Follow TV Tropes


Time to Move

Go To

The man of the house decides to sell his family's home, but ends up meeting stiff resistance from the other members of his family. By the end of the episode, though, the move is cancelled.

This may or may not require the other family members, often the kids, faking household disasters or otherwise trying to sabotage attempts by Dad or a real estate agent showing the house to buyers.

"Real" moves invariably take place between seasons, so that the show's tech crew can build the new sets at a reasonable pace.


See The Moving Experience for when the move isn't cancelled.


    open/close all folders 

  • Ur-example from the movies: Meet Me in St. Louis, one of the biggest films of 1943. Features the 1904 worlds fair, Judy Garland singing "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and, yes, the businessman father decides to stay in St. Louis for the sake of his family instead of taking a promotion to New York.

    Live Action TV 
  • Home Improvement, with Tim Taylor's plan to sell the Taylors' Detroit house and move to their summer home. The family doesn't like the idea.
  • The Brady Bunch "To Move or Not To Move," in which the Brady kids engage in a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax to frighten potential buyers.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air featured a slight inversion in that Phillip Banks wasn't initially looking to sell the house; a real estate agent had shown up offering to buy it from him, explaining that it was his client's childhood home. Initially the entire family is against it. However, the agent continues to raise the offered price, winning over the family one by one until young Ashley is the only one who will resist. Sure enough, her pubescent natter is enough to convince the family to remain where they are. However, in a minor subversion, the agent's client (who turns out to be none other than Donald Trump himself) shows up to explain that the agent had the wrong address and withdraws the offer.
  • NUMB3RS: Dad wants to sell the house, at least in part so that Charlie will finally grow up and move out on his own. The house sells quickly — to Charlie, who promptly becomes his father's landlord.
  • Clarissa Explains It All: Clarissa's father is going through a midlife crisis, and decides to move the family to a remote Pacific island. In the end, they just have to tell him what an incredibly bad idea it is.
  • Happens in an episode of Full House. There is a slight subversion in that out of the nine people living there, eight of them are completely in favor of it (and the move wouldn't take them out of San Francisco...just to a bigger house in a nearby or perhaps the same neighborhood). The only one against it was seven year old Michelle.
  • Good Luck Charlie: Amy decides to move the family into a bigger house thinking their current one will be too small for their soon-to-be-born fourth child. On the day of the move however, she has memories of the children coming in through the door when they were born, prompting her to cancel the move.
  • Step by Step used the same plot as previous, and it was Lily who objected.
  • Sydney to the Max: Max's childhood friend Leo considers moving back to Portland, but his son Leo Jr. doesn't want to move and enlists Sydney and Olive to sabotage his plans by acting like a bad person. They steal a bike from the store, which no only cancels the move, but almost destroys their fathers' friendship with each other.
  • In Kenan & Kel across two episodes Kenan's Dad moves the family away so he can fulfill his livelong forest ranger dream, leaving Kel friendless. They move back when they find out how bad their new house and Roger's new job actually are.
  • Averted with Friends when, in the final season, Chandler and Monica move out of their house despite their friends (mostly Joey's) laments.
  • In Outnumbered, precociously bright daughter Karen repeatedly sabotages viewings of the Brockman family home, as she is adamant that she does not want to move. She goes so far as to warn viewing families they're going to get her as a sitting tenant.
  • in Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray is lukewarm about moving to a house opposite his parents. The then-innocent Debra asserts that having the soon-to-be-born child's grandparents nearby, so Marie and Frank could drop in and help out, would be a really good idea.
  • The first season finale of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 featured Jim Walsh getting a promotion back to Minnesota, and was met with resistance from Brenda, Brandon, and surprisingly, Cindy, all of whom grew accustomed to life in Beverly Hills. It went as far as a going-away party thrown by Brenda and Brandon's friends before Jim changed his mind, thus allowing the family to stay in Cali.
    • In season 5, Jim and Cindy Walsh did leave for real, to Hong Kong. They intended to sell the house, which led to their son Brandon (daughter Brenda having left for London a year earlier) deciding to have a destructive rave at the home, as the new potential owners were intending to destroy the house after the sale was made. However, the real estate agent came during the rave, and informed Brandon that the house fell out of escrow, thus the Walshes were still the owners of the house. This led to Brandon and his friends having to clean up the mess after the rave ended. Brandon and numerous of his friends (Steve, Valerie, David, etc.) lived in the house through the remainder of the show, even after Brandon himself left for Washington D.C. in early season 9, which meant that none of the owners or related family members lived in the house in the last two seasons.
  • The Partridge Family: "For Sale by Owner" starts out as an inversion - the kids want to move, while Shirley wants to stay. Eventually the kids come around to Shirley's point of view, but by that point Reuben has already made a deal to sell the house. The kids spend the rest of the episode trying to get out of the contract.
  • The Golden Girls had a Clip Show episode, "We're Outta Here!", which had this overarching plot. A "For Sale" sign had been mistakenly put on the house, and Blanche receives a large offer from a wealthy Japanese businessman on a real estate shopping spree. The clips involved the grils' various misadventures during their life together, and while Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia didn't really want to move, they agreed that the offer was too large for Blanche to pass up. However, they're kept from moving at the end when the potential buyer spent all his money on other properties and withdraws his offer.

