Most people feel a drive to become successful and earn the respect of their parents. But when parents are strict or neglectful, their children can feel like nothing they do is ever good enough. Here are some prime examples of TV characters who struggle to live up to parental expectations.
Rachel Zane, "Suits"Though it's never explicitly stated over the course of the show, the reason Rachel has such bad test anxiety during entrance exams is probably because of her father. Robert Zane is her father and a named partner at Rand, Calder, and Zane. So there's probably a lot of pressure at home from her successful lawyer dad. Rachel does eventually pass the LSAT in Season 2, however, with a score of 172, enough to get into Harvard Law.
Robert Zane is set to make his first appearance in the upcoming episode "The Strong Survive."
Alex P. Keaton, "Family Ties"
A lot of parents would be proud to have a conservative son. But young Republican Alex P. Keaton was nearly always at odds with his parents, who were both hippies. While they still loved him, Alex sometimes couldn't see it.
Michael Bluth, "Arrested Development"
Bottom line: The Bluth family is so messed up. Michael is obsessed with getting his own father to recognize his accomplishments with the family business that he is oblivious to the fact that his own son is trying to do the exact same thing with him.
Deb Morgan, "Dexter"
Deb wanted her father's approval but never really got it when she was growing up. Eventually, she decided the best way to get her dad to notice her was to follow in his footsteps and become a police officer. Unfortunately, her dad was too busy training Dexter to become the ultimate vigilante to pay her much attention, and Deb never felt like her father was proud of her.
Another "Dexter" character who tried and failed to win her father's approval was Christine Hill, the daughter of Arthur Mitchell (The Trinity Killer). She killed a federal agent who was investigating her father but doing so actually put him in more danger of being exposed. Her father becomes furious, and she ends up killing herself.
Pierce and Jeff, "Community"Over the years, Pierce and Jeff have bonded because of their shared daddy issues. In Jeff's case, his dad walked out on his mom when he was very young. Pierce arguably had it worse: His father was cruel, overbearing, and mean toward Pierce, even as a very young child. Both have their own set of bad behaviors, but both would secretly give anything to have their fathers be proud of them.