Ed: My parents took 'em down 'cuz I am grounded.
Edd: That's disturbing.
Teen (or younger) character is grounded at an inopportune time (usually near the end of Act 2). Often, the person doing the punishing doesn't have an exceptional reason, or just has a sense that the teen is out of control and needs to calm down (or that the younger character has misbehaved or otherwise did something wrong). So they restrict the youngster's social life for a time by banning them from leaving the house and/or having friends over. Of course, if the character is of school age and the grounding takes place during term time, chances are they will be allowed out to go to school - unless they have also been suspended or expelled.
The punished character usually sneaks out the window or similarly blows off the punishment to finish off the story. After the story is completed, the grounding or suspension is never mentioned again. Similarly, if a character is grounded at the end of an episode, you can expect that in the next episode, said grounding will no longer be in effect, or mentioned at all.
The grounding is the one common absolute that links every television show, every sitcom, every franchise in history and beyond together. It is the Iron-clad law of film, television and print. It is the snake biting its own tail, as the groundings of real-life are influenced by the groundings of media, and vice versa.
Depending on the context, it can be part of a Family-Unfriendly Aesop note .
Note: There is one situation where an adult will be told this with a straight face: Pilots who, either due to misconduct or more mundane circumstances (such as bad weather), are restricted from flying. In the punitive variations, this is actually either Turn in Your Badge or being made to be a Desk Jockey.
- This happens to Nobita all the time in the American adaptation of Doraemon. He always gets grounded, unlike in the Japanese version where he gets sent out of the house by his mom (a typical Japanese household punishment used by parents). Doraemon is occasionally grounded along with him.
- In Dragon Ball Z, in a filler episode in the Frieza Saga, Chi-Chi tries to invoke this to Gohan when she was speaking to him through the monitor when he was in Namek when the planet was going to explode, after the latter ignored her and Master Roshi's questions when they were talking to him (it was justified, as he had no time to answer their questions). Chi-Chi does apologize for yelling at him and ungrounds him in the next episode though.
- Yotsuba&!: Yotsuba is "dirted", as she puts it, for riding her bicycle to Fuuka's school, across town alone, without permission (to deliver milk). She's un-grounded at the end of the next chapter after helping her father and Jumbo build a bookshelf.
- Kamala Khan gets grounded for the rest of the month for being late in her first appearance (All-New Marvel Now! Point One) and is grounded till an undisclosed time at the end of the 2nd issue of her own book for sneaking out to a party, then in issue 6 she is sent to counseling to the Mosque when she repeatedly climbed out of the window to do who knows what (Superheroing).
- In one of the comic adaptations to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Kimberly ends up screwing up and gets herself grounded. Preferring her to listen to her father and not get in trouble by teleporting away, the Rangers come up with an idea to get Kimberly out with a promise to make up for everything.
- Professor Utonium grounds The Powerpuff Girls until they clean their room in "Bless This Mess" (issue #27, DC run). Everytime the girls do clean their room, Him shows up secretly and messes it up again.
- In Robin after Ariana dressed in lingerie and propositioned Tim, who turned her down, and her uncle saw her thus dressed and tried to kill Tim while chasing him out of the house Tim arrives home only to have his father yell at him about what a disappointment he is and ground him, angrily cutting off any attempts on Tim's part to explain what actually happened.
- In the Runaways, Nico once grounded Molly for apparently wandering off after a battle and supposedly making up a story about being kidnapped (she actually had been kidnapped after her powers caused her to fall asleep, but her adventure was so bizarre that Nico didn't believe it.)
- In Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Poe is told this with a straight face by General Organa. As he's a pilot, it's meant in the literal sense. It's not a punitive version, however—she's forcing him to take some time off to deal with his grief after the loss of a member of his squadron.
- Inverted in Foxtrot; since the youngest brother is such a major nerd that he voluntarily stays indoors all day, his punishment is being (threatened with being) banned from the house, rather than grounded in it.
- In one comic strip of Garfield, Jon berates Garfield for not chasing any mice, threatening to ground him if he does not start to catch mice. The gag ends with Jon realizing this would actually do Garfield a favor, since the cat is enormously lazy.
- Calvin and Hobbes Get XTREME! also has Calvin grounded in the middle of Chapter 4.
- Calvin has been grounded at the end of several episodes in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, usually after whatever wacky escapades he and Hobbes have been having end up destroying something of note.
- In Continuance, when Souji Setanote returns to visit Inaba for Golden Week under the pretext of gathering information on the town's businesses. When Yuuma, his father, doesn't like what Souji brings back, Yuuma grounds him and forbids him from visiting Inaba for the foreseeable future. Later on, after Souji ends up on the cover of a magazine after a chance encounter with Rise, he gets into a heated argument with his father, during which Yuuma starts to threaten him. Souji, however, isn't fazed, saying "And what are the repercussions this time? You can't ground me any more than you already have, Father."
- In the Death Note fic A Cure for Love L is amused when this happens to Kira.
- In Kidnapping of a Cryptid Izuku is on medical leave from Yuuei due to his kidnapping but in spirit, he's grounded. Izuku is forbidden to do any hero work due to his impending surgery and his parents fully intend him a long recovery due to Izuku's previous neglect of his health.
- Kyon has been grounded twice in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. He still managed to stay a night at Tsuruya's without his parents noticing in that time.
