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The Un-Favourite

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And the father prefers his dog, Only Son.

"You ever hear Dad introduce us to people? [brightly] 'This is our daughter, Dottie. [disgustedly] And this is our other daughter... Dottie's sister.' Should have just had you and bought a dog."

The nasty end of Parental Favoritism. Where there's an Alpha wolf, there's got to be a Beta. When there is a first banana, there is a second banana. This is the person in the family who can't get a break. For example, this is the child who's the big let-down to their parents, the daughter that was supposed to be a son (or vice-versa), the child the parents had by accident when they'd already decided they didn't need another mouth to feed, the adoptive, foster, or stepchild that came before the parents had a biological child, the illegitimate child conceived by infidelity on the part of one of the parents. But all in all, this is basically the kid who is always getting the short-end of the stick.

A regular line that may be entailed with this is a variant of, "Honestly, (insert name), why can't ya be more like (insert favorite's name)?"


Frequently, being The Unfavorite is a Freudian Excuse for a character who's a particularly pathetic loser. If the Parental Favoritism was garden variety (or even a product of his/her imagination), PG-rated Wangst, this is probably being played for comedy, a weak excuse for being a failure. If the favoritism was particularly vicious, however, up to and including abuse, The Unfavorite becomes a more tragic character — most probably The Woobie. Sometimes, however, the Unfavorite is almost suspiciously well-adjusted.

A variant is where The Unfavorite is actually highly successful and dutiful, but can never get the approval of his parents, simply because their sibling will always do "better" in their parents' eyes. ("Hey look, Dad, I won the Nobel Prize for Physics!" "Only one? That's nothin' — your brother won Employee of the Month at Shop 'n Go 3 times!"). The Unfavorite doesn't need to play second fiddle to an actual sibling, and can even be an only child. Unfavorites without a sibling are often unwanted or unexpected children and can even, in perhaps an extreme case, be passed over for the family pet.


The audience's attitude towards the unfavorite is often based on what age the character is. There's a common perception that an adult character should really have gotten over this by now and moved on, even if the viewers/readers empathize with them. A child character, on the other hand, is likely to get the audience's unreserved support.

Age notwithstanding, this is usually a character you sympathize with, because we're supposed to root for the disadvantaged; expect the favorite either to be rubbing their status in their sibling's face, be an Aloof Big Brother, or completely unaware of the situation. It is, however, completely possible that the character is interpreting some behavior as favoritism — and the other character also regards himself as the Unfavorite. (Cue Sibling Rivalry.) Also, another possible situation is that the favorite is indeed aware of the situation, sympathize with the unfavorite, and may even start the "talk with the parents" scene.

And Heaven help the poor kid if the favorite child is dead. (Possibly having received the status of "favorite" by dying.) See also You Should Have Died Instead. The same thing goes if The Unfavorite was a result of Death by Childbirth, where the family hates the kid for "murdering" their mother.

Can easily escalate into Black Sheep or Cain and Abel, or in particularly nasty cases, one or both of the parents having a go at offing the unfavorite offspring. May be rooted in a Death by Childbirth. May cross over with "Well Done, Son!" Guy if the Unfavorite wants some recognition. If the favorite of the parents isn't even a member of their family, it's a case of Why Are You Not My Son?. When each parent has one favorite and one Unfavorite, it's Jacob and Esau.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Poor Shui Long of Haou Airen. Despite being the most talented of his siblings at the family trade (medicine), he never got his clan's favor and recognization. Which would drive him to later join The Triads and the Tongs.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Due to being not his blood-related child, the head of the Ishtar family treated his adoptive son Rishid like a servant rather than his son.
  • Jun Manjoume of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, disowned by his brothers for his inability to live up to the family name
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, due to his recklessness and anger issues, IV suffers from this, as well as a dose of Middle Child Syndrome due to older brother V and younger brother III. As such, their father Tron has taken steps to keep IV Locked Out of the Loop about the family's plans. Tron's frequent belittling of IV's capabilities and lack of care for IV also do not help matters at all.
  • In the Mazinger series, Kenzo Kabuto had two biological sons (Kouji and Shiro) and two adoptive children (Tetsuya and Jun). Although Tetsuya was clearly his favorite, he still showed he cared for Kouji and Shiro. However, he got Jun completely neglected, treating her like a soldier, not making anything about her feelings of abandoment and her inner tensions, and he seldom shown he cared for her. It went so far that, before dying after his Heroic Sacrifice, he pleaded Kouji that he treated Tetsuya like his brother and took care of Shiro...but he did not mention Jun at all. Nonetheless, his attitude drove Jun to think she could not be dependent on someone else and to develop a very strong-willed and self-reliant personality, not to mention a Cool Big Sis bond towards Shiro.
  • In Gintama, there's Itou, whose negligence resulted in him becoming a puppet for Shinsuke and the antagonist to the Shinsengumi Crisis Arc.
  • Somewhat in the Emma manga. While their mother loves them all dearly, Richard Jones is distant at best to any of his five children (we rarely, if ever, see him interact with his youngest son, Colin) and while there are a few moments to indicate he does care for them, he seems to base his love for his children on how much they behave/don't embarrass him in high society. This means he will inevitably butt heads with his oldest son and heir, William Jones, who doesn't put much care into the rules of high society or much effort into taking over the family business (at least at first). Top this all off with his love affair with the titular Emma, a maid, and you have a recipe for the official Unfavorite of Mr. Richard Jones.
  • Variation: In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Dark Magical Girl Fate is a clone of Precia Testarossa's deceased daughter, Alicia. Fate has Alicia's memories of Precia being a loving and kind mother, but Precia is abusive to Fate and sees her only as a tool for bringing Alicia back to life. Averted later on by her adoptive mother Lindy, who loves her just as much as she loves her biological son. It's also averted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, where Precia is shown to be a Doting Parent to Fate and Alicia.
  • Naruto:
    • Subverted/Zig-Zagged with Sasuke. At first, it appears that Sasuke — while being fairly intelligent and very talented — is constantly being neglected in favor of his genius Aloof Big Brother Itachi, whom his father always praises with, "As expected of my child," while Sasuke is only told by their father to "become more like Itachi." Later, we see that this only applies to his father Fugaku, as his mother Mikoto is shown treating Sasuke with great kindness while the only thing she seems to say to Itachi is, "Do your homework!" So it looks as if each parent favors a different kid. Later in the story, some dissent arises between Itachi and his parents, as Itachi doesn't think too highly of their plan to take over the village and start a world war, and it becomes apparent that his parents care more for his incredible talent than for Itachi as a person. Fugaku soon turns his interest to Sasuke, telling him not to be like Itachi and complains to the rest of the family about his older son. Mikoto states that when they're alone, all she and her husband ever talk about is Sasuke, cementing that Itachi was the actual unfavorite all long. But ultimately, their parents loved them both very much. When Itachi comes to kill them, both Fugaku and Mikoto are shown to be aware of his massive turmoil, and they tell him that they understand his reasons and decisions, offering no resistance as he tearfully executes them. Their only request was that he'd take care of his brother, and Fugaku tells him that despite the differences in beliefs and the paths taken, he was (and always has been) proud of Itachi, no matter what.
    • Gaara, because everyone in his family (and his entire city) is scared of him, or at least of the demon sealed inside him. He was conceived only to be a container for the demon and be a living weapon, and his mother died giving birth to him and his father, the Kazekage, hated him because of this. Subverted in the end, as it turns out that his mother Karura's love for him is what makes his sand protect him and his resurrected father realizes that he does, in fact, love his youngest son.
    • The rather passive Hinata is this compared to her more aggressive sister. Eventually, Hiashi learns to respect both his daughters.
  • Johnny Joestar, from Part 7 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, always lived in the shadow of his elder brother Nicholas, even though he was just as competent a horse jockey as Nicholas. After Nicholas was killed in a horse-riding accident when his horse was spooked by a mouse that resembled a pet Johnny released into the wild instead of kill on his father's instructions, Johnny has a major falling out with his dad, who proclaimed that "God took the wrong son".
  • Seta Sōjirō from Rurouni Kenshin is a particularly tragic example of this trope. So much that his adoptive family (stepmother, half-brothers, younger uncles) try to kill him for being an illegitimate child. He kills them instead.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Machi Kuragi is such an unfavorite that her parents automatically assume she attempted to kill her little brother, despite her (more or less believable) claim that she was just trying to keep him warm.
    • Kagura is loved by her mother, as well as Yuki (in a way), Hiro, and Kisa, but Momiji and Kyo definitely fell into this trope. As Momiji says, mothers of Zodiac children either become overly protective or reject their child completely.
    • The main character Tohru even gets this from her father's family mainly due to their dislike of her mother, pretty much treating her like dirt when she is alone with them. Only her grandfather likes Tohru and her mother.
    • This is bizarrely inverted with Yuki's family. Ayame is the unfavorite, which means that he was more or less free to do as he wanted, which led to him being a self-centered jerkass in school, but ultimately meant he could move out on his own and start his own business. Yuki was the favorite (at least in the sense that his parents thought him more likely usable to get money and move higher in society), so he was forced to be the already unstable Akito's playmate, was psychologically tortured, implied to have been hit by his mother for trying to avoid it, and was generally so screwed up that he couldn't interact with other people at all.
  • Somewhat averted in Digimon Adventure 02. Ken Ichijouji is revealed to have originally been the butt of this trope, but when his more-liked and more-talented older brother Osamu was killed in a car crash (after Ken thought and wished for that to happen), it began a chain of events that lead to him turning to the dark side, becoming more skilled than his brother ever was (thanks to evil powers), and becoming the series' Big Bad temporarily before joining the team.
    • In Digimon Frontier, it seems that Kouichi was his his father's "Unfavorite" as Koji was taken by his father when he left their mother and divorced and he re-married another woman. This causes feelings of anger, jealousy, and betrayal in Kouichi.
  • Subverted in The Prince of Tennis. Yuuta Fuji feels he's the unfavorite since his middle brother Shuusuke is talented, handsome, and popular at their school, so he leaves and transfers into another school and its dorms. But that genuinely hurts Shuusuke, who really loves and cares for Yuuta and just didn't know what his brother was going through, becoming a huge Stepford Smiler out of the pain he feels upon Yuuta abandoning him. It'll take more than a year to reunite them.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch Lemperouge spends a good portion of his life believing that not only are he and his sister Nunnally their father's unfavorites, but that their mother Marianne was too, since she was the only Imperial Wife to come from common origins. Eventually, he learns that his parents fell in Love at First Sight, and by extension, Lelouch and Nunnally were his favorite children. Furthermore, they both wanted Lelouch to help them with their plan to make the world a better place.
    • Lelouch then turns this around with a tear-driven Calling the Old Man Out speech, declaring that if they actually cared, then they would have retrieved their children from Japan BEFORE starting an all-out war, and that their devotion to their cult plans ended up consuming their sanity and capability to love other people; despite desiring a world where people stopped engaging in countless wars and family back stabbings, they ended up unfavoriting every individual on the planet. Then he indirectly kills them by ordering THE WILL OF EARTH ITSELF with his Geass to stop their plans.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00's second season, there's an unfavorite that doesn't even need a family (they got killed by terrorists several years ago) to feel this way. Lyle Dylandy thinks that several of the Celestial Being members expect him to be just like his deceased twin older brother, Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy. While Lyle doesn't and never has hated Neil per se (in fact, he's visiting Neil's grave in his first apparition), he doesn't like like this situation — so after taking up Neil's Lockon mantle, he decides to downplay his own and considerable fighting and piloting skills to make himself look different from him. With some Character Development from both parts in the conflict, Lyle soon starts to gain the appreciation and affection of Neil's True Companions for the person he is.
  • Hell Girl episode 16 features a disturbing twist on this trope. The episode revolves around Yumi and Yuki, a pair of twin girls in a traveling circus — Yuki is praised and doted upon by the ringleader, while Yumi is kept locked in a back room and frequently abused. Initially, the audience is led to believe that Yumi has summoned Enma Ai to exact revenge upon the ringleader, only to find out too late that the real target is Yuki. Ai takes Yuki to hell, then, giving Yumi her chance to be the favorite.
    • Season 3 features a boy who becomes The Unfavorite in his family before the sibling is even born. He ends up sending the baby girl to hell, also before she is even born. The worst part? He assumed that doing this would make his stepmother stop "hating" him and lashing out at him for the tiniest things...and the end of the episode shows the family all laughing together on an outing. In other words, he was right.
  • Zekkyou Gakkyuu has Haru think of herself as this in Make-Believe Sisters. She's a third-grader and gets scolded over small things, whereas her younger sister, Mii, is being pampered and babied and loved. Her parents love both of their daughters and it's shown that Haru was just as heavily pampered, when she was younger, but seems to not remember this so well. Turns out horrible when, during a "Freaky Friday" Flip, Mii-as-Haru throws Haru-as-Mii off the balcony, just as their bodies revert to normal. And her parents saw Haru killing Mii.
  • Played with in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. It's implied that, due to being much younger as well as Book Dumb, Domon felt inferior to his Badass Bookworm older brother Kyouji in the eyes of their father, The Professor Raizou Kasshu. Unlike other cases, though, Dr. Kasshu doesn't show deliberate cruelty towards Domon, who finds another father figure in his martial arts teacher Master Asia and leaves home to train with him... Fast forward 10 years and Domon finds himself with a Broken Pedestal of a mentor, a dead mother, a cryogenically frozen father, and an evil Aloof Big Brother who's become a wanted criminal...
    • Nope; when Raizo thawed out in the final episode, he tells Domon that he's proud of him and always has been, and Domon's being a fighter rather than a scientist like himself or Kyoji was never an issue. And Domon is genuinely happy upon hearing this.
  • In the Dragonball Z special it is revealed that Vegeta has a younger brother, who was exiled from their homeworld because he was too weak to be any good as a fighter (like Goku himself).
  • Also played with in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, with Ace Pilot Mu la Flaga. His father Al de Flaga was so peeved with Mu being a normal child instead of a perfect vehicle for his father's ego (and for worse, he was very similar to his mother) that he disowned the boy, practically locked him away, and cloned himself, the result being Rau le Creuset.
    • ...who is himself an Unfavorite due to his short telomeres giving him frail health and a limited lifespan. Adaptations of SEED state that Rau was abandoned by Al de Flaga when he was very young, once Al found out. This is part of why Mu empathizes with him very late in the series.
  • Abo Ozawa in the baseball manga Stripe Blue. His older brother Bantarou is the closing pitcher on a professional team that owes its recent success solely to him. Being that Abo is also a baseball pitcher, he has to work extra hard to stand out, even to his own parents, despite frankly having not very formidable skills.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji gets this so damn much. Even taken by itself, his relationship with his father is defined by Gendo's neglect and a cold-blooded insistence that he pilots a walking death machine under horrible conditions. But aside from that, Gendo has Rei, whom he treats as a surrogate daughter. Shinji and Rei become as good friends as their terrible situation allows, but the fact that his father likes her better clearly bothers him. While Shinji is hard-pressed to get his father to even glance at him, many characters note on how surprisingly caring Gendo is to Rei. Asuka even points out to Rei, "You're Commander Ikari's favorite, aren't you?". In keeping with the typical rules for favorites, Rei bears a close similarity to (and is a clone of and integral in the plan to revive) Gendo's dead wife Yui.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Belarus thinks she's The Unfavorite of her older brother Russia because of their older sister Ukraine and Russia's subordinates, the Baltic brothers (Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia). This leaves the girl, well... rather unstable. (Russia does care, but on the other hand he has his own issues and her Big Brother Attraction freaks him out. Not to mention he seems to be personally closer to Ukraine.)
    • Zigzagged with Canada, who mostly is "invisible" next to his brother America, but several times has been approached directly by England instead of America since Canada himself is The Reliable One compared to him.
    • England is said to be hated by his older brothers (Scotland, Wales, and most likely Ireland as well).
    • Roman Empire was a well-intentioned Empire, but cared more openly for North Italy than South Italy; the Chibitalia chapter said that he took Italy with him when he had to run away, but was shown to have left Romano. As a result, while Romano does care for his little brother in a very Tsundere way, he's not exactly happy and his self-esteem problems show... but he isn't necessarily much better than anyone else.
  • George from Paradise Kiss is the illegitimate son of a rich, influential man and a former model. His father pays for his and his mother's expensive lifestyle, but has no actual relationship with them, and his mother is very vocal about how much she resents him because becoming pregnant ruined her modeling career.
  • Definitely Ageha from Papillon Hana To Chou: as an infant, her mother sent her to live with her grandmother in the country because she couldn't stop crying; her twin sister Hana/Kana (the translators kept switching) is popular and glamorous and steals her potential boyfriend; she's even screwed over by her only "friend". No wonder she's almost Driven to Suicide. Fortunately, her relationship with her mom improves dramatically when they finally start talking to each other. Kana/Hana, however, is becoming uneasy with her sister's newfound confidence...
  • Asagi Ayase of Yotsuba&! gets far more than her share of crap from her mother. It's played for laughs, since Asagi tends to retaliate in kind, but at least one flashback has shown she's gotten this treatment for years. The fact that Asagi is like her mother has something to do with it.
  • Moroboshi Ataru from Urusei Yatsura is another only-child example of this trope, played pretty much entirely for laughs.. His parents are constantly lamenting the fact that he was ever born, in his presence. They also wistfully mention how much they wanted a little girl, making Ataru the Unfavorite to a sister who doesn't even exist.
  • Sachiko in With the Light loves both of her children — autistic Hikaru and his unafflicted little sister Kanon — equally; it's her mother-in-law who plays unfavorites. Having Kanon to interact with and a hard time accepting the fact that Hikaru's not going to "get better" and be exactly like "normal" people means that she is more affectionate with the girl.
  • In There, Beyond the Beyond, both of the kingdom's twin princes are named Virid Visette Viridian. The one who would eventually become the "Mad Prince" was left to be abused and forgotten in a cell, while his brother got to be doted on in the palace.
  • InuYasha: Sesshoumaru feels that he's this. After finding out that his brother InuYasha inherited their father's legendary offensive weapon that he had wanted while he was bequeathed the healing sword that he disdained, events conspire to lead him to the realisation that his hard-earned and extremely impressive offensive ability was only given to him so that he could master it for Inuyasha to take from him. This leads him to the conclusion that his father had been grooming Inuyasha to kill him. Getting over his daddy issues and learning that his father actually wanted him to be a Big Brother Mentor is a major part of his Character Development, whereupon he settles for being the Aloof Big Brother type.
  • Subverted with Lina in Slayers, who felt this to her older sister, Luna, both a fighting prodigy and the Knight of Ciefeed — a special human born with a fragment of the world's dragon god within them. While Lina felt that she didn't get enough credit for her magical powers (which naturally exceed beyond most humans) from her family, it wasn't the case, as her father was always supportive of her and Luna was the one who convinced Lina to travel the world in the first place. A portion of this is Word of God from interviews.
    • While it's unknown how Amelia and Gracia/Naga felt toward one another, Amelia feels this way towards her own friends, citing the fact that she's the weakest in the group (in terms of strategic thinking and physically; her magical powers are almost on par with Zelgadis') and more often than not doesn't try to object against the others' (especially Lina, who pushes her around and uses her vast family fortune to pay for meals) wishes or thoughts. While her sermons of misguided justice warrant reactions, the others are apathetic toward her otherwise.
  • Seileiz, eldest of the three heirs to his country in Vampire Game, is also by far his mother's most hated. There are three reasons for this: he's adopted (as are his brothers), he's the Son of a Whore, and he's the illegitimate son of the king. The queen was willing to put up with the first two, but having a reminder of her husband's refusal to sleep with her running around really pissed her off.
  • In Nononono, Nono's brother, Yuuta, is like this. Both of them were trained by their ski-jumper dad to be ski-jumpers, hoping to go to the Olympics. The problem is, Nono is the more talented of the two, but she can't go to the Olympics due to being a girl. Their father kept on pushing Yuuta to be as good as his sister.
  • Reina in Queen's Blade apparently suffers from this early on, being clearly the weakest between the three Vance sisters and not being allowed to leave the palace or do anything with her life. The justification for this later on is that Reina is the Generation Xerox of her mother, who died fighting in Queen's Blade, and her father was being overprotective for that reason.
  • Soul from Soul Eater feels this way in comparison to his older brother, Wes. Since the flashbacks showing this have all either been influenced by the Book of Eibon or the Black Blood, we don't really know how much of this is true. Also, Tsubaki's older brother Masamune cites his perceived Unfavorite status as motivation for becoming a kishin.
  • 3-gatsu no Lion plays with this trope by offering two different perspectives: with and without a narrator. In the series' first chapter where it lacked a narrator, the flashbacks of the protagonist Rei are presented in a way that implies that he was the unfavorite in a family of three children when his successes in shogi are seemingly neglected in favor of caring for one of the other two children. However, later on, when Rei has long since been established as the narrator, the story goes into more detailed flashbacks that reveal the he was actually the favorite who was given more attention than the rest of the children.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Miho is the less favored daughter of Shiho Nishizumi, compared to Shiho's older daughter and heir Maho. Shiho considers Miho a disgrace to the family who does not do tankery the Nishizumi way, berates her for saving her teammates from drowning in a river at the cost of a tournament win, and plans on disowning her after hearing about her becoming captain of the Oarai tankery team. After Miho wins the tournament against Maho, Shiho sighs and begins clapping while smiling, which could indicate a change of heart.
  • Death Note: A minor example. While Soichiro Yagami is adamant that his younger child Sayu couldn't possibly be Kira, he isn't so certain about Light.
  • Alluka from Hunter × Hunter is not even considered a member of the Zoldyck because her ability is too difficult to control and could kill all of them. The only one who loves her is Killua.
    • Milluki is also very disliked for being a Fat Bastard, Otaku, and Hikikomori. However, he is treated much better than his younger sister Alluka.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, there are two of the four Shuzen daughters who are born by Gyokuro. Due to her hatred towards Akasha Bloodriver, she hates Akasha's daughter, Moka, as much as she hates Akasha. She doesn't care for her other stepdaughter, Akua, and she hates even her youngest blood-related daughter, Kokoa. So, Gyokuro's only favorite is Kahlua, her oldest blood-related daughter.
    • Subverted with Akasha's relationship with her daughters. While Moka is definitely her favorite daughter because she's her own, she also loves her three stepdaughters.
    • Among the four Shuzen sisters, Kokoa fits this trope the best. She is less talented and not as beautiful as her three older sisters. Her own mother hates her, and she has three Aloof Big Sisters, with only Moka being the one who respects her. Actually, Kahlua loves Kokoa, too, but Kokoa is so afraid of her that she does not notice that.
    • Just how much does Gyokuro hate Kokoa? She went so far as to put a hit out on Kokoa's life and force Kahlua to carry said hit out.
    • According to Kahlua, Gyokuro loves Kokoa, but this statement is not very believable, since Kahlua is rather too optimistic and Gyokuro never showed any kind of love towards Kokoa.
  • In the 4th volume of "Happy Happy Clover", Kale has a flashback to when he was alot younger. When his mother was pregnant and is expecting a few new rabbits to be born. Kale is worried about being a big brother, and he later thinks that he's not going to get enough attention from his parents once they are born. When Kale's baby brothers finally arrive, he changes his mind after talking with Shallot about the newborn babies.
  • Sand Chronicles's Fuji resents how his parents treat his younger sister Shiika more favourably than him and rarely speak to him unless it's about studying and his duties as the future heir. This is why he's convinced he's the product of his mother's alleged affair, thinking she looks at him with shame. Turns out Shiika's treated better because she's the illegitimate child and their mother feels guilty about it; she treats Shiika well to make up for the unpleasant circumstances of her birth and is colder towards Fuji because she's too scared to directly approach him about it.
  • In Chivalry of a Failed Knight, Ikki is considered the Black Sheep of his clan because of his Rank F Blazer ability and they subscribe to a rather twisted Social Darwinist philosophy that considers Blazer ability to be the only strength that matters. Never mind that Ikki is a Master Swordsman who can and has defeated higher ranked Blazers. When they aren't flat out ignoring his existence, they actively sabotage him to ensure he remains a failure.
  • One Piece: The third son of the Vinsmoke Family is viewed as the Black Sheep because he was apparently unsuited to be a fighter while his three quadruplet brothers were powerful and sociopathic enough to make great warriors. While Judge Vinsmoke loved and spoiled all of his strong children, he abused and neglected the weakest as a failure, eventually rejecting him outright. Said weakest son is none other than Sanji.
  • The Heart of Thomas: Unlike his blonde little sister, Juli Bauernfeind resembles his late father, who was of Greek ancestry. His grandmother treats him poorly because of this; in her eyes, anyone who isn't a "pure German" can do nothing right. As a result, Juli tries his best to appear to others as someone above reproach.
  • Little Busters!: Poor little Cloudcuckoolander Haruka is constantly at odds with her sister, Kanata, but as we learn through the story, Kanata is really just protecting Haruka from their family, a really messed up band of villains who, among other despicable things, forces the eligible daughter to copulate with two fathers to have a higher chance of producing an heir, then taking the infant from the mother right after birth to be raised in the main household by the evil old matriarch, as well as being insular, clannish, ultra-conservative, and abusive. When the mother had twins, and one of the fathers is arrested and branded a criminal, the family set upon a plan to make sure one of the siblings was eligible and tagged the child of the good father, whilst the other would be labeled the child of the criminal (against any logic which would state they would really have no knowledge of who the father was, or even if the two children were conceived by different father's sperm). Kanata ends up able, smart, athletic, and hard-working, while Haruka is lackadaisical, clumsy, mischievous, and a general loser which is completely an act, as a rebellious reaction to the endless abuse at the hands of her family and perceived abuse at the hands of the sister she once trusted. Subsequently, the family turns Haruka into a brutal version of The Unfavorite, beating, torturing, insulting, and criminally abusing her at every turn.
    • It later comes out that Kanata is not immune to the abuse, having been lashed and beaten as well. And it turns out that the criminal father actually was attempting to free the siblings from the clutches of such a vile, demonic family, and was arrested and framed in the attempt to allow the other father and the mother to flee. It also turns out that all of the abuse Kanata heaped upon Haruka was due to the fact that if the family ever thought the siblings were anything but rivals, they would outright murder Haruka, to hell with any logical consequences which would definitely ensue from such a horrific act. So, Kanata kept up the pose of being rivals, accepted the lashing without complaint, and stayed distant, all to protect the twin sister she loved more than anything else in the world.
  • In Touch, Tatsuya is the unfavorite of his brother Kazuya, although it's mostly played for laughs. Their parents tend to be vocal about how proud they're of Kazuya and his achievements and how much of a disappointment Tatsuya is. Tatsuya himself is divided between resenting their treatment and letting them believe whatever they want.

