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Playing With / Dysfunctional Family

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Basic Trope: A family that only shares blood and mutual enmity.

  • Straight: Bob's dad is married to his work, his mom is a shallow nag, his sister is rebellious and surly, and his brother is a pampered Annoying Younger Sibling who enjoys embarrassing him.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob's dad has several mistresses and is physically abusive. His mom is either drunk or out with over-the-hill friends who pretend to be young again by picking up men half their age. His sister is 14 and pregnant. His brother is a borderline sociopath who delights in causing him suffering at every opportunity.
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    • His extended family is also dysfunctional.
  • Downplayed: Bob and his family often annoy each other, but they're able to solve problems peacefully with each other.
  • Justified: Bob's family keeps a lot of secrets from each other and generally have nothing in common but DNA.
  • Inverted: Bob gets on swimmingly with his immediate family, and often prefers their company to his friends'.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob is incredibly embarrassed by the dysfunction of his family, but comes to realize that his family is - in fact - more functional than most.
    • Quirky Household
  • Double Subverted: Bob thinks that his family is dysfunctional. He learns that they're just eccentric and that other people have it much more. Or do they? His family's behaviors are actually because of an awful truth - sexual abuse, infidelity, or something like that - that is responsible for the minor dysfunction that he has just written off as "quirky."
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  • Parodied: Bob has a completely normal family, but acts as if he's the main character of a Dom Com about a wacky dysfunctional family, and thus exaggerates every slight fault he can see in his siblings and parents.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob is uncertain whether his family is normal, dysfunctional, or incredibly toxic. Their behaviors - including his own - waver between hilarious, utterly average, and completely unacceptable.
  • Averted: Bob's family is incredibly average and unremarkable in every way.
  • Enforced: "If we're going to write an episode with Bob's backstory, we've got to throw in some family dysfunction that makes him what he is today."
  • Lampshaded: "Yeah, my family is kind of insane."
  • Invoked: Bob repeatedly picks fights with everyone in his family.
  • Exploited: Bob shares stories of his family's dysfunction with his drinking friends.
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  • Defied: Bob's preempts his friend's judgment about his family by pointing out that, as far as he knows, they are nothing more than a Quirky Household.
  • Discussed: "You know, you may have come to therapy because you think your family is dysfunctional, but your domestic problems are utterly normal, not to mention inconsequential in the greater scheme of things. Lighten up."
  • Conversed: "Quirky dysfunctional family? Domestic violence played for laughs? Must be a FOX animated comedy."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob's father's domestic absence is a commentary on the relentless consumerism of American culture and the now unobtainable nature of the American dream. His mother's banality is a front to disguise her utter boredom with domestic servitude and her drinking dulls the pain of dreams crushed by sexism - motherhood forced her out of her career. His sister's rebellion is the only honest thing in their entire household, and is a symbol of her rejection of her family's dogged pursuit of the "ideal" things that only make them incredibly unhappy.
    • Years of being under the care of such dysfunctional parents takes its toll on the children of the family, leading to severe mental problems, one or more of them attempting suicide, or even growing up to be serial killers.
  • Reconstructed: Bob accepts the faults and failures of his parents, and learns from them. He makes an effort to appreciate his sister's individuality, and they become best of friends for life.

Mommy and Daddy didn't love you? You're in good company back at Dysfunctional Family.

Example of: