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"It's a show that the kids can enjoy because of the cartoony action, and Dad can enjoy because he's a big ol' pervert!"
—Lore Sjoberg, The Book of Ratings on The Superfriends
Parent Service is where sexiness is used a bit to catch the eyes of parents and older siblings. Writers know that moms/dads adore watching shows with hot men/women in them, so they throw it in, in case they have to watch it. It's also what separates family shows/movies from children's shows/movies: While in both cases kids are the primary target, the former is specifically designed to retain elements that will keep all members of the family entertained.
This isn't confined to television shows, as movies can use this trope. Say, on Saturday/Sunday afternoon, Mom is fed up with the kids, and tells Dad to "GET THE KIDS OUT OF THE HOUSE!" once the kids hit her Berserk Button. What do screenwriters do? They throw in a hot Stripperiffic princess superheroine. Now Dad wants to go. (It could also be Dad being fed up and Mom wanting to go.) If needed, the princess superheroine will be made Older Than They Look. Younger Than They Look can also happen, but the latter is extremely rare due to the Unfortunate Implications.
Not to be confused with Fetish Fuel (unless aspects of this fall under that). These elements by themselves are just, plain fanservice.
- Sailor Moon in its entirety falls under this, although the transformation sequences were toned down substantially for the American broadcast.
- Parodied by Crayon Shin-chan, in the episode where Shin's mom, Mitzi, develops a crush on the Bishonen villain of Action Bastard.
- When you consider the fact that Magical Girl shows are (at least mostly) aimed at the 9-13 year old female audience (ostensibly), who else are the elaborate costumes, Transformation Sequences, and Panty Shots for?
- Yotsuba&! has Asagi and Fuuka.
- Also, Yanda for the female audience.
- Doronjo of Yatterman is a scantily-clad woman who constantly suffers Clothing Damage, sometimes ending up naked. The live-action incarnation of Yatterman-1 (portrayed by Sho Sakurai) has his own Estrogen Brigade.
- The Pokémon anime does play around with the concept with the Team Rocket trio, The Sensational Cerulean Sisters and Ash's mother, who have more than once come off like this. There are also a pretty good amount of one-shots that can apply as well, though the Orange Islands arc had a couple of very blatant examples with Professor Ivy and Lorelei/Prima. (But the show itself is generally tame compared to how certain Pokémon manga can be, especially Toshiro Ono's handiwork.)
- Hot Mom Aki Hinata in Keroro Gunsou.
- Disturbingly parodied in F-Minus, where a family is walking out of a showing of a kiddie movie, and the father comments that "That movie had something for everybody, talking animals for the kids, and tasteful nudity for the adults."
- In-canon example in Love and Rockets, in which Doralis becomes the hostess of a Hispanic-channel children's TV show and the focus of a drooling Periphery Demographic.
- Jessica Rabbit, pictured.
- A Disney Princess is sometimes this (unless she's clearly underage).
- Esmerelda of The Hunchback of Notre Dame gets a poledance.
- Shang in Mulan is a Walking Shirtless Scene, and Mulan herself ends up naked in a lake. With three other guys.
- For another male example, The Princess and the Frog brings us the delectable Prince Naveen (also the first Disney prince who seems a little slutty), who is tied up with snakes at one point. Also, Dr. Facilier.
- Pocahontas' clothing seems to be this. It's certainly nothing an eastern woodlands Indian woman would wear. And there's her fiancé at the beginning, who seems to have spent a bit of time at the gym, and her friend's Bare Your Midriff outfit.
Film: Live Action
- In the live-action Scooby Doo films (Not to forget in Scooby-Doo as a whole), the outfits worn by Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are pretty clearly Parent Service. The vinyl Spy Catsuit Velma wears briefly in the second film is even more so, and the cameo of Pam Anderson in a slightly sheer white top is nothing but.
As for myself, scrutinizing the screen helplessly for an angle of approach, one thing above all caught my attention: the director, Raja Gosnell, has a thing about big breasts. I say this not only because of the revealing low-cut costumes of such principals as Sarah Michelle Gellar, but also because of the number of busty extras and background players... Scooby-Doo could have been a comedy about how a Russ Meyer clone copes with being assigned a live-action adaptation of a kiddie cartoon show.
- The first movie was originally going to be more adult, with things like overt references to marijuana and the suggestion that Velma was a lesbian (with the hots for Daphne). They eventually decided not to go in that direction, but some of the above is probably a leftover effect.
- In Labyrinth, sex symbol David Bowie wears a pair of extremely tight leather pants that leave nothing to the imagination.
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland has Vanessa Williams as the Queen of Trash.
- Please Don't Eat the Daisies was a light comedy movie about a family and, with moments like Doris Day as the mother leading a bunch of children in the title song, presumably intended for family audiences. One of its subplots, though, concerns the father's opinion of an actress' bottom. You can't get much more literal Parent Service than that.
- Yeah, there are many grown people who are fans of the entire Transformers mythos, but for the rest of the populace that view the live action movies as merely properties based on toys and an 80's cartoon that they are being dragged to by their kids, the addition of Megan Fox is pretty much blatant, almost to the point of being Lampshaded. If anyone had any lingering doubt about Fox being hired for her physique after seeing the first movie, the motorcycle scene from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will have obliterated all of those.
- It is also notable that in Revenge of the Fallen, there are no ugly or old women in the entire movie, save the actress who played Sam's mom. It's almost as if Michael Bay recalled a joke from the film Last Action Hero about female extras and ran with it.
- Elf. Zooey Deschanel's shower scene.
- Shay Stanley's presence in Blank Check definitely qualifies for this. There's even a scene where she's dancing with the young protagonist in a series of water fountains.
- Loni Anderson in Three Ninjas Knuckle Up. (Though, this was just as she was reaching the peak, so the extra content? Not so much.)
- Vivica A. Fox as the fairy godmother in Ella Enchanted. Additional Parental Service in her third appearance, providing you have the DVD version.
- The spy woman from Home Alone 3 could be considered Parent Service on a sense, due to her cutesy winter getup and personality. Mileage may vary depending on nationality viewing it however.
- The Asian prettyboy ninja in the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie, who wears blindingly white tailored suits and has a shirtless scene at the end with authentic battle damage.
- When Sharpay of High School Musical gets food spilled on her shirt, Gabriella frantically paws her chest. Mocked in the Riff Trax.
- Fathers stuck watching The Metro Chase with their kids probably won't complain too much when they see Lindsay Felton dressed like this.
- This trope is the only explanation for the skimpy outfits worn by the female presenters on certain kids' shows in The Eighties and The Nineties, in Latin America. To name a few presenters, there's Xuxa, Feiticeira and Laura "Panam" Franco; all of whom were models at one point, though the first wouldn't like it if you knew.
- Check out the shows El Espacio de Tatiana and Nubeluz.
- Parodied on the episode of The Simpsons where the Simpsons go to Brazil and Bart watches a Brazilian kids' show called Teleboobies, featuring sexy women in tank tops and short-shorts rubbing against large letters, a showgirl/stripper demonstrating "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" using tassled pasties on her chest, and an unseen demonstration of "on top" and "underneath" (all we get to see is the family's wide-eyed reaction). Seeing her in a parade, Bart yells, Hey, it's the stripper from the kid's show!"
- Skippy the Bush Kangaroo has quite a few scenes of attractive women in bikinis, complete with music and camera focus making it clear that the sexiness of the ladies is being emphasized. Sunny (the youngest son) is oblivious, but the older males in the story certainly take notice.
- Emmy Jo Peden co-hosted 1970s kids' show New Zoo Revue, which was aimed at preschoolers. That didn't stop her from wearing miniskirts and go-go boots.
- Hi-5, both parents but especially dads.
- From Nick Jr., bored moms have been known to crush on the Kratt Brothers of Zaboomafoo, Sportacus from LazyTown, and Steve from Blue's Clues. However, nobody seems to like Joe.
- Lots of Parent Service on the UK young children's block C Beebies, most of it simply very good-looking presenters - although Sarah-Jane from Tikkabilla is a former contortionist, as many dads like to point out.
- John Stamos had a large part to do with the staying power of Full House. Then there's Becky.
- The producers of The Avengers were pretty blatant as to their motives when they brought Diana Rigg onboard as M(an) Appeal, er Emma Peel.
- TV Guide did an article once about guys watching Captain Kangaroo because of a "luscious babe" who used to be on it, sort of like Tim Taylor's female show lead in on Home Improvement.
- The Top of the Pops dance troupes such as Pan's People and Legs & Co that the show used when they couldn't get live footage in the era before music videos were widespread. Over in America meanwhile, there were the Solid Gold dancers.
- Lampshaded in the third season of the HBO series Oz, when the inmates would regularly crowd around the TV to watch a childrens' program with a rather well-endowed hostess (with more than a few commenting on how lucky the puppets were!).
- In Australia, there was a show called What's Up Doc, which basically showed a few Looney Tunes cartoons. Where this trope comes in, however, is that it was hosted by Sophie Lee, who introduced the cartoons and tended to wear whatever she wanted due to the dress codes for television (It's not hard to see where that went). She wasn't the only attractive woman to host that show. Current Getaway host Catriona Rowntree (who even went on to become the show's writer/producer) and former model Kate Fischer were also previous hosts of the show. The background set was loosely based on the idea that it's a Looney Tunes set, complete with a Daffy Duck shaped hole in the wall, but who cares?
- Catch was, she wasn't wearing anything that was prohibited by any of the dress codes that existed or anything that was explicitly sexy. She was just extremely hot looking which caught a lot of parent's ire.
- Some French-Canadian examples:
- Alia and Zalaé in Toc Toc Toc. As with LazyTown's Stephanie above, the characters are preschool-aged children, but the parents only see the adult actresses playing them, I can assure you.
- Passe-Carreau in Passe-Partout. The attractiveness of the actress at the time is still a running gag for the show's generation.
- It was lampshaded very heavily in Les Bougons, where the prostitute daughter of the family becomes a children's entertainer because of her sex appeal. Let's just say she's playing around with VERY phallic toys in her "videoclips". The kid's show was in fact a ploy by the crooked producer to trick her into transitioning into hardcore interracial porn. It failed.
- Of course, none of the attractive but not quite legal teens on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel shows are at all intended as parent service. Really. Honest.
- The BBC's Blue Peter isn't above this either.
- Don't forget British Saturday morning kids' show 'Ministry of Mayhem' game 'Cakey Sk8' with Holly Willoughby, a maids outfit, and cream cakes being splattered about. Oh yes.
- Caleb gets a very brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-it Shirtless Scene in the opening titles of Mission:2110.
- actually justified in-universe. It appears Caleb is being medically examined in the intro, possibly by Cybele, and in canon he spent years in cryogenic stasis.
- Since The A-Team was technically intended for children, Face could be considered this. Well, any of the four A-Team members could be Parent Service for specific tastes, but Face was the most blatant, considering how ridiculously handsome and charming he was--in Season 3, the showrunners seemed determined to show off his nice, lean arms and legs as much as possible and even gave him his first Shirtless Scene in the Season Premiere. The team's two Chicks, Amy and Tawnia, were definitely for the dads (especially Tawnia, who was more outright sultry-looking). Face being Parent Service would explain why Bradley Cooper played him in the movie version.
- The original version of The Electric Company had this that could be seen as Parent Service, Nightmare Fuel, Fetish Fuel (don't ask), or Nightmare Retardant depending on how you look at it (and what's really unsettling is that the writers probably didn't mean for it to be like this). This quote from the Live Action TV Nightmare Fuel page (which also has this sketch on its list) pretty much explains how a sketch like this can be Parent Service:
"Here's how it breaks down: when you're a kid, it's Nightmare Fuel, when you're a little older, it's Nightmare Retardant, and past puberty, it's Parent Service with a hint of Critical Research Failure and Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have! when you realize/discover that [a] Morgan Freeman was quite the looker back in the 1970s, and [b] even though the sketch is about the word, "casket," what the Count is actually bathing in is a coffin. Caskets are rectangular and coffins are the ones that look like elongated hexagons and are more commonly associated with vampires. Yeah, it is common that "casket" and "coffin" are used interchangeably, but that doesn't make it right. As a result of the mistake, the educational purpose of the sketch is defeated and the sketch as a whole is reduced to Parent Service at best or Fetish Fuel at worst (you know there's a problem when one YouTube commentator describes a sketch like this as "...an X-rated Sesame Street" and another explicitly points out the difference between a casket and a coffin). And why? Were the writers on drugs? Was the sketch written on a dare? Did the writers feel that the show could use a little Parent Service to go with the educational content, but overdid it on the former rather than the latter? Or did the writers just think it was a good idea at the time and didn't expect dirty minds to warp it into something less than innocent?"
- The Dad from Young Dracula could count as being for the Mums... though a lot of his fanbase seems to be made up of teenage girls with Electra complexes.
- Morticia Addams in most of her incarnations.
- The mother on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody seems to be used this way.
- On occasion, London (Brenda Song) and Maddie (Ashley Tisdale) fall under this trope too.
Maddie: Ok, it's time to strip and make the bed!
- Doctor Who is well known for using the Doctor's companions for these purposes, where it's called "something for the Dads". Some of the better known are:
- Peri (first appearance in a bikini). She and Turlough both get in on the action in "Planet of Fire".
- Sarah Jane (still hot into her 60s)
- Martha ("naked slimy evil clone" in "The Sontaran Stratagem")
- Leela (Nubile Savage)
- Romana, although in a slightly different way for her two versions. Romana I (Mary Tamm) was introduced with a lingering pan up of her in a stunning white dress and fur cape; she wore more practical outfits for other episodes, but even the most modest tended to emphasise her figure. Romana II (Lalla Ward), having a different body type, dressed differently, but no less attractively.
- Jenny, from "The Doctor's Daughter", although not a companion.
- Nyssa, who takes her skirt off for no real reason in "Terminus".
- Amy Pond, enough that some people complained about her being "too sexy" for the show, because her sexy legs actually brokethe TARDIS.
- Zoe, from way back in the 1960s. No-one remembers much about her aside from her skin-tight Latex Space Suit and the lingering, almost worshipful shot of her rear in the beginning of "The Mind Robber".
- said serial also goes out of its way to have Jamie climb things, allowing for lingering close-ups of the kilt-clad legs of both of the actors who play him.
- And for the Moms, the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors themselves. Possibly the Fifth as well, and perhaps even the Third (Jon Pertwee), in his way. Eight (Paul McGann) has his own Estrogen Brigade.
- John Simm's Master plays into this as well, and both he and David Tennant (and Bernard Cribbins, if you're into old men) enjoy some James Bondage in "The End of Time", although sadly clothed.
- Jack is arguably for the Mums (and for half the dads, though few will admit), especially when he gets defabricated.
- Arguably all the dads in spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures are distinctly "for the mums".
- Many of the Power Rangers characters. Unsurprisingly, it always seems to be the villains that get the role.
- This is arguably the only reason why the Pink and Yellow Rangers were around. Kat and Tanya, anyone?
- And definitely Kimberly, what with the tight gymnastics outfits, the otherwise constant upskirts and the episode where Zedd decides to make her his queen.
- In the last decade or so, practically every Tokusatsu show has started casting Bishonen models/singers/actors in the male roles, and attractive gravure (bikini models) and singers (and in a couple of cases like Go-onger, former Adult Video actresses!) in the female roles.
- How I Met Your Mother parodies this. Robin, who's alterego, Robin Sparkles, used to be a teen pop star in Canada, was also the star of a Canadian kids show called "Space Teens". Although the show is supposed to be about two Canadian teenagers solving outer space mysteries through math, when the gang watches it, they find it to be pretty much this trope. It starts with Robin Sparkles slidding down a pole in a short skirt and continues on to feature the teens tugging on an... interestingly shaped control, singing about their (pet) beavers, and solving math problems about how many inches of wood their beavers can eat. Robin, of course, refuses to see the show as anything but innocent, while the rest of the gang laughs it up.
- Nina from 'The Good Night Show' on the Sprout Network.
- There's a reason why the actors in Horrible Histories (a sketch show aimed [mostly] at kids on the BBC) are shirtless every now and then, and it's not just historical accuracy.
- Amy Duncan (the Hot Mom of Good Luck Charlie) certainly seems to wear a lot of really tight sweaters and shirts that don't always need to be worn (if that was the case, then why is Amy the only female (or person) in the cast) that always seems to wear sweaters, even though the show is set in Denver? there's also the fact that sometimes, Amy's bras don't seem to be that well-padded. Add in the fact that even the kids mention the fact that they shouldn't have too much fun because there are enough kids, and that Amy simply loves being noticed, and that the Disney Channel has been trying to get Leigh-Allyn Baker for a show for some time, but she thought that she was too young to play a mother to teens... yeah, she's this trope in spades.
- K 3 is considered an example hereof in The Netherlands and Belgium. Three women jumping up and down in cute dresses while singing songs marketed towards children, though the parents, especially the fathers tend to be a bit of a bonus audience. there is quite a lot of parental bonus in the texts as well.
- On the Boers and Bernstein show (a sports radio show in Chicago), the host Dan Bernstein regularly explains that he enjoys watching Giada De Laurentiis with his daughter. His daughter likes the show because she explains cooking in a way that she can easily understand. He likes it because a decent percentage of the shots in the show are of Giada's chest.
- A newspaper article once read speculated that the 1904 play Peter Pan was a source of Parent Service in that young women generally played the title role. Remember, a woman in leggings was very racy in Edwardian times.
- Most Pantomimes (where the Principal Boy is always played by a woman) is a source of this, even today.
- Let's go back even further, when the laws loosen up to allow women to perform, they were often put in roles that includes 'disguising oneself as a boy' for this reason.
- Though the game in question is rated M, this comic strip demonstrates this trope in action for Resident Evil 5.
- The Dark Queen from the Battletoads series. It's no wonder that people play these games. She gives the words Nintendo Hard a whole new meaning.
- This is pretty much the reason Rouge the Bat was created for the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
- Kids (and adults) play The Legend of Zelda for the gameplay. Fangirls play it because of Link, and fanboys play it because of Zelda and the rest of the Harem.
- In the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, when the main cast was at its youngest and most childish, the creators gave us Commander Zhao, introduced with a Shirtless Scene, and voiced by Jason Isaacs.
- It is worth noting that Zuko is older than the rest of the main cast, and had a simultaneous shirtless scene.
- Not to discredit his sister Azula. She sounds like The Vamp and does not look 14 at all.
- Later on there's both Hakoda and Ozai for a double-dose of DILF.
- June. The black clad, whip-wielding, pouty-lipped and stacked bounty hunter. Despite only appearing in one episode, she was quite popular, and got to make an appearance in the Grand Finale.
- Ty Lee in general counts for this but an extra helping of service during the episode "The Beach" where she wears an extremely revealing bikini, and has matching Jiggle Physics to accompany her "ample assets".
- Almost any major character not named Iroh functions as this sooner or later, for one demographic or another, with the Five-Man Band wearing less and less clothing as the series progresses (including total nudity, though it was hardly sexual) and in more "should children be watching this?" situations (including an all-but-outright-stated Ready for Lovemaking scene and a mud wrestling fight). Heck, even Iroh himself goes all beefcake when he was in prison.
- Hell, even Iroh probably counts after his time in prison to certain demographics.
- Katara may also count.
- Miss Sara Bellum in The Powerpuff Girls. The camera is permanently fixed at her cleavage.
- The villain Sedusa also appears in a couple of episodes, who, as her name implies, is something of a seductress.
- Shego and Mrs. Dr. Possible in Kim Possible. And Kim herself, actually.
- Teen Titans is for kids? Yeah, right. That's why Raven runs around in the equivalent of a one-piece swimsuit all the time.
- Starfire's sexiness was toned down immensely for the cartoon (Comic; Cartoon) but still managed to fall into this trope.
- A possible explanation for the above is the original rationale given by the creators; that they needed to cut features from the comic that would make animation too difficult. In the comic Raven's legs were visible but she also had a flapping dress on; this would be difficult to animate so it became a leotard. With Starfire, the comic version has large muscles and very large, dynamic hair, which were likewise sacrificed for animation's sake.
- There was a second wave of toning down for the Teen Titans series, as well. Some earlier episodes showed Starfire fairly well-endowed with distinct jiggling during the fights. Later episodes restricted her chest to a mere suggestion.
- The villainesses in Batman: The Animated Series. Extra points go to Harley and Ivy's blatant (and canon!) Les Yay, and, in later episodes, Harley's attempts to seduce the Joker, which involved pies and nighties and were about as risqué as they were unsuccessful.
- Bruce Wayne himself.
- Also Barbara Gordon.
- And, of course, Catwoman.
- Worth mentioning, though, is that this show also has plenty of other merits in the eyes of adults. But this was definitely a factor.
- In Animaniacs: Hello, Nurse! and Minerva Mink. That is all.
- In Minerva Mink's episode, the nerdy Wilford Wolf transforms into a gorgeous hunk of a werewolf who turns the tables on Minerva. Could just as easily be considered Parent Service.
- Trudy's cousin at the end of the first Minerva episode causes the same reaction. With his leather jacket, pompadour, and total immunity to Minerva's charms, he could have been more than a one shot...
- Before that, Babs Bunny in Tiny Toon Adventures had a habit of adding a load of curves when she did some of her costume changes. The two most blatant being the Elvira costume when trying to get an acting gig from Shakesphere, and the time she (somehow) disguised herself as a human to get a role in the "live-action" series "Thirteen-something", and spent half the episode with a pair of double-D's (on a two-foot body, no less!).
- Fifi La Fume is pretty curvy and seductive as well.
- Post-timejump AndrAIa in Re Boot. And it didn't help matters when she got Brainwashed and started calling Matrix "lover".
- And, despite the crazy, Hexadecimal had to be the original Parental Bonus.
- Daemon's skimpy clothes and several "rebooted" attires for Dot Matrix (Elvira comes to mind) also qualify.
- Matrix is a male example.
- For that matter, so's Bob, Ray, and even Megabyte to a select few. They all had their moments.
- After the Movie, Spike. Starscream. Blackarachnia. Starscream. (Possibly) Kicker. Mischa. Starscream again. Blackarachnia again. Megatron.
- Danny Phantom is not immune, such as with Desiree. There's also Vlad for a male example--he even gets a Shirtless Scene at one point. Also pay attention to how the Fenton parents often react to each other.
- Some dads enjoy watching Totally Spies with their daughters mainly because of Sam, Clover, and Alex in their tight jumpsuits or even swimsuits in some cases.
- The Secret Saturdays: Drew Saturday. Form fitting Spy Catsuit, Hartman Hips, Hot Shounen Mom, and voiced by Nicole Sullivan.
- The old Sonic the Hedgehog series (Fondly known as SatAM by its fans) is absolutely LOADED with this, mostly provided by Sally and Bunnie. Why did you think they always stood in that weird bent-over posture?
- The Brak Show had an in-universe example with Brak's favorite show, Señor Science. His dad has quite a fondness for the title character's assistant, Chikita. However, given that she's never on screen, we viewers have to take Dad's word on how sexy she is.
- Rogue fulfilled this role. Sure, you could make a claim for others, but Rogue was, Word of God even admitting such, always drawn and designd in the show to show off as much ski without actually going overboard.
- Then there's "Walk On The Wild Side" which gets all the X-girls into black leather catsuits as they prepare to fight crime. Oh lord.