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Henpecked Husband

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"Yes, dear..."

Howard: Your wife pushes you around? But you're a big scary cop!
Mr. Rostenkowski: [Howard's father-in-law] Well, you're an astronaut and your wife pushes you around. And she's only four feet tall!

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

Frequently, he will be a small figure, literally overshadowed by his behemoth of a wife. Bigger than he is, she nevertheless expects him to carry all her packages when out shopping, to run all her errands, and to care for whatever snarling pet she dotes on. All the while his own hobbies and sources of personal enjoyment will fall by the wayside ("No, honey, you can't watch the game Sunday, we're going antiquing!" — and he will).

Some of these men are resigned to the horror of their lives; others try to escape, oftentimes to their regret. There are two possibilities if the Henpecked Husband actually succeeds in standing up to his wife: Either she'll leave him and clean him out in the divorce settlement (which he may consider a price worth paying to be free of her), or she will not only back down but instantly swoon and throw herself at him — she was secretly yearning for him to grow a spine all along.

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

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

Naturally, this can also apply to two people who are just dating, with the Henpecked Boyfriend being bossed around by his girlfriend.

Compare Momma's Boy and My Beloved Smother in the case the husband is replaced by his son. See also No Accounting for Taste. In the process of slowly becoming a Discredited Trope in favor of Parenting the Husband. Compare More Deadly Than the Male.

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  • A very old and memorable Colombian TV commercial for a brand of dishwasher sponges showed a very tall Grande Dame yelling to her husband:
    Wife: ¿Saturnino?
    Saturnino: ¿Sí, mi amor?
    Wife: ¡Quiero todo limpio y seco! (I want everything clean and dry!)
    Saturnino: Sí, mi amor...
  • Invoked in this Taco Bell commercial. The narrator is a self-described "Instagram Boyfriend", meaning that his girlfriend is a social media model and his job is to take her picture whenever the moment strikes, like when they're in the desert and the sun is setting:
    Her: Oh babe look, sunset heart-hands! [makes heart-hands gesture over the sun]
    [Boyfriend is busy eating the Taco Bell wrap]
    Her: Sunset heart-hands!
    Him: Why don't we just enjoy the moment?

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach plays with this by having every member of the Gotei 13 henpecked by Captain Unohana Retsu (who leads the meek and submissive 4th division) who needs only give a simple glare to make any of the other captains (and Ichigo) fall in line. Later becomes less funny when it's revealed she was the first Kenpachi, the most notorious criminal and murderer in the history of Soul Society.
  • Japanese manga later turned into (a short-lived) anime Dame Oyaji (1970) takes this to the next level, by having the wife and kids beat the snot out of the dad solely because they hate him. For those who don't know Japanese, the title translates to "Useless Dad".
  • Doraemon: Nobita's father, Nobisuke, is more submissive compared to his short-tempered wife, Tamako, who can be bossy with him as well.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku is a zigzagged example. Even though his Tsundere wife Chi-Chi usually seems completely in control of him when he really wants to defy her wishes (which is usually for world-saving business) he proves to be entirely capable of ignoring her. Normally, his easygoing personality just makes him happy to defer to Chi-Chi's more forceful nature.
    • Dragon Ball Super gives another angle to their relationship. When Goku wants to go off and train with Whis (for no particular reason other than that he wants to), Chi-Chi is infuriated that he would spend so much time away from his family and does her best to stop him. He basically ignores her and goes anyway, at which point she simply smiles and says it was unavoidable, suggesting her behavior isn't necessarily an effort to absolutely control Goku so much as to temper his enthusiasm with some degree of familial responsibility.
    • Krillin also qualifies, it's just that unlike Goku, it's more downplayed. He's shown to be very submissive to his wife, Android 18, but that seems to be half this trope and half him being a blatant Amazon Chaser who enjoys getting bossed around by her.
    • As of Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta has become one to Bulma, paralleling Goku's relationship with Chi-Chi. Though he is more prone to ignoring her, he is terrified of actually offending her, and will concede to her wishes when push comes to shove. Super even has him note that Saiyan men really have a thing for strong-willed women; Bulma may not be an Action Girl, but she has plenty of pluck.
  • Benkei in The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. Being a sentient space colony, he and Tsutsuji aren't technically husband and wife, but they fit...
  • In Haruka Nogizaka's Secret, Haruka's dad is this. Although he's a Boyfriend-Blocking Dad and has the respect/command of a small commando unit and shareholders, he's largely afraid of his wife, who forces him to reluctantly accept his daughter Haruka's relationship with Yuuto, and her interest in manga/anime. In one situation, another girl, Shiina, confesses to whom she thinks is a sleeping Yuuto, only to find out it was Haruka's dad. Although he's completely innocent, his wife still retaliates by accusing him of cheating on her.
  • I'm the Evil Lord of an Intergalactic Empire!: Con Man Musashi, as part of being a Karmic Butt-Monkey for tricking and exploiting Liam, ends up being one to a Yandere woman on a distant planet as a Running Gag.
  • Kaiketsu Zorro has the Governor-General, as revealed in "Lady Barbara".
    Bernard: So the Governor-General runs the Army, while the Governor-General's wife runs him!
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam parody series Kidō Senshi Gundam-san portrays Char and Lalah's relationship like this.
  • In Little Pollon, Zeus is often beaten up by his jealous, short-tempered wife Hera.
  • In My Bride is a Mermaid, San's father is one of these. This is probably a good thing, given that he's a Boyfriend-Blocking Dad to the point of psychosis. Nagasumi's father is also a bit of a wuss compared to his wife.
  • My Monster Secret has Shiragami Genjirou, a 4-meter tall vampire with Monochromatic Eyes, a scary aura, a scary voice, and Manly Facial Hair. His wife Touko is a sweet and loving human housewife, who protected his secret when they were at school and gently attends to his every need. Incidentally, she occasionally threatens him with a stake, a katana, or a crowbar when he fools around a bit too much (notably when he tries to drag their daughter Youko back home or tries to get between her and Asahi), and he's utterly terrified of pissing her off. It's unknown whether she actually uses those tools though. She probably doesn't even need to.
    Asahi: So... What did she do, yesterday?
    Genjirou: She just sat smiling without saying a word...
  • Naruto:
    • The men of the Nara Clan seem attracted to these types of relationships. Shikamaru claims that his dad Shikaku is whipped by his domineering mother, the Tsundere Yoshino; not wanting to fall into that mess, he routinely states that he hates women like that. Yet he's stuck with Ino Yamanaka as a partner, then gets matched up against Kin Tsuchi, Temari, and Tayuya in the Chunin Exam and Rescue Sasuke arcs, with the second even saving him against the latter. He and Temari seem to be getting a little closer after the Time Skip, which they both deny. The epilogue later shows that he and Temari have gotten married and had a son, with Boruto having a scene where Shikamaru is Denied Food as Punishment for being seen as too soft with Shikadai.
    • In the epilogue, Chouji and Sai are henpecked by their wives, Karui and Ino. Boruto depicts Sai less so as this, but Shikamaru certainly counts.
  • Mr. Number One from one episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers. Poor guy.
  • Lead character Kinuyo of Obatarian (a portmanteau or "oba-san", Japanese for older woman, and Battalion, the Japanese title of The Return of the Living Dead) is clearly the boss of her house and is quick to lose her temper, but is quite kind and most of her actions are done out of genuine love for those around her.
  • Played for Drama in Pokémon Chronicles with Brock's formerly Missing Mom and Disappeared Dad Lola and Flint. Lola was an irresponsible womanchild who walked out on the family on a whim to pursue her own goals, while Flint cared for her and the family but disliked confrontation and let her do whatever she wanted before doing the same, with Brock Promoted to Parent in their absence. This comes to a head after Brock returns to the Pewter Gym after traveling with Ash through Johto, only to see that his mother suddenly returned and converted it into a gaudy Water Gym with no argument from Flint (or Misty apparently). Brock then has to beat some sense into her (in a Pokémon battle), but his father convinces him to compromise with his mother and at least keep the decorations up.
  • Otsuka Akio, Ren's dad in Poor Poor Lips. In his first appearance alone, it's revealed that he needed to get permission from his wife just to visit Ren after she was disinherited, and that required a whole year of pleading to his wife.
  • Shaman King has an interesting example in Anna and Yoh... partially because they're both 13-14 years old and technically just engaged to be married once they've both grown up. This, however, does not stop Anna from referring to herself as his wife - or treating him like this. Indeed, she tends to henpeck any man who goes near her, recruiting Yoh's True Companions to clean her house, do the shopping, and cook for her, since she's busy making sure the laid-back Yoh doesn't slack off on his training! She has shades of a heroic Lady Macbeth too, in that she pushes Yoh towards his ambition of becoming the Shaman King - according to her, solely so that she can enjoy an easy life as the Shaman King's wife. Of course, in truth, she really cares deeply for Yoh and has enormous faith in his abilities. Her henpecking is simply the only way for her to break through his lazy "It'll work out somehow" attitude and make him undertake the Training from Hell he genuinely needs in order to achieve his ambition.
  • In the first season of Slayers, there's a scene where a man falls under the influence of a cursed knife and starts attacking Lina and Gourry. His wife opens a window and yells at him, and he slithers meekly back to his shop. Lampshaded immediately afterwards as Lina comments that an angry wife is more powerful and influential than a cursed knife.
  • Thumbelina: The toad father. The fact that he is thin and short and his wife is tall and fat doesn't help matters.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: Exaggerated Trope. In the Lady Land Fantastic Caste System Leon is born into, noblewomen only marry based on Gold Digger criteria and at best merely drain their husband's wealth to fund their opulent life in distant mansions alongside their Demihuman "Exclusive Servant" lovers, best exemplified by Leon's Wicked Step Mother Zora. The explanation for this system, is that it was a social engineering experiment by the Royal Family to centralize authority, and reign in warlordism amongst their vassal lords.
  • Vinland Saga has Sigurd Halfdansson and Hallgerd. Sigurd himself is stubborn and prideful, and even arrogant to a point, but he absolutely does what Hallgerd tells him to do. Despite this, the two are in a rather healthy relationship (having been childhood friends and a romantic life from an early age) and Hallgerd's nagging is usually directed in Sigurd's best interests.

  • This is a staple of French cartoonist Albert Dubout's illustrations. He especially pushed the size difference to Exaggerated Trope level, having the husbands being midgets compared to their huge, heavyset battleaxe wives.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, the main villain Wolffy is constantly pestered by his wife Wolnie to capture the goats so that they can eat them. Wolffy listens because if he fails to catch the goats, Wolnie hits him with her Frying Pan of Doom.

