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Wacky Parent, Serious Child

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"Everybody mambo!"

Alexis: Dad! You're gonna spoil your dinner.
Castle: [with his mouth full of whipped cream] This is my dinner.
Alexis: No.
Castle, "Suicide Squeeze"

A pair that consists of a silly, carefree or simply lighthearted parent and a child who is down to earth, snarky, brooding or all three. Usually parent and child will be of the same gender (so a wacky father with a brooding son or a ditzy mother with a serious daughter). In addition, the parent will often tease the child or play practical jokes on them to the annoyance of the latter and/or be utterly embarrassing (sometimes only to the child, though). Expect Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity to pop out, which will usually end with an Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment.

Can sometimes be Played for Drama, to show how utterly messed up it is when the younger person has to be the more mature one. In psychology, when a parent's immaturity and neediness demands care and regulation from the child, it's a dynamic called "parentification," and is a form of emotional abandonment that can lead to pretty significant developmental trauma in the child. (Of course, this goes beyond the parent merely being "wacky" in temperament, while still appropriately and dependably meeting the "serious" child's practical and emotional needs.) The "serious child" in this dynamic need not be an actual child. They merely need to play the role to their parental figure and could be a grown-up or possibly even a parent with their own children.

Subtrope to Like Father, Unlike Son. Compare Childish Older Sibling and Hammy Villain, Serious Hero if the parent and child fit these roles. Undoubtedly Truth in Television. You might have Wacky Parents yourself or Serious Children of your own.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Ichigo and Karin compared to their Amazingly Embarrassing father, Dr. Isshin Kurosaki. Unless Isshin drops his Obfuscating Stupidity facade, yeah.
  • Case Closed:
    • Bumbling Dad Kogoro and his Cute Bruiser daughter Ran.
    • Shinichi is also less than impressed by the wacky antics of his novelist dad and former-actress mother, both of whom, among other things, left their teenage son living alone while they went on a trip to America for several years.
  • In Dagashi Kashi, we have the son Kokonotsu and his eccentric father, You.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku (Wacky Parent) to Gohan (Serious Child). Although they both share their goofy moments and are nice guys, Gohan is shown to be more serious, intelligent and mature than Goku. Justified as Gohan was given an education at a young age thanks to Chi-Chi, while Goku wasn't introduced to society until he was a young teenager.
    • Similarly, Mr. Satan (Wacky Parent) to Videl (Serious Child). Satan acts very boastful, over-the-top, and silly, while Videl spends most of the series being laid-back and serious when the situations call for it.
  • FLCL. Naota Nandaba is fairly normal (at least for a child in anime) but his father Kamon is extremely immature, suffers emotional mood swings and exhibits inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Food Wars!: Akira Hayama has this dynamic with his legal guardian, Jun Shiomi. Even though she's 34 years old, she looks like a middle-schooler and even acts like one most of the time, to the point he is the one who seems to be looking after her, including doing the chores of running their seminar when she neglects them.
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Frieren and her apprentice Fern have this dynamic, as Frieren is basically Fern's adoptive mother. While both are The Stoic to some extent, Frieren is much more eccentric, lazy, and relaxed; Fern is shown having to wake her up in the morning and get her dressed, almost like she's Frieren's mother (a fact she Lampshades).
  • From what little we see of her in If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die, Sakiko's straight-lanced and grounded nature acts as an inversion to this trope due to her daughter, Eripoyo, being much more ridiculously dramatic and generally goofy than her.
  • HuGtto! Pretty Cure gives us Doctor Traum who becomes very excitable and emotional after making his Heel–Face Turn in contrast of his daughter Ruru Amour (Cure Amour) who is more reserved which leads to a running gag of her distancing himself from him when he tries to hug her.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Junpei is a strictly-principled loner who often tries to rein in his carefree, energetic mother. Notably, she encourages him to skip school and smokes and drinks heavily against his wishes.
  • Kengan Ashura: Despite being pretty much the most influential person in the sphere of Japanese economy (and having enough experience and dignity to demonstrate his power when the situation calls for it), Katahara Metsudo is otherwise an energetic and fun-loving party animal who deliberately allows the people challenging for his position to abuse the loopholes of the tournament's regulations to make things more interesting, even though this puts himself at risk. His son, Retsudo, is The Captain of his Bodyguards' special unit and, outside of his sis-con, generally behaves just as serious and business-like as the rest of Metsudo's dutiful subordinates. At one point, Metsudo tells Retsu not to be so stiff, and he seems to deliberately play up his goofball antics when talking to his son in order to get him to lighten up. Also, while his daughter Sayaka isn't as uptight as her brother, she also lacks her father's far-out interests, and is more down-to-earth.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, all three of Lady Celi's sons are serious in comparison to her, although Gwendal, the eldest, takes the cake on stoicism. This is mostly Played for Laughs, except when it isn't: being on an eternal quest for free love is an amusing quirk as a woman with adult children, but it's sometimes shown that this behavior had a not-always-positive effect on her sons when they were growing up, and her irresponsibility played a factor in the tragedy of the Lutenberg Division twenty years ago.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Masamune-kun's Revenge: Masamune and his mother Kinue; the latter is ridiculously childlike in appearance and mannerisms for a 42-year-old, and has a habit of adding too much sugar and/or fats into her dishes (which her son Masamune blames for his past obesity).
  • Michiko & Hatchin: Michiko Malandro and Hana Morenos, although they aren't biologically related; nine-year-old Hana is much more thoughtful and less gullible than the loud, Hot-Blooded, easily-distracted Michiko.
  • One Piece:
    • From what's been seen of Gold Roger, he is a man much like Luffy. However, Ace, his child, was serious and downright mean growing up. Since he wasn't raised by his father, and grew up hearing some unpleasant comments involving such matters, it isn't very surprising. As an adult though, Ace is calm and collected, yet still like his old man in sharing a love of partying and having short tempers when it comes to folk messing with their loved ones. Not to mention, Ace's tendency of narcolepsy.
    • Inverted with Monkey D. Luffy, the goofy protagonist and his mysterious and serious father, Revolutionary Leader Monkey D. Dragon.
    • Played straight with Luffy's father and grandfather, Monkey D. Garp, who appears to act like an older version of Luffy.
  • Haruhi Fujioka in Ouran High School Host Club is the most reliable and level-headed character in the show. Her father Ryouji, a.k.a. Ranka, is a flaming Drag Queen with emotional issues.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: Isanari Uesugi is a downplayed example, given that he's a very responsible parent (working extra hours to provide for his children), but at least at home he's very laidback compared to his serious and straight-laced son Fuutarou, whom he often advises to stop being obsessed with his studies and try and enjoy more his life. In fact, he's rather proud of the fact that Fuutarou used to sport a delinquent look much like his own.
  • Sailor Moon: Though Chibiusa is technically Usagi's child from the 30th Century, she and Usagi qualify to a certain extent. Usagi is a lot goofier than Chibiusa, who is sometimes more serious than Usagi. Justified since Usagi is a teenager and Chibiusa, while a child in mind and body, is over 900 years old.
  • Soul Eater:
    • The Cloudcuckoolander Shinigami and his serious, Obsessively Organized son Death the Kid. However, Shinigami-sama's goofball moments are the result of him adapting a jollier personality since his grim and serious demeanor from centuries ago wasn't exactly the best for being in charge of a school; he still knows when to be deathly serious. Also, Kid's Obsessively Organized moments give Kid moments of his own comical style.
    • Maka Albarn is a down-to-earth young woman who often acts like Only Sane Man with her friends, compared to her goofy and somewhat perverted father, Spirit. Despite this, Spirit often has his serious side and Maka still has her eccentricites and is still a normal teenage girl.
  • In Space Patrol Luluco, the title character has a warm relationship with her father, even though she wants to be normal and he's a member of the Space Police. Her mom, meanwhile, left and is the awesomely psychotic Space Pirate Queen.
  • Toradora!: Ryuuji is the Serious Child to his mom Yasuko's Wacky Parent. He cook and cleans the house, since Yasuko works late at a bar, and therefore she's a bit drowsy and odd during daytime. Also, she was 16 when she had him.
  • Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!: Shinichi's father Shirou is revealed to be this once he's introduced. Shinichi is a serious loner who's always keeping to himself, while Shirou is a pretty wacky dude who takes pride on being the master of a judo dojo (even though his wife is a much better fighter), and was all too happy to send his son to live alone once he left for college to have his wife all for himself.
  • Witchblade: Masane and her daughter Rihoko are this to a fault. Masane is a free spirit who enjoys staying up all night drinking with the other tenants of their apartment building, while Rihoko is so ridiculously mature for her age (six) that she does all the shopping, cooking, and even has to put her mother to bed when she drinks too much, talking down to her in an exasperated way while she does.

