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  • American Dad!:
    • An episode Stan has trying to get rid of his annoying Chinese in-laws by convincing Francine that, as an adopted child, she's the Un-Favorite compared to their birth daughter Gwen. At first she's skeptical, but then Stan finds her parents' will, in which they leave everything to Gwen. But even after being thrown out, Francine's father saves Stan from a burning building, and he explains the will by saying "[Gwen]'s an idiot! She needs all the help she can get!", but Francine is intelligent and can take care of herself, and she has a good husband, so they know she'll be fine. (Though later on Gwen shows up and is hardly an idiot but rather a conniving scam artist.)
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    • Steve and Hayley switch off being this, depending on the episode, but more often than not, Hayley fits it better. Mostly due to her extreme liberalism, her rebellious attitude, her dating and marrying Jeff, etc, she tends to get Stan's dislike often.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko on Ozai: "My father says [my sister] was born lucky — he says I was lucky to be born..."
    • Azula, Zuko's little sister, is also an example, at least in her own mind: "My own mother...thought I was a monster." She tries to laugh it off at the time, but this perception of her relationship with her mother contributes heavily to her Villainous Breakdown in the series finale.
    • Ozai himself, father of both of the above, used to be this too. After his older brother Iroh's son died, his father Azulon ordered him to kill Zuko to let him know what it feels like. To put this into perspective, though, Fire Lord Azulon only ordered this after Ozai tried to use his nephew Lu Ten's death as an excuse to steal his brother's birthright, and after he openly scoffed at Iroh's grief for his lost son causing him to abandon the siege of Ba Sing Se. Still...ouch! Of course, considering he was perfectly willing to kill Zuko, it probably wouldn't have done much good.
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    • Let's face it, that whole family is a mess.... Except for Ursa and Iroh, and they still have more than one issue. Zuko eventually matures and says 'screw you' to Ozai, but only after much Character Development.
    • The series implies that Mai's parents treat their younger son Tom-Tom much better than her. When Mai was a little girl, she was forced to be stiff and rigid at all times, never showing any emotion, in case it damaged her father's political career (leading into her emotionally-stunted teenage years). By the time Tom-Tom was born, her father was already a governor and given control over an entire "colony" (said colony being a conquered Earth Kingdom City), so they're free to be more expressive and affectionate with him... and Mai is still neglected. The tie-in comics "Smoke and Shadow" and "Rebound" reveal the neglect was All for Nothing. Mai's father creates the New Ozai Society to put Ozai back on the throne and remove Zuko from it. The treasonous treachery was the breaking straw for Mai's mother to divorce her husband. Which means that now that there's no political power to be gained anymore; Mai's neglect from her parents only served to rob her of her childhood and mess her up socially. However, with the loss of political power, there's a chance for them to still be a loving family. Mai's relationship with Tom-Tom improved while she's still amicable (but really neutral) with her mother.
      • On the other hand, there's Ty Lee. Taking care of sextuplet daughters is no easy task, yeah, but Ty Lee herself felt so neglected that she ran away to a circus to get something similar to love and affection. Heck, in The Beach she angrily and tearfully confronts Mai on how she used to be an only kid and had her parents's attention, only for Mai to snarkily and bitterly point out the emotional neglect she endured.
  • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra this is implied to be the case with Tarrlok. His older brother Noatak/Amon was stated to be a Child Prodigy, and consequently was favored by their father Yakone. Parental Favoritism was just the tip of the iceberg in that family, though.
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    • Tenzin's older siblings, big brother Bumi and sister Kya, also had this issue since their father Avatar Aang, intentionally or not, prioritized Tenzin over them because he was the only airbender among the three; Kya is a water bender and Bumi is a non-bender only to become an airbender himself later in life). This ended up damaging the relationship between the three siblings considerably, since Bumi and Kya ended up treating Tenzin badly whenever they could. Evidently, though, Bumi got the shortest end of the stick overall, as Kya was quite clearly the favorite of their mother, Katara.
    • Lin Bei Fong and her younger half sister Suyin also had some un-favoritism issues due to their mother Toph neglecting them (likely due in part to her own extremely overprotective parents).
    • In fact, the fandom noted that just about the only guy who didn't have some kind of resentful relationship with his children was season two villain Unalaq.
  • Beetlejuice seems to be regarded this way - not by his parents, who are never shown interacting with their younger son, but by members of his extended family. His neighbors also prefer his brother Donny (although it's a little harder to blame them).
  • In The Boondocks, we learn that Uncle Ruckus was the unfavorite son of his father, Mister Ruckus; an overall abusive, alcoholic jerkass who inflicted the most beatings upon him. Uncle's younger brothers also received quite a lot of torment from their dad, but not nearly as much as Uncle did.
  • In The Buzz on Maggie, Jerk Jock Aldrin is revealed to be this. He's spent at least 8 summers as the work force on his uncle's farm while his younger, cuter siblings Maggie and, later, Pupert are given the favorite hat and all the privileges related to it. The first time the uncle looks like he's going to praise Aldrin for developing more muscles, he ruins the moment by determining this means the teenager can do even more heavy-lifting. It's much better at home, where all children are given praise and acceptance at some point. The mom does express more concern about Aldrin's grades than she does over Maggie's (but then again, Aldrin may need a tutor to maintain eligibility for sports), but she also praises her son for taking an after-school job in fast food. Still, the uncle's behavior goes a long way towards explaining Aldrin's "Look at me!" attitude and tendency to show off.
  • In Camp Lazlo, there are strong indications that Edward is this in his family.
  • In the Cow and Chicken episode "Goin' My Way?", Mom and Dad end up adopting The Red Guy and make it very clear that they like him more then the title characters.
  • In the CatDog episode "Vexed of Kin", Cat becomes worried that his parents love his conjoined brother Dog better. CatDog's parents eventually assure him that they love both their sons equally.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Oh, Brother" had Dexter turn his older sister Dee Dee into a brother named Doo Dee, one of the side effects of his actions being that his parents ignore him and praise Doo Dee.
  • Ed from Ed, Edd n Eddy is presumed to be mistreated by his mother on many occasions, while his little sister Sarah gets whatever she wants.
  • Before Evil Con Carne was cancelled, and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy became their separate series, one episode involved a father, his older and younger sons, and their pet weasel accidentally finding themselves trapped on Evil Con Carne's island. Needless to say, the father had a less than favorable relationship (on his part) with his older son, whom he showed was willing to allow being potentially tortured by Con Carne and his cohorts when forcing his obedience. This is of course played for laughs. He even entrusts the pet weasel to drive the boat away from Con Carne's island to safety.
  • Sometime between the original run of Family Guy and the current series, Meg Griffin went from mildly ignored to outright hated by the rest of her family (caused in part by the running joke that Meg may or may not be the result of an affair Lois had behind Peter's back,) which in turn cost her a chance to become an Olympic swimmer. Lampshaded in that the show itself has pointed out her unpopularity via doing an entire episode around the family being the subject of a reality tv show. In the episode, the people filming the Griffins point out that Meg is the least liked member of the family, resulting in her being replaced with an attractive actress. And this episode was before the Un-Cancelled portion.
    • You could go on for days about the Comedic Sociopathy Peter and Lois inflict on poor Meg. Lois in particular; she tried to steal Meg's boyfriend in one episode, couldn't even say "I love you" to the girl on her own wedding day, and tried to get her to kill herselfnote . In one memorable episode, Meg calls them and Chris out on how they treat her like shit despite being disgusting, horrible excuses for human beings... but then goes right back to being their punching bag after seeing that without her as a common "enemy", the family would rip each other to shreds.
    • And then there was the time Lois had to save Joe from falling to his death, and couldn't pull him up because he was too heavy.
      Joe: Pretend I'm your child, Lois!
      [Lois's grip loosens]
      Joe: NOT MEG! NOT MEG!
    • When the Griffins win the lottery, Peter decides that he needs to become an "aloof rich father" who the kids will try to gain the approval of in vain. He tells Meg that as a girl, her life holds no value, and to Chris that, try as he might, he cant measure up to his older brother who died (and never existed, obviously), who was good at "sports and talking". He doesnt even mention Stewie in this gag.
  • A large part of the plot of the first Franklin movie, Franklin and the Green Knight, is Franklin worrying that he'll become this when his new baby sister is born. This worry is only increased when everyone fawns over the upcoming baby during a baby shower. Later, this fear is soothed when he meets an armadillo with a baby brother who tells him that his parents have enough love for both him and his brother. Franklin's friend Snail has a similar fear - he worries that Franklin won't have any time for him once the baby is born. Oh, and Franklin's worries being soothed turns out to be reasonable, as there is no evidence in the fifth and sixth seasons of the show (both of which feature a version of Franklin's new sister, Harriet, that is able to talk and walk), that either child is treated as a favorite.
