Henpecked Husband

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MrsMrBucket.jpg
A man can either be a happy rabbit or a lonely lion.
Arabic proverb

The poor guy; he squirms under the thumb of a domineering wife, very likely a Grande Dame. Her word is law, and he can only obey, with a meek and humble, "Yes, dear." We laugh at his misfortune, and maybe pity him a little.

Frequently, he will be a small figure, literally overshadowed by his behemoth of a wife. Bigger than he is, she nevertheless expects him to carry all her packages when out shopping, to run all her errands, and to care for whatever snarling pet she dotes on—and he will. Some of these men are resigned to the horror of their lives; others try to escape, oftentimes to their regret. There are two possibilities if the Henpecked Husband actually succeeds in standing up to his wife: either she'll hold her ground, provoking him to divorce her and revel in the newfound freedom, or his wife will not only back down, but instantly swoon and throw herself at him - she was secretly yearning for him to grow a spine all along.

A common feature in the Awful Wedded Life Dom Com genre. Originally, this trope was a subversion of expectations - a husband dominated by his wife was funny because it was the reverse of the normal, proper situation where the man was in charge of the household. After all, a real man could never be dominated by any mere woman, so the Henpecked Husband must be a wimp who deserves it. Today, the notion that the man must be the head of the family is mostly a Discredited Trope, but the idea that there's something inherently hilarious about a woman dominating a man still lingers. While cries of Henpecked Husband are sometimes raised at the slightest implication of a wife being in charge of anything, it's only very recently that it's started becoming common for the truly overpowering examples to be held up as abusive.

If it's a relationship where the two of them really love each other, this will be played even more for laughs, with the joke more likely to be not that the husband is suffering, but that he's delusional. Maybe the husband starts talking about how he "wears the pants in the family". The wife will then make a comment or suggestion, and he'll immediately cave. Yeah, he's whipped.

Compare Momma's Boy, My Beloved Smother, and Parenting the Husband. See also No Accounting for Taste. In the process of slowly becoming a Discredited Trope.

Examples of Henpecked Husband include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Goku in Dragon Ball is an interesting example. He's both a subversion and played straight. Even though Chichi usually seems completely in control of him, when he really wants to defy her wishes (which is usually for actually serious business) he proves to be entirely capable of ignoring her. Normally, his easygoing personality just makes him happy to defer to Chichi's more forceful nature.
  • Japanese manga later turned into (a short-lived) anime Dame Oyaji (1970) takes this to the next level, by having the wife AND kids beat the snot out of the dad solely because they hate him.
    • For those who don't know Japanese, the title literally translates to "Useless Dad".
  • The men of the Nara Clan in Naruto seem attracted to these types of relationships. Shikamaru claims his dad Shikaku is whipped by his domineering mother, the Tsundere Yoshino; not wanting to fall into that mess, he routinely states that he hates women like that. Yet he's stuck with Ino Yamanaka as a partner, then gets matched up against Kin Tsuchi, Temari, and Tayuya in the Chunin Exam and Rescue Sasuke arcs, with the second even saving him against the latter. He and Temari seem to be getting a little closer after the Time Skip, which of course they both deny.
  • Mr. Number One from one episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers. Poor guy.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion ultimately implies that Gendo, of all people, was a Henpecked Husband to Yui Ikari. He took her surname, which is highly unusual in Japan, although it may reflect Yui's higher social status; practically everything he does in the series has the ultimate goal of resurrecting her; and ultimately it's strongly implied to be Yui's plans that drive the entire story. Unusually, this is neither Played for Laughs nor depicted as abusive, but it's not portrayed as necessarily having been healthy either. It's just a Shocking Swerve from what you expected the relationship between idealized Missing Mom Yui and ultimate cold-blooded Magnificent Bastard Gendo to be like.
  • In Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, Haruka's dad is this. Although he's an Overprotective Dad, and has the respect/command of a small commando unit and shareholders, he's largely afraid of his wife, who forces him to reluctantly accepts his daugther Haruka's relationship with Yuuto, and her interest in manga/anime. In one situation, another girl, Shiina, confessed to who she thought was a sleeping Yuuto, only to find out it was Haruka's dad. Although he was completely innocent, his wife still retaliated by accusing him of cheating on her.
  • Benkei in Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo. Being a sentient space colony, he and Tsutsuji aren't technically husband and wife, but they fit...
  • In the first season of Slayers, there's a scene where a man falls under the influence of a cursed knife and starts attacking Lina and Gourry. His wife opens a window and yells at him, and he slithers meekly back to his shop. Lampshaded immediately afterwards as Lina comments that an angry wife is more powerful and influential than a cursed knife.
  • In Seto no Hanayome, San's father is one of these. This is probably a good thing, given that he's an Overprotective Dad to the point of psychosis. Nagasumi's father is also a bit of a wuss compared to his wife.
  • Otsuka Akio, Ren's dad in Poor Poor Lips. On his first appearance alone, it's revealed that he needed to get permission from his wife just to visit Ren after she was disinherited, and even that required a whole year of pleading to his wife.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • General Alcazar from Tintin, he's a ruthless dictator and revolutionary but is completely submissive to his wife, whose temper is just as bad as his. The dissonance between his macho persona and his role in his marriage is Played for Laughs.
  • A one-shot side story from Will Eisner's The Spirit has a man running away from his overbearing (and possibly abusive) wife just as a criminal Identical Stranger is escaping from prison. The two agree to switch clothes, and the henpecked man is arrested and sent to solitary confinement—which suits him just fine, because at least he's got some peace and quiet. The criminal, meanwhile, is found by the police and sent back to "his" wife, which apparently turns out to be a pretty severe punishment in its own right.
  • Rajiv Bohdgi in the Yank Wilson story in the first issue of Next Issue Special. His wife, hotel heiress Berlin Holiday, is a domineering shrew who rants and raves at him day and night. Bohdgi, it should be mentioned, is an infamous supervillain. After their marriage, his actions become wild, destructive, and unpredictable - because he wants to be captured so he'll be taken away from his wife. Upon detaining him and learning all this, Yank Wilson has good news for the happy couple: they'll be sharing a cell in Fort Leavenworth.
  • Superman and Batman, of all characters, are portrayed in this manner in Bob Haney's "Super-Sons" stories in World's Finest Comics".


