Priest: If there is anyone here that would oppose this holy union, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Lucifer: Excuse me. Yeah, I have a problem. Has anyone else noticed how incredibly, jaw-droppingly, loin-stirringly beautiful this young woman is and how short, sweaty and altogether fugly this homunculus is? I mean, what is this... a wedding or a kidnapping?A very common trope, particularly in animation and sitcoms, is for a woman to be far more attractive than her significant other, even when the husband does not have a prestigious, high-paying job. This is largely a result of Hollywood-style casting for women's roles in which average-looking women are virtually unknown and unwanted in lead roles, leaving a large number of hotties needing work. Therefore even Hollywood Homely women who aren't supposed to be gorgeous are portrayed by supermodel-class women. In addition, the trope both reveals and helps maintain one of the most wide-spread cases of a Double Standard around with regards to acceptable levels of attractiveness for leading actors and actresses. While actors are held to a high standard of attractiveness, there are still leading roles available for plain looking guys, "funny fat guys", and average joes (especially in comedy, which is one of the main reasons why this trope is so common in sitcoms). The beauty standard for women, however, is much higher; in order to be a leading lady it is an unspoken prerequisite that you are at the very least physically attractive. Therefore, the reverse (Hot Guy, Ugly Wife) is almost unheard of. And if it is present, it is usually played for laughs. Basically, it's Positive Discrimination for men in-universe while remaining plain old-fashioned discrimination out-of-universe. This is very common in Dom Com situations, and in cartoons and comic strips, it pervades due to Tertiary Sexual Characteristics; the men can look round and dopey, or simplistic given the artists' art styles, but the women have to be differentiated. This requires round hips, big bosoms, full lips, and exquisitely-designed hair, (and often an abstract shape) resulting in a beautiful woman and a cartoonish husband. A popular use of the trope is to have the hot wife be beautiful on the outside only, and on the inside she's a manipulative, materialistic, spiteful bitch who doesn't deserve her Henpecked Husband's kindness, especially if he is just a Meal Ticket for her. This could lead to An Aesop that looks aren't everything and that appearances are often deceptive. See also Beast and Beauty, Give Geeks a Chance, Nerd Nanny, No Accounting for Taste, Hot Consort, Attractiveness Isolation, What Does She See in Him? and Kavorka Man; and don't forget that Most Writers Are Male. May overlap with May–December Romance, if the man is old on top of being ugly (or is ugly simply as a result of being old). This trope often gives birth to the The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter. Contrast Model Couple and Hot Guy, Ugly Wife, as well as Huge Guy, Tiny Girl. Messy Male, Fancy Female is a similar trope involving animals. Contrast The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction, when a guy is so unattractive that the beautiful woman who's coming onto him must be interested in him for ulterior motives rather than for his sex appeal. Note that it's Ugly Guy, not Average Guy note .
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- Lampshaded and celebrated in an ad campaign for fast-food chain Del Taco: "Here's to every 4 who married a 10."
- In a line of beer commercials featuring football referees, one poor guy was penalized for "Disproportionately hot girlfriend!"
- An ad for Kohler depicts a beautiful young woman grappling with the attention of several handsome young men, but unable to chose between them. She comes home one evening to find that her scrubby, balding plumber has installed an exquisite Kohler faucet in her kitchen. The next scene is of them getting married, with the man absolutely ecstatic and the three young men she had shunned looking completely flabbergasted. Apparently Red Green was right - "If the women don't find ya handsome, they should at least find ya handy."
- An ad for Evian is narrated by a a rich old tough, with an Italian-American accent, who describes how drinking Evian his whole life had kept him virile enough for his young, beautiful wife, but then ends with the suggestion that his wife has been swapping his Evian with water from the fishtank.
- A German ad for dish detergent Palmolive famously featured a Hollywood Homely woman worried about her chances with her newest flame. Fortunately she could be helped since using the correct detergent made her hands that much smoother. In the end, her friend entered - a small, overweight, balding man with thick glasses about 15-20 years her senior. (Who was not a professional actor and just accidentally happened to be working for Palmolive)
Anime and Manga
- In every single work by Adachi Mitsuru, the heroine's parents are this. The heroine gets all of her looks from her mom since it just wouldn't make sense for anything male to want to get in your pants when you get your looks from "that." Sometimes it would only make sense if the mom had cheated somewhere in their marriage. This would make the heroine The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter.
- In Astro Boy, Ochanomizu/Elefun/O Shay builds robotic parents for Astroboy. The mother is a tall, svelte, elegant 60s mother type. The father is a short, fat and buffoonish man with a large nose and lined face. This is downplayed in some later adaptations where the father is a little less goofy looking.
- As a Take That! to the massive amounts of Mr. Fanservice in most Yaoi Genre manga, a particular one-shot features a gay man who has had a penchant for ugly men since his youth, seemingly oblivious to society's take on beauty throughout. When the story begins he is fondly reminiscing (Shoujo Sparkles and all) his first love (a towering, awkward, acne-faced sports freak of a teenager)... Not a few pages later, he runs into his said first love. Who has, amusingly, turned into a rather attractive beautician (not heartstoppingly gorgeous; he seems to have gotten over his teenage awkwardness, instead choosing to be cheerful, and as a beautician, has certainly learned about style). Soon after, the main character has a Freak-Out over how gross-looking his first love has become, and Hilarity Ensues.
- Air Gear: In the manga, the incredibly ugly Onigiri proves a huge hit with the ladies in an air trek aerobics program, and has an incredibly attractive and borderline obsessive girlfriend. Then she dumped him... for the gigantically fat Buccha. And then she dumped him for a guy who was somehow even fatter. Little parts of Onigiri and Buccha died after the experiences. This example illustrates yet another potential problem with this setup. If you're a big fat guy who manages to land a hot girl with a fat fetish, you're in serious trouble when somebody bigger comes along.
- Angel Densetsu: Two generations worth. This trope seems to run in the Kitano family and plays it straight in that the Kitano men may look scary but both have the hearts of saints.
- Ryuichiro is a giant of a man with intimidating looks that has caused him to be mistaken for a Yakuza on several occasions. His wife is incredibly attractive in a Morticia Adams way.
- His son Seiichiro looks like a demonic cocaine addict but has a very attractive girlfriend as well as several good-looking female admirers.
- Azumanga Daioh: Played with on the personality axis — the creepy Ephebophile teacher Kimura-sensei is revealed, to his students' amazement, to be married... and his waifu is lovely, to boot. As the students theorize that she must be a real harpy, Yukari-sensei instead predicts — correctly, as it later turns out — that she must be a saint in order to put up with him. It also helps that she is a Cloudcuckoolander.
- Bamboo Blade: While not married, worth noting is Danjuro Eiga & Miyako Miyazaki. Miyako is a bombshell, while Danjuro has a head shaped like an acorn. To top it off, "Miya-Miya" (as Danjuro calls her) is very loyal to her man, having joined the kendo club solely to be with him, and also deathly afraid of letting the darker side of her nature become known to him. Kojiro stated that an ugly man should have a hot girl here
- Detective Conan:
- Juzo and Midori Megure. While Juzo isn't exactly Gonkish, Midori is quite attractive. They are also a May–December Romance deal, as they met when Midori was in high school and Juzo was in his early to mid 20's.
- A darker version of this trope is Daisuke Torakura and his wife Etsuko from the Dracula's Villa case. Daisuke isn't freakishly ugly, and doesn't look very old (he's very much in his 50's), but Etsuko is that hot-looking and at very least 20 years younger than her husband. Torakura actually married Etsuko through a rather cruel Scarpia Ultimatum, in which he threatened to destroy Etsuko's father's business and put her family into destitution.
- Dr. Slump:
- Senbei (short, fat, and schlubby) does manage to win over Midori (the beautiful Hot Teacher of the village) and he's as surprised as the rest of the cast. They are Happily Married in the second half of the series and this trope is lampshaded all the time.
- A less extreme example, but this applies to the parents of the Tsun family. Tsuruten is a short and bald guy, while his wife is taller, and more stylish and attractive.
- Played straight in the original manga with Nobita being plain while Shizuka is highly attractive but gradually downplayed when Art Evolution of the animes, movies and even the manga itself as Nobita is later drawn less plain and more adorable as boy at his age can be. Recent anime episodes and movies also has Nobita's eyes become like Shizuka (minus eyelash of course) whenever he isn't wearing glasses. He aged just fine too as an adult.
- Nobita's parents are a downplayed version with Tamako is actually very beautiful when she doesn't wear her glass but Nobisuke isn't a gonk either.
- Doraemon himself and his former girlfriend Noramyako (after her Art Evolution). Sure Doraemon's not unappealing, but he's still your standard stout and chubby robot cat model compared to the tall, curvacious female bot.
- Dragon Ball:
- Bulma's mom and dad embody this trope — he's old and wrinkled (looking like Albert Einstein), and she's ridiculously cute. Dr. Briefs was, however, rich and famous.
- Krillin and Android 18 in Dragon Ball Z — she's an attractive blonde, and he's five-feet-tall and has no nose (at best he's Ugly Cute). It also helped when he stopped shaving his head. Krillin was apparently a very persistent Dogged Nice Guy, although his sparing her life out of "she's cute" probably helped.
- Kami only knows what Mr. Satan's wife looked like to have a daughter like Videl — he's muscular, but exceptionally hairy and weird-looking.
- El Cazador de la Bruja: Antonio is average looking and a bit portly, though he does have blond hair and blue eyes. Margarita is drop dead gorgeous, sexy, exotic, and always dressed stylishly and made-up impeccably.
- Eureka Seven: Greg and Mischa. They were divorced prior to Greg's initial appearance, apparently.
- Eyeshield 21: Hatsujo, who is sort of unattractive, has a very beautiful girlfriend, just like every member of his team. Whenever the Cupids lose, we all know they're the real winners there.
- Galaxy Express 999: Like in other works by Leiji Matsumoto, the eye-meltingly beautiful Space Pirate Queen Emeraldas is hopelessly in love with the impossibly ugly Tochiro.
- Hajime no Ippo:
- Hilariously subverted. Ippo's sempai Masaru Aoki has a penchant for ugly women. At first it's just a consequence of his beautiful ex-girlfriend Miyuki having cheated on him when in highschool, but once he does settle down with female Gonk Tomiko (Kumi Mashiba's workmate), he does get to like her for the very supportive Genki Girl she is. To mark on the point even more, when Aoki finally got to challenge the champion of his boxing class, it turned out that Katsukata Imae had exactly the same penchant for ugly-looking girls. Just look at his girlfriend Sachiko.
- Played straight with the Itagaki family, the mom's a smoking bombshell while the dad is, well, probably the biggest Gonk in the series. And a real Gonk, unlike Tomiko who is more realistically plain, papa Itagaki is honestly freakish. Justified in that, aside of their looks, the Itagaki parents share very similar personalities and horrible senses of humor.
- Itazura Na Kiss: Chris, a beautiful English lady of noble blood, marries Kinnosuke, a not-so pretty Osakan chef. Most people wonder how a guy like Kinnosuke could have gotten a girl like Chris - likely because he's a decent guy despite his looks... and because Chris herself seems to have a thing for weird-looking dudes.
- Legendz: This is not only explicitly spelled out, but the ugly guy in question is himself concerned about the obvious disparity. "What the Hell does she see in me?" In fact, Meiko's Yandere-style obsession with the extremely fat and Gonky Jerk Ass Hosuke is all around extremely questionable; NOBODY has a clue what she likes about him.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Even when young, Genya Nakajima, the father of Subaru and Ginga is average-looking at best. Meanwhile, his wife is a female in a Moe anime series.
- Magical Princess Minky Momo: Minky Momo's mother is much better-looking than her short, pudgy father.