- In Stars From Home, Charles grounds Scott when he claims to have broken the laundry room door. (He didn't and Charles knows that, turns out he's grounded for lying.) Scott sneaks out anyway and leaves a really vague note.
Charles: If you ever do anything like that again...
Scott: Grounded for the rest of my natural life?
Charles: No, no. I'll have you resurrected and re-ground you.
- In The One to Make It Stay, Alya gets grounded for forgetting that she was supposed to babysit her younger sisters. This forces her to put the Ladyblog on hiatus for a time, and naturally doesn't help her mood, as she already felt she was being unfairly punished by Ladybug and Marinette had just put her foot down and declared they needed a break from each other.
- Burning Bridges, Building Confidence: After attacking Marinette and Cole with deliberately sharpened fingernails and ripping open several of Cole's stitches, Alya's parents ground her. This specifically includes being banned from working on the Ladyblog, and they post a notice on the blog itself explaining the reason for the hiatus. This is noted to cause several akumatizations.
- In Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Manny grounds Peaches for going to the falls, a place where teenagers hang out, and for hanging out with Ethan, a boy mammoth.
- In The Incredibles, Helen threatens to ground Violet and Dash for a month if they don't stop panicking after surviving their plane being shot down.
- In Inside Out, Riley is sent to her room after yelling "Just shut up!" at her parents.
- In Lady and the Tramp Lady gets muzzled and chained to her doghouse after Si and Am frame her for hurting them and making a mess in the living room.
- In Maya the Bee Movie, Sting the hornet gets grounded by his father after he discovers him with Maya and Willy, even though Maya saved his life.
- In the third act of My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), Princess Skystar sneaks away from home to help her new-found pony friends, casually telling them she'll get "so grounded" for this. And sure enough, the first thing her mother does upon their reunion at the end of the movie is to ground her. Doesn't stop Skystar from reacting with an Oh, Crap! face.
Queen Novo: You are sooo grounded. (laughs)
- Tangled: Rapunzel has been grounded into the tower her whole life and when she asks to go outside, Mother Gothel snaps and yells "You are not leaving this tower! EVER!"
- An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars uses the same "getting grounded" trope as McKenna Brooks had her mom who is grounding the main protagonist for cheating on some of her friends' tests.
- In Charlie Bartlett, Charlie and his mother actually negotiate how long his punishment will last, and he is the one who suggests being grounded as punishment.
- In Dunston Checks In, Robert grounds his two children, Kyle and Brian for using a fountain to spray one of the hotel employees for taking their Frisbee (they hit Lionel Spaulding and some other guests by mistake). Brian notes that it isn't bad to be grounded in a five-star hotel. Later on, while Kyle is walking Neal, Neal encounters Dunston and jumps into a dumpster. The two get "double-grounded," and Robert only manages to assign Brian his punishment before he has to leave to deal with Dunston breaking into a guest's room.
Brian: But what about his punishment?
Robert: Think of something you really like. You got it? NO THAT!
- In The Hairy Bird (a.k.a. All I Wanna Do), after Odette fakes a note from her mom to go out on the town with her friends, Ms. McVane talks with her mom on the phone, and finds out it was a ruse. So, Odette is sent before the student council for a hearing and punishment. They "ground" her for the rest of the year.
- Subverted in Mean Girls: Cady gets grounded, but her dad has spent decades in the African wilderness.
Cady's Mom: Where's Cady?
Cady's Dad: She went out with her friends.
Cady's Mom: She's grounded.
Cady's Dad: Are they not allowed out when they're grounded?
- A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge: Grady can't go to Lisa's party because his parents grounded him for something bad he did (implied to be throwing his grandmother down a flight of stairs). Jesse breaks into his room late at light to get Grady to watch over him because Freddy is trying to take over Jesse's body.
- Trading Mom: The catalyst for the actions of the story is in fact a grounding of such terrible and terrifying nature, that it forces the three main protagonists into making the wish to remove their mother.
Mrs. Mommy Martin: Who do you think you are? You can't just go around doing what ever you want! And Elizabeth, cigarettes, really. Well, that's it! You're all GROUNDED! PERIOD! Understand? THERE'S NO CAMP! NO ALLOWANCE!! NO TV!!! NO NOTHING!!!! Now up to your room, right now THIS INSTANT!!!! I am furious!
Harry Martin: But mom...
Mrs. Mommy Martin: Don't "But mom" me! Things are going to change around here PERMANENTLY!!! NOW, MARCH!!!!!!!
- This was a minor threat in early Animorphs books, before the war became more and more divorced from normal life. The only time a grounding ends up affecting the plot is The Andalite's Gift, and even then, Jake is able to get out of it by cleaning the garage. Because his mom's been after his dad to do that forever, and he's more than happy to dump it off on his son. This is phased out with the introduction of the Chee, androids who had been impersonating and living among humans since the days of the pyramids, and were more than happy to cover for the Animorphs if needed. And by the very end of the series, it was completely moot because things had become so bad that the Animorphs were basically on the run and could no longer even live in a regular family structure.
- In Deep Wizardry, Nita and Kit are grounded for staying out incredibly late (on wizardly business, but Nita's parents don't know that). They sneak out after that, get caught when they come back in, and ultimately wind up explaining exactly what they were doing, why they have to keep doing it, and that they're going to have to do it whether they get permission or not.
- Eve and Adam: Terra tries pretty hilariously to keep Eve in the hospital.