    Comic Books 
  • Loki sees himself as this, with a very "Thor was always the favorite!" outlook on life. Even though he's a total douche most of the time, most of what he does is done in an effort to gain the respect and adoration of Asgard and his father.
    • In a case of tragic irony, Odin does actually love Loki (despite the thousand and one reasons not to). He's just near-completely incapable of ever actually saying it. The one time he did, he immediately yelled at Loki and Thor afterward, and refused to speak on the matter.
    • Loki may also be a victim of Because Destiny Says So in regards to his role in Ragnarok.
    • There is also the generational abuse thing going on with Odin himself growing up in the shadow of his father's (Bor's) favorite son Cul (who is a villain and almost destroyed the world at least twice). The Asgardian royal family is impressively dysfunctional.
  • In the Spider-Man Trilogy, Ultimate Spider-Man, and The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, Harry Osborn is a rare example of being The Unfavorite as an only child, with his father preferring fellow intellectual and friend Peter Parker to his own son. This is in contrast to the portrayal of Harry and Norman's relationship in the comics: originally, Norman was portrayed as a loving, but absentee father who tried to make up for his utter lack of time for his son, via spoiling him rotten. This in turn led to Harry becoming a drug addict, as he used his dad's money to avoid working, and spend his days partying and buying drugs from his neighborhood drug dealer. Of course years later, the relationship between Harry and his father was retconned into a "Kick the Dog" scenario to make Norman (then dead and buried, with Marvel dead set on not resurrecting him) an evil person who physically and emotionally abused his son throughout his entire life. When his son died, this led to Norman seeking out a replacement heir, ultimately settling on Peter Parker largely due to editor Bob Harras's demand that Peter and Norman's rivalry be changed to be more like Professor X and Magneto's rivalry, complete with Norman wanting Peter to join with him the same way Magneto is forever harping on Xavier to join forces and conquer humanity.
    • There was another period of Peter being the favored one, with Johnny Storm as the Un Favorite. While they eventually got over it and became buddies, for a while, Johnny resented the fact that Peter seemed closer to his family than he was, due to Peter's shared scientific aptitude with Reed and ease at being friends with Sue.
  • The X-Men have a lot of this going on:
    • Emma Frost was The Unfavorite to her successful brother until he revealed he was gay. Then both kids were unfavorites.
    • Sam Guthrie's other siblings are all Unfavorites in comparison to him.
    • Charles Xavier and Cain Marko, stepbrothers, were both unfavorites to a degree.
    • Alex Summers was Unfavorite to Scott in the eyes of Nathaniel Essex.
    • James Proudstar was Unfavorite to his brother John, who died heroically stupidly on his first mission as X-Man.
    • Deathbird is Unfavorite to her sister Lilandra, thanks to being avatistic throwback. Lil's brother D'Ken was also the Unfavorite, driving him to go nuts and steal the M'kraan Crystal.
    • Quentin Quire can actually be seen as an inversion, as while he perceives himself to be the Unfavourite at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, he is actually treated with an incredible amount of leeway, respect and is allowed to be privy to missions and conversations where other students simply would not be permitted. Evan remarks on this, saying that "Professor Logan treats him like he's the only student here".
  • Super Skrull's relationship with his two children is a textbook example of this trope. He favoured his son Sarnogg over his daughter Jazinda, even though Jazinda outshone her brother, mostly by the virtue of finding a way to be unkillable while he died in combat. He was even willing to allow Talisman to kill Jazinda in order to take her immortality for himself, until Shehulk reminded him he did still love his daughter and he saved her life, although he resumed his parental abandonment shortly afterwards.
  • The Ultimate (man, family relations suck in this universe) Reed Richards, a bespectacled young genius, was never the ideal son his father wanted. It's shown in the first issue that his father showed more affection to Ben Grimm, the tough football star of the school, than to his own son. Fortunately, the situation isn't visited often in later issues; what with Reed finding a new father figure in Sue and Johnny's scientist father and being faced with matters more important than getting paternal approval, such as cosmic mutations and alien invasions every other week. Except for when things finally get to such a boil for Reed Richards that he fakes his death by blowing up his family home, vaporizing his entire family in the process.
  • On a planet where twins are the norm, Mekt Ranzz (Lightning Lord), older brother of twins Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass of the Legion of Super-Heroes, felt like he was everyone's unfavorite. This is why he eventually became a supervillain who terrorized his younger siblings. Felt is the key word, as it's never been revealed that his parents or his siblings treated him like garbage because he was a singular birth.
  • Vivisector in X-Statix. He's an only child, of course, but there's nobody in the world that Myles' father hates more than Myles himself. Why? Simple. His dad is a New England old money Ivy League college professor, and Myles is a gay mutant.
  • It wouldn't be too far off the mark to say that, in the Marvel universes (both 616 and Ultimate), every mutant born to mostly non-mutant families end up being unfavorites when their mutations manifest.
  • From Batman:
    • Huntress has at times been considered so, among the members of the Batfamily, due to her more violent nature and unwillingness to work well with the others, and especially Batman himself, with whom she has a conflicted relationship.
      Oracle, speaking about Huntress: And what about the least favorite daughter?
    • Jason Todd (the second Robin) has been considered the unfavourite of the Robins at best since his resurrection, since his tactics and methods fly in direct conflict with Bruce's and he's attacked other heroes in the past — at worst, he's not even considered part of the family. While his relationship with Bruce improved somewhat once he stopped killing criminals, he's not loved as much as Dick, respected as much as Tim or given as much acceptance and leeway as Damian. Depending on the Writer, he was the unfavorite even before his death — with Bruce making it fairly obvious he would prefer Dick in the role — but other writers posit that this was all in his head, with Dick considering himself the unfavourite (although this one is established as being entirely in Dick's head — he's actually The Favourite).
  • Art Spiegelman, the Author Avatar of the biographical graphic novel Maus felt he always had to compete with his dead older brother, Richieu, who had died as a result of the Holocaust.
  • Bone has this with one of the primary antagonists saying "Mother always liked you best." before trying to strike her sister down.
    • This isn't the only time Briar mentioned this. She explains that her family treated her like an old, useless nursemaid and made her younger sister Rose the queen instead of her. The reason, according to her, is because nobody knew she was a Veni-Yan-Carni, a type of powering dreaming sorceress born into the family line. It's possible she just neglected to tell them though, since Rose mentions she thought Briar's "dreaming eye" was blind.
  • In Adventures In The Rifle Brigade, Captain Hugo Darcy is a man among men and a true hero if ever there was one. He saved the entire world at the end of the first miniseries, and once called Erwin Rommel "a big nosed cunt" to his face. At the beginning of the second mini, he visits his family, and because his work in the Rifle Brigade is top secret, his drunken idiotic flyboy brother Robert gets all the glory and adulation.
  • Kalibak in The DCU is Darkseid's Unfavorite. Even worse, his father's favorite, Orion, is the heroic Arch-Enemy of the entire rest of his blood family and wants to kill them — but Darkseid still respects him more because he is, at least, competent about it.
    • Grayven has it even worse. Darkseid at least sees Kalibak as useful and loyal Dumb Muscle. Darkseid snubs Grayven at every possible opportunity since Grayven is nothing but Darkseid-lite. Grayven's Eye Beams are weaker than Darkseid's Omega Effect, Grayven isn't as strong as Darkseid, Grayven's a Smug Snake while Darkseid is a Magnificent Bastard...the only thing Grayven has going for him is his hair. There is literally nothing Grayven can do that Darkseid can't do better. Grayven's also pretty open about his ambitions to overthrow Darkseid. He's incompetent and disloyal.
  • Paul-Philip Ravage suffered from this quite a bit. Didn't help that his was a family of backstabbing businessmen, all of whom immediately began plotting his downfall when he started proposing actual solutions to pollution problems. And by the time he was winning his father's respect, he began losing his human form...
  • Jimmy in the Chick Tract "Unloved," as his parents refuse to attend his high school graduation, constantly tell him he's inferior to his sister, criticize his choice of a wife for having kids (and she later leaves him with all his money) and disown him after he asks to borrow money. Strangely enough, while his sister always does better in their eyes, they don't even bother to attend her wedding.
    • Generally, any character in a Chick Tract who converts tends to become the Unfavorite of the world at large.
  • Carol Danvers, AKA: Ms. Marvel, now Captain Marvel, was never close to her father due to his decidedly outdated chauvinism. The breaking point came when he refused to spend the money necessary to send Carol to college, instead sending one of her brothers, despite the fact that Carol was smarter than her brothers and had better grades, simply because her father didn't believe that women should go out and get themselves proper educations and jobs. He even point blankly told Carol that as a woman she didn't deserve a full education and career and that she could never hold her own in the real world, and that the best thing for her was to meet a Nice Guy who would marry her and take care of her and then she should Stay in the Kitchen and have kids. The fiercely independent Carol rejected her father's sexist beliefs since she wanted more out of life than being someone's stay at home wife and mom and joined the military, specifically the US Air Force and became an accomplished fighter pilot reaching the rank of Major while also dabbling in spy work and of course later becoming a superhero. Carol's father never really accepted what she did with her life, even though her accomplishments included saving the entire world, and it led to an estrangement between the two that was never reconciled.
  • In PS238, Tyler already had issues with his parents, world-famous superheroes who refused to accept that he was a Muggle Born of Mages; but then, Tyler winds up with a clone "brother" named Toby, who actually does have superpowers and his parents approval. Toby, at least, is rather nice about the situation (fittingly, since he shares some of Tyler's memories and knows how he feels).
  • In The Technopriests, Panepha favors her son Almagro, barely tolerates her other son Albino, and utterly despises her daughter Onyx, because Onyx has red skin and four arms.
  • Eddie Brock is his father's Unfavourite because his mother died during his birth. As a result, Eddie's father neglected Eddie his entire life and never gave him any approval, while Eddie's sister was treated fairly. When Eddie was disgraced after his source on a story was revealed as a compulsive confessor, his father disowned him and it's implied that he was basically looking for any excuse. Years later, well into Eddie's career as Venom, Eddie would discover that he had a half-brother, who seems to be given more affection than Eddie as well.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Many a Grimms' Fairy Tales heroine with a Wicked Stepmother and step-sister. Men sure had rotten taste in women back then.
  • There are a number of tales where the youngest daughter of a king becomes the unfavorite of her father when she does something that displeases him (compares her love of him to salt in bread, refuses to acknowledge that he is more fortunate and rich than God, etc). This inevitably results in him banishing her, her setting off to seek her fortune, and eventually meeting her father again, after he has to eat his words and forgive her.
    • Even though it's a Shakespearean drama, King Lear is a tragic subversion of the above example when Cordelia is banished and disinherited by her father. She still manages to find a physician to treat Lear's illness and be reconciled with him before their deaths.
  • In certain fairy tales, a king and queen have many sons, all of whom become unfavorites in favor of a soon-to-be-born daughter, to the point of them being planned to be killed. They escape, and eventually are joined by their innocent sister.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Shinji to Gendo. After finding out that his father raised Rei after abandoning him Shinji got furious, wondering why he was not good enough and why his father dumped him and then took another child in.
  • In Ghosts of Evangelion Asuka was this to Misato. Since she worked hard to earn other people's praise and she had low self-esteem, she resented it.
    Misato: Whaaaat? Can't I buy lunch for my favorite girl?
    Asuka: (growling) You're buying me swordfish, and we both know I'm not your favorite. Spill it already.
  • It is not uncommon in fanfics to have the titular Harry Potter and Naruto be this, even when they have their dead parents from canon alive. This is generally done in relation to a sibling who is believed to be the 'realy' Boy Who Lived/Jinchuriki, and rarely make much sense, generally existing just to have more people look down on them and make them miserable than what exist already in canon.
  • More specifically to Naruto, some fanfics such as Team 8 take this Up to Eleven with regards to Hinata.
  • Scar's Samsara has Nuka, who Scar will calmly point out is inferior to Simba in every conceivable way, saying that Nuka should not even try to compete with Simba. Subverted in the sense that Scar is doing this on purpose to try and prevent an ugly rivalry (it fails).
  • Star Trek (2009) has some interesting cases with Jim being the unfavorite compared to his dead father. His mother couldn't stand the resemblance between them and would often do nothing to stop his stepfather from beating him, neglecting him and traveling far away just so she wouldn't have to look at Jim.
    • In one story, after becoming captain, to get back at his mother from neglecting and allowing the abuse to happen, Jim donated a huge sum of money towards charities where children had been abused, naming it her, "for all the things she did when he was a kid". Afterwards, people went up to her, asking her "how does it feel?" for raising such a nice kid and how proud she must be.
    • For the record, there is little to no evidence for this in canon.
  • There is a very good Sailor Moon fanfiction called Misconception, in which time changes and another child (Chibi-Naru) is born in Chibiusa's place. Despite being (technically) an only child, the poor girl can never live up to her "sister's" memory. She spends over nine hundred years either ignored (with her parents desperately trying to conceive the daughter they really wanted) or treated as a terribly inferior replacement for Chibiusa, to the point that the senshi often forget that she isn't Chibiusa herself. When you find out that your (favorite) aunt is trying to undo time itself so that you're never even born just to bring back some other kid (and everyone else you know is completely on board with the plan, including your own parents) you know you've got problems. Luckily, there's a happy ending. When Chibi-Naru accidentally inherits Sailor Moon's powers, everyone forgets Chibiusa ever existed. The only ones that do remember her are Pluto, who exists outside time, and Chibi-Naru herself, since she only knew of Chibiusa through stories.
    • A sequel written by another author expands on this, on how even though the relationship between Chibi-Naru and her parents is much better, she still holds some bitter memories of when they neglected her, and on how she meets various other children of Serenity and/or Endymion from different dimensions, including Chibiusa... and finds out in one dimension she was the beloved child that never existed and her brother was the Unfavorite that suffered neglect to the point that they denied him even his last name, not helped by the fact that he can't inherit the Silver Crystal.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, Princess Luna was incredibly unpopular with the populace due to her shy and aloof nature, along with the fact that her sister's cult of personality was currently at an all-time high. This all comes to a head at the Luna Trials, in which the populace hates Luna even more, and Luna thinks she had lost the love of her sister, paving the road to the Civil War, and her fall to become Nightmare Moon.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction, Racer and the Geek, features a particularly tear-jerking example of this trope in its never chapters.
  • Fanfiction often has Megatron jealous of his brother Optimus. Whether they are actually biological brothers or simply brothers by name depends on the author. For example, The Ties That Bind Us shows a young Optimus being injured by an ambush and his caretaker Ironhide had to carry him while telling Megatron to follow him. While understanding that Optimus was more serious condition, Megatron began to grow envious that he was always placed second place after Optimus.
  • You know how down below April is called the unfavorite in For Better or for Worse? It's taken Up to Eleven in The New Retcons, in which Elly goes insane and denies that April was ever her daughter, throwing her out of the house. It didn't help that John eventually gave up on convincing Elly April was their daughter, forcing her to spend her final years in Millborough with her brother's family before she leaves for college. Also, only Michael and her uncle Phil attended her graduation. While Liz had a good reason for missing it cause she was dealing with her own family crisis, and Grandpa Jim couldn't go because he was on his death bed, that doesn't really excuse her still nuts mother or her father.
    • Not one you'd think about unless you read the comments for the fics and entered Word of God territory, but Lawrence is this to Connie. See, she had had a Teen Pregnancy and was able to give the baby to relatives. When she got pregnant with Lawrence, and it failed to keep Paolo with her, she banked on being able to leave this baby with her relatives too, but they refused because Lawrence was mixed race. So Connie was stuck with him and resented him for it. That he later admitted to being gay just made it worse.
  • Although never specified in canon, The Lion King fans will often make Scar this in his family to provide a Freudian Excuse.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia Fanon has plenty of fanfic about Sealand's abandonment by England.
  • Empath of Empath: The Luckiest Smurf believes this of himself since he sees Papa Smurf focus most of his efforts on raising a hundred of Empath's fellow Smurfs instead of getting his only biological son out of Psychelia. Interestingly, most of Empath's fellow Smurfs feel that of themselves whenever Empath comes home for a visit, particularly Hefty.
    • Grouchy in "Days Of Auld Lang Smurf" also believes this of himself when he sees that his "resurrected" Papa Smurf focuses most of his attention on Handy, Hefty, and Sassette than he does on him.
  • In Despair's Last Resort, Kaito reveals he is this before his execution. This also serves as part of the reason why he kills Chiyo. His work as an animator is the only way he believes his parents will see him as something.
  • In the fanfic Code: Lyoko Second Generation Relapse, there's a mild case with the 3 eldest Della Robbia children with Odd preferring the older girl Jace with having a personality more like his and Sissi preferring the younger Lizzie for the same reason. This isn't shown to affect their older brother Aaron (who just REALLY wishes he wasn't the only boy in the family) or the much younger twins who are the babies of the family. It's eventually revealed that the reason Sissi isn't close to Jace is because Jace is the result of an affair that Odd had with his ex-girlfriend Sam in the aftermath of a fight he and Sissi had around the time Aaron was conceived. She prefers Lizzie for being her blood daughter. It is unknown if Lizzie is aware of this.
  • In Sonic X: Dark Chaos, it's revealed that Shadow and Eric are this to Maledict; the former because he was "corrupted by human frailty", the latter because a serious accident during his birth turned him into... something else. He only regards Sonic as his true successor.
  • Misty of Pokémon has this compared to her sisters in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines to such an extent, it's outright stated her parents only kept her around due to the negative publicity they'd get for abandoning or killing her. A later sidestory has her admit to herself not to miss them when they die.
  • In Children of an Elder God, Rei is Gendo's favorite pilot. In chapter 19, Asuka went mad with Gendo because he always favored Rei, no matter what.
  • In How the Light Gets In, both of Laurel's parents display Parental Favoritism to Sara, but her mother Dinah takes it to higher levels. She abandoned Laurel when Sara was believed dead, openly disapproves of Laurel's husband, critique's her parenting, and feels Laurel didn't become who Dinah wanted her to be. And she's implied to be completely unaware of it.

