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TY102v
I'm a mama's boy; I pity the foo' who ain't one!"

If a guy is excessively devoted to his mother and he's not obviously a manly man, then he will be seen as a sensitive guy even if he doesn't act like one. His mother might try to completely dominate his life, to the point of telling him who to marry (and if he disobeys then she'll try to ruin his relationship or at least ruin her life too) turning him into a Momma's Boy: hopeless with women, timid, weak, and lacking the spirit to stand up to his mother. His father will be absent or just as browbeaten. On the other hand, if he does stand up to her then he's not a Momma's Boy, even though she's still My Beloved Smother.

Young examples are shown sympathetically, older ones are usually Acceptable Targets because no one can be a badass if he always obeys his mother's instructions (unless she's encouraging him to be a Badass which would make her more of an Action Mom). Note the Double Standard in this trope, as a girl with a controlling father is almost never Played for Laughs.

A young boy has a better chance of escaping mommy's patronage than an adult -- who will, if anything, end up with a domineering wife instead. Sometimes an Oedipus Complex is involved. Rescue is unlikely: there aren't many Action Girls running around looking for poor oppressed boys. So there's the real danger that Momma's boy will grow old alone, until smother dies, when it's too late to change their ways and set right what went wrong.

To every Momma's Boy there is a Boy's Momma, of course.

Although the trope is usually played as inherently negative, it can also be portrayed in a more positive light, becoming essentially a gender-inversion of Daddy's Girl in which mother and son are simply very close and utterly adore each other, often to the exclusion of the father (if he's even around to begin with); and while the well-meaning mother might naturally welcome the idea of her son getting hooked, the usual doting and spoiling with which she treats her son might be a bit overwhelming for potential Love Interests... if she didn't accidentally scare them off with her overprotectiveness first. This form is still likely to be Played for Laughs, but in a more endearing way.

Compare Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas. See Mommy Issues for when this trope gets violent. See also All Take and No Give. The Distaff Counterpart, Daddy's Girl, is less often portrayed as inherently a bad thing.

Examples of Momma's Boy include:


Anime and Manga

  • Gohan and Goten in Dragonball Z. In GT, Goten is nearly thirty and still living with Mom, while Gohan is pushing forty and lives right next-door with his wife and daughter. Chichi is overly strict with Gohan and seems to have realized her mistakes and been overly lenient with Goten, but both sons love her dearly.
  • Ash Ketchum from Pokémon. Why wouldn't he be one? His mother is the only family he has, and he understandably flips out if something bad happens to her (see also: the third movie, Spell of the Unown).
    • To be fair, even a non-Momma's Boy would flip if their mother was in mortal danger.
  • A quite weird case is shown in Case Closed / Meitantei Conan / Detective Conan. Conan and the detective kids actually find a "haunted house" where a mother keeps her son locked in the basement to wait until Statute of Limitations past, even when the guy is guilty and does want to go to jail for his crime. Eventually, Conan helps the culprit convince her mother to let him go and turn himself in.
  • Subverted in Hajime no Ippo. Ippo and Volg both adore their mothers and they're huge parts of their lives, but both Hiroko and Mrs. Volg are caring and loving women who do not dominate their boys.
  • Alphonse and Edward Elric both dearly loved their mother Trisha, especially after her death.
  • Greece from Axis Powers Hetalia remains devoted to the memory of his mother long after her death, working to excavate the ruins and pass on the myths she left behind. This is not portrayed negatively (his mother was the great Ancient Greece, after all) and while some fanfics have his Sitcom Arch Nemesis Turkey mock him with this trope, it's usually presented as just a petty insult and Greece's relationship with his mother is usually portrayed positively/sympathetically in them.
  • Sometimes in Hare+Guu; even though Hare often gets fed up with his Bottle Fairy mother, he is still quite devoted.


Comic Books

  • Superman is very much a momma's boy and will proudly proclaim to anyone who asks (and even those who don't) that his mother made his costume for him.
  • Chas Chandler in Hellblazer.
  • The Whizzer and Chips character Mummy's Boy, but he is only a boy, there's time.
  • The Viz character Sid the Sexist - also a grown-up virgin and ashamed of it, hence constant crass attempts to get laid
  • War Machine has some characteristics of this trope. He tries to do good deeds like stopping acts of genocide and thwarting likes of Norman Osborn so his mother can be proud of him.

Film

  • Norman Bates from Psycho must be the creepiest and most dominated example of this in film history. Even though he kills his mother, she still dominates him from beyond the grave.
  • Alex Sebastian from Notorious. He's not as obvious an example as Norman Bates, but his mother still has her hooks in good and deep. Alex manages to stand up to her by marrying Alicia. Unfortunately, Alicia turns out to be a American spy, and so Alex's mother is able to step in and exert control again
  • Lionel from Braindead (also called Dead Alive) is a perfect example. He's so emotionally dependent on his mother that after she gets zombified he hides her in the basement, unable to bring himself to destroy her. That is, until he learns she killed his father for having an affair. That knowledge lets him break free just in time for the final battle.
  • Grendel in Beowulf. It's more obvious in The Movie.
  • Mikey in...Momma's Man.
  • Raymond Shaw, the protagonist of The Manchurian Candidate, is controlled utterly by his mother, to perhaps the most frightening possible degree.
  • Owen in Throw Momma from the Train.
  • German comedy Ödipussi. He gets better, which is symbolized when he pulls down his mother's hat over her face.
  • Ernest Borgnine's title character in Marty. His cousin Tommy is one too.


Folk Lore

  • In many European folk tales (for instance among the Romani), The Devil is sometimes described living in hell together with his mother and grandmother. (Since he can't be a married man obviously - marriage is a Catholic sacrament.) That makes this also a case of The Devil Is a Loser.
  • More "heroic" example: in Greek Mythology, the demi-god and hero Perseus was very protective of his beautiful mother, Danae. His adventures kickstarted when she was courted by an evil king who wanted her as his wife and him dead, so he tasked the guy with bringing him the monster Medusa's head, and thus began Perseus's Coming of Age story...
  • Another example from Greek Mythology is Hypnos, the god of sleep. He once sent Zeus to sleep so Hera could dick with Heracles without her husband finding out. When Zeus woke up, he was understandably pissed, so Hypnos ran off and hid behind his mother, Nyx, the Anthropomorphic Personification of night, and one of the few things in creation more powerful than an angry Zeus.