- This actually benefits Finn in the first Kingdom Keepers book, since being grounded allows him to go to bed earlier without attracting suspicion, which allows him to cross over.
- In Ratburger, Sheila grounds her stepdaughter Zoe who has to break out of her room to save her pet rat.
- The Siren Song, by Anne Ursu has this. Charlotte is grounded because she went to go save all the children in London and her hometown from certain death. Her parents do not believe her, despite her note:
" Zee and I know whats making everyone sick. we had to go save the world. Love, Charlotte. PS, Don't Worry"
- In Skippy Dies, after Lori and Skippy kiss, Skippy stops seeing her and freaks out, thinking something happened to him. As it turns out, Lori wasn't avoiding him, she was merely grounded by her Dad as punishment for skipping out of the Halloween Hop.
- Stranger Things, in the episode "Will the Wise", Eleven is grounded by Hopper, after she breaks his cardinal rules about contact with the outside world. He essentially traumatizes her for life, leading to her throwing an absolute exaggeration of a psychic tantrum. The entire scene is far more terrifying than any demigorgon, and would rank as one of the most horrific groundings ever recorded in the history of history.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete episode "Grounded for Life" sees Little Pete confined to his room for the summer... but he tunnels out. With a paperweight. He's got everything figured out—except how to cover up the dynamite explosions from busting away large rocks...
Big Pete: [to Dad] It's just parasites. Really big parasites.
- In an episode of Beetleborgs, the Hillherst monsters are horsing around when Flabber suddenly enters the room and starts screaming about the mess. He tells them they're all grounded and orders them to go to their rooms. Note that the people he's talking to are a mummy, a vampire, Frankenstein and a werewolf, so they aren't impressed.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The title character is constantly threatened with grounding or suspension during the show's early seasons because she skips class or comes in late due to vampire sleuthing and slaying. The punished character will sometimes try to protest, only to have to backtrack on the confession once the truth starts to edge out ("I was slaying vampires... I mean...").
- Buffy's mother Joyce was portrayed as a lackluster by-the-book parent early on, hence the random groundings.
- And of course it's Played for Laughs in that teenage girls think being grounded means the end of the world. Which in Buffy's case is literally true.
- The Angel spin-off would also riff on the trope. A vampire Angel sired is giving him the I Hate You, Vampire Dad speech, accompanied by much Punctuated Pounding.
Penn: Well, you were right about one thing, Angelus. The last 200 years has been about me sticking it to my father. But Ive come to realize something—its you! [he jumps up and kicks Angel in the stomach] You made me! [kicks him in the face, then double fists him a couple of times] You taught me! [Angel drops to the floor and Penn jumps on his back] You approved of me in ways my mortal father never did! You are my real father, Angelus.
Angel: [gets up, holding Penn up above his head] Fine! [slams him into the ground] Youre grounded!
- Byker Grove has a storyline in which character Jemma Dobson is grounded for attending an all-night rave (popular when the episodes in question aired in the early Nineties) when she knew her father wouldn't approve. This means she will miss a vital audition for a film which is being shot locally, but her father refuses to lift the punishment, saying it will make her think twice about going to any more all-night raves. On learning that her sister is trying to take her place at the audition, Jemma sneaks out of the house and goes to the audition, only to land herself in more trouble when she unwittingly accepts a lift in what turns out to be a stolen car.
- One episode of Castle has Castle's daughter Alexis punish herself for lying about something minor, since he wouldn't ground her (having previously feared that she was involved in something legitimately dangerous). Subverted in that she decides that the grounding will take place after a school trip that she wants to go to.
- Crash & Bernstein has this line in the theme song: "I'll be grounded forever! But that's what friends are for..."
- Family Matters:
- Harriet and Carl were upset with Eddie and Laura for how they used Steve and his Southern Belle cousin Myrtel for the sake of a couple of pranks they played on each other. After a long lecture, and their parents left, Eddie commented on how they got off easy and that usually, they would get grounded for something like that. Cue Harriet storming back in and saying, "By the way, you two are grounded!"
- As a matter of fact, it might be easier to list the times where Eddie wasn't grounded.
- Subverted in Family Ties when the father informs the oldest daughter that she's grounded, at which point she informs them that they can't ground her, she's over 18. "Darn, that used to work so well," the father moans.
- Chi Soo's father from Flower Boy Ramyun Shop refuses to let him go out after he has an attack at the swimming pool, but he sneaks out with the help of a woman he charmed several episodes earlier.
- Full House uses this as Donna Jo, whose best friend, Kimmy, sticks her feet out of the side of the car, causing Danny to find out that one of his sisters got a traffic ticket. Stephanie and Michelle used a major excuse to get their sister out of a serious jam by confessing to DJ and/or brushing Comet's teeth with a toothbrush (shortly before he grounds them all).
- An episode of Hannah Montana has Robby Ray ground Miley and Jackson as part of a plan to teach to teach them about teamwork.
- An interesting case occurs when Mr Bennett grounds Claire on an excuse - because it's been foretold that she'll die if she attends Homecoming. Of course she doesn't know this and sneaks out.
- Arthur Petrelli says this jokingly to his son Peter after he stole his abilities.
- In one episode of parenting series The House of Tiny Tearaways, one of the children, Sophie, is caught smirking in the belief that she has outsmarted her mother's attempt to get her to settle in her own bed. (She and her two younger siblings are in the House because of this problem.) The next day, Sophie is grounded from playing in the garden with the other children and told that, if she carries on acting up at bedtime, she will not be allowed to take part in various extracurricular activities. However, she is allowed to join the rest of her family when they go on a bonding exercise.