    Comic Books 
  • The adult comic Viz includes the comic strip "The Modern Parents" by John Fardell. It is the satire of an extremist "green"/New Age couple and their antics, while their young son is the Only Sane Man.
  • Kingdom Come's semi-sequel The Kingdom featured Plastic Man and Offspring, respectively, in these roles. Plastic Man is Fun Personified and can't stay out of his son's life; Offspring is comparatively humorless and doesn't appreciate his father's meddling.
  • FF introduces the Impossible Man's latest child, Adolf Impossible, who's a reserved bookworm uncomfortable around large groups of people in contrast to his father, the Marvel Universe's premier goofball.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • The current page image comes from A Goofy Movie. Max Goof is trying to be a normal teenage boy, while his father is, well, Goofy.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis with Bud and Lucille, who adopt him at the end. Wilbur and Franny are a much milder example: he's always a little goofy while she jumps around from serious to very wacky.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Anywhere but Here, Susan Sarandon plays the free-spirited Adele who wants her daughter to become an actress. Natalie Portman is Ann, the much more level-headed daughter who dreams of attending an Ivy League university - and getting as far away from her irresponsible mother as possible.
  • In Big Fish, Will Bloom is embarrassed by his father Edward's endless tall tales about his adventures and exploits, at least until Will discovers that there is at least a grain of truth to many of Edward's tales.
  • In the Halloweentown films, Grandma Aggie is a proud, whimsical witch while her daughter, Gwen, married a Muggle and continues to live a "normal" life even after his death. Both of Gwen's daughters take after Aggie, though her son Does Not Like Magic more than her. He does ease up on that and goes to magic university when older.
    Aggie: Oh, being normal is vastly overrated.
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Greg's dad, who hangs around the house in a kimono eating cuttlefish and talking to his cat is definitely this compared to Greg, who is slightly quirky at most. A more serious example is Rachel's mom, who starts drinking heavily after her daughter's diagnosis, and Rachel, who takes it more calmly.
  • Sky High (2005): The Mad Scientist villain explains that they were raised by their Villainous Harlequin henchman, Stitches, after a battle with Commander turned them into a baby.
  • In L'eclisse Vittoria might be at times a Cloudcuckoolander but when with her mother she is the one who is down to earth and speaks as the voice of reason.
  • Hearts Beat Loud: Once "Hearts Beat Loud" gets popular, Frank goes all in about starting an actual band with Sam but Sam repeatedly declines due to her future plans and even chastises Frank for not thinking clearly about their chances of making it. It's indicated throughout the film that Sam is the responsible one and acts far more like the adult while he's relatively a Manchild in comparison with her.