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold!!, "Casa Paradiso", with Grandpa Phil's attempt to sell his boarding house and move himself along with Grandma Pookie and Arnold (one of those who are putting up stiff resistance) to the titular retirement home
  • Rocket Power, "Shack Attack", with Ray Rocket's attempt to sell his diner in order to move to "Shoobietown" (that's what his kids are calling it, and they don't like the idea)
  • The Simpsons: Homer gets a new job under businessman (and part-time super-villain) Hank Scorpio. He loves it, but Bart is held back in school, Lisa is allergic to everything in the area, and Marge becomes incredibly bored due to a self-cleaning house. By the end of the episode, the Reset Button has been pushed and the family is back in Springfield. (And Scorpio has seized control of the entire U.S. East Coast.)
    • This happens a few other times, too:
      • In the movie, they move to Alaska after being chased away by an angry mob.
      • In an episode where some carnies take over their house, they're forced to move.
      • In an episode where Homer goes back to the old family farm, they move to the farm for a short time, where they grow "tomacco" plants (with a little help from nuclear material from the power plant.
      • In an episode where they go to spring break in Florida and end up running from the law, they end up living in a trailer.
      • In an episode where they go on a reality show, they move into a 19th century home.
  • Dexter's Laboratory once had an episode titled "The Big Move" in which Dexter was afraid that the family was going to move, so he tried to make the house as nice as possible so they'd want to stay. In the end it turned out that the titular Big Move was just moving the furniture around- but once he mentioned the idea of actually moving...
  • Bobby's World played with this in one episode, where they actually DID move, but to a house just across the street which was in every way identical to their old house except for having an extra bedroom for the new baby. This was lead into with an inversion of another trope: "Are we there yet?" "Yep!"
    • Cow and Chicken did the exact same thing, except it was because the old house was full of ants (which promptly moved right along with them).
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: As Billy's dad has to move, Billy wants to bring Grim, but Mandy wants to keep him in Endsville. They go to court to see who gets custody of Grim. The judge rules that Billy's family be outlawed from moving. Or apparently from even leaving his house. Which sucks for them since Billy's Mom already broke a wall down.
  • Casper's Scare School, the episode "Ghost Bust a Move" had Mr. Bradley wanting to move the family from Deedstown to a small desert town since he couldn't find any more decent sales jobs in Deedstown. His son Jimmy and Casper were less than thrilled about this idea and spend the enitre episode sabotaging the move, untill Mr. Bradley (after seeing Casper with Jimmy) decided to give up being a salesman and become a creature catcher, providing him with a new form of income in Deedstown.
  • The Kim Possible movie A Sitch in Time was about Ron's parents unexpectedly moving to Norway, a move Ron did not like, at all. Being eventually revealed to be a result of time traveling, the entire move got completely reset'd out of existence in the end.
  • Subverted in Hilda: Hilda spends most of the first two episodes trying to convince her mom not to move to the city, and appears successful after making peace with the local elves. Then their house gets crushed by a giant and they have to move anyway.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: