Abusive Parents/Western Animation

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Norman Osborn barely conceals his contempt for his son, Harry. This manifests in snide criticisms about his son's issues, hobbies and successes, and also in blatant, stunningly passive-aggressive displays of Parental Favoritism towards Harry's best friend, Peter Parker, when both boys are present. This is. when Norman isn't dismissing Harry and ignoring him entirely in favor of his job. Harry's mother does this too, not even verbally acknowledging him when he greets her. As a result, Harry has...issues.
  • In King of the Hill, Hank's father Cotton is an abusive Jerkass of the highest order, who has considered Hank to be a horrific failure ever since the day he was born (it is said in one episode that this is because he was born in New York instead of Texas). While there are incremental moves towards a better relationship between the two, they always backslide by the end of the episode due to Cotton's aforementioned jerkass nature and Hank's difficulty with and distaste for anything emotional. When Cotton is finally called out on his deathbed, it made for one of the best scenes in the show's 12-year run. Despite this abuse, Hank is one of the most well adjusted characters on the show.
    • You know what Cotton's idea of complimenting his son is? He tells Hank that he's better at being a father because "You made Bobby, all I made was you."
    • A few episodes later we're introduced to Kahn's father-in-law, who has implied that he would have Kahn killed if he could get away with it.
    • Hank's kind of abusive towards Bobby too, he's nowhere near as bad as most of the examples on the page in any way, but his entire relationship with Bobby is an attempt to make him a mini-Hank, and he doesn't allow his son anything he doesn't agree with (fantasy books, clouds on his wall, video games, generally stuff that could make people see him as a nerd). In the Grand Finale, he finally accepts his son and shows joy in what he's doing...because he's doing something Hank's been pressuring him to get into probably since he got into propane.
    • Bill's father was also said to be abusive (we only ever see him once in a flashback, he's dead in the present). It has been said that he spanked Bill consistently everyday for 8 years, he often humiliated him and made him wear dresses, he also said he was worthless and would never amount to anything. As a result, Bill is not the most stable person, and whenever the subject of his father comes up, he either calls him a bastard or begins to cry.

Bill: My dad spanked me every day for eight years and I turned out alright. (beat) Bastard.

    • This is all in contrast to Dale, who's the resident lunatic and is barely capable of running his own life, unknowingly until the final episode raising a son who's biologically not even his. He manages to be the most loving, devoted, and caring parent on the entire show.
  • The Simpsons
    • Abe Simpson would waver between being a decent parent that Homer liked and a distant and condescending jerk toward him. Homer himself often does inconsiderate Jerkass things, including calling Bart an accident to his face ("But it's cute when I do it.") and putting a cell phone tower in his daughter's room.
    • In one of the episodes where they are telling fairy tale stories, the Hansel and Gretel story has the kids stumble past their older siblings (skeletons of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie), who have long since died of exposure.
    • Parodied in The Simpsons, in which an orphan is glad he doesn't have parents because of this trope.
    • Homer took all the money Bart earned as a baby in another episode. Bart sues for emancipation and wins.
    • Up to Eleven:

Marge: (suffering from amnesia) You strangle your own child?
Homer: Yeah, but he's cool with it... (looks at Bart shaking his fist) Right?
Bart: (wheezing) It hurts when I swallow...
Homer: Why you little.. (resumes strangling Bart)

    • In The Movie, after Bart loses Ned Flanders' fishing pole, he starts gagging in anticipation of being strangled, then is shocked when Ned doesn't.
    • Speaking of whom, Ned's parents were the opposite. They used no discipline at all, which was just as bad.
    • It's also implied a few times that Homer picked up his strangling habit towards Bart from experiences with his own father.
  • Ulrich Stern's father in Code Lyoko. It's little wonder why Ulrich grew up so withdrawn...
    • His mom isn't any better. In the Christmas Episode, while the Stern family is driving home, Ulrich's dad is berating him while Mrs. Stern just sits there and lets it happen. If Ulrich ever takes them to court, she'll be as legally liable as her husband.
  • Suga Mama treats Oscar this way in The Proud Family.
  • In the G.I. Joe cartoon, Low Light's father not only openly mocked him as a child for his "cowardice", he forced the kid to prove himself by dumping him in a junkyard at night and telling him not to come home until he had killed twenty rats. Even as an adult, this gives Low Light recurring nightmares.
  • Teen Titans: Arguably, the best thing Trigon ever did for his daughter was staying out of her life for as long as he did, and while he never actually lays a finger on her, he is Genre Savvy enough to threaten her friends instead. Thus, Raven's dad convinces her to essentially commit suicide in a ritual that will let him break out of his prison dimension and turn the planet into slag and lava. It works. For a staggering three episodes, even!
  • Batman Beyond
    • "Hidden Agenda" featured a student whose mother had unbelievable standards for him. When he got a 2391 out of 2400 on the annual exam, 2nd best in the school, she told him flat out he was a horrendous failure who would never get ahead in life. Any sympathy is lost, however, when he's revealed to be a rather psychotic leader of a gang of Jokerz. Then again, his mother may have caused his psychosis, as evidenced by the fact that many of his acts as gang leader are to try and get rid of the one person who is academically better than him.
    • Willie Watt consistently suffers ridicule from his father for being a "wimp" who can't physically stand up to the bullies at school. Then, Willie gets a hold of his father's construction golem, develops a psychic link to it, and uses it to trash a party after one more humiliation causes him to snap. When his father, tracking the golem's disappearance, finds Willy and berates him once again, Willy proceeds to turn the golem on him. Batman saves the day, but the end result shows that the father is still a major Jerkass.

