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Playing With / Manchild

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Basic Trope: An adult character who acts like a little child.

  • Straight: Bob is in his 30s, yet acts like a preteen. He plays with toys and he loves candy.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob is nearly 100 years old, and yet behaves like a toddler.
  • Downplayed:
    • Bob is in his 20s, but acts like a teenager.
    • Bob has some childlike interests, but can behave maturely in serious situations.
  • Justified:
    • Bob has some sort of mental illness or developmental disability.
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    • Bob didn't have much of a good childhood, or finds that adulthood isn't too fun either, and is desperately trying to relive his youth in his adult years.
    • Bob has grown up around very immature people. Perhaps his parents weren't very good role models.
    • Bob was raised as a Spoiled Brat by his (possibly rich) parents, and he never learned how to be mature, responsible, or self-reliant.
    • Bob is a character in a Work Com set at a toy store, and he believes playing with the toys makes him a better worker.
    • Bob was in a coma between the ages of 10 to 30.
    • Bob is a preteen but was Born as an Adult.
    • Bob recognizes that "grown-up" society isn't nearly as mature as it makes itself out to be, so he decides he'll just enjoy himself with his toy soldiers; and not worry about being seen as childish by the guys that ask their leaders to send real-life, flesh-and-blood soldiers to their very real deaths for some stupid, childish reason.
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    • Growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional.
  • Inverted: Adorably Precocious Child - Bob is a 10-year-old who acts like a 30-year-old.
  • 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.
  • Double Subverted: He was only acting like that for a job interview.
  • 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.
  • Lampshaded: "How old are you?" "Physically 30, psychologically 10."
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  • Invoked: Bob is thinking back to his childhood and remembers how unpleasant it was. Then he gets some ideas...
  • Exploited: ???
  • 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.
    • Bob grieves deeply for his parents, but he eventually manages to befriend some of the other residents.
    • Growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional, and people still manage to accept him for who he is.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob is a character in a zany comedy and his antics are meant to be funny and endearing.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Bob's childish behavior stems from having an unhappy childhood and/or an unhappy adulthood. Bob desperately clings onto nostalgic memories of his youth, to the point of suffering severe depression, and being unable to actually live in the present.
    • Bob's personality means he is unable to make or keep friends, or have a deep relationship with anyone; and since he has no ability to resolve his emotional problems on his own, he regresses even farther into his manchild state out of loneliness.
    • 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!

Example of: