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Playing With / Manchild

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Basic Trope: An immature adult with a childlike personality.

  • Straight: Bob is a grown man in his 30s, yet he acts like a preteen boy by being very excitable and playing with toys.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • Bob is a guy in his early 20s who is actually quite competent, intelligent, and self-reliant in most circumstances; but he merely has social and/or emotional immaturity, which causes him to act like a moody teenager primarily in social situations.
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    • Bob is a 15 year old who acts like a preteen, while his peers act much more mature for there ages.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Bob is an Adorably Precocious Child who is Wise Beyond His Years.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob starts acting his age.
    • Bob seems to be a man in his 30s acting like a preteen. Then it's revealed that he actually is a preteen.
    • Bob does still live at home, but it's because the cost of living where he lives is prohibitively high (even with roommates), and he doesn't have the means to relocate, either. For what it's worth, he does have a job, and he does do things like help his parents out with chores, errands, and cooking, and he does pay rent and/or help out with household bills.
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    • Bob is still a virgin at 35 but that's mainly because the opportunity never came up. In his teens and twenties, he was kind of dorky-looking (gangly, pimply, wore Nerd Glasses and the Braces of Orthodontic Overkill), and now that he's in his 30s, he just assumes that no woman will ever want to be with him because he is (or thinks he is) such a Straw Loser.
    • Bob plays a Manchild character on TV, but in Real Life, he has a steady job, a hobby (or two), he owns a home (maybe even more than one home), he helps out with chores, and has a wife and kids.
    • Bob lives with his mother, but only because his house burned down.
    • Bob lives with his mother, but that's so that he can take care of her, because she's elderly and she needs some extra help.
  • Double Subverted:
    • He was only acting like that for a job interview.
    • He has a large collection of action figures and comics, and spends a large amount of time playing video games when he isn't working.
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    • He really, really wants a girlfriend, and wishes for a real-life, aged-up version of the anime girl on his poster, someone who wants only him, rather than actually going out and finding real women.
    • Alternatively, he gets angry at women in general, because he was always taught that being nice and doing heroic deeds would get him the girl of his dreams...but the real world doesn't work that way.
    • He only does things around the house when his wife asks him to, often more than once. He'd much rather play fantasy football. His wife ends up parenting him as much as their children.
    • Because he left the oven on while he went to the movies.
    • He dumps most of the responsibility for caring for his mother onto his wife. And he didn't ask her if his mother could move into their spare bedroom. Nor does he help out when Alice's parents need extra care, or offer to take them in.
  • Parodied: Bob gets mistaken for a 10-year-old.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob starts acting his age. But that was just for a job interview. But even after he gets the job, he starts acting more mature.
  • Averted: Bob acts his age the whole time.
  • Enforced:
    • "We need a grownup who acts like a little kid. This is a comedy show, after all."
    • An Aesop describing how growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional.
    • An Aesop about how adults should not be acting like overgrown children.
    • The story is written by a child who portrays adults who he thinks they act.
  • Lampshaded: "How old are you?" "Physically 30, psychologically 10."
  • Invoked: Bob is thinking back to his childhood and remembers how unpleasant it was. Then he gets some ideas...
  • Exploited: Alice wins all arguments with Bob by acting like a stern parent.
  • Defied: Bob decides that even though his childhood was unhappy, he'll just work harder to have a pleasant adult life.
  • Discussed: "I don't want him around our children. He's giving them the wrong idea... in more ways than one."
  • Conversed: "Oh, geez, another adult who keeps acting like a kid. Oldest trick in the book."
  • Implied: Alice talks about her Uncle Bob who is never seen by the audience and mentions how much he loved playing with toys and making fart sounds.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob's attempts to relive his childhood indicate some serious psychological problems on his behalf. He's never able to mentally "grow up", and remains distrusted by both adults and children alike.
    • Because Bob is mentally immature, he is unable to comprehend the seriousness of adult life to the point where he cannot be relied on to handle big responsibilities, and depends on someone else to do it for him.
    • Bob is still living with his parents because of his inability (or refusal) to take care of himself. Because his parents will eventually die someday, he has no choice but to move out of the house and fend for himself somehow, or worse.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Even though Bob is trying to relive his childhood, he still knows when to act like an adult, so there are no problems.
    • Growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional, and people are still able to accept him for who he is.
    • Bob grieves deeply for his parents, but he eventually manages to bond with other people in his community.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob is a character in a zany comedy, and his antics are meant to be funny and endearing.
  • Played For Drama:
  • Played For Horror: Bob is childish and immature to the point of being very creepy, mentally unstable, or even violent.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I can't wait to go back to Manchild!

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