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

    Comic Books 
  • Chief Vitalstatistix in Asterix might be a veteran warrior, admired and respected by all, but he lives in perpetual fear of his tiny but ferocious wife, Impedimenta.
  • From The Eye of Mongombo, we have Norbert Nuskle. He may be a Jerkass who fired adventurer-turned-duck Cliff Carlson and afterwards stole Cliff's map to the Temple of Mongombo, but Nuskle's own wife is extremely abusive of him.
  • Several couples in Lucky Luke fall under this. One particularly amusing example is in "The Stagecoach", where the poor guy can barely open his mouth without his wife telling him that's enough out of him. She also proves far more competent than he is at shooting. But, surprisingly enough, winning several poker games makes him far more assertive.
  • In Mastermen #1, Overman's wife/consort, Lena, harbors no sympathy nor compassion towards his feelings of guilt or the mourning of his cousin, and is more concerned with demanding he make more youth serum for her before she starts to age. Their relationship is even described as "loveless" and one of the reasons for Overman's betrayal.
  • A one-shot side story from Will Eisner's The Spirit has a man running away from his overbearing (and possibly abusive) wife just as a criminal Identical Stranger is escaping from prison. The two agree to switch clothes, and the henpecked man is arrested and sent to solitary confinement — which suits him just fine because at least he's got some peace and quiet. The criminal, meanwhile, is found by the police and sent back to "his" wife, which apparently turns out to be a pretty severe punishment in its own right.
  • Superman:
    • Superman and Batman are portrayed in this manner in Bob Haney's "Super-Sons" stories in ''World's Finest Comics".
    • The Great Phantom Peril has Mr. Jackson Porter, who moves out of his house and reluctantly trespasses on Clark Kent's apartment to steal an artifact just because he believes his wife's ghost so commands it.
  • General Alcazar from Tintin. He's a ruthless dictator and revolutionary but is completely submissive to his wife, whose temper is just as bad as his. The dissonance between his macho persona and his role in his marriage is Played for Laughs.
  • This trope was made a central part of the Silver Age reimagining of Archie Comics' The Web as a superhero who constantly has to deal with his wife's constantly disapproving haranguing of being a superhero behind her back.
  • Rajiv Bohdgi in the Yank Wilson story in the first issue of Next Issue Special. His wife, hotel heiress Berlin Holiday, is a domineering shrew who rants and raves at him day and night. Bohdgi, it should be mentioned, is an infamous supervillain. After their marriage, his actions become wild, destructive, and unpredictable — because he wants to be captured so he'll be taken away from his wife. Upon detaining him and learning all this, Yank Wilson has good news for the happy couple: they'll be sharing a cell in Fort Leavenworth.

    Comic Strips 
  • Beetle Bailey:
    • General Halftrack leads the regiment but is no match for his stout wife; she can't stop him from being an annoying drunk and a Dirty Old Man — after all, he's usually not at home when he does those things — but she can certainly make him miserable for it.
    • The long-ago retired character Private Pop felt less bossed around in the army than back home with his wife.
  • Nero: Meneer Pheip is literally chained to his wife and not allowed to go anywhere without her permission. He even has her last name instead of the other way around!
  • The titular John Sappo from Sappo is this to his giant wife Myrtle.
  • Sherman from Sherman's Lagoon, despite being a great white shark, is one to his wife Megan. One storyline even has her making a voodoo doll of him.
  • U.S. Acres:
    • There's one strip about a worm who's brave enough to fight Booker, but cowers when his wife scolds him for being late for dinner.
    • When a hole-to-hole salesworm shows up at a hole and asks if the worm who answered is "the man of the house", said worm responds, "I'll get her."

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Fire Engine By Mistake", the factory foreman Mr Billings can never get enough treacle pudding at home, because his wife says it makes him fat, and she wouldn't want him to be fat.
  • In "The Fisherman and His Wife", the wife is constantly demanding her husband ask grander and grander wishes of the magic fish. Until said fish is fed up and takes everything back.
  • In "Hansel and Gretel", the wife badgers her husband into abandoning the title characters in the woods.
  • "Morozko": The old woman's husband is completely incapable of standing up to his wife, not even to protect his own daughter.

    Fan Works 
  • In Boys und Sensha-dō!, Miho's father is implied to be this, as Miho says that "[her] mother runs the family and really dominates over [her] father." Miho's father does, however, vocally object when his wife disowns Miho.
  • Played for Laughs in Change of Plans, in which Owen acts this way when he and Heather are fake-married in the Niagra Falls challenge.
  • The Child of Love: Shinji was this to Asuka even before they got married. Whatever she wanted, she eventually got it because he went along with everything. Touji lampshades it in the fifth chapter:
    Toji: [to Shinji] Not yet married, and she's already henpecking you...
  • In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, Milly's father is utterly dominated by her mother. Considering said woman sees her more as a political tool than her child, Milly dislikes them both.
  • The fact that he has something he calls a "husband voice" indicates that BJ likes to pretend to be this in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series. He mostly uses it to say "Yes, dear." It's entirely a joke, however; the Official Couple is very Happily Married.
  • Ed shows hints of being this in the Elemental Chess Trilogy, but it's more of a Running Gag than anything.
  • Create Your Own Fate: Kanril Eleya meets Sheri Walford's uncle first, then her aunt. The uncle is a veteran of La Résistance, like Eleya's own father, and after meeting the aunt, Eleya comments in her Internal Monologue that in retrospect he reminds her of some of her uncles: he's "the lord and master of his domain, and he has his wife's permission to say so."
  • Hero Academia D×D: It takes only one meeting with Sirzechs for all of Rias's Peerage knows who is the one in charge in his household. Similarly, Zeoticus Gremory is well under his wife Venelana's thumb.
  • The Judgement of the World (5Ds): Though they aren't married, Stardust Dragon, with his laidback personality, tends to get cowed by the far more aggressive Black Rose Dragon. This is half due to him being an Amazon Chaser who genuinely loves Black Rose for her temperament and half because he knows the worst of her violent nature is from her still dealing with the trauma of having been tricked into sacrificing him in their previous lives. Moreover, he usually will protest and try to stop her whenever she goes overboard with her destructiveness, even if he's not always successful.
  • Long Time No See: Shinji and Toji go to Nerv's reunion party, despite having no interest whatsoever, because their wives nagged them for days. While speaking privately to Asuka, Shinji reluctantly admits he is henpecked.
  • In Naru-Hina Chronicles, there are times where Sasuke is this to Sakura. Yes, seriously:
    • When Sasuke is forced to use the Sexy Jutsu in order to win his fight against Lee as quickly as possible, Sakura sees that and angrily asks him when did he learn that technique, resulting in her boyfriend making an Oh, Crap! face. She then makes an angry rant about it, while Sasuke whines that it's all Naruto's fault.
    • Sasuke pantomimes a cracking whip when he watches Hinata sweet-talk Naruto into getting his head injury examined. It takes Sakura one level stare and five words to crack the whip over Sasuke immediately afterwards.
    • After Sakura gets angry over Sai making a comment about how small her breasts are and how big Hinata's are, Sasuke tries to calm her down. However, he makes the mistake of saying "So what if Hinata's are bigger than...", causing his girlfriend to say "Excuse me?" while glaring at him. The fact he tries to use Naruto as a Human Shield to protect himself from her says it all.
    • During one mission, Sasuke and Naruto are bickering over the former wanting to use the latter's coat to cover the naked Itachi. Eventually, Sakura's patience is wearing thin and she yells at them to quit it because they're embarrassing themselves. Both Sasuke and Naruto says in unison "But, Sakura...", but she interrupts them by yelling "No 'But's!" Upon seeing her reaction, Minato or Kushina (it's not clear who says that) calls her "Mother Hen".
  • The Second Try:
    • Shinji is quite passive and Asuka very domineering. Most of the time, Asuka makes plans and handles everything necessary while her husband follows her lead or does whatever she commands. At one point after returning to the past, Touji thinks his best friend looks like a henpecked husband, not knowing how right he is.
      Touji: Man, how can a guy be that henpecked?
    • As seen during a flashback in the sequel, Gendo's reply to anything his wife said was: "Yes, Yui," "Of course, Yui," or "Whatever you say, Yui."
  • These Foolish Things: Oliver is a deconstructed boyfriend version of this trope, spending most of the story unable to stand up to Felicity because how desperate he is to keep her happy. Instead of being played for humor, this actually serves as a massive red flag about their relationship, and both Sara and Thea admonish him for allowing Felicity to steamroll him over everything. Naturally, when he finally puts his foot down and breaks up with Felicity for trying to force him to cut off ties with Laurel and Thea, the latter expresses pride in his actions.
  • In Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams, Rick Sheridan is occasionally the henpecked boyfriend to Alyssa Conover, although they aren't actually dating. When they move in together, Alyssa even threatens to have him Exiled to the Couch even though they sleep in separate beds and even separate bedrooms.