  • Briefly mentioned in Anansi Boys; In the Babies Ever After epilogue; the protagonist has children of his own. "His name is Marcus: he is four and a half and possesses that deep gravity and seriousness that only small children and mountain gorillas have ever been able to master.”
  • Zig-zagged in Ascendance of a Bookworm. The protagonist is a Womanchild stuck in an actual child's body thanks to a Reincarnate in Another World situation. When she gets Adopted into Royalty, her adoptive father is a Manchild and one of the few people who can, under the right circumstances, make her look like one of the more adult people in the room. The two of them are, however, just as likely to enable each other's childish antics in the middle of professional meetings.
    • He, himself, is the serious, dutiful son to his trickster father.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club: Dawn and her mother Sharon. Both of them are Granola Girls, but Sharon is known for being a messy and absent-minded Cloudcuckoolander while her daughter is way more mature.
  • The Birds of Summer is one of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's grimly realistic, even angry YA books from the mid-1970s. Oriole, an irresponsible flower child, neglects her two daughters and floats around in a drugged haze. Fifteen-year-old Summer is the real adult. Her mother's antics nearly get her killed.
  • Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left has this as a major plot element; part of the alien culture native to Zyrgon means that X, who is a 10 year old girl, is officially responsible for managing all the grown-up aspects of life (like paying the bills, telling her parents to go to work, etc), leaving her parents free to goof around and act like kids.
  • Hive Mind (2016): Amber's mother is very serious and uptight, but her parents are fun-loving and irreverent, doing things like crashing teen parties and starting mud fights.
  • In How NOT to Become Popular by Jennifer Ziegler, Maggie's parents are quirky, free-thinking hippies who move around every few months, meanwhile Maggie tries her best to be a normal girl.
  • Jacqueline Wilson frequently deconstructs this trope. One notable example is the relationship between the title character of The Illustrated Mum and her two children. Marigold genuinely cares for both of her daughters, but is highly susceptible to exaggerated mood swings and extreme behaviors, which worry Dolphin, frustrate Star, and present severe negative consequences for the entire family. Dolphin is bullied at her school and has only one friend, because all of her classmates know about Marigold's unusual ways. Micky, Star's father, is implied to find Marigold's wackiness unbearable. Towards the end of the story, Dolphin learns that Marigold suffers from bipolar disorder, and hence has to be temporarily hospitalized.
  • In Lola Rose, Nikki and Jayni, respectively; Nikki tends to be quite impulsive and fun-loving, while Jayni thinks more about the long-term and is quite introverted. Deconstructed and Played for Drama all the way, as Nikki's unwillingness to take responsibility and emotional immaturity leaves her ten/eleven year old daughter to pick up the slack, which doesn't make things any easier for either of them. It's made clear they do love each other though, and Nikki does try to be a responsible parent; in one notable instance she insists Jayni has to attend school while Jayni sulks about not wanting to go.
  • The Machineries of Empire has Shuos Jedao and his mother. In Extracurricular Activities, her idea of a birthday present is a tube of goose fat (which he initially mistakes for a bomb, being a spy), and when he and his partner use it as a lubricant (the sex kind, not the mechanics kind), he's horrified to think of what she'd say if she ever found out, only to realize that if she did, she'd probably send him even more of it.
  • Brulion Bebe B. has Bebe, who is actively trying to be as unlike her Large Ham mother as humanly possible.
  • A downplayed example in the Wraith Squadron novel Mercy Kill with Mulus Cheems and his (adopted) son Viull "Scut" Gorsat. Whereas Scut is deathly serious most of the time, driven by an intense desire to prove himself and repay his family's debt to Wraith Squadron (and haunted by lingering Fantastic Racism — his species invaded the galaxy that one time), Mulus is a cheerful elderly professor who shows up to lend his expertise to the men and women who saved him many years before, and is both honored and delighted to make a difference in such a critical operation.
  • P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith series, in which Psmith and his father are...actually both kind of odd. The difference lies in the fact that Psmith is far more dignified and grounded than his flighty parent, enabling him to manipulate any situation with a professional level of ease.
  • The Royal Diaries: A mixed-gender example in Daughter of the Nile, with Auletes as the immature, wacky Manchild parent and Cleopatra as the serious, high-minded child. It's Played for Drama, as they're royals in exile with the vital task of convincing Romans to lend aid to take back Egypt from Cleopatra's sisters, and Cleopatra is a twelve-year-old girl who is deeply unhappy about being forced to be more mature and responsible than her father.
  • Septimus Heap has Bumbling Dad Silas Heap and Only Sane-Boy Septimus Heap.