Literature

  • The title character from the novel Portnoys Complaint.
  • Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. Since his mother Alice is mentally broken from many years ago and so is his father Frank, his grandmother Augusta raised him. She has him completely under her thumb, but while that is played for laughs, he eventually gains courage and his grandmother's pride of him during the Grand Finale.
  • Eddie Kaspbrak from Stephen King's IT is a former Momma's Boy with a domineering wife but manages to be kind of a hero too.
    • Another King example would be Larry Underwood from The Stand, though to a lesser degree.
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Blue Angel is an Alternate Universe in which the Doctor is kind of one of these. (He's also Ambiguously Gay -- Freud wouldn't have been surprised.) He's about forty and she's still trying to meddle in his personal life. To be fair, she's a mermaid who lives in a normal house in a nice little village and is therefore stuck in a wheelchair, and he's pretty far off his rocker -- it makes sense they'd need each other's help. He lampshades it -- as he has a bad leg when he goes to visit his mother, he comments on being reminded of Oedipus Rex. Interestingly, even in the several paragraphs of Backstory about his childhood, his father is never mentioned, although an ex-boyfriend of his mother is.
  • The Silmarillion: Fëanor. He never knew his mother, but was ferociously devoted to her memory; he took personal offense when people mispronounced her name.
  • Percy Jackson adores his mother and would do anything for her. His dad, though...
  • Similar to Percy, Nick Gautier is a troubled magical teen who loves his mother to death, and insulting/harming her is his one Berserk Button - though comparing him to his scumbag of a dad comes close, too.
  • I would say The 39 Clues has a few- *cough*Ian and Jonah*cough*.
  • Bob and George Dr. Light tries to create one.
  • Paul Atreides in Dune. That Momma's Boy ain't no Momma's Boy!
  • Oblomov shares many characteristics with them, although his father isn't absent and also never shown to be a typical Henpecked Husband.
  • In Death: Bobby from Memory In Death is this for his mother Trudy Lombard. He is told by Eve at the end that his Manipulative Bitch of a wife killed his Manipulative Bitch of a mother, and she would have killed him too. He knows that she is giving it to him straight, but he is unable to accept it. He is a victim to Eve cannot reach, and is clearly pitiable.
  • In John Gardner's Grendel, which is basically Beowulf told from the monster's point of view, Grendel was quite the little Mama's Boy as a lad.
    • It including hurling himself at his mother mother when he became frightened (or when he feels horribly displaced or 'obscene'), followed by a very vague implied comfort-nursing. Since Grendel is recalling it in first-person, he REMEMBERS this.
      • His traumatic growing up scene begins with straying out too far into the morning, following the scent of a newborn calf. He finds it to be "as sweet as his mama's milk". Once again, he REMEMBERS. How old was he when this happened...eleven, maybe?
      • When he DOES become trapped, he screams endlessly for her to the point that the ground shakes, and becomes so desperate to find her that everything around him comes off looking like her, but is not. Which sort of contributes to his Solipsistic mindset that he had for a little while, before going to Nihilism.
    • In his adult life, he inverts from being a Mama's Boy a little, despising his mother's apparently inability to speak or desire to leave their cave.
      • And yet he always returns to her, with Mama trying to keep him from leaving her until he actually picks her up and puts her aside. Literally and figuratively. Let's just say that she didn't react well to "being put aside" and never tries to stop him from leaving again. Which is where Beowulf later kills him.
        • Speaking of which, the last two pages after Beowulf tears his arm off include Grendel reverting back to his trapped-in-a-tree stage and screaming for his mama. Probably causing an avalanche somewhere, considering how much louder he probably is.
  • David Inari's reaction to his mother's death caused him to withdraw from society at large and stop visiting the land he and she had created. His fixation is responsible for creating the White Queen.


Live Action TV

 "I suddenly have this image of Cliff as being heroically well-adjusted."