    Films — Animation 
  • The King of Hearts in Walt Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland. He at least tries.
    King: Consider, my dear. Uh... we called no witnesses... Uh... couldn't we... uh... maybe one or two? Ha? Maybe?
    Queen: Oh, very well. But get on with it!
  • Chicken Run, appropriately, has Mr. Tweedy in this role. His wife constantly berates him for his stupidity and never believes his claims that the chickens are plotting to escape. In the end, when Mrs. Tweedy's "chicken pie" plan backfires, he tells her, "I told you they was organized!"
  • Fantasia 2000: John, one of the characters in "Rhapsody in Blue", is a fun-loving rich man who is forced to foot the bill and carry all of his wife's belongings, most of which are going to pamper her dog, whom she seems to love more than him.
  • Mr. G. G. Geef in the Goofy short Get Rich Quick has to sneak in at night after a day of gambling, but he accidentally wakes his wife up and gets a beating from her. But when she finds out he won, she suddenly becomes nice and confiscates all of his winnings.
  • In Turning Red, Jin is certainly this; Ming makes most of the decisions in the house, and at one point makes a decision regarding the 4*Town concert before he even has a chance to say a word.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One of these is a supporting character in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao; his wife becomes nicer after surviving being turned into stone by Medusa.
  • George Putnam in Amelia is more than a little like this. They remain Happily Married despite what the title character puts him through because he is something of a Fool for Love.
  • In Assassin In Love (a.k.a. The Baker), a fat slob of a woman constantly insults her meek husband, who doesn't have enough of a spine to defend himself. He turns out to be not so meek after all when he hires an assassin to have her dealt with.
  • An Autumn Afternoon: Koichi's wife Akiko runs their household, and when Koichi tries to buy golf clubs that they can't really afford, she gives him an earful.
  • Doug Varney of Better Living Through Chemistry is this to his wife, Kara. She belittles him in front of her friends, refuses to let him make decisions to help their troubled teen son, Ethan, and then blames him for the results of her actions.
  • The fourth story of Creepshow, "The Crate", has this in the form of Henry Northrup and his alcoholic wife Wilma (but call her Billy, everyone does) to the point where he imagines killing her several times. He eventually does kill by feeding her to monster in the title crate.
  • Crooked House: The emotionally-immature Roger was not only under the thumb of his father but also that of his domineering wife Clemency. Pretty much every decision he makes in the film is shown being dictated to him by Clemency. And he is the managing director of a major corporation.
  • Dr. Ernest Menville from Death Becomes Her, at least until he starts developing a spine. In fact, he prefers suffering a near-fatal fall to being with his bothersome wife for the rest of his life. However, he is fairly tall and athletic, in contrast to the physically weak part of the trope. Also, he's played by Bruce Willis.
  • In the second installment of the Dr. Dolittle movies, John is trying to teach Archie the bear and Lucky the dog how to be Alpha. As he's demonstrating the "confident" strut and telling them how important it is to be strong and dominant to attract women, Lisa interrupts and orders him to line the garbage cans. Momentarily carried away by the lesson, he barks back, "You line them your damn self, woman!" Cue the Oh, Crap! face when he realizes what he's just said. Massive butt-kissing ensues.
  • Paul, the protagonist of Dream Scenario, is subtly but persistently stuck playing second fiddle to his wife. This contributes to the bitterness which is a large part of his character.
  • Deconstructed in Enough Said. The dinner scene where Eva picks on Albert in front of her friends shows how someone with self-respect would actually feel if they were treated like this. He finds the whole ordeal embarrassing and hurtful.
    Albert: Why do you care that I don't know how to whisper?
    Eva: Huh?
    Albert: What was that? I mean, that was embarrassing.
  • Played for Drama in The Family That Preys. Andrea constantly belittles her husband and also rubs in his face the fact that she is a businesswoman and he is a construction worker.
  • Eighteen years before he was Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances (which provides the picture at the top of this page), Clive Swift was in Frenzy as Johnny, a man whose wife prevents him from helping out his friend (the main character) who is on the run after being falsely accused of murder.
  • From Beyond the Grave: In "An Act of Kindness", Christopher Lowe is completely under the thumb of his wife Mabel, who nags him from the moment he gets home and mocks him for his life not turning out the way she thinks it should have. He responds either passive-aggressively or with tantrum-like outbursts. His desire to be free of her leads him down a destructive path.
  • Mac, Eddie's best friend in The Heartbreak Kid (2007), is a rather hypocritical version of this, as he constantly pressures Eddie to take the plunge and talks about how great married life is when he's clearly as whipped as a race horse. His Wicked Witch of the West ringtone for his wife is especially funny.
  • Flirting Scholar: The main character is a handsome, wealthy man without peace at home because he is outnumbered by his eight wives. All eight are addicted to Mahjong gambling, and his mother is on their side.
  • Hard Rain: Henry is one to Doreen. He finally decides he has had enough and puts her in her place with a Precision F-Strike.
  • Nick starts out as this in Hot Tub Time Machine, becoming a hyphenate (taking his wife's last name), giving up his dream of being a musician to please her, and putting up with his wife cheating on him because he doesn't have the courage to confront her about it.
  • Ned in Imagine Me & You.
    Beth: So, Ned. How long have you guys been married, then?
    Ned: Thirty years.
    Beth: [tenderly] Oh.
    Ned: If I'd killed her when I first thought about it, I'd be out by now. A free man.
  • I Shot Jesse James: Jesse James of all people ends up being this. His wife Zerelda spends most of her screentime complaining about his friend Robert Ford and urging him to quit the robbery business. Jesse even tries to hide the map of his next robbery, just so she won't get on his case anymore.
  • W. C. Fields would either play a henpecked husband or a Con Man (usually a Card Sharp) in his movies. In It's a Gift, he goes out to the front porch to sleep after his wife won't stop nagging at him at 4:30 AM. In another, she is still yelling at him as he leaves the room, and then she starts yelling about how she has to yell at him from another room.
  • The landlord in Kung Fu Hustle. To be fair, she was mad at him because he was cheating on her, but she's not exactly nicer to anyone else. Though he and the landlady are in fact Happily Married. And both of them are kung fu experts. Funnily enough, the landlady's ultimate move is named "Lion's Roar" (whereby she utters the most literally piercing and destructive shriek ever heard on planet Earth), a play on a very real Chinese set phrase (literally "Hedong Lion's roar") that describes women who henpeck their husbands, supposedly by roaring at them like lions.note 
  • Many old Laurel and Hardy comedies feature this trope.
  • The Yakuza boss in The Machine Girl is a complete sponge to his wife. She's the more dangerous of the two by far; he doesn't even want to punish the title character for her supposed misdeeds.
  • Harold in Madea's Big Happy Family, the husband of Madea's grandniece Tammy. She constantly belittled and undermined him while enabling their spoiled children, and the lack of respect led to Harold eventually being trapped in a Sexless Marriage. Eventually, he learns to grow a spine thanks to Madea's influence.
  • In Madhouse (1990), Fred is henpecked until he decides to take a break from his wife. When he returns, he refuses to serve her and she accepts him as her equal.
  • Used in Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor (1963), where his own father is henpecked by his wife, seen in a flashback. It does change by the end of the film.
  • In Princess O'Rourke, Eddie imagines that he will become this if he marries Maria.
  • Rear Window: A running theme.
    • The Thorwalds consist of a nagging wife and her husband. Jeff comes to believe that this is one possible motive for the wife's disappearance.
    • Jeff claims that all women inevitably start nagging when they get married, and he fears that Lisa will do the same should he marry her.
    • Doyle seems perpetually unenthusiastic about returning home to his wife. When he wryly claims that modern women don't "nag", they "discuss", it sounds like he's repeating something his wife told him.
    • In the end, we see that the young newlywed wife across the courtyard has already started nagging her husband.
  • Rebel Without a Cause has Mr. Stark being unable to stand up to his wife as a significant character point for their kid. In one scene he even wears an apron. In the fifties.
  • Toshiro Mifune's character in Samurai Rebellion, until he decides to stand up for himself.
  • A non-comedic example in Scarlet Street, where Edward G. Robinson's Chris is yelled at and pushed around by his domineering, shrewish wife. Chris's unhappiness in his marriage leads him into an affair, with tragic consequences.
  • School of Rock has this in the form of Ned Shneebly, who has a very domineering girlfriend that never hesitates to give him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • In Séance on a Wet Afternoon, Phony Psychic Myra Savage dominates her husband Billy, as their house was inherited from her mother and Billy is unable to work due to chronic severe asthma. He thus puts up almost no resistance to her scheme to boost her profile as a spirit medium by kidnapping the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and then offering to locate her using her "gift", despite his reluctance to commit a criminal act. It isn't until her mental stability crumbles and she claims their son (who was stillborn) wants the girl to be with him (that is, for Billy to kill her) that he finally musters the courage to stand up to her.
  • In Sorry, Wrong Number, Henry is bursting at the seams because he feels like he has no control over his life. He wants to make his own living but Leona and her father won't let him. So, he turns to reckless crime and eventually plans Leona's murder.
  • The Big Bad of Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams turns out to be like this. In the end, when his plans have finally caved: "Wait till I tell Mom you tried to take over the world again." He responds appropriately.
  • Maria's father says nothing in Station Of The Cross that doesn't affirm his wife, who yells at her children and orders them around with nary a glance at her calmer husband. He seems a little troubled by his wife's behavior, but he never has the guts to say anything about it.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): At the end of the film, Cogsworth is happy to be human again after the curse on the castle was lifted, until his wife comes in and hugs him, which leads him to moan in misery about wanting to be a clock again.
  • Believing that he accidentally killed his wife and suffering 8 years of the poltergeist's abuse, Martin in Extra Ordinary (2019) has trouble asserting himself, his daughter's safety the only thing motivating him to do so. As he gets to know Rose, his confidence swells and he is able to standup to his wife's ghost.
  • The Little Death: Phil is constantly belittled and called an idiot by his wife Maureen. He gets turned on by watching her sleep and later indicates it's because while asleep she doesn't do this.

  • One of these tells: "In my marriage, I make the big decisions — what should be done about the Middle East, what the government should do about the debt... My wife makes the small decisions — what car we should buy, what house we should buy..."
  • Another one:
    Henpecked Husband: In my family, everyone is commanding. My wife commands the servants. My kids command the dog.
    Friend: And what about you?
    Henpecked Husband: I care for the flowers.
  • There are two gates for males to heaven. One reads "Men who are in charge", the other one reads "Men whose wives are in charge". There always is a long queue in front of the latter. One day, Peter noticed that there was one guy standing in front of the first gate. He asked, "Why are you standing here?" The man answered: "My wife told me to stand here."
  • "I always get the final word in any discussion with my wife. It's 'Yes, dear.'"
  • A couple go to restaurant. Every time the husband tries to order something, the wife cuts in with "he'll just have salad, won't you dear?" The waiter say "If sir is on a diet, we have some vegetarian dishes", but the wife say "Oh, he's not vegetarian. But as long as he fucks like a rabbit, he'll eat like a rabbit!".
  • A boy comes home from school and tells his Jewish Mother he got a part in the school play.
    "That's wonderful!" says the mother, "Which part?"
    "The part of a Jewish husband," says the boy, proudly.
    Frowning, the mother says, "Go back and tell them you want a speaking role!"