  • In The Supervillainy Saga, specifically Cindy's Seven, Cindy is a sultry Femme Fatale Cloud Cuckoolander supervillainess that flutters from one crazy scheme to another. Both her children are serious, studious, and generally well-behaved young women. Somewhat averted by the fact both of them are willing to help with her heist.
  • Twilight: The brooding (very, very brooding) Bella and her mother, Renee, who Bella paints as completely flighty and incapable of taking care of herself without Bella's assistance. (She paints her father, Charlie, in a similar light.)
  • Audrey Wood's 1990 children's book Weird Parents involves this trope, but with BOTH of the leading boy's parents being wacky in every way possible. But weird parents or not, they still love each other, and near the end they have a more heartwarming time together. This book received an Animated Adaptation in the first episode of Shelly Duvall's Bedtime Stories on Showtime, read by Bette Midler.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Absolutely Fabulous featured bumbling, selfish, impulsive, party girl mother Edina and her long-suffering, Only Sane Woman daughter Saffron.
  • The Amazing Race : Ron & Christina from seasons 12 & 18 fit this trope to a “T”. Christina spent most of her time trying to calm her dad down and stop him from wandering off at the smell of food. She pretty much dragged him around the world in their first season until she ultimately choked on the Final Exam Finale. He was such a nuisance to her that many had hoped she’d compete the second time with her then fiancé, now husband Azaria whom she met on the show. He was much calmer and quite a strong racer with his sister. They only really lost due to circumstances outside their control.
  • Alma Gêmea: Olívia is a wacky mother to the serious daughter Mirella. After Raul abandons his family, Mirella easily accepts that their life has changed, unlike Olívia, who is still stuck to her fancy old habits, so Mirella tries to talk some sense into her every time she demonstrates she wants to continue her Conspicuous Consumption. For instance, Olívia makes a scene when she can't fit all of her furniture into their new, smaller house, has a ridiculously expensive dinner at the club's restaurant and uses a pair of cockroaches not to pay the check, and wastes half of the money she borrowed from Rafael on clothes, so Mirella keeps calling her out. When Mirella says she enjoys the boarding house's food, Olívia says she's worried about her "plebeian tendencies". When Olívia finally begins to regain control over her life with the restaurant, Mirella warns Olívia she should keep her money in the bank, not in a box at home, but Olívia doesn't listen, and her money is stolen by Raul.
  • The brief glimpses we get of Kim and her mother in Better Call Saul suggests this. Kim's mother is a borderline con woman who will shoplift and happily blame it on her daughter, where Kim grows up to be a studious, ambitious, workaholic of a lawyer.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210: New Age Hippie Iris McKay and her brooding and cynical son Dylan.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Mayor is always cheerful and upbeat, even when planning his Ascension, while Faith, whom he treats like a daughter, is generally brooding and aggressive.
  • Castle:
    • Rick Castle and his daughter Alexis. He's a hyperactive manchild played by Nathan Fillion. She's a straight "A" student who is racked with guilt after jumping a subway turnstile to get out of the rain. Although he's a Good Parent whenever it counts.
    • Castle and his mother Martha are a more complex example. He seems a little more grounded than his flighty, White-Dwarf Starlet mother, but she does feel like part of her job is to bring him back down to earth occasionally.
  • CSI: While he can be a bit eccentric at times, Crime Lab Supervisor D.B. Russell takes his job seriously and often doles out sound advice to his subordinates. His parents, on the other hand, had raised him on the road as they travelled from singing gig to singing gig in their hippie van during the '60s and homeschooled him along the way, placing more emphasis on life lessons and experiences than on grades.
  • A female version is provided by Susan Mayer and her daughter Julie in Desperate Housewives (at least, before Julie left Wisteria Lane). Hillariously when Susan's own mother Sophie appears she turns out to be so ditzy (to Brainless Beauty levels) that Susan was apparently the serious child herself when she was younger.
  • ER. Despite her own laundry list of problems—alcoholism, a failed marriage, etc.—Abby was basically this to her bipolar mother Maggie, who consciously chose not to seek help for her disorder, often resulting in Abby taking on the parent role to her as well as their younger brother.
  • Family Ties was based on this. Alex P. Keaton was a strait-laced Young Republican who was born to two aging hippies.
  • Friends: Chandler Bing's mother is an erotic novelist who openly discusses her sex life in front of him while his father left the family to become a Drag Queen. Their bitter divorce, and the insensitive way they handled it around him, are at the root of Chandler's Commitment Issues. It's implied that Chandler's white-collar job and more cynical personality are his way of distancing himself from his dramatic parents.