- Mazinger Z: In episode 89 we meet an impersonator of Kouji and Shiro's mother. In episode 92 we meet Kouji and Shiro's supposedly late father that would be one of the Great Mazinger main characters. His wife was definitely beautiful. He... not so much. Although maybe he was more handsome when he was younger and not a cyborg.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Dozle Zabi and his wife, Princess Zenna. Just look at the guy. To his credit, he's a loving husband, a doting father to his daughter Minerva, A Father to His Men and pretty much the closest to an Only Sane Man in the Royally Screwed Up Zabi clan.
- Nana to Kaoru: Kaoru knows he's not much of a catch (short, plain, introverted and bad-tempered), which is why he takes every effort to prevent Nana, his gorgeous childhood friend, from discovering his attraction. Yet she's falling for him regardless. The frequent bondage/S&M sessions between them are, oddly, how she discovered he's a good person.
- Naru Taru:
- Taken to a ludicrous extreme. Not only is Sato's fiancé ugly & slow-witted, he is apparently afflicted with Downs Syndrome.
- Some would say that Shinji and Misono, Shiina's parents, counted in their youth.
- One Piece:
- Wapol is a short, fat and generally absurdly looking guy (and that's only his appearance, not speaking of his personality) who marries with the One Piece world's equivalent of freakin' Miss Universe (might just be her name, though, as Boa Hancock later proves to be the One Piece world's true Miss Universe) after becoming a rich corporate business executive.
- King Nepture and his wife Princess Otohime. This is what he looks like and what she looks like. We can see where Princess Shirahoshi gets her looks from.
- Adding to the fishmen and merfolk concept; Keimi and Hachi. They aren't technically a couple, but Keimi - a cute mermaid - does seem to have a crush on Hachi, who is a six armed octopus fishman and far older than her. This is one of the few canon crushes, by the way.
- Every fishman/mermaid and so far merman/mermaid couple falls under this. Also considering the almost random nature of seafolk genetics, and the fact that Queen Otohime was somehow able to give birth to Shirahoshi, this might also fall under Bizarre Alien Reproduction and Bizarre Alien Biology. It should also be noted that the Fishmen probably have different views of beauty than humans.
- Sanji's parents, Judge and Sora, were like this as well: Judge was huge and brutish while Sora was small and sweet-looking. Their children clearly inherited HER looks, too.
- Pokémon: The character of the day's parents in an episode called The Kangaskhan Kid(Pictured here◊). The mother, called "Mama" is a normal anime woman, while "Papa", is a very short, stout fellow, with a bowlcut, Skintone Sclerae, swirly marks on his cheeks(which his son inherited), and a proportionately large head. Papa is shown as a rather dopey fellow as well, holding their baby out the window of their helicopter, and then dropping him, resulting in their child getting raised by pokemon. Afterwards Papa blames Mama for letting him hold him.
- Pokémon Special: Pretty Wanda and her Gonk boyfriend eventually end up Married at Sea. At the very least, we know that the boyfriend is a sweet guy since he made sure not to disrupt the easily scared Whismur when digging at Rustboro cave.
- Harundo and Kurume from Cool-kyou Shinsha's one-shot RaButa are a textbook example of this (their cameo in a later work shows that they got married). Harundo is Gonk, overweight, balding and wears glasses. Kurume is the School Idol. Harundo used to be a bishonen when he was younger until he got in an accident (the same one that killed Kurume's parents), but Kurume says that she finds his current look far more attractive.
- Ranma ½:
- It's revealed late that Genma somehow has ended up married to mom Nodoka Saotome(pictured together here). Lampshaded when Ranma, upon hearing this, punches his father in the face for having the gall to even suggest the possibility. However this is Downplayed, Rumiko Takahashi mentioned in an interview that Genma was better looking as a young man with hair. His ugliness is exaggerated by fans as he's stout and muscular rather then obese, its stated having a headful hair would make him attractive. Finally Nodoka is just as eccentric, and unpleasant, just in a different way.
- Its implied in the manga, and confirmed in the anime, that Happosai once had a relationship with Cologne in the past. Back then, he was a barely knee high midget with both a thievery and perverted streak(pictured here◊), while she was a tall, and beautiful amazon(Pictured here◊) with a pleasant disposition. Of course in the present, they're both shriveled, and tiny.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Big Bad Shishio and his (consort?) Yumi. His entire body is burned and charred, and he goes around almost completely covered in bandages. She's really beautiful and devoted to him. (Though before he was burned and charred, he wasn't exactly ugly.)
- Slayers: Given the looks of Gracia aka Naga and Amelia (the former is a Statuesque Stunner, the latter is rather cute, and both are well-endowed) one would have to ponder how the bulky and ogre-looking Phillionel won over whoever their mother was.
- Space Patrol Luluco: Luluco's parents (although they're not married anymore). Keiji is rather rugged looking while Lalaco is ridiculously hot and wears an Stripperific outfit.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: following a timeskip, Dayakka and Kiyoh are married. Also, Makken is the husband of the Hot Scientist, Leite. They even have three kids together.
- Tenjho Tenge: Played with. While Souchiro's mother Makiko Natsume is naturally beautiful, the horrible scars marring her face make for a strange inversion of the trope since her ex-husband Sohaku is now more attractive than her.
- Tokyo Ghoul: The Mado family sees this trope all the way through. Kureo was a pasty-faced dude with stringy white hair, perpetual Mad Eye, and a slight hunch. His beloved wife, Kasuka? An elegant, blonde Lady of War that was apparently a dead ringer for their beautiful daughter, Akira.
- Urusei Yatsura: Lum's father is stout and rather brutish-looking, her mother...considerably less so. Their green-haired bombshell of a daughter, Lum, definitely takes after her mother. It's revealed in flashbacks to his youth, while Lum's dad was never a pretty boy, being a plain-looking guy at best, he was always tall like a professional basketball athlete and indeed had the body of one. He only grew so obese because he allowed his wife to constantly feed him all of her cooking, as she enjoyed watching him eat her homemade handcooked dishes.
- Yandere Kanojo:
- In the Astérix comic books, the 93-year old Geriatrix has a young and beautiful wife.
- It's subverted, however, in that Geriatrix is completely whipped, with him constantly doing all of her household chores, spoiling her, and following her every command, in spite of his advanced age. Since Asterix is a cartoon for adults, it's also implied that his wife is freed from the usual "wifely obligations." So it's something of a trade-off.
- Or probably not, given how the comic shows Geriatrix being perfectly able to fight Romans, party, drink and chase skirts as soon he gets out of his wife's eyesight.
- Not married, but The Joker and Harley Quinn probably count. While not conventionally ugly, The Joker certainly looks twisted and freakish. Harley, on the other hand...
- Deadpool and his girlfriend Vanessa, aka Copycat. (She's a shapeshifter, though...) Also Deadpool and Siryn, although they never even really got past mutual attraction towards one another.
- Doctor Octopus and his lover Stunner were an odd Subversion. Doc Ock was an overweight, unattractive man, while Stunner seemed to be a blonde, busty woman who truly lived up to her name. As it turned out, however, Stunner was actually a virtual avatar of a woman named Angelina Brancale, created using Ock's technology, and in truth, her true body wasn't very attractive at all. (Stunner seemed to be a fantasy that the VR machine was letting her live out.)
- Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, in the G.I. Joe comics. Though he possesses near-superhuman athletic potential and muscles like a fitness model, he's horribly scarred, at least on his face. (In one example, most of his face was cut off, and he deliberately stopped the bleeding by igniting gunpowder on his face.) Meanwhile, she's a smokin' hot redhead who arguably puts up with way too much of his weird shit than can be justified by ninja sex.
- Mad Scientist Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, nemesis of Captain Marvel, could be charitably described as a hideous little troll of a man who makes Dennis Kucinich look like Fabio. His wife Venus Sivana, on the other hand, lives up to her name. By way of an explanation, the Golden Age version of Sivana was characterized as a kind, benevolent man who was driven to villainy and madness after his wife's death and the scientific community's rejection of his ideas. This was the pre-Crisis origin, it makes less sense with the latter versions who seem to always have been mean.
- The Kingpin — fat-looking and monstrous in size, has his gorgeous wife Vanessa and is devoted to her. (She isn't blindly loyal to him, however. She has threatened to leave him frequently, and actually has on more than one occasion.)
- Also, once when he was separated from Vanessa, the Kingpin had a brief relationship with Typhoid Mary, a supervillain who might be considered sexy - though she was clearly insane.
- In Love and Rockets, Fritzi's two-time husband and "one true love" is Scott the Hog. He's fat, snaggle-toothed, and apparently has a short penis that barely works. She's beautiful, has huge breasts, a slim waist and curvy hips.
- Obadiah Horn and Sahara from Elephantmen. She's a tall, slim, curvy African goddess, and he's a rhino-human hybrid.
- Another villanous example from Marvel: the Absorbing Man (originally a member of Thor's Rogues Gallery) and Titania (She-Hulk's archenemy and Evil Counterpart).
- Hilariously inverted by Bob, Agent of Hydra from Deadpool, who is an average looking guy with an ugly, rude bitch of a wife.
- Cerebus and Red Sophia, Astoria, Jaka (in a what-if story) and New Joanne.
- Michael Morbius says people snicker behind his fiancée Martine's back for loving "one as hideous as [him]self". Martine on the other hand is quite good-looking.
- Red Ears: In this erotic comic strip series, the women tend to be drawn more attractive than the men.
- Blondie: Even going back to their flapper days, Dagwood has no business with a beauty like Blondie. This was an Enforced Trope — prior to their marriage, Blondie was portrayed as a fun-loving single woman with a few suitors lined up... then the stock market crashed, and Real Life Writes the Plot, at which point she picked Dagwood because he was the most stable (or rather, most relatable) of her beaus.
- In Garfield, Jon and Liz are also a good example of this; although at the moment, they're just dating. Jon is not particularly ugly, but he's incredibly dorky and has a horrible taste in clothes.
- Henry and Alice Mitchell from Dennis the Menace (US) as well as Hi and Lois are just another of the moderate "funny-looking (and somewhat dorky) guy (with some personality issues early on) with a beautiful wife" examples that populate the Dom Com-style Newspaper Comics.
- Zits: Walt is extremely fat and bald, while Connie is drawn in the style of the teenage girls seen on the strip.
- A similar example pops up in Dustin with the main character's parents: His dad is a portly 50-something dork (a probable Expy of the aforementioned Walt) while his mom is still quite the looker in spite of her being in her mid-40s (said age gap -actually quite small- tends to be exaggerated in-universe).
- The main couples of Adam@home and Mister Boffo feature balding overweight guys married to pretty blondes.
- Many readers were dismayed when the unsturdly Anthony married the lovely Elizabeth when For Better or for Worse ended. Not to mention part of the surprise came because the strip (unlike the rest of examples) was drawn by a woman.
- One of the earliest examples (in the modern sense of the word) are the main characters of The Newlyweds, a turn-of-the-century comic by George MacManus, more famous for creating Bringing Up Father. In the 1940's, The Newlyweds were revived as a complementary Sunday comic to Jiggs and Maggie.
- Another early example can be found in Toots And Casper: Casper was small and balding, while Toots was one of the first good-looking women featured in the funnies.
- Alley Oop, who looks-wise is your stereotypical caveman, has a smoking hot, devoted wife in Ooola.
- Discussed in If Them's the Rules, when Melania is reflecting upon her marriage she says that its better for a beautiful woman to have an ugly husband. Because the woman is beautiful, the man would do a lot more for her and be easier to control due to the beauty disparity. Unfortunately for her since her husband is beautiful he doesn't give her a thing.
- Vacation From The Norm features several cases of this trope, most notably Drew Lipsky/Vivian Porter.
- The Vow features the tragic love between Lord Shen and Lady Lianne that has this trope invoked. Shen is a pale peacock who looks unhealthy and abnormal to the opposite gender of his species, while Lianne is regarded as a beautiful swan even by her own species' standards. It should be noted that they become engaged and are almost married before they're separated for the following thirty years. They're married near the end of the story.