  • In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the King and Queen of Heart may either be this played straight or as an aversion. On one hand, the Queen domineers and frightens everyone and the fact that her husband pardons all the people she asks executed (at one point, everyone present except for her, her husband and Alice) has to be kept secret. On the other hand, the King orders a few executions himself and is quite clearly the one heading the trial which ends the book, unlike how the Disney movie portrays it.
  • Maroof the Cobbler from one Arabian Nights story. His wife kicks him out of the house just because he brought home the wrong type of pastry from the marketplace. Fortunately for him, while he's outside, he finds a magic ring, which he uses to travel to another city. By the time his wife catches up to him he's married a princess and become an esteemed man of the court, so he has a house built for his first wife so that he never has to see her again.
  • Barry Hughart's novel Bridge of Birds has the appropriately named Henpecked Hou. (The novel is an exhaustively well-researched fantasy set in "an ancient China that never was", and the Henpecked Husband is a Stock Character in Chinese comedy.) Hou eventually has enough and chops his wife to pieces with an axe. She really deserved it, though, for crimes much bigger than just being a nag.
  • Played with in A Brother's Price - husbands are expected to be submissive to their wives, so nobody would find this funny in comedy. On the other hand, Jerin's grandmothers are said to have been Roosterpecked Wives - what grandpa wanted, grandpa got. His being an extremely handsome man and prince of the realm may have had something to do with that. As Jerin recalls, his grandfather never had to resort to nagging, and the marriage was a happy one for all involved.
  • Agatha Christie:
    • Inverted in The Hollow, in which the rooster-pecked wife is utterly devoted to her husband, and is treated with the same mix of pity and contempt that the Henpecked Husband typically is.
    • Dame Agatha also created several couples, usually American, in which the mercilessly talkative wife is waited on hand and foot by a compliant and apparently happy husband. Plus various husbands suspected (sometimes correctly) of doing away with disagreeable, domineering wives.
    • Yahmose in Death Comes as the End. He is married to the domineering and verbally abusive Satipy. Who quickly shuts up when she realizes that her husband is capable of cruelty. Too late.
  • The Other Father from Coraline. To be fair, it's hard to stand up to your wife when she's a giant spider monster who created you.
  • Danny, the Champion of the World: Implied regarding Danny's headmaster Mr. Snoddy. When Danny's father hears that Mr. Snoddy drinks gin in class, he says that if he were the one married to Mrs. Snoddy, he'd be drinking poison instead.
  • In Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton von Lembke is a spineless doormat for his wife and is generally a weak-willed person. The narrator says with total contempt that he was a virgin when he married his wife, while she wasn't.
  • Discworld:
    • Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil Vimes are a played-with example, as is usual with this author. They're deeply in love, and Lady Sybil's "nagging" just makes sure he eats properlynote  and occasionally gets a day off, whether he wants it or not — which is something he actually needs, being an incredible Workaholic. Vimes's preferred method of arguing with her, however, is by exaggerating how henpecked he is until she feels guilty:
      Sybil: And you will try to look dignified, won't you?
      Vimes: Yes, dear.
      Sybil: What will you try to look?
      Vimes: Dignified, dear.
      Sybil: And please try to be diplomatic.
      Vimes: Yes, dear.
      Sybil: What will you try to be?
      Vimes: Diplomatic, dear.
      Sybil: You're using your "henpecked" voice, Sam.
      Vimes: Yes, dear.
      Sybil: You know that's not fair.
      Vimes: No, dear.
    • In Night Watch, a minor character named Rutherford is overshadowed by his loud, domineering wife, who can be as snobbish as nobility. Vimes reckons that he's the sort who would not actually murder but would happily imagine spousal homicide on a regular basis.
    • The Colonel from Snuff, though he unpecks himself at the end (and a Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment).
    • In Mort, there's a guy who goes fishing every day because it keeps him out of reach of his wife, with whom he enjoyed six months of marital bliss. Some twenty years prior.
    • Thief of Time shows that War became this after marrying a retired Valkyrie, who keeps him from beer and red meat, threw all the undead warriors out of his longhouse, installed modern cooking appliances in place of the traditional fire pit, and insists that he wrap up warm and not exert himself when riding out to herald the end of the world. This is actually a plot point; each of the horsemen is shown to have picked up human traits over the course of their existence that prevent them from wanting to ride out, and in War's case this manifests as settling down, becoming soft, and coming to think himself susceptible to growing old and weak when he is immortal and shouldn't be able to.
    • Arthur and Doreen Winking, aka The Count and Countess Notfaroutoe, in Reaper Man. He's a decidedly middle-class vampire who just wants a quiet life, she's a snobbish Vampire Vannabe who insists on him living up to the Classical Movie Vampire image (except, of course, for the bit about young ladies).
  • Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter series, though it's an affectionate kind and they are Happily Married.
    • Also subverted in that there are at least two occasions in the series (an argument overheard by Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban, and a discussion early in Order of the Phoenix) where Arthur makes it clear he can and will go against Molly's wishes if he thinks it important enough.
  • Jake English in The Homestuck Epilogues. Unlike most examples, his situation is not played for laughs in the slightest.
  • In Iggie's House, this is what Winnie Barringer imagines Mrs. Landon's husband to be, her being the domineering Bitch in Sheep's Clothing in the neighborhood and him just going along with what she says.
  • Kris Longknife:
    • When Kris and Jack get together and get married, they often joke about the fact that, being a Four-Star Badass, she's unquestionably the one who wears the pants in their relationship.
      Kris: Smart husband. I think I'll keep you.
    • Zig-Zagged in the Vicky Peterwald Spin-Off series. Vicky's Love Interest and eventual husband Manny Artamus is, on the one hand, a commoner and Non-Action Guy to her Blue Blood Action Girl, but as she's forced by circumstances to turn her title into a constitutional monarchy by Dominator, he gets one over on her by getting a planetary legislature to make her ask to address them.
  • Subverted in Les Misérables. People who first see the burly Mrs. Thenardier and her tiny husband tend to think that she must be the real man in the house. They are entirely wrong - Mr. Thenardier makes up for not being as big by being twice as mean, and he is in fact the only person in the world who Mrs. Thenardier fears.
  • Peter Jerzyk from Stephen King's Needful Things. The narration states that he wasn't merely afraid of his wife, "he lived in awe of her, as natives in certain tropical climes once supposedly lived in awe and superstitious dread of the Great God Thunder Mountain."
  • Night of the Assholes: Harold is shown to be meek and rather cowardly and it is almost explicitly stated that it was caused (or at least exacerbated) by the cruelty of his wife Ellen.
  • Percy Hamleigh in The Pillars of the Earth is thoroughly under the thumb of his wife, Regan.
  • Harry Bannerman in Rally Round the Flag, Boys!, a tired businessman who tries to achieve inebriation on the 5:29 train home because he knows what awaits him there. Not that he doesn't regret providing his wife with a nice house in Suburbia and three too-perfect sons (though all of these were really her plans, requiring no more than absent-minded consent from him), but he is rather more interested in sex, even after ten years of marriage, than the community issues she considers more important to married life.
  • The original Rip Van Winkle was trying to get a few moments' peace from his wife when he fell asleep.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Jerome Squalor. If the guy says anything that his (ex)wife Esme doesn't like, he gets shot down faster than an enemy plane.
  • In The Silver Chair, the Black Knight is brainwashed into being utterly subservient to the Lady of the Green Kirtle. When Jill tells mentions people "don't think much of men who are bossed around by their wives" where she's from, he tells her she'll doubtless think differently when she's married herself. Jill finds this answer even more repugnant.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Played as straight as an arrow! Collateral Damage reveals that Karl Woodley has turned into this for his wife Paula Woodley. It's justified because he was abusive and broke every bone in her body, and the Vigilantes broke every bone in his body in turn. Paula Woodley wants him to pay for all those wasted years! Unfortunately, this trope is not quite as justified with the relationships between the Vigilantes and their men.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: This must be par for the course with men married to Lannisters:
    • Emmon Frey from is dominated by his wife Genna Lannister, to the point where he allied himself with Genna's house during the War of the Five Kings when the rest of his family took up arms on Robb Stark's side.
    • Tywin Lannister (yes, you read that right Tywin Lannister) was said to be "ruled" by his wife (and cousin) Joanna Lannister. (Although given Tywin's utterly domineering tendencies in every other aspect of his life, simply being affectionate and accommodating to Joanna probably looked like "being ruled" to everyone else who knew him.)
    • After spending time with Olenna Tyrell, Tyrion jokingly speculates that her late husband, Lord Luthor Tyrell, who died after accidentally riding his horse off a cliff, might have done so deliberately.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Highprince Sebarial is an unusual version of this. While he complains about Palona running his household and telling him what to do they aren't actually married because she keeps refusing his proposals. It's also made clear that Sebarial actually enjoys the banter between them and his complaints are just for show.
    Sebarial: Woman, you make me the most henpecked man in all of Alethkar—
    Palona: We aren't in Alethkar.
    Sebarial: —and I'm not even storming married!
  • Minor character Snifflick in Tailchaser's Song tries to volunteer to go on an adventure to see the Court, but his mate Twitchnose calls him out and complains that he just wants to meet other fela.
  • Varien pretends to this to amuse his wife Lanen at one point in Tales of Kolmar. Really they are Happily Married; he tends to do as she says and their biggest argument in the trilogy happens when she tells him what she wants him to do and he immediately declares that he won't do it, but she doesn't order him around much.
  • Many James Thurber heroes.
    • One of the more famous examples in literature is Walter Mitty from "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", about a grown man escaping constantly into light-hearted fantasies to avoid his wife. There are some Alternate Character Interpretations about both Mitty and his wife.
    • A lesser-known but rather outrageous example is "Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife", where the title character attempts to murder his wife so that he can run off with his secretary. He's so spineless that she stops him just by complaining... and then she starts yelling instructions for her own murder at him.
    • Ironically, in reality Thurber was a documented serial wife abuser and general all-around unpleasant person. (It's very common for Real Life male domestic abusers to portray themselves as Henpecked Husbands — and, often, even believe it's actually true — which explains why they have to beat their awful, domineering wives in self-defense. On the other hand many abusive relationships are mutually abusive, not a case of domineering spouse and doormat victim.)
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, there is a legend that Emperor Dorcas's Dragon "Pierre le Sanguinaire" was only afraid of two people: the Emperor and his wife. And some were doubtful about the Emperor.
  • Subverted in Wax and Wayne. Wax appears to be doomed to be one of these to Steris, after she shows him a twenty-page marriage contract that dictates when and where they can interact. The end of the first book clarifies what she meant: she knows people find her boring and insufferable, and doesn't want Wax to leave her because of it. She tells him that neither can reasonably expect the other to change, and as long as they fulfil their duties to their houses, she's fine with whatever he does.
  • Every married man in The Wheel of Time series has some degree of henpeckery going on. In Ebou Dar, women wear knives to slice up or murder their husbands when they misbehave.
  • Henry Wilt in the Wilt series by Tom Sharpe fits this trope — a college lecturer who has had any lingering ambition crushed out of him by years of discouragement who is married to the awful Eva, a woman keen to relate her own disappointment in Henry at every possible moment. Physically, Henry and Eva Wilt also fit the Tiny Guy, Huge Girl trope: In line with Sharpe's female leads, Eva is an Earth Mother, a larger-than-life woman who does everything to excess, including motherhood — she is a mother to quad girls, also to Henry's discomfort. And they all take after Mum...
  • In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Goodman Adam Cruff is very much under the thumb of his wife, so far as he doesn't dare speak against her abuse of their daughter... until at the end of the novel, that is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: An episode starred Bob Newhart as a henpecked husband who orchestrates a clever plan to get rid of his wife — unfortunately for him, he goes straight from the frying pan to... another frying pan.
  • All in the Family: How Archie Bunker thinks of himself: A flighty dingbat of a wife that doesn't jump at his every command and drives him crazy with her yapping, a meathead of a son-in-law that argues with him about everything, and his liberal little goil who would rather emulate Jane Fonda or Gloria Steinem than "know her place" in society.
  • Arabela: Blekota, a bumbling devil married to a fiery redhead (although they are Happily Married) and Vilibald, who was not so lucky in his marriage with princess Xenia.
  • The Benny Hill Show: A very common sight, usually with Benny as the Henpecked Husband (and more often than not, Bob Todd in drag as the nagging wife). Up to and including Dr. Jekyll and Dracula (married to the Bride of Frankenstein) in the "Wonder Gran" skits.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard is this to Bernadette. He bonds with Bernadette's father Mike over the fact both are this.
    • Amy's father Larry is a major case of this, as his wife always does all the talking, and pushes him around constantly.
    • In "The Habitation Configuraiton", after a fight with Amy, Sheldon decides to be one to avoid major fights in the future. So when Amy tells LeVar Burton he's a worse actor than Wil Wheaton, Sheldon tells the former while he may not actually think so, he must agree with Amy. LeVar understands completely.
  • Boardwalk Empire: It's revealed that villain Gyp Rossetti is henpecked by his entire family of bossy women. When one of his stooges is about to leave, Gyp glares at him to force him to stay so that Gyp won't be left alone with the women.
  • Subverted in Breaking Bad. At the start of the series before his Protagonist Journey to Villain, Walter White was a Jaded Washout who meekly acquiesced to the wishes of his Wet Blanket Wife Skyler who made the household decisions while he brought home the money. However, after starting his criminal enterprise he engaged in unstable, erratic behavior that completely changed their dynamic with her living in fear of him.
  • Camping: How henpecked is Robin by his monstrous wife Fiona? He makes her breakfast in bed - for his birthday.
  • Cheers:
    • Frasier is often shown to be cowed by Lilith, often frantically begging for her forgiveness when he upsets her. One episode actually has him proclaim himself "whipped and proud of it!" when the barflies tease him (which gets him out of trouble shortly afterwards when he says something he shouldn't have). It becomes a sign that their marriage is beginning to fall apart when he starts disobeying Lilith and snarking at her more and more.
      Frasier: Let me have this. I already said I was whipped in front of the boys.
      Lilith: That was good.
    • It's suggested Woody starts becoming one of these on his marriage to Kelly Gaines, starting with changing denominations. Norm casually mentions that'll just be the start.
  • The Colbert Report: In one episode, Stephen Colbert discusses the new evidence that Jesus might have had a wife.
    Colbert: You know things are gonna change when I go to confess my sins, you know he's gonna tell her, you can't have secrets in a marriage [...] Oh, and listen up, he can forget that beard and the robe. From now on it is clean-shaven and a polo shirt. And when he comes again in glory it's gonna be in a minivan.
  • Dad's Army: George Mainwaring acts like the tough, hard-hearted, and indomitable bank manager and Home Guard platoon captain, but one phone-call from his never-seen wife Elizabeth can reduce him to complete spinelessness. While it's often played for laughs, a touch of melancholia was injected with the all-but-outright-stated implication that his fanatical devotion to the Home Guard is because it gives him not just power and authority in the town but because it gets him away from her and gives him the validation he is sorely lacking from her.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Rory Williams to his wife, Amy Pond.
      • Lampshaded at his wedding in "The Big Bang":
        The Doctor: From now on, I'll leave all the kissing to the brand new Mr. Pond.
        Rory: Wait, what? No, I'm not Mr. Pond, that's not how it works.
        The Doctor: Yeah it is.
        Rory: ...yeah it is.
      • In "A Good Man Goes to War"...
        [banging on door]
        Amy: Who's that? Who's there? You watch it, because I am armed and really dangerous, and... cross.
        Rory: Yeah, like I don't know that.
        However, they do genuinely love each other; Rory's pretty badass himself, just not as dominant a personality as Amy is, so he's content to let her take the lead.
    • The Doctor has some elements of this with River Song, even before he marries her. Of course, she's already married to him at that point.
      Amy: Is River Song your wife? 'Cause she's someone from your future. And the way she talks to you, I've never seen anyone do that. She's kind of like, you know, "Heel, boy." She's Mrs. Doctor from the future, isn't she? Is she going to be your wife one day?
  • ER: Mark Greene with both of his wives. First wife Jennifer spends nearly all of her scenes nagging him or complaining about something (adding insult to injury, she's a Hypocrite who's guilty of everything she bitches about, including having an affair despite giving him grief about being friends with another woman. Second wife Elizabeth is much the same.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: Ray went from being controlled by his mother Marie to being bossed around by his physically and verbally abusive wife Debra. Debra virtually lives on the Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male trope. She attempts to control every aspect of his life (she even tells him when he's "allowed" to hang out with his friends, while she hangs out with her own friends whenever she wants) and she is infuriated whenever he attempts to rebel. In one episode, it is revealed that she even convinced the poor man's own children to look at him with contempt.
  • Faerie Tale Theatre: In the adaptation of the "Three Little Pigs" story, Buck Wolf (played by Jeff Goldblum) is ordered to catch a pig by his wife for their coyote friends that are coming over for dinner.
  • Fawlty Towers: Basil Fawlty. As he is perhaps the archetypal Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, we laugh even harder at his misfortune. Donald Sinclair, the real hotelier upon whom Basil was based, was a diminutive little man who was always cowed by his huge, domineering wife. John Cleese, who is himself quite strikingly tall, decided it would be funny to keep the dynamic but reverse the sizes, and cast the petite Prunella Scales as Sybil.
  • Frasier: Niles, when it comes to Maris. At first it's just played for comedy, but after he gets a bit of Character Development, they get some pretty good emotional moments from it too (this also came with some characterization from Maris, who went from "selfish but oblivious" to downright spiteful). Niles is quite weak-willed, so it's no wonder that his utterly monstrous first wife Maris, his second wife Mel, and his later-to-become third wife Daphne trample him on a daily basis. However, between leaving Maris and marrying Mel, he has had quite a bit of Character Development and learned to be much more independent and to take on more challenges.
  • Friends: Often applies to Chandler in later seasons. He lets Monica take control with the little things that he doesn't care about, but when big issues arise, (e.g. moving in together, planning for their wedding, new jobs, having children), they make decisions fairly, with a balanced, give-and-take dynamic. He's just a lot more relaxed and doesn't care how the crockery is organized. When he's bossed around by Monica, it's typically Played for Laughs.
    Monica: I want to have a kid with you because I think you're going to be an amazing dad. At the fun parts and at the hard parts.
    Chandler: Can you picture me saying, "Go to your room! You're grounded!"
    Monica: Can you hear me say you're grounded?
    Chandler: You said that to me last week.
  • Good Eats: Alton attempts to appease a giant with his green-bean casserole after an incident involving a magic beanstalk. The giant enjoys it, saying it's better than the one his wife makes, then two seconds later is responding to his nagging wife offscreen.
  • The Good Life: Jerry Leadbetter, though unlike most examples, he doesn't hesitate to put his foot down when he needs to.
  • Jon & Kate Plus Eight: Jon Gosselin was frequently portrayed as this on The Soup. Once news broke of what their relationship was really like offscreen, Joel McHale noted that the show was "just kind of sad now."
  • Kath & Kim: Brett gets treated quite horribly by Kim, to the point where it becomes completely understandable why he eventually cheats on her.
  • Keeping Up Appearances (pictured, above) beat this to death, then resurrected it to beat it some more.
  • Last of the Summer Wine features this trope in abundance, usually paired with the show's powerful Apron Matrons. With the exception of the main trio of bachelors/widowers/divorcees, almost every man in the programme is this, particularly Howard Sibshaw, who's so terrified of his wife Pearl that he never gets around to any actual philandering with Marina; Wesley Pegden, whose wife Edie was a sort of prototype for Hyacinth Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances; and Wally Batty, who's married to the most Memetic Badass on the programme, the legendary battleaxe Nora Batty.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Hank Haywood is a powerful figure in the US government, in charge of billions of dollars of funds, trusted by the highest authorities, and an accomplished combatant to boot. It's repeatedly made clear that his wife, who has no ambitions beyond being a good mother to their son, is the one in charge of the family.
    Nate's Mom: Oh, is that Nathaniel?
    Hank: Yes, dear. But this is a work matter—
    Nate's Mom: [takes the phone] Thank you, thank you. [into phone] Hello, sweetie. So don't forget, the benefit is tonight.
    Nate: Mom, I don't know if I'm gonna make it this year. I have a work emergency.
    Nate's Mom: Work can wait. Right, Hank?
    Hank: No.
    Nate's Mom: Yeah, your father's nodding. Okay, darling. See you here at 7:00. [makes kissy noise and hangs up]
  • Little House on the Prairie: Nels Oleson. Several episodes capture this quite well, but none so much as "Second Spring", from Season 6. While certainly not without his own faults, Harriet constantly undermines his authority, she bickers to him about everything, and his two children are spoiled to the core.
  • Lois & Clark: Lois ends up in a parallel world where Clark's parents died in a car accident, and he ended up marrying Lana Lang, who strictly forbid him from using his powers. Yes, Superman can't be Superman because his wife won't let him. Luckily, Lois changes all this and creates this world's version of Superman. Actually, the lack of Superman was why Tempus chose this reality in the first place.
  • Lollipop Loves Mr. Mole: The entire premise of this 1970s Britcom, with the fearsome Peggy Mount bossing around the meek and mild Hugh Loyd.
  • Mad Men: Pete Campbell was about as far from this as can be in the first two or three seasons, as can be seen in "The Mountain King" and "The New Girl". However, towards the end (last two episodes) of season three and then on, his wife Trudy becomes very nagging of the man.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Hal seems like an example, as Lois is pretty clearly the one in charge in their marriage. However, Lois doesn't boss him around for fun, just to make sure that nobody ends up in prison, the hospital, or the morgue. In episodes that have Lois going out of town without the family, he does things like tear down the outer wall of their bedroom, or build a killer robot with a laser-guided bee cannon.
  • Married... with Children:
    • Al is basically this to his Lazy Bum of a wife.
    • Whichever man that is married to Marcy is subjected to being this (Steve at first, before he divorces her and she and Jefferson become married), with hilarious results.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • Inspector Brakenreid often finds decisions made for him by his wife, especially about their place in Society, which he couldn't care less about. It's very much the Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other kind and, given the contrast to how he orders his subordinates about, usually Played for Laughs (most humorously, when she tells him who to vote for, which shouldn't be the suffragettes because she doesn't understand why women don't want to leave these decisions to men).
    • Played for Drama with Rupert and Lucinda Newsome. She's an outright sadist, who initally was attracted to how easy he was to dominate, before growing to absolutely despise him, but refuses a divorce because she wants to make him suffer. Brakenreid points out that (this being the 1900s) it's entirely his decision if he wants a divorce, to which he replies "Legally, yes."
  • Noah's Arc: Trey increasingly becomes this as Alex's demanding nature is highlighted as the first season progresses. Interestingly, rather than being Played for Laughs it's taken as a serious relationship issue (for which they even go to counseling).
  • Only Fools and Horses: Denzil was one before his wife Corrine left him.
  • Pizza:
    • Habib was this when he married Toula.
    • There's also this guy from Beafeater Street whose wife is mad at him for giving her the meat pizza (she is a vegetarian). They get a divorce.
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Zi Yan is a mild example of this for his wife, Da Hua. Ning Yi's aware of it and even weaponises it when he uses Da Hua to get Zi Yan out of danger... by telling her Zi Yan is in a brothel. Da Hua promptly storms in, creating a disturbance and giving Zi Yan an excuse to leave in a hurry.
  • Roseanne: A Running Gag is that Roseanne is the head of the family and pushes her husband Dan around. Or, in her own words, "I don't push Dan around. I am trying to put him in touch with his submissive side."
    • When Mark marries Becky, it doesn't take long for Dan to pass on his strategy of accepting that your wife is always "right" and hiding out in secret male spaces for occasional relief. This doesn't prevent Mark from constantly mocking David for being "weak" in his relationship with Darlene - apparently he isn't henpecked in a properly masculine way.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole calls his wife She Who Must Be Obeyed, but their relationship is this trope inverted; while she often bosses him about and has the apparent upper hand, he's usually manipulating her or undermining her anyway.
  • Seinfeld: Spoofed in the episode in which Kramer pretends to have a real corporate job for about a week. Jerry falls into the role of nagging House Wife.
  • Sharp Objects: Alan Crellin seems to be ruled completely by the family's Evil Matriarch. He has almost no personality or involvement in what goes on. When he helps his wife Adora get ready for bed, he asks if she needs him for anything else, as if he's her butler. He's implied to sleep on a foldout sofa every night.
  • The Sopranos: Tony Soprano's late father, according to Tony:
    Tony: Now that my father's dead, he's a saint. When he was alive, nothing. And my dad was tough. He ran his own crew. A guy like that and my mother wore him down to a little nub. He was a squeaking little gerbil when he died.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Harcourt Fenton Mudd, you dirty, rotten lazy —" "SHUT UP!" "—thing... thing... thing..." In "I, Mudd", con man Harry Mudd, trapped on a world of mostly obedient androids, has them create a duplicate of his nagging wife, whom he reveals he was running from; only this version has an "off" switch. After the Enterprise crew frees itself, they leave Mudd on the planet with 500 more copies of his nagging wife — without the "off" switch — as punishment for his misdeeds.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Amusingly, General Martok, who is both clearly in love with, and obviously completely terrified of, his wife Lady Sirella. This deserves emphasis: This is a man who won a battlefield commission and made it to flag rank despite being blacklisted from the Klingon military by Kor, and earlier in the series survived for over a year in a Dominion POW Camp, and yet it appears the one thing that scares him is his wife. See this exchange from "You Are Cordially Invited", when Worf wants Martok to put in a good word for Jadzia with Sirella:
    Martok: That's not such a good idea. I... don't want her to think that I'm... interfering in her domain.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • The Twilight Zone (1959):
      • "Time Enough at Last" has Henry Bemis's wife Helen refuse to let him read, at all, to the point where she won't let him read the condiment bottles at the dinner table and eventually rips up his poetry. Why she does this is never explained, and nobody cries when the bomb hits. (Well, not for her, at least.)
      • In "Young Man's Fancy", Alex Walker is continually pressured and prodded by his new wife Virginia to sell his mother Henrietta's house, of which he has many very fond memories. However, he finally stands up to her in the final scene when the power of his nostalgia turns him into a young boy again and he stays in the house with the ghost of his mother.
    • The Twilight Zone (1985):
  • Mexican sitcom Vecinos features Arturo López Pérez, who is always at the whims of his wife Magdalena and never stands up to her. He is also the one who holds a job and takes care of the household while she just stays there enjoying their non-existent luxuries.
  • Yes, Dear: Greg Warner, complete with a classic Double Standard: If he even tries to put his own comfort first or asks Kim to give in during an argument even once, he's portrayed as selfish. But Kim gets to badger him mercilessly all she wants. He actually uses his status as this to fix a problem that his wife couldn't. After their living room is redecorated by a professional, Kim notices a large flaw that she expects the decorator to fix. When he doesn't return her calls, she proceeds to leave hundreds of angry and threatening messages. Greg finally gets the guy to fix it by explaining that Kim is insufferable because of this, making Greg's life a living hell (the guy fixes the problem out of solidarity). When Kim finds out, she's initially angry, but then calms down when he points out that his approach worked.
  • Young Sheldon: Mandy's father Jim is constantly pushed around by his wife Audrey.

