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Sometimes, a typical (Insert Main Nationality Here) character turns out to have parents who aren't originally from here; they immigrated from some other country, very often The Old Country, and usually still have enough Tropistanian mannerisms to stick out like sore thumbs. They may talk funny (assuming they speak English), dress funny, and perhaps even reveal that their "hip everydude" offspring has a hilariously foreign name. Expect them to be a source of embarrassment when they show up, and there may even be some drama about the conflict between one's cultural heritage and the norms of the society in which he lives.

This is Older Than Television, and has some basis in reality.


Graphic Novels

  • Maus is a retelling of the author's immigrant father's experiences.


  • Children of the River combines this trope with Parental Dating Veto and Star Crossed Lovers for maximum drama.
  • In Christina Dodd's Darkness Chosen series, Konstantine and Zorona Wilder--the patriarch and matriarch of the Wilder family--are originally from Russia; he the head of a powerful family of shape-shifting warriors, she a Gypsy. They immigrated to Washington state and grew grapes. All of their sons have traditional Russian names (Jasha, Rurik, and Adrik), they eat traditional food, and are very connected to their heritage.

Live Action Television

  • In The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, Bo's parents are Ukranian immigrants. They speak with a heavy accent and own a fish shop in Redington. They named their son "Francis Boris" after St. Francis—a name he doesn't like all that much, he prefers going by "Bo". His father was also part of a typical Ukranian dance troupe, and he has a cousin that is part of one as well.
  • Referenced in episode 1.01 of Boardwalk Empire

 Nucky: "Is that a bit of the Old Country I hear?"

Woman comments about her husband saying her accent makes her sound like an immigrant

Nucky: "Well, aren't we all immigrants?"

  • In To the Manor Born DeVere's mother still retains her Czechoslovakian name and accent.
  • In the Shake It Up episode "Vatalihosit It Up", Gunther and Tinka's parents are shown to be just as crazy as them.

Web Original

  • The parents of Mr. Invincible, one of the Golden Age heroes of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, arrived in the United States just in time for Invincible to be born an American citizen rather than a Greek citizen. They both have heavy accents, try to do things as Greek as they can do them, and complain about Mr. Invincible "abandoning his Greekness" by assuming the name "Mike Phillips" rather than his birth name, Mikos Phillipidakos.

Western Animation

  • The Betty Boop short "Minnie the Moocher" had Betty arguing with her Poirot-speaking German parents.
  • A Pup Named Scooby Doo had Scooby's parents show up in one episode. Cue accents, hats and the fact that his full name is Scoobert.
  • Rugrats: Deedee has Russian Jewish parents. They even make borscht and talk about the old country.
    • During production, voice actress Melanie Chartoff asked which "old country" they were supposed to be from. Answer: "The Jewish one!"
  • The Weekenders has Pteratishkovna "Tish" Katsufrakis, whose parents have heavy accents, wear unusual clothes, and immigrated from some country with an unpronounceable name .
  • Gunther's parents in Kick Buttowski seem to come from a Scandinavian country where the Viking lifestyle has apparently never fallen out of fashion.
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