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Three Successful Generations

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Three successful generations is basically a Power Trio formed by three successive generations that represent the phases of a person's life as these generations gain experience and maturity.

The three generations consist of:

  • The Youth: The young people who have the confidence and intelligence to go wherever in life they want to. The older generations know that they are the future and want to help them make something of themselves. They are probably smart students who know what they want to be when they grow up.
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  • The Adult: The people who have reached a more stable position in their lives. They know how to focus on the present and get things done. The other generations look up to them even while they're still working things out. They are probably working hard to be Self Made Men.
  • The Elder: The older people who have lived full lives. They now act as heads of the family, helping the middle generations guide the next ones. They want to keep their past alive through the youngest generation. They are like active retirees who are as proud as The Patriarch.

There's generally more of a bond between the older and younger generations, but the middle one will always be there to bridge the gap between the grandparent and grandchild characters. Might be able to become a Generational Saga.

Related to The Hecate Sisters and The Three Faces of Adam but instead of being sexually based this is intellectually based.


This is not Legacy Character where the younger characters inherit the success of the older generations. This is where each of the three individuals work in their own way to personally earn their accomplishments. The youth is most likely to succeed, the adult is working on succeeding, and the elder has achieved success.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • This is the entire plot of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE. As said in the series' tagline: "Three destinies will make history".
  • Main hero of One Piece, Monkey D. Luffy is on a quest to become The Pirate King, his father Monkey D. Dragon turns out to be a leader of revolutionaries trying to bring down the World Government, while Luffy's grandfather Monkey D. Garp is an (ex) Marine Vice Admiral who is called "The Hero", a main force of said government, which makes their relations inherently antagonistic.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul :Re, a darker example of this is present with the three generations of the Washuu Family. Chairman Tsuneyoshi Washuu is the ultimate authority within the CCG, having long ago established his status as the legendary "Demon Tsune". His son, Chief Yoshitoki Washuu, is the current head of daily operations for the organization and supervises many operations and projects. Throwing a wrench into things is the youngest generation, Matsuri Washuu. An ambitious man, he seeks to oust his own father and take over the organization. While the family has led the organization since its conception, each member is expected to distinguish themselves in the field and uphold the honor of their Badass Family.

     Fan Works 
  • Paradoxus: Altalune and Trisha (Bloom's daughters) are striving to become the queens Eralkyon and Domino (respectively) need them to be. Bloom was well into her path of being a Benevolent Mage Ruler until her untimely passing away. And Marion (Bloom's mother) proved to be a great warrior queen during her tenure.

     Films — Animation 
  • Arthur Christmas: Steve is the tech-savvy heir apparent to the North Pole, Grandsanta is the retired patriarch who is constantly reminding others of his accomplishments and harping on "the good old days," while the current Santa clearly had a good run, but is now struggling with the decision of whether to step down in favor of his son.
  • Deconstructed in Encanto. On the surface, Alma, Julieta and Mirabel do show the strengths of their generational positions. Alma (The Elder), is the matriarch of the Madrigal family and guides the use of the family's gifts in service to the community. Julieta (The Adult) uses her healing gift to help the community, a responsibility she takes quite seriously and Mirabel (The Youth) is filled with passion and love for her family and seeks to support them however she can. Yet, as the story is about a family caught under the weight of dysfunction, we see the darker side of each generation that impacts how successful each can be. Alma has suffered greatly which has affected her ability to serve as a wise matriarch. She is motivated by fear and grief such that she imposes a "toxic perfectionism" on her family that is slowly crushing them under the weight of her expectations. Julieta is clearly an empowered adult who uses her skill to the best of her ability yet is also saddened by having a brother who "lost his way" in the family but finds that she can't even bring up his name and now fears that Mirabel may follow the same path. Finally, while there is no denying Mirabel's love and enthusiasm for her family, her song "Waiting on a Miracle" shows that after years of trying to accept that "she is just as special as the rest of her family", we see that she realizes she lives in the shadow of all that her family can do and admits that she is still waiting for her own miracle.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Family Business has Jessie, who is proud of his criminal past and lifestyle, his son Vito, who now runs a thriving wholesale Twelfth Avenue meatpacking warehouse and has left his criminal past behind him, and his grandson Adam, who is in college with a scientific scholarship and seemingly has a bright future ahead of him.
  • Of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker has always dreamed of having the freedom to become a Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi is obedient to the Jedi council and makes a stable father figure to Anakin, and Qui-Gon Jinn is insistent that Anakin become a Jedi Knight and fulfill his destiny.

  • Rinus de Gier, Henk Grijpstra and the Comissaris in Janwillem van de Wetering's "Amsterdam Cop" novels.
  • Miles (the youth), Aral (the adult), and Piotr (the elder) in Vorkosigan Saga.
  • By the end of The Westing Game, Turtle's family have become this trope: Windy Windkloppel, who founded a giant paper-products conglomerate under the "Sam Westing" alias, is the Elder; his niece Grace Wexler, the Adult, has become the owner/director of a chain of Chinese restaurants; and T.R. "Turtle" Wexler herself, as the Youth, is building her second fortune in as a stockbroker and businesswoman.

     Live-Action TV 
  • 7th Heaven has Mary, who has the confidence and ability to want to play in the Women's National Basketball Association someday, Annie, who is the vastly knowledgeable mother, and Annie's mother in law Ruth, who wants to visit the children more than once a year to influence them.
    The Colonel: Well, we're lucky to have Annie and Mary. You know, our Mary has enough salt to make jerky.
    Grandma Ruth: That Annie, she's always been a doer. She's not afraid to get her hands dirty.
  • The Reagan family of Blue Bloods features three active members of the NYPD as series regulars: Jamie, a former law student who joined the force after his brother Joe's death, making him a very well-educated rookie; Danny, an experienced and driven detective whose investigations make up the A-plot of most episodes; and their father Frank, police commissioner and voice of integrity and wisdom within the family. The Reagan family also includes Frank's own father Henry, a retired former police commissioner respected by all, and Frank's grandchildren: precocious teenage Nicky, who's thinking of becoming a cop herself, and Joe's illegitimate offspring Joe Hill, an up-and-coming detective with the Firearms Division who appears in "Family Secrets". Thus, it's more a case of Five Successful Generations.
  • From Gilmore Girls there's Rory Gilmore, who harbours a long-held dream to study at Harvard University and become a journalist, Lorelai Gilmore, whose legacy is her daughter Rory and the goal of owning her own Inn that she's been working toward for twenty years, and Emily Gilmore, who invests in Rory's education and seeks to bring her into their lifestyle.

     Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: In the van Buren family, the members that share the dynamic are Cameron, Mikayla and their mother, who were/are very popular at school for being head cheerleaders, or because of their family history. Shay misses out because Mackenzie took head cheerleader in elementary school, and is ashamed of it — even though it was through no fault of her own.

     Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017): Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby are the talented young kids with bright futures and ambitions to be great adventurers. Donald, Launchpad, and Della are the adults who have made something of themselves, but are still striving to achieve higher goals - they also suffer the occasional setback now and then. Scrooge and Beakley are elders who have lived their lives to the fullest and are now passing on their knowledge to the latest generation - Scrooge by taking his great-nephews on adventures, Beakley by training her granddaughter.
  • Hey Arnold!: Arnold has this dynamic with his father, Miles, and his grandfather, Phil.
    • Arnold is the Youth, he is a mature, precocious, level-headed and well-meaning All-Loving Hero who has shown to be a massive influence on his town/community (best shown in The Jungle Movie).
    • Miles (along with his wife Stella) is the Adult as they are an anthropologist who helped the Green Eyed People overcome an illness called the Sleeping Sickness.
    • Phil is the Elder: He runs the boarding house and is the one who raises Arnold, occasionally telling him many interesting stories of his past.
      • This also doubles as The Three Faces of Adam with Arnold as The Hunter, Miles as The Lord and Phil as The Prophet.
  • The Simpsons has Lisa, Marge, and Mona Simpson; the girl genius with the world as her oyster; the mother who can do practically anything she sets her mind to; and the grandmother (Lisa's gran, Marge's mother-in-law) who is intelligent, well-travelled, and generally led a full life.
    • There is an inversion in the unsuccessful males, Bart, Homer, and Abe; the young boy who's more interested in causing trouble; the father who never bothered to learn anything in youth, and can't advance now; and the grandfather who never made anything of his life.
      • Or, The retired badass Sergeant Rock; The multilingual, world-famous, musician/astronaut; and the pre-adolescent natural leader future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court-successful son, and the one who ultimately gets the others to see what is really important.