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She said 'I love you, but my daddy don't play

He's the fuckin' Grand Wizard of the KKK'
Bodycount, KKK Bitch

It frequently is seen in American Television and Movies... a teenage daughter brings home or is picked up by a date that her father would never, ever approve of. There's various forms:

  1. He rides a motorcycle, wears leathers and dark sunglasses (even at night), and enters swaggering, chewing something indeterminate, and calls the father "pops." Hilarity Ensues.
  2. He's of another race, religion, political affiliation, or social class.
  3. He has some other characteristic that offends Dad's sensibilities: he's too nerdy, too quiet, too loud, a fan of the wrong sports team, has bad table manners or atypical fashion sense.

The main requirement is that the potential date has some qualities that the father hates in people, and this motivates the daughter to love her date more. Usually a comedy trope, could be a love trope, can lead to a Parental Marriage Veto if the character lasts more than one scene/episode. If the relationship works in the end, it's become Nobody Thinks It Will Work.

Overlaps a bit with All Girls Want Bad Boys, and often involves an Overprotective Dad. When the dating is done because that is what daddy hates, it's a Shock Value Relationship. Often, the parents will ask Where Did We Go Wrong?

Examples of Dating What Daddy Hates include:


  • The best known case in the Marvel Universe is Incredible Hulk and his long time love interest Betty Ross. Her Father Thunderbolt Ross highly dislikes the relationship. Even before Bruce became the Hulk.
  • Shock SuspenStories had a one-off strip in which a racist man who loathes Mexicans is horrified to discover his daughter has begun dating a Mexican boy who has recently moved into the local area. At the end of the strip, he gets up a lynch mob to beat the Mexican boy to death, only to find out that they grabbed the wrong person and have killed his daughter - she had secretly married her boyfriend and was waiting for him to come home from work.


  • Sometimes this trope comes up in Harry Potter fanfiction using the characters introduced in the epilogue. It's probably one of the reasons the pairing of Scorpius Malfoy with Rose Weasley is so popular, as Ron tells Rose she shouldn't "get too close" to Scorpius and that her grandfather would "never forgive her if she married a pureblood" in the epilogue itself. Some authors'/writers' comments that say they like the idea of the pairing because of the way Ron and Draco would be so upset about it.
  • A rare Gender Flip occurs in Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light when Ben Reilly's Overprotective Dad loathes Mary Jane Watson and bluntly threatens her unless she stays away from his son. Ben himself isn't amused when he finds out.
  • In Luminosity one of the native american werewolves imprints on a blonde girl whose dad is a racist.



 Bender: Remember how you said your parents use you to get back at each other?

Claire nods

Bender: Wouldn't I be outstanding in that capacity?

  • In Bachelor Party, Tom Hanks' character is this, a Catholic school bus driver marrying into a snobby and disapproving rich family.
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was the racial version of this. This example is especially interesting because the parents are in fact liberals who consider themselves tolerant people.
    • Switched around in the later remake Guess Who, where the woman is black and her father hates her white boyfriend.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof this happens three times-and they all get married to a man who challenges their father's faith. He can accept the older two marriages' quickly but the third one he disowns until the end of the movie.
  • A gender-flipped version occurs in Drag Me to Hell, in which the protagonist, Christine, is dating Clay, who is from a wealthier family than she is. Clay's mother makes it very clear than she doesn't think Christine is good enough for her son.

Live-Action TV

  • Trope Codifier and/or Unbuilt Trope: Archie Bunker and his son-in-law Mike ("Meathead") Stivic in All in The Family, with Bunker being the archetypal working-class WASP conservative bigot, and Mike being an ethnically Polish intellectual and socially-active liberal. They naturally argue all the time.
  • In Big Bang Theory, Wolowitz is dating a Catholic just to try to kill his mother, and the girl goes along with it because it will also offend her parents that she's dating someone Jewish.
    • Also, Penny. Her father actually likes Leonard but knows that Penny is like this. When he realizes that they have broken up, he "gives him a head start" in getting her back and roars at him very audibly for a minute or two.
  • Arrested Development: Michael almost doesn't ask out Sally Sitwell because he thinks his father wants him to date her. Then he finds out that his father knew he would act that way and pretended he wanted Michael to date Sally so Michael wouldn't. So Michael asks Sally on a date... and she turns him down because she'd rather date someone her father doesn't like.
  • In The Sopranos Tony gets very angry when his daughter dates a boy who is half African American and half Jewish.
  • An episode of Frasier had his cousin marrying a woman from a rich family, whose parents hated him. When he leaves her for a street performer he loved more, his fiancée yells "I can't believe you. Look at how happy my parents are!"
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Francis' marriage stayed strong in the rough parts because both of them knew Lois hated Piama.
  • Played with in the backstory of Supernatural: Mary's dad HATED John Winchester, because he was too much of a skinny, white-bread pansy to be good enough for his daughter. Ironically, Samuel would have also hated the Badass Hunter John ends up becoming because he also absolutely opposed the idea of his daughter getting involved with a Hunter.
  • In an episode of Boston Public, Meredith Peters (aka The Hook Lady)'s son begins dating Steven Harper's[1] daughter, who is black, merely to anger his mother. She is also angered when she catches her son having sex with another man.
  • They're not dating (yet), but in The Sarah Jane Adventures, one of Rani's best friends is the class clown Clyde, who immediately got off to a bad start with her Stern Headmaster father, and their relationship remains antagonistic (which isn't helped by Clyde deliberately winding up Haresh Chandra).
  • A Kids in The Hall sketch has a college-student (Dave Foley in drag) bring home Scott Thompson (in blackface) to meet her parents. In an absolute subversion, her parents are fine with the whole thing, but she continually acts as though they're being offensive. The implication is that she's chasing black men intentionally to piss off her parents - and it's not working.
  • In My Wife and Kids, Claire specifically stops dating someone because her father loves him. The person in question is a strict Christian who believes in waiting until marriage for sex. Even though she likes him, she wants to irritate her father, so she starts dating a rough gang banger.
  • In The George Lopez Show Carmen starts dating the factory owner's rebellious son without George's knowledge. In fact, he prank calls the place and George remarks "I wonder what poor skank would get with him".
  • In Downton Abbey, while Robert Crawley doesn't hate Branson, the Irish radical chaffeur, it would probably get pretty ugly if he found out about Branson's feelings for his little girl Sybil. And it does, for quite some time, though he comes 'round (mostly) in the end.
  • On The West Wing, President Bartlet has a brief monologue noting his exasperation at his youngest daughter leaving his aide Charlie for a French Jerk, his oldest daughter marrying a total twit, and his middle daughter dating a stoner. His Servile Snarker secretary chimes in that she's heard girls look for their fathers in the men they date.
  • In Switched at Birth Melody is congenitally deaf as is her son Emmett. She strongly disapproves of hearing/deaf relationships for reasons slowly being explained. So of course Emmett falls in love with a hearing girl.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dukat strongly disapproves of his daughter Ziyal's interest in Garak. In this case, it's not that Garak is different, but that he's too much like Dukat himself.
  • This was woven all the way through Roseanne:
    • On at least one occasion, it was mentioned that Roseanne started dating Dan because he was the type of boy that her parents wouldn't like (Roseanne and her sister Jackie, to be perfectly blunt, hate their parents.)
    • Daughter Becky truly seemed to love the leather-clad biker Mark, but Roseanne firmly believed for the longest time that she was only dating him to torture her.
    • Lastly, they actually used their hatred of the potential boyfriend as a benchmark to gauge how long the relationship will last. When Becky dates a perfectly nice football player who Dan instantly takes a liking to, Roseanne and Jackie inform him that he's the rebound, will be gone by the end of the month, and the next guy that Dan absolutely despises will be the "keeper."



  • Invoked by Bodycount in the song "KKK Bitch", where Ice-T tells the story of his falling in love with a girl whose father is a white supremacist.
  • Britney Spears' "Criminal".

  ...He is a devil with a tainted heart, and even I know this ain't smart, but momma I'm in love with a criminal...

  • Part of the reason Cher is amenable to Meat Loaf's pick-up line in "Dead Ringer For Love":

 Ever since I can remember I've been hanging round this joint,

My daddy never noticed, now he'll finally get the point.


Stand-Up Comedy

  • Chris Rock brings this up in one of his specials, saying that prejudice isn't worth it, because what you hate will end up in your family (homophobia → you'll have a gay son; hate Latinos → your daughter dates a Latino)
  • Lisa Lampanelli at the Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav:

 -I haven't heard the N-word so many times since I told my father I was dating a black man!


Video Games

  • Implied in Mass Effect 3, where Tali muses while drunk about how much her father would have hated Male!Shepard if the two are in a relationship.


  • In Sluggy Freelance Leono relies on this trope to convince women to bear his alien offspring.
  • There was an arc in Better Days where Sheila visits her parents while her father is in hospital and discovers her sister has a Hyena boyfriend (Their version of a black person). Sheila calls her sister out on simply bringing the guy, who seems decent enough from what we see, simply to upset their parents and her mother even makes a comment about her having a 'n***er boyfriend.'
    • There's an earlier (though milder) example, when Fisk dated Elizabeth briefly. Elizabeth's mother was bothered that her daughter wasn't dating a nice, Jewish boy. The only reason she goes along with it is that she thinks it would just be an innocent, youthful relationship.
  • Yep, an El Goonish Shive entry, although at least a Dream Sequence. Elliot ends up dreaming his Opposite Sex Clone (which his parents and his clone tease about calling as his daughter) brings home a sleazeball. Then he talks to his wife Tedd. That's when things go from Dream Sequence to Lucid Dream...
    • Hilariously, when Elliot is confused as to why his "daughter" is dating a biker, she shouts "MOM! DADDY'S DISAPPROVING OF MY BOYFRIENDS AGAIN!", which suggests that this isn't the only time in the dream world that this had happened.
  • In Order of the Stick, Ian Starshine is quite upset to learn that his daughter Haley is romantically involved with Elan, the son of his enemy General Tarquin. Even though he knows that Elan is not Nale, he refuses to see Elan as anything but Tarquin's mole.
  • In The Dreamer, Beatrice Whaley, the daughter of a wealthy Boston merchant in the 18th century, falls in love with an apple farmer from Roxbury.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In the Futurama episode, "Where the Buggalo Roam", Amy tells Kif that part of the reason she is attracted to him is that her parents don't care for him.
  • In the pilot episode of the animated series Ugly Americans, the succubus character is immensely turned on by her father disapproving of her date.
  • In a flashback episode of The Simpsons, we see that Marge's family have never liked Homer even when they were teenagers. May not count since Marge never dated Homer to get back at her family.
  • Family Guy
    • Lois Griffin's dating her eventual husband Peter is due at least in part to this trope. It may be that she's trying to get back at her father for being an incredible Jerkass, ranging from his refusing to let her become a model to his abandoning her to her fate when she was kidnapped for ransom.
    • A rare example of a Gender Flip occurs when it's shown that Peter's devoutly Catholic father hates the Protestant Lois, so it cuts both ways.
  • In The Legend of Korra, while he hides it for a while, Hiroshi Sato hates Mako (and all other benders) who is dating his daughter, Asami.
    • Mako was especially abhorrent to Sato, seeing as he was a penniless firebender. The first part is hypocrisy, since Sato himself started out penniless. The last part is because his wife was murdered by a firebender.
  1. No, not that one