Unnamed Parent

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"Could it be that my name really is Tamaki's Father?"
Tamaki's Father, Bamboo Blade

The unusually common practice in kids' shows of not giving a character's parents actual names even if they're around, instead being addressed as Mom and Dad, or occasionally by their last names. While this is probably to insert the feel of a story being shown by a child's perspective, as children don't really use their parents' names, it can make for really odd dialogue when another adult has to talk to them.

Some shows can even make this official. For reasons left fittingly unexplained, a person's grandfather might actually be called Granddad, and anyone asking for him want to talk to Granddad. This can become problematic at times, however, when someone outside of the immediate family who would normally be on a first name basis with the parent is involved.

This is a subtrope of No Name Given. Compare Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep".

Examples of Unnamed Parent include:


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Hayate's parents in Hayate the Combat Butler. They call each other "mama" and "papa". His father is given the name 'Shun' by one of his debtors in the manga, but it may be simply a pseudonym he used for that shop.
  • Lampshaded in Bamboo Blade, where during one of the Super-Deformed next-episode trailers, Tamaki's father points out that he's never been given a name other than "Tamaki's Father" in either the anime or the original manga. He goes on to speculate about whether "Tamaki's Father" is his actual given name because it was predestined that he would be Tamaki's Father before he was born himself.
  • According to the DVD Commentary on the movie Pokémon 3, everyone in the series had usually just referred to the protagonist's mother as just that, including her former teacher. Since the movie included several dialogue sequences between Mrs. Ketchum and Professor Oak, the name Delia was created.
    • Ironically, the original Japanese series has the reverse problem: It's actually more expected to refer to someone by just surname in Japanese, but neither Satoshi nor his mother Hanako have one. Conveniently, anyone referring directly to his mother is on familiar enough terms to do so.
  • Tokyo Pig
  • Chi's Sweet Home does this too, with the characters referring to each other as Mom and Dad.
  • Bulma's mother in Dragon Ball. Most fans refer to her character as "Mrs. Brief" (after her husband, Dr. Brief), but this name is never actually used anytime during the manga or anime and it is never clarified whether Dr. Brief is the character's family name or a given name (the Funimation dub and the live-action film don't count).
  • Rei's grandfather in Sailor Moon.
  • Maka's mother in Soul Eater, who refers to her as yet unseen mother as 'Mama'. Her 'Papa' (much as Maka likes to deny it) Spirit doesn't even mention his ex-wife's name whilst talking about her, and nor has anyone else in the woman's few mentions.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Suminoe of Kiss×Sis both lack given names. Mrs. Suminoe even says as much in chapter 36.
  • Toward the end of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, someone who appears to be Yusuke's father appears but is not named.
  • In Bakuman。, Akito Takagi's parents, who briefly appear in a flashback, are not named, nor are Moritaka Mashiro's mother or grandfather (His father's name is revealed in passing to be Masahiro).
    • Moritaka's mother's given name is revealed to be Kayoko in the anime.
    • Miho and her younger sister Mina's mother's name is revealed (Miyuki Haruno/Azuki), but their father's name is not given.
  • In Naruto, Sasori's parents, who were killed by Kakashi's father Sakumo and later had puppets made in their image, are never named, and Chiyo only refers to his father as her son. The series otherwise averts this, as if the parents appear for any length of time, they're usually named, even if only in a databook.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Aoyama's parents are not named, and Ichigo receives a call from his mother near the end of the series, addressing the caller as "Aoyama-kun's mother."
  • In Neko De Gomen, we never learn Kuroda (that his family name) or Yayori's father's first name.
  • Most of the parents in Wandering Son. Though the Nitori siblings dad is revealed to be named "Hiroyuki" and their mom is named "Satomi".
  • None of the parents in Urusei Yatsura have any names. This is the only work of any kind by Rumiko Takahashi where this is the case. In one of the OA Vs, Ataru's mom actually kicks it off by saying (presumably with a straight face) "I am Ataru Moroboshi's mother."
  • In Inuyasha, Kagome's mother and grandfather are often refered to as that.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Calvin's parents in Calvin and Hobbes, who called each other "honey" and "dear". One reason its creator gave up on an uncle becoming a recurring character was the problems in talking to someone without using a name.
    • Word of God has stated that Calvin's mother and father are simply known as that since Calvin, Hobbes, the myriad creatures and environments in Calvin's imagination, and occasionally Susie are the main characters and the strips are focused on them.
  • British comics have a habit of doing this. For example, the official names of the parents of Dennis the Menace are "Dennis's mum" and "Dennis's dad". They will be referred to and addressed as such by everyone.
    • A letter to The Beano once asked Dennis what his dad's name really was. Dennis explained that he was christened "Dennis's Dad". One day he met a girl named Dennis's Mum, and knew she was the one for him...
    • Although they have on occasion been referred to as Mr & Mrs "The Menace" instead, implying that "The Menace" is their surname, or maybe that Menace is their surname and "The" is their middle name, or that Dennis is so frequently referred to as "The Menace" that it's caught on as a surrogate surname.
  • Not just the parents, but the majority of the adults in Peanuts - Ms. Othmar being the notable exception - are referred to merely by "sir" or "ma'am." In the animated cartoons, this is carried a step further in that they have muted trombones for voices.
    • Taken even further in that adults are never even seen in the comic or the television specials except in one notable exception in an episode where a wide shot reveals two adults carrying a box to a moving van.
  • Denise's parents in FoxTrot are unnamed and never shown on panel.

