Early on in the Daredevil series, Matt, to throw people off the scent that he was the title hero, engaged in a Fake Twin Gambit and posed as his own twin brother named Mike, though he'd ultimately fake "Mike's" death. That said, events in Daredevil (Charles Soule) and Chip Zdarsky's subsequent run resulted in a Cosmic Retcon that made Mike Murdock an actual, separate, and still-living person.
  • In The Power of Shazam, Billy uses his Older Alter Ego to pass himself off as his Uncle Ebenezer. Since he can "tweak" the form, he gives himself a beard so he doesn't look exactly like Captain Marvel.
  • Spider-Girl took a leaf out of Ben's book when she met her own clone, passing the girl off as Cousin April.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Mulan: Mulan disguises herself as a man in order to join the army in her father's place, claiming to be Ping, her father's son (thus her brother) that he doesn't like to talk about very much.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Back to the Future Part II:
    • Doc has Marty from 1985 pose as his son Marty McFly, Jr. in order to prevent Marty, Jr. from being bullied by Biff's grandson Griff into taking part in a robbery that will land him in prison and ruin his life. It almost works except for the fact that Griff goads Marty into a fight by calling him chicken and then the real Marty, Jr. shows up in the middle of it, forcing 1985 Marty to improvise.
    • Biff from 2015 uses the DeLorean Time Vehicle to go back to 1955 to give his younger self "Gray's Sports Almanac", so that he can get rich by betting on the sports' winner listed in the book. When young Biff asks how old Biff knows so much about him, old Biff says they're "related," and demonstrates how the book works.
  • In a crossover with Faking the Dead, the twist of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) reveals that Anita Vanger is actually Harriet Vanger, who ran away from home with her cousin Anita's help forty years ago. While Anita went under her married name, Harriet used Anita's maiden name to start a new life. When Mikael came looking for her to help her find Harriet, real Harriet pretended to be the only Anita.
  • Sam: After experiencing a Gender Bender, Sam poses as his cousin 'Samantha'.
  • The Sex Trip: Eddie accidentally uses his real surname, Greenleaf, when introducing himself. From then on, the story is that he's Edna Greenleaf, his own sister. This leads to a moment where Jess asks why he won't set her up with Eddie, and he makes up a story about Eddie being in prison for an indefinite amount of time.
  • In SHAZAM!, Billy pretends to be his and Freddy's father by switching into his older alter ego form so that he and Freddy can skip school.

  • The novelization of Batman Begins sees Bruce (between his return to Gotham and revealing that he was still alive after Earle had him declared legally dead) pose as his own cousin, "Gene Valley", while looking to the legends about Ra's al Ghul.
  • In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward the eponymous character is interred in a mental hospital, because he suddenly starts exhibiting psychotic behavior and even undergoes subtle physical changes. It is later revealed that it is because the "Charles" in the mental hospital is actually his own ancestor Joseph Curwen, who has performed a Kill and Replace on his Identical Desendant.
  • Fletch and the Widow Bradley: The dead husband is wandering about as her sister, in a story that's early enough that gender changing wasn't so obvious an occurrence.
  • In Queen of the Damned, the fourth book of The Vampire Chronicles, Maharet explains that she periodically reveals herself to her extensive clan of descendants by showing up as the family genealogist. She claims to be from a slightly obscure branch of the family, where the women are all named Maharet and pass down the responsibility of maintaining the family tree. For whatever reason, they believe it and welcome her with open arms.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen Namaran/Dayless the Conqueror is supposed to be dead, but has reverse aged himself by falling through the barrier at the bottom of the world. He's also the most hated person in the world (his reappearance as himself would be like Adolf Hitler coming back from the dead in our world). So he poses as his own son to explain why he looks like his younger self.
  • In Troubled Blood, Margaret helps out Wilma Bayliss by suggesting that Wilma cleaned her house for a couple of hours every week to pay for the legal fees so Wilma could divorce her husband. Wilma couldn't afford the train fee so she sent her sister Carmen instead, who pretended to be Wilma to Margaret's children and nanny.