  • "Head Over Heels" by ABBA is sung by a woman whose friend treats her partner this way. The music video has Frida and Björn playing the couple with him carrying her bags while she shops.
    Each time when he speaks his mind
    She pats his head and says "That's all very fine.
    Exert that will of your own
    when you're alone.
    Now we'd better hurry."
  • Ricardo Arjona's song "El demonio en casa" talks about a man convincing a girl to move with him, and regretting it when she forbids him from going out with his friends and inviting her mother to dinner, among other things.
  • Great Big Sea's rendition of "Scolding Wife".
    And if the devil would take her
    I'd thank him for his pain
    I swear to God I'll hang meself if I get married again
  • In Pink Floyd's The Wall, the school teacher in "The Happiest Days of our Lives":
    When they got home at night, their fat and
    Psychopathic wives would thrash them
    Within inches of their lives
    • This is also highlighted in the film version, where the teacher is forced to eat a bad piece of meat by his wife, after which the film cuts to him taking out his aggression by spanking a student, and later in "The Trial" where the main character, Pink's, embellished, imaginary version of the school teacher appears as a marionette controlled by his wife.
  • "Oh my commanding wife, she want to destroy my life." — Los Rabanes
  • Wham!'s "Everything She Wants" is a bit vague on this trope, as the protagonist and his lover aren't explicitly said to be married, but his partner definitely treats him as such.
    And now you tell me that you're having my baby?
    I'll tell you that I'm happy if you want me to.
    But one step further, and my back will break.
    If my best isn't good enough, then how can it be good enough for two?!
  • "My Wife", by The Who. The singer feels compelled to find "a black belt judo expert with a machine gun", among other things, to protect him from the little woman.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Book of Proverbs: Sentences like "Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife" seem to be speaking toward these types of people to garner some level of sympathy, although they are also interpreted as instructions for husbands to not give their wives any reason to be nagging.
    • In the Books of Kings, Ahab is a wimpy king at best, but is manipulated into outright corruption and idolatry by his domineering queen Jezebel.
  • Classical Mythology: One version of the Amazons had the men do all the housework and cleaning, being treated as lower than dirt all the while.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE's current storyline with Mike and Maria Kanellis. Some have speculated the angle is a punishment for Maria getting pregnant so soon after signing a new contract.
  • Drew McIntyre and Taryn Terrell apparently had this kind of relationship. They got unwanted police attention, which was described as domestic abuse against Drew by a woman half his size, which led WWE to canning her... and then trying to do an angle about it with Kelly Kelly in Terrell's place.
  • Vince McMahon and his wife Linda. While Vince does want he wants most of the time, appeal to Linda and he'll yield to her demands. Linda was usually the one who talked him out of doing the incest angles he'd been trying for years, up until the change to PG ended it for good.
  • Some wrestlers have alluded to John Morrison and Melina Perez being like this, some seemingly in good fun, such as London and Kendrick, who still hang out, others not so much... the relationship depicted on set sometimes veered this way too but Johnny Nitro did have his limits. At other times though it veered toward Sickening Sweethearts.

    Puppet Shows 

  • John Bickerson of The Bickersons is constantly henpecked by his wife, Blanche. Unlike most in this trope, John snarks right back at her; the Battles Royale between them are the point of the show.
  • Fibber McGee and Molly has Wallace Wimple and Sweetie Face; we never hear from the wife, but apparently she's terrifying, and "Wimp" often puts Sweetie Face in situations likely to kill her — it never works. He was so iconic that for years after, any character appearing in a cartoon from The Golden Age of Animation that copied his distinct voice and mannerisms could safely be assumed to be hen-pecked without further evidence.
  • Both husbands in Sue Limb's parody of the Bloomsbury Set, Gloomsbury. One episode starts with Vera Sackcloth-Vest allowing her husband into her bed because it's cold, then warning him that if he keeps making a fuss, he'll be back in his kennel. Vera and Henry do get Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments (Ginny and Lionel Fox not so much), although Henry is well aware that she probably loves Ginny more.
  • Swedish character Lille Fridolf, who started in radio and moved on to films and comics, was thoroughly dominated by his wife Selma, with Selma frequently swinging a rolling pin or another household object at Fridolf.
  • Dylan Thomas managed this twice in Under Milk Wood.
    • The Pughs — Mrs. Pugh nags and Mr. Pugh reads books called Lives of the Great Poisoners.
    • Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard bosses both her dead husbands. Yes, there's no escape.

  • In Anyone Can Whistle, Hapgood interrogates a couple named John and June who behave like this aside from not being married. They can't get married because John can't support June on his income, which is far less than hers, and they don't want to make John a House Husband because "a woman's place is in the home."
  • Arcadia features Lady Croom, a noblewoman who rules over her husband so much you have to wonder if she's instated some sort of matriarchy in Sidley Park.
  • Brian in Avenue Q, though it's a possible subversion since there's no indication that he actually minds it.
  • Amos from Chicago is more henpecked in the original play, where he faithfully supplies alibis and money to a wife who cheats on him and treats him with contempt. He does consider divorce when he hears the news that she's about to have a baby, which he's sure couldn't be his, but is soon brought around to reconsidering.
  • Craig's Wife: The whole plot concerns Harriet's efforts to turn Walter into this. She's frozen out his friends and circumscribed his behavior within the home. When Walter finally catches on he leaves her in order to avoid becoming this.
  • Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is dominated by his wife, appropriately named Domina. (She gets it from her mother, it seems.)
  • King Lear: The Duke of Albany to Goneril, though he grows one heck of a spine in Act 4 and launches into a tirade condemning her abuses of her father.
  • Chrysale in Molière's The Learned Ladies, although he gets better as the play progresses.
  • Thenardier to some extent in Les Misérables. This is in contrast to the novel, in which it's exactly the opposite.
  • Inverted in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in which a woman is psychologically abused into submission. Oh, and it was originally playing this for laughs.
  • Clyde from The Witches of Eastwick musical. Ends up killing her with a frying pan. With her dying breath, she jams his tie in the garbage disposal and hits on.

    Video Games 
  • Larry Hunter sees himself like this in Always Sometimes Monsters, frequently complaining about how much Belinda nags him. However, the player can learn that much of her nagging stems from how Larry deliberately kept her in the dark about their financial problems until it was impossible for him to hide them from her anymore. She wants a divorce that he refuses to give her, hence her frustration and constantly criticizing him.
  • The Baldur's Gate series:
    • The first Baldur's Gate has Khalid, who speaks in a Porky Pig Pronunciation, and his wife Jaheira: he's perfectly happy with the situation, and the backstory reveals that his personality was like that long before he met her. They're Happily Married precisely because Jaheira's willingness to take charge gives him the kind of emotional support he needs. Unlike many of the examples on this page, Jaheira never takes things to the extent of even "comedic" abuse and it's very clear she loves him, even if she is the domiant one in the relationship. She is genuinely heartbroken in the sequel when she finds him dead and mutilated beyond the point of magical resurrection in the starter dungeon, nearly having a breakdown in shock.
    • Baldur's Gate II has Rumar, an NPC nobleman found inside the Copper Coronet, who has a wife of this kind; he's hiding from her in the back room of the establishment, along with the "escorts". The player character can force a confrontation between the two as an unmarked sidequest, which will lead to a Cat Fight to the death between the wife and one of the prostitutes, who is smitten with the nobleman. Because of how the game's mechanics work, it's random as to which woman will win; if the wife wins, Rumar is shocked by this side of his wife and it's ironically implied it helps strengthen their relationship. Meanwhile, if the prostitute wins, she shows signs of being just as controlling as Rumar's late wife, ordering him to follow her.
  • In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, Thomas Briscoe does seem to care for his wife, but the fact that he left without explaining where he was going is probably understandable once we meet her. She's less worried about his safety (on an expedition that the whole world considers foolhardy) than outraged that he embarrassed her with his absence at dinner with the Hamiltons.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if Alistair was romanced by the Female Human Noble and later became King, his cameo in the sequel makes it very clear just who wears the trousers in their relationship.
    Alistair: Just because she killed an Archdemon, doesn't mean she scares me!
    Teagan: You just keep telling yourself that!
  • Dragon Quest V: If the Hero marries Debora, she will treat him -and refer to him as- a servant more often than not.
  • Sima Yi in Dynasty Warriors is a brilliant and spectacularly arrogant military leader. Despite this, he's absolutely terrified of his wife, Zhang Chunhua. She's perhaps the only thing Sima Yi fears and one stern look is enough to silence him in her presence.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the In-Game Novel "Silence" tells the story of the adventurer Oristian Silverthorn, who was tasked with slaying the battlemage Egroamaro. Upon meeting with Erer Darothil, a former teacher of Illusion magic, Oristian jumped on the opportunity to learn the Silence spell from him. This spell not only enabled him to shut down Egroamaro's spellcasting, but also spared him from his domineering wife's lectures upon returning home.
    He could have killed Egroamaro without the spell, he considered, but he could not have survived his wife.
  • Paiga in Fairy Fencer F is heavily implied to be this, judging by his phone conversations with his wife.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has Julyan Manderville, the beloved wife of Godbert Manderville, and one of the strongest (and scariest!) women in Eorzea. One meeting with her, and it's plain who wears the pants in their relationship (figuratively and literally).
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, after the two-years Time Skip that follows chapter 11, Prince Chrom will marry the female character he has the highest relationship points with (either the Female Avatar, Sumia, Olivia, Sully, or Maribelle) and is all but stated to be this to her in private. His younger sister Lissa joyfully lampshades it, even playfully mimicking a "wsssh-kssssh" whip-like sound if the chosen girl is Sumia.
  • In Fur Fighters, Bungalow's wife Esmerelda is an abusive complaining harpy, and the poor guy just takes it all patiently.
  • When Super Arrow from F-Zero proposed to Mrs. Arrow, he took too long to get to the point, so she ordered him to marry her. He even gets an allowance from her. The allowance is actually Truth in Television for Japan, as there are no joint banking accounts in Japanese banking. Therefore husbands usually have their pay deposited in their wife's accounts so she can pay the bills, buy food, etc. After it is deposited, she usually gives him an allowance. The term for this is "okozukai" (お小遣い).
  • Mrs. Loomis, the unseen wife of sex-starved Deputy Loomis in Harvester, exaggerates this to a disturbing degree, beating him bloody with a broomstick if she ever catches him with dirty magazines (or hears about him even asking about them). Like nearly everything else in the game, though, it's still played for very Black Comedy.
  • The player can take on this role while playing house with Cindy in Kindergarten by answering "Yes, dear." to everything she says. Being the Alpha Bitch she is, Cindy is all too happy to play along by telling the protagonist to give her money to buy a new purse, then to make her dinner. Trying to back out once you've started has dire consequences.
  • In The King of Fighters XIV, once Mai Shiranui and Andy Bogard finally hook up, he plays this role towards his girlfriend almost completely straight. Their common friend Joe lampshades this by referring to Andy as being "completely whipped".
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Mayor Dotour from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, to the point that he's willing to ignore the town guards' pleas to evacuate the remaining citizens because the stubborn carnival committee leader threatened to bring his wife into the argument. Keep in mind there's a giant moon about to crash into the town.
    • Among the colorful assortment of individuals you meet in Ordon Village during the prologue of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are Sera and Hanch. Hanch is a rather diminutive man who is always hunched forward and seems rather morose who owns the town's general store. That being said, his wife, Sera, is the one who handles the actual sales. It's also heavily implied that she cares far more for her cat than her husband, and she constantly makes comments about her "good for nothing husband."
    • The potion store couple in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features one who toils all day at the cauldron and takes their baby outside at night so as not to wake his wife.
  • Abbot Hugo in Shin Megami Tensei IV. Being the Smug Snake he is, he resorts to invoking I Have This Friend while privately requesting some wine his wife demanded.
  • In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, depending on the ending you get, Harry Mason may be portrayed as this. It's deconstructed horrifyingly in the ending with this, however, and not played for laughs.
  • In Yandere Simulator, Yandere-chan's father has trouble standing up to his wife Ryoba, even when she takes him on a ten-week trip to America before their daughter starts school. The Basement Tapes reveal it's less him being henpecked, and more him having Stockholm Syndrome.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
    • Kazuo is mistreated by his wife Miho and his daughter Aika. The abuse escalates to the point he divorces Miho and tells Aika that she is the daughter of another man.
    • Hiroshi Suzuki is abused by his daughter Marin and his wife Kozue for being a middle-school dropout. When he finds out that Marin is actually the daughter of his old friend Benta Gakuta, Hiroshi invites him into the house to teach both his daughter and his wife a lesson.
  • Etra chan saw it!:
    • Katsura is treated coldly by his wife Azami and daughter Akane and they consider him as an ATM for their convenience. The harassment eventually ends with Katsura divorcing Azami.
    • Akamatsu turns into one after he's fired from his job, at which point he's forced to be a househusband for his working wife, Yuzuriha.
    • Hiiragi becomes this after ditching Yuri for Akane, which turns out to be a mistake, as Akane is the dominant partner in their relationship and refuses to do any housework, despite being a housewife.
  • Helluva Boss: Stolas is perhaps the saddest example in animation. Forced into an unwanted arranged marriage (he first saw a picture of Stella strangling a dog), he is constantly belitted, abused and bullied by his wife, who likes tormenting him and reminding him of his affair. This despite having put no work into the marriage and never having the slightest sliver of love for Stolas.
  • MoniRobo:
    • Mr. Takahashi from "Daughter kicked me out, but she somehow became homeless after that" was abused by his wife Keiko and his daughter Rumi for smelling bad. When Keiko decides to divorce him, Mr. Takahashi reveals to Ruri that she was the daughter of another man.
    • "My mom hates me and always prioritizes my brother over me": Sakura's father is a sympathetic example; he is a meek man who doesn't fight back whenever his wife Makiko abused him for defending his daughter Sakura from her abuse.
    • "My beloved wife was cheating on me and finds it amusing that I broke my leg": Tatsuya Nakamura had to work hard to provide for the home ever since he married Kaori Hayama, who always used his money for gallivanting and always slacked off at home despite promising she would take care of the house.
    • "My mother left us for this rich CEO": Ren's father was financially and emotionally abused by his wife. Ren himself had a problem with his timidity about it.
    • "My wife and my daughter told me I was a lousy father...": Yoshio Ohito's wife acted deadbeat towards him when not complaining. While he served as a mentor to a group of young female workers, his wife cooked only rice to spite him for showing up late at night because of his new job. However, his pupils make him realize that he was being a deadbeat dad and they all plan a makeover on him as a reward for not giving up on teaching them.
    • "My family treated me like dirt for ten whole years…": Satoru Meguro became this five years after marrying Yuri Saitou and taking in her daughter Marina. Five more years later, the mother-and-daughter duo still treated him coldly until Marina announced her marriage and both wanted Satoru out of the house to make space for Marina's husband. Needless to say, Satoru obliges but shows evidence that Yuri cheated on him with her ex-husband.
    • "My wife got pregnant but…": Yuki Shirai becomes this after marrying an older woman named Rina, who abuses him for being a fat introvert like in high school. Moreover, she only married him because her parents promised to pay her debts if she did.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Mr. Kitsune seems to be this. He's always in the background, rarely speaks, his wife is more important as a character, and he never stands against his wife to defend his elder daughter. His only important trait is being the father of one of the most powerful characters in-universe.
  • Lenny frequently bows to Julie's wishes in Our Little Adventure. She's not a nag at all and a rather good person, though, so it's rather for the best. Indeed, Word of God is that Lenny's Character Alignment moved from Neutral to Good under Julie's influence.

    Web Original 
  • In Bite Me!, Lauren forces her boyfriend Mike to work out in order to get any. Even during the Zombie Apocalypse, she's constantly bugging him about moving out to their own home, away from Jeff and Greg.
  • Dad: The song "Dad Loves Mom" makes it clear that Mom is the dominant force in the household; Dad needs her approval to do most things and does all the chores to prevent her from getting angry at him. She's the one with all the power, to such an absurd degree that she can even shut down "the server" in an instant when she's upset at him and thus temporarily shut down his channel.
  • Donnie DuPre in Demo Reel. He tries to make everyone think he's committing Financial Abuse by leeching off her paycheck, but it's quickly revealed to us that she's cold, distant, and emotionally stonewalls him until he leaves her alone.
  • The Abridged Series Ultra Fast Pony portrays Wonderbolt's captain Spitfire as constantly belittling her husband Soren to the point of abuse. Her mothering skills aren't much better.