Film[edit | hide]

  • Rebel Without a Cause has Mr. Stark being unable to stand up to his wife as a significant character point for their kid. In one scene he even wears an apron. In the Fifties.
  • The entire premise of Norbit.
  • The root of the character Bobby Davis in Wild Hogs.
  • Shows up a lot in Chinese comedy; there's a good example in Kung Fu Hustle.
  • The Big Bad of the second Spy Kids movie turns out to be like this. At the end, when his plans have finally caved: "Wait till I tell Mom you tried to take over the world again." He responds appropriately.
  • In Madhouse, Fred is henpecked until he decides to take a break from his wife. When he returns, he refuses to serve her and she accepts him as her equal.
  • Used in Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor, where his own father is henpecked by his wife, seen in a flashback. It does change by the end of the film.
  • Many old Laurel and Hardy comedies feature this trope.
  • W.C. Fields would either play a henpecked husband or a Con Man (usually a Card Sharp) in his movies.
  • Dr. Ernest Menville from Death Becomes Her, at least until he starts developing a spine. In fact, he prefers suffering a near-fatal fall to being with his bothersome wife for the rest of his life. However, he is fairly tall and athletic, in contrast to the physically weak part of the trope.
  • The landlord in Kung Fu Hustle.
    • Though him and the landlady are in fact Happily Married. And both of them are kung fu experts.
  • Claude Rains was nominated for an Academy Award for playing one in Mr. Skeffington.
  • Murray Seidenbaum in Stay Tuned.
  • Ryan O'Neal's character in What's Up, Doc?.
  • The Yakuza boss in The Machine Girl is a complete sponge to his wife. She's the more dangerous of the two by far; he doesn't even want to punish the title character for her supposed misdeeds.
  • The fourth story of Creepshow, The Crate, has this in the form of Henry Northrup and his alcoholic wife Wilma (but call her Billy, everyone does) to the point he imagines killing her several times. He eventually does kill by feeding her to monster in the titular crate.
  • One of these is a supporting character in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao; his wife becomes nicer after surviving being turned into stone by Medusa.
  • School of Rock had this in the form of Ned Shneebly, who has a VERY domineering girlfriend that never hesitates to give him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Chicken Run, appropriately, has Mr. Tweedy in this role. His wife constantly berates him for his stupidity and never believes his claims that the chickens are plotting to escape. In the end, when Mrs. Tweedy's "chicken pie" plan backfires, he tells her "I told you they were organised".
  • In The Baker (aka Assassin In Love), a fat slob of a woman constantly insults her meek husband, who doesn't have enough of a spine to defend himself. He turns out to be not so meek after all when he hires an assassin to have her dealt with.
  • Buster Keaton's Three Ages during the scenes set in the 1920's. The father of the Love Interest is one.
  • Toshiro Mifune's character in Samurai Rebellion until he decides to stand up for himself.
  • Ned in Imagine Me and You.

Beth: So, Ned. How long have you guys been married, then?
Ned: Thirty Years.
Beth: [tenderly] Oh.
Ned: If I'd killed her when I first thought about it, I'd be out by now. A free man.

  • George Putnam in Amelia is more then a little like this. They remain Happily Married despite what the title character puts him through because he is something of a Fool for Love.


Jokes[edit | hide]

  • One Henpecked Husband tells: "In my marriage, I make the big decisions - what should be done about the Middle East, what the government should do about the debt... My wife makes the small decisions - what car we should buy, what house we should buy..."

Henpecked Husband: "In my family, everyone is commanding. My wife commands the servants. My kids command the dog."
Friend: "And what about you?"
Henpecked Husband: "I care for the flowers."

  • Henpecked Husband: I always get the final word in any discussion. It's 'Yes, dear.'


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Silver Chair, the Black Knight is brainwashed into being utterly subservient to the Lady of the Green Kirtle. When Jill tells mentions people "don't think much of men who are bossed around by their wives" where she's from, he tells her she'll doubtless think differently when she's married herself. Jill finds this answer even more repulsive.
  • Barry Hughart's novel Bridge of Birds has the appropriately named Henpecked Hou. (The novel is an exhaustively well-researched fantasy set in "an ancient China that never was," and the Henpecked Husband is a Stock Character in Chinese comedy.) Note that Hou eventually has enough and chops his wife to pieces with an axe. She really deserved it, though, for crimes much bigger than just being a nag.
  • Many James Thurber heroes.
    • One of the more famous examples in literature is Walter Mitty from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, about a grown man escaping constantly into light-hearted fantasies to avoid his wife. It should probably be noted that there are some Alternate Character Interpretations about both Mitty and his wife.
    • A lesser-known but rather outrageous example is "Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife", where the title character attempts to murder his wife so that he can run off with his secretary. He's so spineless that she stops him just by complaining... and then she starts yelling instructions for her own murder at him.
    • Ironically, in reality Thurber was a documented serial wife abuser and general all-around unpleasant person. (It's very common for Real Life male domestic abusers to portray themselves as Henpecked Husbands—and, often, even believe it's actually true—which explains why they have to beat their awful, domineering wives in self-defense, of course.)
  • The original Rip Van Winkle was trying to get a few moments' peace from his wife when he fell asleep. Been around a while, hasn't it?
  • The tales of The Brothers Grimm had a few examples of this. In "Hansel and Gretel", it's the wife who badgers her husband into abandoning the title characters in the woods. In "The Fisherman and His Wife", the wife is constantly demanding her husband ask grander and grander wishes of the magic fish. Until said fish is fed up and takes everything back.
  • Percy Hamleigh in The Pillars of the Earth is thoroughly under the thumb of his wife, Regan.
  • Every married man in the Wheel of Time series has some degree of henpeckery going on. In Ebou Dar, women wear knives to slice up or murder their husbands when they misbehave.
  • Mr. De Vil in Dodie Smith's One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
  • Peter Jerzyk from Stephen King's Needful Things.
  • Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter series.
  • Jerome Squalor. If the guy says anything that his (ex)wife Esme doesn't like, he gets shot down faster than an enemy plane.
  • Inverted in Agatha Christie's The Hollow, in which the rooster-pecked wife is utterly devoted to her husband, and is treated with the same mix of pity and contempt that the Henpecked Husband typically is.
    • Dame Agatha also created several couples, usually American, in which the mercilessly talkative wife is waited on hand and foot by a compliant and apparently happy husband. Not to mention various husbands suspected (sometimes correctly) of doing away with disagreeable, domineering wives.
  • Maroof the Cobbler from one Arabian Nights story. Later however, The Dog Bites Back, if you know what I mean.
  • In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Goodman Adam Cruff is very much under the thumb of his wife, so far as he doesn't dare speak against her abuse of their daughter.
  • Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil Vimes in Discworld are a subversion. They're deeply in love, and Lady Sybil's "nagging" just makes sure he eats properly and occasionally gets a day off, whether he wants it or not - which is something he actually needs, being an incredible Workaholic. Vimes' preferred method of arguing with her, however, is by exaggerating how henpecked he is until she feels guilty:

Sybil: And you will try to look dignified, won't you?
Vimes: Yes, dear.
Sybil: What will you try to look?
Vimes: Dignified, dear.
Sybil: And please try to be diplomatic.
Vimes: Yes, dear.
Sybil: What will you try to be?
Vimes: Diplomatic, dear.
Sybil: You're using your "henpecked" voice, Sam.
Vimes: Yes, dear.
Sybil: You know that's not fair.
Vimes: No, dear.

    • In Night Watch, a minor character named Rutherford is overshadowed by his loud, domineering wife, who can be as snobbish as nobility. Vimes imagines that he's the sort who would not actually murder, but would happily imagine spousal homicide on a regular basis.
  • The Other Father from Coraline. To be fair, it's hard to stand up to you wife when she's a giant spider monster.
    • Who created you.
  • Harry Bannerman in Rally Round the Flag, Boys!, a tired businessman who tries to achieve inebriation on the 5:29 train home because he knows what awaits him there. Not that he doesn't regret providing his wife with a nice house in Suburbia and three too-perfect sons (though all of these were really her plans, requiring no more than absent-minded consent from him), but he is rather more interested in sex, even after ten years of marriage, than the community issues she considers more important to married life.
  • Henry Wilt in the Wilt series by Tom Sharpe fits this trope - a college lecturer who has had any lingeing ambition crushed out of him by years of discouragement who is married to the awful Eva, a woman keen to relate her own dissappointment in Henry at every possible moment. Physically, Henry and Eva Wilt also fit the Tiny Guy, Huge Girl trope: in line with Sharpe's female leads, Eva is an Earth Mother, a larger-than-life woman who does everything to excess, including motherhood - she is mother to quad girls, also to Henry's discomfort. And they all take after Mum...
  • Emmon Frey from A Song of Ice and Fire is dominated by his wife Genna Lannister, to the point where he allied himself with Genna's house during the War of the Five Kings when the rest of his family took up arms on Robb Stark's side.
  • Ephraim Kishon in his satirical short stories, at least sometimes.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Played as straight as an arrow! Collateral Damage reveals that Karl Woodley has turned into this for his wife Paula Woodley. It's justified, because he was an abusive Complete Monster who broke every bone in her body, and the Vigilantes broke every bone in his body in turn. Paula Woodley wants him to pay for all those wasted years! Unfortunately, this trope is not quite as justified with the relationships between the Vigilantes and their men.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • A Running Gag in the Roseanne sitcom is that Roseanne is the head of the family and pushes her husband Dan around. Or, in her own words, "I don't push Dan around. I am trying to put him in touch with his submissive side."
  • Rumpole of the Bailey calls his wife She Who Must Be Obeyed, but is himself a subversion - while she often bosses him about and has the apparent upper hand, he's usually manipulating her or undermining her anyway.
  • The entire premise of the 1970s Britcom Lollipop Loves Mr. Mole, with the fearsome Peggy Mount bossing around the meek and mild Hugh Loyd.
  • Keeping Up Appearances (pictured, above) beat this to death, then, like Apophis in Stargate, resurrected it to beat it some more.
  • Hal from Malcolm in the Middle seems like an example, as Lois is pretty clearly the one in charge in their marriage. However, Lois doesn't boss him around for fun, just to make sure that nobody ends up in prison, the hospital, or the morgue. In episodes that have Lois going out of town without the family, he does things like tear down the outer wall of their bedroom, or build a killer robot with a laser-guided bee cannon.
  • "Harcourt Fenton Mudd, you dirty, rotten lazy--" "SHUT UP!" "--thing... thing... thing..." In I, Mudd from the original Star Trek, con man Harry Mudd, trapped on a world of mostly obedient androids, has them create a duplicate of his nagging wife, who he reveals he was running from; only this version had an "off" switch. After the Enterprise crew frees itself, they leave Mudd on the planet with 500 more copies of his nagging wife -- without the "off" switch—as punishment for his misdeeds.
  • Niles, from Frasier, when it came to Maris. Originally it was just played for comedy but, after he got a bit of Character Development, they got some pretty good emotional moments from it too.
    • Niles is quite weak-willed, so it's no wonder that his utterly monstrous first wife Maris, his second wife Mel, and his later-to-become third wife Daphne trample him on a daily basis.
  • Nels Oleson in Little House On the Prairie is like this.
  • Marcy D'Arcy was like this with both of her husbands on Married... with Children, with hilarious results.
  • Jerry Leadbetter in The Good Life; however, unlike most examples, he doesn't hesitate to put his foot down when he needs to.
  • Greg Warner on Yes, Dear is this, complete with a classic Double Standard: if he even tries to put his own comfort first or asks Kim to give in during an argument even once, he's portrayed as selfish. But Kim gets to badger him mercilessly all she wants.
  • The famous The Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough At Last" had the banker's wife refuse to let her husband read. At all, to the point where she won't let him read the condiment bottles at the dinner table, and eventually rips up his poetry. Why she does this is never explained, and nobody cries when the bomb hits.
  • Trey in Noah's Arc increasingly becomes this as Alex's demanding nature is highlighted as the first season progresses. Interestingly, rather than being Played for Laughs its taken as a serious relationship issue (for which they even go to counseling).
  • Spoofed in the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer pretends to have a real corporate job for about a week. Jerry falls into the role of nagging Housewife.
  • Jon Gosselin from Jon and Kate Plus Eight was frequently portrayed as this on The Soup. Once news broke of what their relationship was really like offscreen, Joel McHale noted that the show was "just kind of sad now."
  • A droll Alfred Hitchcock episode starred Bob Newhart as a henpecked husband who orchestrates a clever plan to get rid of his wife - unfortunately for him, he goes straight from the frying pan to...another frying pan.
  • Basil Fawlty.
  • Rory of Doctor Who. Lampshaded at his wedding:

The Doctor: From now on, I'll leave all the kissing to the brand new Mr. Pond.
Rory: Wait, what? No, I'm not Mr. Pond, that's not how it works.
The Doctor: Yeah it is.
Rory: ...yeah it is.

    • In "A Good Man Goes to War

banging on door
Amy: "Who's that? Who's there? You watch it, because I am armed and really dangerous, and... cross"
Rory: "Yeah, like I don't know that."

    • However, they do genuinely love each other; Rory's pretty badass himself, just not as dominant a personality as Amy is, so he's content to let her take the lead.
  • Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond, who went from being controlled by his mother Marie to being bossed around by his physically and verbally abusive wife Debra. Debra virtually lives on the Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male trope. She attempts to control every aspect of his life (she even tells him when he's "allowed" to hang out with his friends, while she hangs out with her own friends whenever she wants) and she is infuriated whenever he attempts to rebel. In one episode, it is revealed that she even convinced the poor man's own children to look at him with contempt.
  • Pete Cavanaugh and Ed Montgomery from Dharma and Greg.
  • The Sopranos Tony Soprano's late father, according to Tony:

Now that my father's dead, he's a saint. When he was alive, nothing. And my dad was tough. He ran his own crew. A guy like that, and my mother wore him down to a little nub. He was a squeaking little gerbil when he died.

  • Brett from Kath and Kim gets treated quite horribly by Kim, to the point where it becomes completely understandable why he eventually cheats on her.
  • George Mainwaring in Dads Army acts like the tough, hard-hearted and indomitable bank manager and Home Guard platoon captain, but one phone-call from his never-seen wife Elizabeth can reduce him to complete spinelessness. While it's often played for laughs, a touch of melancholia was injected with the all-but-outright-stated implication that his fanatical devotion to the Home Guard is because it gives him not just power and authority in the town but because it gets him away from her and gives him validation he is sorely lacking from her.
  • Denis Thatcher in Spitting Image.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Sean Morey's "The Man Song" is all about this trope.
  • In Pink Floyd's The Wall, the school teacher in "The Happiest Days of our Lives":

When they got home at night, their fat and
Psychopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives.

    • This is also highlighted in the film version where the teacher is forced to eat a bad piece of meat by his wife, after which the film cuts to him taking out his aggression by spanking a student, and later in "The Trial" where the main character, Pink's, embellished, imaginary version of the school teacher appears as a marionette controlled by his wife.
  • Great Big Sea's rendition of "Scolding Wife".

And if the devil would take her \

I'd thank him for his pain I swear to God I'll hang meself if I get married again

  • "My Wife", by The Who. The singer feels compelled to find "a black belt judo expert with a machine gun", among other things, to protect him from the little woman.
  • "Oh my commanding wife, she want to destroy my life." -Los Rabanes


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Fibber McGee and Molly had Wallace Wimple and Sweetie Face; we never hear from the wife, but apparently she's terrifying, and "Wimp" often puts Sweetie Face in situations likely to kill her--it never works. He was so iconic, that for years after, any character appearing in a cartoon from The Golden Age of Animation that copied his distinct voice and mannerisms could safely be assumed to be hen-pecked without further evidence.
  • Dylan Thomas managed this twice in Under Milk Wood. On one hand, you have the Pughs - Mrs Pugh nags and Mr Pugh reads books called Lives of the Great Poisoners. On the other, Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard bosses both her dead husbands. Yes, there's no escape.
  • Swedish character Lille Fridolf, who started in radio and moved on to films and comics, was thoroughly dominated by his wife Selma, with Selma frequently swinging a rolling pin or other household object at Fridolf.


Stand-Up Comedy[edit | hide]

  • Ralphie May comments on this in quite a few of his shows, basically bringing it down to you having the choice of either being "happy, or right, gentlemen."


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is dominated by his wife, appropriately named Domina. (She gets it from her mother, it seems.)
  • Brian in Avenue Q, though it's a possible subversion since there's no indication that he actually minds it.
  • Thenardier to some extent in Les Misérables. This is in contrast to the novel, in which it's exactly the opposite.
  • Clyde from The Witches of Eastwick. Ends up killing her with a frying pan. With her dying breath, she jams his tie in the garbage disposal and hits on.
  • The title character in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
  • Totally inverted in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in which a woman is psychologically abused into submission. Oh, and it was originally playing this for laughs.
  • Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia features Lady Croom, a noblewoman who rules over her husband so much you have to wonder if she's instated some sort of matriarchy in Sidley Park.
  • Daddy in Edward Albee's The American Dream.
  • Andrey Pozorov in Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters.
  • Chrysale in Molière's Les Femmes Savantes, although he gets better as the play progresses.
  • In Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood we have Mr. Pugh and the ghosts of Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard's two late husbands (Mr. Ogmore & Mr. Prichard); in the latter case, she continues to bully them even after they're dead!
  • Amos from Chicago is more henpecked in the original play, where he faithfully supplies alibis and money to a wife who cheats on him and treats him with contempt. He does consider divorce when he hears the news that she's about to have a baby, which he's sure couldn't be his, but is soon brought around to reconsidering.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Henpecked Hou in Jade Empire. He's an homage to the one in Bridge of Birds (see under Literature, above).
    • Also the farmer you meet in the swamp very early on.
    • And in Baldur's Gate we have Khalid, who speaks in a Porky Pig Pronunciation, and his wife Jaheira, but it's a subversion: he's actually perfectly happy with the situation, and the backstory reveals that his personality was like that long before he met her. They're Happily Married precisely because Jaheira's willingness to take charge gives him the kind of emotional support he needs.
    • The sequel has an NPC nobleman found inside the Copper Coronet, who has a wife of this kind: He's hiding from her in the back room of the establishment, along with the 'escorts'. The player character can force a confrontation between the two, which will lead to a Cat Fight to the death between the wife and one of the prostitutes who is smitten with the nobleman.
  • Suikoden has Hix from the first and second game.
  • When Super Arrow from F-Zero proposed to Mrs. Arrow, he took too long to get to the point, so she ordered him to marry her. He even gets an allowance from her.
  • Battler implies that this is the sort of relationship his father and stepmother, Rudolph and Kyrie, have in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Of course, Battler also considers his father an irresponsible, philandering manchild, so he doesn't really mind that his stepmom "has an iron grip on [Rudolph's] balls", as he puts it.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, depending on the ending you get, Harry Mason may be potrayed as this.
    • It's Deconstructed horrifyingly in the ending with this, however, and not played for laughs.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In Bite Me, Lauren forces her boyfriend Mike to work out in order to get any. Even during the Zombie Apocalypse, she's constantly bugging him about moving out to their own home, away from Jeff and Greg.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Venture Brothers have an inversion of the trope in Sally Impossible. Richard Impossible acts like the worst sort of cold, jealous, controlling Bastard Boyfriend, keeping his wife shut up indoors at all times so the disfiguring condition he inflicted on her won't embarrass him. This is portrayed as pretty clearly abusive and disturbing, but on the other hand, it's Played for Laughs at the same time. Sally is much more sympathetic than her husband, but she's also portrayed as sort of comically pathetic in much the same way the classic male Henpecked Husband is.
    • In fact, she's possibly even more absurdly spineless - she throws herself at any male character she meets, begging them to take her away from Richard, but makes no attempt to leave him without another man to take care of her. At least male Henpecked Husbands usually aren't shown to be waiting for a decent woman to come along and save them!
  • The Simpsons. Homer Simpson sometimes slips into this, but since he's by far the most extreme example of the Bumbling Dad, it's hard to imagine how the family could possibly function otherwise.
    • Ricky Gervais played one in the Simpsons episode he guest starred in and wrote, "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife". His character Charles Heathbar is married to a domineering woman named Verity, and then when Charles gets paired with Marge on a Wife Swap-esque show, he falls in love with her, but eventually gets over it and separates from his wife.
    • There's another humorous version in the episode where former President George H.W. Bush (the first one) and his wife Barbara move to Springfield and buy a house across the street from the Simpsons. When Bush spanks Bart for shredding his memoirs, he provokes an Escalating War between himself and Bart and Homer, which culminates in Bush and Homer having a fistfight in front of Bush's house just as former Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev has stopped by to give a housewarming present. Fed up with the whole conflict, Barbara orders her husband to apologize to Homer.

George: But Bar, we can't show any weakness in front of the Russians!
Barbara: (Glaring at him with her arms crossed) GEORGE...
George: (grumbling under his breath) Yes, dear.
(Gorbachev smiles evilly and says something in Russian to his aide)

King: Consider, my dear. Uh... we called no witnesses... Uh... couldn't we... uh... maybe one or two? Ha? Maybe?
Queen: Oh, very well. But get on with it!

    • The original characters from the book may either be this played straight or as an aversion. On one hand, the queen domineers and frightens everyone and the fact that her husband pardons all the people she asks executed (at one point, everyone present except for her, her husband and Alice) has to be kept secret. On the other hand, the king orders a few executions himself and is quite clearly the one heading the trial which ends the book, unlike how the Disney movie portrays it.
  • Used several times in Looney Tunes:
    • The early Daffy Duck cartoon The Henpecked Duck did this with a wife, complete with him being the one forced to sit on the egg being hatched. ("Yesth, m'love!")
    • Daffy is also married to a battleaxe in the later shorts His Bitter Half and Quackodile Tears.
    • In Honey's Money, Yosemite Sam marries a rich widow and quickly turns into the trope.
    • At the end of the early Bugs Bunny short Hold the Lion, Please, we're introduced to a "Mrs. Bugs Bunny" who is shown as literally wearing the pants in the family.
    • Life With Feathers involves a lovebird who's so fed up with his domineering wife that he attempts to commit suicide by having Sylvester the Cat eat him.
    • The first Pepe LePew short, Odor-able Kitty, has Pepe turn out to be one of these...and we learn that he's actually an American skunk named Henry!
    • "Porky's Romance", the first appearance of "Petunia Pig" in a Warner short, ran on this trope. Porky buys a box of chocolates to propose to Petunia and is thwarted by Petunia's annoying little dog repeatedly, as well as Petunia, who seems only interested in wanting to eat the chocolates. Porky, heartbroken, attempts suicide (aren't old cartoons grand?), but ends up hitting his head and imagines marrying Petunia and a sexy honeymoon period. After a "Time Munches On!" title card, Petunia and her dog are shown stretched out on the couch, fat as houses, and happily gorging themselves on seemingly infinite boxes of chocolates strewn all about the house, while Porky slaves away in the kitchen doing all the cooking and cleaning and caring for the children while Petunia bosses him around, beating the snot of him in the process. One really does have to wonder how the writers of this one viewed marriage, and if they knew that chocolate is lethal to dogs.
    • Porky gets better, realizing the outcome, he runs away, returns only to take back his chocolates from Petunia, and giving the dog a deserving kick in the rear!
    • In "The Hole Idea" the inventor of the Portable Hole is one of these. At the end of the story, she talks about how fed up she is with all his "useless inventions" and declares that "One of us has got to go!" So he drops her down one of his holes. Unfortunately, Satan pops up with his wife in tow from the very bowels of Hell, griping and woe-ridden, "Isn't it bad enough down there without HER?"
  • In Fantasia 2000's "Rhapsody in Blue", one of the characters is a fun-loving husband who is forced to foot the bill and carry all of his wife's belongings, most of which are going to pamper her dog, who she seems to love more than him.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Jorgen is brought to his knees by The Tooth Fairy. On live TV, no less.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Molotov is domineered by his wife, which offsets his Drill Sergeant Nasty persona at work.
  • A staple of The Flintstones and The Jetsons, which tended to follow the source material very closely in this respect—minus the obvious underlying affection.
    • Sadly, Cosmo Spacely has his own Power Issues power issues in dealing with HIS spouse! Seems like what Spacely gives to Jetson at work, Spacely gets at home! Call It Karma.
  • In one of the Clyde Crashcup shorts in The Alvin Show, Crashcup "invents" a wife named Pictorial. Their relationship turns out like this, and Clyde eventually reaches the breaking point:

Clyde: Now look here, Pictorial, my patience is wearing thin. I am a scientist, not a chambermaid. Leonardo is my able assistant, and I demand that you release him this instant. Your presence is this household has become unbearable! Do I make myself clear??
Pictorial: ...You all through?
Clyde: ...Yes, Pictorial, sweetheart.

    • At the end, Crashcup throws Pictorial out of the house and promises the fourth wall, "I'll be back next week, a bachelor at work."
  • On Phineas and Ferb, there is the recurring character, a meek man who is always shown being berated by his wife, usually for forgetting a key component of a new business venture (like buying a rabbit farm but no rabbits.) To complete the Running Gag, the missing component literally falls out of the sky, usually due to Doofenshmirtz and Perry's antics.
  • A rather unfunny version in Moral Orel with Clay and Bloberta, the latter of whom practically forced him to be his wife after being emotionally abused by her mother. The sad thing is they were actually hitting it off when they first met, with Clay a divot religious man. However she had to introduce him to alcohol and it went downhill from there till both were stuck in a loveless marriage with two kids.
  • The Smoggies: Clarence is this to Emma.
  • Pongo from 101 Dalmatians: The Series is this in the episode, "Splishing and Splashing". Perdita forbids the pups from going to a pond on a hot summer day until they apologize to lucy. Pongo asks her if that seems to harsh but he quickly knuckles down when she glares at him. and when they leave, Perdita dismisses Pongo when he comments that he hates being tough on the pups.
  • 1973/74 Superfriends episode "The Mysterious Moles". Maximums Mole is very weak-willed and dominated by his wife Minimus Mole. She's about twice his size, has a loud voide and regularly insults and demeans him.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Obviously, any male Bottom in a BDSM relationship.
  • Mary Todd Lincoln was reportedly rather abusive to Abraham Lincoln. She would throw potatoes at her husband and had once smacked him in the face with a piece of wood when he didn't build a fire quickly enough to please her. There was also at least once incident where she chased him outside with a kitchen knife, but when Abe saw a crowd of other people in town he picked her up and took her back inside, telling her not to do it in front of the neighbors.
    • Note, however, that Mary Todd Lincoln suffered from severe mental illness (possibly bipolar disorder) and was institutionalized by her own son later in life.
  • Maria Theresa was this to her husband Francis, although she did care for him. Being married to a beautiful, charming, and intelligent queen who has palaces and hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and lives in Austria, has its advantages obviously. But it can get awkward, particularly given that she is the ruler of a vast Empire, and that even though you are the one with the title "Emperor," you have it because you were fortunate enough to marry her...
  • By some accounts, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons. One really wonders why he allowed men to have several wives, then.