    Film - Animation 
  • The Lion King:
    • Nuka from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. The scrawny, barely a mane growing lion voiced by Andy Dick. Little cub Kovu gets picked over him to take on Scar's heritage note  and gets treated unfairly by the lionesses. This makes his death even more tragic, when he chases Simba up a dam, proclaiming he's doing it for his mother, and that this'd be his moment of glory, with a mad driven look in his eyes. Just before the footing gives away from underneath him, and he ends up crushed by a bunch of logs. His mother for the first time in the movie shows she actually does care and frantically tries to dig him out. He ends with a whimper. "Sorry... I tried..." A deleted storyboard set continues with Nuka saying "I got your attention now..." and then expiring.
    • It's implied that Scar was this to Mufasa growing up. Considering that according to The Lion King: Six New Adventures his original name was "Taka", which means "trash" in Swahili, and his brother's name means "king", it's not hard to tell who was their favourite.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea has Ursula's sister Morgana, who at one point yells "It was always 'Ursula this' and 'Ursula that' and 'Why can't you be more like your sister URSULA?'!" And when she achieves virtually complete control over the oceans, she howls at the skies, "WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE NOW, MA?!" Freud would have a field day.
  • Frozen: As expanded upon in A Frozen Heart, a Tie-In Novel to the movie, this applies to extremes to Prince Hans. Being the 13th and youngest son of the Westergaards, he is viewed as the Black Sheep as he was apparently considered a weakling by his eleven of his 12 older brothers. Their father, the king of the Southern Isles, loved and spoiled all of his strong children, but abused and neglected Hans for being a failure and his ineptitude to conform to siblings who are high-achievers and better than him. In fact, three of his brothers even pretended he didn't exist for two straight years. The reasons why they do this is to show him how he's looked down by his entire family for being ineffectual, his failure to meet their extremely high but cruel standards, and to remind him of his lowly status in the familial pecking order. The abuse slowly causes Hans to feel less than his brothers, develop self-esteem issues, and forces him to become obsessed with winning the respect and love of his extremely distant parents and abusive brothers.
  • Igor serves this to his mentor Dr. Glickenstein. Did we mention he bullies Igor for no good reason?
  • Cinderella: Cinderella is a very early example as the original story dates back hundreds of years. And Cinderella more or less is the poster child for this. As her stepmother treats her like shit and uses her as her personal slave, while her two daughters are spoiled brats who get everything they want.
  • In The Boss Baby, this is what Tim fears becoming following the arrival of the Boss Baby; it's what the Boss Baby fears babies will become to puppies if Francis E. Francis's plan succeeds. In the end, Tim's act of kindness in inviting the Boss Baby back into his family inspires the Boss Baby to do something that ratchets love for both babies and puppies, as well as several other things, up to 999% before quitting Baby Corp and allowing himself to be born as a normal baby so that he can join Tim's family.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Doing Time on Maple Drive: Tim Carter (Jim Carrey in an early dramatic role!) is this due to his failure to work out at military school, and has taken to drinking as a result of his parents' callousness.
  • The mother in Crossroads quite blatantly tells her high school graduate daughter, whom she abandoned years earlier, that she was a mistake and that she never wanted to have her. She is remarried and has two sons.
  • In Dead Poets Society, Todd is strongly implied to be The Unfavorite.
  • In Ever After, Danielle gets the short end of the stick because she was the biological daughter of her deceased father. And before his death, it probably didn't help that he said "I love you" to Danielle and didn't say it to the stepmother, only increasing her jealousy of Danielle. Interestingly, the same thing happens to Jacqueline, who isn't as beautiful as her elder sister or as cruel and snobbish, being more down-to-earth and kinder.
    • Jacqueline lampshades her own status as the unfavorite of the stepsisters when she predicts that if Danielle wasn't around, she'd be the one treated as a servant. Sure enough, when Danielle falls ill, the stepmother orders Jacqueline to do her chores. Jacqueline is not pleased.
  • The Goonies. Played for laughs in how Mama favors Francis over Jake.
    Jake: You always take his side, Mama. You always liked him better than me.
    Mama: (Smacks Jake) That's right!
    • Still Jake is not the real Unfavorite, as he's not chained in the basement like Sloth.
  • Kevin McCallister in Home Alone seems to be this, as most of his relatives either ignore him, bully him, or regularly accuse him of being a troublemaker.
    • In the sequel, this is shown to be compounded by Buzz being a Manipulative Bastard as well as a bully.
  • Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham actually manages to play this trope compassionately without vilifying the parents for it. This is arguably attributable to the fact that the Unfavorite in this case is mostly so by default, rather than actually being unloved or undervalued.
  • Albert in The King's Speech was this as a child, due to his stuttering. But this becomes subverted as when they became older, his older brother preferred a more carefree frivolous lifestyle while Albert was The Dutiful Son. His father George does approve of the adult Albert (though still frustrated by his speech impediment) and his last words were that Albert would be a better king than his brother, even though he didn't say it to Albert directly.
  • The Lord of the Rings movies, especially the third, hit this trope pretty hard for Faramir. It's text, not subtext, in his father's dialogue. While Faramir is a grown character and, logically, "should've gotten over it by now", his father's scathing treatment of him makes it almost impossible for anyone not to sympathize. This factor, combined with some deleted scenes present in the extended versions, helps explain why Faramir initially decided to capture Frodo and the Ring, which is the opposite way he chose in the book. It's also notable that the favorite, Boromir, actually admires and defends Faramir, and is fed up with their father just as much as Faramir.
  • A League of Their Own provides the quote at the top. Kit's perception of being the unfavorite makes her very willing to apply for the all-women baseball league because, as she says, here 'she is nothing'. The only scene that shows this unfavoritism, though, is when her mother reprimands Kit for yelling (talking rather loudly) in the kitchen with Dotty, when her father's trying to listen to the radio in the living room. The rest of the movie focuses more on the relationship between the two sisters and Kit's inferiority complex compared to her older, prettier, happily married sister.
  • In Mystic Pizza, while Kat is looked on favorably because she's smart enough to go to Yale, and industrious enough that she's working several jobs in order to pay for it, her sister Daisy is seen as the screw-up and as a slut. Lampshaded by Daisy.
    Kat's such a good girl. Where did we go wrong with Daisy?
  • Much of the plot of Ordinary People revolves around Conrad (Timothy Hutton) being disfavored by his mother Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), who preferred his older brother, Buck.
  • Tonny from Pusher 2 is this compared to his father's other son and his kid half-brother.
  • Gordie in Stand by Me, whose parents never forgave him for being the one to survive. However, a flashback indicates that even when his older brother was alive, his father took very little interest in him; said brother seems to have been the only one who ever really paid any attention to Gordie.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki performs a Face–Heel Turn because he believes that his father, Odin, has always favored his brother Thor. The actual reason Odin chose Thor to succeed the throne of Asgard is because Loki is adopted from the race of enemies. Therefore Loki would not be Odin's heir or wield Mjolnir, even though Odin hoped he would rule Jötunheim as an ally. Loki also didn't fit the ideal of Asgard and probably reminded Odin of Hela, his eldest child gone astray, so while Odin considered him his son, he found it hard to connect. In his madness, Loki views Odin's disapproval of the genocide he tried to commit in his name in Thor as the final confirmation that he will never be enough, and by allowing himself to fall into the abyss attempts suicide. In Thor: The Dark World, Odin tells Loki that his birthright was to die as a child, sentences him to life imprisonment for his crimes on Earth, and forbids him to see his mother Frigga ever again and even to attend her funeral. Loki escapes and places an Identity Amnesia spell on Odin, sending him to a retirement home on Earth. In Thor: Ragnarok, some of Odin's final words are expressing his love for both his sons. Loki struggles to hold back tears, and shortly before his own death in Avengers: Infinity War calls himself "Odinson" for the first time since Thor.
    • Thanos doesn’t even bother denying that he considers Nebula the worst of his adoptive children. All of his kids were subjected to Tough Love and Training from Hell, but Nebula got the worst of it by far, to the point it sometimes crossed into outright torture. Just for comparison, when Gamora turned against Thanos, Thanos all but forgave her and never stopped loving her. When Nebula did the same? The next onscreen interaction between them had Thanos horrifically torture her and then later hatefully spit that the only reason he didn’t kill her was because it would’ve been “a waste of spare parts”.
  • In Tower of Terror, Abigail feels this way toward her sister Sally, since everyone was going to something for her on Abigail's birthday. That thing was going to be Abigail's surprise birthday party.
  • As the movie Walk the Line showed, Johnny never could quite match up to his dutiful dead brother in his dad's eyes.
  • Welcome to the Dollhouse has Dawn. She's punished constantly by her parents, especially when younger sister Missy (the apple of their eye) constantly baits her.
  • In Willard, despite being the strongest of the rats, Ben can never get the same level of affection as Socrates. After he decides to stop taking it, Willard directly states, "I hate you."
  • Multi-generational one in The Wolverine. Shingen claims Ichiro never considered him a worthy son, instead favoring his granddaughter, Shingen's daughter Mariko. Whether he is telling the truth or not, however, is left up to the viewer. Given subsequent revelations about his father, he might also have simply been mistaken; Viper implies that Ichiro chose Mariko as his successor because she'd be easier to manipulate than Shingen.
  • In Romeo Must Die, who's the unfavorite is very unclear. Po is the one who ended up going to America with their father Ch'u, while Han went to prison in order to help him escape. However, Ch'u has Po killed when he was about to compromise a major business deal. It's implied that Ch'u has always preferred Han, in spite of the fact that Han rejected him by becoming a police officer, and largely only cares for his brother.
  • In The Patsy, Pat is filled with unrequited love for her sister Grace's boyfriend Tony. Tony has no idea, and Grace for her part is also attracted to another man.
  • Preston from Blank Check is this to his father, who favors his older brothers for going into business for themselves. Preston is twelve.
  • Cloud Atlas: Robert Frobisher is this to his parents, who much prefer his older brother who died in World War I. Frobisher isn't too fond of his Mater and Pater either.
  • In Crooked House, Aristide passed over his eldest son Philip and gave control of his business empire to his younger son Roger, despite Roger being totally unsuited for the position.

