Fictional Families With Strange Genetics

emuboy

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Dec 17, 2006
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DNA, with its dominant and recessive genes, can be a funny thing. If a father is marveling at how his two daughters can roll their tongues when neither he nor his wife can, then he is not the biological father of the girls as the inability to roll the tongue is recessive and tongue rolling is dominant, then two non-tongue rollers can only produce kids who can't roll their tongues. Likewise, if a father finds out his son has O blood rather than AB blood like his mother and thinks that the kid takes after him, then he is very much mistaken and not the boy's father as under the ABO blood system an O and an AB blood set of parents can only produce a child with either A or B blood, not AB and definitely not O.

Genetics of course determine physical features such as hair and eye colour of people who inherit these characteristics from their parents, and when casting for people to play family members in TV shows and movies often the producers will choose actors who look alike enough to play relatives. For example, in The Wonder Years Kevin and his father Jack Arnold shared dark hair and eyes, while Karen and Wayne Arnold shared the blonde hair and lighter features of their mother Norma. In The Nanny, Maggie and Brighton Sheffield were blonde like their late mother Sarah, while younger daughter Gracie had dark hair like her father Maxwell.

But in other cases, actors playing relatives look so different that it stands out to viewers. Which examples can you think of? Here are some:

THE TANNER FAMILY, FULL HOUSE - This is a famous case, and on Youtube there are several amusing conspiracy theories about this. Danny Tanner has dark brown hair, with his three daughters DJ, Stephanie and Michelle having blonde hair. The girls' late mother Pam had blonde hair, so perhaps her daughters take after her. The actress playing Pam in flashbacks looks like her on-screen daughters, although the chances of all three girls being blonde are slim. This would all be fine, except that Pam was Uncle Jesse's sister and Uncle Jesse is Greek, with distinct Southern European looks. Pam has no discernable Greek features, and neither do the girls. Was Pam adopted? Maybe, but its pushing it. Compounding the mystery further is that Jessie married Becky, a brunette, and they had twin sons with fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.

THE ASTONI FAMILY, HOME AND AWAY - In 2017, the Astoni family consisting of father Ben (Rohan Nichol), mother Maggie (Kestie Morassi) and daughters Ziggy (Sophie Dillman) and Coco (Anna Cocquerel) moved to Summer Bay, and probably wished they hadn't given in two years since they have had to face serious legal matters, cancer, divorce and eating disorders. This aside, youngest daughter Coco (currently on hiatus from the show) looks much like the actors who play her parents. If Anna Cocquerel was Kesti Morassi or Rohan Nichol's real life daughter, or if the two really were married IRL and had a child together, this would be believable. But oldest daughter Ziggy looks nothing like her on screen parents or sister and in fact the opposite. She is much taller and has blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin and a Northern European appearance, contrasting sharply with the other three actors who have darker features and look Southern European like the Italian-Australian family they are portraying. At first I thought Coco was Ben and Maggie's only child and Ziggy was a troubled niece sent to live with them because her own parents couldn't control her, but this wasn't the case.

THE BARONE FAMILY, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND - Ray and Debra Barone both have dark hair, but their kids Ally, Geoffrey and Michael (played by real life siblings) are all blonde. However, the kids' maternal grandmother Marie is blonde as is Debra's seldom seen sister Jennifer, so there clearly are blonde genes in both sides of the family, and I always thought Debra and Ally looked similar facially. However, the dark hair of the parents and the blonde kids did stand out, and if IRC they lamp-shaded it in one episode, with Robert Barone joking about how did an Italian American and an Irish American both with dark hair produce three blonde kids, this met by dead silence and Marie saying, "I don't like that, Robbie."

THE JETSON FAMILY, THE JETSONS - The only way that Judy and Elroy Jetson could be the biological kids of both parents George and Jane Jetson in this popular early 1960s Hanna Barberra cartoon is if Jane Jetson is a natural blonde who dyes her hair red. Why? Because red hair, shared by both Jane and George Jetson, is a recessive feature and two redheads can only produce red haired children and Judy and Elroy are both blonde.
 

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Kirby

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Oct 10, 2007
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This question always irks me in African American shows. Where the kids are darker than their parents.
I'm pretty sure that can happen though. It like when short parents have a really tall child and one of the parents has a tall relative somewhere. The darker black skin is still in the genetic make-up (it's not recessive like red hair).
 

Taylor

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Regarding the African American children being darker than parents, there is a cultural thing over there where the women are seen as more beautiful when they are lighter skinned. The action hero men can be quite dark but the love interest women are very much lighter tone.

Odd stuff.
 

akkaps

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Mar 20, 2012
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I'm pretty sure that can happen though. It like when short parents have a really tall child and one of the parents has a tall relative somewhere. The darker black skin is still in the genetic make-up (it's not recessive like red hair).
743543


Rel. Starring Sinbad as the father
Regarding the African American children being darker than parents, there is a cultural thing over there where the women are seen as more beautiful when they are lighter skinned. The action hero men can be quite dark but the love interest women are very much lighter tone.

Odd stuff.
this is also common in Asian/Eastern cultures as well. To the point, acting or language ability isn’t questioned.
It’s also true in real life too, where there tends to be a preference for lighter skinned spouses.
 

Shell

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Jul 2, 2005
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THE TANNER FAMILY, FULL HOUSE - This is a famous case, and on Youtube there are several amusing conspiracy theories about this. Danny Tanner has dark brown hair, with his three daughters DJ, Stephanie and Michelle having blonde hair. The girls' late mother Pam had blonde hair, so perhaps her daughters take after her. The actress playing Pam in flashbacks looks like her on-screen daughters, although the chances of all three girls being blonde are slim. This would all be fine, except that Pam was Uncle Jesse's sister and Uncle Jesse is Greek, with distinct Southern European looks. Pam has no discernable Greek features, and neither do the girls. Was Pam adopted? Maybe, but its pushing it. Compounding the mystery further is that Jessie married Becky, a brunette, and they had twin sons with fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.
My Dad is greek- my brothers both got dark hair, yet I got dark blonde. My mum's sister married a greek guy as well, and their daughters came out gingerish and blonde- and i mean blonde blonde, like Legally blonde.
 

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