- The protagonists of Charles Perrault's Riquet of the Tuft. Prince Riquet is an incredibly ugly guy with a tuft, quite the wit and a kind heart; the Princess he's interested in is a Dumb Blonde with a big inferiority complex towards her ugly but much smarter and more popular sister. Then it's averted: the Princess has a gift that will make the man she falls in true love with very handsome, and when she has her Love Epiphany regarding Riquet, the "gift" kicks in and makes him much better looking. Since Riquet had previously used a "gift" of his own to make the Princess smarter and help her with her troubles, it all works out fine in the end.
- Beauty and the Beast has this between the titular Beauty and the Beast, although it takes quite some time for Beauty to fall in love with him. Of course, this trope is subverted when the Beast changes into a handsome prince right after Beauty confesses her love for him or agrees to marry him, but it's still played straight in adaptations like Heart's Blood or Rose Daughter that portray the Beast's ugliness as something he was born with instead of magically cursed with or have him remain a Beast in the ending.
Film — Animation
- Cars 2 has Mater and Holley. Pixar has a bit of a thing for pairing rusted male characters with sleek female ones.
- Pictured above, King Fergus and Queen Elinor from Brave. She has preserved her looks and her figure quite well for a greying mother of four (including triplets!). But he... remains strong and in excellent condition. Justified as theirs was an arranged marriage, but it seemed to work out okay (and, considering how young Merida is expected to marry, it isn't impossible that Elinor is only in her thirties).
- Quasimodo and Madellaine from The Hunchback Of Notre Dame II.
- WALL•E: WALL•E and EVE, being a rusted trash compactor and a sleek, top-of-the-line scout droid, respectively. Although WALL•E may be rusted, but you gotta admit that he's pretty adorable!
- Felix and Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph are an Ugly Guy, Hot Girlfriend example. Though Felix isn't ugly (he's actually widely considered to be very cute), he's rather goofy-looking, especially compared to Calhoun. This is played straight when Felix and Calhoun get married in the epilogue of the movie.
- Despicable Me 2 has Gru and Lucy; Gru may not be all-that "despicable" these days, but he's still not very good looking compared to his Action Girl spy of a wife.
- In Robotboy Doctor Moshimo was a very old and ugly man who had a hot fiancé named Miumiu. She's also a Cute Mute and to date has only spoken in one or two episodes.
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 has Hiccup's parents. The couple could be mistaken as Brave's Fergus and Elinor from this article's picture.
- Xibalba and La Muerte from The Book of Life. They are currently estranged, but still married. La Muerte is a beautiful goddess of the dead made out of sweet candy, but Xibalba is basically a skeleton with wings, armor, and a Sickly Green Glow, made out of tar and everything icky in the world.
- Fairy princess Marianne and the Bog King from Strange Magic. Marianne is obviously what would be considered Fairy Sexy, although dresses different and is considered odd. The Bog King is a goblin who looks like a cross between a dead tree and a mosquito, and is convinced no one can love him because he's so hideous - but is really more similar to Marianne than many of her own people. They end up falling in love.
Film — Live-Action
- This device goes all the way back to the early days of silent movies, where Fatty Arbuckle's love interest was the lovely Mabel Normand. While the male actors weren't necessarily ugly, they usually had things like exaggerated make-up, oversized clothes, and dorky antics.
- Charlie Chaplin was also paired up with several beautiful actresses. The trope is sometimes subverted, however. The final scene of "City Lights," features the beautiful blind girl, who regains her sight thanks to Chaplin, looking shocked and disappointed when she finally sees her benefactor.
- The MST3K-featured Attack of the Giant Leeches has Dave and Liz Walker. Between this trope and Liz' complete lack of affection for Dave, it comes as no surprise when she's caught cheating.
- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen played with the ur-example (see Mythology, below) by having Vulcan (Hephaestus) played by a 20-pints-over-the-hill Oliver Reed and Venus (Aphrodite) by the then-18-year-old Uma Thurman.
- The Bollywood movie Partner takes this to a ridiculous extent with the beautiful heiress Priya and the doofy dork Bhaskar getting together in the end.
- 2012. Russian oligarch Yuri and his girlfriend Tamara. She acknowledges that Yuri will likely never make her his wife. And, as it turns out, Tamara was having an affair with their pilot, Sasha.
- The movie Johnson Family Vacation. Mr Johnson? Overweight and average looking Cedric The Entertainer. Mrs. Johnson? Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams.
- Before the Devil Knows You're Dead paired the overweight Philip Seymour Hoffman with the shapely Marisa Tomei. Ironically, it's she who is extremely insecure and in constant need of his assurance that he loves her.
- Played for laughs in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle; the title characters are picked up by a disfigured man called "Freakshow" who is married to a rather beautiful girl. When Harold and Kumar ask her about this, she explains that they met in a church choir, and he has a lovely singing voice.
- In Knocked Up, the premise is that Seth Rogen's character gets a girl who is way out of his league pregnant and manages to turn it into a real relationship.
- The John Wayne western movie War Wagon. The youngest member of the gang gets snarled at when he smiles at what he thinks is the grizzled old codger's pretty daughter. It turns out she's his wife, whom he bought off her parents in exchange for a horse. But the old codger gets killed and the kid forgoes his share of the gold to ride off with her instead.
- Lampshaded all the time in the case of Austin Powers. Austin has dorky glasses, bad teeth and an excessive Carpet of Virility, but women treat him like a sex god. Mrs. Kenisington notes that physical perfection wasn't as important in the sixties, and it's Austin's personality that makes him so irresistible.
- Magnolia has the elderly and rather withered movie executive dying of cancer played by Jason Robards married to a gorgeous trophy wife several decades younger than him played by Julianne Moore. The twist is that it started as a typical 'marrying him for his money' arrangement, but then she genuinely fell in love with him to the extent that out of guilt she even tried to have his will changed so that she would no longer be his heir.
- Subverted with Shallow Hal, in which the schlubby Jack Black *thinks* he's the "Ugly Guy" because he sees his girlfriend Rosemary as the lovely and svelte Gywneth Paltrow, when in reality, she's considerably overweight. Played straight by Hal's disabled friend who has a sickly thin old woman for a girlfriend. She's actually pretty but rotten on the inside. Disabled isn't ugly, though, at least not the way the trope uses "ugly." Walt, the disabled character has spina bifida, but he actually isn't bad looking. He's very athletic, and while he's older than the woman he's dating, and probably than Hal, he's not bad-looking at all. He's stinking rich, too, which is why the woman is dating him. It's not the fantasy mismatch of the truly ordinary-in-every-way guy with the beautiful woman.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High. the ugly, creepy science teacher played by Vincent Schiavelli turns out to have an astonishingly hot wife (played by Lana Clarkson).
- Laurel and Hardy have various wives throughout their films. They are disproportionately attractive, but compensate by being either extremely bitchy or outright evil.
- Parodied in The Other Guys, where Will Ferrell's character is married to the smoking-hot Eva Mendes but doesn't seem to notice how gorgeous she is ("You'll have to excuse my wife, she's a battle-axe"). His partner played by Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, does notice, and is baffled at how Ferrell's character snagged such a hot wife. Apparently Ferrell's guy is just a natural chick magnet (as pointed out by Wahlberg). Specifically, the hotter the woman, the more attracted to Ferrell's character she is.
Wahlberg: "WHY ARE YOU WITH HIM?! (beat) I mean… How did you two meet?"
- In Gothika, Halle Berry finds herself in a mental asylum accused of murdering her husband. Her husband Charles S. Dutton.
- The Dilemma. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are average-looking at best and are both overweight, but their ladies are played by the lovely Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder, respectively.
- In Death Becomes Her, Madeline Ashton (played by Meryl Streep) takes a potion that makes her permanently young and beautiful, while her husband Ernest (played by Bruce Willis) ages worse than normally, being an alcoholic. Madeline makes up for it, however, by being pure evil.
- Ernest's ex, Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn), has also taken the potion, and uses it to seduce him back. The rest of the plot has Madeline and Helen, two drop dead gorgeous women, fighting over poor over-the-hill Ernest.
- Hawn and Streep were both in their mid-forties when they played these eternally young parts. In an uncommon example, both women are older than Willis; Streep by six years, and Hawn by ten. The film earned an Oscar for visual effects.
- At the conclusion of Rear Window, the pretty and nubile ballet dancer who has spent the film fending off the advances of numerous male model types is seen joyfully welcoming home her short and stocky lover.
- In Time Bandits, the group encounters an old, broken down and hideous ogre whose wife is, inexplicably, Katherine Helmond. Helmond's character was originally supposed to be a female ogre until Helmond suggested that she be a normal woman, with no explanation.
- In Stand and Deliver the craggy-faced, potbellied and bald math teacher played by Edward James Olmos has a beautiful wife. This shows that his intelligence and self confidence have allowed him to get what he wants out of life, just as he wishes for his students.
- Couples Retreat featured an extreme version of the trope with an enormous, morbidly obese man and his hot twenty-year old floozy of a girl (he wasn't even rich — but he acted like he had money, buying her a motorcycle). Lesser examples include the pudgy, slobby, older Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn being hooked up with the gorgeous Kristin Davis and Malin Akerman, respectively. Only one couple in the four featured in the movie could be described as a pair of attractive people — Kirsten Bell and Jason Bateman.
- Deck the Halls featured a tremendous example with the famously portly, ugly and bald Danny DeVito being married to Kristin Chenoweth, who, while short like Danny, is very beautiful, and portrayed as such.
- The Postman Always Rings Twice in both the original and the 1981 remake. Beautiful Cora, the main female character, was married to an ugly, old, boring husband. She was played by Lana Turner (1946) and Jessica Lange (1981) respectively, two of the most sexy women of their time.
- The entire plot of Hitch centers around a pick-up artist who coaches unattractive men on how to win the hearts of their dream women.
- Oh Dae-su and Mi-Do in Oldboy (2003). It turns out that they've been hypnotized into falling in love with each other. And that's not nearly the worst revelation... turns out they fulfill The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter, too.
- Plan 9 from Outer Space: he's an aging, withered Bela Lugosi, she's Vampira.
- In Zombieland, Columbus was a geeky shut-in with no friends, while Wichita was a beautiful popular girl. They hook up, aided considerably by their lack of options.
- The National Lampoon's Vacation films pair Chevy Chase with Beverly D'Angelo as Clark and Ellen Griswold. While Clark is no worse than average looking he definitely falls under both the 'dorky acting' and 'personality issues' elements being not only a Bumbling Dad but also Mr. Serious Business when it comes to family events. Ellen on the other is not only very beautiful but a total sweetheart with a ton of patience.
- Arthur and Ben in, well, Ben & Arthur. Somewhat subverted in that the marriage between the two eponymous men is not recognized by the State of California.
- The drunk couple in the beginning of the horror movie The Refrigerator. One is a fat hairy guy who looks to be in his 40s, while the other looks like she is in her 20s. It almost turns to Fan Disservice when they (almost) have sex, before the guy dies of a heart attack.
- In The Jerk, Steve Martin's boss (Jackie Mason) introduces his hot wife, carefully explaining how vital his business is to him. Without its profits she'd leave him in a second. She nods.
- An in-universe example appears in The Brass Teapot, where several characters are baffled by how John Macy ended up married to someone as hot as Alice (Juno Temple), acting as if this trope was in play. Even though John is played by Michael Angarano, who is not exactly ugly.
- James Bond villains naturally have their Paid Harem or Femme Fatales, but there's also a Running Gag where the head of the KGB always turns out to have a hot lingerie-clad mistress in his bed.
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which the average-looking Nia Vardalos is paired with the Hollywood-handsome John Corbett, is a very, very rare gender flip of this trope. (Then again, it's hardly the only time the star of a movie, if the star's also the writer and a producer, would arrange for such a thing. Regardless of gender.)