  • Jane Austen:
    • In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is her father's favorite, and her mother's least favorite. Lydia is her mother's favorite, and her father's least favorite. This is a nice indicator of what each parent values. Jane is adored by pretty much everybody, Mary is almost universally ignored, but the second-youngest Bennet daughter Kitty is perpetually told to shut up and stop getting in everyone's way.
    • In Persuasion, plain, sensible, and sensitive Anne is ignored and dismissed by her family while her beautiful but vain sister Elisabeth is admired by all.
    • In Mansfield Park, Fanny's mother only cares about her sons and babies her youngest daughter, but ignores her older two daughters. Fanny only discovers this when returning for a much anticipated visit after years away from home.
    • In Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Ferrars dotes on her daughter Fanny and younger son Robert, but doesn't seem to particularly like elder son Edward.
  • Cosette in Les Misérables is a truly extreme Tear Jerker example, who, after being put in the care of the Thenardier family (with her mother paying them all she can), is despised, terribly abused and forced to be the inn's servant at the age of five. In contrast, the real daughters of the Thenardier family are treated like little princesses.
    • Gavroche, the other child of the Thenardier family fits this trope too, as his mother only loved her daughters and his father didn't pay any attention to any of his children. He's so neglected that, as a baby, he's left to cry on and on with nobody paying any attention to him. He's later abandoned and lives on the streets. While on the street he takes two younger boys who are actually his brothers that his mother gave away as infants and were (accidentally) abandoned by their adoptive mother under his wing.
  • In The Dream Thieves, toward the end of the book Ronan Lynch reflects on the fact that, of the three Lynch brothers, he was their father's favorite and youngest brother Matthew was their mother's favorite, leaving oldest brother Declan to be no one's favorite.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, Aral Vorkosigan got a bit of this from his father. His older brother had been one of the first casualties of Mad Emperor Yuri's Civil War, and his father sometimes acted as if the wrong brother had died.
  • Thomas Raith in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. In Blood Rites, it is revealed that he is Lord Raith's only surviving son, because Raith always kills his sons when they are old enough to become a threat (although he keeps his daughters around him). Thomas is still alive only because he was clever enough to avoid his father's earlier indirect attempts to get him killed.
    • It's unclear how clever he is; while Thomas is smarter than he looks, we've rarely if ever seen him accomplish anything that's really extraordinary for his kind. However, Thomas is the youngest son, so that might be why he survived as long as he did. It's also strongly hinted that the death curse of his mother weakened Lord Raith to the point where he could no longer kill Thomas in his preferred method.
  • Roald Dahl's Matilda has parents that are completely unappreciative of her superlative brilliance. Her father cares far more about son Mikey, a total nonentity, and the mother is more interested in bingo.
  • Ebenezer Scrooge, of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol fame is heavily implied to be this, sent away to Boarding School for years at a time by his resentful father. In some versions (at least in The Film of the Book with Alistair Sim), it's explained that Ebenezer's father blames him for his mother's Death by Childbirth. His kind-hearted and beautiful younger sister Fan is kept at home and is the apparent favorite, possibly due to an implied resemblance to her mother.
  • In Teresa Edgerton's Green Lion Trilogy, Ceilyn. His parents were Kissing Cousins in a notoriously strait-laced segment of society, and felt that their marriage was all right only if it were platonic, so they were ashamed to have had him. Sometime after Ceilyn's birth, his father had a vision and felt that he and his wife had been absolved and blessed, so Ceilyn's younger siblings are beloved but he is seen as a reminder of shameful behavior.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett's daughter Ella is her least favorite child; when Scarlett's other daughter Bonnie dies, Scarlett wonders why Ella couldn't have died instead.
  • Taken to new and extreme heights of Southern Gothic in Gillian Flynn's debut novel, Sharp Objects; the narrator, Camille, is her Ax-Crazy mother's Unfavorite, which is how she managed to survive to adulthood as nothing more than a self-harming, self-destructive alcoholic. Her more tractable younger sister died in childhood as the end result of their mother's Munchausen's by proxy, and her much younger half-sister is a sex-and-death-obsessed psychopath after thirteen years of the same treatment. Fun book.
  • Tom Holt has a tendency to do this.
    • The most obvious example is the protagonist Malcolm in Expecting Someone Taller. Like most of Holt's male leads, Malcolm is a total wimp, and his parents unabashedly compare him to his super-perfect sister Bridget. Becoming the heir to practically unlimited power makes Malcolm immediately think that it was originally meant for Bridget. In fact, Malcolm's lack of self-esteem and desire to do good make him the perfect person to inherit said power; Bridget would totally mess it up.
    • Another example is Kevin Christ in Only Human, who's the younger brother to Jesus and the second son of God.
  • In Sharon Lee's and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe series:
    • In Scout's Progress, Aelianna Caylon, despite being acknowledged as the foremost mathematical mind on Liad and the indirect saviour of many starship pilots, is The Unfavorite of her mother's children, and has been a target of her brother's abuse ever since they were children, when they overheard a conversation in which Aelianna was recommended to their mother over her brother as the best candidate for being her heir. Her brother was chosen instead, but has abused the position by taking out his resentment on Aelianna ever since; their mother refuses to recognize the situation.
    • One of the reasons Kareen yos'Phelium turned out so unpleasant was that she was the unfavorite, even though she was her mother's eldest child and would have been the clear heir except that she turned out to lack aptitude for the family business. Passing her over as head of the family would have been one thing by itself, but it's suggested that her mother pretty much regarded her as a waste of space and ignored all the useful aptitudes she did have.
  • In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, the king abused all three of his daughters impartially — until the youngest had to be sacrificed to the gods. Then he was explicitly abusive because he had lost her, being stuck with two unappealing daughters. Also, both Orual and her tutor the Fox heap praise on Istra while ignoring Orual's other younger sister, Redival — though, to be just, she was a very poor student and sly and treacherous.
  • George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Tyrion Lannister's mother died giving birth to him and he is a dwarf. No, not the fantasy kind. His father Tywin deeply resents him. Interestingly enough, however, Tywin's favorite son, Jaime, is actually the only one in the family who truly loves Tyrion and takes his side.
    • Tyrion's uncles, Kevan, Tygett and Gerion, all loved him during his childhood and, in the present story, Kevan and his aunt Genna respect him. Tywin's disdain just eclipses all this.
    • Jon Snow is treated this way by Catelyn Stark, the wife of his father Ned Stark, because Jon is Ned's illegitimate son with another woman. Ned loves and treats Jon like all of his other children and Jon loves and is loved by the rest of his family. Catelyn, on the other hand, treats him coldly. Though it was only the one time after Bran fell from a tower, Catelyn — deranged with grief and worry — tells Jon (who is also deeply grieved and worried over Bran) that this near fatal accident should have happened to him rather than to one of her own children.
    • Also, Samwell Tarly is treated like this by his father Lord Randyll, who sent him to The Wall because if Sam didn't go, his father would have arranged for Sam to be killed in a "hunting accident".
    • Theon Greyjoy, whose father Balon Greyjoy, only holds disdain for his son as Theon spent the last ten years as a hostage/ward to Balon's hated enemies, the Starks. Balon ignores that the only reason his son spent ten years as a hostage/ward of the Starks was because he gave his son away as this hostage, to pay for his own crimes of rebelling against King Robert, who wanted to ensure Balon would not rebel again.
  • Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series had Tris. She was disowned and disposed of by her parents, who sent her to live with various relatives who used her as a live-in servant while constantly berating and bullying her. Particularly strange was that she seems to have been an only child — it was when she was moved away from her own parents that she encountered a "sibling rivalry" situation (her cousins, who got preferential treatment from their parents — Tris' aunts and uncles).
    • It's noted that at least part of the reason why this happened is that Tris's powers - which cover control over pretty much all weather - were unknown and uncontrolled at the time...which meant that they tended to synchronize with her emotions. They thought she was possessed, and it terrified them - but Tris does still think they could have handled it better. Also notable is that no one in her family is ever mentioned to have tried to make contact with Tris after she becomes known as one of the youngest and most powerful mages of her generation. (At one point in the second series, she tells her student that her family would probably like to have her back for her powers, but that'd be the only reason. She doesn't say whether or not her family attempted a reconciliation between books, though.)
    • There's also Daja, whose whole culture banished her, after she was the only survivor of a shipwreck that killed the rest of her family, due to the association of a lone survivor being bad luck. She understands the reasons behind it, but it still upsets her until they bring her back in.
  • In The First Wives Club, Aaron clearly favors successful doctor son Alex to his other one, Chris, kicking off an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech late in the book as Chris makes it clear that his brother "is perfect, the poor bastard, perfectly miserable" having to live up to his father's constant praise and favoritism ("Did you know when I started at the agency, people were surprised to learn you had two sons?").
    • When Aaron snaps that as soon as he leaves the firm and "my name is off the door," Chris will be fired, his son sadly points out that as long as he's there, their name will always be on the door.
  • This comes up in Pierce's Tortall Universe too.
    • Dovasary Balitang from Daughter of the Lioness isn't the Unfavorite to her parents, but the leaders of the hidden raka rebellion don't even notice her except as Sarai's quiet younger sister, until Sarai starts getting unruly and they wish she was more like Dove. Still, it doesn't make them consider putting Dove on the throne instead of Sarai. Not until Sarai actually elopes to get away from the increasingly oppressive rule of the Rittevons and Dove convinces them that it's not the disaster they assume it is.
    • Another Tortallan unfavorite is Beka Cooper from the Provost's Dog books. Her father's side of the family don't like to see her much because she's a Dognote . She and her siblings joined Lord Gershom's household, and his wife Teodorie dislikes Beka enough to forbid Beka's siblings from seeing her—Lady Teodorie loves her husband but hates his job and blames Beka for making him like it, as well as resentment that Beka isn't willing to study a ladylike trade the way her sisters do.
  • Josephine in Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard. She is the disturbed and unappreciated younger sister of protagonist Michael Crawford's wife Julia; their mother died giving birth to Josephine; the family says that they don't hold this against her but that Josephine holds it against herself. Josephine spent her youth coping with stress by becoming someone else; imitating a clockwork machine, or imitating her sister Julia (who charmingly made sure that people knew about this). Years after Julia's death, Crawford and Josephine are guests in someone else's home when Josephine slips into 'becoming' Julia for several days. Crawford then feels that he now knows Julia far better than he did when they were married - and doesn't like her much, and tries to help Josephine return to her own personality.
  • In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series:
    • Harry is constantly compared unfavorably to his cousin Dudley by his aunt and uncle; his cousin is extremely spoiled whereas he is abused and coldly neglected. This becomes one of the ways the book shows Harry growing up, as "not being liked by parental figures" becomes less important than "war between good and evil".
    • Ron feels like this, even though it's not true (his family never shows him anything but the utmost unconditional love). Specifically, he feels overshadowed by his five older brothers, and his younger sister (because his mum supposedly wanted a daughter most of all), and by his famous best friend, whom his mum treats like another son.
    • Molly has shown some unfavorite sentiments toward Fred and George. More than once she's compared them (and Ron) unfavorably to their three older brothers. When Ron is appointed a school prefect (like Bill, Charlie, and Percy) in Order of the Phoenix, Molly squeals, "That's everyone in the family!" prompting George to quip, "What are Fred and I? Next-door neighbors?" She also apparently didn't have much faith in Ginny becoming a prefect either. Granted, Fred and George can be a handful, but even so...
    • It's implied that Tom Riddle was one of these in his youth: the woman running the orphanage was glad to see the back of him. That said, it's also implied that he was a Damien-esque nightmare, even as a child, which would certainly explain her attitude towards him.
    • Voldemort's mother, Merope, suffered from this to such an extent that it stunted the growth of her magical abilities.
    • Sirius Black is another example. His younger brother Regulus was 'the good son'. However, it's debatable whether or not Sirius took the 'unfavorite' role on himself by deliberately doing things he knew his family disapproved of, implying that he did not actually care whether or not his parents preferred him or his brother because he so deeply disapproved of their expectations and political views.
    • Aunt Petunia implies that she herself held this position in the Evans family, especially after Lily's magical abilities are discovered. It's difficult to know just how much of this perception was due to her jealousy over Lily's powers, as we only ever hear her side of the story. Lily's beauty and more magnetic personality, contrasted to her plain, boring, older, more responsible sister Petunia, might have played a role initially; when Lily's powers manifested, the combination likely caused Petunia to equate boring and normal with being better as a defense mechanism. However, when we do see them as young children, they seem to get along well; there's even subtle evidence to suggest that Lily idealized her older sister by taking Petunia's side in every conflict, even when Petunia was wrong to insult Severus Snape. In addition, Petunia never even says explicitly that the Evans parents treated Petunia differently or as second-best, just that she was upset that they loved Lily and didn't perceive Lily as a freak the way Petunia did.
    • In case there weren't enough examples already (did Rowling have issues with this?), the Dumbledore family had this in spades. Ariana, the youngest member of the family, was mentally ill and required constant care and supervision to the partial exclusion of her older brothers out of necessity. Because of this, Aberforth seemed to wind up the unfavorite of the family, being neither ill like Ariana or a prodigal genius like Albus, and remains rather bitter toward his brother even when they're both old men (although for different reasons). Strangely, Albus himself seemed to feel like the Unfavorite as a boy, since he didn't think his mother gave him the proper attention he deserved due to his brilliance, and resented having to waste his time taking care of Ariana when he had many other ripe possibilities before him. As an old man, he admitted that it was all ego and he needed to get over himself.
  • All-American Girl has Samantha Madison perceives herself to be this. She's the middle child, with her older sister Lucy being an attractive, popular cheerleader and her younger sister Rebecca being super intelligent. She notes that she was always getting hand-me-down clothes from Lucy (including bras), and that her parents do not understand her love for art and dislike for school. It isn't until she rescues the US president from an assassination attempt that her parents seem to pay positive attention to her. Ready or Not does show that both parents love their children, even choosing to cut back on their hours to spend more time with all of their daughters because they feel a better parental presence would do all of them good.
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things is a great insight of being The Unfavorite. The narrator is a chubby, blonde high-schooler with average grades living in a glamorous upper-class family of beautiful slim dark-haired people.
  • Comes up a few times in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.
    • In Return Of The King, Denethor often compares Faramir unfavorably with his deceased older brother, Boromir. There had been tension between them since childhood for several reasons. One is that Faramir and Denethor are Too Much Alike, scholarly and serious and slightly prescient, while Boromir was energetic and proud and more earthly. Another is that Faramir is very like his mother, who died when he was five, and Denethor doesn't like the reminder. By the time of the third book, grief over Boromir's death is implied to add another reason for Denethor to lash out because the loss of his favorite heightens his existing ambivalence into open contempt, particularly when Faramir acts according to his own judgment. Faramir's attitude towards all of this is rather resigned until Denethor implies he wishes his sons had been exchanged, at which point he reminds his father whose order sent Boromir away in the first place. (Despite all this, the narration points out that there was never any Sibling Rivalry between the two brothers.)
    • Denethor himself was the Unfavorite to Thorongil/Aragorn's Favorite.
      "Indeed [Denethor] was as like to [Aragorn] as to one of nearest kin, and yet was ever placed second to the stranger in the hearts of men and the esteem of his father." The Return of the King, Appendix A, J.R.R Tolkien.
    • Fingolfin, from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. After his half-brother Fëanor threatens to kill him then is exiled, their father Finwë chooses to accompany him into exile, relinquishing his crown, even though the text gives the reader no reason to think that Fëanor's attack on his brother was justified.
    • In all his works, Men in general. Compared to Elves, they are weaker, less wise, mortal by nature, affected by diseases and old age, easier killed and they are shorter and uglier. They have no advantages whatsoever over Elves to even it all up. To add an insult to injury, they die in all horrible ways imaginable, the Valar just could not care less of them, and Eru Ilúvatar intervenes on things only to commit a genocide on Men. Justified, since J.R.R. Tolkien was WWI veteran and saw what men could do to each other.
  • Flowers for Algernon has a rather extreme version of this. Charlie's mother Rose preferred her daughter Norma to her son Charlie due to Norma having an average IQ compared to Charlie's very low 68. This made Norma a Spoiled Brat and left Charlie mostly confused and afraid of his mother who would beat him for perfectly natural things like having an erection as would any pubescent teen boy. Terrified he would do something to Norma, Rose eventually forced Charlie's father to have him taken away by threatening to kill Charlie if he didn't.
    • It's actually a subversion. As his memories come back, Charlie realizes that his sister was expected to achieve everything for both of them, which put her under unfair pressure to do well and caused her to bully him.
  • Jacob Have I Loved takes this to biblical proportions, as implied by the title. The protagonist is overshadowed by her twin sister from birth, first because of the latter's frail health, then because of her beauty and musical talent. The title comes in when she parallels herself to Esau, Jacob's older, less fortunate brother, and decides she must be God's UnFavorite.
  • Subverted in Dragonlance because Raistlin Majere appears to be The Unfavorite of the universe while his twin brother Caramon is well-liked by damn near everyone he meets; really, though, people don't like Raistlin because he's a Jerk Ass.
  • Jochi in the Conqueror books is disdained by his father, Genghis Khan, due to suspicion he was conceived as a result of Borte's rape by Tartars. In Real Life, this resulted in tension between Jochi and Chagatai, which in turn was part of the reason the great khan named his third son as his successor.
  • Outbound Flight features a minor character who hates his Jedi sister because, since she wasn't around to do anything less-than-perfect, he was forced to endure an entire childhood of "Why couldn't you be more like your sister? I bet she never [INSERT CHILDHOOD HIJINK HERE]."
    • Survivor's Quest has him, much older and as one of the main characters, realize that it wasn't quite like that. They did love the absent sister, and idolized their image of what she might have become, but they never neglected him.
    • By the end of Galaxy of Fear, Zak no longer feels on equal terms with his sister Tash. At the start of the series she was a Bookworm, he was the one who liked machines and action and so on. But as the series progressed and she started developing her Force talents and applying the things she picked up from studying, he felt increasingly overshadowed. Not only could she do just about anything he could do, but better, but their serious, studious uncle trusted her feelings over his, and tended to dismiss him as being childish. To their credit, Tash sympathized with Zak and their uncle respected him when he was serious, just... Tash was Force-Sensitive and increasingly able to use it. When the family stumbles so constantly into danger, that means a lot.
  • In their mother's eyes at least, Anna and Jesse are clearly Unfavorites in comparison to Ill Girl Kate in My Sister's Keeper. As Jesse says, he's the "lost cause," a guy that spends all his time in a filthy garage apartment doing drugs and drinking. The unfavoritism leads to him becoming an arsonist and causing his fireman father quite a lot of grief. Anna, on the other hand, was only born to donate blood to Kate, who has leukemia. It's scary how her mother seems to think of her not in terms of who she is as a person, but as the sum of the parts that could be used to help Kate. Their father, on the other hand, seems to think of all of them equally, though of course because of Kate's condition he has to put the other two in the back seat from time - especially Jesse, who started consider himself "invisible" within the family, since Kate and Anna are often the center of attention whenever Kate's condition worsens.
  • Prince Roger of David Weber and John Ringo's Prince Roger series is the Unfavorite due to his resemblance to his treasonous father and his complete lack of accomplishment, compared to his fleet-admiral sister and senior-diplomat brother.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid includes this but the role is split between Rodrick and Gregory, mostly because the favorite is obviously the much younger Manny.
  • In The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, Sookie was unfavorite in comparison to her Jerk Ass brother Jason, because of her telepathy making her too weird for their little southern town. Although their grandmother was loving, she was weirded out by Sookie's ability and only acknowledged it as a gift when it would be helpful or useful for Sookie to put it to use.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books have Heralds Vanyel Ashkevron and Talia Sensdaughter, both very much the unfavorite child of their respective fathers (and in Talia's case, her father's various wives as well). Slightly subverted in Vanyel's case as he's his mother's favorite (although that mostly serves to make his brothers and cousins jealous), and he eventually reconciles with his father as well. In addition to them, Lavan "Firestorm" Chitworth was the unfavorite of his family for not wanting to go into the cloth trade like all his siblings, and Skif was the unfavorite of his Uncle Londer after his mother died and left him in Londer's care. 'Happy families' and 'Focus Character Herald' are pretty much mutually exclusive terms.
    • Even Princess Elspeth suffered from this to a degree, despite being an only child until well into her teens. She takes after her father more than a little in looks; given that said father not only manipulated her mother into a miserable marriage but eventually tried to murder her, Queen Selenay could never quite convince herself that she was capable of dealing with her daughter rationally and ended up using various nannies and other proxies beyond what the whole monarch thing required for good and ill.
  • In The Dead And The Gone, Alex Morales is left to take care of his siblings Julie and Briana after an asteroid hits the moon. Alex very obviously favors Briana over the more whiny Julie, especially after Briana gets asthma. However, Alex learns to like Julie after Briana disappears and is soon found dead in the elevator.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie grows up dealing with her mother's favoritism for her brother Neelie. When he was born less than a year after her, their mother compared the beautiful cooing baby to the colicky, plain-looking little girl. She immediately knew she could never love them equally.
  • In The Westing Game, Grace Wexler's preference for beautiful daughter Angela is so extreme that she doesn't even recognize her younger daughter, Turtle, after a few drinks. Subverted in that being ignored is actually better for Turtle than having her life micromanaged like it is for Angela, who's so stressed by My Beloved Smother that she starts setting off bombs.
    • Grace even refers to her daughters as Cain and Abel at one point.
    • Grace: "You know, of course, that if I do win the inheritance, everything I own goes to Angela." She says this with Turtle in the room. And when Turtle rushes out, Grace is bewildered.
    • The narration explicitly refers to Angela as "her (Grace's) favorite."
  • The Liavek anthologies had Nerissa Benedicti, who summed her situation up thusly: "I am the last of eight children, and any week-guest in the house can discover that everybody concerned wishes there had only been six." Nerissa ends up joining a religion of suicides at the age of fourteen. (Her brother Deleon, the second Unfavorite, ran away from home on his twelfth birthday.)
  • In the Agatha Christie book Sparkling Cyanide, Sandra Farraday. Sandra's mother explicitly says at one point that Sandra is the most difficult and least dear to her of all her children. Also from the same book, Iris Marle seems to be rather neglected compared to her beautiful, rich older sister Rosemary. Iris doesn't really seem to resent it, though.
    • Another Agatha Christie example is in Murder With Mirrors. Mildred Gulbrandson, the biological daughter of Miss Marple's friend Carrie Louise, is the Unfavorite as compared to Carrie Louise's adopted daughter Pippa, her stepsons Alex and Stephan, and later Pippa's daughter Gina. Poor girl just can't catch a break.
      • The end of the story, when Carrie Louise turns to Mildred for support and comfort and an earlier conversation between the former and Miss Marple implies that much of this 'unfavoritism' was Mildred's perception.
    • There's also The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie, in which the local barrister's grown-up stepdaughter, Megan, is neglected by the family. They either forget about or don't know what to do with her, favouring the two younger boys who are biologically his.
  • In J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury is the Unfavorite of his family. He was the second-born twin, which apparently is bad luck in his world. His twin, Zsadist, is kidnapped by a nanny as an infant and sold into slavery. Phuy is not directly blamed for this, but it is inherent that his birth and its bad luck was the reason. His family falls apart, and notes that he had to drag his father's drunken body inside as dawn approached so that he would not die. It was also noted that when he left to find his brother, no one noticed his departure, and he did not attend his parents' funerals. He finally finds his twin, who is being horribly abused and tortured by an aristocrat, and helps him escape. In the process, he loses the lower half of one of his legs and uses a prosthesis. He vows that he will help his brother, which includes beating him up on several occasions at his request. He takes a vow of celibacy, and becomes a drug addict. He eventually finds peace with his parents while withdrawing from the drugs, but spends most of the series with some serious guilt.
  • One of the first things we learn about Stiva in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is that he hugely prefers his daughter to his son. For some reason this comes off as charming and honest in the original Russian, and cold and cruel in the English translation.
  • Annotations for Warbreaker reveal that, while there were legitimate tactical reasons that King Dedelin considered when he decided to send Siri to marry the God King instead of Vivenna, he ultimately was more willing to sacrifice his youngest daughter because he didn't love her quite as much as her older sister.
  • In Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler, Asha Vere is the unfavorite to her parents, strict Christian fundamentalists who don't seem to love her. Their other child, Kamaria, died in a bombing. It turns out she's adopted.
  • Claudia Kishi of The Baby-Sitters Club often feels like this with her parents, due to her older sister Janine being a certified genius and good at academics. However, one of the Claudia books reveals that Janine also feels like the Unfavorite because Claudia is so pretty and popular.
  • In Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series, Wexford's older daughter Sylvia, who comes off badly in his eyes (and Rendell's) even when she's been victimized. By contrast, the other daughter, Sheila, is an extremely successful actress who never does anything in the least bit wrong.
  • Washington Square's main character Catherine Sloper is this to her father, in comparison to her older brother... who died several years before she was born and doesn't appear to have lived long enough to be named.
  • In East of Eden, this happens twice via Generation Xerox. Charles and Adam's father preferred Adam, which led Charles to abuse his brother. It happens again with Adam's twin boys, Cal and Aaron.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Lindsey knows that her father is never proud of her, as opposed to her brother Peter.
  • Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You!) actually suggests making a conscious choice of who the favorite and unfavorite are, since it will happen anyway. On top of that, he also suggests using it as a Carrot and the Stick approach to make sure the children are well-behaved.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's The Song of the Cardinal, the she-cardinal whom he kissed.
    She had been hatched from a fifth egg to begin with; and every one knows the disadvantage of beginning life with four sturdy older birds on top of one. It was a meager egg, and a feeble baby that pipped its shell. The remainder of the family stood and took nearly all the food so that she almost starved in the nest, and she never really knew the luxury of a hearty meal until her elders had flown. That lasted only a few days; for the others went then, and their parents followed them so far afield that the poor little soul, clamouring alone in the nest, almost perished.
  • The Hon. Freddie Threepwood in P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle series. As the seemingly unnecessary "second son" who's constantly piling up debts and having to be hauled out of London, he's not a big hit with his father Lord Emsworth, who'd do anything to get him off his hands.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's A Daughter of the Land, Kate. Mary is clearly the Favorite, but the other sisters also had their share.
    "I am not! But it wasn't a 'fool thing' when Mary and Nancy Ellen, and the older girls wanted to go. You even let Mary go to college two years."
    "Mary had exceptional ability," said Mrs. Bates.
    "I wonder how she convinced you of it. None of the rest of us can discover it," said Kate.
  • Caine Soren and Penny from the GONE series get this a lot. Caine to the point where his mother put him up for adoption because she just had a "bad hunch" about him. (Granted, he did turn out to be evil...)
    • Zil gets this on a much smaller scale when he revealed that he was neglected and ignored by his parents in favor of his older, jerkass brother Zayn. Acts as a freudianexcuse for his ur...Arson, bigotry and attempted genocide.
  • In E. D. Baker's The Wide-Awake Princess, Annie is Anti-Magic and kept far away from her sister, mother, and father, to keep from undoing the magic spells that keep them beautiful and talented.
  • In The New Baby, a picture book that was part of a 1980s series called "Happy Endings Books," about a society of anthropomorphic mice, the main character, Tippu, is afraid of becoming this, having just become a big brother. The book ends with his parents realizing that they just haven't been giving him enough attention, and him coming to realize that he could come to like the baby.
  • Common in Flowers in the Attic. Cathy is her mother's unfavorite. Corrine in turn was her mother's unfavorite. This happens again with Cathy's children in If There Be Thorns. Jory is the favorite, while Creepy Child awkward Bart gets less of her attention, especially after she adopts cute, blonde toddler Cindy.
  • In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Jern was his mother's. His brother and sister were his father's, but the father dies first, and his mother cuts him off.
  • In Akata Witch, Sunny's father doesn't like her. Unlike her brothers, she has to struggle to have any relationship with him at all.
  • In A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, Christine believed herself to be the unfavorite "daughter" of her "mother" Aunt Ida compared to her son Lee. That led to Christine never having another child with anyone after she had Rayona.
  • The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes has Abby, who is the middle child and often feels left out for a variety of reasons: for one, each Hayes child has a particular skill- Abby's older sisters Eva and Isabel are skilled in sports and science, respectively, and their younger brother Alex is a tech/computer genius- but Abby's skill is creative writing, which doesn't have frequently visible results like trophies and awards. She's not hugely popular, she can't do maths (thus lowering her overall marks) and because she's old enough to be responsible but young enough to not be very outgoing, she isn't very loud or demanding, so she usually ends up fading into the background and is an afterthought to her parents. To be fair to said parents, they never actually abuse or alienate any of their kids, but their parenting does leave something to be desired.
  • In the Obsidian & Blood series, Acatl became this upon deciding to be a priest for the dead instead of following his older brother Neutemoc and become a warrior. Their parents, who had been peasants, really wished for their sons to reach a higher status in society, so the younger son's decision to go off and become a priest with no wordly possessions was not popular with them. Never mind that he managed to climb the ladder and become the High Priest of his order. It becomes a major plot point in the first book.
  • In More Than This, Seth's mother dotes on his younger brother Owen and largely ignores Seth.
  • Subverted in The Infernal Devices with Nate Gray's biological parents, but with if Aunt Harriet was ever supposed to pick which one of her sister's children would become more successful, it would be Tessa.
  • A major source of angst for Lissa in Vampire Academy, is how she was always walking in her brother's shadow.
  • In Wintergirls, Lia's stepmother Jennifer exhibits a comparatively mild degree of unfavoritism towards her, though this is more because she's exasperated with her refusal to get help for her eating disorder (and possibly also because she's worried about what influence Lia is having on her younger daughter).
  • In the Age of Fire series, it's standard draconic instinct and tradition that all the males of a clutch will fight to the death, or at least until the loser(s) is/are driven off. At this point, they're cast out by their family, without even being given a name, and forced to fend for themselves. This is the case with the Copper, forming the basis for his personality and driving him to do what he does; he also decides that if he ever has hatchlings of his own, he won't enforce this tradition. To their credit, his siblings both independently come to the same conclusion, seeing the flaws in this system.
  • The children's picture book, You're All My Favorites, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram (author and illustrator of Guess How Much I Love You) is a direct refutation of this. It features three bear cubs, each of which worry about being this. The first worries that he is because his siblings have patches and he doesn't. The second worries because she is the only girl bear of the group. The final one worries because he's the littlest. Their parents, however, reassure them that none of it matters. "Three favorites. You're all my favorites!"
  • Many scenes in Sweet Valley High—and two specific books in particular — reveal that Jessica feels like this in comparison to twin sister Elizabeth.
  • Jane Rizzoli in the Rizzoli & Isles books (the first two, at least). Her mother is completely oblivious to and dismissive of her job as a detective, even chastising Jane when she has to leave a family dinner is order to make an arrest, asking her "Can't they do it without you?". In another instance, despite Jane having gone all out to make sure that she has a nice birthday, she focuses on and bitches about the one thing that Jane didn't do—bake a cake. But when her brother Frankie fails to buy a gift and doesn't even show up for the party, she doesn't get angry at all and dismisses his attempts at apologizing. It's so prevalent that in another scene, Jane is downright shocked when her mother takes her side in argument with Frankie, as this has apparently never happened before. The reader soon learns the root of this—she has just discovered that her husband is having an affair and Frankie and the other brothers have taken his side, finally cluing her in to what a mistake she's made favoring the boys over Jane.
  • Jessica Darling is this to her sister Bethany. It's a milder example than many, because her parents do genuinely care for her - they just can't figure out what to do with her, since unlike Bethany she isn't a girly-girl who shares her mother's interests and priorities, while at the same time not being enough of a tomboy for her father to treat like the son he never had.
  • The main plot of the first book of the Clémentine series involves Clementine being worried that she might be this after her friend Margaret tells her that in families with two children, there's the "easy one" and the "hard one." She's worried that she's the "hard one" and her parents want to get rid of her because of it.
  • In Warrior Cats, Crookedstar suffered a childhood injury that left him with a permanently twisted jaw, which led his mother Rainflower to reject him and prefer his brother Oakheart. Unusually for this trope, Oakheart loves his brother and wants their mother to treat them the same. Their father Shellheart averts the trope by loving both his sons equally.
  • Fudge: Peter gets blamed by his parents for nearly everything his little brother Fudge does. It gets especially ridiculous on one occasion when Fudge loses his two front teeth in an accident while being babysat by Peter's arch-rival Sheila, and Peter is the one who gets blamed by their mother. To her credit, she apologizes to him later, and as the series goes on, Fudge is more often punished when he does something wrong.
  • NothingsFairInFifthGrade: Elsie Edwards, is a fairly obvious Unfavorite due to her obesity, to the point where her mother won't be seen with her in public, and her misbehavior (for example, stealing her classmates' lunch money) does nothing to help it. By contrast, Elsie's younger sister Robyn can do no wrong, in their mother's eyes: in one scene, Elsie takes the blame for a mess Robyn has made and ends up hit with a broom by her mother because of it (and in front of Elsie's friends). As the series progresses, Elsie loses weight and cleans up her act, but her relationship with her mother does not improve much.
    • The same author, Barthe DeClements, later wrote No Place for Me, whose protagonist, Copper Jones, is an equally dramatic example of an Unfavorite, largely due to her mother's reputation as an unstable, manipulative alcoholic. When her mother goes to rehab (again) and her stepfather has to move for work, she ends up living with a succession of three different aunts' families and getting kicked out of the first two. Her Aunt Dorothy won't spend a penny on Copper even for something as trivial as an ice cream cone, and all but forces Copper to sleep on a urine-stained quilt because it's too expensive to have the quilt cleaned (and later, when she learns that Copper tried to wash the quilt herself and ruined it, is furious). Then it's off to Aunt Judith and Uncle Raymond, who throw Copper out after their house is burglarized, fearing that the negative publicity will ruin Raymond's political career. Finally and fortunately, Aunt Maggie (her father's sister) is able to provide Copper with the love and understanding she needs and has thus far lacked.
  • In Elvenblood, the noble elf maiden Sheyrena an Treves gets this from both parents to a degree. Her father Lord Tylar is openly emotionally abusive towards her and considers her brother Lorryn his prized possession because she is female. Her mother Viridina fusses over Lorryn and is borderline neglectful towards her because 'Rena is a full blooded elf, and most of her attention is focused on making sure nobody finds out the girl's (half)brother is not.
  • In Seeker Bears Toklo resents his Ill Boy brother Tobi because their mother dotes over Tobi. He also feels Tobi weighs them down and that they'd be better off without him. When Tobi dies their mother abandons Toklo in her despair due to not wanting to lose both cubs due to food shortages (especially after losing previous litters). Afterwards Toklo begins hating his mother for abandoning him.
  • Downplayed, and played oddly, in the backstory of Paladin of Souls. The Castle Warder of the border fortress Porifors had a long term affair with the quasi-abandoned wife of the nominal commander (who was serving as Chancellor in the distant capital), and while he did not formally acknowledge the younger boy Illvin as his own until his lover's early death the math made it a very open secret. He took it upon himself to serve as a parent to Illvin and his older half-brother Arhys, but while parental affection for his own son came naturally there was a degree of conscious, mindful effort where Arhys was concerned... and both kids could tell. It is implied by Illvin decades later that, had Arhys not spent his adolescence packed and ready to ride out on an hour's notice when the great Chancellor dy Lutiz sent for his son, he could well have become embittered & envious half-brother so many presumed Illvin was.
  • Wings of Fire: The Prophecy required a SkyWing egg to work, however Burn murdered the dragonet before it could hatch. The Talons of Peace decided to try and use a RainWing egg instead. They constantly let Glory know that she's unwanted, that she's just a spare, and that's a lazy, lowly RainWing.
  • Orkneyinga Saga: Of the six sons of Jarl Rognvald, Einar is the one he likes least, on account of his slave mother and his ugliness. The argument Einar uses to persuade his father to give him the jarldom of Orkney is that in this way, Rognvald will never have to see him again. This works, although Rognvald makes clear that he thinks Einar will fail and in effect tells his son that he won't care if he dies.
    "I agree; the sooner you leave and the later you return, the happier I'll be."
  • A Girl Named Disaster: Nhamo's aunt and uncle treat her as a burden, give her all the hardest chores, and are more than willing to marry her off to an abusive older man as payment for her father's crimes. It's also implied that Aunt Chipo was herself the Unfavorite of Ambuya's daughters.
  • Gesta Danorum: King Gorm vows that he will put to death whoever should bring him the message that his son Knut is dead; when Knut is killed (though he does not make good on his vow) Gorm dies from grief, and Knut's younger brother Harald Bluetooth becomes king. Gorm's vow and his reaction to the death of Knut imply that he does not particularly care for Harald, and that he considers him an unworthy son compared to Knut.
  • In Celeste Ng's novel Little Fires Everywhere, Izzy is clearly Elena Richardson's least favourite child and it's partly because of this that causes her to latch onto Mia as a substitute mother figure, while Pearl, Mia's daughter, ironically ends up hanging out more and more at the Richardsons' house.
  • Stephen King, in the Different Seasons short story The Body (on which Stand by Me, referenced above, was based) made things even worse for poor Gordie; not only are his parents so caught up in their own grief that they are almost oblivious to him, he wasn't even particularly close to his brother.
  • In Princess Academy, Miri believes herself to be the unfavorite to her older sister Marda, because their father allows Marda to work in the village stone quarry, but not Miri, supposedly because she is so small and skinny for her age. Actually, this is not the reason. It is because Miri's mother died in a quarry accident, and their father loves Miri so much he can't bear the thought of her dying in the same way. He did not want Marda to work in the quarry either—he loves both his daughters—but he had no choice if the family were to survive.
  • In How Sweet It Is by Melissa Brayden, Jordan is this to her older sister, Cassie. Made worse by the fact that Cassie is dead and Jordan can't compete with the idealized memory of her.
  • Are you a Goosebumps protagonist with a sibling? There's a good chance you're this trope. Especially if your sibling is younger.
    • In The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, Michael's younger sister Tara is a horrible brat who makes his life hell and always tells lies to get him in trouble, but is never punished by their parents.
    • A milder example in Egg Monsters from Mars, where Dana's parents spoil his younger sister Brandy, but don't do the same for him. To be fair, he admits that even he has trouble saying no to her sometimes.
  • In Caliphate, Fudail is clearly passed over by Abdul who prefers Besma as his favorite child, despite the local inheritance laws favoring sons over daughters (not to mention Besma was born from a concubine while Fudail was born from an actual wife). Though to be fair, he has good reason for it considering Fudail is a psychotic Spoiled Brat whom his own father considers a monster, despite outwardly appearing uncaring towards him and when Besma murders Fudail in self-defense because he tried to rape her, Abdul considers him an Asshole Victim.

