Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas

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"I'm a mama's boy. I pity the fool who ain't one!"

Yes, even the toughest Bad around can still have a soft spot for dear old Mom. Sure, you have killed scores of men using only your right thigh, a roll of twine, and pure gumption, but she held you for nine months and took care of you when you were sick!

A subtrope of Pet the Dog, this is when a tough or intimidating character is made more endearing via a loving relationship with their mother. It is usually just used for a quick punchline, but occasionally the concept is a bit more fleshed-out.

When the main villain tries to keep their mama in the dark about being a bad man, then you have a case of Don't Tell Mama. If she finds out anyway, she might react with Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal. It is not usually a bad thing unless it turns into Mommy Issues.

Examples of Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • This concept is explored some in Yu Yu Hakusho when Kurama, a fox-spirit, possessed the body of a human baby to continue his existence after being killed. He planned to leave and continue his criminal ways once he regained his demonic powers, but found that he had come to love his human mother (Shiori) too much to abandon her, and was even willing to give up his life to save her from an illness. He's willing to give up your life, too, if you threaten her safety in any way.
  • Hayao Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky: Mother lovin' hairy sky pirates. A whole band of them. And their mum is the most Badass of all!

"All good pirates listen to their Mom!"

  • Lelouch Lamperouge aka Lelouch Vi Brittania, the Magnificent Bastard from Code Geass, has as one of his motives to uncover the truth behind the really messy death of Marianne "The Flash" Lamperouge aka Marianne Vi Britannia, his beloved mother. Episode 21 of the second season subverts this... because Marianne was actually not the loving, gentle mother he remembered, but a Knight Templar Parent.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Jotaro travels all the way to Egypt, enduring constant attacks by enemy Stand users, and then faces off with a time-stopping vampire, all to save his mother. Jotaro's Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality prevents him from ever really admitting that he loves his mother, but his actions speak volumes to her, as she has always has had faith in his inner kindness, and in the end, she was right.
    • Dio Brando himself: In Part one he harbors a fierce anger towards his father because according to Dio in his own words he "made mother suffer". More likely, his mother would be his only Morality Pet, thus when she died, Dio is free to become a Complete Monster extraordinary, which he does with gusto.
  • Inuyasha: Youkai leaderess Abi-hime's main motivation to strike a deal with Big Bad Naraku was to get the human blood she needed to save the life of her mother, Queen Tekkei, who was not only old but also was poisoned after defeating and eating an ogre. Granted, she's not portrayed as sympathetic and the mother is a giant bird youkai, but Abi's devotion to her mother is still noticeable.
    • Sesshoumaru is a Master Swordsman who can not only master a sword and its powers the first time he uses it, but he can even tell how sword powers should be wielded just by hearing the ability described. However, one sword - Tenseiga - proves to be truly difficult for him to master. So difficult, in fact, that he turns to his mother for help (who goes on to give him a Die or Fly lesson in the value of compassion, the key to mastering Tenseiga). He not only listens to her, but he doesn't resent it either.
  • Female version. Nao Yuuki from My-HiME is said to have been very close to her mother, having become a cynical "lone wolf" and child prostitute of sorts as a twisted revenge after said mother was seriously injured by thugs. This is brought up twice: when Natsuki whom she has attacked and kidnapped once accuses her of being selfish and cruel in her pursuits, causing a pissed off Nao to go into a Motive Rant and explain her backstory, and when Shizuru attacks Nao in retaliation for her attacking and kidnapping Natsuki (twice), killing Nao's CHILD * and* Mrs. Yuuki, which sends the girl into a heartbreaking Villainous Breakdown in which she screams and cries for her mother. Who fortunately gets better when Mashiro intervenes in the Grand Finale, though, letting Nao start all over.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser version. In Rose of Versailles, Oscar, a normally cool, passive, obedient royal guard, becomes quite outraged when Madame Du Barry, the mistress of the king, drags her mother into her high-stakes court battle against the then-dauphine Marie Antoinette. Oscar storms into Du Barry's private quarters and threatens her at swordpoint [mind, Du Barry is the favourite of the king, and needless to say threatening of any manner should have been punished by death], her sudden display of bloodlust frightening Du Barry such that she gave up the entire scheme despite having the king's protection. Although the very passionate Oscar has and would go on to lose his temper and do stupid/reckless/etc. things over other morally-charged conflicts -such as the murder of a child- this would remain by far the angriest and the stupidest, suggesting that she is a mama's girl above all else.
  • In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, the Big Bad has a very, very complex relationship with his mother, but he overall thinks highly of her—and, in fact, some of his motivation stems from an Awful Truth that she's a part of.
  • Frieza from Dragonball Z. Despite the fact he's a sinister, sadistic, omnicidal monster, he still is show to have a nice relationship with his father, King Cold.
  • Askeladd, one of the vilest men in Vinland Saga, loves his mother so much that whenever he makes an oath by her name, he is going to keep that oath no matter what. If he makes on oath on his father's name however, there's a very good chance he's going to stab you in the back.
  • Vanilla, the gruff and short tempered sheriff from Kaiba is revealed to have been struggling to earn enough money to buy a new body for his mother shortly before he dies.
    • Also Popo, who pretty much has to take over the world in order to see his mother again. But then her memory chip accidentally gets destroyed...
  • Fate and Lutecia, villains from first and third seasons Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who did what they did because the former wished to make her mother smile again and the latter hoped to awaken her comatose mother.
  • The main reason the homonculi do what they do in Fullmetal Alchemist is because they love their father. Of course Father being a Complete Monster just uses them for his goal, as their love makes them loyal to the end. Pride finally figures out that it was Mrs. Bradley who was the person that was giving him the love that they crave.
    • Subverted in the 2003 anime version: Two of the homonculi are the resurrections of people whose biological mothers are still alive -- Wrath is Izumi and Sig's dead son and Envy is Dante and Hohenheim's—but neither are particularly fond of at least one parent. Wrath instead forms a parent-child bond with Sloth, the homonculus of Trisha Elric, with whom he plays it straight. Envy can't get over his hatred of Hohenheim, and would love nothing more than to kill Hohenheim and his sons with Trisha.
  • Death Note - Teru Mikami is a notable inversion—he sees his mother as almost condoning the actions of evildoers by telling him that some things cannot be changed. When she is killed, he inwardly celebrates the death.
    • Villain Protagonist Light Yagami counts as well, considering that he didn't care that his dad died, and in the live-action movie, he was even willing to put his name on the Death Note.
  • In Trinity Blood, when Suleiman betrays and rebels against Empress Augusta Vradica, he nevertheless refuses to shoot her, instead Taking the Bullet himself. When she asks why he hesitated, all he replies before dying is: "Is there a child who doesn't love his mother?" Please note that although he was probably not related to the Empress by blood, most vampires in the setting harbor filial feelings towards her.
    • It's important to mention Suleyman was actually more a Well-Intentioned Extremist who dearly loved the Empire and never discriminated Terrans (which casts him in a better light than most Methuselahs) in the novels, teaching this to his niece and ward Shahrazad. Also that Seth is rumored to be a Complete Monster to some people (including Lilith, who was The Messiah in the past, thought so). So their dynamic is much more complex than the anime lets on. There is a bit of parental incest on Suleyman's side (who claims she's the 'woman' he 'loves' earlier, but also the person he detests).
  • Aya Mikage's villainous cousin Kagami is shown visiting his insane mother in one episode, and it's implied that her legends of the 'celestial maidens' was the original driving force behind Kagami's determination to find them. It's one of the few Pet the Dog instances he gets in the entire series, between backstabbing everyone else.
    • Also, the Yandere Miyori Sahara's Freudian Excuse was her beloved mother's murder at the hand of Ceres, during her first rampage.
  • Pretty much the whole reason why Kaioh from Fist of the North Star went Ax Crazy in the first place. His hatred for the main Hokuto family comes from the fact that his mother died while protecting a young Hyoh and Kenshiro.
    • Devil Rebirth, a huge monstrous convicted criminal was quite fond of his mother, who defended him despite the fact that he killed 700 people. Surprisingly she looked like a gentle old woman.
  • In Bleach, the Espada Tia Harribel has an all-female Fracción. The three girls (Apache, Mila Rose and Sun Sun) fight all the time between themselves, but they're very devoted to their mistress and she also cares for them. When they lose and die against Yamamoto, even after creating a fearsome Chimerae by mutilating themselves, Harribel quietly and coldly goes Mama Bear on her current opponent, Hitsugaya.
  • Kurei in Flame of Recca is usually Recca's sadistic Aloof Big Brother. He has different mothers (blood and adopted) and boy does he respect them well. In fact, his adopted mother is actually his Morality Pet, considering his adopted father is a Complete Monster.
  • Nakago of Fushigi Yuugi. She was the only family he had left, and watching her get raped--not to mention accidentally releasing his powers and killing her in a manner most gruesome out of horror--was the reason he became a psychotic Magnificent Bastard / Complete Monster in the first place.
  • Played for laughs in Desert Punk, where the leader of a gang doesn't even flinch when a letter addressed to him calls him a long list of scathing insults, but ends up "Hulking Out" when the postscript offhandedly mentions that his mother had a fat belly button. (or in the English dub that she was a "dirty whore")
  • There's a quick example in Mahou Sensei Negima. When Nodoka is being attacked by Bounty Hunters, she uses her artifact to read their minds... only to find that in spite of their threatening, inhuman appearance, they're actually very typical guys. One of whom is mainly concerned about sending a portion of his money for the job to his mother, and wonders idly how she's doing.
  • Takenouchi of Cromartie High School, purported to be the toughest student in the first year class, is quick to point out that no matter how Badass you are, you still have to respect your parents.
  • In One Piece it turns out Portgas D. Ace took the last name of his mother to honor her for extending her pregnancy at the cost of her own life so as to prevent him from being associated with his father Gold Roger. Due to having been told from a young age that his father was a demon and any children he might have had deserved to die for his crimes, Ace hated his blood father and preferred to honor his mother instead.
  • Mina, a Contractor introduced in the second season of Darker than Black gradually comes across as an Anti-Villain, but is icily emotionless and kills without mercy (but also without taking any pleasure in the act). It's implied that she was disowned from her family prior to becoming a Contractor (perhaps because of her lesbianism), and while she doesn't get along with her father, she is taken aback when he tells her that her mother is on her death bed, and to her surprise, this distracts her during a fight with Hei.
  • The eponymous Villain Protagonist of Kaiketsu Zorori. He seeks out a cute bride and Zorori Castle to make her proud of him And is more than a little overjoyed at the idea of reuniting with her in Heaven.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Marv of Sin City visits his frail old mother. Later he concedes to sign a confession for the villains when they threaten his mother, though he breaks the lawyer's arm first.
  • 100 Bullets: Remi and Ronnie Rome. Very much so.
  • Mirror Master, a regular Flash villain, regularly donates money he steals to the orphanage where he was raised.
  • Dr. Doom, resident Big Bad of the Marvel Universe, spent years of his life trying to rescue his mother from Hell after she made an unfortunate Deal with the Devil during his childhood. Doom eventually succeeds, due to a clever plan but in the process sacrifices her love for him.
  • In Lord Havok And The Extremists, this is the motivation behind Lord Havok's turn to villainy. Born horribly deformed, his father, the Czar of Russia, rejected him while the Czarina harbored him and paid for his education overseas. When he receives word that the Czar killed his mother, the only person who ever cared for him, he returns to Russia to attend the funeral, kill his father, and utterly obliterate his home country as his revenge.