- Hawkeye is restricted to the Swamp until a preliminary to a court martial can be arranged after he socks Frank in the eye in an episode of M*A*S*H. Oddly enough, he enjoys it.
- Merlin has the medieval royalty variant that's still so like modern times.
Uther: YOU WILL GO TO YOUR CHAMBERS!
Morgana: And you, Uther...you will go to hell.
- In the episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse titled The Gang's All Here, Pee-Wee caught the playhouse gang for playing too loud, too noisy and too rough. Pee-Wee told the kids not to run around in the playhouse, screaming or jumping on the furniture. And Pee-Wee kicked them out of the playhouse. But after they leave, Mr. Window blurts they're all gone. Then Pee-Wee does the same routine as the playhouse gang did and came back to the playhouse.
- Subverted in Privileged: Megan grounds Rose for attempting to cheat on her history final. Rather than attempt to fight against it, Rose goes out of her way to prove to Megan how seriously she's taking the punishment, bringing her favourite items to Megan voluntarily and being extra-helpful around the house. Also subverted in that Megan actively ends the grounding rather than it just vanishing next episode.
- Punky Brewster is grounded from going to the DeBarge concert for failing to do a school assignment. Henry recruits the band to help Punky.
- Most episodes of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody end with this. In the last season, one episode starts with this after the boys ruin a wedding and at the end Carrie states how they're locked in a vicious cycle of sneaking out and getting grounded, and then exaggerates how long they're gonna be grounded now. The episode ends with her measuring them and as a reply to Zack's question of if he gets a last meal, she says she's making it, to which he responds "Aren't I being punished enough?". In comparison this isn't as common on The Suite Life on Deck since Zack and Cody are living by themselves, though in the second half of the pilot Moseby grounds London for running away (but Mr. Tipton, her dad, prevented the hotel manager from doing it because she is still his favorite daughter), and in the crossover event "Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana" Moseby blames Zack for Alex pouring blue dye in the hot tub and confines him to his room.
- An unusual example occurs in the That '70s Show episode "The Crunge", when Eric realizes that he got a pathetically low score on his SATs because his girlfriend distracts him from studying, so he asks his father to ground him so he could concentrate.
- Alex on Wizards of Waverly Place mentioned above is prone to this.
- Schlendrian tries this on his daughter Lieschen in Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht to get her to stop drinking coffee and quickly gets desperate; perhaps the apex (or nadir) is when he forbids her from standing by windows. Lieschen isn't fazed by any of it until Schlendrian forbids her from marrying, which changes her mind very quickly (or not).
- In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Benedict's absence from home one night, so he could try and figure out his newfound superpower, leads to him getting grounded until the finals come around.
- In Gone Home, Sam gets grounded after getting into trouble at school.
- In The Journeyman Project Pegasus Prime, Temporal Security commissioner Jack Baldwin says this to you, word for word for being late to work four times, which is serious, what with you being a time cop and all. He then orders you to do data cleanup for a solid week, including reviewing TSA agent procedures.
- One of the 90s CD-ROM games, McKenzie & Co., released by Her Interactive had this as Disc 5 was inserted to continue the dating sim, either Kim or Carly are grounded for skipping school and going to a party, thus giving either girl a Non-Standard Game Over, causing one of their boyfriends to get the heartbreaking ending.
- In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, we meet a pair of tomb-guardian father and daughter:
Nefertiti's father: Nefertiti! You are grounded for life!!
Nefertiti: I've been grounded for life my whole life!!
- In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, this is used by and weaponized by Butters' dad. He targets areas of the battlefield, and then grounds the kids in said areas, dealing damage while afflicting the targeted kids with the Grounded status (basically similar to Petrify in that they can't do anything and it doesn't wear off over time). Conveniently this attack is a No-Sell on the Player Character, the New Kid, who also have the power to unground their peers, thereby curing them of the status effect. Butters' dad is completely baffled by these powers.
- In South Park: The Stick of Truth, when the Hall Monitor's health drops enough he does a desperation attack of calling the New Kid's parents. If you fail to stun or defeat him before two turns, the call succeeds and the New Kid gets a phone call from his dad telling him he's grounded. This is considered a Non-Standard Game Over.
- In World of Warcraft, one quest in Drustvar involves you searching for an old man's grandson and some of his friends, who had the brilliant idea of going on an archaeological expedition into an area full of troggs. After you save all the kids, the old man notes that the children could have the makings of being good architects when they're adults... which will be around the time they're no longer grounded for that stunt. The actual length of the grounding(two months) is lenient by comparison.
- In Don't Starve: Hamlet, Wilba the Pig Princess is grounded for losing the Queen's crown. Finding and returning it as another character satisfies the Queen, who allows Wilba to go adventuring again.
- At the end of the Kubitarou case in Spirit Hunter: NG, one of Akira's companions will be comatose. The other one will be temporarily grounded (Seiji by his father, Kaoru by her agency) to justify the inclusion of two new companion characters, though they do make a return in the Tsukuyomi case.
- In General Protection Fault, Yoshi's father grounds him after Yoshi's briefly brought in for questioning regarding his association with Trudy, as well as his other hacking activities, but Yoshi sneaks out and meets with her in the middle of the night.
