Follow TV Tropes


Series / Baby Daddy

Go To
Baby Daddy is an ABC Family television series about Ben Wheeler, a 20-something bartender who is trying to raise his baby daughter Emma while maintaining his bachelor lifestyle. The twist is that Ben didn't realise he was a father until Emma was left outside his apartment door by a one-night-stand. While Ben initially decides to put Emma up for adoption, something that the birth mother also agrees with, he ends up bonding with his daughter and decides to raise her himself.

Ben is helped by his older brother Danny, his best friend Tucker, his childhood friend Riley and his overbearing mother Bonnie.

Baby Daddy ran for six seasons, with the first episode airing on June 20 2012, and the final and hundredth episode airing on May 22 2017.

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother/Improbable Age: The 40 year old Melissa Peterman cast as the mother of two men in their twenties stretches credibility a bit.
    • The show tries to handwave it a little with two things: 1. Riley finding out about Bonnie's first wedding in Vegas when she was 18 shows that Bonnie was something of a wild child and 2. It's possible that Bonnie is a few years older than Peterman, and lying about her age.
    • It was stated in a later episode that Danny was born when Bonnie was still in high school.
    • She says she quickly divorced her first husband and returned to the boy's father, and the boys seem to be close in age. Assuming that she had quickly had Danny at 19 followed by Ben at 20, its not unreasonable to think that she's still in her early 40s, with Danny being 23/24ish and Ben being 22/23ish when the series start.
  • Action Mom: Bonnie, as Ben's obnoxious friend Gene found out. The rather tall Melissa Peterman has had the nickname "Blondzilla" follow her through her last two sitcoms.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In one episode, while wearing two leather bracelets to hide his "Amy" and "Riley" tattoos, Danny says he think they make him look like a superhero. Derek Theler was in the running for Captain America in the past.
    • In another episode, Riley tries to teach Danny to dance. Chelsea Kane joined the show not long after appearing on Dancing With The Stars.
    • In "Bonnie's Unreal Estate," Ben calls a preacher's nowhere-near-as-sweet-as-she-seems daughter (played by Lucy Hale) a little liar.
  • Adam Westing: Former Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart has a recurring role as Tucker's boss, a much more Diva-esque version of herself.
  • Air Hugging: Izzy's awkward fist-bump thing with Danny.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Implied that Riley's Mom and Bonnie Wheeler are this, respectively.
  • Almighty Mom: For all her blustering and his annoyance at her at times, Ben primarily turns to Bonnie for advice and assistance in raising Emma.
  • The Artifact:
    • Emma herself on more than a few occasions. As Ben's parenting skills improved and the show switched focus from "crazy childcare hijinks" to character relationships, Emma has been reduced to little more than a prop in a few episodes, and likely would fade out completely if not for the fact that she's in the show title.
    • Ben as a father also falls under this. Later episodes of the show would focus on Danny and Riley's relationship or Bonnie and Tucker's hijinks instead.
  • The Anti-Grinch: Bonnie
  • Baby Talk: Usually when someone is talking to Emma.
  • The Bartender: Ben.
  • Bedmate Reveal: After a night of partying the day before the wedding of Ben, Danny and Riley's friends from high school, Ben is understandably surprised to find an equally shocked Katie, the Bride, in his bed the morning of the ceremony.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not call Riley "Fat Pants" or she will put you in a headlock.
    • Don't eat Tucker's food.
  • Better as Friends: Ben and Riley realize, that while the two do have loving feelings for one another, and multiple attempts at being a couple, the two would rather remain lifelong best friends than jeopardize what they have in another broken relationship.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: It happens. Though it's not nearly as clean cut as other instance; it some ways, it's actually kind of depressing.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Danny and Tucker respectively.
  • Bumbling Dad: Ben.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Bonnie's friend Charlotte comes to help with her wedding, Bonnie mentions that she's Thelma to Charlotte's Louise. In Reba, this is what Melissa Peterman as Barbra Jean said loudly to Reba when the latter sneaked out from the house to ride on her son-in-law's really good car.
    • When it's revealed that Charlotte is plotting to ruin Bonnie's wedding, Charlotte says that it's revenge for Bonnie stealing her fiance. This is a mirror of how Barbra Jean stole Reba's husband Brock at the start of Reba except Reba just snarked endlessly about it instead of fighting back.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Bonnie gives an epic one of these to her mother Nana Lyle (played by Loni Anderson) who had spent the whole episode making out she was at fault.
