Over the years, there has been a familiar television trope: the hot wife with the ugly husband. A tale as old as TV itself, the trend was ushered in by watershed hot wife/ugly husband shows like The Honeymooners, The Flintstones and The Bob Newhart Show. The recurring hot wife/ugly husband motif has become an important piece of our collective unconscious. Some of television's best shows (The Simpsons, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm) have used this device.
Maybe the hot wife/ugly husband trope is so effective because it's so relatable. The thing is, more couples probably identify more with Homer and Marge than they do with Sam and Diane. The use of the hot wife/ugly husband trope has usually been to shine a big, hulking stage light on average America. The stories told in this format tend to be familial and upbeat (with a few outliers, of course), they are in some ways a projection of the idea of "The American Dream." The hot wife/ugly husband television device is thematically very interwoven with American values. It is a way to give voice to "Joe Six-Pack" and to give viewers something to relate to amid the typical storm of star-studded faces, professionally hot (and professionally airbrushed) advert models and luxurious six-speed four-cylinder quad cab dual exhaust sports sedans that typically occupies the airwaves.
The hot wife/ugly husband trope is inherently American, with it's underwritten themes, and it remains culturally rich and important to this day. Here are the 10 hottest TV wives with ugly husbands.
10 Arrested Development
Tobias Funke and Lindsay Bluth are one of television's all-time oddest couples. The characters, portrayed by David Cross (a stand-up and sketch comedian most notably known for his work with Bob Odenkirk on the influential 90s HBO sketch show Mr. Show) and Portia De Rossi (an incredibly young actress who you may know as Ellen Degeneres' wife) respectively, couldn't be more different and are clearly bound for disaster.
9 The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
8 Grounded For Life
7 According To Jim
6 The George Lopez Show
This is another ABC sitcom that ran in the early 2000s. It's also another great example of the hot wife/ugly husband dynamic. George Lopez, the famed Latino comic, plays a character that is based on and named after him. On the show, Lopez's character works at a factory while raising his two children with his wife, Angie (Constance Marie). The show is a pretty predictable example of the type of multi-cam, studio audience in a soundstage production that used to typify American sitcoms. The show ran from 2001-2007 and, much like According to Jim, enjoyed a great deal of success with syndication.
5 The King of Queens
The King of Queens was a CBS-run, Kevin James vehicle that ran from the late 90s to the early 2000s. James plays Doug Heffernan, mailman and husband to smoking hot wife Carrie (Leah Remini). But the mismatch somehow worked and America grew to love Carrie and Doug as the show enjoyed solid ratings for its entire nine season run.
4 The Flinstones
The Flinstones had a pivotal role in shaping the hot wife/ugly husband dynamic that was introduced (and reintroduced) to the American psyche. As is the trend with most of these shows, The Flinstones was a prime-time (situational) comedy. It just so happens that The Flinstones was an animated program, produced by the prolific William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The show is centered around a cave dwelling, stone-age family named the Flinstones.
3 Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, decided to step out from his role behind the scenes as a producer to star in his second television effort, Curb Your Enthusiasm. David's character shares his name and many of his mannerisms and tics. Every episode finds L.D. in some new quandary or jam. At one point in the series, Larry begins to refer to himself as a "social assassin." That's a good description for his often inconsiderate and outlandish behavior.
2 The Sopranos
1 The Simpsons
The Simpsons has been an integral part of the American pop culture zeitgeist since 1989. Spanning 26 seasons, The Simpsons is one of the most influential, adored shows in the history of television. In the show, the fat, oafish Homer is married to the beautiful, blue-haired Marge. Homer works at the local nuclear power plant while Marge is a homemaker, constantly crafting or cooking something. Marge and Homer have three children: the precocious, snotty Bart; the brainy, sweet Lisa; and the baby Maggie.
The Simpsons exists because of the hot wife/ugly husband dynamic. If it weren't for shows like The Flinstones and The Honeymooners, The Simpsons would not be able to exist. Nonetheless, it has now used all of those parts to create this seemingly timeless formula for quality television.
Sources: splitsider.com, tvtropes.com, wikipedia.com
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