- During the Cinderella play in Girl Genius, Cinderagatha gets grounded after Mamma Gkika (who has been smashing Agatha's projects to keep her from going to the science fair) has a close encounter with a hive of specially-bred quilting bees.
- In Bleedman's Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, Buttercup fears the prospect of being grounded. Mostly because as a flying superheroine, she interprets it in aeronautical terms (that is, not being allowed to fly).
- This happens to the Cake Twins in Slice of Life after they sneak into a haunted house on Nightmare Night.
- Death Note Abridged (Team Dattebayo):
- Users seem to take a certain joy in making characters, sometimes original, sometimes a character from a kid's show, get grounded. Actually, not just grounded, usually "Grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded". Very often for exceedingly long periods of time, sometimes for extremely minor things (even getting grounded for literally nothing), and sometimes for doing rather bizarrely cruel things (Such as causing an earthquake at school, breaking teachers legs, getting faculty arrested...)
- Deconstructed in Caillou has had enough!, in which Caillou is grounded by his dad simply for watching Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. This time, his mom finally takes action, and calls Boris out. Boris initially tries to defend himself by saying Caillou needs to behave better and that his groundings work, but Doris says otherwise. Eventually, though, Boris calls Caillou an "out-of-control brat" and paints himself as the Only Sane Man, even going as far as to ground Doris. This results in a slapfight, and Doris grounds Boris, condemning him to the closet as Caillou and Rosie (who heard everything) rush to call the police. The next video, "Caillou's Terrible Fire Drill!", sees Caillou freaking out during a fire drill, and Boris, of course, grounding him. However, Doris tells Caillou to disregard him, as the events of the previous video have stuck, and Boris is still being held hostage in the closet.
- An episode of Phailhaus from the LoadingReadyRun crew pulls this when the Word of the Day was 'condign' (and the timeout lasted a year).
Matt: Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty! For tonight, we condign in Hell!
Graham: That's it, mister. You are on a one Phailhaus timeout.
- In The Saga of Tuck when Tuck's family find out about his female alter ego Valerie, they not only ground him for six weeks, they fine him $500 and — worst of all to him — cut off his phone and network privileges. To be fair, he had feared it would be even worse than this, and they did later reduce it to two weeks' grounding. Subverted in that Hilarity Ensues and the two weeks expire without much notice. He is, however, grounded the entire time. Also subverted similarly during Valentine's Day. The occasion of the grounding being removed (what else do you call it? "expired"?) is cause for a celebration, which probably ought to get him grounded a second time.
- 3Below: Invoked by Aja and Krel's guardian/bodyguard Varvatos Vex when he confines them to the ship for protection after they nearly give away their alien identities in a chaotic scene on a class trip.
Varvatos: I have learned another Earth phrase! YOU ARE GROUNDED!
- The Adventure Time episode "Hitman" has Finn grounding the Ice King for 4 weeks (at first it's 2 but the Ice King argues with him causing it to escalate to 4) after he goes princess stalking again. At the end of the episode we get a Dog Bites Back ending with the Ice King sitting on Finn and Jake waiting for them to thaw out after he froze them earlier and tells them "You're grounded. Underneath my butt!".
- The Amazing World of Gumball:
- In "The Remote", when Nicole makes Anais help her get her own remote for the TV:
Nicole: Anais, I need you to tell me what brand the TV is.
Anais: OK, but does this mean I can watch Daisy tonight?
Nicole: No, it means you won't be grounded for 6 months.
Anais: What?! But I'm 4! That's, like, 1/8th of my life!
Nicole: Then you don't want to spend it locked up in your bedroom.
- What Nicole didn't realize however was that Anais was working a Batman Gambit to ensure that she can watch Daisy The Donkey that night... that culminates in locking the rest of the family out of the house.
- In "The Mothers", when Gumball and Darwin inform Nicole that they've put her through a Secret Test, she does this and banishes them to the car. It's quickly forgotten about.
- In "The Remote", when Nicole makes Anais help her get her own remote for the TV:
- In Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben Tennyson ends up grounded by his rather hippie-esque and permissive parents, not only from leaving the house without permission, but also from using the Omnitrix after they catch him transforming. Eventually he gets fed up when Kevin is in danger and needs his help, and he lectures his parents on how turning his back on his friends contradicts everything they taught him before turning into Humongosaur and running through the wall (while telling them he'll fix it later). His parents then save him and Kevin from the Highbreed with one of Grandpa Max's old weapons and give him their blessing to keep doing hero work.
Ben's Mom: [Shocked] He....He just walked out on us! What are we gonna do?!
Ben's Dad: [Calm] We're going to listen to our son.
- Sister Bear is grounded in "The Slumber Party" on the PBS series of The Berenstain Bears by Mama Bear after things go south at Lizzie's slumber party. It's actually Papa Bear who is the voice of reason and admits that they as parents were partially to blame for not knowing just how wacky things had ended up with the slumber party (which had basically become a little bear cub girl equivalent of a bad college frat party.)
- The Boondocks: In the episode "Home Alone", Huey assumes parental responsibilities for his younger brother Riley in his grandfather's absence. After much disrespect and backtalk from Riley, Huey calmly grounds him and forbids him from leaving the house, which he enforces with kicks to the face and airgun pellets to the knee. The conflict between the brothers becomes so great that Huey eventually resorts to duct-taping Riley's hands together and treating him like a criminal.