    Nana Lyle: Sure is nice to be spending time as a family.... (snidely) something I wasn't allowed to to before.
    Bonnie: Here we go.
    Nana Lyle: Here we go where?
    Bonnie: Here we go rewriting history.
    Nana Lyle: Honestly Bonnie I have done nothing but support you, all I've ever wanted was to be part of this family, I love the boys, I love Emma, I just don't know what your problem is.
    Bonnie: My problem, You don't know what my problem is well here's a hint, its you! You think you supported and loved me, when? how? Yes mother I got pregnant when I was 17 not exactly the highlight of homecoming but I did the best I could for a terrified teenager and what did you my mother do, hmm, you threw me out of the house thankfully Ray's family took me in but even that wasn't enough for you was it.
    Nana Lyle: I've had enough.
    Bonnie: Oh I am just getting started old women, you didn't come to my wedding because you said I was an embarrassment and then you simply disowned me, oh I believe your words were "you don't have a mother"!!! you refused to see Danny until he was four and then when Ben came along you told me I was ruining my life and adding another dumbo to an already stupid family tree. oh, oh but the true icing on the crap cake was what you said to me when I told you that Ben was a father to a beautiful little girl do you remember that lovely letter you sent mom huh, "the rotten apple doesn't fall far from the rotten tree, (voice cracks) he's a dummy just like his mommy" so guess what, you cold, heartless, liquor filled excuse for a mother you don't get to have this family it is mine!!!
  • Candy Striper: In Season 2, Episode 3, "The Wheeler and Dealer", Riley takes an interest in volunteering and accepts a job as a Candy Striper at the hospital.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In the second episode, Bonnie and Riley are talking about Mr. Wheeler, Bonnie's husband and Ben and Danny's father. They say his name was Danny Sr., he was completely irresponsible and his love of fireworks left him with no eyebrows and four fingers on his right hand. When he finally see him in Episode 9, his name is Ray and he's fairly well-adjusted with all fingers intact. Potentially justified since Bonnie hated him so much at that point, she might be deliberately smearing him (As far as the name, who knows?)
  • Captain Obvious: Ben in the pilot, moments after finding a baby on his doormat.
    Ben: There's a baby on my doormat.
  • Comic-Book Time: Time is obviously passing, but Emma does not age in in-universe real time. Also possibly a case of Not Allowed to Grow Up since the show is called Baby Daddy. They did switch out the babies between Seasons 1 and 2 because the first set of twins aged out of the role.
  • Compliment Fishing: An adorable example of this with Danny and Riley when she's trying to boost his confidence about public speaking.
    Riley: I just wish you could see yourself the way I see you.
    Danny: do you see me, exactly?
  • Cute Bruiser: Riley was known for playing field hockey and beating up Ben when they were kids and she's still very much capable of taking down a huge hockey player like Danny.
  • The Cutie: Emma.
  • The Diaper Change: Considering this a show that revolves around a guy taking care of a baby.
  • Doppelgänger Dating: Bonnie sets Ben on a date with what can only be described as a "mini-Bonnie" in "The Wingmom".
  • Duct Tape for Everything: See the pic at the top of the page. A gag in the pilot.
  • Dumb Muscle: At times, Danny doesn't come across as too bright.
    Bonnie: It takes him a while, but he gets there eventually.
  • Dynamic Entry: Danny kicks down a door in one episode. It goes flying. Made even better by the fact that Danny kicked the wrong side of the door. Instead of popping the lock (the weakest part of a door and the easiest place to do this) he essentially ripped it off its hinges with one kick.
  • Dysfunction Junction : Referenced in Season 3. Tucker's parents are coming for a visit and he pretends to be a train announcer. "Next stop, Dysfunction Junction."
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Fat Pants" is this for Riley.
  • Fanservice: Many Rangers locker room Shirtless Scenes. Lots and lots of shirtless scenes.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A quick shot in "The Wheeler and The Dealer" reveals Bonnie's name for Danny in her phone is "The Tall One"
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Zig-zagged. The apartment is pretty decently-sized by New York standards and has three bedrooms, but looks a little shabby in that "converted factory or warehouse" style. As far as paying the rent, Ben is only a bartender, Danny is probably well-paid as a pro-hockey player, and Tucker has an okay job as a producer on a local talk show but his parents are wealthy so they may have bought him the place.