Mr. Watt: Well, at least he ain't a wimp no more. (Batman gives him a disgusted glare before leaving)

In the next episode featuring Willie, it's shown that Willie is detained in a high security juvenile center and is in fact very muscular and aggressive ( what his father always wanted him to be). The guard who escorts Terry tells him that many in fact fear Willie and says that not even his father has visited him and that Terry is his first visitor.
  • Meg Griffin from Family Guy has been treated very poorly by her father Peter since the revival. He slaps her, beats her, throws things at her, sits on her head and farts on her, and on one occasion he greets her by shooting her in the face at point blank range. At a few points she is also frequently belittled by both her parents, at one point even implying that Meg should commit suicide, and Peter also exhibited an odd attraction to her, forcing her to kiss him on the lips when tucking her in bed, and once implied when going through a redneck stage that he wants to have sex with her. This is all Played for Laughs.
    • In the episode "Brian Griffin's House of Payne" Peter reveals to Meg and Chris that he has knocked both of them out plenty of times when they were younger and would hide their subsequent injuries, and is willing to continue hiding Stewie's unconsciousness from Lois until he can frame her for causing the injury. The next day, noticing Lois pulling out of the driveway, Peter throws Stewie behind her rear tire, making it appear that Lois has run him over. Lois suggests they frame someone else, but Peter only professes his love for her, finally suggesting they take Stewie to the hospital.
    • In the later episodes of Family Guy Peter and Lois frequently steal money from their children, doubling theft with the implications that they are also unable to financially support the family.
    • Additional neglect and emotional abuse for Meg includes Peter telling her "Who let you back in the house!" and grabbing her by the seat of the pants and kicking her out the door, once when James Woods tied up Brian outside Peter told him "Why are you tied to Meg's pole?", and another shows him locking her out in the winter while she's cold and hungry and gets buried under a pile of snow.
    • They also sometimes abuse Chris. but not as often as they do Meg. This is partly because Chris is so thick-headed, it bounces off, so it's not as funny.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Timmy Turner's parents are arguably this. While they are generally neglectful, they have occasionally crossed into emotional abuse of Timmy by letting him know that they were much happier before he was born. They also let him know frequently that they wish he'd been a girl. In recent seasons you have acting like a complete Jerkass to Timmy to the point where they were jumping on a trampoline on hearing Timmy was going to military school (so that they could use his bedroom for extra space). And Timmy's mother has openly spent Timmy's college fund on stuff for herself several times.
  • For a kids' show, Three Friends And Jerry has quite a frightening example in Jerry's dad.
  • In Moral Orel, Doughy Latchkey has extremely immature parents who still act like teenagers. They frequently kick him out of the house so they can have sex and sometimes threaten him with violence if he doesn't stop bothering them.
    • Clay Puppington often takes his son into his den and belts him whenever his exploits causes Hilarity to Ensue before giving out a Spoof Moral based off of bigoted 1950's beliefs. He gets even worse as time goes on. In one of those, he instinctively reaches for his belt even though Orel hadn't done anything wrong and had to (innocently) have this pointed out.
    • The show gives him a particularly disturbing Freudian Excuse for being the person he is by showing how as a kid he accidentally caused his mother to die of a stroke, at which point his father became so emotionally distant that him slapping Clay was his only form of emotional acknowledgment to the point that he provoked his father whenever he can. Clay himself states in a drunken rant that he believes that the true meaning of "family" is constant suffering for people you despise for the sake of being a "good person".
      • This knowledge is required to fully understand why he cries in "sacrifice" after giving a massive Reason You Suck Speech to everyone in the bar and failing to provoke a violent reaction.
    • The abuse gets very horrifying without being sexual. Just watch the two-part episode "Nature". It speaks for itself.
  • Batman the Animated Series,
    • Before he became Robin, Tim Drake's father worked for Two-Face and often left his son (who was under 13 years old) alone to fend for himself for long periods of time. When he double-crossed Two-Face, he abandoned his son to run away, only to be found killed outside of Gotham.
    • The Joker told Harley Quinn he had a father like this, detailed in her origin in the "Mad Love" episode. "But, hey, that's the downside of comedy," he says sadly, "you're always taking shots from folks who just don't get the joke." Of course, this is the Joker here, so it's impossible to tell how much - if any - of his claims are the truth and how much is him lying through his grinning teeth.
  • Arpo Butcher in Sons of Butcher.
  • Toki Wartooth in Metalocalypse was brutally beaten at the hands of his father, reverend Aslaug Wartooth. His offenses include whipping him heavily, leaving him (mostly) unclothed and out in the bitter Norwegian cold, and chaining his wrists together and letting him hang from the ceiling.