  • Gilmore Girls plays this dynamic both for laughs and for drama. Lorelai is the wacky parent to a down-to-earth teenager, but she's a good parent, so it's almost always mined for comedy. Luke's nephew, Jess, is introduced in season 2. He's the bitter, Deadpan Snarker son of Luke's sister, Liz, who is flighty and ditzy. Unlike Lorelai, though, Liz was a drug addict who left Jess to fend for himself while she got high and cycled through dozens of men, before shipping him to Connecticut because she "couldn't deal with him;" the show makes it clear Jess's attitude is pretty much the result of having to deal with that for 17 years before coming to Stars Hollow.
    • The revival flips the script, interestingly, when Rory decides to write her memoir and Lorelai is afraid of how she's going to be portrayed given their dynamic. Meanwhile, Jess, now a successful author and publisher, is called upon to save his mother and stepfather from a six-million-year contract with a vegetable cult...who kicks them out for being too weird.
  • Deconstructed in The Good Place with Donna and Doug Shellstrop being the absurdly stupid, irresponsible, and wacky parents to Eleanor's exasperated, self-sufficient serious child in every flashback they appear in. Eleanor also flatly states she's had to take care of herself and the two of them her whole life, which is why she's so determined to emancipate herself. This did a lot of damage to Eleanor's mentality and emotional well-being, and, for instance, caused Eleanor to become primarily concerned with looking out for herself to the point of refusing to engage in any sort of activity that might potentially involve sharing responsibilities with a group.
  • In Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, the stoic and somewhat cold-hearted Hiiro Kagami is a stark contrast to his goofy and overly-agreeable father, Haima.
  • On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, one of the reasons Elliot Stabler has such a massive stick up his ass is because he had to grow up with a mother who was severely bipolar and unpredictable.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Ikuko and Shingo. In this series, Ikuko became a total Cloudcuckoolander with a wild imagination, even more than Usagi, instead of a wise Education Mama like in the anime. Shingo, though very smart in every series, is now a serious, mature and cynical Only Sane Man.
  • Psych has an inverted example with serious control freak Henry Spencer and Brilliant, but Lazy Shawn Spencer. Shawn acts like a goofball and has a silly but effective approach to solving crimes, compared to the more methodical way his dad does it.
    • However, it is subtly implied that Henry and his own father was like this. Both were cops, but Grandfather Spencer certainly seemed more laid-back, wisecracking and jovial when we saw him in Shawn's youth. Outside of chiding Henry for interrupting his bonding time with Shawn and over "if he had to drain the fun out of everything", he advises Shawn to make his own choices, travel the world, meet interesting people and have adventures, something to which the young Shawn took to heart.
  • Roseanne:
    • The title character's conservative mother Bev has this relationship with her own mother, Nana Mary, a Cloudcuckoolander who claims to have had affairs with every prominent artist from the 1920s. At one point Mary comments that Bev is really just as much as a rebel as she is, the only difference being that they had different lifestyles to rebel against.
    • Roseanne herself with her daughter Darlene is a less extreme example. Becky might have counted, too, except usually she was wound a little too tight.
    • Dan and his mother is a much darker version of it. Dan is naturally a little goofy, but his mother was legitimately insane, having spent several years in a mental institution and attempting to literally kill Dan in one episode.
  • Blair Sandburg and his mother Naomi in The Sentinel. Naomi can be fairly described as 'the last flower child who hasn't gone to seed,' while Blair—although highly energetic—is finishing his doctorate in Anthropology and working as a consultant for the police.
  • Lisa and Tia Landry in Sister, Sister. Her long-lost twin sister Tamera and her father have the opposite relationship.
  • That '70s Show: Mature, smart, independent Donna and her dim-witted parents Bob and Midge.
  • Gilmore Girls: While Lorelai can handle being a parent when it counts, the show tends to follow this trope. One episode revealed that, while Lorelai was going commando thanks to running out of clean underwear, Rory had been secretly doing her own laundry.
    • A more cynical variation with Jess and his mother Liz. For most of Jess's childhood Liz was an unstable, unreliable mess, so by the age of 17 Jess is entirely self-sufficient, and pretty bitter and jaded as a result. He also struggles with suddenly having a reliable, sensible parental figure in Luke.
  • A played with example in Voyagers!. Bogg and Jeff's relationship is odd, but there are hints that it's partially a father/son bond. Bogg is historically ignorant and easily distracted by a pretty face, often needing Jeff to advise him or get him back on track. However, there are cases where it's Jeff who needs Bogg to keep him in line.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • Old Harry's Game: While one half of it isn't seen, this is apparently the relationship God and Jesus have. God's the wacky one, being an omniscient being whose 'omni' is a bit off, while Jesus is all business, and never laughs at any of his father's stories. This actually seems to cause God some consternation.

