In real life, it's pretty normal for married people (and, for that matter, people in romantic relationships) to have opposite-sex friends other than their spouses. Most will even tell you that it's healthy
to have other opposite-sex friends, provided of course that you don't become romantically involved with any of them.
Television and film, however, seem to think otherwise. In many shows, a married man's only female friend is his wife. Similarly, a married female's only male friend is her husband. If either one (especially the man) is found even ASSOCIATING with another person from the opposite sex, you can expect immediate suspicion and/or accusations of "cheating" from his/her significant other.
This is particularly common in television shows made before the 70's, no doubt due to censorship policies and television's at-the-time emphasis on "wholesome family values." This is also common in family sitcoms targeted towards children and young adolescents, probably for the latter reason.
No Real Life
examples, please. This page is dedicated strictly to its tendency in fictional works.
- Analyzed and de-constructed in When Harry Met Sally. Though it may actually be more supportive than subversive of this trope, since it concludes that a sexless male/female relationship is ultimately impossible.
- Temporarily played straight in The Incredibles, when Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are married and living a "traditional" (read: boring) family life. This is later averted, though, when Mr. Incredible returns to superhero work, at which he's basically forced to associate with several females.
- The Honeymooners
- Mainly Averted. Even when Monica and Chandler get married, they remain good friends with Joey, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross.
- Deconstructed when Ross and Rachel "go on a break." The break is ultimately fueled by Ross's lack of trust in Rachel when she becomes good friends with her co-worker Mark.
- Family Matters
- We never see Carl with any female friends other than Harriette.
- Come to think of it, we witness Harriette with very few friends (let alone male friends) other than Carl, Rachel, the Winslow kids and Urkel.
- Played with on My So-Called Life.
- When Graham takes a cooking class, he strikes a friendship with Hallie Lowenthal, who convinces him to open up his own restaurant. This leads to Patti becoming suspicious that he might be having an affair (even though he isn't).
- Angela, despite her eventual relationship with Jordan, remains good friends with Rickie and (to a lesser extent) Brian.
- Averted in the Final Fantasy series. Even when romantic relationships develop between certain characters, they still remain close to the gender-mixed group.
- Played completely straight on The Flintstones. Witness, for example, Fred's birthday party in "The Swimming Pool." Tons of people attend, and not a single one of them (except, of course, for Betty and Wilma) is a female.
- I'm pretty sure The Jetsons also played this trope straight (I haven't seen enough episodes to really know, though).
- Surprisingly, South Park plays this trope straight sometimes. Particularly with the Marsh parents.
- Ditto to The Simpsons (at least in the very early episodes).
- Averted on an episode of Rugrats. Charlotte (Angelica's mother) throws a costume party and invites an equal number of men and women. It's made pretty clear that she knows and is friends (or relatives) with all of them. Except maybe for Cousin Bucky (who seems like a pedophilic party crasher).