  • Surprisingly, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Yes, I said Gordon Ramsay. He actually cleans up his language around her.
  • Al Borland from Home Improvement, later overlapped by My Beloved Smother.
  • Ted from Scrubs, occasionally taking it to creepy levels.
  • Ronnie Corbett's character Timothy Lumsden from Sorry, whole point of the series, which outstayed its welcome despite British Brevity.
  • Brutus on Rome is controlled and manipulated by his mother Servilia, to the point of betraying his father figure to the death. Though at one point in season one he goes against her wishes, and sides with Pompey in the civil war.
  • Tiberius from I, Claudius is his mother's favourite. Unfortunately, this means that his life is not his own, and he is the constant focus of her manipulations. He may say that he resents her actions, and sulk a lot, but he goes along with her schemes.
  • Let us not forget about Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory. In fact, this is what elevates him from merely practicing Informed Judaism. In this (very Jewish) Troper's experience, Jewish parents are likely be overprotective to the point of smothering, and very, very, very likely to snoop/ meddle in their childrens' affairs.
    • To lesser degrees, there's also Sheldon, whose mother still treats him like a child and is the only person who can tell him what to do, and Raj, who is frequently lectured via web-cam by his parents in India, who he still calls mummy and daddy.
  • Vinton Harper in Mamas Family. Despite being a grown adult, he still lives in the basement of his mother's house with his wife and always succumbs to his mother's strong iron will and a stronger temper. Even on the few occasions where he does back talks to his mother, he later feels guilty about it.
  • William, later known as Spike, in flashbacks on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He is devoted to his mother as a human (and it's his first defining relationship), and even turns her into a vampire after Drusilla turns him because she was dying of tuberculosis. She's not particularly grateful, though, so he stakes her, though it obviously pains him to do it.
  • Mr. Wick in The Drew Carey Show. Mimi offending her once managed to press his Berserk Button.
  • A M* A* S* H episode finds Frank Burns wigging out after sometime-girlfriend Hot Lips announces her engagement to another man. He winds up blubbering to his "mommy" on the phone.
    • Frank was also frequently depicted as regarding Hot Lips herself as a kind of surrogate mother figure...making their relationship more than a little Squick-y.
  • Nina from Just Shoot Me dated a hunky actor who was really a momma's boy. It wasn't till the end of that episode that he showed how much of a momma's boy he really was.
  • Ducky of NCIS is a subversion, as due to his mother's dementia he's caring for her.
  • Jack from Threes Company. Although his mother only ever appears on the show once, his catch phrase is practically "Mommy!"
  • The Doctor Who episode "Vampires of Venice" had the villain's son be this. When Rory insults him, he goes after him with a rapier, eventually turning off his perception filter so he could rip him apart.
  • Gene Simmons of Gene Simmons Family Jewels is a self proclaimed momma's boy.
  • Mr. Humphries from Are You Being Served.
  • Luke Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures absolutely adores his mother. The adoration is mutual and not in any way creepy. In fact, their relationship is the heart of the show.
  • Jason Teague of Smallville's fourth season is a scary example, functioning as his Evil Matriarch of a mother's Dragon. She's more or less destroyed his self-esteem to the point where he can't do anything else.
  • Mitchell on Modern Family is said to be this by his partner Cameron:

 There's a fish in nature that swims around with its babies in its mouth. That fish would look at Mitchell's relationship with his mother and say, "That's messed up."

    • Cameron's not one to talk though as he's very close to his mother. To the extent that he doesn't believe Mitchell when he says she's always inappropriately touching him.


Music

  • The Suzi Quatro song "Mama's Boy"; she wishes he was more manly.
  • The Wilco song "Misunderstood" has the line You know you're just a mama's boy.
  • Britney Spears says "Go run to your mother" after a rather Dramatic break up in the song of the same title. Implying the boy this song is about is a mommy's boy.


Radio

 Mr. Burling: You're twenty-eight, you have a ridiculous job, and you still live with your mother.

Arthur: Well, yeah, but not in the "ooh, still lives with his mother" way people are thinking when they laugh about it. I just live with her because we get on really well, like friends, so why pay rent?

Mr. Burling: That is precisely what people are thinking when they laugh about it.