Fanfic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • The Never-ending Story: By way of lightning, we no longer hear Bastian name the Child Empress Moon Child. Later on, Bastian says he yelled out the name of his dead mother. And then in the 2nd movie, we find out that his not-so-dead father is named Barney. It's another instance of one named parent and one Unnamed Parent.
  • A Christmas Story: the names of Ralphie's parents are not revealed. In the narration, he calls his them "mother" and "the Old Man".
  • Andy's mother in the Toy Story films. Even Woody refers to her as "Mom."
  • In the Eloise films, Eloise's nanny is called Nanny. By EVERYONE. It's lampshaded in one of them when Nanny's love interest says he'll have to find out her real name because he can't keep calling her Nanny.
  • Every parent from The Return of Hanuman, even in the credits where they are referred as "<insert character name here>'s Mother/Father". In the movie's company's synopsis though, Maruti's mother's name is Sheila.
  • In A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, Claire's mom has no name of her own. All the Muppets refer to and address her as "Claire's Mom."

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Grendel's mother from Beowulf, despite the character being just as important as Grendel.
  • Jonas's parents from The Giver.
  • This trope is all over the place in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, particularly in regards to mothers. To name a few unnamed mothers: Richard's mother, Kahlan's mother, Zedd's mother, Darken Rahl's mother, Rachel's mother, Drefan's mother, Oba Rahl's mother, Jennsen's mother, Shota's mother, Chad Rencliff's mother, Prince Fyren's mother, and Six's mother. There is even a point in Phantom where TG goes out of his way to avoid naming a single person's mother; Richard is told his mother's name, and we aren't; we only get something like "Richard heard his mother's name."
  • Possibly Hermione's parents in Harry Potter. Ron's parents are known to most at least as Molly and Arthur Weasley, and Harry's are even referred to as James and Lily Potter, but the actual names of Hermione's parents are never given. They are either referred to as "Mr. and Mrs. Granger," "Mum and Dad," and "Hermione's parents."
    • The parents of most of Harry's classmates remain nameless, which is weird considering how much Rowling loves Continuity Porn.
    • In the specific example of Hermione's parents, Hermione gave them Fake Memories prior to the seventh book. They are referred to as "Wendell and Monica Wilkins", using their fake first and last names, by Hermione.
    • Every parent who plays a major role, or who Harry at least meets, gets a first name. Hermione's parents are likely unnamed (as are most of his classmates) due to the Law of Conservation of Detail.
  • Y.T.'s mom in Snow Crash is always referred to as such. Of course, she's a fairly minor character.
  • Happens all the time in RL Stine's Goosebumps or Fear Street series.
  • Initially, all the parents from Animorphs are like this. As the series goes on, we gradually learn their names, and thanks to the Broken Masquerade in the last ten books, we ultimately end up learning the names of most of them. The notable exception is Sixth Ranger (later Sixth Ranger Traitor) David, whose parents are never named in his trilogy and never appear again after it.
  • In Warrior Cats, Leafstar's mother. This is notable because the characters who give a leader their nine lives have impacted the new leader's life in some significant way, and since the leader is almost always a main character, the cats who give them their nine lives are pretty important characters too.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Adventures of Pete and Pete did this in the opening, although likewise every other character is only addressed by first name. It was especially annoying when Pete's grandfather visits and, after being somewhat of a pest, agrees to not use a nickname for Pete's father—instead using dad. However, both parents were eventually given names—Joyce and Don.
  • The Munsters had everyone referring to 'Grandpa'; The Addams Family had 'Grandmama'.