    Live-Action TV 
  • After faking their own deaths in the finale to the prior season, the final season of Charmed (1998) saw the Halliwell sisters pose as their own cousins for the early part of it.
  • House of Anubis: After Alfie is cursed to de-age, he turns back into an eight-year-old boy with the mind of normal Alfie. Because of this, he must pretend to be his own younger brother, which he uses mostly to mess with his best friend Jerome and learn things the normal Alfie wouldn't be allowed to know.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O: Hana is regressed from an adult to a ten year old child as a result of massive shifts to her timeline and thereafter passes as 'Kohana', her younger sister.
  • Lalola: An Argentinian comedy a Handsome Lech turned into a beautiful woman by a witch's spell, has the formerly male 'Lalo' pretending to be his own fictional cousin 'Lola'. Lola herself claims that the 'real' Lalo had been suddenly called away to a family emergency abroad.
  • Ringer: After her identical twin sister Siobhan Martin appears to commit suicide, Bridget Kelly takes her place and tries to make Siobhan's family and friends believe that she's Siobhan.
  • In an episode of That's So Raven, the titular character gets in trouble with one of her school teachers, who insists on talking to one of her parents. Not wanting it to happen, Raven disguises herself as her mother (but looks completely different from her actual mother Tanya, taking advantage of the fact that the teacher doesn't know how Raven's parents' look). Tanya discovers this and scolds Raven not only for the ruse itself, but also for Raven's awful disguise.

    Mythology And Religion 
  • The Bible: When Abram and Sarai enter Egypt, Sarai pretends to be Abram's sister so that the men don't try to murder Abram and steal Sarai. It doesn't work as the Pharaoh tries to add Sarai into his harem and gives bribes to Abram. Pharaoh eventually lets her go when God inflicts plagues on Egypt and also discovers that Sarai is Abram's wife.


    Video Games 
  • In a tragic use of this trope, Bug Fables sees Leif pretend to be a distant relative so that his descendants don't have to learn the truth about why he disappeared so long ago.

  • El Goonish Shive: When Elliott gets turned into a girl by Tedd, and the transformation gun used to do this breaks so he'll be stuck in that form for at least a month, he poses as his cousin "Ellen" to be able to continue going to school.
  • In one PvP strip, Francis disguises himself as an old man who is returning a game for his (non-existent) grandson, and exchanges it for a copy of the same game. He then comes back as himself to return the unopened game for a full refund.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Beat Bugs: In "Michelle", Kumi disguises herself as her (nonexistent) cousin Michelle.
  • Carl²: In "Clone Scene Investigation," Lorna catches Carl and C2 (Carl's clone) together. To make certain the secret doesn't get out, Carl says he has an identical cousin.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the episode "Old Man Dexter", Dexter uses one of his inventions to age himself up so he can watch a mature movie, but accidentally turns himself into an old man. Everyone in the house ends up mistaking him for Dexter's grandpa. He denies it initially, but eventually he goes along with it.
    • In the episode Sister Mom, Dexter disguises Dee Dee to look exactly like their mom in order to meet the principal.
  • The Loud House:
    • In the episode "For Bros About to Rock", Lincoln and Clyde are thrown into the mall jail. Lincoln's big sister Luna dresses up as their mother Rita to try to bail them out.
    • In "Cover Girls", Lincoln's sisters go off to several different places, so he dresses up and pretends to be them on a video chat with his grandpa. Eventually, all the Loud siblings end up dressed as each other.
  • In the Rugrats episode, "Angelica Orders Out", Angelica uses the Pickles Voice Frequency Modulator 5000, an invention from her uncle Stu, to imitate her mother Charlotte over the phone to order sweets from Zippy's Deli against Didi's wishes (Didi threatened to take Lou's teeth away if Angelica was caught eating sweets), trick Drew into buying her an expensive Cynthia playhouse, and trick the other adults into throwing her a surprise party.
    • In "Angelica's Twin", Angelica poses as her twin sister Ballina in order to get twice as many presents.
  • In Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear", Spock goes back in time to his own childhood and pretends to be a cousin named Selek.
  • Teacher's Pet: In the series, talking dog Spot disguises himself as a human boy, Scott Leadready II. In order to maintain the charade during one episode, he also has to dress up as Scott's mother for a meeting with Scott's teacher. He then has to switch between being the two characters when they are both invited to the teacher's house for dinner. The Finale Movie would later have Spot expand the charade by pretending to be his whole family (mother, sister, grandmother and uncle) to persuade Mrs. Helperman to take his human identity with her and Leonard on their vacation to Florida.
  • The Wayside episode "Myron vs. Normy" had Myron pretend to be his own (fabricated) twin brother to try and avoid getting in trouble.