  • The premise of the song "Better Version of You" by Paul and Storm is the parents informing The Unfavorite that his unborn sibling will be the favorite.
  • The song "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold is about a boy who believes he's this after his younger sister is born and his mother tells him they need to attend to her needs because she's a baby. He ultimately leaves home six months after his eighteenth birthday "to find the love he had lost." (Many of the details match up with Andrew Gold's own life, but Gold has denied the song being autobiographical.)
  • Jonathan Aaron Steel, the protagonist of WASP's epic concept album The Crimson Idol is this, forever unfavourably compared to his brother Michael, and the problem intensifies after Michael's tragic death.
  • "Jesse Younger" by country musician Kris Kristofferson deals with a man named Jessie Younger who is in all but name disowned by his parents over a disagreement over his differing lifestyle and beliefs and as a result his younger brother is treated as if he is his parent's only son.
  • Song "Remember Everything" by Five Finger Death Punch is about a person feeling unloved by their family:
    Oh, dear mother, I love you
    I'm sorry, I wasn't good enough
    Dear father, forgive me
    'Cause in your eyes, I just never added up
    In my heart I know I failed you
    But you left me here alone
    If I could hold back the rain
    Would you numb the pain
    'Cause I remember everything
    If I could help you forget
    Would you take my regrets
    'Cause I remember everything.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • April from For Better or for Worse was the Black Sheep and completely ignored by almost her entire family (the main exception being her grandfather). The fact that she's regarded by much of the Hatedom as being the strip's Only Sane Man is probably very much related to this fact.
    • Making this even harsher, creator Lynn Johnson admitted that the Patterson family was based on her own, and that April represented the second daughter she wanted but never had. Apparently that went out the window, since as noted above, April is often the victim of Informed Wrongness.
  • Peter Fox from FoxTrot tends to be this in the Fox Family.
    • All three of the Fox kids do crazy things. Peter, being the oldest, tends to draw more attention since his zany antics include things like driving like a maniac, skipping homework, playing a guitar loudly and badly, and wrecking the house by throwing a football around indoors. In comparison, Paige's obsessive shopping, Jason's scientific screw-ups, and their mutual back-and-forth teasing is kind of small potatoes.
  • When his older brother Chad is visiting from college, Jeremy from the strip Zits seems to fall into this.
    • This wasn't helped by early depictions of Chad, which gave him a gleaming, perfect smile, the rest of his head unable to be seen, atop a perfect body to go with the notion that he could do no wrong. Later depictions make him look... like Jeremy with a beard.