You see, father, I can take, too.


Havok is an Alternate Company Equivalent to Doom; his backstory has all the elements of Doom's turned up to eleven.

  • One issue of a Dutch comic Agent 327 has the villain defeated by one of his own mooks, after said mook heard the song "Always think kindly of your mother" being used to torture the hero.
  • A couple of Marvel Comics villains use their ill-gotten gains to support their mothers or grandmothers, most notably the Wrecker, an enemy of Thor, and 8-Ball, an enemy of Sleepwalker.
  • The first sign of Spider-Man and Fantastic Four villain Sandman's eventual Heel Face Turn was a Christmas story where he broke out of jail to visit his elderly mom, who had no idea he was a villain. It's later established that he changed his name so his mother wouldn't know he was a crook.
  • Bork, a misguided, mutated criminal, in The DCU. Committing robberies to cover for his ailing mother's medical bills, he surrendered only after Batman assured him that she would be taken care of.
  • Spider-Man villain the Doppelganger is a pitiful mindless creature who knows only rage, confusion, and love for his surrogate mother Shriek, who dotes on him and refers to him as her "son."
  • Iron Man baddie Blacklash/Whiplash, after hearing of a vigilante targeting supervillains, went on a mad robbing spree in an attempt to amass enough money to take care of his mom once he's killed.
  • In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge is driven to the breaking point by a villain making fun of his dead mother. He brings down a whole steamboat with his bare hands.
  • Daniel "the Battler" Axum from the brief Thunderbolts retool was a colossal, superstrong ex-supervillain and ex-con who made a living out of metahuman fights and spent a lot of his earnings on gifts for his poor mother.
  • Rorschach is the most brutal inversion of this trope. Upon learning that his mother died, forced to drink cleaning fluid by her pimp: "Good."
  • Crutch from Knights of the Dinner Table.
  • Walter in The Mask Dark Horse comics universe - we never learn anything about this mysterious mute killer in the series other than that he has a "<3 Mother" tattoo on his right shoulder.
  • Brutally subverted in Ms. Marvel. After Ms. Marvel defeats Moonstone, she ripped away the latter's power source, leaving her to die in 3 days unless she can find it again. Ms. Marvel then puts it on Moonstone's mother's tomb, hoping that this trope would apply and Moonstone pulls a Heel Face Turn after apologizing to her deceased mother for what she has done. Turns out Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, so Moonstone reclaimed her power source... and smashed her mother's tomb. Moonstone killed her own mother and thought she was a weak failure. She never loved her mother or anyone else except herself.
  • In Wonder Woman, when Heracles was changed from a god back to a demigod, he wasn't mad about his reduced power, because he was glad to have his mother's blood back in his veins.
  • Lucky Luke - Joe, William, Jack and Averell Dalton love their Ma, and not just because she sends them... iron-enriched... cakes in prison.
  • The only thing approaching a soft spot the manipulative and amoral supervillain Daken from Dark Avengers seems to have is for his deceased mother, Itsu. He hates his father Wolverine with a passion, yet he seems to have a very loving memory of his mother, in spite of her dying shortly before his birth.

Ares: I'm wondering what woman in her right mind would crawl in bed with that ferret of a man-
Daken: That's my mother you're speaking of!

  • A sibling variation with Terra, of Teen Titans fame. Terra was an arguable Complete Monster who used everyone, hated good, and only cared for herself. The only times she showed true compassion were when she interacted with her long lost older brother.
  • Played straight in a Punisher MAX comic. Leon Rastovich was part of a child pornography ring that was busted. He turned over on a lot of his partners for a lighter sentence, but no matter what the prosecution offered him, he never turned on his mother, who was suspected of involvement.
  • In Luke Cage Noir, we never see it in action so much as get it spelled out for us. Josephine tells Cage that there isn't a lot to like about a creep like Tombstone... but he was always a mama's boy.
  • The Hood loves his mother and part of the reason he got into crime(Aside from being able to support his wife and daughter) was to take care of her.
  • Out of all of the Terror Titans, the third Persuader, Elise Kimble, seems to have had a loving relationship with at least one of her parents. Her father utterly adored her, but her mother eventually drove him away, and it was because of her upbringing that Elise became a killer. She actually killed her mom when she found out. When she's reunited with her father years later, he tells Elise that he wanted to take her with him, but she was a dependent, which meant she was worth money to her mother. Her mom threatened to make it look like he was abusing her if he tried to take Elise, so her dad tried to spare her a life of being on the run from the law by leaving. Their happy reunion is cut short when Elise's boss, Clock King, kills her dad right in front of her.
  • A recent issue of Wolverine revealed that Sabretooth of all people was this. Having his old mother living in one of the most expensive nursing homes in the world and often visiting her when he wasn't out murdering people. She is beaten to death with a hammer by a member of the Red Right hand.
  • Fantomex, an amoral mercenary from the X-Men comic books, who was raised to become a heartless weapon, visits his blind, old mother regularly in her world.
  • In the Havok & Wolverine miniseries, Wolverine gets into a barfight in Mexico after somebody called his mother a puta.

Havok: Logan, you don't even know who your mother was.
Wolverine: No reason not to treat her with respect.


Fanfic[edit | hide]

  • Ultimate Sleepwalker has a male example that shows how Even Bad Men Love Their Papas. The supervillain 8-Ball, a sociopath who's killed at least a dozen people during his armed robberies, and has also done such horrible things as firebombing a hospital for pay, uses some of the proceeds from his criminal activities to pay for the long-term hospital care of his father, whose drinking has just about killed him.
  • This is a central theme in Past Sins. Another central theme is the question of whether Nightmare Nyx is really bad...
  • This fic was the result of the author disliking fics in which Japan of Axis Powers Hetalia is portrayed as a Complete Monster towards his siblings while simultaneously not wanting to deny that the Japanese did very bad things to the Koreans and Chinese. Japan is technically not much less of a monster in it, but he does love his brothers. Possibly because they're just as bad.


Film[edit | hide]

  • 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma. After a member of the posse transporting him to the eponymous prison train insults his mother, shackled Magnificent Bastard Ben Wade promptly throws him into a ravine, and utters this line to justify it.

Wade: Day I die, Byron, I'm gettin' sprung from hell.
Byron: I might think that too, if I came from the seed of a drunk gravedigger, and the rancid womb of a whore.
Wade: [Whirls round, knocks back his captors, and grabs Byron from behind, holding a knife to his throat] I've always liked you Byron, but you never know when to shut up. Even bad men love their mommas. [hurls him over the cliff edge]

  • Joe Pesci's murderous psycho, Napoleon-complex character in Goodfellas loves his mama.
  • James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat. Subverted in that she's just as bad as he is.
  • The Heel Face Turn of Eve Teschmacher from Superman is prompted by the threat of her mother becoming collateral damage. She's all about being a vampy supervillian before that, too, with the big cape and the bigger boobies and everything else the job entails.
  • In The Naked Gun 33 1/3, Rocco sees his mother fall off a stage, presumably dead, and shouts down to her, "I'm coming, Ma!"—possibly the most devoted mama's boy on this list. Of course, it is parody.
  • The Legend/Fong Sai Yuk - In the second Fong Sai Yuk movie, when the bad guys kidnap Fong's mom, Fong goes through hell and high water to get her back, including this scene, qualifying as one of Jet Li's greatest fights, where he uses an arsenal of katanas to tear apart an alley full of mooks standing between him and where the bad guys have taken her. While blindfolded. His mother may be even more Badass than he is. When he is defeated by his prospective mother-in-law in the first movie, it's his mum who goes and restores the family honour (disguised as his brother).
  • In the Silent Hill movie, after the terrible and bloody vengeance that Alessa Gillespie unleashed on Christabella and the whole town that burned her alive for being born out of wedlock many years ago, the only survivors are Action Mom Rose, her daughter Sharon and Dahlia, Alessa's mother. When Dahlia ask Rose why is she the lone survivor out of all the Silent Hill inhabitants, Rose tells her "Mother is God in the eyes of a child."
  • Star Wars: A case of 'Even Bad Men Love Their Fathers', Boba Fett from Attack of the Clones was shown as this. Heck, he became the most feared bounty hunter in the Galaxy and recreated the Mandalorians to honor dear old dad.
    • Of course, Boba was a clone himself; his father's price for giving his genes to make the clone army included one "unmodified" clone to be his son.
  • In Scrooged, the Ghost of Christmas Past shows to Bill Murray's character one of his first Christmas evenings. Murray begins to cry. Earlier, the Ghost had claimed that even Genghis Khan had to cry when he saw his own mother. Murray then claims (unconvincingly) that he's crying over the lump of meat his father got him as his Christmas present, which he didn't appreciate back then.
  • Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. from Little Shop of Horrors has a shrine dedicated to his deceased mother, who encouraged him to become a dentist due to his sadistic nature as a child.
  • Tony Montana from Scarface somewhat loves his mother, even if there are rough edges to their relationship due to her being aware of his criminal activities.
  • One particularly Badass villain from the Fingerprints turns out to be doing everything to get revenge for her mother, who was murdered when she was a child.
  • Jason and his mother have a close and otherworldly relationship in the Friday the 13 th series.
    • In the first film, the mother kills off kids in vengeance for Jason. The iconic leitmotif "ki ki ki... ma ma ma!" is Mama Vorhees imagining Jason telling her, "Kill kill kill... mom mom mom!"
    • During part II, Jason makes a little shrine for his mother's decapitated head.
    • In the crossover movie Freddy vs. Jason, Jason comes back to life because his mother tells him to. Of course, the "mother" was a image made by Freddy Krueger in order to start a killing spree on Elm Street. That kind of obedience can't be faked. When he found out who his 'mother' really was, Jason was not happy...
  • Ronnie from Little Children is a convicted pedophile who loves his mother more than life itself, and is fully aware that she is probably the only person in the world who loves him. The film is notable for making a pedophile into The Woobie upon her death.
  • 2009 Star Trek - Though he's not exactly "bad" (more like a Jerkass) for the first half of the movie, the only way to make Spock react in the movie is to insult his mother or imply he doesn't love her. You do not want to do that unless you want the shit beaten out of you. So of course they kill her off.
  • Norman Bates in Psycho has always had a special relationship with his mother, keeping her in the old family mansion and taking care of her needs and demands, even twenty years or more after she died.
  • Scream:
    • After being informed by Sidney that she's called the police, Stu (who has apparently lost all rationality and is bleeding to death) pathetically breaks down and sobs, "My mom and dad are gonna be so mad!"
    • Another example would be Billy, whose motive for killing Sidney's mother (and later Sidney) was that Mrs. Prescott had an affair with his father, which led to his mother walking out on them both. Sidney even calls him a "pansy-ass momma's boy."
  • Four Brothers combines this with Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • American Gangster: Frank Lucas, drug king pin, uses his fortune to buy a Big Fancy House for his mother and fills her room with copies of furniture that was taken from them when he was five, which he had remade from memory. When the dirty detectives invade the house looking for Frank's getaway money they assault his wife, shoot his dog and demolish the furniture. Frank's mom talks him out of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge ("You don't kill cops, even I know that") by threatening to abandon him. It works, and they go to church instead where Frank is arrested by the un-corrupt cops who were investigating him.
  • In Brick, the Pin, a drug lord, lives with his mom. His mom even goes so far as to serve snacks during his business meetings.
  • In Sin City, Marv has the crap beaten out of him by crooked cops trying to get him to sign a confession. Marv spits blood at every paper they wave at him, until a slimy District Attorney shows up and threatens to kill Marv's beloved mother. Marv signs the confession almost immediately, but not before braking the DA's arm in several places.
  • In The Godfather Part II, After Michael Corleone learns of Fredo's treachery, he orders that nothing will happen to him while their mother is still alive. Of course, once we see that shot of Mama Corleone in that casket...
  • In JCVD, The bank robbers get in multiple heated arguments over the brutal treatment of the hostages - Two of them are Affably Evil, star-struck fanboys, who'd rather get Van Damme to show off his moves than extort the hostages, while the other one is a Complete Monster who opens fire on the cops multiple times, and shoots an escaping hostage in the leg. The arguments become more heated as the film progresses, but they manage to keep it all together. Until the Complete Monster insults another robber's mother. A point-blank headshot is the response from the other robber. His reasoning? "We agreed. Nothing about our mothers."
  • Defied in Demolition Man. When Huxley is looking over the list of Cryo-Cons, she notes to John Spartan, "Most of these guys don't like you." He answers that most of them don't even like their own mothers.
  • A very cynical approach to the trope shows up in the sequel to The Lion King. Zira treated all her offspring cruelly, but especially Nuka; yet Kovu and Vitani were the ones who actively rebelled, while Nuka went out of his way for Zira, such as when Kovu first refused to take part in an attack on the pridelands, and Nuka tried to take charge to win Zira's attention, yet died in the process.
  • Julian Karswell, the Satan-worshiping cult leader from Night of the Demon, is very affectionate and kind to his mother.
  • Complete Monster Michael Myers is quite fond of his mother in the Halloween remakes. Not only does he kill the kids who insult his mom, he also has hallucinations about her wearing completely white and urging him on while he murders.
  • Subverted as "fear their mamas" in The Fifth Element: Korben Dallas is a muscular blond hero, former soldier, who likes shooting at things and who is afraid of virtually nothing... except of his irritable mom's phone calls, during which he never dares to talk back while she generously berates him as the worst son ever for not calling her enough.
  • From the 1937 film Dead End, gangster Baby-Face Martin (played by Humphrey Bogart) returns after ten years to see his mother...and is genuinely hurt when she rejects him for being a killer.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has this little exchange:

Champ Kind: I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!
Wes Mantooth: Dorothy Mantooth is a saint! You understand me? Dorothy Mantooth is a saint!
Ron Burgundy: Hey, let's leave the mothers out of this.

Store Clerk: I fell sorry for your mother.
O-Dog: What you say about my mama?


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Lestat in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles is a mother's boy. He adores Gabrielle, revels in being her favorite son, and still resents every second she's not paying attention to him.
  • In Beowulf, the mortally wounded Grendel returns to his mother to die. Grendel's mother then takes up the vendetta against Beowulf.
  • In Good Omens, Nanny Astoreth teaches about Vlad Drakula and Attila the Hun, but omits the points about Drakula always saying his prayers, or Attila being nice to his mother.
  • Subverted in Hogfather; the Lilywhite boys greatly respect their deceased mother, as much out of quivering fear than love. They turn on Mr. Teatime after he snaps and goes, "To hell with your mam!"
  • In the first Thursday Next book, The Eyre Affair, one of the main villain's dimwitted henchman wants a motorway services named for his mother as his part of the ransom. It's the only part of the ransom that is granted before the situation blows up.
  • After being shot in a duel with Pierre in War and Peace, Dolokhov goes delirious in the carriage towards the hospital, murmuring about how he can't die yet because his mother will be heartbroken.
  • In the Sharpe series, the Drill Sergeant Nasty Obadiah Hakeswill keeps trying to kill Sharpe. He has a picture of his dead mother inside his hat. "Mother, spread your wings and lift me high!" is his catchphrase. He once justifies an act of rape by saying, "Mother, you always wanted me to be happy." Of course his mother helped to save him from the gallows, so he does have a point.
  • In Second Apocalypse his mother Istriya is the only person Xerius is not ready to execute at the first hint of a suspicion of possible treason. But then, Istriya is the person who made Xerius who he is, and they have a history of mother/son incest.
  • In Ken Follett's A Dangerous Fortune, the death of Edward Pilaster (a minor villain and son of Evil Matriarch Augusta) is commented on thusly by the heroes:

Hugh: "He loved his mother."
Maisie: "Why do you say that?"
Hugh: "It's the only good thing I can think of to say about him."

  • Somewhat subverted in Crime and Punishment: at the beginning, Sympathetic Murderer Raskolnikov is very fond of his mother and sister, but, after his crime, he begins to feel uncomfortable around them and actually feels he is starting to hate them.
  • In the Deepgate Codex, main villain Menoa's Start of Darkness was triggered when he was killed protecting his mother during his parents' war.
  • In The Brothers Grimm's tale #50 ("The Devil And His Grandmother"), the Devil himself cares about his grandmother—and thus, the hero can outwit him.
  • Played for maximal Mind Screw in Lionel Shriver's We need to talk about Kevin, which initially sets up expectations of a complete aversion.
  • The last word of the mad god Torak in the Belgariad is "Mother!" It's identified by Belgarath as a cry to the one thing in the universe Torak thought loved him. (Granted, as a god, Torak's mother is the universe - long story.) He was right - for a split second after Torak's death, everything stops, as the universe mourns her lost child.
  • In the non-fiction novel Inside Delta Force, the ex-Delta operator Hanley explains an incident from the training where he received a strike against him by the evaluating shrink for being "uncooperative." The reason? He refused to complete the portion of the psych eval which asked selectees to complete the phrase "I love my mother but..." When questioned about this, Hanley replied "I love my mother. No buts. Don't project your issues onto me." The strike was removed and Hanley went on to pass selection.
  • Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read wrote in his first book, Chopper: From the Inside, that the best way to find a criminal that didn't want to be found was either to wait outside their mother's house or to put her in hospital. They would always turn up because their love for their mums was so predictable
  • Dong Zhuo in Romance of the Three Kingdoms is possibly the most vicious tyrant in the book. When he finds out he's going to ascend to emperor, one of the first people he tells is his mother.
  • Paul Atreides in Dune. Even psychic demigod warlords love their mamas.
  • The Inquisitor and powerful vampire Witeslaw in the Night Watch series is mostly completely stoic not to mention utterly ruthless, and in his first meeting with the protagonist, casually mentions that he's eaten children. However, in Twilight Watch, she shows a reluctance to interact with an elderly woman and to use the word mother. It's explained that as a young vampire, he lost control of himself and killed his mother, something which fills him with great shame.
  • Fëanor, in The Silmarillion. Don't you dare thay Serindë. Also applies to Túrin. Insulting his mother, Morwen, is not a very good idea.
  • In The Eyes of Kid Midas, sadistic schoolyard bully Bertram gets very angry if you insult his mother.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, the very stoic Ares only becomes angry when his mother Queen Basilios is slandered. At which point, he offers to break the speaker's kneecaps if they don't shut up.
  • Artemis Fowl may be a criminal mastermind, but he'll do anything—including giving up half of his loot or traveling to the past to save an extinct species—to make his mother Angeline healthy and happy again.
  • The Army of Helaman or Helamen's Stripling Warriors from The Book of Mormon are infact heroic young men who learned rightousness from their mothers.
  • Clearly not the case with Left Behind Antichrist villain Nicolae Carpathia, as he and Viv Ivins had engineered Marilena Carpathia's death when he was no longer in need of his mother.
  • At one point in Black Company series, Croaker and Lady are arguing about Dominator - former, beliving in Gray and Gray Morality is trying to convince the latter that even he had to have a good side and uses this trope as one of the possibilities. Lady, arguing that Dominator was Complete Monster, says he probably ripped his mother's throat with his bare hands.
  • In Death: Basically averted. A number of the murderers in the series have Mommy Issues, and a number of them murdered their mothers first.
  • Peter Pan:

"See," said Hook in answer to Smee's question, "that is a mother. What a lesson! The nest must have fallen into the water, but would the mother desert her eggs? No."
There was a break in his voice, as if for a moment he recalled innocent days when -- but he brushed away this weakness with his hook.

  • Septimus Heap: Simon Heap still cares about his mother while he's trying to kill his siblings.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Danny from Hustle is very close to his grandmother despite being something of a Jerkass on occasion.
  • Jayne Cobb, the borderline Jerkass of Firefly, is seen in "The Message" to have a close relationship with his mother, judging by the letter (and the "cunning" knit hat) he receives from her. The other crewmembers are clearly amused by this discovery. In the comic "Better Days", his fantasy ship is called the "Radiant Cobb". When everyone finds this amusing - "That's my mama's name!"
  • Rather magnificently averted in Blackadder:

Blackadder: If I don't make it back, please write to my mother and tell her that I've been alive all the time; it's just that I couldn't be bothered to get in touch with the old bat.

  • Nevel on iCarly.
  • Beautifully inverted by Bernard in Black Books. Whilst filling out his tax form: "Mother's maiden name... Christ, what's her first name? I just knew her as ma! That'll have to do. Ma. [[[Beat]]] Possibly deceased."
    • Later in the same episode, while procastinating on his taxes, he actually calls his mother, cue '11 seconds later'.

Bernard: "I know... I am... yeah, I know... yes, yes... yep.. Yes I know, goodbye, I have to do my taxes!".

  • Gabriel Gray (or Sylar) from Heroes is revealed to be a mama's boy in his Season 1 Backstory episode. His whole obsession to be special came from his mother constantly telling him that he was and he needed to prove it to himself. Too bad she got shocked at what he became, tried to attack him with a scissors, which he stopped, but accidentally stabbed her in the chest. To top it off after her death he finger-paints a vision of the destruction of N.Y. city with her blood.
    • He even loves the mama he never knew so much that he tracks down his biological father so that he can kill him.
  • Many suspects on Dog the Bounty Hunter, even those with myriad felony charges against them, will often become emotional when family members or loved ones are mentioned when talking to them en-route to jail. Some will even take the opportunity to call them to apologize for their actions before being taken to jail.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike gets along with Buffy's mother, both because she treats him with courtesy (even commiserating when Drusilla dumps him) and because of his close relationship with his own mother, which ended badly after he made her a vampire.
  • Gender Flipped on Angel with Lilah, an Amoral Attorney literally employed by the forces of Hell. Her mother has Alzheimer's and Lilah pays for her to stay in a nursing home in another city. In one episode the two have a phone conversation, during which the mother apparently starts crying when Lilah tries to explain that she can't visit her that day.
  • The Sopranos
    • Paulie Walnuts is so nuts about his mother that he gets violent when other wiseguys insult their mothers in his presence. That is, until he finds out his "mother" was really has aunt, and his real mother was a nun who broke her vows. Then he goes crazy on both of them. He later makes up with her though.
    • Played with with Tony and his deeply troubled relationship with Livia. He goes through a lot of effort to take care of her even though she's a cold, manipulative Evil Matriarch. He eventually severs ties with her after she tries to have him killed.
  • Star Trek:
    • Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #31: "Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother." Subverted in the Expanded Universe by adding, "Insult something he cares about instead." However, Quark and Nog are both mama's boys.
    • Capt. Picard is no bad man, but he is a Badass. A memorable first season episode saw the always stoic, completely unflappable Picard go completely mushy when he hallucinated and thought he was talking to his mother again.
    • Worf is like this when he's around the Rozhenkos.
  • As Michael from Burn Notice puts it, "Thirty years of karate. Combat experience on five continents. A rating with every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge. Still haven't found any defense against Mom crying into my shirt."
  • House loves his mother; it's his father he hates.
  • In an episode of Life, a scammer got murdered, because he scammed a biker guy's mom.
  • Even though he is not a "bad" man (just a scary black one), B.A. Baracus from the The A-Team loves his mother so much, that he temporarily gives up his fear of flying to quickly get to his mother when she needs help.
  • Omar Little of The Wire takes his grandma to church on Sundays. When gunmen shoot at him while he does so, their bosses are particularly horrified. Even Evil Has Standards!
  • Grinning maniac Judge Frasier of This Is Wonderland. Although his own mother is probably long dead, he has a great respect for the bond between mother and child, and tends to be more lenient when moms are on trial.
  • In Prison Break, The Company implicitly threatens Bagwell's mother. This leads to him threatening dire vengeance should they follow through.
    • When T-Bag returns on Breakout Kings, he demonstrates just how far he's willing to go to deal with the two former orderlies who sexually assaulted his mother in a nursing home.
  • Seen in Chuck when John Casey calls his mother during a hostage situation.

"Mom? It's Johnny Boy."

    • Subsequently subverted when it's revealed that his birth name is Alex Coburn. The call can then be interpreted as him reporting on the situation to Beckman.
  • Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory is incredibly stubborn, but he listens to his mother, who Leonard refers to as [Sheldon's] Kryptonite. Sheldon is also devoted to his grandmother, whom he calls Memaw.
  • Non-human example: On All Creatures Great and Small, the two vets were chased up a tree by an enraged bull, which the farmer didn't dare approach for fear of being gored. To rescue them, he brought an elderly cow to the paddock, and the bull immediately calmed down and became tractable in her presence. She was the bull's mother.
  • Inverted in Criminal Minds in one episode: the killer's mother was his first victim.
  • Played straight in Doctor Who episode "The Vampires of Venice"; Rory begins insulting Francesco in order to distract him from Amy, but it has no effect until he insults his mother.

What did you say about mummy?!

  • Inverted and subverted in Battlestar Galactica. Cavil refuses to acknowledge that he loves Ellen as his mother but is implied to have loved her all along and sought her approval, only to believe that Ellen never loved him back. Ellen insists she always cared for Cavil but she can't convince him because she never shared his more morally-grey beliefs and philosophies. The result of those differences make their relationship a supremely messed up one.
    • The whole Cylon race counts really. They persistently refer to humanity as their parents, yet have gleefully justified their genocide at the same breath.
  • At the end of the first episode of Sherlock, Mycroft and Holmes bicker over who upset their mother more. Given that they're a pair of High-Functioning Sociopaths, this may not be entirely based in fact, but Watson appears to believe it.
  • Scorpius from Farscape genuinely loves his mother, in spite of having never met her for obvious reasons, and flies into a furious rage when he discovers that he was produced when his mother was raped as part of a Scarren breeding program, and it is this, as well as his own abusive childhood at the hands of the Scarrens, that fuels his deep hatred for them. Later, he is seen cracking a genuine smile as he caresses a flower that reminds him of his mother.
  • Cesare Borgia of The Borgias. Domestic Abuser and Jerkass Baron Bonadeo had little to no chance of survival after calling Cesare's mother Vannozza a "Spanish whore" twice. Cesare even gave him the opportunity to apologize, but Bonadeo didn't take him up on it and gets his throat slit for his trouble.
  • Clavo Cruz in CSI: Miami. He's a drug dealer, murderer, and generally appalling person, but when his father makes a threatening move towards his mother, he instantly puts himself between them.
  • In an episode of the original Outer Limits a group of Earth soldiers are captured by an alien race. They are tortured and subjected to hallucinations. A young Martin Sheen plays a loud, bigoted soldier who is reduced to tears (and possibly treason) by the visit of his mother (visible only to him).


Music[edit | hide]

  • Insane Clown Posse, best known for excessively weird, violent lyrics and their constant swearing, gave us the surprisingly heartfelt "Mom Song".
  • The Decemberists' "Mariner's Revenge Song" tells the story of a young gentleman whose mother is seduced by a conman and left to die penniless. He spends the rest of his life haunted by visions of his mother imploring him to hunt down and slaughter the man. Even when he and his quarry are swallowed by a whale, doomed to certain death in its belly, he's almost giddy that he has the opportunity to tell the conman why he's about to torture him to death as his final act.
  • Lil Wayne:

"And mama don't cry, ya son can handle his/ I got her out the hood and put her in the hills/ Yeah when I was fourteen I told my mom we will see better days/ And sure enough I got Miss Cita in a better place"

And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole.
No-one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried.
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied.
That leaves only me to blame 'cos Mama tried.

  • A fascinating version comes off of Tool's 10,000 Days album. Though Tool certainly doesn't classify under "bad men," the song "Wings of Marie", is certainly a representation of something like this trope. A two part, seventeen minute long Epic Rocking tribute from Maynard James Keenan to his mother, who lived approximately ten thousand days while paralyzed and wheelchair-bound from a severe stroke, it's arguably the most loving and emotionally wrenching song Tool has ever done.
  • Brutally subverted by "Judith", by A Perfect Circle, written by Maynard:

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never ever choose to be
Oh so many ways for me to show you how your savior has abandoned you

  • Angry (Feet) by Tim Minchin both uses and subverts this.

My mother was a stupid bitch... caring lady
She taught me all I know
Although I was a little slow, she never gave up
She never let me slut - down
Although she spent a lot of time at the neighbor's house
When my dad was out of town...

  • Mr. T's "Treat Your Mother Right" vid.
  • Tupac gave us the song "Dear Mama". While Tupac didn't grow up in the best of backgrounds, his undying love for his mother bleeds through in the lyrics. Whether it's her supporting him through the best (and worst) of times, or vice versa, the mother-son bond never broke.
    • This is true for most Hip Hop/Rhythm and blues stars who came from rough neighbourhoods/single-parent homes: first thing they do after making it big is to buy a house for their mothers.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • King Oedipus. (Not like that!) He left home at once when told he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, which he thought meant the people who'd raised him. It didn't work out, of course, but he tried.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The Undertaker. In 1998, during the introduction of Kane and the revelation of Paul Bearer being Kane's father, the Deadman received quite a few beatings and insults. But it wasn't until Paul Bearer called Taker's mom a whore live on TV that he sprung into action and gave his former ally the asskicking he deserved. Even the Lord Of Darkness loves his mama.
  • Shane McMahon. Not quite as evil as his father, but harming Linda is a surefire way to set him off.


Video Games[edit | hide]

Reno: Mother, schmother... It's Jenova's freaking head!
Yazoo: I will not have you refer to Mother that way!
Loz: You meanie!

  • Final Fantasy X, Seymour's mother sacrificed herself when he was a child, and... let's just say he didn't cope well (Freudian backstory in a Final Fantasy game? Say it ain't so).
  • Teryn Loghain and his daughter Queen Anora in Dragon Age serve as each others' Morality Pets. No matter how much of a self-serving power-hungry Jerkass either is, they still love each other.
    • Really? Killing her father in a duel and marrying her to become her co-regent seems to be perfectly fine with her.
      • Anora's a piece of work as they come considering she 'does' seem to love him but she loves power just as much if not more.
      • The sequel has Anders, who by the end of the game is an insane demonically possessed terrorist, but even at the height of his madness his most prized possession is the embroidered pillow his mother made for him, the only thing of his parents' he was allowed to keep when he was taken by the Templars at age twelve and imprisoned in the Circle Tower as a mage. His giving it away to Varric is a good sign that he's become a Death Seeker.
      • Also in the sequel, no matter how hard-ass, violent, and out right psychotic you play Hawke, his/her voice still trembles and sounds as if he/she is holding back tears while searching for their mother after she had been abducted in Year 4.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police - Season 1 Episode 3: The Mole, The Mob, and the Meatball has a professional card shark who is very fond of his late mother. When he gets on the protagonists' bad side and decides to withhold information, they decide to interrogate him with 'Yo Mama' jokes.
  • Subverted on Grand Theft Auto III - if you listen to the Chatterbox radio station, eventually you'll hear Tony (the local Mafia boss) call in and complain bitterly about being smothered by his 'ma'.

Tony: It's my ma. She don't think I'm a real man. Can you imagine that? I mean, I do a man's job and all, but... she treats me like a little boy! All I get is 'Your pa' this, and 'Your pa' that, and 'You're not a real man, Tony!' And it's driving me... freakin' nuts!

Umberto: I love women chico. I love my mother!

"As a child, I looked up to my grandfather for all the great things he accomplished in his life. He was my hero, and I wanted to be a great scientist like him."

  • Halo's Sgt Johnson, who is devastated when he returns home from a long mission to find his elderly aunt dead, as shown in the Expanded Universe novel Contact Harvest.
  • EarthBound: This is actually a huge part of Giygas' backstory. Earthbound Zero implies that his insanity was caused by his inability to understand or cope with his feelings toward Maria, the human who raised him.
  • Porky in Mother 3. His favorite restaurant is staffed with robots in his mother's likeness. Sure, it's creepy, but that's about as close to love as he gets.
    • Before that came Giegue in the original MOTHER. To defeat him, the party had to sing the lullaby his human mother sang to him.
  • In Fallout 3, your character can be a living, walking embodiment of good, or Satan's favorite mortal. Either way, you'll goes through hell and high water just to find your dad. Of course, this being Fallout 3, you have the choice of why. At one point in the game, you also can, if you choose, express explosive anger over your mother dying in childbirth.
  • Kanji from Persona 4 is an odd example. He loves his mom and he feels sorry for her for all the stuff he puts her through. To make up for it he beats up an entire biker gang that kept her up at night.
  • Warden, the Man Behind the Man in House of the Dead: Overkill, has an unsettlingly carnal relationship with his aging mother, and developed the zombie virus in an effort to keep her alive.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Sniper. Although considering his father has essentially forsaken him as a "crazed gunman", it's more or less by default.
    • The Scout too: he is a major Jerkass and a Sociopathic Hero but gets majorly pissed off when he finds out that the enemy Spy is having sex with his mother. Further in-game quotes also suggest he loves his mother very much. Although that freakin' Scout was the Spy, so that would probably have been the Scout's reaction to seeing the pictures anyway.
    • The Demoman bought a mansion for his mother, and makes her tea.
      • He holds down three multi-million dollar jobs just to make her happy. She doesn't need the money, having those jobs are her requests.
  • Dead or Alive - Ayane, generally a cold and bitter girl as a result of her upbringing and the prejudice against her for the circumstances of her birth nonetheless lets the armor crack and the tears slip when she's forced to kill her adoptive father(and the only person that ever showed her concern growing up besides Kasumi and Hayate), Genra, after DOATEC transforms him into the demonic Omega.
  • Malik of Wild ARMs 3. After all, he chose life technology as his field of research was to find some way to resurrect his mother.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the death of Laharl's mother is one of the main reasons he's so emotionally messed up. Likewise, in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, Axel's primary motivation for his acting career is so he can take care of his sick mother. And according to The World of Disgaea 2, the jacket he wears was made by her as well.
  • Left 4 Dead's resident Badass Biker Francis, when he isn't screaming like a little girl, sometimes calls out for his mama when he gets killed.
  • In Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations it's completely subverted. Dahlia wants to kill Maya for personal reasons, not for her mother's plan to make Pearl the future matriarch of the Kurain clan.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Enemy Chatter reveals that at least one of the Joker's mooks is nervous about dumping a suspicious contaminant into the Gotham City water supply because his beloved mother, who lives down by the docks, might get affected by it.
    • Decidedly averted by Calender Man in Arkham City. In his own words

""M" was for the murderous look she gave me.
"O" meant only that she was weak and old.
"T" is for her terror as she fought me.
"H" is for her heart that I now hold.
"E" is for her eyes swiftly dimming.
"R" means rot, and soon rotting she will be.
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER", a word that means a corpse to me. Happy Mother's Day, Mommy."

    • Averted in the sequel game, where one mook tells of how he killed his mother with a poisoned birthday cake.
  • Perhaps the only redeeming feature of the Glukkon race of the Oddworld games is their absolute devotion to thier mother. That "Mother" singular, as every Glukkon is the child of Lady Margaret.
  • The reason main character Batsu gets involved in the events of Rival Schools: United by Fate is because his mother Shizuku is one of the school kidnapping victims. Of course, the kidnappers happen to be Batsu's estranged father and his previously unknown cousins.
  • John Marston is a pretty polite guy, but still a hardened outlaw through and through; the only people in the game that he doesn't see as either a means to an end or as a disposable nuisance is Bonnie MacFarlane, and his wife and son.
  • Walter in Silent Hill 4 became a Serial Killer precisely for a ritual he was told would allow him to be reunited with his mother. Then again, he thinks his mother is the room he was born in, having been abandoned by his actual one not long after.
  • In a side quest in Tales of the Abyss, Asch temporarily joins the party to get a mushroom that will cure an illness that his mother (and Luke's) has been afflicted with.
  • Kratos from God of War. He is shown to care for his mom. When she was turned by Gods into a monster which Kratos had to kill, thus killing his own mother, he was shown to be very devasted by her death, and outraged at Gods. He took her body into his arms. And he also did her will, and decided to look for his brother.
  • The Agorian Leader in the Battle of Zanifar in Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, when you shoot down his ship, ends up sinking into the water, during which he promptly screams for his momma to save him because he can't swim.
  • Muggshot from the Sly Cooper series. When Bentley is trying to lure him into a fight (a trick to get him to fight Sly's police officer Love Interest and eliminate both as a threat to their current scheme), all of his insults Muggshot either brushes aside, either with surprising wit, bashing through them with raw ego, or outright dismissing what he said because it was too complicated. Only when Bentley insults Muggshot's mother does he become angry enough to agree to the fight.
  • Dante from Dantes Inferno is shocked to find his mother condemmed in the Wood of the Suicides. Granted, he had been led to believe that she died of a fever, but it's still a Tear Jerker moment. Especially considering that she did it out of desperation, no thanks to her husband's abuse and mistreatment of her and Dante.
  • In Double Switch, Eddie loves his mother very much, possibly to Oedipus Complex levels.
  • In Scarface the World Is Yours, when Tony's mother is killed by enemy gangsters, he takes revenge on them.
  • In Oblivion, Mathieu Bellamont of the Dark Brotherhood loves his mother very very much. So much, in fact, that he is actually a traitor with a lifelong vendetta against the Dark Brotherhood, planning to assassinate the Night Mother and bring down the Brotherhood from the inside, because his mother was killed by Lucien Lachance. He even keeps his mother's severed and mummified head in his cellar.
    • Bringing the head to the place where Lucien was executed and kicking it around the room nets an understandably shocked reaction from Mathieu.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Can even an Archdevil, a ruler of Hell who is, for all practical purposes, Made of Evil, show love for her mother? If the case of Glasya, the ruler of the sixth layer of Hell in Dungeons & Dragons cosmology, definitely. Her mother was the consort of Asmodeus, the Overlord of Hell (her father, naturally), who was murdered by Levistus, the ruler of the fifth layer of Hell centuries ago (a treasonous crime that caused Levistus to become both the ruler and a prisoner of his domain). It's no secret that Glasya utterly despises Levistus for the death of her mother, and one of her biggest goals since becoming ruler of her own layer is revenge, possibly by finding enough evidence of Levistus' treachery (or planting some) to convince her father to eradicate him completely. This only applies to 3rd Edition. however; in Editions after that, Glasya herself betrayed her mother, framing the already-reviled Levistus for doing so.
    • Another extreme example from this cosmology is Bahgtru, the orcish god of strength and the son of Gruumsh, the chief god of the orcs. Bahgtru is known for being incredibly stupid, but he has Undying Loyalty towards his father; and one source claims he has even greater loyalty towards his mother, Luthic. (Given that orcs tend to be misogynistic as a species, and Luthic is willingly submissive to her husband, that's really saying something.)
    • In he Greyhawk setting, it is strongly suggested that Vecna began his Start of Darkness out of revenge after witnessing his mother unjustly executed by a lynch mob, but just how "bad" he was before that is debatable. One thing is certain, the event caused him to start down the road to becaming one of the most dreaded and feared villains on Oerth.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Female example: in Boy Meets Boy, Tabitha's mother is literally the Devil. Tabitha loves her and it appears the only thing she fears is her mother being disappointed in her.
  • Although not a bad man by any stretch of the imagination, Lawful Good Deadpan Snarker Nodwick complains about being cloned, "Could you at least tell me which helmet is mine? It was a gift from my mom."
  • Drip, the Sin of Lust and a Complete Monster even by the standards of other demons in Jack, does not avert or subvert this trope so much as utterly pervert it in the form of his relationship with his grandmother. Her constant emotional and sexual abuse towards him as a child shaped him into becoming the sadistic rapist we met him as, so it's no surprise she ended up in Hell, too. She's now imprisoned in a wall of Drip's infernal lair, but that doesn't stop her from continuing the same abuse—all of it—right where she left off, nor does it make Drip any less cowed by her.
  • The darker-haired Mystery Solving Teen from Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant "Fuckin' loves [his] grandma, so fuck off."