- In Code Lyoko Milly and Tamiya end up grounded because the former had a temper tantrum in front of Jim for trying to find her teddy bear. Even Tamiya admonishes her for her behavior because they were slated to do a newscast in the middle school prom.
- Danny Phantom:
- Not so much grounded as she was put under house arrest, Sam sneaks out to save Danny—currently brainwashed by Freakshow— and is praised (along with her friends) by her parents for capturing the villain...But they're still grounded.
- In "Fanning the Flames", Jack and Maddie are outraged by their kids' behavior—Danny for being lovesick, Jazz for being obsessed with Ember. They are both grounded. Which is better than what their punishment could have been.
- In "Pirate Radio", Danny gets blamed for using Emergency Ops Center without permission and for a party that Dash and Kwan threw at his house, and ends up grounded for a month and forced to clean up from the party.
- The Defenders of the Earth episode "The Frozen Heart" ends with all the second-generation Defenders except Kshin grounded for bringing unauthorised personnel in the form of LJ's girlfriend (who, unknown to them, was under Ming's control) into the Defenders' Space Station, leading to the Station being taken over by Ming's forces.
- Dexter's Laboratory: In the episode "The Old Switcharooms", the title character suffers this at the hands of his dad, who makes him switch rooms with Dee Dee as punishment for both running into him (causing his bowling trophy to break). The episode then goes down south, when Dad condemns his son to the doghouse. Dexter assumes their dog won't do much harm to his lab...after which the scene cuts to the dog flooding the place with nuclear waste.
- Disney: Just about every Disney Channel show has a reference of some sort towards being grounded, both live-action and animated. These include, The Proud Family, Pepper Ann, Lloyd in Space, Gravity Falls, Ultimate Spider-Man, etc. And that's just the animated series.
- In one episode of Doug, Doug and Skeeter win tickets to a Beats concert, but when Skeeter rocks out at the dinner table, resulting in food falling on his father, Skeeter gets grounded and can't go. Doug decides to stay with Skeeter instead of going to the concert, and they jam to music... Annoying Mr. Valentine so much that he makes Skeeter un-grounded. But at this point it's too late for them to go to the concert.
- A variant in Dragons: Defenders of Berk; in the first half of the second season finale, after Snotlout's recklessness almost results in Astrid getting killed, Hiccup tells Snotlout that he's grounded, as in he's on probation and can no longer ride Hookfang, but during the conversation Hiccup sounds exactly like a stern father and Snotlout compares him to his father.
- Ducktales2017: Louie is grounded by Della after he nearly puts the entire Duck Family in danger with his scheme of stealing treasures across time towards the end of the episode "Timephoon". The following episode "GlomTales" shows that Louie is still grounded and is banned from going to the Big Candy Mountain Trip with the rest of the family.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: Referenced in the above quote, an entire episode involved Edd and Eddy attempting to bust a grounded Ed out of his house. However, it all goes south when they are found out, and the episode ends with all the boys grounded.
Eddy: This stinks. I got grounded forever. Over.
Edd: Three days for me, Eddy. A little quality time with my ants and some...
Eddy: THREE DAYS?! WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL?! Over.
- OTOH, Edd and Eddy trying to bust Ed out of the house seems to be very reasonable. While we don't know what Ed is grounded and how long for, the way he was punished, namely taking away EVERY SINGLE THING from his room, such as his bed, potted plants, and even the stairs, that is just way too harsh! If this were to happen in reality, Ed's family would have then eventually been visited....by the FBI.
- Subverted on Futurama in the episode "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles", when Leela (having been turned into a teenager through age-altering tar) wants to have a genuine teenage experience with her parents, whom she didn't know as a child. Towards the end of the episode, her parents, who she claims grounded her for her and Fry accidentally destroying a cardboard high school, tell her to go with her friends, to which she replies "No! A grounded teenager must be confined to her room!" The shot changes to her climbing out the window of her room, saying "Until she sneaks out."
- In the Garfield and Friends U.S. Acres episode "Holiday Happening", Orson runs behind the barn after he hears a loud splatter. Orson asks what they have to say for themselves. After the boys explain, Orson thinks that what they did was so out of hand that he punishes them, which meant no TV, stories around the campfire or pistachio nuts for a month. To get revenge for this, Roy and Wade write to Congress in order to create a new holiday, "Paint A Pig Purple Day". The episode ends with them chasing Orson while carrying cans of purple paint.
- Invoked in the second season premiere of Gravity Falls, when Grunkle Stan grounds Dipper for disobeying him and trying to contact government agents about the weirdness in the town. However, the grounding never takes effect when zombies attack and Stan is forced to admit that he knew about the weird goings-on all this time and was trying to protect the kids. This is notable for being the only time in the series that Stan acts like a disciplinarian.
- Home Movies:
- In the episode "Guitarmageddon", Dwayne's dad takes his guitar away right before the guitar contest.
- The episode, "History" ended with Brenden getting grounded and getting his video camera taken away after horribly failing a history test (he got a 0).
- Jimmy Neutron. All the time. For starters, in the pilot episode.
- Happens to Beezy on Jimmy Two-Shoes. Unfortunately, in Miseryville, it means being Buried Alive. In a sandbox.
- Really, it's easier to list the episodes where this doesn't happen to the main character and his sisters on Johnny Test. Usually, it's less to do with the kids doing anything particularly reprehensible and more to do with their dad being a restrictive Jerkass.