  • Jake quickly becomes this for McGonagall in the Cool Kids Table Harry Potter-themed game Hogwarts: The New Class for doing the most stupid antics during their Diagon Alley trip.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • CHIKARA: UltraMantis Black treated Crossbones this way when UMB was the leader of the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple. UMB fawned over Hydra and Delirious, but always belittled Crossbones. This despite Crossbones being the only loyal member of the group (Delirious, Vökoder [Tim Donst] and Hydra [unmasked and repackaged as Dieter Von Steigerwalt]) all abandoned the Order for the BDK.)

  • The first book of the Pentateuch, theBook of Genesis could practically be retitled The Book of the Unfavorite.
    • Cain and Abel is one of the oldest Trope Namers.
    • Noah made Caanan his Unfavorite grandson.
    • Abraham treated Ishmael as a Red-Headed Stepchild, and Sarah treated him as a usurping bastard, despite the fact that he was conceived legitimately (for the time) and it was Sarah's idea. He didn't treat his six sons born to Keturah, the wife he took after Sarah died, any better, sending them "to the east" out of the Promised Land. (In fairness, Isaac was not only his parents' favorite, he was God's favorite too.)
    • Isaac either learned nothing or learned too well; he and Rebekah literally gave birth to another Trope Namer, Jacob and Esau.
    • And Jacob keeps the pattern going. All his sons except Joseph were considered The Unfavorite, as Jacob lavished Joseph with a special coat that made his other sons jealous. When Jacob believes Joseph has been killed, Joseph's other full brother Benjamin became the center of their father's attention. In Jacob's case, he's furthering Polygamous Favoritism: practically the first thing we learn of Leah, his first wife, is that "Leah was not loved." Things don't really improve for her, either. This does not escape God's notice, for He blesses her with strong fertility, resulting in many children.
    • Even Joseph tries to uphold the family tradition: when Jacob, now Israel, starts to give his right-hand (i.e. primary) blessing to Joseph's younger son Ephraim over the older, Manessah, Joseph tries to stop him. Israel doesn't listen; apparently, YHWH is still favoring one kid over the others.
  • King Saul of Israel viewed himself as this when compared to David. In this case, however, Saul had actively made himself this by disobeying God repeatedly and even then God still made it clear that Saul was to be treated as his anointed king until he personally removed him. David never over-stepped his bounds and, despite having many opportunities to do so, never tried to kill Saul lest he also lose God's favor.
    • The elder son in the parable of the Prodigal Son, feeling bad because his father was rejoicing over the lost son returning safely.
  • In Catholicism, Saint Therese of Lisieux's sister Léonie was always the odd one out. Sickly, learning-disabled, possibly autistic, she'd been repeatedly beaten by a servant as a toddler. She was regarded as an embarrassment to her own family. The other "perfect" sisters all went into the Carmelite order. Finally making it as a sister of the Visitation of Caen after several tries at various convents, Léonie completed her life happily. There is a movement now to make her a saint of unfavorites, marginalized people, and autistics. There is even a mission of sisters called the Léonie League, which proposes to found a new religious order especially for autistic monks and nuns.

  • New York baseball has two teams. The Yankees, perennial playoff contenders, 27 time world champions, rich as all hell...and the Mets. Note that for some New Yorkers, this makes the Mets the favorites, because they're pitiable, lovable losers most of the time, while the Yankees are perpetually successful.
  • Chicago has traditionally been the opposite. While the city itself is arguably split between North Siders favoring the Cubs and South Siders favoring the White Sox, the Cubs have generally been more popular nationwide in part because of their "lovable loser" perception. The White Sox broke their long World Series drought first, in 2005, and were almost immediately relegated back to second-tier status long before the Cubs finally ended their drought in 2016.
  • Los Angeles has two pro basketball teams: The Lakers, 17-time league champions and home to some of the greatest players in the game's history... and the Clippers, who have long been one of the biggest jokes in sports.
    • That was until Clippers owner Donald Sterling's infamous meltdown, resulting in the team changing hands and securing real talent and a strong head coach. This change came about right when Lakers star Kobe Bryant began to decline and his team fell out of contention, and with the Clippers becoming regular playoff contenders, they began selling out.
  • Los Angeles also has the Dodgers. 6-Time World Champs and another of Baseball's most celebrated squads. And then they have the Angels, a sad-sack expansion team who, for four decades, could never catch a break. The Angels came out of nowhere and won the 2002 world series which brought the team to prominence. Both teams are now respectable draws and sell out most of their games.
  • Then there's Los Angeles and the NFL. The Rams, who had been in town since 1946, won a title in 1951, and had re-emerged as title contenders in the 1970s, quickly became the unfavorite when the Raiders came to town in 1982 and won the Super Bowl in just their second season. The Raiders were so popular that the NHL's Los Angeles Kings replaced the purple and gold they had shared with the Lakers (who were still in the midst of their Showtime dynasty) with the Raiders' silver and black color scheme. The Raiders and Rams only left town in 1995 because neither team could get public funding for a new stadium, and the Rams returned in 2016 because their current owner decided to build one with his own money.
    • The Chargers were immediately the unfavorite to the Rams in 1960, drawing less than 10,000 to games and having to play the AFL Championship Game on the road as a result, prompting their move to San Diego in 1961. Their move back in 2017 has them as second-class citizens to the Rams once again, as the only venue willing to take them on a temporary basis is a 27,000-seat soccer stadium (the NFL had to waive its 50,000 minimum capacity rule), plus they'll be tenants to the Rams once the Hollywood Park stadium is completed.
  • In the NFL, Eli Manning was treated this way by the sports media, compared to his older, record breaking, Super Bowl winning brother Peyton Manning whom the sports media treated like quarterback royalty. This became subverted, after Eli lead the New York Giants to a Superbowl victory against Tom Brady's New England Patriots in the 2007-2008 season, when the team seemed unbeatable and was one win away from completing a perfect season. He did it again against the same team in 2011-2012 season, surpassing his older brother and finally getting the sports media's respect. Unfortunately for Eli, that respect didn't last very long, as the Giants quickly fell out of contention, while Peyton was able to close out his career leading the Denver Broncos to victory in Super Bowl 50, earning his second ring.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 backstory has strong vibes of this in the Primarchs. With a few exceptions the vast majority of them defected because of their father's disapproval and/or withering apathy. In the words of Roboute Guilliman, "The Emperor was a great scientist, a great leader, but a terrible father".
    • The Emperor's main problem was that he had a very clear idea of what his generals should be like, but neglected to consider that those generals even saw him as a father. As a result, you got Lorgar - who saw an entire world annihilated to teach him not to be religious; Perturabo - whose hopes and dreams were straight-out ignored in favor of "here is a siege, go fight it"; Fulgrim - whose obsession with perfection was left unchecked until it consumed him with the aid of a daemon; Angron - who saw the people he cared about left to die because the Emperor abducted him from a hopeless battle rather than deploying his high-tech military in support; Magnus - who was publicly humiliated; Mortarion - who spent years fighting to free his homeworld, only for the Emperor to steal his thunder in a spectacular way; Alpharius - the last primarch to be found, everyone disdained his unorthodox strategies and tactics and he joined sides with the only brother who acknowledged how brilliant he could be; and Horus - the most powerful military leader in the galaxy - who was left completely in the dark about why the Emperor was retiring to Terra, leading Horus to the not illogical conclusion that he was being left to do gruntwork while the Emperor sat back and enjoyed the spoils.
    • On the tabletop itself several armies could lay claim to this. The long suffering Dark Eldar went ten years without receiving an update. Now that they have a new rulebook and set of models the mantle passes on to the Witchhunters, though their chances of getting an update are looking grim.
      • Witch Hunters got changed to Sisters of Battle, which then changed to Adepta Sororitas. (Yes, the Sisters used to be a separate faction in the early days. Now they're not.) They got a digital-only release less than two years ago, although it's admittedly been a while since they got new models. The oldest army at this point is the Chaos Space Marines, which got refreshed right at the beginning of 6th edition, less than three years ago. The Inquisition got a digital-only codex a month after the Adepta.
    • The Necrons were also this, their army was pretty bland, with zero personality and very little to no updates. Now they got a massive change along with a lot of new figures and a revised back story making them more interesting, although there are those who feel that the changes removed what made them scary in the first place.
    • And then there's everything Games Workshop does that isn't 40K, which tends to be stepped over because 40K is a massive cash cow and Warhammer and the The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings strategy battle games are not.
  • Warhammer has the Beasts of Chaos, the first children of the Dark Gods. Since they are unable to do anything not Chaos-related, while the humans who offer their devotion to Chaos do so willingly, the Dark Gods provide boons and power to the humans while the Beastmen are left to squat in the mud and kill things. Unsurprisingly, they are not happy about this.
  • BattleTech has Kathrine Steiner-Davion. The second child of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner-Davion, she grew up thinking that Hanse favored her older brother Victor over her (despite the fact that Victor was raised on another planet from her and her father). In fact, she was a spoiled Royal Brat who was indulged by both her parents while Victor joined the military as soon as he was old enough and lived a fairly austere lifestyle. This wasn't enough for her, as she wasn't the heir to the kingdom (despite her actively avoiding meeting the mandatory military service needed to become eligible).

  • Happy Loman in Death of a Salesman.
  • The title character of Sophocles' Electra is neglected and abused by her mother and step-father. She loathes them both and isn't terribly hesistant about letting it be known. Orestes is also the unfavorite, but has been in exile since childhood so it's not as obvious.
  • Cordelia becomes this in King Lear when she refuses to kiss up to her father. Of course, he realizes she's the only one who really loves him after all three of his daughters die, and just before he dies himself of grief.
    • Edmund, the younger, illegitimate son of Gloucester, uses a forged letter to discredit his older half-brother Edgar and seize control of his father's estate and position.
  • In The Lion in Winter, Richard is Henry's Unfavorite. John is Eleanor's Unfavorite. Geoffrey, poor guy, is the Unfavorite to both.
  • The Broadway show Next to Normal features this trope spectacularly with the song "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" after it is revealed that the son has been dead the whole time, died when he was eighteen months old, but he haunts the mother throughout the show. She perceives him as a perfect son (while he really has just as many issues as the rest of the family), leaving the living daughter a wreck.
  • In The Taming of the Shrew, Baptista obviously prefers Bianca to Katerina. However, it's not clear whether Katerina's Hair-Trigger Temper caused this or was caused by it.
  • Elphaba in Wicked was blamed by her father for her sister's condition and their mother's death. There's also his words upon seeing Elphaba for the first time. "Take it away. TAKE IT AWAY!"

    Video Games 
  • This is the motivation of the Big Bad of Drakengard, Manah. Her mother showered her brother Seere with love but abused Manah, finally culminating with abandoning her in a monster-infested canyon for a cult to take. After that, she decided that the only way she could make her mother love her was if the gods themselves loved her. And since God Is Evil, this entails being infused with their power, ascending to the head of the cult, taking control of The Empire, and destroying the world. All at no older than six years of age. The moral of the story: don't abuse your children, or they'll destroy the world.
  • Beat in The World Ends with You typically sees himself as the Unfavorite of his family, especially compared to his younger sister Rhyme. As a result of being unable to live up to their standards, he stops trying at school altogether, which Neku notes is at odds with the Hot-Blooded personality he demonstrates.
  • In Silent Hill: Homecoming Alex's younger brother Joshua is clearly the favorite of his parents, to the extent that Alex tells his mother to "stop pretending you care about me" at one point when she tries to apologize to him. It's later revealed that Alex's parents had to choose one of their children to be sacrificed to Silent Hill's god in order to keep it from destroying Shepherd's Glen. They chose Alex and, knowing he was doomed, purposely remained distant with him to make the inevitable sacrifice easier.
  • The titular "Bastard of Kosigan" from a Neverwinter Nights mod, whose situation at home was so uncomfortable for him that he ran off and became a mercenary after his father (the only person defending him from his uncle's abuse) died.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair feels like this, not least because he was illegitimate. His mother died in childbirth (or so he was told - supplemental material later reveals otherwise) and his father, for very cogent reasons, couldn't acknowledge him as his son. The Warden who befriends/romances him helps him grow into his own.
    • Dragon Age II has three examples:
      • In a mage playthrough, Hawke's younger brother Carver in Dragon Age II sees himself as this, despite little evidence to support his claims. A classic case of Younger Brother Syndrome. Carver's uncle Gamlen is also one, since his parents made his sister their sole heir, despite disowning her after she eloped with an apostate (illegal) mage.. The game compares the two of them on occasion. It wasn't that Malcolm disliked Carver; indeed, in a non-mage run Bethany can mention that their father was proud of "his little soldier." Rather, Carver's lack of magical ability meant that Malcolm had very little time left over to spend with him, because he had to make sure that Bethany and Hawke didn't fall prey to the very real dangers of Demonic Possession and Power Incontinence that plague untrained mages. Ironically, in the Legacy DLC they actually learn that Carver was the son Malcolm always wanted - he desperately hoped his children would not inherit his magic. If done in a non-mage playthrough before Act 3, this discovery leads Bethany to wonder if she was secretly their father's unfavorite; her eldest sibling is very quick to shut down that line of thought.
      • In the Exiled Prince DLC, Sebastian Vael also has elements of this. As the youngest of three sons in the Starkhaven royal family, he envied his brothers and resented the fact that he wasn't even Spare to the Throne; he implies that his parents took very little interest in him because he was such an extraneous son. When he rebelled and became The Hedonist, his parents packed him off to The Church of a neighbouring city-state. It's probably not a coincidence that the relative he describes in the most detail is his grandfather.
      • The third example is Varric, although this is only seen if he's taken along to the Fade during one particular quest. Demons there can tempt the various companions to turn on Hawke, depending on certain circumstances. If Varric ends up being one of the tempted, it's through a demon offering the chance to get even with his brother Bartrand, who tried to kill him. Varric observes bitterly that "All my life, I did everything for the family... and he's still the favorite son."
  • Metal Gear:
    • Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. He was so much of an unfavorite of his clonedaddy Big Boss that he swore revenge against his 'superior' twin, commandeered a walking nuclear death-tank, and held the world for ransom for the remains of Big Boss. Talk about family issues.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 had Fatman, who was neglected by his parents, and apparently, even though he built a nuclear bomb at age 10 and was rather famous (or infamous) within the bomb trade for this feat, he was hated within his own school.
  • Persona:
    • Though it may not be confirmed as we never see his parents, Nozomi Suemitsu, aka the Gourmet King from Persona 3, was constantly in his older and less rotund bother's shadow.
    • Persona 4 takes this trope a step further with Kou Ichijo. It's revealed that Kou was raised in an Orphanage of Love and then adopted as a child because his adoptive parents thought they couldn't have any children of their own... until they actually do. When they do, Kou feels that they've literally cast him to the side now that they have a "real" child. However, progressing his Social Link will reveal that Kou's parents do truly love him, and will support him in whatever path he chooses.
    • Defeating Futaba's uncle in Persona 5 reveals that he always felt this way compared to his sister Wakaba. She was far more intelligent and talented then him as kids, and became a brilliant scientist and researcher while he struggled just trying to be relevant. He then took this resentment out on her daughter Futaba after her death.
  • Flora, in the Professor Layton series, seems like this sometimes because the Professor keeps trying to leave her at home when he goes on investigations, but allows Luke — who is younger — to tag along. Although the Professor's reasoning is good (he's unwilling to take a young lady into dangerous situations), it's a bit wince-worthy, especially since Luke is only the Professor's apprentice and Flora is his actual foster daughter.
    • It's arguably justified by the differences in Flora and Luke's backgrounds. Luke, as the professor's apprentice, is used to solving puzzles and hazarding dangerous situations. Flora has not had that sort of experience, and also is implied to still be recovering from the trauma of her dad first having tried to pass off a robot as a replacement for her mother, then dying himself and leaving her to be raised by Ridiculously Human Robots. What's harder to justify is the fact that Layton persists in not explaining his reasons to her; her feelings are also exacerbated by Flora having an intense fear of being alone.
  • In FEAR, it turns out that the Point Man was the unfavorite grandchild of Harlan Wade, as he did not possess the same Psychic Powers of his brother, Paxton Fettel.
  • If you play Crusader Kings 2, you will most likely have your share of unwanted sons. Daughters are always wanted, no matter how bad their skills and social capabilities are, because you can marry them off to establish alliances; but if you practice primogeniture (eldest son inherits), and your firstborn is an unlikable fool, it might be a good time to get him killed. Elective Monarchy is a possible solution to the problem, but if you choose that inheritance law, every unlanded adult son you have in your court gives you a prestige penalty, meaning you might want to marry them off to some foreign duchess to get them out of your hair, while keeping your intended inheritor around and preparing him to take over after you croak.
  • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, visiting the past shows you how badly the Chief treated poor Rekoteh. He laments that she's weak compared to her brother Rolan (not that he's a good father to him) and banishes her from the house until she can prove herself by finding the Dragon's Mark.
  • Ni no Kuni has the princes of Hamelin, Marcassin and Gascon. As children, the younger Marcassin showed extreme magical potential while the elder Gascon had almost none. Thus, their emperor-mage father lavished attention on Marcassin while Gascon fell by the wayside. Although he loved his younger brother, Gascon believed his father hated him—and despite being very young, Marcassin seemed to know it as well, hiding his powers in order to make their father pay more attention to Gascon. And in the PS3 version, when the party travels back in time to the days of the two young princes, the emperor reveals to Swaine that he knew he was Gascon all along, and as he lay dying in his son's arms, tells him he's always loved him and is proud of him regardless.
  • In Mysteries and Nightmares: Morgiana, the title character's younger sister Arabella was actually given Morgiana's horse just because she cried when her own horse broke its leg and had to be put down. Needless to say, this sort of disparity didn't end well.
  • In King's Quest (2015), Gart feels like the unfavorite grandchild compared with his cousin Gwendolyn, who is clearly the apple of their grandfather's eye. All things considered, it's hard to blame him for being grumpy about it.
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent, it turns out Grey is the unfavorite to Master Albert. Of the three Reploids he created (Prometheus, Pandora, and Grey), Grey was always meant to be the back-up Ultimate Mega Man if by some chance Albert was killed before his plan could succeed. The thing is, that's all he was meant to be in the long run unlike his siblings, who Albert used as his top minions for centuries to enact his plan (although considering what they went through, they probably think Grey got lucky). When he wakes up before his scheduled brainwashing was completed, Albert treats him with indifference at best and contempt at worst, calling him a "Defective" and acting like he's used goods, even happily trying to kill him himself at the endgame since he didn't need Grey after all. Albert treats Ashe, who's his last living human descendant and the other playable protagonist fighting against him, with far more care than he does Grey.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night Shinji is unwanted by Zouken, who views him as an amusing toy at best because he isn't a magus, making him largely worthless to his grandfather's plans. Shinji's resentment is why he's turned into such a bastard in the present instead of just being kind of annoying like he was in middle school. The weird thing is that he knows perfectly well that being the favorite is actually much, much worse, but he doesn't really care.
  • Subverted in Tsukihime. Shiki really was the unfavorite of Makihisa and upon being wounded was promptly disinherited and kicked out. However, that's because not only were they not related - therefore making Shiki incapable of becoming the Tohno family head - Shiki was the son of Nanaya, the guy whose family Makihisa just killed off. He was kept around to take care of SHIKI (Makihisa's favorite) if he happened to Invert.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Shion Sonozaki, though much of her ill treatment comes from Oryou, her cruel grandmother. It doesn't end well for her as she becomes Shion's first target in the Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening chapters.
    • Saddest part? She's supposed to be the favorite. She and her twin sister Mion did the Twin Switch at the wrong time, causing the wrong twin to be tattooed with the mark identifying her as the family heir.
  • Shizune Hakamichi turns out to be this in Katawa Shoujo, due to being deaf-mute and thus "not normal" in the eyes of her Jerk Ass father Jigoro.
  • Little Busters! has Haruka compared to her twin sister, Kanata. Though it turns out eventually that even if they were favored, the other sibling wasn't much happier.