    Video Games 
  • The eighth season of Criminal Case introduces us to Jean-Philippe Delacroix and his son, Gauthier. The former is the High Commissioner of the Parisian Police Squad who is a Jeff Goldblum knock-off and a party animal who goes out of his way to look for occasions to celebrate so that he can have fun. Gauthier, the Chief of Police, although generally a Nice Guy, is described as a workaholic stickler to the rules.
  • In Fantasy Life:
    • Daemon is a Nice Guy trying to be a good Dark Sultan and to make friends. His father, the Former Dark Sultan, does a Faking the Dead stunt just to play a prank on the king that the player is serving.
    • In the blacksmith guild, there's also Vulcan, the master who gets so carried away into praising the job that his daughter and assisstant Fyra ends up doing the actual teaching.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Though they don't know it, Laguna is Squall's father. Squall is brooding, stoic and professional while Laguna is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer who tends to misuse words and in general is a total loon. When Squall first meets Laguna by experiencing his memories in a dream, Squall thinks of Laguna as a moron.
    • Taken even further in Dissidia Final Fantasy where Laguna and Squall meet, have a few awkward conversations, yet ironically neither ever find out they're related. Would have been even more awkward if they did, since they were brought from their respective timelines as roughly around the same age.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening:
    • Nowi is a free-spirited Manakete who acts like a little girl because she likes it. Her half-dragon daughter Nah is far more serious and level-headed. However this is less the case in the Japanese version where Nah(known as Nn) is very childish and frequently uses the word, desu, a speaking style mainly by children.
    • Laurent, who is basically a male version of his mother Miriel, can be this if fathered by Vaike or Henry.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Hinata, an upbeat and impulsive Hot-Blooded samurai, and his son Hisame, a reserved and cautious guy with a old-fashioned air to him.
    • Inverted with Takumi and his son, Kiragi. Takumi is wrought with guilt and lack of self-esteem, while Kiragi is a very open and enthusiastic child.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Kodah is a cheerful, jubilant woman who still acts pretty much the way she did when she and Link were kids together. Finley is a solemn, serious young Zora who even talks like an elder Zora to make herself seem more grown up. There's also Granté; his father Robbie is a very silly and bombastic guy, with his mother Jerrin shooting for a similarly energetic persona. Granté himself, on the other hand, is a fairly reserved guy who is also a bit socially awkward.
  • The Pokémon Sword and Shield Crown Tundra Downloadable Content has Peony and Peonia, as Peony is excitable and emotional, in contrast to his more emotionally-reserved daughter Peonia. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's own Downloadable Content further implies Penny, who would fit the bill just as well, is Peony's other daughter.