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • It's not being puked on by a possessed game cartridge that results in The Angry Video Game Nerd bringing out the big guns. It's said possessed cartridge insulting his mother.

Possessed Cart: Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!
AVGN: The fuck did you just say?!

  • Brian Goldstein, the Big Bad Pirate King in the Union series exemplifies this. When the ship carrying his mother is seized by a Colonial frigate So they can use his mother as a bargaining chip. causes him to take a level in Badass just to rescue his mother, ultimately being shot for his trouble. His last words to his mother, as she cradles his broken and bleeding body. "Mama, it hurts." Heartbreaking, even for a Big Bad.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

"He once fed an entire village..."
"Oh, that's nice!"
"To his mother."
"That's... less nice, but at least he cares about his mama!"

  • Johnny Bravo loves his mama; in fact, it's one of his few redeeming qualities. Of course, he isn't actively BAD; however, he is obnoxious, vain, and so clueless it can warp the laws of time and space.
  • Subverted with Ma Beagle of DuckTales (1987), who treats her boys like dirt, even though they love her.
  • Mom, of Mom's Friendly Robot Company on Futurama.
  • Spoofed in the Looney Tunes short "Deduce, You Say", in which the little old flower seller Dorlock Holmes [Daffy] harasses turns out to be the hulking Shropshire Slasher's beloved Mother. After the ensuing melee dies down, they head off down the street:

"I told the nice gen'lman I'd give meself up now, mother."
"You always was a good boy, Slasher."

Louie: Man that's a spirit lifter. I could whack my own mother now.
Fat Tony: Funny you should mention that...
Louie: What?! Aw, but she makes such great pasta.
Fat Tony: It comes in a can.
Louie: She's a corpse.

    • In the episode "Sweets and Sour Marge", the day planner of an evil CEO consists of nothing but "Evil Deeds", except for an hour break for "Lunch with Mom".
    • Bart Simpson is proud to be America's Bad Boy, but he really does love his mom. Like in the World of Warcraft-expy where he was a Dark Lord and protected his mother's character from goblins and even revived her. Then there's the real world where he's willing to defend his mother from an Ultimate Martial Artist.
    • A variant: in "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," the criminal Dwight's problems seem to stem largely from being abandoned by his mother as a child. He latches onto Marge as a Parental Substitute after she shows him some compassion during a hostage situation and becomes hurt when Marge doesn't want to visit him in prison.
    • Averted with Mr. Burns. He never forgave his mother after her affair with President Taft.
  • Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was revealed to have a still-living mother on the show, whom he presumably loved but who really cramped his style. Possibly a subversion to the trope above: by the end of the episode he teleports her out of the Technodrome and back to her retirement home, then laughs triumphantly and with great relief.
  • Dr. Drakken of Kim Possible. Despite being out to rule the world and loudly bragging about his supervillain status to anyone who will listen, he still hasn't managed to "come out" to his mom about being a maniacal powermad villain. She thinks he has his own radio show; his real name is Drew Lipsky, and it's implied she mistakes him for Dr. Drew Pinsky.
  • Disney's Robin Hood has a Running Gag of the evil Prince John remembering his mother and going sucking his thumb because he was The Unfavorite, compared to his brother King Richard. He even does it while attacking his snake right-hand man. And remember, Prince John is voiced by Peter Ustinov. Also an Historical In-Joke, Richard really was Eleanor of Aquitaine's favorite child.
  • Female version from Avatar: The Last Airbender: A prominent Magnificent Bastard has a Villainous Breakdown in the Grand Finale, hallucinating a vision of her Missing Mom. Mummy Issues are exposed, leading to a Villainous Breakdown.
    • The series also has an aversion. Yon Rha is not very fond of his abusive hag of a mother, at one point suggesting that another character kill his mother so as to Pay Evil Unto Evil. He is very obviously excited by this prospect.
  • Prohibitor the Annoying from Gravity Falls, the mascot of Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons, and an evil wizard; he seems to love his mom, although he's not very pleased that the bag lunch she made for him includes apple slices.
  • In Disney's Peter Pan, when Wendy is singing "Your Mother and Mine" to her brothers and The Lost Boys, Captain Hook and the other pirates overhear her. Anti-Villain Smee gets emotional, as he lifts up his shirt - and displays the "Mother" tattoo.
    • And apparently, if the sequel and the prequel novels are to be believed, Hook himself falls under this trope.
    • The Fox version of Hook keeps a portrait of his sainted mother in his cabin, and, in "Hook the Faithful Son," is tricked into believing his mother wished for him to be a pilot, not a pirate.
    • In Cosgrove Hall's adaptation of Soul Music, Anti-Villain Satchelmouth Lemon has an identical tattoo, revealed in similar circumstances (although the song isn't specifically about mothers).
    • One of the most common instances of this trope is the stereotypical image of a large, imposing, angry biker sporting a large tattoo of a heart with "Mom" written in it on his shoulder. One would assume it's not a chest tattoo like Smee's because the giant ZZ Top beard they all seem to have have would cover it up.
  • Sperg from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy has gotten upset when Mandy has called his mother a 'respected and worthy person of the community' (which is bad in Sperg language) and in another episode where Billy calls her ugly and makes her cry (which also turns out to be quite ironic, incidentally).
  • Subverted to humourous effect in The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Robotnik has a mother, but she's bats-in-the-belfry insane and he hates her! He's absolutely terrified of her as well, since she's even worse than he is.
  • The Cat in the Hat discovered that the Grinch's mother is his soft spot.
  • The Shrek sequels show that Prince Charming is a complete and utter Mama's boy. In fact, it's his desire to make her proud that leads him to hatch another villainous plan in Shrek the Third. And his last word, before he is crushed under a tower, is "Mummy?"
  • Hopper from A Bugs Life loved and/or respected his mother enough to honor her wish to not kill his younger (annoying) brother when she was on her death bed. This is quite possibly his only redeeming quality.
  • In Ugly Americans, half-demon (Anti)Anti Christ Callie has a very close relationship with her human mother.
  • Gary the Rat goes well out of its way to avert this. Gary is often seen talking on the phone with his mother, who will be suffering some important malady, and all he'll do is make a crass remark about how much worse her situation will get, or that he can't wait for her to die, or what-have-you.
  • Don't talk bad about Varg's mommy.
  • On Batman the Brave And The Bold, Superman is temporarily affected by Red Kryptonite, leading to some very serious instances of Super Dickery. Though perfectly willing to let Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen fall to their deaths, he goes into a Tranquil Fury when Batman asks "What would Ma Kent think?"
  • In an episode of Darkwing Duck, the villain-vanquishing vigilante is trying to improve his public image, and as a result is not allowed to use his gas gun or karate skills to take down some criminal thugs. He resorts to threatening to tell their mothers, which turns out to be an incredibly effective tactic.
  • In Season 5 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, in a bid to get Scorpion to release Aunt May from his grasp, calls the green-garbed crook a coward who would probably send his own mother to fight his battles. Now, this might not seem like much on its own, but it had been established as far back as Season 1 that Scorpion's Berserk Button is being insulted and called names, so one would think that Spidey calling him a coward would have been enough. However...