  • On Futurama it's pretty clear Larry is Mom's least favorite son. Considering she treats all three of her sons poorly, that's saying a lot.
  • Lifeline from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series is a latecomer to this trope, having become the Unfavorite of his all-pacifist family when he joined a military organization. Never mind that he's a field medic who never carries weapons or participates in combat, the fact it's soldiers he saves is enough to earn him the permanent silent treatment from his relatives.
  • PJ on Goof Troop, while treated fairly by his mother, is routinely emotionally and financially abused by his father who repeatedly spoils his sister, Pistol, and, on one occasion, rejects him in favor of his best friend. In the episode "And Baby Makes Three," he tries extra hard to avoid becoming this compared to the new baby, as does Pistol eventually, but he and she both seem to take it for granted that she is already treated better.
  • In Gravity Falls Dipper thinks he is Grunkle Stan's unfavorite (and is mostly wrong, Stan's stern treatment is his attempts at toughening up Dipper like his own father did), and Stan himself absolutely was the unfavorite in comparison to his own twin, back when they were kids.
  • In the Animated Series of Disney's Hercules, one episode centered around Phil, Herc's Satyr Mentor, coming to terms with his mother always raising his brother (a door-to-door shoe salesman) onto a pedastal. At the end of the episode they learn she was doing it on purpose to keep him from getting a big head, and the brother always got the same treatment.
    • The very end of that same episode hints that Phil's sister gets the same treatment. Pretty fair all around.
  • Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold! is the poster child for this trope, with her prettier, more intelligent, and away-at-college older sister Olga. Ironically, Olga herself confesses to Helga that she'd rather be this trope: her parents' excessive attention and ridiculously high expectations (especially Bob's) pushed Olga into a permanent neurosis and becoming an Extreme Doormat, while Helga might be ignored by them but managed to both develop a thicker skin and is free to do whatever she wants. Making this even more horrible is that their father sometimes calls Helga by Olga's name.
  • In an episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, Jonny is trapped in a hallucination where he thinks he is the unfavorite and that his father prefers Jessie. This ends when his father punches the hallucination's lights out.
  • Johnny Test serves this to his very uptight father, Hugh.
  • Kaeloo: A non-parental example in that Kaeloo seems to favor Quack Quack over Stumpy. The most jarring example is in Episode 2, where Stumpy falls severely sick and Kaeloo neglects him and gives medical treatment to Quack Quack, who is perfectly fine.
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill is the Unfavorite of his two brothers. His older brother, an illegitimate child born of Cotton Hill's affair with a woman in Japan, gains a surprising amount of affection since his mother is perhaps the only person Cotton ever genuinely loved. His younger brother Good Hank was born when Cotton was in his seventies, and at the right age to appreciate having children. Meanwhile, Hank was born in a bathroom in New York, not Texas (which, it should be noted, was Cotton's own fault), and Cotton never quite forgave him for failing to be a native Texan, hating him literally since the day he was born. Being saddled with a Jerkass father like Cotton affected Hank well into adulthood and left him with his uptight, close-minded personality.
  • Looney Tunes: Beaky Buzzard seems to be this in the eyes of his mother. Obviously this stems from Beaky being less competent than his brothers.
    Mother Buzzard: Come Killer, stop making a fool of schnitzel. Why couldn't you be smart like your brothers?
  • The Looney Tunes Show: We learn that Sylvester is this in his family in "Point, Laser Point".
  • An example of the second variant is in Metalocalypse: Pickles, the drummer of the most famous and successful band in history, lead singer of the (arguably) other most famous and successful band in history, apparent college graduate despite being an alcoholic since he was six, is still second in his parents' eyes to his brother, an ex-con who lives in their attic, sponges off everyone he knows, is responsible for destroying Australia, and works for the company Pickles owns.
    • Further expanded in Fatherklok, where Pickles' father straight out calls him trash.
    • And again in Motherklok, appropriately enough. Pickles still seeks the approval of his mother, despite the fact that no matter what he does, even when it's exactly what she says he should do, she isn't satisfied. He finally tells her to go f*riff*k herself at the end of the episode. It also represents a rare moment of growth for an adult Unfavorite, especially considering the quasi-demonic powers the band seems to have; he resolves the issue with his mother without turning evil or lashing out at the people who care about him. Even Offdensen, the closest person the band has to a moral center, tells him he should tell his mother to go f*riff*k herself. As an added bonus, her reaction is a lot more realistic than shows where the parent rushes to fix a misunderstanding or prove how much they don't care by not reacting at all.