    Web Animation 
  • Deconstructed with the Blyndeff family in Epithet Erased. Martin is such a goofy and irresponsible Manchild that his daughter Molly has essentially been forced to take over the household, taxes and family business for the past two years. She’s twelve, still in school, and with everything on her plate she gets about five hours of sleep each night.
  • Manga Heaven: Ayaka is more responsible than her mother, who always got drunk much to her frustration. Even when Ayaka grew up and got a job, she takes care of her mother.
  • In The Most Popular Girls in School, we have Jayna van Buren and her daughter Mikayla.

    Web Comics 
  • Ozy and Millie: With Ozy being more or less the Only Sane Man, Llewellyn arguably needs his adopted son just as much as Ozy needs Llewellyn. They both claim to be followers of Zen, but for Ozy that means being centred and seeking balance, and for Llewellyn it seems to mostly mean being surreal and justifying it with Ice Cream Koans. Interestingly, Ozy seems to consider Llewellyn's interpretation as equally valid, most of the time.
  • In Questionable Content, Clinton is less neurotic and uptight than he used to be, but is still very neurotic and uptight. His mom is The Stoner, has a bass guitar rig, and is a Virtual YouTuber whose avatar is an anime cow lady. It's implied that now Clinton and Claire have left home, she's doing all the things she never had a chance to do before.
  • Roommates has Javert and his mother, the bipolar Morgan.
  • Also in the spin off Superintendent, him and his father Clopin, who is a Lovable Rogue.
  • Paranatural's Max and his dad to a tee. The reason the family moves to Quirky Town Mayview in the first chapter is because it's the dad's hometown.
    Max: Hey, Dad. I've got a question for you.
    Dad: Ask ye, mine sweet loinsfruit.
    Max: Can you never, ever call me your loinsfruit again? ever?
  • True Villains: Bayn is a humourless Evil Sorcerer, while his father Dexter is a Gadfly, and, incidentally, a Prophet and All-Powerful Bystander, though they're both empowered by the same god. Bayn hates his father for antics like Cursing him to have to call him "Dad", and they only mend their bridges in the final chapter.

    Web Video 
  • In Idiotsitter, this trope is played with. Gene is a total adult child, but her father and stepmother aren't much better. However, while her dad is portrayed as a lousy parent (in one episode, titular Idiotsitter Billie has to coach him through punishing Gene, and he's all over the map), he's also rich and successful, somehow.
  • In I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC, the Green Goblin is a wacky Harmless Villain who usually winds up helping the heroes. As such, the usual dynamic he has with his son Harry is changed to that of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander bickering with the Only Sane Man.
    Harry: AGH! Dad, why are there hyenas in my room?!
    Green Goblin: Because that's where Bud and Lou mark their territory! You know how your mother is about these things!
    Harry: She's not my mother!
  • In SuperMarioLogan, Cody is the Serious Child to his mother and his stepfather's Wacky Parents.