  • Gentle Giant: Danny, especially when interacting with Emma.
    • Played with in another episode. Ben and Danny are running for building supervisor to overthrow their irritating supervisor, Sondra. The deciding vote comes down to an elderly lady named Mrs. Curtis. After Danny weaves a path of destruction through her tea-set and and fragile figurine-filled apartment, she promises to still vote for them as long as he stops moving around. He grabs the woman in a big "Thank you" hug... and apparently hugs her so hard she drops dead right there!
  • Hold My Glasses: Or, in Bonnie's case, "hold my earrings."
  • Honourary Aunt: Riley, justified as she is Emma's godmother.
  • Honourary Uncle: Tucker, who calls himself Emma's "fruncle".
  • Impersonating an Officer: Ben and Tucker during "Fleet Week", although this is actually unlawful in the US.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Matt Dallas and Jean-Luc Bilodeau were costars on Kyle XY. And, of course, Reba.
  • Kiss of Life: Riley for Danny in "The Wheeler and the Dealer."
  • Ladykiller in Love: Danny towards Riley.
  • Lovable Jock: Danny.
  • Mama Bear: Bonnie towards Emma.
  • Meet Cute: After an entire season of near misses, Ben finally meets Elle, when she's revealed to be the medical intern who delivers Danny and Riley's baby.
  • Missing Mom: Emma. So missing even Ben doesn't know - Emma literally shows up on Ben's doorstep one day with a note explaining that Ben's the dad and that's it.
    • As of the end of season 2, she's back. Since Bonnie forgot to file the appropriate paperwork in time, they have to hunt down Emma mom Angela to resign them. She asks to see a photo of Emma, which is enough to make her come to the apartment and declare she wants Emma back.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Ben and Tucker, in order to get Emma into day care. The problem is, Tucker doesn't know it.
    • Season 3, "Foos it or Lose It" : Riley chases Danny's girlfriend to the airport and gives her a long, romantic speech.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Danny.
  • My Beloved Smother: "Mom has this thing about boundaries... she has none." Said by Ben after Danny revealed that she organized his "love drawer" when she came over. One episode dealt with Ben confronting Bonnie as she slowly takes over caring for Emma.
  • The Napoleon: Tucker.
  • Oblivious to Love: Two sides of the love triangle. Ben has no clue Riley loves him, and Riley is really clueless about Danny. As of early-mid season 2, the situation has evolved. Ben now realizes he has potential feelings for Riley but puts them aside because he isn't sure enough to put her through that uncertainty. Danny has tried to move on from Riley. While Riley finds out about Danny's feelings and reveals that she returns the sentiment (or is at least, very curious about them) but Danny doesn't know and both are still unable tell each other.
  • One Head Taller: A non-romantic example. Many jokes are made about the fact that Derek Theler (Danny) is comically taller than the rest of the cast. The jokes are usually made against Tucker (Tahj Mowry) since he's the shortest, and since Tucker and Danny are sliding into a little bit of a Those Two Guys dynamic.
  • One True Love: It is all but stated that Elle is meant to be the love of Ben's life.
  • Pick Up Babes With Babes: Danny and Tucker actually have a contest where they see who can get more phone numbers as they push Emma's stroller for one city block, with Danny even going shirtless to up the ante. They tied, although Tucker had to cry for two of them.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Riley in the shower room.
  • Pretty Boy: Brad in a nutshell.
  • Reaction Shot: Emma gets one when her grandma 86's her dads plans to go out by revealing that she is going to have a night out.
  • Sibling Triangle: They seem to be setting one up between Ben, Riley, and Danny. Something of a played with version since it's not the tall athletic successful guy (Danny, pro hockey player) that's the main love rival. Instead Danny is the soft spoken Gentle Giant unable to reveal his feelings while it's his less successful quirky brother that the female lead is interested in.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Riley's ex-boyfriend Fitch much to Ben's dismay.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Riley's mom Jennifer and Bonnie communicate solely as this. It evolves into Ham-to-Ham Combat when they finally start screaming at each other.
  • Straight Gay: Ben and Danny's father comes out to his sons and ex-wife when he visits.
  • Those Two Guys: Danny and Tucker.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Bonnie and Riley, with Danny, Tucker, and Ben make up the complete group of five.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Danny and Riley.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ben gives Riley a major one after discovering the day after the two broke up, a half-naked Fitch in her apartment and her ensuing passive aggressive treatment of him the rest of the day.
  • World of Snark