- Kim Possible:
- In the episode "Tick, Tick, Tick", Kim gets detention for being late to class. She escapes twice: once when Mr. Barkin evacuates the room after mistaking Rufus for a mutant escapee from the science lab, and once when she realizes that Drakken's nano-tick is stuck to her and she runs off to get it removed before it detonates.
- In "October 31st", Kim's grounded at the end of the episode (shortly before Ron gave Josh the other half of his horse costume) after her parents found out that she'd lied to get out of trick-or-treating with Ron so she could go to a party instead.
- In The Little Mermaid, Ariel and one of her sisters are "beached" for a week after disobeying Triton on something important.
- The Loud House: In the episode "Sleuth or Consequences", Lincoln and his sisters are grounded for supposedly clogging the toilet until the perpetrator is found out. With his trip to the comic book convention in jeopardy, Lincoln along with his goth younger sister Lucy decide to go around the house to find out who the culprit is. Lucy later admits to Lincoln she was the one responsible for clogging the toilet with the "Princess Pony Book" she reads in the bathroom late at night and she hides the book in the toilet when Lincoln comes in and flushes the book down without knowing. Feeling sorry for Lucy and not wanting her to become a laughing stock to her sisters for reading the book, Lincoln decides to take the blame for Lucy, resulting in Lincoln getting grounded and the girls being ungrounded, forgoing his chances of going to the convention. Lucy later cheers up Lincoln by drawing him a creepy comic book as thanks for helping her.
- Miraculous Ladybug:
- Happens to Marinette in the episode "Simon Says", when her parents find out about her many unexcused absences due to her secret heroics. This causes her to have to sneak out to help stop an Akuma attack. In a rarity for this trope, her sneaking out is never discovered and the grounding is lifted after a week when she avoids missing class, due to both her parents fitting the Reasonable Authority Figure trope.
- Although he's never formally grounded or punished, elements of this trope frequently happen to Marinette's co-lead Adrien Agreste. His stern, overprotective father likes to keep him confined to home where bodyguards watch him so he'll be safe, so Adrien is frequently forced to sneak out to operate as Chat Noir.
- Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends:
- In "Stumped!" adoptive siblings Shimmer and Squirt were "stumped" — forced to sit on a tree stump and not allowed to leave until they resolved the argument they were having. Once they did, they started having fun with each other and had so much fun that they decided not to leave the stump for the time being.
- In "Fungus Among Us," Wiggle figures that he'll be grounded after admitting having brought a mushroom into the Hollow Tree, the result of which being spores spread everywhere and a bunch of mushrooms growing. He is instead sentenced to help in the ongoing chore of cleaning Sunny Patch of mushrooms.
- A few times on My Life as a Teenage Robot. For moral reasons, the main character doesn't just blow a hole in her wall and escape every time (though in one episode she climbs out her window to meet up with her forbidden love).
- Phineas and Ferb:
- In "The Secret of Success," when Candace attempts to show Linda the ATV, she mentions she was driving it which causes Linda to assume she drove a car without adult supervision, resulting in her being punished.
- Later, in "Candace Gets Busted," Candace ends up, well, busted for the intimate get-together.
- In one episode, Angelica is grounded for having drawn over several important prints from her father. She's unable to accept the punishment, so she decides to escape from her house. She learns this isn't a good idea.
- "All Grown Up": Tommy spends time in his room for stealing his dad's medallion (Stu's using it for disco dancing, Tommy's using it to get picked onto stage at a concert).
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Played with in the pilot as Queen Angella upbraids one of her military commanders for taking unnecessary risks in a mission and endangering the troops. She enumerates the commander's sins, rises to deliver the punishment, and thunders "You're grounded!". The commander is her teenage daughter Glimmer.
- The Simpsons: In the episode, "Postcards from the Wedge", Bart Simpson is grounded after causing the school to be demolished. Now this was a first for the series as a whole, due to the fact that usually Bart is sent to his room, or punished in other, different manners. The only time Bart really was grounded was in the comic book story, "When Bongo's Collide". But this episode marks the first time this trope was acted upon and stood for the rest of the episode, as we see Bart suffer from this punishment in the episode's final scene. It would remain the last grounding in the series, until Season 27's "The Marge-ian Chronicles", where Lisa Simpson would be grounded for the first time ever.
- On Sofia the First, Wendell is grounded for stealing all the flying horses in "Minimus is Missing" and also punished to no dessert for a week, no crystal ball-gazing for two weeks and spending the rest of his day cleaning out the cauldrons.
- South Park:
- An extremely common fate for Butters, and one that scares him more than even worse consequences.
- Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman will also go to absurd lengths to avoid being grounded: for example, in "Butt Out," they decide that getting swept up in a battle between big tobacco and anti-smoking activists and facing down a torch-and-pitchfork wielding mob would be less trouble than getting grounded for three weeks.
- There's also "Fun With Veal", where Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Butters (Kenny had been Killed Off for Real at this point) rescue baby cows and hid them in Stan's house, then eventually resort to terrorism to get their way. It led to a Bittersweet Ending — they got the word "veal" renamed to "little tortured baby cow", but they end up grounded anyway. Their parents still offer to go out for some hamburgers first.
- Also used in the movie. Remember the Mole: "You realize that by doing zis, we could be grounded for two, maybe even three weeks."
