From Suburbia to the Underworld: The Rise of ‘Mom & Dad Do Crime’

Unless you were living under a rock or on a different planet, you’ve probably noticed the rise since 2008 of the phenomena called “Mom & Dad Do Crime”. It’s all about everyday folks diving headfirst into thrilling, illicit adventures that blur the line between right and wrong.

This sudden rise can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, there has been a growing demand for diverse and complex narratives that challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Audiences are seeking out stories that showcase the strength, resilience, and resourcefulness of individuals who are often underestimated or overlooked, such as older people and women. 

Additionally, the genre provides a fascinating exploration of the moral gray areas, blurring the lines between right and wrong. This moral complexity resonates with viewers who are intrigued by the inner conflicts and tough choices faced by the protagonists. 

Furthermore, the genre offers a perfect blend of drama, thrills, and humor, appealing to a wide range of audiences. The combination of tense crime scenarios with relatable, everyday characters adds a layer of authenticity and relatability. 

Ultimately, the rise of the “Mom & Dad Do Crime” genre reflects a shift in storytelling preferences, highlighting the desire for dynamic, multidimensional characters and narratives that challenge conventions and captivate audiences.

So let’s go into the elements that define this rising phenomenon,with some examples that have left a lasting impact on viewers.

Here Are 5 Elements of This Genre:

#1 – Desperation in the Face of Financial Struggles.

In recent years, many people have faced economic instability and financial hardships. This relatable theme is at the heart of the “
Mom & Dad Do Crime” genre, which explores how ordinary individuals can be driven to extraordinary measures when faced with tough circumstances.

Financial struggles can create a sense of desperation and a longing for a better life or a way out of their predicament. The characters in these stories often find themselves caught in a cycle of debt, struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families. They feel trapped, with limited options and the constant fear of losing everything they hold dear.

Desperation becomes a powerful motivator for these characters to step outside the boundaries of the law. They spot an opportunity to solve their financial woes and secure a brighter future for their loved ones. It’s a risky decision, as they weigh the potential benefits against the consequences of their actions.

This element brings depth to the characters and their choices, making them relatable and human. Audiences can empathize with the challenges and pressures they face. It also raises thought-provoking questions about what individuals would do in similar situations and challenges traditional notions of right and wrong. 

Shows like “Good Girls” exemplify this, introducing us to three suburban mothers burdened by financial worries who decide to rob a grocery store. As their story unfolds, their desperation for money leads them down unexpected and thrilling paths, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.

#2 – Moral Ambiguity and Ethical Dilemmas.

Moral ambiguity and ethical dilemmas lie at the centre of the captivating “
Mom & Dad Do Crime” genre, where the lines between right and wrong become delightfully blurred. These stories transport both the characters and the audience into a morally grey landscape, compelling them to confront tough choices and the consequences that follow.

Within these narratives, everyday protagonists find themselves thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Driven by noble intentions like protecting their loved ones or seeking justice, their desperate situations push them towards engaging in illegal activities. 

These characters are not your average criminals; they are relatable individuals wrestling with conflicting emotions. They must carefully weigh the potential benefits of their actions against the harm they may cause. As viewers, we become emotionally invested in their journey, empathizing with their internal struggles and contemplating the ethical implications of their choices.

The exploration of moral ambiguity within these stories encourages us to question our own beliefs and confront the complexities of real-life ethical dilemmas. It ignites thought-provoking conversations about the lengths we would go to protect our loved ones and the boundaries we might cross. These tales often present challenging questions about justice, survival, and the flaws embedded within our societal systems.

A significant strength of this genre lies in its ability to challenge traditional notions of heroes and villains. It showcases the multifaceted nature of human behavior, reminding us that even those with good intentions can find themselves in morally compromised situations. 

The unforgettable series “Breaking Bad” offers a prime example. Walter White, a mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer, delves into a criminal underworld, blurring the line between good and evil. As his actions become increasingly heinous, viewers are left questioning their own sense of right and wrong.

#3 – The Clash of Ordinary Lives and Criminal Activities.

In the realm of the “
Mom & Dad Do Crime” genre, one of the key elements that captivate audiences is the clash between the ordinary lives of the protagonists and their foray into criminal activities. These stories highlight the stark contrast between their everyday routines and the dangerous, illicit world they find themselves entangled in.

This clash between their ordinary lives and criminal activities creates a tension that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. We witness the characters struggling to maintain a façade of normalcy while navigating the complexities of their newfound criminal roles. They may attend PTA meetings, hold down day jobs, or participate in community events, all while secretly juggling the demands of their criminal endeavours.

The clash between ordinary lives and criminal activities adds layers of complexity to the character’s motivations and decisions. They are not seasoned criminals, but rather individuals grappling with their dual identities. They must balance the responsibilities and expectations of their everyday lives with the high-stakes world of crime. This internal conflict adds depth to their character development and keeps audiences emotionally invested in their journey.

Moreover, this clash provides fertile ground for storytelling dynamics. It allows for intriguing plot twists, as the characters navigate the challenges of keeping their criminal activities hidden from their families, friends, and the authorities. 

Shows like “Good Girls” and “Dead to Me” epitomize this clash between ordinary lives and criminal activities. The protagonists are suburban women leading seemingly typical lives, but they are forced to confront their own capabilities and adapt to the demands of their newfound criminal roles. Their struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy while engaging in illicit activities create compelling storylines that keep viewers hooked.

#4 – Unforeseen Consequences and Escalation.

The element of unforeseen consequences and escalation is a driving force in the captivating world of the “
Mom & Dad Do Crime” genre. It explores the ripple effects of the character’s choices and actions, often leading to unforeseen and increasingly dire outcomes.

What starts as a seemingly simple act spirals into a series of events that escalate in intensity and complexity. The attraction of this element lies in the unpredictable nature of the consequences. The characters find themselves in a constant battle against the unexpected twists and turns that arise from their criminal activities. 

In “Ozark,” we follow the story of Marty Byrde, a financial planner who gets caught up in a dangerous money-laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel. Marty’s initial plan is to relocate his family to the Ozarks and set up a legitimate business to launder the cartel’s money.

However, as the story unfolds, unforeseen consequences quickly come knocking at his door. The escalating consequences in “Ozark” are relentless, and Marty finds himself trapped in a web of deceit, violence, and ever-increasing danger. His decisions and actions have a domino effect, leading to a chain reaction of unexpected events that threaten his life and the lives of his loved ones.

#5 – Humor and Quirkiness.

The element of humour and quirkiness in the “
Mom & Dad Do Crime” genre adds a delightful and unexpected layer to these stories, often providing comic relief amidst the tension and intensity of the criminal activities. This element serves to balance the darker themes and adds a unique flavour to the genre.

in “Weeds,” humour plays a prominent role as the show infuses witty dialogue, comedic situations, and offbeat characters into its storyline. Nancy, the protagonist,  finds herself navigating the complexities of the drug trade while trying to maintain a façade of normalcy in her suburban community. The contrast between her seemingly ordinary life as a single mom and her unconventional career choice creates numerous humorous moments throughout the series.

The quirkiness of “Weeds” stems from the eccentric and colourful characters that Nancy encounters on her journey. These characters often bring comedic relief through their unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, and humorous interactions with Nancy.

The humor and quirkiness in “Weeds” serve multiple purposes. They provide comic relief amidst the more serious themes of drug dealing and its consequences. The lighthearted moments add levity to the story, allowing the audience to enjoy the series in a lighter and more entertaining way. Additionally, the quirkiness of the characters adds depth and complexity to the narrative, making the show a memorable and distinct entry in the genre.

In Conclusion – “Mom & Dad Do Crime” offers a thrilling and entertaining exploration of ordinary individuals pushed to extraordinary lengths. It challenges traditional notions of heroes and villains, blurs the lines between right and wrong, and delves into the complexities of human nature. So, grab your popcorn, buckle up for a wild ride, and immerse yourself in the thrilling world of moms and dads breaking bad.

Now it’s YOUR TURN –
Share your favourite “Mom & Dad Do Crime” TV show or movie, and tell me why it stands out to you. 

Would love to get your input in the comment box below.

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