    • Grandmama eventually received a name, but only after the continuities placed her as Morticia's mother instead of Gomez's like in the original TV series. In the movies and afterwards, her name is established as "Esmerelda Frump", but it's rare to hear anyone address her as such.
    • In The New Addams Family TV series from the 90s, her name was Eudora Addams and she was Gomez' mother once again.
    • Likewise, Grandpa was actually Count Dracula but only a few jokes revealed this and no one in the show regularly called him that. The first series gave his full name as "Sam Dracula", while the 80s series called him "Vladimir Dracula."
  • In Black Books, when Bernard Black had to fill in his mother's name on a form, he honestly didn't know, claiming he just called her, 'Ma'. And that was what he put down. Followed by, 'possibly deceased'.
    • And only a few minutes later he calls her, in an effort to distract himself from the form.
  • iCarly: Enforced with Spencer and Carly's parents, wherein their names are never disclosed throughout the series. Or even if their mother is alive.
    • Zigzagged with Freddie's mom, Mrs. Marissa Benson; likewise with Gibby's mom with the name Charlotte.
    • iWon't Cancel the Show finally stated that their dad's name is Steven Shay.
    • iSam's Mom: Sam's mom's name is finally revealed as Pam.
  • Ryuusuke and Urara's parents in Kankyou Choujin Ecogainder.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Tommy: Both of Tommy's parents are unnamed in both the album and the 1993 musical, though in the 1975 film version his mother has a name: Nora Walker.

Religion[edit | hide]

  • Quite a few unnamed women in The Bible were parents. Perhaps the most noticeable one is the wife of Noah, since according to Genesis every single living human being is descended from her.

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In the opera Hänsel und Gretel, the title characters' parents are named "Peter" and "Gertrud" in the Dramatis Personae only; in the libretto, they are always just "Vater" and "Mutter", which they even call each other by.
  • Averted in Bye Bye Birdie: though the Dramatis Personae only names "Mr. MacAfee" and "Mrs. MacAfee", Kim calls her parents by First-Name Basis in an early scene, so their first names (Harry and Doris) are revealed before long.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Lan's parents in Mega Man Battle Network, his dad manages to get away with being called "Doctor Hikari" most of the time.
    • They are named; his mother is Haruka, and his father Yuichiro, as revealed in "Battle Chip Challenge".
    • Worth noteing is that his grand father has both a first and last name (who fitting with the series' punny names, is named Tadashi Hikari, or "Right Light"
  • The Sly Cooper series lists names of numerous Cooper ancestors, but Sly's parents are both nameless and faceless.
  • According to external sources, Adell's parents in Disgaea 2 are actually named Mom and Dad.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, if the player has not done the side quest involving Genis and Raine's mother before going to Derris-Kharlan, the vision of Genis and Raine's mother is referred to as "Mother" instead of "Virginia".
  • In Backyard Sports, the kids' parents are mentioned many times, but they are nameless and faceless.
  • In Fable, the hero's father, who is killed in the attack on the hero's home town, is not named, and his mother is later revealed to be Scarlet Rose.
    • Dad's name is Brom, as you can see it when highlighting him, and also in his epitath at the graveyard.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Edge's parents are referred to as the King of Eblan and Queen of Eblan, including in the boss battle against them.
  • Ness' parents in EarthBound are unnamed, as are those of Paula and Jeff, even though Jeff's father plays a significant role in their adventure; Ness's father is even represented by a phone in the cast lineup. The same goes for everyone's parents in MOTHER, but averted neatly by Mother 3.
  • Everyone's parents in Katawa Shoujo except for Jigoro Hakamichi (Shizune's father) and Meiko Ibarazaki (Emi's mother).