- Also used in the Coon Trilogy, Cartman is grounded and sent to his room by his mother at the end of "Coon 2: Hindsight" for beating up his friends, but is eventually ungrounded at the beginning of "Coon vs. Coon and Friends" after he convinces his mother by using the "Lebron James" trick on her.
- Also in the Black Friday trilogy episode "Titties and Dragons": Cartman gets Stan grounded after he takes a dump in his neighbors yard and puts the blame on Stan to prevent him from warning Princess Kenny and his followers about the Red Robin wedding trap to lock them in so Cartman and his followers can get Xbox Ones during Black Friday.
- Steven Universe:
- Steven is this at the end of "Mirror Gem" after disobeying the Gems and freeing a Gem imprisoned in a mirror, only to be let off the hook almost immediately into the follow-up episode "Ocean Gem" before setting off to undo his mistake.
- Steven is grounded again near the end of "Fusion Cuisine" for trying to elope with Connie, with no dinner for 1000 years (Pearl realized this was too far since Steven needs food while the Gems don't, and then changed the punishment to just no TV...for 1000 years). The punishment is active and brought up many episodes later, until it's finally lifted in "Joy Ride".
- The third short in Super Best Friends Forever has Supergirl grounded and Batgirl and Wonder Girl try to bail her out. Problem? Her Cousin of Steel. And his mother.
- Teen Titans Go!:
- In the episode "Gorilla", Robin attempts to ground Beast Boy after he becomes disobedient from deciding that as a gorilla he doesn't need to follow any of Robin's rules. Beast Boy calls Robin out on his pathetic attempt at using child psychology on him.
- In the episode Beast Man, Beast Boy, having turned into an older version, treats the Titans like hes their dad and says the trope if they dont have the tower cleaned up by the time he gets home from work.
- Thomas the Tank Engine: Happens in the end of "Come out, Henry!", after everybody (including Thomas) tried to get Henry out of the tunnel and it failed. Sir Topham Hatt gave up, and grounded Henry by hiring construction workers to take out the rails and build a brick wall over the tunnel's entrance. No other train engines would bump into Henry. Now Henry was sad and miserable (he believed he would never see green paint and yellow stripes again!) Toned down a little in the US version, where Henry is bricked up until he's "ready to come out of the tunnel."
Narrator: Now all that Henry can do is watch the trains go by the other side of the tunnel. He was very sad, because he believed nobody will never see his green paint and red stripes again. As time went on, Edward and Gordon would often pass by. Edward would say,
Edward: PEEP-PEEP! Hello!
Narrator:....and Gordon would say,
Gordon: Poop-poop-poop! Serves you right!
Narrator: Poor Henry had no steam to answer. His fire had gone out. Soot and dirt from the tunnel had spoilt his lovely green paint with red stripes, anyway. He wondered if he would ever be let out to pull trains again. But I think he deserved his punishment, don't you?
- Happens about two times in Totally Spies! The first is where Clover ended up grounded due to a violated late curfew (due to a mission). She manages to sneak out thanks to a WHOOP gadget that displays holograms. The second was in a movie where the girls' moms forbid their spy work after discovering their secret. Doesn't help that a brainwashed Mandy and her friends are trying to kill them at the time.
- Parodied on Turbo FAST: In "Deuce is Wild", when Turbo sees Deuce and Edvard committing petty debauchery he tells Deuce that he's grounded, but Deuce is quick to point out Turbo doesn't have the authority to punish him because he isn't his father...but then says that he can become his father if he wants to.
- In the Uncle Grandpa episode "Grounded", a boy is locked in his room for a week and tricks Uncle Grandpa into letting him out to go hang with his friends in a forest. Uncle Grandpa promptly scares him straight.
- This happens to Will all the time, as her mom gets stricter as the series goes on. Because the series is arc-based, Will's groundings usually carry over between episodes, to the point where by about the mid-point of season one, she's perpetually grounded. Seeing as how the consequence of staying home (the girls' powers depend on Will being there to transform them) are nothing less than the end of the world, Will usually just sneaks out of her room anyway, accepting the consequences of being grounded as an unfortunate consequence of her great responsibility as a heroine.
- Happens also in the original comics where it's happened to all of the girls at least once, sometimes because of legitimate reasons and other times because they can't explain their super-heroing to unsuspecting parents. Taranee got her own grounding in season 2 of the show because her mother didn't like her boyfriend and suspected she was involved in his buddies' pranks (she wasn't), and this outraged her so much that she snuck out to meet him just to spite her mother.
- In an episode, the main character's parents hire a babysitter who just happens to be one of the villains—Granny May. Granny May quickly sends Becky and her brother straight to bed, then sneaks out to commit her crimes, hoping to use babysitting as her alibi. Becky suspects she's up to no good and transforms into WordGirl, chasing after Granny May. However, every time Becky's brother leaves his room, a sensor that Granny May had placed goes off, causing BOTH the hero and the villain to have to race back to the house and pretend as if they had been where they were supposed to be the entire time.
- Another episode featured her being grounded by her Bumbling Dad, who was surprisingly competent at keeping her in her room, forcing her Non-Human Sidekick to have to save the day.
- In the two-parter "Dinner or Consequences," Becky gets "mega-grounded" after missing two of her father's special dinners. This means that not only does she get sent to her room, but her room has been wiped of all her favorite things and she's basically not allowed to go anywhere or do anything fun.