- Partially deconstructed in Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, where Dale has two things going for himnote . However, his gentle nature and quiet encouragement of Allison's dreams, coupled with treating her as an actual person leads to their going out on a date by the end of the movie.
- 21 Jump Street and the sequel 22 Jump Street have Jonah Hill hooking up with Brie Larson and Amber Stevens West. It probably helped that Hill also co-wrote and co-produced the movies.
- Such an old trope that even deconstructing it is Older Than Print, as shown by Geoffrey Chaucer in two of The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale and The Merchant's Tale.
- In 1984, Winston Smith, a 39 year old man, somewhat over the hill by Oceanic standards, physically bent out of shape, and sporting what is apparently a highly unsightly varicose ulcer, manages to have a 4 month affair with Julia, almost ten years younger, described as being in much better physical condition, notably possessing stunning hair and breasts. Considering that both suffer crushing sexual repression and have borderline nymphomaniac traits as well, they seem suited for each other. Julia's a member of a harsh chastity brigade, and sees sex as her best way of sticking it to The Man. So she's not terribly picky.
- Fiancé example: Zephaniah Cromwell and Emily Gibson in Cloud of Sparrows. Emily is strikingly beautiful (at least by American standards), while everybody in the novel considers Cromwell incredibly ugly.
- Piers Anthony:
- Good Magician Humphrey of Xanth and all five and a half wives (long story)note . Humphrey, even as a young man, has always been short, gnome-like, and grumpy, while his wives have ranged from "merely" pretty (Sofia Socksorter) to inhumanly beautiful (Dana Demoness).
- Xanth has a few examples, as some attractive women (and they're all attractive in those books) have married actual monsters. Tandy and Smash the Ogre for instance. He's half human, but still looks mostly like an ogre (who are ugly enough to curdle milk by looking at it).
- In Incarnations of Immortality, Thanatos (aka Zane), the incarnation of death, is described as a fairly ugly man; the woman he dates, Luna, is described as one of the most beautiful women of her generation (this is stated as fact and recognized by immortal powers such as Satan, not a subjective opinion). It helps when the Incarnations of Faith & Time team up to do some match making.
- Drugs and Dominoes reveals that Keith Gandor (who, while not exactly ugly, is a very sinister-looking mafioso) is married to a gorgeous and talented pianist named Kate — who loves him despite his less-than-legal activities, no less.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, both Count Aral Vorkosigan (stocky, thick featured, scarred... the author once described him as Mussolini with hair) and his son Miles (under five feet, hunchbacked, and having a disproportionately large head) both managed to marry women who are quite attractive in addition to their other positive attributes.
- It should be pointed out: though each man is or will be a count, just heartbeats from the throne (or serving as Regent), they each marry their considerably-more-attractive wives for love. This is especially clear in Cordelia and Aral's case, since the reader learns his best and worst traits along with his future wife.
- The first woman Lord Byron's 16-year-old Don Juan sleeps with is the 23-year-old frustrated hot wife of a 50-year-old ugly guy.
- Derk and Mara in Diana Wynne Jones' Dark Lord of Derkholm. She's the 'glamourous enchantress', he's... middle-aged, overweight and balding. In fact, his concerns that she's going to leave him are one of his primary character drives. In truth, she loves him immensely, and they go back to being Happily Married in the end. The sequel, Year of the Griffin, even shows (by the presence of two new children) that they're still busy.
- The Malloreon by David Eddings:
- The series ends, among other things, with Beldin, a deformed, short hunchback with a bad temper who is always described as incredibly dirty, finally going off with Vella, a Nadrak dancer. True, they both changed into hawks, but she was still in love with the guy from day one.
- A subversion of the trope may be Poledra and Belgarath. Though she appears little, she's described quite favourably. On the other hand her husband is an old wrinkly man whose grooming habits only seem respectable in comparison to his aforementioned associate Beldin. Then, near the very end of the series, he appears in a loincloth and every woman in the party who isn't his daughter notices just how well the 7000-year-old man has taken care of himself.
- Eddings's The Elenium:
- Though Birgitte and Gaidal Cain of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time aren't actually married, they have a generations-spanning relationship together (they usually reincarnate at the same time). Cain is, to put it lightly, not as handsome as the legends about him say, while Birgitte is described as fairly attractive. It helps that she's attracted, as Mat figures out, to dog-ugly men (whether this is a cause or an effect is unstated).
- In The Patchwork Girl of Oz the protagonists encounter a giant named Mr. Yoop, locked up in a mountain cell; he's the typical giant, big, ugly, dumb, crude, and a cannibal, the last one being the reason he's locked up. In a later book, they meet his wife, who's a knockout. (Unfortunately, while not a cannibal, she's just as evil, using magic to turn victims into animals and keep them as pets.)
- Mr. and Mrs. Delacour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The latter is descended from a humanoid species that take the form of the most beautiful women to walk the earth, whereas former is a plump, black-bearded, but pleasant.
- Initially averted completely with Fleur, their daughter who inherited her mother's looks, and her fiance Bill Weasley, who is actually pretty handsome. Later downplayed when he's slashed in the face in battle by a werewolf, and its curse means the scars will never fade. However, Fleur doesn't reject Bill because the scars mean nothing except "that [her] husband is brave", which is proof enough for the formerly wary-of-her Weasley family to accept her.
- In the chapter of The Faerie Queene dealing with pure and unpure sex, Edmund Spenser attacked this trope, mercilessly showing all the problems it would, in the medieval viewpoint, lead to (paranoid jealousy from the guy and cheating by the wife).
- Extreme example of Ugly Guy Hot Girlfriend in the Discworld Novel Thud! With exotic dancer Tawneee (yes, that's Tawneee with three E's,) and Nobby Nobbs, who requires signed papers from the Patrician to certify that he's humannote . It's later explained that no man had ever asked her out before, all of them assuming she'd be out of their league, which led her to believe she was unattractive. Nobby on the other hand, is so used to rejection (as EVERYONE is out of his league) that he asks her out expecting rejection she's so desperate that she accepts. Despite this, she actually likes him. And he is later implied to have dumped her.
- Nobby Nobbs is a very simple man, who might have been putting on a brave face for his friend Colon, but Tawneee simply couldn't cook.
- In Stardust, the protagonist blindly chases after a fallen shooting star for the girl he likes, who had become pregnant with an ugly old rich man's child not long before (with even her friends being aware of it).
- In "The Pillars of the Earth" the lovely Aliena had Jack Shareburg, who was described as being 'unsightly' with carrot colored hair and pale skin. Although they never really stated if they were married or not and later their son Jack who looks like the father is described as being handsome and while in france, he runs into his grandmother, who mistakes him for his father.
- Played tragically in Eva Luna, where Nice Guy with cleft palate Riad Halabi marries a pretty girl named Zulema, who accepted him only because she was getting a Christmas Cake. Their marriage is very unhappy since she refuses to see the kindness under his deformity.
- Perdido Street Station has Isaac dating Lin who has a very attractive body, minus the scarab head.
- In the Charlotte Brontë novel Villette, Lucy Snow meets a group of three men and three women while traveling. She is absolutely flabbergasted to realize that most unattractive man in the group (in terms of looks AND personality) is married to the prettiest young woman (proving that even back then, people found such a pairing highly unrealistic), and further stunned to realize that the woman is quite happy and content.
- In Death series: Belle and Douglas Skinner from Interlude In Death. It seems averted at first because while Belle is definitely attractive, Douglas is not so hard on the eyes himself considering that he is a lot older than her. Then it gets played straight when a life-threatening illness he's been struggling with finally proves to be too much for him.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Played straight with Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fox and Cosmo Cricket. Lizzie is stunningly beautiful. Cosmo...well, he has feet as big as canoes (maybe even shaped like them), he has a big nose on a flat face, he has ears as round as pancakes, and he is apparently so fat or bulky that he needs to have his clothes tailored for him.
- Though the goblins in the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy see their ugliness and deformity as a sign of strength, they always choose beautiful wives whether they are elves or humans.
- John le Carré's George Smiley (described in his earliest appearances as a "frog" or a "toad") and his much younger wife, Lady Ann. As things turn out, Ann spends most of the marriage sleeping with other men.
- Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books presents petite, sweet faced, and generally harmless-looking Queen's Own Herald Talia; and the love of her life Herald Dirk who is big, strong, has a lovely voice and (at least in Talia's opinion) beautiful eyes... but beyond that is explicitly described as homely at best. A major complication during Arrow's Fall was his inability to realize that she would prefer him over his far more handsome highborn friend Herald Kris.
- Ludovico in Palimpsest isn't exactly ugly, but he's certainly nobody anyone would look twice at with his bad posture and thinning hair. Lucia on the other hand is a very attractive, very sensual woman.
- This is the case with James Joyce's major protagonists: Gabriel Conroy, a "portly", plain and middle-aged English teacher, is paired with Greta, who is described as a classically Gaelic beauty; Leopold Bloom with the Mediterranean and exotic Molly; and HCE, an aged publican, with Anna Livia Plurabelle, the beautiful personification of the river Liffey.
- The Reynard Cycle: The stout, elderly Count Dindevault and his lovely young wife, Belicent. This was the result of an arranged marriage. Their daughter, Soredamor, is an extremely beautiful Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark. Although it was an Arranged Marriage, the contrast is given much emphasis, especially as Tyrion is a deformed dwarf and Sansa is lauded as one of the greatest beauties of her age. It only serves to make the both of them even more miserable.
- Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister didn't start out like this, but years of drinking, whoring, and laziness have taken their toll on Robert while Cersei retains her famed beauty despite their awful marriage. When Ned and Catelyn meet them for the first time in years, the contrast is not lost on them.
- Romain Gary's The Dance of Genghis Cohn has an utterly ugly gardener who's actually the personification of Death and his hot nymphomaniac wife who happens to be the personification of Life.
- Once upon a time in The Kingdom of Little Wounds, this was King Christian and Queen Isabel. Isabel has lost her looks since then, but Christian always looked a bit like a sheep.
- A major conflict of the Thai Literature Khun Chang Khun Phaen kickstarts when an extremely ugly guy steals the protagonist's hot wife, the deed which nobody likes. However after a Time Skip, Chang has gotten his wife warmed up to him due to the incredibly large amount of money he has and his sheer Dogged Nice Guy attitude.
- In Confessions of Felix Krull this is the case with Monsieur and Madame Houpflé, although we only have her word for it as her husband is never seen. It does not help that she is an aesthetically pretentious writer of novels and he is a manufacturer of toilet bowls.
- Red Seas Under Red Skies: Requin is described as looking like a puppet put together by a particularly inept puppeteer. Selendri was drop-dead gorgeous before a botched attempt on Requin's life left her severely scarred. The fact that Requin was obscenely wealthy may have helped start their relationship, but at the time the novel rolls around the two are completely and utterly devoted to each other.
- Tokita and Atsuko in Paprika. She's a Hot Scientist; he gets stuck in standard size elevator doors.
- The Wolfhound: the ugly, hunchbacked jeweler Uloiho and his gorgeous wife Viona whom he marries the moment he sees her at a slave market. Everybody is shocked that she passionately loves him back.
- War and Peace: Pierre is awkward, stout, and clumsy in addition to being kind and intelligent, and upon inheriting his fortune he is immediately manipulated into marrying Helene Kuragin, one of the most beautiful women in Moscow. It's described how beautiful she is nearly every time she makes an appearance. It's not a happy marriage.
- then, Pierre again, this time with Natasha Rostova another extremely beautiful girl and about eight years younger than he. However it turned out, their marriage is basically the cultivation of the whole, thousand word novel about Pierre's search for meaning.
- it's mentioned by Prince Vasili Kuragin that Countess Rostova used to be beautiful, and he couldn't understand why she married Count Rostov, who was always stout and red-faced. Their marriage seems happy.
- then, Pierre again, this time with Natasha Rostova another extremely beautiful girl and about eight years younger than he. However it turned out, their marriage is basically the cultivation of the whole, thousand word novel about Pierre's search for meaning.
- Gravity Falls: Journal 3: Ford believes Probabilator's elf henchman's parents must be this because the henchman is "too good-looking to be pure elf".
- In Water Margin, Wu Song's elder brother Wu Dalang is married to Pan Jinlian. She is beautiful and skilled and called "Golden Lotus". He is ugly and short and called "Three Inches of Mulberry Bark". The neighbors know this trope as "a rose placed on a pile of cow dung" and "a luscious piece of meat landing in a dog's mouth", and since Wu the Elder is an Extreme Doormat they even use such language to his face. Golden Lotus is not happy at all with the arrangement, which ends very badly for everyone; brother Wu Song is a loyal sort, and he's capable of beating a tiger to death.
- According to Jim: Jim Belushi as Jim and Courtney Thorne-Smith as his wife Cheryl. The end of this show prompted TV Guide to do a Top 10 Fat Guys with Hot Wives list.
- The Amanda Show: "Melody and Thad" sketch (which involves Innocently Insensitive professional singers who sing very rude and personal songs) once took place at a wedding where there was a blonde and pretty bride with her neanderthal-esque groom; they decide to sing this ditty:
Melody: (singing) You married an ugly guy. We all do wonder why.
Thad: Must be insane.
Melody: His nose is too big.
Melody and Thad: He looks like a pig. Yes, you married an ugly guy.
Melody: This marriage will never last.
Thad: Divorce will come very fast.
Melody and Thad: You'll both be alone.
Thad: So say adios.
Melody: Your husband is gross.
Melody and Thad: Yes, you married...an ugly guy.
- Balding, middle-aged Herschel Bernardi and blonde stunner Sue Anne Langdon.
- Eleanor, played by reasonably attractive Margaret Colin, gets married to a guy played by Wallace Shawn. Blair is outraged at having such an ugly stepfather, until she discovers his conniving personality makes them a good match.
- Arrested Development: Tobias (David Cross) married to Lindsay (Portia de Rossi).
- Bewitched: Successful advertising career or no, Darrin (regardless of who played him) never really had any business being married to Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha. This is somewhat justified for Dick York's Darrin, in that his terrible health problems, which is what ending up causing him to leave the show, took its toll on his appearance. For that matter, Darrin's wealthy, catty ex-fiancee was played by Nancy Kovack,◊ real-life winner of eight beauty titles.
- The Big Bang Theory:
"If you let her go, there is no way you'll find anyone else. Speaking on behalf of all women, it's not going to happen. We had a meeting."
- Bernadette is way out of Howard's league, who is also a perverted creepy loser in addition to being far less attractive than sweet, beautiful Bernadette. Often lampshaded by Penny that wonders What Does She See in Him?. On the other hand, they are equally intelligent and Howard also becomes a much better person once he starts dating her. It helps that Penny also once pointed out that he's the luckiest man alive and he'll never get anyone better than Bernie.
- The Leonard/Penny pairing qualifies. Leonard is quite Adorkable and isn't that bad looking (although he's still short, socially awkward, horribly dressed and has a receding hairline), but compared to the stunning Penny sure looks that way. The catch is, after dating a string of handsome but dumb or insufferable guys, Penny appreciates Leonard's niceness and intelligence. It's actually a deconstruction when you think about it, since Leonard is hopelessly insecure about his flaws and gets jealous when Penny is around better looking guys, while Penny feels insecure about Leonard's intelligence and passion, fearing that she brings nothing to the table in their relationship besides her good looks.
- Boardwalk Empire:
- Agent Van Alden, alias George Mueller, is in his late forties and has "a mug you don't forget," while his second wife is an attractive, young Norwegian woman he'd initially hired as a wetnurse for his illegitimate son.
- Nucky Thompson is in his fifties and no beauty, but has a much younger, pretty wife, in addition to an array of stunningly attractive and usually very young mistresses. In his case, money and power probably are the main attractions, though he has a very nice and charming personality as long as you don't cross him.
- CSI: Played with on the Three Shorts episode "Toe Tags". Turns out that neither married person on the relationship felt good about the looks of the other (the "hot wife" had depression (but no info is given if it was in response to the marriage or not) while the "ugly guy"... well, he pushed his wife off a cliff, stomped down on her fingers hard enough to break bone when she managed to hold on to the ledge, and then tried to convince the police that she had committed suicide because she was fed of him, finally giving a Motive Rant that his life had become hell ever since he married her once he's caught, supposedly because of this trope).
- Curb Your Enthusiasm: Both Larry and Cheryl, and Jeff and Susie. Larry is bald, lanky, and the little hair he has left is long since gray. Cheryl is much younger than Larry and very beautiful. As for Jeff and Susie, Jeff is very overweight, and his wife, while not attractive personality wise, is quite pretty. This is a natural reflection upon their success and wealth. When Cheryl leaves Larry in season 6, he dates several attractive women, including Lucy Lawless.
- Daddio: Schlubby Michael Chiklis plays househusband to a pretty attorney.
- Doc Martin: Ellingham and Louisa had a difficult on-again-off-again relationship, conceived a baby, almost married, and reconciled in the final episode of season 4.
- Doctor Who: Rory thinks this is how his relationship with Amy is. He thinks he's always wanted her more than she's wanted him, and he believes this is why she grows distant in season 7 and wants to divorce him. Averted in the end though, when it's revealed that she does in fact not see it that way, and the reason she is leaving is because the events on Demon's Run left her sterile. She knows Rory wants children so she is doing an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy. Once the Doctor helps them get this out in the open, things resolve almost immediately.
- Dollhouse: Implied in the episodes "Man in the Street" and "A Love Supreme" in the Internet tycoon Joel Mynor's relationship with his late wife, Rebecca, who Joel recalls "was beautiful and she knew it."
- The Drew Carey Show: It features an endless parade of incredibly beautiful, intelligent women throwing themselves at Drew, who is perhaps the biggest "fat loser-dork" in TV history (despite the fact that the real Drew Carey used to be a Marine. Eventually he marries, and has a child with, perhaps the most beautiful one of all— accomplishing both at the same time no less).
- Everybody Loves Raymond:
- The show paved the way for its many sitcom imitators, who copied this trope almost exactly; this trope could almost be called, "The Ray and Debra." The uncharming, pasty, flabby, big-nosed Ray Romano is paired with decidedly better-looking Patricia Heaton (especially notable in later seasons, when Ray wasn't aging so gracefully, and Patricia had used a bit of surgical help to maintain her appearance). This was directly addressed in one episode, which had Debra accidentally implying that she was more attracted to the tall, dark, handsome, and well-groomed Robert, much to Ray's consternation. It also got Flanderized in later seasons, as the characters shifted and Ray became stupid in addition to unattractive, and Debra became cruel and shrill in addition to beautiful. According to Heaton, she helped her cause in her audition by being one of the few actresses who was willing to kiss Ray Romano during the test reads.
- Their best friends, Bernie and Linda, who were perhaps an even more extreme example of the trope. Bernie was played by homely overweight Tom McGowan while Linda was played by thin gorgeous Maggie Wheeler.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Uncle Phil is played by the portly James Avery, while Aunt Vivian is played by the gorgeous and svelte Janet-Hubert Whitten (and later Daphne Maxwell-Reid), although an episode that flashed back to over a decade previous showed that Avery's character was slimmer and more conventionally attractive before he got into the wealthy world of high-powered law—and Vivian makes it abundantly clear to Will that Phillip's weight does not affect her feelings for him. It's also worth noting that while Phillip is a large man, it's because he is a large man who could snap other guys in half over his knee if he wanted. This is also true of his actor, 6'4" former Navy man James Avery.
- Game of Thrones: Plain and heavy-set book nerd Samwell Tarly enters a relationship with the beautiful Wildling Gilly; one of the most touching romances on the show.
- The George Lopez Show: Plumper Lopez with a wife that's slightly out of his league. He seems entirely aware of how lucky he is, and it's lampshaded often. George's best friend Ernie has had a crush on her since high school, and she knows it.
"I married her (points at Angie). I got nothing left to prove."
Angie: "I used to be head cheerleader and very popular and well liked."
George: "Yeah. But you married the weird kid with a big head. Face it honey. You peaked."
- Get Smart: Agent 86 Maxwell Smart and Agent 99.
- Hazel: The title character works as a maid for the Baxters, played by doughy Don DeFore and mom Whitney Blake (almost 13 years his junior in real life).
- The Goldbergs: Portly, rumpled comedian Jeff Garlin's character is married to the blonde and gorgeous Wendi McClendon-Covey.
- Homicide: Life on the Street: Interestingly enough, we never see the man in question. When a beautiful woman reports her husband's disappearance and presumed murder, suspects include his equally gorgeous mistress (who's innocent). One of the detectives expresses complete shock and confusion as to how a "2", as he describes the victim, was able to not only snag two "10's", as he describes the women, but was also able to string them both along when they both could have easily dumped the cheating lout.
- The Honeymooners:
- Ralph and Alice Kramden. The original sketches in Gleason's variety show were an aversion, with Alice being played by a much older actress (Pert Kelton). After Kelton was forced to leave the show due to Cold War blacklisting, Mr. Gleason changed it to a hot wife in the series for 1955 made-for-TV Fanservice. Audrey Meadows wrote in her autobiography that she wanted the part of Alice but Gleason, seeing her stills, decided she was "too attractive." So she arranged for a friend to bust in with a camera very early in the morning to take her picture, no makeup, bleary eyes and all. Gleason liked the photos and Meadows' willingness to go the extra mile to get the part. The movie version plays this trope straight also. Ralph Kramden is played by Cedric The Entertainer. Alice? The insanely gorgeous Gabrielle Union.
- Upstairs neighbors Ed and Trixie Norton, especially since Trixie's backstory says she was a burlesque dancer before falling for the sewer worker.
- House: Plot point in an episode when the title character can't understand why a smoking hot woman is married to his overweight patient of the week. Turns out the wife was part of a hallucination House suffered after being shot by a former patient.
- iCarly: Short, chubby Gibby has a tall, pretty and thin girlfriend named Tasha, played by actress/model Emily Ratajkowski.
- I Love Lucy: Fred (William Frawley) & Ethel (Vivan Vance). Vance may not have been strict supermodel material, but she was twenty years younger than Frawley - and it shows even with Vance playing down her own attractiveness to avoid ticking off Lucille Ball. Incidentally, before she took the part of Ethel, Vivian Vance often played the role of Femme Fatale in her movie career and was seen as quite beautiful.
- The King of Queens: Star Kevin James is a Average in looks department and overweight. Hot wife is Leah Remini, who is a Maxim cover-girl worthy model◊. One episode accentuates this into absurdity—Kevin James loses a noticeable but not extreme amount of weight, and one of Carrie's friends seriously suggests that he's now as physically attractive as she is, and Carrie doesn't seem too happy to hear this.
- Somewhat mitigated by the fact that Carrie is far from perfect herself, being rather misanthropic, neurotic and bitchy, while Doug is generally a nice and friendly guy.
- Law & Order: SVU: An episode featuring the murder of a Romanian immigrant had her model-like twin sister (actually her, but that's a whole other posting) married to a very average-looking and overweight guy. It's never a plot point, but the disparity in looks is noticeable
- Mad About You: The beautiful Leila Kenzle and Richard Kind, who bears a marked resemblance to Magilla Gorilla.
- MADtv: Examined in a sketch, where Dr. Phil asks the fugly husband of a beautiful (but dumb, though that was presented as a positive) woman how it happened: "Are you crazy rich? Are you a registered hypnotist? Do you have a freakishly large penis?"
- Merlin (2008): Tristan and Isolde introduced at the end of the fourth series. Isolde was young and hot. Tristan looked at least ten years her senior and was rather small and shaggy looking.
- Modern Family: Jay and Gloria. Constantly lampshaded in the show, and many of the other characters (particularly Claire) assume she is a Gold Digger until they get to know her better.
- Mr. Belvedere: George Owens, played by Bob Uecker, who frequently jokes about his homely appearance in real life, paired with gorgeous Marsha played by Ilene Graff. She is beautiful and appears to be a generation his junior.
- The Munsters: While they looked like people from a halloween party, Herman was a frankenstein monster and Lily is a hot vampiress. Lily sees Herman as gorgeous and worries about other women stealing him away due to this. And considering how they all consider their pretty niece as 'odd-looking', their view of beauty is skewed from the cultural norm.
- My Name Is Earl:
- Randy and Catalina. Originally he chased her, until a green card marriage led to them sleeping together. Using advice from Joy, Catalina makes herself extremely unattractive to him, while Randy proceeds to be the best lover she ever had. Afterwards she fails to keep him interested because he is turned off by how bad she was.
- When Earl is working in a fast-food restaurant, his Jerk Ass boss keeps abusing him. Earl then visits his house and discovers he has a hot wife who even has a mug labeled "World's Best Lover". But as luck would have it, Earl discovers he has two hot wives. By punching the boss in the face, he puts him in hospital, where both hot wives go to join him at bedside, see each other and dump him in disgust. Hilarity Ensues!
- NCIS: Los Angeles: An episode involves a very fat man and his hot Mexican girlfriend whose relationship goes south when it's revealed that he's part of a scam to defraud the US government. And he's willing to kill her and her family when they find out.
- Night Court: Zig-zagged in the episode "Dan's Escort" with Sonja, the wife of Yakov (Yakov Smirnoff). The audience doesn't see the pictures Yakov shows the gang, but it's enough to get Dan to compare her to livestock (and to get Harry to back down when admonishing him for said crack). She was badly injured in an accident while traveling to reunite with Yakov and everyone fears that the injuries will make her even uglier. When she does arrive, she's played by attractive actress Diana Brookes. Turns out the doctors who worked on Sonja had no idea what she was supposed to look like, assumed her ugliness were a result of her injuries and proceeded to turn her into a stunner.
- No Ordinary Family: The large Michael Chiklis is paired with the smoking hot Julie Benz.
- NYPD Blue: Andy Sipowicz. Twice.
- Wife #2 - Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence). The age difference isn't mentioned in-show, but the actress is seventeen years his junior.
- Wife #3: Connie McDowell (Charlotte Ross) — more than twenty years younger and so out of his league they might as well be different species.
- In between Sylvia and Connie he briefly dates Gibson's niece, Cynthia. She is described as plain and lonely and seems fairly desperate. She seems to be in her late thirties (her actress, Juliana Donald, was in her mid-thirties) so it's not impossible for her to have a little Christmas Cake anxiety — but she is certainly not bad looking, so to act like an overweight bald guy fifteen years her senior was the only person willing to date her (and that mostly as a favor to Gibson) is a bit ridiculous. If anything she is out of his league (but she is portrayed as somewhat socially insecure, and probably doesn't realize that).
- The Outer Limits (1995): The episode "First Anniversary" subverts this: the "hot wife" is actually a hideous-looking alien using Mind Control to appear to be a beautiful woman. They're really nice aliens, though, so when the control breaks, we'll all learn that True Beauty Is on the Inside, right? Not a chance.
- Parks and Recreation: Overweight and kind of goofy-looking Jerry is married to the extremely hot Gayle (played by Christie Brinkley) and has a stable of hot daughters who all adore him. This all goes along with the Running Gag that Jerry's life outside of the office is exactly as wonderful as his professional life is miserable. In one episode, Ben plans a anniversary celebration for him and Leslie that backfires when her work gets the better of her and he is forced to spend the day with Jerry instead. In the process he may have learned why Gayle is so happily married to Jerry: Because he is an incredibly nice, sweet, pleasant man who is tons of fun to be with.
- Red Dwarf: Spoofed when Lister takes part in a virtual-reality medieval tourney, and demands a night and a day in the Queen's bed if he wins. The King is played by Brian Cox; the Queen is a young and beautiful French woman (played by Sarah Alexander) who instantly accepts the conditions.
King: My lady, I think we should discuss this matter in private...
Queen: Do you not 'ave faith in your good knight, to cut this dog down where 'e stands?
King: I do! Sort of...
- Rescue Me: This trope gets lampshaded in an episode when Billy (one of the firefighters) dies. At his funeral, they find out that he'd had 2 ex-wives, both of supermodel quality. The episode had a sub-plot of a measurement contest, which Billy had declined to take part in. After having talked with the ex-wives, the chief declared Billy the posthumous winner, stating "Our friend Billy... was packing 10."
- Saturday Night Live: The trope is the entire basis for this sketch.
- The trope is discussed with the Patient of the Week being a smoking hot woman married to a rather large guy. What does she see in him? He was the only guy there was, after she dated the attractive jerky guys. J.D. often gets accused of this by watchers of the show, but he's not actually ugly — it's just Hollywood casting for hot girls that makes everyone a model.
- An episode had J.D. play a classic TV trivia game with his friends and girlfriend Kylie, the topic being being fat sitcom husbands and the crazy hot women that marry them.
- Troll-like George Costanza dated models and other hot, thin women, and while, his eventual fiancee, Susan, was not quite a supermodel, she was still a bit out of his league. Subverted in that George was always painfully aware that these women were out of his league (how he managed to hook up with them is still a mystery) and always ruined the relationship with his crippling insecurity and generally idiotic behavior. One example (which seemed to be lampshading this trend) has him being approached by a gorgeous woman who had initially mistaken him for her boyfriend. Already stunned at the idea that a man like him could end up with a woman like this, George is further gobsmacked when the woman indicates that he's BETTER looking than her boyfriend, saying that George appears to be both taller and in better shape than the man in question.
- The man himself, Jerry, dates a bevvy of beautiful women, including supermodels, despite being a supposedly-average comedian; and Jerry's not much more of a catch than George in terms of looks and personality. Granted, Jerry is more average looking than ugly and he's got a pretty lean build. This list shows just how extreme an example this is. The list of notably gorgeous women who were his girlfriend at some point is truly remarkable. Jane Leeves, Courteney Cox, Teri Hatcher, Lori Loughlin, Christine Taylor, Kristin Davis, Debra Messing, Amanda Peet, Marcia Cross... it's good to be the Seinfeld.
- Kramer didn't do too badly either, although this was explained by his Kavorka Man appeal.
- Jerry's nemesis Newman (played by Wayne Knight of the 3rd Rock from the Sun example cited below) was occasionally seen dating very attractive women. In fact, in one episode, Jerry was stunned to discover that his girlfriend of the week used to date him—and that it was HE who dumped HER, because HE didn't feel that SHE was pretty enough to suit HIM. Utterly discombobulated by this, Jerry dumps her.
- Sex and the City: Charlotte (played by the beautiful Kristin Davis) finds the love of her life (and the best sex of her life) the second she stops going for handsome boy's club types and lowers her standards for her divorce attorney, the chubby and bald Harry. This being Sex and the City, he's still rich.
- The Sopranos: Almost every single male character is married or in a relationship with insanely hot women, while usually also cheating on them with other even hotter women. Subverted with Johnny Sack: due to his high rank in the New York crew it's assumed that like all the others he has a hot wife with affairs on the side. In season 4 we see however that his wife is a rather large woman who he loves deeply and does not cheat on.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Star Trek: Voyager: Neelix◊ and Kes◊.
- Still Standing: The overweight, balding, lazy, drunken, Man Child Bill (played by Mark Addy) and the thin, buxom Judy (played by Jami Gertz). It's particularly egregious in the High School Class Reunion episode, when Judy is worried about not measuring up to the Alpha Bitch. She inexplicably abandons her usual tight shirts and jeans to wear unflattering, baggy clothing and a bad hairstyle. The Alpha Bitch, played by the already-pretty Beth Littleford, wears the wife's usual clothes. The next episode has the wife right back to her usual clothes and hair.
- Tales from the Crypt:
- In the episode "Dead Right," Gold Digger Demi Moore marries the slovenly Jeffrey Tambor, but only because a fortune teller had assured her that he he would inherit a fortune and then die. The prediction comes true, but not in the way she'd expected.
- The episode "Two for the Show" has David Paymer married to Traci Lords.
- Taxi: Arnie Ross (Wally Shawn) and Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner, ex-model) in the last season.
- That '70s Show: Bob Pinciotti not only started the series with a hot wife (played by Tanya Roberts), but also had a romance with Jackie's mother (played by Brooke Shields). At some point he even was seeing both of them at the same time. It's even lamp-shaded when he hooks up with Shields. The boys realize Bob's track record with smoking hotties that should be way out of his league and gain a newfound respect for him.
- 3rd Rock from the Sun: Don and Sally. Played with in that Sally, being an alien, has no idea Don is supposed to be ugly (despite the fact that he's played by Wayne Knight), and finds his power as a police officer sexy. In fact, Sally thinks everyone in society is just as smitten with Don's "good looks" as she. One episode has Sally thinking she is too unattractive to believably be with someone like Don.
- 30 Rock: Played with after the one-night stand between Frank and Jenna in "Retreat to Move Forward", where the slovenly Frank is embarrassed to have slept with the attractive Jenna. He had his reasons...
- Welcome Back, Kotter: Gabe and Julie Kotter◊, ladies and gentlemen.
- Will & Grace:
Karen: "Ugly guy, skinny wife? * shakes head* No, America is not ready for that just yet."
- Parodied. Jack and Karen were searching for a new sitcom after the finale of Sex and the City. Whilst they are channel hopping, they spin through several "Fat guy, skinny wife" shows before hitting upon a "Ugly guy, skinny wife" show.
- Karen and Stanley. We never actually see Stanley on camera, but everyone on the show says he's a whale.
- In George Formby's comedic song "Why Don't Women Like Me," the singer laments at the sight of "lovely girls, attractive little dears, arm in arm with ugly men with cauliflower ears."
- In Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", the singer marvels at the "pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street".
- Sparks' "Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls" is all about this trope.
- Tripod's "Ugly Men" is also all about this.
- Van Halen's "Sucker in a Three Piece" is a combination of this and Meal Ticket, inspired by such a mismatched couple Sammy Hagar saw in a resort.
Myths & Religion
- The Ur-Example might be Hephaestus of Greek mythology, the ugliest god — even outright deformed or crippled — who married Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty herself. The Greeks weren't exactly shy about exploring the consequences, either — Aphrodite was constantly cuckolding her husband, who, like most immortals (except Hera), just mostly put up with it (he did ask for her) and spent as little time around her as possible. He did play several relatively harmless pranks on Aphrodite in revenge for illicit affairs, such as trapping her and Ares (her lover) in an indestructible net that he constructed. One story claims that he puts up with it because she can become a virgin again by bathing in the ocean. There are multiple versions, however:
- In Homer's account Hephaestus demands his bride-price back after catching them, which means they divorced. Homer also has him remarry one of the Graces, Aglaea.
- In another, Hephaestus demanded Aphrodite's hand in marriage in return for releasing Hera from a magic throne he stuck her on in revenge for throwing him off of Olympus for being an ugly baby, and yet another is that Zeus ordered her to marry because she was causing trouble amongst the gods and she picked Hephaestus because he's the god of jewellery (another legend has Zeus choose Hephaestus because he was the most stable of the male Olympians... which says something about the rest of the immortals, since at a later point he tried to rape his half-sister Athena when she showed him some attention).
- The whole Hephaestus-Aphrodite relationship gets complicated. Depending on which versions of what stories you pick, Hephaestus could be anything from a bitter old pervert to a loving husband who was stuck with, well, Aphrodite for a wife (Goddess of Love, both constructive and destructive.) But hey, he was an engineer...