  • Andy French is implied to be this in Mission Hill, since his parents spent all their time doting over Kevin. Andy is so detached from his parents he doesn't even know their phone number.
  • Bloberta was revealed to be this on Moral Orel. Her mother preferred her sister Modella and younger brother Lunchbox over her as they were much better singers. Her father was shown to care about her, but afraid to speak up in front of her mother.
  • On Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, Rippen mentions that part of his rise to villainy was that he was this to his sister Vlurgen. To elaborate, everyone in his family is a villain, and she is a much more competent and successful one than him, which is why their parents like her better.
  • In Pepper Ann, Nicky is convinced she's the Unfavorite, though a lot of it is circumstantial (and the fact that people other than her parents really do tend to favor her sister). For example, when they were kids, the exercise equipment was put in Nicky's room... because it was either put it there or in her sister's room, and they feared the sister, who has very weak arms, would be much more insulted by it than the surprisingly-strong Nicky.
  • Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz on Phineas and Ferb, as seen in the picture on the main page. His mother preferred his younger brother Roger (more because said brother was better at kickball), while his father preferred the family dog, naming it "Only Son." His great aunt Henrietta Hawkenschpit however prefers Heinz over Roger, and made him the sole heir of her castle and fortune.
  • Suga Mama on The Proud Family tends to favor her son, Bobby over Oscar, despite the fact that Oscar is clearly the more successful of the two. Then again, Oscar is the Butt-Monkey of the series. It's later revealed that Suga Mama went through the same thing with her sister Spice, who got the family's hereditary psychic power while she did not.
    • In the same episode with Spice, Suga Mama stands up for Oscar, showing him that while she doesn't always like him she will always love him.
  • In Regular Show "Don" (Season 1), Benson hires Rigby's taller, younger, and popular brother Don to help file the income tax returns online and avoid an audit. Rigby's unpleasant childhood memories include Don being the life of Rigby's birthday party, Rigby being left alone at the seesaw and a three-legged race, as well as being crowded out of a photo booth picture.
  • Robot Default of Robot and Monster is typically overlooked by his mother in favor of his Aloof Big Brother Gart, who also owns the family's blinking light factory after having it handed down from their father, primarily because Robot's inventions tend to rarely work as intended and he has a knack for accidentally embarrassing the family name. In the episode "Family Business" it's suggested she actually does care for him somewhat; when he finds a piece of a family painting with himself on it in her chest compartment it's later revealed that it's only there so her insides don't clunk, then when Gart is about to tell Robot she decides to let him keep thinking what he thought at first, feeling he deserves it for his earlier Batman Gambit that showed he cares for his family regardless of how they treat him.
  • Rugrats played with this a couple times. In one episode, Angelica convinces the twins Phil and Lil that every family has a Favorite and a Reject; each one spent the rest of the episode convinced that they were the Reject, and mistaking normal parental behavior as signs of this, until, in the end, they make up and decide to be Rejects together (and Angelica even decides to become a Reject). In another, Angelica's parents are going to have another baby, and she has a horrible dream about being rejected in favor of it (until it grows gigantic and tries to eat her).
    • This was quite the plot point of The Rugrats Movie. After Dil's birth, Tommy felt abandoned by his parents and attempted to return him to the hospital with the help of his friends, only to later grow fond of Dil and accept him.
    • In one episode after the movie, Tommy starts to feel like the unfavorite out of his friends after Angelica teaches them how to cry and fake injuries to get attention from Tommy's parents, but Tommy won't do it. The parents are fussing over the other kids, but Stu does take a moment to apologise to Tommy and say he's glad there's nothing wrong with him. It's kind of sweet, but also sad.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Of Shadow Weaver's wards, Catra was by far the least favorite. Shadow Weaver made it no secret that she heavily favored Adora, who she raised since infancy after sensing her latent power. Meanwhile Catra, who came to the Horde a few years later as a young child, was treated more like Adora's ill-behaved pet cat than a daughter after the two kids latched on to each other. Throughout the series, she remains dismissive of Catra regardless of her accomplishments, at one point revealing that part of the treatment is because Catra reminds her too much of herself, and if she had to suffer, there's no reason why Catra should have it any better.