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Khaos Komix lampshades and uses it for comic effect in this comic.
  • The mother of one of the characters in Namir Deiter has always been competing with her sister in every way they could come up with. After winning in the "have children first" category, she had her name officially changed to "Momma" just to throw it into her sister's face. She is also expected tho change it to "Grandma" should an opportunity arise.
  • This trope is both averted and played straight in Misfile. Ash's mother and father have names and actual lives, but Em's mom is just Em's mom.
  • Ozy and Millie ran with this up until the final story arc for Millie's mother. (It's Mililani Minerva Mudd, if you were wondering.) Ozy's father has Only One Name.
  • No-one's parents/legal guardians in Homestuck have known names; they're all simply called Dad, Nanna, Mom, Bro and Grandpa. More often than not, they're not even distinguished by surname, since only one father, grandmother, mother, brother and grandfather ever shows up in-comic.
    • As of Act 6, Nanna, Grandpa, Mom, and Bro's names have been revealed to be Jane, Jake, Roxy, and Dirk, respectively. Dad still goes nameless.
  • In Kevin and Kell, the main couple's parents went unnamed for the early strip, typically only receiving names when they started getting development. Kevin's dad remained this way the longest, being called either "Kevin's Dad" or "Mr. Kindle" until his name was revealed to be Bentley. Similarly, Fiona's parents were not referred to by name until after their marriage ended.
  • In General Protection Fault, Ki's parents are not referred to by name at any point, not even by each other.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Fairly Oddparents was another odd example, inasmuch as occurring in a Time Travel episode where the parents don't even have kids yet.
    • Lampshaded/parodied: "My real name is * truck drives by* , but everyone calls me Dad." This was repeated when Mom showed up.
    • Cosmo and Wanda's known parents also don't have names. They are called Mama Cosma and Big Daddy respectively.
    • In more recent episodes, they even sign a form as "Timmy's Mom" and "Timmy's Dad", and Mr. Turner's credit card simply reads Dad.
    • Timmy's dad is also referred to by their last name Turner, mainly by Dinkleburg. Although he is given a name at some point, it's Sheldon, his wife Mrs. Dinkleburg remains nameless.
    • In one episode Timmy addresses a large crowd of people at a concert as "all you women...and Timmy Turner's dad!" while pretending to be someone else.
    • The original Oh Yeah Cartoons shorts took it a step farther, by never revealing the parents' faces, specifically by keeping them too tall to fit in the frame with Timmy.
    • Ditto for the parents in Cow and Chicken. In one episode it's hinted that their real names actually may be "Mum" and "Dad".
      • They actually take it several steps farther, as they lack torsos. While generally only the legs are on-screen, one episode panned up to reveal that there was nothing on top of the legs.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Billy's parents originally follow this trope (often addresses as "Billy's Mom/Dad") until they were given the names Harold and Gladys and referred as so regularly for the rest of the series.
  • Kim Possible's parents were simply "Mrs. Dr. Possible" and "Mr. Dr. Possible" for a long time, but they each got a one-line reveal in one of the two Grand Finales. They turn out to share names with their kids; the father is James Timothy, like Kim's twin younger brothers, and Kim's mom is Anne, which is Kim's middle name. The Stoppables and Drakken's mother are still nameless, however.
    • This was lampshaded in one episode, where Mr. Dr. Possible complains about the difficulty of the questions on his tax forms, starting with his first name.
    • Oddly, Wade's father, who never appears on-screen or has any lines, is given the name Lontaine, but his mother (who mentions the name and is heard several times) never gets one.
  • The Berenstain Bears takes this trope farther than usual, since even the kids are named Brother and Sister Bear. In the very first book The Big Honey Hunt (which didn't feature Sister), Brother is called Small Bear. This lasted until The New Baby, in which Sister was born.