  • In The Boondocks, it's revealed Uncle Ruckus was beaten by his father on a fairly regular basis for even the littlest offenses and threw him out of the house at a young age, it caused severe psychological damage to him and was also responsible for his deformities and his hatred for other black people, it is later revealed that he beat him because he wanted to take out the stress of being beaten himself by his racist employers.
  • The Mouse King from the 1990 animated movie, The Nutcracker Prince, is physically abused by his mother when she scolds him about her plan (along with some neglect she sometimes gives).
  • It is implied in Drawn Together that Princess Clara is placed in this manner by her father, the King, when he is not neglecting her. For one thing, he once kissed her that was more passionate than familial, and also had her strip for him.
  • According to the backstory, Murdoc Niccals of Gorillaz was, as a child, forced to participate in talent contests to win his father money, the most humiliating incident involving a performance of the Pinocchio song "I've Got No Strings" in costume, complete with false nose. Adding insult to injury, the prize for that one was only "£2.50 and the chance to humiliate yourself further in the biannual county finals". Murdoc also claims to have hit puberty at eight and lost his virginity at nine, so if he's telling the truth this may fall under the sexual abuse heading as well.
    • There's also the implication of physical abuse, since Murdoc's father is shown kicking the young boy onto the stage and threatening to smash his teeth in. It's widely known that Murdoc's wonky nose is the result of getting it broken and mended numerous times, but the artwork of him as a ten year old child suggests his face was already pretty wrecked by then. Fridge Horror anyone?
  • Found in X-Men: Evolution one episode, where we learn that Tabitha/Boom Boom's father was a con man who routinely pressured her into using her powers to help rob banks and/or run scams.
    • Also his best friend Doughy Latchkey who is paid his "allowance" by his neglectful parents to not come home.
  • Poor Butters in South Park manages to hit every single instance of this trope and then some - he's frequently punished by his parents for every little thing (even if he didn't do anything), yelled at by them, and all-around belittled and humiliated. In "Jared Has Aides", he's alluded to being physically beaten by them; Comedy Central later yanked it off the air for this reason, though it can still be seen on the South Park Studios site. In "Pre-School" he is being beaten by a bully, and though his parents hear him screaming and begging they refuse to let him in. It's implied that his uncle performed anilingus on him at one point. In "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset", his parents sell him to Paris Hilton for $250 million - even though all her pets kill themselves. In "Marjorine" he fakes his death, and his parents are devastated. However when he returns they think he is some sort of demonic monster returned from the dead, chain him in the basement and try to feed him a dead body. His total absence (even as a background character) in the next episode is rather telling, suggesting that he may have been kept in the basement for up to a week.
    • It's worth noting that Butters regularly calls his father 'sir' rather than 'dad'.
    • Sadly, in "Super Best Friends" (well before "Marjorine") Butters mentions that he falls asleep to the sound of his own screams, then wakes up screaming most mornings, suggesting he has been traumatised for a long time. Later, in "Imaginationland" we see that it's become so bad, Butters' mental visulisation of his father is as some kind of grounding-monster.
      • It's been suggested ever since "Marjorine" that Butters is so afraid of 'grounding' because he may directly associate it with more physical abuse such as the beatings he has mentioned being more frequent than he lets on, or that it may always involve him being locked in the basement.
    • One episode turns the formula on its head, revealing that Mr. Garrison is estranged from his father because he wasn't sexually molested as a child. Everybody else agrees with this, including Mrs. Garrison and Mr. Mackey the school counselor) and they try to convince Garrison Sr. to molest his 41-year-old son (prompting him to ask if he's the Only Sane Man in town). Eventually, he gives in hires a sex-offender to molest his son while making him think it's his father, which mends the relationship between father and son.
  • Dr. Doofenschmirtz of Phineas and Ferb had these, played for laughs. He was the Unfavorite of both his parents, his mother preferring his younger brother Rodger while his dad preferred a dog, which he named "Only Son". His father made him replace the family lawn gnome after it was repossessed, forcing him to stand still for hours and through the night. Another episode revealed that his parents failed to show up at all of his birthdays, including the actual day of his birth. Yet another has him saying he was disowned by his parents and grew up with a family of ocelots. He often uses this as his Freudian Excuse for his EvilPlans.
    • Interestingly, he himself is not an example. He's over-pretective, if anything, to his daughter, Vanessa. It's the combination of this and his abusive parents that often gives him the Draco in Leather Pants label.
  • It's been hinted that Ed from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy suffers from both emotional abuse and neglect. His mom treats him like The Unfavorite in contrast to his spoiled sister Sarah, while his father seems largely apathetic to both his children:

