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Playing With / "Well Done, Son!" Guy

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Basic Trope: A character who desperately wants the approval of his parent(s).

  • Straight: Bob tries his hardest to gain the approval of Al, his incredibly distant father.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • It's important to Bob that he gain his father's approval, but it isn't a significant story element. However, it is one part of the character's drive to excel.
    • Bob wants to gain his fathers's approval only sometimes.
    • Bob will do what he wants regardless of what his father thinks, but if his father will be proud, Bob will be very glad.
    • Bob's father is already proud of him and Bob wants to keep it that way.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Al tells Bob that he didn't need to do anything to gain his approval - which confuses Bob, as he started doing things to improve his life for his own sake.
  • Double Subverted: However, as Bob really analyzed his behavior, he realized that subconsciously, he did do those things because that's what Al wanted.
  • Parodied:
    • The workaholic or working-class son Bob tries to win the approval of his high-culture or art-focused father Al. (A good example is a Monty Python sketch called Working-Class Playwright.)
    • Bob gets a PhD, then wins the Nobel Prize, then becomes an acclaimed Hollywood director, then becomes the President of the United States. But no matter what, Al can never remember Bob exists and must be reminded every time Bob comes up in conversation, even when other people speak of him.
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  • Zig Zagged: Bob, an executive chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant, desperately tries to make Al proud, but Al is secretly already proud of Bob—though in Bob's encyclopedic knowledge of automobile parts, as Al hates how Bob chose to pursue the culinary arts instead of auto mechanics. Meanwhile, Al is always yelling at Bob about how he has to pay so much in taxes but quietly admires how Bob fills out those tax forms so quickly, efficiently, and without any mistakes.
  • Averted: Either Al is open with his approval of Bob, or Bob feels no need to prove himself.
  • Enforced: "I know a situation to change Bob's unruly behavior: have him earn the respect of his dad."
  • Lampshaded: "Why is it that no matter what I do he'll never say 'I love you' or 'I'm proud of you'?"
  • Invoked:
    • Bob doesn't feel he needs to win Al's approval, but a third-party insists he must.
    • Al's father was like that with him, and he credits the emotional distance for allowing him to succeed. So, he does the same thing with Bob.
  • Exploited: Al is a Jerkass who deliberately maintains a facade of emotional distance so Bob will do things for him.
  • Defied:
    • "Ah, screw it. I'm proud of you, son."
    • "Fuck this. I don't need to waste my time pleasing parents who are hard to please."
  • Discussed: "Seriously, it's impossible to please your parents, especially if it's your dad."
  • Conversed: "I'm not going to wait another 2 seasons until Bob gets the respect he deserves from his father!"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Al dies without ostensibly letting Bob know that he loved him. This tears Bob up inside and causes him to lash out at everyone and everything.
    • Alternatively, Al lets Bob know that he really doesn't care about him, which warps Bob psychologically.
    • Alternatively: After had for so long tried to gain Al's approval, Bob becomes more bitter and bitter about his father. When the day comes that Al finally express his approval, it's too late for Bob and instead of satisfaction Bob feels bitterness and even spite for the approval.
    • Bob was an unruly teenager who has given Al a hard time, but after realizing this, he decides to do whatever he can to gain back his father's respect, only for his attempts to fall on deaf ears.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob eventually comes to terms with his relationship with Al - he decides that raising him was a pretty good way to show love, even if he didn't say it all the time.
    • The Jerkass Al is soon reprimanded from someone outside the family, and he finally see that when everyone left him, Bob is the only one who still revere him. Al Took a Level in Kindness.

"Maybe- MAYBE dad will like me if I click this link! Right? RIGHT?!"

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