Scorpion:That does it! ... Callin' me names is one thing, but nobody talks trash about my mother!

  • Gender-flipped in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Family Appreciation Day," wherein obnoxious brat Diamond Tiara seems to at least be enough of a Daddy's Girl to be genuinely interested in her dad's speech about how his business succeeded, even while said speech left the rest of the class asleep.
  • Averted on Phineas and Ferb during the L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N. Pageant of Evil. The first event was upsetting a Mom Bot. When Lawrence is nice to her, the announcer proclaims in shock, "He's serving her tea! Without irony!" Doofenshmirtz wins the event with a single sentence: I'm getting married again.
  • Double gender-swap in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 version) where Evil-Lynn is a case of "even bad girls love their daddys". She's very hesitant to help Skeletor steal the Ram-Stone from it's protector the Faceless One, claiming she doubts she can defeat him. The true reason is, the Faceless One is her dad who she still has feelings for, despite the fact that he clearly shows disappointment in her working for Skeletor. This plotline is important later, when she double-crosses Skeletor and finds herself over her head; her father is the only one who can provide help (or rather, find someone who can).

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • As seen in the page quote, Mr. T. He even sang a song about it.
  • Josef Stalin. For her part, his mother is alleged to have said he should have become a priest instead. Supposedly, he was so scared of his mother (Georgian women are tough) that his oppression of the Georgian Orthodox Church was less thorough than elsewhere in the Soviet Union. She is also the only person to whom he regularly spoke Georgian with, even though he hated it.[1] He even gave her a palace (or a wing of a palace) to live in. She moved into the worker's quarters and cooked her own meals, against Josef's wishes.
  • Sapamurat Niyazov, longtime dictator of Turkmenistan until his death. A complete and utter fruitloop known for doing things like calling himself Turkmenbasy (father of the Turkmen), renaming places and things (like the months of the calendar and the days of the week) after himself and his extended family, passing downright insane edicts (like banning hospitals and clinics outside the capital, advising people to chew on bones for dental health, and banning lipsynching), and ruthlessly imprisoning and/or killing anyone in his way. And making things refer to his mother. He made massive statues of himself and his mother, including one massive rotating one upon the arch of neutrality, he renamed the traditional Turkmenistani bread and the month of April after her. And the downright scary thing? She died in an Earthquake in 1948 when he was 8 years old!
    • It should be mentioned that he was trapped in his home with her corpse (as well of those of his brothers) for almost a week until he was finally found by search teams. The scars from that experience would explain a whole lot...
  • Not to mention Adolf Hitler, who carried a picture of his mother around after her death. Adolf loved his mother so much he made special concessions for the Jewish doctor who cared for her, even after she died.
  • Though there's still debate on the subject of him being "bad" or not, Hugo Chávez is a self-admitted and PROUD mama's boy, and she's his First Lady since he's been divorced twice.
  • The Kray twins, English gangsters of the 1960s, doted on their mother.
  • Subverted with baseball's Ty Cobb. He once claimed to have loved only two things in his life: Jesus and his (Ty's) father. More disturbing in that Ty's mother killed his father.
  • Matricide and child molestation are generally regarded as the two unforgivable crimes among the inmates of any prison.
  • Reversed with cocaine queenpin Griselda "The Godmother" Blanco: Even Bad Women Love Their Sons. Anyone else's kids were out of luck, to the disgust of the other druglords.
  • In Albions Seed by David Hackett Fischer, the author states that sometimes the fiercest of frontiers men could be frightened by the old ladies of The Clan.
  • The last words of Clarence Lackey before being lethally injected was "I love you, Mom."
  • According to the book Killing For Sport: Inside The Minds Of Serial Killers, by Pat Brown, the majority of serial killers, contrary to the stereotype, were not abused by their mothers. In fact, they tend to have been closest to their mothers (as the rest of the family is more likely to accept that something is 'off' about the killer.) That the relationship was not abusive is questionable, though, as there have been some cases when the killers love their mommies very much, even when said Mommy is crazier than THEY are...
  • Uday Hussein killed one of his father's favorite servants, because the servant had introduced Saddam to the woman who would become his second wife, which Uday felt was an insult against his own mother.
  • The popularity of the heart Mother tattoo among members of biker gangs should be considered evidence of this.
  • There's at least an urban legend that on 9 September 2001, Osama bin Laden called his mother to warn her that in a few days there would be "big news", after which he wouldn't be able to contact her anymore.
  • Humorously subverted by pro football player Bo Jackson, who was once quoted as saying, "If my mother was wearing the helmet and jersey of another team, I'd run over her if she was in my way. And I love my mother."
  • A documentary about the Spring Creek maximum security prison in Alaska featured an inmate who murdered his cellmate because said cellmate bragged about murdering his mother. He'd been willing to tolerate the cellmate before, and even mentioned that he got along well enough with the guy—until that Berserk Button was pressed.
  • Peter Singer, who famously holds that it is morally required to euthanize those who no longer fit his definition of a person, none the less spent tends of thousands of dollars to care for his mother after Alzheimer’s took her previously amazing mental ability and memory.
  • Even after he went to jail, Al Capone's mother insisted that he was "a good kid". They were very close.
    • Reportedly she brought him chocolates from a local confectionery every time she visited him in prison.
  • According to Joe Pistone's (aka "Donnie Brasco") book Way of the Wiseguy, this is very true of Mafiosi, to the point where making a wisecrack about a Mafia member's mother could get the joker killed for it.
    • During one of the many trials in which he testified as a witness, Pistone had to point out that the entire Mafia, from the boss down to the lowest associate, grinds down to a complete halt during Mother's Day every year.
  • Argentine rock singer and professional tough guy Pappo Napolitano (now deceased) wrote once a very famous song. It was about how he loved his mother and the principal verse said: "Nobody DARE touching my old woman"
  • Heinrich Himmler loved his mum so much, he send her postcards from countries the Nazis were invading. Sample text: 'My Dearest Mummy! Today I am sending you very warm greetings from Paris. I hope you are well. Your Heinrich.'
  • You can debate whether he's a "bad" man, but as one of the best linebackers in the history of American Football and a man who could easily kick your ass ten different ways, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is inarguably "bad" in another definition. After being picked by Baltimore and moving there, what was the first thing he used his new, gigantic, NFL player paycheck for after buying himself an apartment there? Buying his mother an apartment down the hall from his. He still calls her after every game 16 years later.
  • William the Conqueror. One can debate about how evil a man he was but he sure wasn't a warm and cuddly man. In any event at one time while he was still just Duke, he was besieging a castle. The garrison draped strips of leather to taunt him because he was the illegitimate son of an affair between his father and a tanner's daughter(it may have been more the tannerhood then the bastardry that was taunted though that is not clear). As a result when he took the castle he asked around for the men responsible and had them executed.
  1. He did occasionally speak Georgian with Lavrenty Beria, but that was only when the conversation demanded secrecy--nobody else in Stalin's inner circle was Georgian