Ed: It's Sarah! We are so doomed! Help me, guys! She'll tell Mom and Mom will tell Dad and he'll say "Not now, I just got home from work!"

    • Probably best seen when Ed unconsciously sublimates the abuse to Johnny 2x4 in an All Just a Dream episode.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ozai fits three of the five (emotional, physical, and neglect), four if you assume being head of a nation counts for financial. He not only had a favorite and an unfavorite child, but he brutally scarred the latter, Zuko, and has attempted to kill him multiple times. Zuko found a better father figure in his uncle and mentor Iroh and eventually outgrew the need for Ozai's approval.
    • Ozai exiled and disowned Zuko when he was thirteen, for... speaking out of turn in a war meeting (the kid was not supposed to be there in the first place, but the level of punishment was overkill). In addition to burning a good fourth of his face off, Ozai loudly and publicly called Zuko an embarrassing failure and a traitor without honor, for the high crimes of idealism, a degree of rudeness and reluctance to face his father in a duel to the death. ** One line says all you need to know about how Ozai treated Zuko.

"You shall learn respect and suffering will be your teacher"

    • Because the treatment he gets is more painful in short term, Zuko tends to envy Azula. Actually, Ozai encourages her aggressive and murderous tendencies in order to make her his puppet, while her mother, by contrast, tried to help her be more compassionate and fit in with others. This is what brings her eventual downfall. In the end, Zuko will point out that Ozai is a so horrible father that the best thing he ever did to him was to exile him. Because being treated as Azula is even worse.
    • Technically, Ozai's abuse of Zuko is also abusive to Azula, in a "this is what will happen to you if you don't live up to my expectations" kind of way.

"You can't do this to me! You can't treat me like Zuko!"

    • There is some debate on whether or not Ursa was a good mother to Azula. Since the only depictions we have of Ursa are Zuko's somewhat biased and idealistic memories and Azula’s hallucination, it’s hard to determine. At best, she was a caring mother who, through no fault of her own, failed to protect her daughter from Ozai. At worst, she was emotionally abusive and neglectful.
    • Ozai probably learned to be such a schmuck from his dad, Azulon, who at one point orders Ozai to kill Zuko so he would know what it is like to lose a son. However, Azulon would never have done this if not for Ozai, since Ozai tried to use the death of Iroh's son as a way to get Iroh disowned (no heir to carry on the line). Furthermore, Ozai would have done it.
    • Toph's parents are in continual conflict with her. They locked her in the house, ostensibly to "protect" their helpless little blind girl. It's mostly just neglect and overprotective behavior, but verges into pure stupidity when they continue this behavior after she proves how badass she is. Then becomes downright idiotic when she runs away; they assume the Avatar kidnapped her and send two of her earlier kidnappers as bounty hunters to get her back.
    • Mai's parents too. Though not as bad as Zuko or Toph's cases, it's revealed that she couldn't do much of anything except sit still and be quiet. If she made a comment at a dinner party, she got in trouble, if she fidgeted, she got in trouble. If she hugged her dad in public, she probably got in trouble. All because her parents just wanted to get higher and higher on the social ladder... and then they put her aside when her little brother Tom-Tom was born.
  • Adventure Time
    • Princess Bubblegum has been implied to have been emotionally neglectful towards her psychotic idiot son Lemongrab, by sticking him in a castle far away from her kingdom and not speaking to him. As much as an ass he was, the fact still stands that she DID make him, then proceed to bully him for an episode.
    • The mama bear from "Storytelling," who kept smacking her son in the face
    • Even Joshua qualifies for this at times. He's shown being quite insensitive, even emotionally abusive, towards his children. Even though his intentions were good, this led to Finn getting depressed, even suicidal, at one point.
  • Dr. Mar Londo from the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon series manages to be physically and emotionally abusive towards his only son Timber Wolf. For starters he performed illegal genetic experiments on his son transforming him into a werewolf-like monster and he turns it up to eleven in Season 2 where he implants nanites into his son's brain, driving him insane and using him to kill a clone of his just so he can get Timber Wolf to work with him again. The sad thing is judging by the photo Dr. Londo showed to the Legion of Superheroes in Timber Wolf's debut episode seemed to imply that he wasn't always abusive.
  • The entire Heinous line on Jimmy Two-Shoes is like this to the next generation. A Flash Back shows Lucius VI denying Lucius VII cake on his birthday for no other reason than For the Evulz. In another episode, Lucius VII notes he keeps Beezy "nice and miserable". In series, he has given him the necktie variant of Buried Alive and forced him into a Shotgun Wedding.
  • Kids Next Door is notorious for being composed by Good Parents, even the villainous ones. There's one exception in the Bigger Bad, Grandfather. How bad is he? Well, he's responsible for making Father the fucked-up person he is, and every single bad thing in the series can be traced back to him. What's more: Despite his son following his steps, he cruelly dismisses him in favor of his heroic brother Numbuh Zero (who is Numbuh One's dad), who hates his guts. Even worse? Despite his favoritism towards him, he still tries to burn him without any single hint of remorse. In short: This guy is the closest to a pure evil, sociopathic character this lighthearted series has.
  • It's difficult to pin-point where to put the dads of The Venture Brothers, but a mixture of neglect and emotional abuse likely puts all of them here.
    • Rusty Venture has almost no interest in his sons, particularly Hank, and barely shows any concern for them. He appears to love them deep down, as he kept making clones of them after they died upwards of twelve times, but he shrugs all his parenting duties off to the much-more-attentive Brock Samson. After his cloning facility got trashed, he showed a bit more concern for the boys, but is very verbally abusive to Hank and his "guidance" of Dean is likely screwing the boy up even worse.
    • Professor Richard Impossible is a Jerkass to his entire family, which eventually drove Sally to marry another man. At one point, when his infant child went missing and he decided to stay and work on an invention rather then look for him, Sally asked him what could be more important than his own son. Richard replied, "Science?"
    • Rusty's own father, Dr. Jonas Venture, manages to somehow top them both. In spite of having the outward image of a God-like scientist, he was secretly an immense Jerkass who treated his son as little more then a prop. Particular instances of abuse include him forcing Rusty to kill a man with a housekey at age ten, acting as Rusty's "therapist" by way of sneaking out of the room when Rusty was talking about his problems and then calling him ungrateful and whiney when he came back, and throwing him a birthday party and then inviting only supermodels, playboy bunnies, and prostitutes who were all much older then Rusty himself (this ended with Rusty having his swim trunks pulled down by other members of Team Venture and having his penis shot with a shrink ray). Aside from Rusty himself, no one seems to know about what a terrible person Jonas really was, to the point that there's a museum devoted to how awesome he was (which contains no reference to Rusty).
      • The museum was built by Jonas' other son, Jonas Jr., who was born (in an extremely unusual way) long after Jonas himself died. JJ goes by his father's public image that he was some kind of godlike figure and doesn't believe Rusty when he tries to tell him what an ass he was. However, the episode where this museum opened featured an old clip of Jonas being interviewed, where he did say that Rusty was the most important thing to him....which played after Rusty left the opening party. Although there's possibly an implication that Jonas said this for publicity.
  • In Futurama, there's Mom, who treats her three sons like punching bags, regularly insulting and hitting them (and once said she flipped a coin to decide whether to keep Igner or the afterbirth which comes with a truly wonderful helping of Fridge Horror when the viewer remembers the parallel universe where all coinflips have the opposite outcome).
    • Bender adopted kids to get child support, then neglected them, which also qualifies under neglect unto abuse. When he worked out he wasn't making any money from them, he was prepared to sell them as livestock to a Chinese resturaunt. In the second movie, he punts his own son into a vat of molten metal as trade for the Robot Devil's army. Even the Robot Devil was impressed.

Robot Devil: Wow, that was pretty brutal even by my standards.

Bender: No backsies.