Theater


Video Games

  • Would Sephiroth be a twisted take?
    • Thanks to Advent Children, it's even more twisted!
    • Extra credit for being a more spiritual sort of "motherhood" courtesy of the Jenova cells Sephiroth was originally infected with, and also courtesy of Jenova not even being determinately female or necessarily even fully aware of it. It's definitely how Sephiroth acts about the whole affair, though.
      • He might just have delusions that his imaginary Mother loves him and would like him to turn the planet into their own personal family barbecue, then using it as a transport to go to new planets to eat at, as it is unknown how Jenova can even communicate with him.
  • While we're on the subject of Final Fantasy, let's not forget about good ol' Seymour Guado. Holy cow, the guy's got some massive Oedipal issues.
    • Though the hate he has of his father completely overrides the love for his mother. Unlike a certain other Final Fantasy Momma's Boy...
  • Hope Estheim from Final Fantasy XIII
  • Pelleas from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn would probably qualify, if he were actually Almedha's son. Tibarn even calls him a Momma's Boy.
    • Brady from Fire Emblem Awakening was this in the Bad Future due to Maribelle overprotecting him, which left him unable to protect himself after her death. In the present, he's still a Mama's Boy, but one who's hellbent on protecting her.
    • Owain, to a lesser extent. Lissa wasn't an overprotective parent, but Owain adores the hell out of her, kicking the shit out of a bandit who tries to hurt her and yelling at the Risen on a DLC map for taking Lissa's gold.
    • Male Morgan is this to a female Avatar, idolizing her and wanting to be as good a tactician as she is. She's also the only person he clearly remembers, with only vague memories of his father or the others.
    • Prince Takumi from Fire Emblem Fates was very attached to his stepmother Queen Mikoto, her loss being one of many factors that made him loathe Corrin for a while and make it easy for Anankos to infect him on the Conquest route.
    • Male Kana is this to a female Corrin, even turning into a wild dragon when he sees her being attacked.
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins, one of Sagi's defining character traits is his love for his mother, and many of the decisions he makes throughout the game are attempts to help or please her.
  • In Team Fortress 2, about half of the Scout's lines that aren't insults are related in some way to his beloved 'ma... The other half is bragging.
  • Walter Sullivan, the Big Bad from Silent Hill 4: The Room, believes that an apartment is his mother. It only gets weirder from there.
  • Sig in the Jak and Daxter series, who reminisced about his mother telling him stories and handing him warm milk and his "little Poopsie Bear" when he was a child. (Of course, he's about the only character whose mother has even been mentioned besides Keira, which puts him one up on the rest of the world.)
  • Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side's flamboyant artist, Mihara Shiki, loves his mommy and doesn't mind saying so. In this case it's not exactly presented as a negative so much as simply an indication of his quirkiness - for example, in one of his events he drapes himself against a bust he made of his mother, lamenting that she's not there right now, giving the heroine the impression that his mother is dead... but no, she's at home making dinner.
  • Jin Kazama from the highly-popular 3D fighting series Tekken


Web Original

  • Zaboo from The Guild is this trope to the comic extreme. The last few webisodes of the first season center on the guild helping him break free of his mother, treating her as the most scary and powerful boss of all time
  • Regular Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series.

  "My mummy says I'm a good boy!"

  • Silverwing of the Whateley Universe. He even let her pick out his courses when he went to Super-Hero School Whateley Academy, which is why he's a sophomore only now taking freshman martial arts.


Western Animation

  • Walt, Larry and Igner of Futurama are a trio of this trope. They allow themselves to be entirely dominated by their mother, Mom. Igner is a retard, Larry is a coward, and Walt has the worst Oedipus Complex you'll ever see.

 Walt: (right after being insulted and slapped by Mom) "Some day I want to marry a girl like her."

  • Modo of Biker Mice From Mars, only he's no wimp.
  • Tohru in Jackie Chan Adventures.
  • Cosmo in The Fairly Odd Parents.
  • Johnny Bravo.
  • Principal Skinner in The Simpsons, even drawing references from Psycho. (It's a more My Beloved Smother kind-of thing.)
    • Bart Simpson is this to a lesser extent. He'll troll the shit out of Homer and only show remorse if his actions might actually kill him, but one sad look from Marge is enough to make him feel guilty for even thinking of doing something stupid.
  • Bud Manstrong in The Venture Bros.
  • Word Girl has two examples:
    • Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy, who lives in his mother's basement.
    • Tobey, a young Evil Genius who can bring his city to its knees with his large robots and gives the title heroine a run for her money...but is very often thwarted when his mother appears, snatches away his controls, and drags him away by his ear.
  • It's especially creepy with Todd in Code Monkeys.
  • Kyle is berated by his stereotypical Jewish Mother, and it's even made a plot point in the movie.
  • Zak irritably calls Fisk 'Mama's boy' when he sucks up to Drew to avoid getting scolded.
  • DJ from Total Drama Island
  • Sterling "Duchess" Archer is rather more of one than he cares to admit.
  • Prince Zuko - his mother Princess Ursa was the best and steadiest influence on his life, until she vanished mysteriously. When he struggles with the morally right thing to do, the idea of what his mother would want of him is never far away.
  • Gazpacho, full stop.


Real Life

  • Legendary Snickers-hurling, van-driving, anything-welding badass Mr. T has declared himself to be "Just a big tough overgrown mama's boy". Suddenly the term loses a lot of its force as an insult...
    • "I am a Momma's Boy. I PITY THE FOOL WHO AIN'T ONE!"
      • You're telling me the guy who had a rap song using the line "Treat your mother right, treat her right." is a momma's boy? You don't say.
    • Well, would YOU tease Mr. T for being a Momma's Boy?
      • Questionable, depending on definition. Loving and respecting your mother is one thing. Mr. T doesn't give any indication that his mother actually RUNS his life, which is where it crosses the line into "mama's boy" in this troper's opinion.
  • General Douglas MacArthur's mother always told him he had to grow up to be as great as his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (Lieutenant General, and military governor of the Philippines for a time). Also, while he was a bachelor, he kept a mistress in a hotel, unbeknownst to his mother.
    • But, concerning the lady, how many people share the details of their sex life with their parents?
      • All the ones who invited their parents to a ceremony involving a white dress, rings, and a big cake. It's usually a big clue.
  • Jorge Luis Borges was like this too. One example: when he was in his 60s, he was offered some wine, and his mother said, "The boy doesn't drink wine." Note that he had become blind at that time, if you wonder why his mother still had to care for him.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal appears to be this, if this interview is any indication.
  • Professional Wrestling has WCW wrestler Buff Bagwell and his mother, Judy, who was made one-half of the WCW Tag Team Champions in 1998. Both Buff and Kanyon would fight in a "Judy Bagwell on a Pole Forklift" match in 2000. It was also rumored that Bagwell was fired from the WWF in 2001 because Judy was calling the WWF offices to complain about Buff's travel schedule.
  • Michael Jackson adored his mother Katherine, and apparently so did everyone else according to his memorial ("Mrs. Jackson... and Joe"). If I recall correctly, one of the first things Michael did when he became a successful solo artist was to throw a big birthday party for her, which nearly backfired horribly because she is a devout Jehovah's Witness (they compromised by having all the gifts "wrapped" in plain brown bags).
  • Javier Bardem; he notably dedicated his Oscar win for No Country for Old Men to his mother, and cites her career as an actress as his inspiration for becoming an actor himself.
  • Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champ Lennox Lewis' autobigraphy was even entitled "Mommas Boy". Not that I would call him on it or anything.
  • Adolf Hitler seems to have been one of these. Josef Stalin, too.

  Franz Liebkind: The Fuhrer wasn't a mousy little mama's boy! The Fuhrer was BUTCH!

  • The Roman Emperor Severus Alexander, who was only fourteen when his mother arranged for him to come to power. She was known as 'Mother of Augustus, and of the camps, and of the senate, and of the Fatherland', in case anyone was in any doubt about who was really in charge. Eventually, they were both murdered.
  • German author Erich Kästner (whom you may know from the book that became adapted as The Parent Trap) was this in Real Life and also wrote many characters like this in his books.
  • Ronnie and Reggie Kray were notorious London Gangsters, "but they loved their mum".
  • NFL receiver Andre Johnson, after being goaded into a fistfight with opposing cornerback Cortland Finnegan, was later asked in an interview what his mother thought about it. He responded that he'd rather not say what his 'Momma' said about him fighting.
  • Russian NHL winger and super star Alexander Ovechkin admits to be this . He is single and often stays with his parents, while his mother cooks and washes for him.
  • Emperor Mutsuhito/Meiji became very close to his adoptive mother, Empress Asako/Eishou[1]. She was a strong emotional support for him after the sudden death of his father Emperor Osahito/Koumei and Meiji's enthronement when he was a teenager.

Notes

  1. His birth mother, Lady Yoshiko Nakayama, was a concubine of his father the Emperor
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