    Web Comics 
  • Sil'lice of Drowtales was not even acknowledged by her mother Diva'ratrika as someone worthy of even being in the line of her throne and she was largely ignored by her mother. In the end, when Diva'ratrika is betrayed by her three of her daughters, who try their best to kill her and completely undermine her role, Sil'lice is the only one of her daughters who stays true to her mother and her and her entire army of children and grandchild are nearly wiped out for it. Diva now works with Sil'lice in her attempts to take down her sisters, while not revealing she is her mother reborn in a different body.
    • Vy'chriel was absolutely and understandably despised by her adoptive mother Zala'ess Vel'Sharen. This is because Vy'chriel was adopted into the Vel'Sharen household as a "Protector Twin" who act both as sisters and guardians to the true Vel'Sharen children. Vy'chriel, angered by her twin's disobedience to Zala'ess' orders, killed the real Vy'chriel in single combat, turned her body into a golem and took up her name. Zala'ess, who loved her actual daughter, despised Vy'chriel for doing this.
  • Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick. His father's epitaph reads "Devoted Husband - Mighty Wizard - Passable Father", and his ghost keeps showing up to harass Roy about his choice in Character Class.
    • Although it turned out his father wasn't likely the favorite either. Though he only has himself to blame since he looked down on his own father for being a fighter too.
      • Eugene harasses Roy chiefly because he doesn't get to go to Lawful Good Heaven until Roy (or another Greenhilt descendant) fulfills the blood oath Eugene made as a younger man. The middle Greenhilt is then supremely incensed when he learns that he's Lawful Good Heaven's Unfavorite because he abandoned the oath for other pursuits.
    • Nale for his father Tarquin. In Tarquin's eyes, Nale is nothing but an incompetent over-reaching upstart who cares more about satisfying his ego than about results. Nale is equally contemptuous of his father, seeing him as nothing but an old man too afraid to grasp ultimate power. When Nale finally makes it absolutely clear that he wants nothing from Tarquin and will never be a willing pawn Tarquin kills him on the spot as. That said, Nale did kill his best friend Deader Than Dead, and made it clear he did not want his father's favor, the only thing that has kept Tarquin from killing him for years. A fact Tarquin tried to get through to him, but Nale's ego wouldn't let him grasp.
  • Wally from Zebra Girl is a subversion — while he's at the bottom of his pack of werewolves (and explicitly referred to as the Omega), and constantly teased and berated by his pack-mates, Doyenne, the pack leader, confides in Jack that she feels he has the most potential out of any of the pack, and derides the others as brutish murderers who use their animal sides to excuse the evil in their all-too-human hearts. Of course, in her next breath, she matter-of-factly states how she's going to have to kill them...
  • Rayne from Least I Could Do claims in one strip that he was locked in a cage and fed newspaper as a child. His friends know it's BS, but Mick remarks "his stories amuse me so."
  • Played with in Narbonic. Dave's brother Bill is actually a pretty boring, ordinary guy, but Dave is stubbornly convinced that Bill is cooler, better looking, and otherwise superior to him in every way. There's no indication whether this is related to parental favoritism.
  • Dominic Deegan: Miranda Deegan has pretty much disavowed any knowledge of her oldest son Jacob. Her reasons aren't entirely unjustfied, though; Jacob took up necromancy after one of her oldest enemies attacked her home and gravely wounded her youngest son, Gregory, whom Jacob would use as a guinea pig for several horrible experiments - one of which almost killing Gregory in the process. And, uh...yeah.
  • Liquid Snake, in the AU Metal Gear Solid fancomic series "Les Enfants Terribles." Solidus gets this treatment too, but to a lesser extent.
  • Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater, apparently
    • Red Mage too, although technically that was entirely concocted and implanted in his mind by Thief.
  • Riff from Sluggy Freelance is the Unfavorite to his stepbrother (who is apparently his mother's new husband's son). When said stepbrother asks if he is better than Riff, his mother tells him that it's not nice to "rub it in". Riff is thus somewhat pleased, albeit humiliated, when Bun-bun and Kiki's attempt to stand in for him at a party with a mechanical look-alike fails and results in him getting disowned.
  • Mizuna of Adventurers! thinks she's one of these, bringing up how she was always compared with Karashi when younger. When she mentions this to Karashi, the latter says that the comparisons were always favorable; eg. "Mizuna is so much more advanced than Karashi was at her age!"
  • Isaac Jenner from Demonology 101, both in the eyes of his father and The Powers That Be. This is his primary reason for his numerous attempts to murder his brother Gabriel.
  • Monette of Something*Positive was the Unfavorite of her biological father (we're not quite sure where her mother is in all of this). When her father gained custody of her and her sisters, he dropped her off at her grandmother's house. While Grandma was on vacation. Grandma also kept pit bulls. And her father tied raw steaks to her head. Oh, and did we mention that at the time she was less than a year old? Of course, being Something*Positive, this is generally played for laughs; however, it's given genuine emotion when her father visits her for Thanksgiving at the MacIntire residence in Texas. His ill treatment of her is what prompts Faye and Fred to adopt her and make her their daughter.
  • In Instant Classic, when Author is born, he has an unexpected twin brother. His parents are dismayed, the father going so far as to name the boy Xauthor, declaring him to be the evil twin at birth and treating him accordingly through his entire childhood and early adulthood, despite him not doing anything remotely evil until he snaps due to being told he's evil for YEARS He's also got a goatee.
  • What Birds Know has Dores, stuck in the shadow of her brother Ian. Her family completely fails to recognize her talents, seeing her instead as a lazy, irresponsible and ill-tempered brat. Her mother is by far the worst about this, to the point that when the parents are worrying about their daughters taking several days too long to return from their errand, she argues against sending help, muttering that she'll just ground Dores later, and freaks out when Ian volunteers to help. "This is not going to happen!"
  • Ann "Bootsie" Khoeler in Friendly Hostility; her parents praise her brother for doing so wonderfully at college, and continue to praise him when he reveals he sold her as a slave to cover his poker debts.
  • Concession: Joel's father preferred his older brother Julian and left him the entire company in his will. While the author claims these implications were just meant as gags, there are hints that his mother would have preferred a daughter; Joel's twin sister Miranda died when they were young, so it's possible he feels his mother would rather he had died. According to Joel, the situation is even worse; he was so traumatised by the death that he was put in a mental hospital. While there, Joel became convinced that their older brother Julian had killed Miranda and their parents thought Joel had done it. Understandably, he's severely messed up by the time the main storyline starts.
  • Brisbane of You Say It First is one of these. We never see his parents, but hear that they seem to hate him. They didn't attend his wedding and the fact that all they did was sign the card Brisbane's brother added to his gift is treated like a huge step in repairing the relationship. He also sadly told his wife that she would be able to meet them, but he wouldn't be allowed to be there.
  • Batman and Sons play around with this a bit. What's clear is that Terry is the favorite, being Batman's biological son. At first glance, any Robin could be the unfavorite, considering how Batman treats them but there are Pet the Dog moments between Batman and the Robins. The true unfavorite is Damien, who Batman flat out refuses to acknowledge as his unless Talia produces a positive DNA test.
  • Kevin of Kevin & Kell faces this, exacerbated by being one of 38 siblings, meaning that he only stands out in the worst possible ways. As a child, he was looked down upon for being fearless (which is considered Too Dumb to Live by rabbits), and when he got older, he was disowned for marrying Kell, a predator.
  • Sal Walkerton in Dumbing of Age has always felt overshadowed by her twin brother, who is both Brilliant, but Lazy and "whiter" than her - they're mixed-race, but Walky himself considers her black and himself "generically beige".
  • In this Pokémon X and Y comic, a shiny Eevee is abandoned by its mother and siblings because its unusual coloration will attract predators. Because of this, it thinks of itself as ugly and an abomination. It is eventually adopted and cared for by Calem, who bonds with it strongly enough that it evolves into a Sylveon.
    He told me I was special. And I was so happy. Because I finally found someone...who loved me just the way I am.
  • Similarly, in the Pokémon Black and White comic Same Colours, an Oshawott is rejected by two starting Trainers who call it weak and stupid-looking, choosing its friends Snivy and Tepig instead. But it is finally chosen by Hilbert, who excitedly points out that they're wearing the same colours (his shirt matches Oshawott's blue fur).

    Web Original 
  • Survival of the Fittest has Lyn "Laeil" Burbank. While actually a niece rather than a daughter, her uncle and aunt still give her the same unfavorite treatment, treating her like something that just has to be tolerated, while lavishing all their attention on her Jerk Jock cousin, Anthony, who regularily makes her life hell. Once she's on the island, though, it isn't long before she gets bloody revenge on him.
  • Both The Nostalgia Critic and Ask That Guy with the Glasses were told regularly they weren't wanted, giving them mass issues. The Other Guy, the older brother, is fairly normal in comparison and seems to have been treated better.
  • In Mother of Learning, Zorian's parents disapprove of his lack of interest in the family business and by his poor charisma.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Magnus the Red is pretty clearly Emperor's least favorite son (aside from Fucking Horus). Magnus certainly feels that way.
    Custodian: Oh! So... Everything is Magnus's fault?
    • He also seems to hate his other son, Roboute, ordering to have his life support cut the moment he hears that he's still semi-alive.
    • In fact, he seems to hate all his Primarch sons, save Sanguinius. Compounding the massive issues the Emperor had with his children as stated above in the canonical universe, he sees himself as a great father and fails to realize why any of them should have rebelled (he fondly recalls the above incident with Angron as fucking hilarious, just for starters) and when bitterly discussing the issues with the Custodes Captain-General, he skewers loyalist and traitor alike; from his viewpoint, every Primarch was massively flawed.
  • In Welcome to Night Vale, football player Michael Sandero gains a second head and supernaturally enhanced abilities and his mother announces that she likes the new head better and updates her billboard "Which Of My Children I Like Best" accordingly. Michael is The Unfavorite versus his other head. It becomes an Exaggerated Trope when in a later episode, his mother has the original head amputated.
  • Strong Sad serves this to Strong Bad from Homestar Runner
  • Tacoma from Demo Reel has a big family, and just about all of them abuse him emotionally for being a White Sheep who brought down his dad's ponzi scheme.
  • The Faceless Ghost in Escape From Eden Park is an angry, spiteful spirit, holding onto her anger and jealousy at her older sister, who overshadowed her while they were both alive.
  • Amy Dallon of Worm is well aware that her adoptive mother Carol greatly favors her biological daughter, Vicky, and in fact has never truly accepted Amy due to her massive trust issues. Her adoptive father Mark at least tries but his chronic depression renders him unreliable.
  • Cooler in Dragon Ball Z Abridged is this compared to his younger brother Freeza, who was always favored and spoiled by their father King Cold. Goku actually shows sympathy for how his father treated him, and one of the few ways to get under his skin is to compare him to Freeza in any way, shape or form.
    "My brother would have stood around postulating and claiming his victory like some haughty greenhorn child. I know what it takes to get the job done. Which is why father should have...!"