    Western Animation 
  • On Danny Phantom, the title character's parents are ghost hunters. When the series began, the existence of ghosts is not yet widely known, with everyone seeing the Fentons as delusional. Even when it's clear to the world that ghosts are real, the pair (especially Jack) are still treated as jokes and can get pretty wacky. And while Danny himself qualifies as being more serious than them most of the time, it's his older sister Jazz who actively goes out of her way to be the Only Sane Woman in the family. As a result, she sometimes comes off pretentious and overbearing, though she mellows as the series goes on.
    • A variation occurs in Sam's family. While her parents are straight laced suburbanites that look like magazine models from the 1950s', Sam's grandmother, Ida, mother of Sam's father, was a beatnik in her youth, and is more than happy to help Sam get away with stuff her parents don't approve of, like hanging out with Danny and wearing an all black wardrobe.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Timmy certainly has his own wacky moments, but he's still a lot more serious than his incredibly weird, ditzy parents, especially his father. Or godfather Cosmo, for that matter.
  • Played With on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends—an Imaginary Friend's creator is sometime counted as a "parent," in which case Madame Foster has this sort of relationship with her stuffy Friend, Mr. Harriman. For that matter, she's also the Wacky Grandma to the comparably more serious Frankie.
  • A variant on FuturamaGunter is a monkey given artificial intelligence by Professor Farnsworth's technology, and attends Mars University. On Parent's Day, the Professor brings Gunter's mother and father—two normal monkeys—and Gunter is humiliated when they get out of their cage and cause a fiasco.
  • Goofy and Max Goof in Goof Troop, where Max is a Deadpan Snarker, while his father is a Kindhearted Simpleton nature he has in all media. This is especially the case in A Goofy Movie and its sequel, where a now jaded teenage Max is terrified at the idea of sharing any similarities with his father.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Old Man McGucket and Ranger Tate are a somewhat tragic example. Before becoming the town kook, Fiddleford Hadron McGucket was once a very intelligent computer scientist and engineer. He was called in by Stanford Pines to help create the Portal. However, during its activation, Fiddleford caught a glimpse of what lay on the other side and Bill's plans. Desperate to remove the memories, he invented a mindwiping device and founded the Society of the Blind Eye, to help townspeople forget the disturbing things they saw. Constant abuse of his memory ray ended up causing McGucket serious brain damage and memory loss. Presumably, McGucket was already a dad at the time and one wonders how it was for Tate to see his father descend into madness. By the end of the series, though, Fiddleford has made alot of recovery, including patenting his inventions and becoming wealthy. The series finale credits show Tate and Fiddleford in the pool, showing the two have mended fences. It is implied that Fiddleford did have a few eccentricities before these events, but far more subdued.
    • Wendy Corduroy. She's the only one with any chill in her family, most notably contrasting against her father, Manly Dan. In one episode, she states that the only reason she became that way was as a coping mechanism to deal with the insanity of her boisterous dad and three brothers.
    • While a Parental Substitute for the summer rather than an actual parent, Dipper carries shades of this with Grunkle Stan, the former being a studious and serious lad while the latter is a theatrical con man and criminal. Once Ford comes into the mix, the dynamic is mostly averted since they're both fairly serious, but Ford still has a few more eccentricities than Dipper, such as preferring fire to a razor when it comes to shaving.
    • Robbie Valentino's parents, Greg and Janet, are both cheerful, bubbly, and personable in contrast to their son being a gloomy Emo Teen, with Robbie expressing disapproval of how chipper they are when they're the town's morticians.
  • Deconstructed in Inside Job (2021) with Reagan Ridley and her father Rand. Reagan is a responsible, intelligent and ambitious woman, while Rand is a hedonistic, pot-loving alcoholic deadbeat who spends his days lazing around Reagan's apartment. However, Reagan's seriousness is because Rand's abusive and neglectful parenting, as well as his forcing her to focus entirely on her education at the expense of everything else, forced her to mature at a young age, and that this has left her with a lot of mental health issues and trauma.
  • On Invader Zim, Dib and Gaz to their father, Professor Membrane. Well...kind of. At the very least they're the closest we have to Only Sane Kids in a world where everyone's crazy, and he's the hammiest in a World of Ham.
  • Miraculous Ladybug has the Couffaine family. The mother, Anarka, is boisterous, resents law enforcement and has a tendency to Talk Like a Pirate; in contrast, her son Luka is laid-back and her daughter Juleka is rather shy and quiet.
  • My Dad the Rock Star: The mild-mannered and down to earth Willy Zilla is the Serious Child to his Wacky Parents, Hot-Blooded Bumbling Dad/GeneSimmons-lookalike Rock Zilla and New-Age Retro Hippie/Granola Girl mom Crystal Zilla. In fact, the contrast and Willy having to deal with it is one of the main themes of the show. However, they go to lengths to raise him right and Willy does love his parents. He is fully aware of their eccentricities and people pointing it out. Claiming they are bad parents though... he doesn't like that at all.
  • Rarity and her parents fall under this pairing in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Rarity is a sophisticated young lady who very much resembles the upper class while her parents are pretty slovenly and laid-back. Granted, Rarity is Not So Above It All since she tends to be a Drama Queen.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Mad Scientist Dr. Doofenshmirz and his deadpan daughter Vanessa.
  • The Simpsons have Lisa, a Child Prodigy, compared to Homer, the archetypal dumb sitcom dad. Heck, even Bart is usually portrayed as relatively smarter than him.
    • Ned Flanders' parents were lazy beatniks who were so inept at raising a child that when he developed behavioral problems at school, they handed him over to a quack therapist who spanked him for one full year. Ned himself is a conservative Christian.
  • On South Park a running theme is that the kids tend to be a lot smarter than their parents, who usually represent whatever social trend the episode is mocking. However, the best example are Randy and Stan, the former being a Manchild and the latter being the show's biggest Only Sane Man. His mom Sharon, though, is usually portrayed as more serious unless all of the other adults are being crazy too.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, this is inverted with Star and her mother Moon. Star Butterfly is an adventurous Genki Girl, in sharp contrast to her prim and proper mother. It's heavily implied Star got it from her father. It later turns out that Moon lost her mother when she was Star's age and thus saddled with the responsibility of being Queen. As such, she had to grow up quickly and not have much help outside of River, who she would come to marry. Star herself begins feeling the weight during her mother's disappearance in Season 3.
    • Marco also has this relationship with his own parents, Rafael and Angie, who are are free spirits and perpetual High-School Sweethearts compared to their insecure, safety-minded son.


Video Example(s):


Frieren Hates Mornings

Despite being an immortal mage Frieren hates waking up in the morning and forcing her adopted daughter Fern to dress her up and get her ready basically every morning, to the point Fern jokes she acts more like a mother. Frieren waking up early on her own is such a rare occasion that Fern celebrates when it occurs, which Stark finds very odd.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / NotAMorningPerson

Media sources: