"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't come back, it was never yours to begin with. But if it just sits on your couch, eats your food, watches your TV, and uses your phone, and doesn't seem to realize or care that you set it free, you either married it or gave birth to it."
— A parodic twist on a well-known proverb
A modern, less "offensive" variation of the Henpecked Husband
, where in a married couple, the husband is quite a child-like
, slobbish jerk
, and the wife is like a parent to him except that she can quite easily provide him sex. Sometimes, the wife may talk about feeling like she really does have one more child than the number of children they have, and guess who the extra is? Ironically, her job of child care may be made easier by the husband being able to connect to their children more effectively.
Sometimes, though, the husband is perfectly angelic or a hard worker, or a mixture of the two, and the wife is simply motherly with no shallow motives, with him being most of all a Bumbling Dad
with a penchant for causing wacky hijinks
that she must resolve, this being part of a Closer to Earth
A rather awful Double Standard
; the notion of a girlish wife in need of control and protection by a fatherly husband rarely appears today and is largely perceived as overtly sexist
, (similarly, the Henpecked Husband
scenario is considered nowadays to be a big Take That
against the sole idea of a woman pulling the weight on the family— see the description above) but this one persists. There are Unfortunate Implications
on both sides— men are told that they're useless and incompetent, at least in the realm of family life, and should really just let their wives take charge; women are told that they can't expect their husbands to act like grownups
and should just resign themselves to having to carry their husband's weight responsibility-wise and being regarded as the boring killjoy of the family for it.
Anime and Manga
- In Dragon Ball, Chi-Chi treats her husband Son Goku very much like this. However, it could be subverted, as the fact that Goku is a phenomenally powerful alien Martial Artist makes this relationship look more equitable than most other examples — Chi-Chi "takes care" of Goku at home, Goku "takes care of her in return"... by saving the world on a regular basis. To say nothing of when Goku actually does get de-aged to a child.
- Baron and Baroness Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She buys the man toys, for God's sake, and coos over him as if he were a precocious, temperamental infant. (Which, admittedly, he totally acts like.)
- Though she's not really an adult in many ways either. Given that they seem to be de facto monarchs, perhaps neither of them has to be.
- This is one of the issues at hand in the film The Story Of Us.
- Taken to a rather Squicky extreme in Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders: The Jerk Ass critic in the first story, as a result of a spell gone wrong, turns into a baby, giving his infertile wife the son she could never conceive. Needless to say, when this movie was featured on MST3K, this did not go un-mocked.
Mike: Oh, good, now she has to raise her horrible husband!
Crow: That's what most wives think they do, anyway.
- When the doctor in Blindness goes blind, his wife ends up treating him more like an infant than a spouse anymore, and it repulses him.
- Refreshingly averted in Neighbors; not only does Kelly help Mac with the schemes against the frat, but she's appalled when Mac admits he wants her to be the one who keeps him from doing crazy/stupid things, responding that just because she's the wife doesn't mean she doesn't have the urge to do crazy things too.
- A gender-reversed version of this occurs in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, in which David's first wife is childlike and asks him to think of her as his "child-wife."
- In Diana Wynne Jones' House of Many Ways, sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Howl actually turns himself into a Deliberately Cute Child, and poor Sophie has to deal with both him and their son. While trying to do her job.
- In the Moomin books, Moominmamma to Moominpapa. In the comics she openly laments how hard it is to have a husband that never grows up.
- Family Guy: Lois and Peter Griffin. One episode even had a scene where he was refusing to brush his teeth and she would've had to do it for him if they hadn't heard burglars breaking in at that moment.
- Wilma and Fred from The Flintstones.
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson:
Announcer: Attention, Marge Simpson: your son has been arrested.
Announcer: Attention, Marge Simpson: we've also arrested your older, balder, fatter son.
- Nicole and Richard from The Amazing World of Gumball
- King of the Hill: MAJOR inversion with Hank and Peggy Hill. Peggy's huge ego makes her act ridiculously childish, forcing Hank to clean up the inevitable mess.
- Un married example in Sonic Sat AM with Sonic and Sally. Though often depicted as rivaling egos, Sonic is usually far more childish and arrogant than Sally, who often needs to guide Sonic so he doesn't endanger himself (and at times the entire team by extention) with his recklessness. This chemistry is mostly kept in the comic adaptation.
- Daria: Helen often has to do this to Jake.
- South Park: Randy Marsh is very much the sort of irresponsible Man Child who needs this... but half the time wife Sharon doesn't bother any more. More often, it's son Stan who gets sucked into the role of Straight Man to his dad's Crazy Scheme of the Week.