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • An episode Stan has trying to get rid of his annoying Chinese in-laws by convincing Francine that, as an adopted child, she's the Un-Favorite compared to their birth daughter Gwen. At first she's skeptical, but then Stan finds her parents' will, in which they leave everything to Gwen. But even after being thrown out, Francine's father saves Stan from a burning building, and he explains the will by saying "[Gwen]'s an idiot! She needs all the help she can get!", but Francine is intelligent and can take care of herself, and she has a good husband, so they know she'll be fine.
    • Steve and Hayley switch off being this, depending on the episode, but more often than not, Hayley fits it better. Mostly due to her extreme liberalism, her rebellious attitude, her dating and marrying Jeff, etc, she tends to get Stan's dislike often.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko of: "My father says [my sister] was born lucky — he says I was lucky to be born..."
    • Azula, Zuko's little sister, is also an example, at least in her own mind: "My own mother...thought I was a monster." She tries to laugh it off at the time, but this perception of her relationship with her mother contributes heavily to her Villainous Breakdown in the series finale.
    • Ozai himself, father of both of the above, used to be this too. After his older brother Iroh's son died, his father Azulon ordered him to kill Zuko to let him know what it feels like. To put this into perspective, though, Fire Lord Azulon only ordered this after Ozai tried to use his nephew Lu Ten's death as an excuse to steal his brother's birthright, and after he openly scoffed at Iroh's grief for his lost son causing him to abandon the siege of Ba Sing Se. Still...ouch! Of course, considering he was perfectly willing to kill Zuko, it probably wouldn't have done much good.
    • Let's face it, that whole family is a mess.... Except for Ursa and Iroh, and they still have more than one issue. Zuko eventually matures and says 'screw you' to Ozai, but only after much Character Development.
    • The series implies that Mai's parents treat their younger son Tom-Tom much better than her. When Mai was a little girl, she was forced to be stiff and rigid at all times, never showing any emotion, in case it damaged her father's political career (leading into her emotionally-stunted teenage years). By the time Tom-Tom was born, her father was already a governor and given control over an entire "colony" (said colony being a conquered Earth Kingdom City), so they're free to be more expressive and affectionate with him... and Mai is still neglected.
      • On the other hand, there's Ty Lee. Taking care of sextuplet daughters is no easy task, yeah, but Ty Lee herself felt so neglected that she ran away to a circus to get something similar to love and affection. Heck, in The Beach she angrily and tearfully confronts Mai on how she used to be an only kid and had her parents's attention, only for Mai to snarkily and bitterly point out the emotional neglect she endured.
  • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra this is implied to be the case with Tarrlok. His older brother Noatak/Amon was stated to be a Child Prodigy, and consequently was favored by their father Yakone. Parental Favoritism was just the tip of the iceberg in that family, though.
    • Tenzin's older siblings, big brother Bumi and sister Kya, also had this issue since their father Avatar Aang, intentionally or not, prioritized Tenzin over them because he was the only airbender among the three; Kya is a water bender and Bumi is a non-bender only to become an airbender himself later in life). This ended up damaging the relationship between the three siblings considerably, since Bumi and Kya ended up treating Tenzin badly whenever they could. Evidently, though, Bumi got the shortest end of the stick overall, as Kya was quite clearly the favorite of their mother, Katara.
    • Lin Bei Fong and her younger half sister Suyin also had some un-favoritism issues due to their mother Toph neglecting them (likely due in part to her own extremely overprotective parents).
    • In fact, the fandom noted that just about the only guy who didn't have some kind of resentful relationship with his children was Unalaq, season 2's Big Bad.
  • Beetlejuice seems to be regarded this way - not by his parents, who are never shown interacting with their younger son, but by members of his extended family. His neighbors also prefer his brother Donny (although it's a little harder to blame them).
  • In The Boondocks, we learn that Uncle Ruckus was the unfavorite son of his father, Mister Ruckus; an overall abusive, alcoholic jerkass who inflicted the most beatings upon him. Uncle's younger brothers also received quite a lot of torment from their dad, but not nearly as much as Uncle did.
  • In The Buzz on Maggie, Jerk Jock Aldrin is revealed to be this. He's spent at least 8 summers as the work force on his uncle's farm while his younger, cuter siblings Maggie and, later, Pupert are given the favorite hat and all the privileges related to it. The first time the uncle looks like he's going to praise Aldrin for developing more muscles, he ruins the moment by determining this means the teenager can do even more heavy-lifting. It's much better at home, where all children are given praise and acceptance at some point. The mom does express more concern about Aldrin's grades than she does over Maggie's (but then again, Aldrin may need a tutor to maintain eligibility for sports), but she also praises her son for taking an after-school job in fast food. Still, the uncle's behavior goes a long way towards explaining Aldrin's "Look at me!" attitude and tendency to show off.
  • In Camp Lazlo, there are strong indications that Edward is this in his family.
  • In the Cow and Chicken episode "Goin' My Way?", Mom and Dad end up adopting The Red Guy and make it very clear that they like him more then the title characters.
  • In the CatDog episode "Vexed of Kin", Cat becomes worried that his parents love his conjoined brother Dog better. CatDog's parents eventually assure him that they love both their sons equally.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Oh, Brother" had Dexter turn his older sister Dee Dee into a brother named Doo Dee, one of the side effects of his actions being that his parents ignore him and praise Doo Dee.
  • Ed from Ed, Edd n Eddy is presumed to be mistreated by his mother on many occasions, while his little sister Sarah gets whatever she wants.
  • Before Evil Con Carne was cancelled, and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy became their separate series, one episode involved a father, his older and younger sons, and their pet weasel accidentally finding themselves trapped on Evil Con Carne's island. Needless to say, the father had a less than favorable relationship (on his part) with his older son, whom he showed was willing to allow being potentially tortured by Con Carne and his cohorts when forcing his obedience. This is of course played for laughs. He even entrusts the pet weasel to drive the boat away from Con Carne's island to safety.
  • Sometime between the original run of Family Guy and the current series, Meg Griffin went from mildly ignored to outright hated by the rest of her family (caused in part by the running joke that Meg may or may not be the result of an affair Lois had behind Peter's back,) which in turn cost her a chance to become an Olympic swimmer. Lampshaded in that the show itself has pointed out her unpopularity via doing an entire episode around the family being the subject of a reality tv show. In the episode, the people filming the Griffins point out that Meg is the least liked member of the family, resulting in her being replaced with an attractive actress. And this episode was before the Un-Cancelled portion.
    • You could go on for days about the Comedic Sociopathy Peter and Lois inflict on poor Meg. Lois in particular; she tried to steal Meg's boyfriend in one episode, couldn't even say "I love you" to the girl on her own wedding day, and tried to get her to kill herselfnote . In one memorable episode, Meg calls them and Chris out on how they treat her like shit despite being disgusting, horrible excuses for human beings... but then goes right back to being their punching bag after seeing that without her as a common "enemy", the family would rip each other to shreds.
  • A large part of the plot of the first Franklin movie, Franklin and the Green Knight, is Franklin worrying that he'll become this when his new baby sister is born. This worry is only increased when everyone fawns over the upcoming baby during a baby shower. Later, this fear is soothed when he meets an armadillo with a baby brother who tells him that his parents have enough love for both him and his brother. Franklin's friend Snail has a similar fear - he worries that Franklin won't have any time for him once the baby is born. Oh, and Franklin's worries being soothed turns out to be reasonable, as there is no evidence in the fifth and sixth seasons of the show (both of which feature a version of Franklin's new sister, Harriet, that is able to talk and walk), that either child is treated as a favorite.
  • On Futurama it's pretty clear Larry is Mom's least favorite son. Considering she treats all three of her sons poorly, that's saying a lot.
  • Lifeline from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series is a latecomer to this trope, having become the Unfavorite of his all-pacifist family when he joined a military organization. Never mind that he's a field medic who never carries weapons or participates in combat, the fact it's soldiers he saves is enough to earn him the permanent silent treatment from his relatives.
  • PJ on Goof Troop, while treated fairly by his mother, is routinely emotionally and financially abused by his father who repeatedly spoils his sister, Pistol, and, on one occasion, rejects him in favor of his best friend. In the episode "And Baby Makes Three," he tries extra hard to avoid becoming this compared to the new baby, as does Pistol eventually, but he and she both seem to take it for granted that she is already treated better.
  • In Gravity Falls Dipper thinks he is Grunkle Stan's unfavorite (and is mostly wrong), and Stan himself absolutely was the unfavorite in comparison to his own twin, back when they were kids.
  • In the Animated Series of Disney's Hercules, one episode centered around Phil, Herc's Satyr Mentor, coming to terms with his mother always raising his brother (a door-to-door shoe salesman) onto a pedastal. At the end of the episode they learn she was doing it on purpose to keep him from getting a big head, and the brother always got the same treatment.
    • The very end of that same episode hints that Phil's sister gets the same treatment. Pretty fair all around.
  • Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold! is the poster child for this trope, with her prettier, more intelligent, and away-at-college older sister Olga. Ironically, Olga herself confesses to Helga that she'd rather be this trope: her parents' excessive attention and ridiculously high expectations (especially Bob's) pushed Olga into a permanent neurosis and becoming an Extreme Doormat, while Helga might be ignored by them but managed to both develop a thicker skin and is free to do whatever she wants. Making this even more horrible is that their father sometimes calls Helga by Olga's name.
  • In an episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, Jonny is trapped in a hallucination where he thinks he is the unfavorite and that his father prefers Jessie. This ends when his father punches the hallucination's lights out.
  • Johnny Test serves this to his very uptight father, Hugh.
  • Kaeloo: A non-parental example in that Kaeloo seems to favor Quack Quack over Stumpy. The most jarring example is in Episode 2, where Stumpy falls severely sick and Kaeloo neglects him and gives medical treatment to Quack Quack, who is perfectly fine.
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill is the Unfavorite of his two brothers. His older brother, an illegitimate child born of Cotton Hill's affair with a woman in Japan, gains a surprising amount of affection since his mother is perhaps the only person Cotton ever genuinely loved. His younger brother Good Hank was born when Cotton was in his seventies, and at the right age to appreciate having children. Meanwhile, Hank was born in a bathroom in New York, not Texas (which, it should be noted, was Cotton's own fault), and Cotton never quite forgave him for failing to be a native Texan, hating him literally since the day he was born. Being saddled with a Jerkass father like Cotton affected Hank well into adulthood and left him with his uptight, close-minded personality.
  • Looney Tunes: Beaky Buzzard seems to be this in the eyes of his mother. Obviously this stems from Beaky being less competent than his brothers.
    Mother Buzzard: Come Killer, stop making a fool of schnitzel. Why couldn't you be smart like your brothers?
  • The Looney Tunes Show: We learn that Sylvester is this in his family in "Point, Laser Point".
  • An example of the second variant is in Metalocalypse: Pickles, the drummer of the most famous and successful band in history, lead singer of the (arguably) other most famous and successful band in history, apparent college graduate despite being an alcoholic since he was six, is still second in his parents' eyes to his brother, an ex-con who lives in their attic, sponges off everyone he knows, is responsible for destroying Australia, and works for the company Pickles owns.
    • Further expanded in Fatherklok, where Pickles' father straight out calls him trash.
    • And again in Motherklok, appropriately enough. Pickles still seeks the approval of his mother, despite the fact that no matter what he does, even when it's exactly what she says he should do, she isn't satisfied. He finally tells her to go f*riff*k herself at the end of the episode. It also represents a rare moment of growth for an adult Unfavorite, especially considering the quasi-demonic powers the band seems to have; he resolves the issue with his mother without turning evil or lashing out at the people who care about him. Even Offdensen, the closest person the band has to a moral center, tells him he should tell his mother to go f*riff*k herself. As an added bonus, her reaction is a lot more realistic than shows where the parent rushes to fix a misunderstanding or prove how much they don't care by not reacting at all.
  • Andy French is implied to be this in Mission Hill, since his parents spent all their time doting over Kevin. Andy is so detached from his parents he doesn't even know their phone number.
  • Bloberta was revealed to be this on Moral Orel. Her mother preferred her sister Modella and younger brother Lunchbox over her as they were much better singers. Her father was shown to care about her, but afraid to speak up in front of her mother.
  • On Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, Rippen mentions that part of his rise to villainy was that he was this to his sister Vlurgen. To elaborate, everyone in his family is a villain, and she is a much more competent and successful one than him.
  • In Pepper Ann, Nicky is convinced she's the Unfavorite, though a lot of it is circumstantial (and the fact that people other than her parents really do tend to favor her sister). For example, when they were kids, the exercise equipment was put in Nicky's room... because it was either put it there or in her sister's room, and they feared the sister, who has very weak arms, would be much more insulted by it than the surprisingly-strong Nicky.
  • Dr. Doofenshmirtz on Phineas and Ferb. His mother preferred his younger brother Roger (more because said brother was better at kickball), while his father preferred the family dog, naming it "Only Son."
  • Suga Mama on The Proud Family tends to favor her son, Bobby over Oscar, despite the fact that Oscar is clearly the more successful of the two. Then again, Oscar is the Butt-Monkey of the series. It's later revealed that Suga Mama went through the same thing with her sister Spice, who got the family's hereditary psychic power while she did not.
    • In the same episode with Spice in a Heartwarming Moment Suga Mama stands up for Oscar, showing him that while she doesn't always like him she will always love him.
  • In Regular Show "Don" (Season 1), Benson hires Rigby's taller, younger, and popular brother Don to help file the income tax returns online and avoid an audit. Rigby's unpleasant childhood memories include Don being the life of Rigby's birthday party, Rigby being left alone at the seesaw and a three-legged race, as well as being crowded out of a photo booth picture.
  • Robot Default of Robot and Monster is typically overlooked by his mother in favor of his Aloof Big Brother Gart, who also owns the family's blinking light factory after having it handed down from their father, primarily because Robot's inventions tend to rarely work as intended and he has a knack for accidentally embarrassing the family name. In the episode "Family Business" it's suggested she actually does care for him somewhat; when he finds a piece of a family painting with himself on it in her chest compartment it's later revealed that it's only there so her insides don't clunk, then when Gart is about to tell Robot she decides to let him keep thinking what he thought at first, feeling he deserves it for his earlier Batman Gambit that showed he cares for his family regardless of how they treat him.
  • Rugrats played with this a couple times. In one episode, Angelica convinces the twins Phil and Lil that every family has a Favorite and a Reject; each one spent the rest of the episode convinced that they were the Reject, and mistaking normal parental behavior as signs of this, until, in the end, they make up and decide to be Rejects together (and Angelica even decides to become a Reject). In another, Angelica's parents are going to have another baby, and she has a horrible dream about being rejected in favor of it (until it grows gigantic and tries to eat her).
    • This was quite the plot point of The Rugrats Movie. After Dil's birth, Tommy felt abandoned by his parents and attempted to return him to the hospital with the help of his friends, only to later grow fond of Dil and accept him.
    • In one episode after the movie, Tommy starts to feel like the unfavorite out of his friends after Angelica teaches them how to cry and fake injuries to get attention from Tommy's parents, but Tommy won't do it. The parents are fussing over the other kids, but Stu does take a moment to apologise to Tommy and say he's glad there's nothing wrong with him. It's kind of sweet, but also sad.
  • It depends on the writer, but each of The Simpsons kids has, at one point or another, been treated as the unfavorite, but the major example is Bart. His parents both prefer Lisa over him. Homer explicitly says that Lisa is his favorite multiple times, and Marge is often too preoccupied with Maggie, although she does admit to a new neighbour that she breastfed Lisa when she was baby but didn't breastfeed Bart or Maggie. Even at a young age he was second fiddle to Lisa with nobody understanding his anger, this subject is the main theme of the episode "Barthood". In the episode "How Lisa Got Her Marge Back", Homer told Bart that while he does love him, if there were a second Bart he'd hang himself. Unlike everybody else though, Bart has a good relationship with Grampa and he wonders why parents are nicer to their grandchildren than their actual children in "Holidays of Future Passed".
  • In T.U.F.F. Puppy, Kitty's mother wishes that she was more like her sister, Katty, even though said sister is a criminal.
  • Hank Venture from The Venture Bros. While in the first season Dr. Venture seemed equally neglectful towards both sons, the following ones made his Parental Favoritism towards Dean more and more apparent. This has become especially prominent in season 4 after the clone slugs were destroyed and Brock left - Dr. Venture wised up and decided to be more fatherly, but only towards Dean.
    • In one episode, when tricked into thinking he's been kidnapped along with the boys, Dr. Venture even tells the kidnappers to torture Hank but not Dean. Later he explains that he suggested that because Hank could deal with it while Dean, the more immature of the two, would take it way too seriously. He also explains that the reason he's so hard on Hank is because he reminds him of himself when he was younger (after hearing this, Hank doesn't quite seem to know how to feel about it). Also it should be mentioned that being his dad's favorite is probably screwing up Dean worse.
    • In truth, it frequently zigzags between the two of them. Dr. Venture seems to prefer Hank in an adventuring context, and Dean in a scientific context. Needless to say, he's not the greatest father. Of course, given that his own upbringing included his father having drunken sex on top of his son, Rusty easily has a Freudian Excuse.
    • Not too surprisingly, Hank has latched onto Brock as a Parental Substitute.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: Randy Dinwittie. His mother only cares about making his siblings Andy and Mandy famous again and his accomplishments mean nothing to her except when she can use his skills to improve Andy and Mandy's career no matter if it's by hook or by crook.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, Magneto rules Genosha with his two daughters, Lorna/Polaris and the Wanda/Scarlet Witch, by his side. Pietro/Quicksilver, meanwhile, is back in the US running the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants until he's "proved himself" to his father. Even when Wanda starts to fall out with her father, he dismisses his sons requests to aid him and is instead told to get his sister to come to her senses.
    • Cyclops also had some of this in Wolverine and the X-Men where, rightly or wrongly, Xavier pretty much kicked him to the curb by demoting him to being just another X-mook while promoting Wolverine to leader and always finding time to smother the clawed one with love and support while leaving Cyclops out in the cold.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Magneto basically dumps Wanda in an insane asylum when she's 8 or so. His reasoning was that unlike her brother, her almost uncontrollable powers would have eaten away at too much of his time. Later when she comes after him wanting revenge, he decides to have a psychic alter her memories to make her less likely to come after him. He still never visits her though (Unlike her brother, who was given a cell phone so they can keep in touch).
    • Which of the twins are the Unfavorite changes with the medium and writer... though generally it doesn't really matter who is less loved because Magneto is almost always a terrible father to both of them, regardless of writer or medium. To be somewhat fair, in the original continuity he didn't even meet them until they were almost adults, and didn't discover that they were actually his children until even later... but that poofs away because he still treated them like crap even before knowing it. Only in the animated 90's series he is given a consistently more sympathetic POV about it.
  • Saranoia and Carl from the show Yin Yang Yo! are both the unfavorites to their parent(s). It caused Saranoia to go quite insane while Carl has yet to go down that road, he's just very lonely and desperate.

     Real Life 
  • A lot of kids have suspicions that they might be this.
  • Sadly, truth in television, for a number of reasons.
    • A study indicated that most parents do, in fact, have favorites. Equal treatment or attempts at same aside, most people are people and just relate more to one kid or the other, and therefore prefer to spend time with him or her and pursue their shared interests.
    • If the child shows signs of disobedience, has strong opinions, strong will, does not live up to expectations of his parents, fails to perform well in school, hobbies, social circles or does not fulfill the parents' demands, s/he has good chances of ending up as the Unfavorite.
    • Often happens to children with sexuality or gender issues.
    • Many times the favorite can be the child who is always in trouble as they are often seen as the baby, or needing extra attention, while the harder working and smarter child has more pressure constantly put on them.
    • When the parents had certain unfulfilled expectations. For example, if a family wanted one boy, one girl, and the firstborn was a girl so the second one was supposed to be a boy, but turned out not to be, then there would likely be a great deal of resentment against her.
    • In families that are poorer, oftentimes when they have one child, they'll be able to afford new clothes and such for that child, but when the second one comes along, being able to afford to take care of both will undoubtedly be harder, so the second child ends up with a lot of hand-me-downs from their older sibling, which can lead to them feeling like they are loved less, particularly when they're at an age when they can't really understand financial issues.
    • Some studies suggest the oldest child in a family is more prone to be the favourite by default. Parents spend more time navigating their job as parents with the first-born, tend to feed them better and pay more attention to physical development, then sort of coast with later children once they know the basic motions. Sometimes, however, this has the exact opposite effect. If the parents made some particularly bad mistakes the first-born can either feel like they were the "test child" and their younger siblings get treated better as a result, or end up as nervous wrecks who live in fear of becoming failures to their parents.
    • If one child has some sort of disability or chronic illness, then the other siblings can often feel like this, due to the extra time, attention, and focus that the child with needs gets, even when they understand that it's not the disabled/ill sibling's fault at all. In some cultures, disabled kids themselves are, because they are seen as cursed or affected by dark magic, or as a burden.
    • An overtly talented and/or intelligent child may become one, especially if father is less talented/intelligent than the child, because he will experience the child as a threat to his authority and attempt to eliminate that threat. Alternately, a gifted child might be favored over less-gifted siblings and parents may excuse them from chores so they can do schoolwork, or may get angry if another child struggles in a class that the gifted child excelled at. Groups that advocate for gifted children caution strongly against this, and inform parents that all their children have value regardless of intelligence level.
  • Families both royal and common in general would've been prone to this in the past, as later children would had to deal with the first-born inheriting the family wealth while they got less, if any. And royals would naturally give the most attention to the heir to the throne (firstborn, usually).
  • In certain cultures, daughters. In some countries, it is common for women to have abortions if the child is the "wrong gender." This has actually gone so far in mainland China as to have started to flip the preferred gender — used to be, sons were preferred because they could continue the family line. Now, however, Gender Rarity Value has kicked in: it's become rather expensive to marry off a son.
    • The Chinese traditionally favored large families, and in relation to this trope, that gives a bigger pool to choose the Favorite or Heir from. You sure as heck don't want to be the Unfavorite.
  • Animals do this a lot. Strong, healthy young have better survival chances than runts, and for this reason are often favored by parents. Sick young are often rejected, as nature won't allow time to be wasted on a baby that will not survive. Even species that don't usually do it will if food is scarce or if they have more than they can feed — especially mammals, who only have so many teats to go around, like in Charlotte's Web. Marsupials, for example, have young that latch onto a teat and stay there for weeks or months. If there are more babies than teats, the extras must be abandoned. Sometimes, even other young will attack small or sick offspring, especially if food is scarce; animals who are known to do this include birds and live-bearer sharks (whose young eat each other inside the womb at times).
  • According to the history... Date Masamune, despite being the rightful heir of the Date clan and quite liked by his father, is the Unfavorite for his mother. Thanks to him plucking his eye out, she has deemed him unworthy to inherit the clan and favors his younger brother. This has gotten so bad that at one point his mother tries poisoning his food just so he'd die and his brother could take over. Masamune's response? Kill his brother just so his mother can see him rule, like it or not. After his father's death, he ends up banishing his mother to her home clan (his allies, which also goes on to be one of his most trusted allies in Sekigahara).
  • Wilhelm II, the last emperor of the German Empire, was despised by his mother, who even openly refused to write him birthday messages. This may have been a major contributing factor for him to grow up to be arsehole enough to declare war on one of his closest cousins, "Nikki").
    • Wilhelm felt very close to and dearly loved his grandmother, Queen Victoria, who died in his arms. It would seem she got along better with him than with her son, the Prince of Wales, who appears to have been her least favorite child. (Her partiality for Wilhelm was in large part because he was the only one of her grandchildren who was old enough to remember her late husband, Prince Albert.) This may have contributed to the deep antipathy between Edward VII and Wilhelm II. And most of his British cousins thought of him as an arrogant and obnoxious Jerk Ass, not to mention being cantankerous and grouchy.
  • The House of Tudor had this in spades when it came to the offspring of Henry VIII. Of all his numerous children, only three of his legitimate offspring survived childhood - Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward. Mary, for many years, was his only legitimate child, so he doted on her until his marriage to Anne Boleyn; after that, he more or less abandoned her in favor of Elizabeth. After Anne's beheading, he married Jane Seymour, who persuaded him to bring both daughters back into the fold. Jane was the mother of Edward, whom Henry naturally favored as the long-awaited prince who would eventually succeed him as Edward VI.
    • For some time even before Elizabeth's birth, Mary seems to have been the unfavourite next to her father's illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy.
  • Lindsay Lohan's siblings Cody (aka Dakota), Ali and Michael Jr. are apparently this to their father.
  • In the most tragic real-life examples of this trope, the Unfavorite ends up abused or even killed by his or her own parents or guardians. Some noteworthy examples of this trope include:
    • Jeanette Maples, a 15-year-old Oregon girl who was neglected, abused and finally killed by her mother, Angela McAnulty, who was sentenced to death for the crime.
    • California teenagers Suesan and Sheila Knorr endured months of abuse and torture at the hands of their mother, Theresa, before they finally died. According to Theresa's surviving daughter, the torture was borne of jealousy that the girls were blossoming into young women while their mother was losing her looks. Theresa was given two concurrent life sentences for the murders.
    • In 1965, Indianapolis teenager Sylvia Likens was abused, tortured and finally killed by Gertrude Baniszewski, who was supposed to be caring for Sylvia and her younger sister Jenny while the girls' parents traveled for work. Gertrude, who forced the other children living in the household to participate in the torture and abuse, got a life sentenced but was paroled after 20 years and eventually died of cancer.
  • When future writer Robert Benchley's older brother was killed during the Spanish-American War, his mother's first response upon getting the news was "Why couldn't it have been Robert?!" — in his presence.
  • Empress Elizabeth of Ausstria-Hungary (also known as 'Empress Sissi') doted on her youngest daughter, Marie Valerie. Because Sissi was not permitted to raise her older children Gisela and Rudolf (raised by Sissi's extremely by-the-book Almighty Mom-in-law and aunt, Archduchess Sophie), their relationship was not able grow as close as Sissi's relationship with Valerie — the only of her kids she was allowed to raise freely. It did not help that Sissi's eldest daughter Sophie died as a toddler and the loss badly, badly affected her.
  • Tiffany Trump is apparently this to her father, Donald Trump.
  • On the Reddit sub-community r/raisedbynarcissists, the favorite child of a family is called the "Golden Child", the child who is loved, adored, and has all their flaws excused or glossed over, while the un-favorite is called the "Scapegoat", the one who is blamed, despised, and punished for everything that goes wrong. (A child who is neither of these and is simply ignored most of the time, neither loved nor hated, is called a "Lost Child".) Many posters have submitted stories about how they were the Scapegoats in their own families, but some are former Golden Children whose siblings were the Scapegoats instead.
  • In their comedy routines, Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers often lamented to his brother Dick that "Mom always liked you best!"

Alternative Title(s): The Un Favorite