    • Papa's parents are only referred to as Grizzly Gramps and Gran, though The Berenstain Bear Scouts Save That Backscratcher reveals Gramps's real name as Ernest.
    • Papa and Mama Bear, meanwhile, fit the trope to a T. Apparently, their names really are Papa and Mama, which suggests that they must have both had very strange childhoods.
  • Not a parent, but "Uncle" from Jackie Chan Adventures is a similar example. He's Jackie's uncle, but everyone calls him "Uncle" (except sometimes when Tohru addressing him by the title "shifu"), which can be a bit confusing with Jade since she also calls Jackie "Uncle Jackie" (even though he's actually a first cousin to one of her parents, and thus her cousin once removed).
    • "No wonder I got confused, too many uncles."
    • It's common in Chinese culture to call all of your parents' friends "Uncle" and "Auntie," despite the fact they're not related to you in any way.
      • That's not terribly uncommon in American culture, either.
    • One episode Lampshaded that Jackie and Jade's parents have no idea how Uncle is related to them at all.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door subverts the trope. To the Kids Next Door, adults are the enemy, and so they don't really care what the adults are named beyond 'Mom' or 'Dad.' All adults are either "Mr. ______" or some variation on the gimmick they use to fight the KND. The biggest villain for the majority of the series is the demonic figure known only as "Father". The one who eventually tops him is the Draculaesque "Grandfather". Three guesses as to the nature of their relationship.
  • In Peppa Pig, all the relatives are like this. So everyone calls Peppa's father "Daddy Pig", even his workmates and his own father.
  • In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Adventures in Squirrelsitting", the mother of the two squirrel girls Tammy and Bink does appear, she also has dialog, but she does not have a name at all, no first name, no family name. She is usually referred to as Mrs. Squirrel. And this is only the most famous example from the show.
  • Hey Arnold!: Unusually, Gerald's dad has a name (Martin), but not his mom.
    • Arnold's grandmother's real name (Gerty/Gertrude) was only mentioned in a single episode during a bit of Blink and You'll Miss it sequence.
      • Two episodes actually. The one where Phil's sister shows up and the one that reveals that growing up, Phil had a relationship with a girl that was almost identical to Arnold's relationship with Helga. Guess who.
  • In Danny Phantom, neither Sam, Tucker, or Valerie's paredexnts' names were ever stated in the show except maybe twice during the series' span. Interestingly, the majority of their names are listed in the credits.
  • On their initial appearances in the Tracey Ullman Show, Homer and Marge of The Simpsons did not have names, and were credited as "Mr. Simpson" and "Mrs. Simpson". It wasn't until the 30-minute show that they officially received those names, although "Homer" was used in a few shorts.
    • Grandpa Simpson is still usually referred to as Grandpa. Characters outside the family tend to refer to him as simply "Grandpa Simpson" rather than his given name of Abraham. Apparently Matt Groening never named the characters and other writers decided on the name, which by coincidence happened to be the name of Matt Groening's grandfather.
  • The parents on Dexter's Laboratory to a ridiculous degree. In the last few seasons Dad was even referred to directly as "Mr. Dexter's Dad."
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), the name of Casey's mother is never mentioned, despite a couple appearances by the character. Casey's late father, whose only appearance is on a brief flashback, is known to be "Arnold Casey Jones, Sr.".
  • Caillou's parents are never given names in the U.S. version they are only referred to as "Mommy" and "Daddy", in one episode one of the dad's friends says "Is that you Daddy?, I haven't seen you in years!", the French version however gives them the names Boris and Doris.
  • In Dragon Tales, the parents of the human characters are never shown nor named, though their voices are occasionally heard. The dragon parents are shown only from the about the stomach down are never named. In one episode a dragon parent was about to have her name revealed. "Hi, Mrs." but it was interrupted by the sound of Ord's parents approaching.