- At least one version says that despite being married to Aphrodite, the woman Hephaestus is truly in love with is Athena (who will have nothing to do with him or any other man) and in the most extreme version, tried to force himself upon her (but wasn't successful).
- Kane had this as a face while with Tori, as he was a giant masked monster.
- Christian, who was nicknamed the Creepy Little Bastard, due to his ratlike apperance, once dated Trish Stratus onscreen...
- May have been played up for that storyline though◊: Trish DID turn heel for him...
- Hornswoggle and AJ Lee when they were on NXT. She's a beautiful Diva, he's a wrestling Leprechaun.
- No wonder she went crazy...
- The Missing Link had this with Sunshine in World Class and with Dark Journey in Mid-South. They were beautiful valets, he was a face-painted monster.
- Completely out of Kayfabe, Mick Foley (who, while one of the nicest guys alive and much better-looking when he was younger◊, really looks like a guy who's earned the tile 'the Hardcore Legend') is married to the lovely Colette◊, and has been for 25 years. In fact, when a WCW storyline required Mick's character Cactus Jack to have a wife, Jerkass boss Eric Bischoff got an actress to portray her rather than letting Colette do it herself because he didn't think anyone would buy Cactus Jack attracting such a beautiful woman (Colette was not flattered by this cringe-inducing assessment).
- This is apparently Truth in Television. According to this article http://www.livescience.com/7483-beautiful-women-marry-attractive-men.html, women tend to marry men who are less attractive and in some cases, not as smart. At the very least, it would lead to a happier marriage or long term relationship. The reason is because men value beauty and women value emotional support. If a man finds his wife beautiful, or at least more attractive than him, then he will be happier and dote on her more, giving her emotional support, which makes her happier as well. A more attractive man is more likely to feel he can do better or be more tempted to seek other women as he knows they find him attractive. Because of that, he becomes unhappy and gives his wife less support, resulting in her being unhappy as well.
- Scion gives us Surtr and Sinmora. Sinmora is an eight-foot-tall fire giant. Her husband Surtr is a mile-tall humanoid form made of lava. Scion: God sums it up with "The less said about [their sex life], the better."
- If it's any comfort, keep in mind that both are magical giants of godlike power who can easily change size, with Surtr growing as small as a normal human and Sinmora being able to grow to several hundred meters of height.
- In Dungeons & Dragons cosmology, Glasya, the daughter of Asmodeus, was once the consort of Mammon, the ruler of the Third Layer of Hell. She was a gorgeous temptress devil, while he was a hideous monster, very much resembling a pit fiend. Eventually, they were forced to annul their marriage as part of Mammon's punishment for his part of the Reckoning, a political struggle that spanned all of Hell; however, after Glasya became far more powerful and became the ruler of the Sixth Layer, one rumor claims they might have rekindled their romance. (Although, another rumor claims she despises him for not defending their relationship in the first place. This being Hell and both being devils, a race that revels in grudges and double-dealing, it's entirely possible both are accurate.)
- Easily possible in any game including romantic subplots that allows you to design your own character's appearance.
- In Dynasty Warriors, Meng Huo, fat king of the Nanman barbarian tribe, is married to a hot babe Zhu Rong, daughter of the god of fire.
- Meng Huo is also a badass Large Ham who probably has another large ham between his legs.
- Inverted in a way, but only if you read the character info. Zhuge Liang was never described as anything noteworthy in regards to his looks, but his wife Yue Ying, despite being given a very stately and beautiful character model in the game, was supposedly a very NOT attractive woman.note Zhuge Liang isn't exactly Mr. Fanservice, but he's certainly not as ugly and offputting as Meng Huo.
- Seen in Grand Theft Auto IV, with the short, fat, unsuccessful Roman Bellic and his attractive longtime girlfriend (later wife), Mallorie.
- Mario and Peach from the Super Mario Bros. series. Mario, being one of the world's most iconic characters in games, has a pleasant and decent physical appearance, and could hardly be called ugly. But safe to say, he is more cartoonishly designed than the absolutely stunning Peach
- Bartre and Karla in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, though to be fair Bartre's not so much ugly as he is homely (especially compared to most of the handsome faces in this particular army!)
- Brendan and Sonia Reed, of the same game, are a straighter example. She's a buxom, leggy, raven-haired beauty with a penchant for tight leather. He's an enormous, hairy, scar-covered axeman who seems about twice her size and age. Unusually, this is an instance of the Ugly Guy being more moral than the Hot Wife, as he's noble but easily manipulated, while she's one of the main villains.
- To say nothing of anyone Ardan ends up with in Genealogy of the Holy War.
- Whenever the player pairs a guy who is of the warrior, pirate, or armor knight class (though there are exceptions, espacially among the warriors). Most of the characters of these classes can't even pair up with the, almost exclusively hot, girls anyways.
- Save for Dart, that is. He looks fairly handsome if a bit rugged, and he can score with the very lovely-looking Farina.
- Any woman who marries the knight Benny in Fire Emblem Fates will be the hot wife to his ugly guy and, save for Princess Camilla, the tiny girl to his huge guy. To be fair, Benny himself is a total sweetie.
- Gen-An Shiranui of Samurai Shodown is one of the ugliest Fighting Game characters in history. His wife Asami is a Jungle Princess. One of his win quotes is even "No one calls me a freak and lives! ...except my wife, that is."
- Adell's parents in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. Even with the extra eye and tail, Mom is hot enough to attract the attention of far younger men. Dad, on the other hand, is a zombie "but without the stench."
- Sergeant Allen O'Neil's wife in Metal Slug. However considering Allen is an unkillable, manly, Badass, with an incredible physique, its Justified.
- The Kramers from Final Fantasy VIII. Cid is a grandfatherly, slightly ogre-ish fellow◊ who bears more than a passing resemblance to Robin Williams, and his wife Edea is ridiculously hot and at least twenty years younger◊.
- A rather tragic version: Vega's parents, according to his backstory in Street Fighter II. A teenage Vega saw his very ugly father go Yandere and murder his beautiful mother under the belief that she was cheating on him. Vega went Ax-Crazy and became a Self-Made Orphan by killing his dad to avenge his mom, this being his Start of Darkness.
- Dhalsim and his very Moe wife Sari, are a very odd case as Dhalsim's looks seriously depend on who draws him. In some CG and hand-drawn portraits he looks young and◊ rather◊ handsome◊... but in others, he looks◊ frankly weird◊.
- Also, Rufus and Candy, though not married, probably count as well. Apparently he saved her from an angry waiter and according to a win quote she likes his belly.
- Necro and Effie too, though in this case, the attraction is justified by the fact that they have mutually saved each other's lives and probably are each other's only loved ones: In the first Street Fighter III as well as 2nd Impact, Effie rescues Necro from being disposed of by Gill, and in Third Impact, Necro returns the favor by using his stretching arms to rescue Effie from a fall.
- Huge *red* turkish oil wrestler Hakan and his smoking hot wife. They have seven adorable daughters. While Hakan's face is quite scary, he is a muscleman who routinely pours oil all over his shirtless chest. Plus he's rich, famous, and judging by his ending a very good dad and husband. Justified, considering that, in their culture, being a good father/provider counts for a lot more. (Hakan and his family are Turkish).
- Inter Species Romance example: A minor NPC in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is a Seeq married to a Viera. Seeq are hideous pig like things, Viera are beautiful bunny girls.
- The Seeq is also quite friendly and supportive of the party's quest to save the Aegyl. OTOH, his wife is as cold and aloof as most of her race and just wishes her husband would leave the ship already. Which just raises more questions about how they hooked up in the first place.
- You talk to them on an airship and Virea are native to the forest. It's possible she just doesn't fly well.
- The Seeq is also quite friendly and supportive of the party's quest to save the Aegyl. OTOH, his wife is as cold and aloof as most of her race and just wishes her husband would leave the ship already. Which just raises more questions about how they hooked up in the first place.
- Torneko Taloon and his hot wife in Dragon Quest IV. One NPC even complains about how unfair it is.
- Two examples in Dragon Quest IX. In both, the male is the usual "old man" sprite. In the couple that appears in Coffinwell, the wife is a bunny girl. In the Dourbridge couple, she's a dancer. They're treated differently, though: in Coffinwell, they seem to genuinely care for each other. In Dourbridge, the wife is an obvious Gold Digger, and her husband overcharges outrageously in his store to keep her happy.
- Ryu (the main character) and Patty's parents in Breath of Fire II. Their mom is a hot young winged women who can turn into a gigantic dragon while their dad, while not necessarily ugly, is a normal old human.
- Hades and Persephone in the God of War series. Even though Hades isn't portrayed as an evil god, he's pretty dumpy, covered in spikes and hides his disfigured face with an intimidating helmet. Persephone, meanwhile, is a beautiful queen who tries to destroy the world in revenge for being stuck as Hades' wife.
- Assassin's Creed II: Bartolomeo D'Alviano has seen many battles in his lifetime, and his heavily scarred face - and scratchy voice that sounds like he's been gargling sand - reflect that. Ezio is understandably surprised when he sees that his wife Pantasilea; A) is a woman and not a sword and B) is very attractive.
- Deadly Premonition has Jack the Raging Bull and his wife "Rosy Lips" Gina.
- Neverwinter Nights: In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of Hordes of the Underdark, it's revealed that the stunning Fiery Redhead Sharwyn eventually became a famous bard among the nobility. There, she fell in love with a hideous man and fled a chance at a life of riches for the chance to be with him.
- Total War: Warhammer has the vampire couple Vlad and Isabella Von Carstein. He has an extremely decayed appearance◊ (as a result of his botched resurrection) with his hair limp and stringy and his nose has either rotted away or has deformed into vampire bat-like nostrils, while she eerily resembles a doll◊ without a single blemish in her body. Despite this stark contrast in their looks, the two are very much in love with each other and gain special bonuses by fighting side by side. They also start out able to recruit the other right off the bat, and at a discount. Every other faction in the game need to do something to unlock whatever Legendary Lords they didn't start with.
- In The Elder Scrolls, the Bosmer (Wood Elves) were originally designed◊ for this to be a trait of their race. Downplayed in their final designs for Morrowind and Oblivion, where the Bosmer males are much shorter than the females and generally uglier, but not to the extent their early designs called for. By Skyrim, any disparities between the males and females (attractiveness, height, or otherwise) are dropped completely.
- Crash Bandicoot has Crash and Tawna, but only in the first game. Crash is designed very much like a Looney Tunes character, with stubby proportions and wacky facial expressions, while Tawna is designed to be the attractive Jessica Rabbit to his Roger Rabbit. She apparently broke up with Crash in favor of Pinstripe in between the first and second games, and while Pinstripe isn't exactly handsome considering that he's a potoroo, he's a bit closer to Tall, Dark, and Handsome than Crash is.
- Umineko: When They Cry: George Ushiromiya's parents are Hideyoshi and Eva. Eva still looks good despite pushing 50, while Hideyoshi looks his age and is quite pudgy. However, this is played with in that Eva is a Rich Bitch and Hideyoshi is a Nice Guy who married into the family. The surprising part? They actually love each other a lot.
- Luk River and Hala from "Irregular Elis", a lucky man married with a hot mom alien.
- Jason and Aubrey from Something*Positive. Before they got together, Jason was also quite the lady's man, apparently due to some mathematical formula that lets him seduce anyone he wants. Also, he's implied to have a Biggus Dickus.
- Davan with any girl he's dated, though this is largely Informed Deformity.
- Pip in Sequential Art — and if the penguin looked dorky in glasses, he looks plain ludicrous without them — and... Hilary "have become good friends". Quoth Kat when she saw a kiss, "Oh, God... For the love of all that's good and holy, don't do that again..."
- It later turned out that she was using him, and she dumped him as soon as she had what she wanted.
- Inverted in Fans!. Shanna is entirely aware of her stick-figure build, whereas Will is practically a body-builder. The relationship seems to have done wonders for Shanna's body-image issues.
- League of Super Redundant Heroes has Lazer Pony, a blind superhero with a rather silly costume including a horse bit in his mouth, in a relationship with blonde bombshell Supergirl-clone Mary Sue.
- Aphrodite and Hephaestus of O-Cast, based on the aforementioned Ur-example in Greek myth.
- Though the actor for Hephaestus is Hollywood Homely.
- In Thalia's Musings, how Aphrodite sees her Arranged Marriage to Hephaestus. Hephaestus is considered the least attractive of the Olympians, especially compared to his brother Ares. However, it's implied that this designation is highly relative.
- In the Whateley Universe, supervillain Gizmatic is a short, nerdy, ugly dork with a 'shy chin' who has a still-hot wife.
- James Rolfe takes his wedding ring off while he's playing The Angry Video Game Nerd, but leaves it on while playing the Bullshit Man. This implies that the Bullshit Man is married. We don't know what his wife looks like, mind you, but any woman would look hot next to someone whose face is made out of literal bullshit.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: Nicole Watterson is considered quite the looker by most fans of the show. Richard, on the other hand...
- Bojack Horseman: Lampshaded. Wanda reads a script titled "Fat Guy Hot Wife".
- The Cleveland Show:
- Subverted. Cleveland is very overweight and has a child-like demeanor while Donna appears to be pretty with a very pronounced butt. However, on several occasions, it was shown that Donna does a lot to make herself look pretty. Donna wears a wig to cover her short and gray hair, wears make up, wears a push up bra that keeps her breasts from sagging, and wears certain clothing to smooth her figure, to which she would look very overweight without it.
- In one episode Cleveland and family were stupified that Junior, a short fat nerdy boy was able to get Cecilia, a gorgeous Mexican girl to be his girlfriend. It turned it was because that he was the spitting image of her father.
- Danny Phantom: Jack and Maddie Fenton. Jack is not exactly ugly but he is overweight and hefty.
- Darkwing Duck: Fat, balding Herb Muddlefoot and his thinner, younger-looking wife Binkie.
- Family Guy: Peter and Lois Griffin, with a little Lampshade Hanging, as the couple was once described in an in-universe news report as "a fat man inexplicably married to an attractive redhead", along with an artist's impression of what they might look like - Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Lois came from a ridiculously wealthy family and could have hired a different gigolo every night, if she were looking for a hunk.
- The Flintstones:
- Fred's not egregiously ugly, but he is a pretty homely-looking guy. Wilma, in contrast, is a slim-figured, gorgeous redhead.
- Betty and Barney do uphold the trope, much like Wilma and Fred. He's short and homely while she's a raven-haired stunner.
- Betty and Wilma expected this trope to hold true of their new neighbors, the Gruesomes, after meeting Mr. Gruesome. It didn't.
- Futurama: Hermes isn't much to look at, but his wife LaBarbara is quite stunning. It's mentioned that Hermes used to be a competitive limboist - and, if LaBarbara's ex-husband Barbados Slim (with Olympic medals in both limbo and sex) is anything to judge by, the sport keeps a body in shape.
- Gargoyles: Angela and Broadway. Since gargoyles aren't into the whole money and power business, it had to be his sweet and charming personality that won her over. There are possibly different standards of attractiveness at work, though the show makes it pretty clear that she fell for him because of his deep love of classical literature, and simply for the fact that he can read, a rare trait among gargoyles from their time.
- Goof Troop: Peg has an Impossible Hourglass Figure and is hot enough that she, a woman in her late thirties, can pass for a teenager. Her husband, Pete, is not only fat and ugly, but has a personality that's just as ugly as he is.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Billy's parents. Billy's mother, Gladys, is considered quite attractive by some, while Billy's dad, Harold, looks almost exactly like an older, fatter version of Billy.
- Hercules: Hephaestus is only engaged to Aphrodite (far from the only difference in the adaptation) but is fiercely protective of her, in one episode beating the crap out of Hades for making a pass at her.
- Hey Arnold!:
- The Kokoshkas. Oskar is short, middle-aged, potbellied, balding and has a large, long nose (to say nothing of him being a lazy, selfish con-artist and a terrible husband overall) while Suzie is a fairly attractive blonde.
- The Patakis. Big Bob has a Big Ol' Unibrow, a big nose, gray hair and a bit of a gut, and like Oskar has a very unpleasant personality. Miriam is a blonde Meganekko who, despite being drunk as hell most of the time, is a total stunner when she tries.
- The Wittenbergs. Jack is overweight, while his wife Tish is a good looking blond. It helps that they're both Competition Freaks and jerks with hearts of gold.
- King of the Hill:
- Luanne Platter is an attractive but mostly dumb blonde eventually married an ugly bucktoothed middle aged hillbilly known as Lucky.
- Dale and Nancy. Dale is scrawny (but "flexible" as Nancy puts it), with a gut, beady eyes, and bald ("and not in that attractive way, like Sean Connery"), and Nancy's a frequent Ms. Fanservice target with her string bikinis. But it's his staggering idiocy, devotion to absurd conspiracy theories, and all around giblet-headedness that make you wonder how the two ever got together. That said, Nancy spent over a decade cheating on Dale with John Redcorn and primarily kept married to Dale for the sake of their son (who is quite obviously John Redcorn's son) and her career. She eventually falls back in love with Dale after a Heel Realization makes her see he's more beautiful than she is where it counts.
- Bill and his ex-wife Lenore fits this...nowadays. In her sole appearance, Lenore was shown to be very attractive, while Bill is fat, bald, has poor hygene, zero self-confidence, and a stalker-like crush on his best friend's wife. However, flashbacks show that in high school Bill was handsome, fit, confident, and popular, and it's all but outright stated that being crushed by the woman he loved made him stop caring and enter a downwards spiral into suicidal depression.
- Maybe the most extreme example is Cotton Hill and his two wives, Tilly and Didi. Tilly was a woman with a lot of class who was quite pretty as a young lady and Didi is a Brainless Beauty. Cotton was quite fit and handsome as a young man, but by the time Hank was born had already lost most of his looks and was an enraged, screaming, shinless madman who started fights with no provocation, treated both of them like garbage, openly cheated on both of them with strippers, and was an objectively terrible father (neglectful to G.H. and outright abusive toward Hank). It's taken almost to the point of Deconstruction, since Cotton's marriages are very clearly shown to be abusive relationships that take their toll on his wives' self-esteem and sanity. Tilly divorced him and ended up better for it, and Didi (rather quickly) married a wealthy pro wrestler after his death.
- Moral Orel: Principal Fakey and his wife Millie. This also applies to him and his mistress, Nurse Bendy.
- The Proud Family:
- Oscar and Trudy Proud. Not ugly, but Oscar is very skinny compared to Trudy's curvaceous body.
- Felix and Sunset Boulevardez. He's overweight and she is a beautiful Spicy Latina.
- The Replacements: Richard "Dick" Marion Daring and Karen Jane "K" Mildred Daring, as Dick is a big, pudgy, hairy idiot (though not nearly as bad as many other cartoon examples), and his wife's a hot spy.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle: Boris and Natasha fit the "cartoonish husband/realistic wife" version of this trope; they also double as Tiny Guy, Huge Girl.
- Samurai Jack: In the episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful", there was the Outlaw Couple Zeke and Josephine Clench. Although they were actually divorced, and while Zeke was clearly ugly and Josephine was a knockout (and a Femme Fatale, using her skills as a temptress to lure victims close) this Trope was clearly not the reason their marriage failed. He had a restraining order against her, clearly suggesting the falling out was her fault.
- The way the Scotsman talked her up, it sounded like this trope was going to be the case with her. Man, what a subversion. He's merely butt ugly, she is an affront to God.
- The Simpsons:
Gondolier: *singing* When a wife looks like that and her husband's so fat, that's immoral!
- Homer and Marge, although Marge's attractiveness has been played up over time and Homer has usually been shown as more attractive in his younger years when he started dating Marge. The episode The Italian Bob seems to reference this trope, when the end of the episode shows Marge and Homer taking a romantic gondola ride, the gondolier providing his services for the evening puts his own spin on the song "That's Amore", much to Homer's annoyance.
- Homer has managed to attract several bombshells over the course of the show. They seem to see him as hot. Or maybe it's his personality, which is odd, given the way he acts the rest of the time.
- Milhouse grows up to be balding with a gut and Lisa grows up beautifully in "Holidays of Future Passed."
- Homer's mother, as seen in flashbacks in some episodes, was somewhat of a looker when she was young and Homer was a toddler; Homer's dad, however, was not so much more attractive than he is now, and was also somewhat of a slob.
- The Comic Book Guy is obese, middle-aged, rude, and generally not good-looking. Eventually, however, he meets, dates, and marries Kumiko Albertson, a much younger and far more attractive Japanese girl. (And it seems to have stuck, as they're still together in a future episode.)
- Superman: The Animated Series:
- Mr. Mxyzptlk (who is a tiny, bald, beady eyed imp) has Gsptlsnz, a hot wife; a really hot wife; a really hot wife who would (and probably could) do anything to get a little attention from him. Oh, yes. (They are both natives of a five-dimensional universe, so they may have different views of what is considered attractive than humans do.)
- In the comic books, pretty much all the men from the Fifth Dimension are big-headed little imps, and all the women are dropdead gorgeous redhead bombshells. Apparently it's so common for them that it's lost the appeal it would have in our dimension.
- Teen Titans:
- Blackfire attempted to marry her sister Starfire off to Glgrdsklechhh, an alien that can only be described as a cross between Shrek, Jabba the Hutt, and an elephant. More recently, this short depicts him married to Blackfire.
- Not a married couple, but there's Kitten and her boyfriend Fang. Despite being a Spoiled Brat, she's attractive, while he clearly isn't even human, having a spider for a head. (After she breaks up with him and tries to use Robin to make him jealous, it actually works; he comes back and offers to make up... Unfortunately, what would normally be a romantic reconciliation scene becomes rather unpleasant due to his appearance.)
- Raven's parents. Her mother Arella is a pretty and otherwise normal human woman, while Trigon, her father, is a giant horrifying demon.
- Timon & Pumbaa: Subverted in the episode "Beauty and the Wildebeest", where Rafiki helps an ugly wildebeest improve his looks and manners so that he can romance a beautiful gazelle that he has a crush for. In the end the gazelle, touched when the wildebeest is willing to reveal his hideous visage to scare of a rival at her birthday party, removes her makeup and reveals herself to be just as ugly as he is and they both share a kiss before the end credits. In this case it's Ugly Guy, Ugly Wife.
- Tripping the Rift: Chode, a disgusting purple alien and incredibly hot Six. Then again, Six is a sex robot that he owns, and we have no definition of Chode's relative attractiveness by the standards of his own species (as opposed to us humans, who aren't really qualified to judge). Also, an episode claimed that men and women are both held up to unreasonable standards for attracting the opposite sex, it's just that with women it's looks and men it's money. Six's interest in Chode is also explained in that he had her upgraded beyond being merely a sex bot allowing her to become the ships science officer and treats her with the closest he can manage to respect. Apparently, he's treated her better than anyone else has and she's perfectly capable of walking away if she wants to.
- The Venture Bros.:
- Subverted. While she may be hot, most men seem put off by Dr. Mrs. The Monarch's (or just plain old Dr. Girlfriend) 6-packs-a-day voice. As for the men who aren't put off by her voice, The Monarch doesn't treat her like a trophy.
- The scrawny balding Dr. Thaddeus Venture and the rather attractive blond Myra Brandish. While the latter had a strong Bodyguard Crush on the former, Rusty ultimately was creeped out by Myra's Stalker With a Crush tendencies and had her sent away, driving her insane.
- Rusty also manage to seduce Dr. Quymn, possibly the hottest superscientist ever. That may be due to UST from their childhood.