  • It depends on the writer, but each of The Simpsons kids has, at one point or another, been treated as the unfavorite, but the major example is Bart. His parents both prefer Lisa over him. Homer explicitly says that Lisa is his favorite multiple times, and Marge is often too preoccupied with Maggie, although she does admit to a new neighbour that she breastfed Lisa when she was baby but didn't breastfeed Bart or Maggie. Even at a young age he was second fiddle to Lisa with nobody understanding his anger, this subject is the main theme of the episode "Barthood". In the episode "How Lisa Got Her Marge Back", Homer told Bart that while he does love him, if there were a second Bart he'd hang himself. Unlike everybody else though, Bart has a good relationship with Grampa and he wonders why parents are nicer to their grandchildren than their actual children in "Holidays of Future Passed".
    • Bart and Lisa's rivalry is brought up in several episodes throughout the series, showing that Bart resents Lisa's intelligence and the ease of which she consistently outshines his best efforts, while Lisa has an almost pathological need for approval (likely a result of Homer's neglect), and resents Barts status as firstborn, the son of the family, and how even his minor accomplishments are given more attention than anything she does, because as a prodigy, she's expected to excel at everything.
  • In T.U.F.F. Puppy, Kitty's mother wishes that she was more like her sister, Katty, even though said sister is a criminal.
  • Hank Venture from The Venture Bros. While in the first season Dr. Venture seemed equally neglectful towards both sons, the following ones made his Parental Favoritism towards Dean more and more apparent. This has become especially prominent in season 4 after the clone slugs were destroyed and Brock left - Dr. Venture wised up and decided to be more fatherly, but only towards Dean.
    • In one episode, when tricked into thinking he's been kidnapped along with the boys, Dr. Venture even tells the kidnappers to torture Hank but not Dean. Later he explains that he suggested that because Hank could deal with it while Dean, the more immature of the two, would take it way too seriously. He also explains that the reason he's so hard on Hank is because he reminds him of himself when he was younger (after hearing this, Hank doesn't quite seem to know how to feel about it). Also it should be mentioned that being his dad's favorite is probably screwing up Dean worse.
    • In truth, it frequently zigzags between the two of them. Dr. Venture seems to prefer Hank in an adventuring context, and Dean in a scientific context. Needless to say, he's not the greatest father. Of course, given that his own upbringing included his father having drunken sex on top of his son, Rusty easily has a Freudian Excuse.
    • Not too surprisingly, Hank has latched onto Brock as a Parental Substitute.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: Randy Dinwittie. His mother only cares about making his siblings Andy and Mandy famous again and his accomplishments mean nothing to her except when she can use his skills to improve Andy and Mandy's career no matter if it's by hook or by crook.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, Magneto rules Genosha with his two daughters, Lorna/Polaris and the Wanda/Scarlet Witch, by his side. Pietro/Quicksilver, meanwhile, is back in the US running the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants until he's "proved himself" to his father. Even when Wanda starts to fall out with her father, he dismisses his sons requests to aid him and is instead told to get his sister to come to her senses.
    • Cyclops also had some of this in Wolverine and the X-Men where, rightly or wrongly, Xavier pretty much kicked him to the curb by demoting him to being just another X-mook while promoting Wolverine to leader and always finding time to smother the clawed one with love and support while leaving Cyclops out in the cold.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Magneto basically dumps Wanda in an insane asylum when she's 8 or so. His reasoning was that unlike her brother, her almost uncontrollable powers would have eaten away at too much of his time. Later when she comes after him wanting revenge, he decides to have a psychic alter her memories to make her less likely to come after him. He still never visits her though (Unlike her brother, who was given a cell phone so they can keep in touch).
    • Which of the twins are the Unfavorite changes with the medium and writer... though generally it doesn't really matter who is less loved because Magneto is almost always a terrible father to both of them, regardless of writer or medium. To be somewhat fair, in the original continuity he didn't even meet them until they were almost adults, and didn't discover that they were actually his children until even later... but that poofs away because he still treated them like crap even before knowing it. Only in the animated 90's series he is given a consistently more sympathetic POV about it.
  • Saranoia and Carl from the show Yin Yang Yo! are both the unfavorites to their parent(s). It caused Saranoia to snap and go full-blown man-hating Straw Feminist (she was the unfavorite to her brother and believes sexism to be the reason, whether or not it's true is never confirmed), while Carl is just sad and lonely.
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