  • Mama and Papa Mousekewitz in the An American Tail series. This is made more odd by the fact that they constantly refer to each other by those names. The Animated Series eventually gave Papa the name "Bernard" (despite this not being a Russian or Hebrew name) when his sister came to visit to avoid the confusion of having his own sister call him Papa, but Mama was never named.
  • Not quite a parent, but the Muppet Babies call their nanny as "Nanny", and we always see her only from the knees down.
  • In Little Bear the parents and grandparents are just known as Mother Bear and so on; to the extent that Grandpa Bear's stage name back in the circus was 'The Great Grandini'...long before Little Bear was even born.
  • Parodied in an episode of Drawn Together. The gang is helping Xandir prepare to tell his parents he is gay by doing a roleplaying exercise. Xandir's dad is referred to with the name Stan, but they never come up with a proper name for Xandir's mom, always referring to her in dialogue as "Xandir's mom", even when addressing her directly.
  • Danny's mom in The Problem Solverz.
  • Mostly averted in Phineas and Ferb, in which the adult characters have first and last names; but alluded to in the episode "Undercover Carl". Carl goes undercover as a neighborhood kid, and when Major Monogram arrives posing as his father, all five children present greet him in unison with "Hi, Carl's dad!"
  • Lampshaded in Clone High when Toots refers to the woman he's dating as "Cleo's drunk ass foster mom" and then can't remember the name of the woman's daughter.
    • With the exception of Toots, who shows up quite a bit, the foster parents show up so rarely and briefly that it's excusable for them to go unnamed.
  • Scooby Doo spinoffs featuring Scooby's parents always have the various characters (not just Scooby) call them Mommy and Daddy Doo (or variants such as "Mumsy and Dada"), which is apparently their real names.
    • One episode ("Wedding Bell Boos") oddly has Scrappy refer to Mommy and Daddy Doo as "Uncle Scooby's parents," not as his grandparents.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: A few of the main characters' parents have appeared once each, but none have been given names.[1] Also, it turns out Granny Smith was named such long before she was a grandmother, in keeping with her family's apple-themed names.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In many families, people refer to other family members relative to the kids. So a father might refer to his mother as "grandma" and his wife as "mom". This is most common when actually talking to the kids in question, of course.
    • Some school teachers call the parents 'mum' and 'dad', as well.
    • This trope is taken to its extreme in Nigeria, as it's common by everyone in almost every situation to refer to a parent by their most popular child, e.g Tom's mummy said this. Normally the most popular child is the eldest, but sometimes it could be the youngest, or an unusual child(smartest, mental diffuclties, behavioural problems) in the bunch.
    • Eddie Izzard has a joke about this: "when you were a child, did you ever hear your grandma call your grandad 'grandad' and think, 'he's your grandad too? Does that make you my sister? ...What kind of crazy family is this?' "
    • Some parents even refer to themselves as their parental title instead of using "I".
      • And some songs reflect this:

Hush little baby, don't say a word / Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird...

      • This is often done when a child is very young and just learning language, because the same person being "Mommy", "I", "Me", and "Elly" is quite confusing.
  • It is a part of almost everyone's personal Coming of Age Story when you learn your parent actually has a name.
  • Very common in the Arabic world, where a father often takes the personal name of his firstborn son as a surname (so Omar, father of Jalil, would be Omar abu Jalil) and a mother takes the name of her firstborn daughter.
  • Also common in Nigeria where parents will become colloquially know as Baba (Father of-) or Mama (Mother of-) and then one of their children's names even among friends they grew up with and same generation family members.
  1. aside from a Blind Bag toy resembling Twilight Sparkle's mom being called "Twilight Velvet"