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Pongo is this in the episode "Splishing and Splashing". Perdita forbids the pups from going to a pond on a hot summer day until they apologize to Lucy. Pongo asks her if that seems too harsh, but he quickly knuckles down when she glares at him. And when they leave, Perdita dismisses Pongo when he comments that he hates being tough on the pups.
  • Adventure Time: Finn becomes Marceline's henchman and is forced to do morally ambiguous things as a result. While helping Marceline "feed" on an old man (she actually just sucks the color red out of his bowtie), the following exchange occurs:
    Finn: I'm sorry, sir. I'm bound by my code of honor to do what she says.
    Old Man: I understand, son. I was married myself once.
    Finn: Wait, we're not married!
  • The Alvin Show: In the Clyde Crashcup short "Crashcup Invents a Wife", the wife in question is named Pictorial. Their relationship turns out like this, and Clyde eventually reaches the breaking point:
    Clyde: Now look here, Pictorial, my patience is wearing thin. I am a scientist, not a chambermaid. Leonardo is my able assistant, and I demand that you release him this instant. Your presence in this household has become unbearable! Do I make myself clear?
    Pictorial: ...You all through?
    Clyde: ...Yes, Pictorial, sweetheart.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Men are mostly daft, so it's usually their wives who take charge in the family. Take the Wattersons, for example: Richard is completely child-brained and useless, and his wife Nicole literally has to raise him along with their three disobedient children while also having to be the bread winner. And since she's very strong and combative, and has serious anger issues, you really don't want to push her over "The Limit".
  • American Dad!: Stan Smith sometimes falls under this status. Even though he is frequently portrayed as a domineering and tough man of the house, his wife Francine sometimes nags and lectures him whenever he does something stupid or impulsive. Stan obviously does not like being henpecked, as in "Four Little Words", he frames Francine for a murder his boss Avery Bullock committed just so Francine wouldn't tell Stan "I told you so".
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Broodwich", Jerry and his friend Mr. Stick, in the dimension Shake is sent to by eating the Broodwich, talk about their wives giving them crap at home. Here's the extended version of the scene.
  • In The Boondocks, we have Tom Dubois. Due to being an Extreme Doormat with a paranoid phobia of Prison Rape, his wife Sara often expresses frustration at his unmasculine demeanor.
  • The Donald Duck cartoon "Donald's Diary" has Don dreaming about marrying Daisy and becoming one, essentially a wind-up robot doing her bidding. When he wakes up he runs out the door and joins the Foreign Legion.
  • On The Fairly OddParents!, Jorgen is brought to his knees by the Tooth Fairy. On live TV, no less. (Though, at the time, they weren't married.)
  • Family Guy: Peter Griffin occasionally slips into this, but considering what a massive Manchild he is, it's unlikely the family would be able to function at all if Lois wasn't shrewish and domineering. It's already a mess of abusive dysfunction as it is.
  • One Famous Studios cartoon "Sudden Fried Chicken" dealt with Herman the mouse saving his friend Henry the rooster from his abusive, domineering wife, who constantly beats him and tells him how worthless he is, when Herman sees how well he takes her beatings and enters him in a boxing match.
  • A staple of The Flintstones and The Jetsons, which tended to follow the source material very closely in this respect — minus the obvious underlying affection. Sadly, Cosmo Spacely has his own power issues in dealing with HIS spouse! Seems like what Spacely gives to Jetson at work, Spacely gets at home! Call It Karma.
  • Futurama:
    • Morbo, the alien news anchorman for Earth is hinted to be one such husband as when he appeared with his wife at a party in the episode "Three Hundred Big Boys" as she is seen constantly correcting Morbo's tie, making her and Morbo look just like the couple seen in this trope page's photo.
    • Lrrr, the ruler of Omicron Persei 8, is a textbook example of one. He is a wannabe alien overlord but his own wife, Ndnd, not only constantly nags him like no tomorrow but doesn't hesitate to verbally abuse him frequently. The episode "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences" is where the tripe on Lrrr is most blatantly shown, as that episode flanderized Ndnd into a shrew who goes as far as hitting him over the head with a frying pan and kicking him out of the house, all because he screwed up in an invasion and instead brought her a mask replica of J.J Abrams's face as a gift.
  • Gargoyles: Oberon, Lord of the Fae, is often seen being either manipulated or "requested" by his wife, Titania. A line of dialogue explains it nicely:
    Titania: You have nothing to fear from him. On Avalon, Oberon's word is law.
    Princess Catherine: Does that mean he's always right?
    Titania: Not while he's married.
    • By the same token, Brendan Quarters is henpecked by Margot Yale. To the point that he frequently tells her to lighten up.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch:
    • The episode "King Klong vs. the Masked Marvel" has an obese battleaxe in the sports arena audience who volunteers her milquetoast husband Herbert into fighting the Masked Marvel.
      Wife: Herbert, I need a new fur coat. So get up there and win that money!
      Herbert: But, poopsie...
      Wife: Don't "poopsie" me, you spineless wonder! [to ring announcer] Hey, hold it! Here's somebody to fight that big tub of lard!
      Announcer: You're big enough, madam, but it's against the rules for women to wrestle ag—
      Wife: Not me, dum-dum! [holds up Herbert] Him!
    • It nearly happens to Mr. Peevly in "Bridal Boo Boo". The bears send his name into a singles club and a similarly obese battleaxe named Bertha shows up. She henpecks Peevly, Botch, and all the other zoo animals as well, going so far as to make Hair Bear keep his afro combed straight and neat.
  • Hey Arnold!: Inverted with Oskar and Suzie. Oskar constantly nags Suzie to do things for him while he doesn't help out with any chores.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Molotov is domineered by his wife, which offsets his Drill Sergeant Nasty persona at work.
  • Used several times in Looney Tunes:
    • The early Daffy Duck cartoon The Henpecked Duck did this with a wife, complete with him being the one forced to sit on the egg being hatched. ("Yesth, m'love!")
    • In His Bitter Half, Daffy gets married to a rich widow who turns out to be this, doing things like beating him for coming home drunk. She also has a bratty son whose bad behaviour she's either oblivious to or ignores.
    • In Honey's Money, Yosemite Sam is the one who marries a rich widow and quickly turns into the trope, having to do all the chores around the house.
    • At the end of the early Bugs Bunny short Hold the Lion, Please, after Bugs makes fun of a Lion named Leo whose wife calls him up and orders him home, aborting their chase, a Mrs. Bugs Bunny suddenly shows up and demonstrates that she's the one who wears the pants in the family.
    • Life with Feathers involves a lovebird who's so fed up with his domineering wife that he attempts to commit suicide by having Sylvester the Cat eat him.
    • Foghorn Leghorn is literally henpecked in a one-shot short where his wife demands he sit on the nest and watch the egg while she's off enjoying herself. He calls her "Dream Boat" to her face, but quickly changes it to "Tug Boat" behind her back. By the end of the cartoon, she's beaten him unconscious.
    • The first Pepe LePew short, Odor-Able Kitty, has Pepe turn out to be one of these... and we learn that he's actually an American skunk named Henry!
    • Porky's Romance, the first appearance of "Petunia Pig" in a Warner short, ran on this trope. Porky buys a box of chocolates to propose to Petunia and is thwarted by Petunia's annoying little dog repeatedly, as well as Petunia, who seems only interested in wanting to eat the chocolates. Porky, heartbroken, attempts suicide (aren't old cartoons grand?), but ends up hitting his head and imagines marrying Petunia and a sexy honeymoon period. After a "Time Munches On!" title card, Petunia and her dog are shown stretched out on the couch, fat as houses, and happily gorging themselves on seemingly infinite boxes of chocolates strewn all about the house while Porky slaves away in the kitchen doing all the cooking and cleaning and caring for the children while Petunia bosses him around. One really does have to wonder how the writers of this one viewed marriage, and if they knew that chocolate is lethal to dogs. Porky gets better. Waking from the nightmare, he runs away, returning only to take back his chocolates and give the dog a deserving kick in the rear!
    • In The Hole Idea, the inventor of the Portable Hole is one of these. At the end of the story, the wife goes on and on about how fed up she is with all his "useless inventions" and declares that "One of us has got to go!" So he drops her down one of his holes. Unfortunately, Satan pops up with his wife in tow from the very bowels of Hell, moaning "Isn't it bad enough down here without her?!"
  • In Miraculous Ladybug: Mayor André Bourgeois is this. His wife Audrey has absolutely no respect for him and she has him completely under her thumb, with his daughter Chloe even weaponizing this by threatening to tell her mother on him whenever he hesitates or refuses to fulfill her selfish demands. The prospect of disappointing Audrey leads him to go along with his daughter's scheme in "Frightningale". "Adoration" reveals that not only did he went into politics to please Audrey (as revealed in "Sole Crusher"), but went so far as to change his name from "Anaximandré" to "André" just to make her happy.
  • On Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, Spiderus is a would-be antagonist, but any of his darker impulses are generally kept well in check by his sweetie-bug, Spindella, who clearly has him well under her eight legs. Later in the series, he also becomes a Bumbling Dad.
  • Moral Orel:
    • A rather unfunny version with Clay and Bloberta, the latter of whom practically forced him to be his wife after being emotionally abused by her mother. The sad thing is they were actually hitting it off when they first met, with Clay a devoutly religious man. However, she had to introduce him to alcohol and it went downhill from there till both were stuck in a loveless marriage with two kids.
    • Bloberta's father Raymond was also shown to be this, with her mother being overbearing towards her as well. Raymond was implied to actually be sympathetic and helpful towards Bloberta but was too much this trope to be able to.
  • The Owl House: While "Escaping Expulsion" suggests that Alador Blight has some say in his relationship with his wife Odalia, "Clouds on the Horizon" makes it clear that such moments are fleeting at best. She lords over him on a typical day, massively overworking him at Blight Industries and threatening to ruin his already-strained relationship with his kids even more if he dares to stand up for himself, and he only puts up with it all for their sake. When he finds out that she's been secretly aiding Emperor Belos in his plan for witch eradication and doesn't care that this would also kill him, he decides he's had enough and disowns her on the spot.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, there is a recurring character, a meek man who is always shown being berated by his wife, usually for forgetting a key component of a new business venture (like buying a rabbit farm but no rabbits). To complete the Running Gag, the missing component falls out of the sky, usually due to Doofenshmirtz and Perry's antics. Normally landing on top of the wife, to her husband's amusement.
  • Rick and Morty: Jerry Smith is this to a T. He and his wife, Beth, married after she became pregnant with their daughter when they were in high school. The question of if they were together by choice or not is often raised. This isn't helped by the fact that he has to deal with his wife's desire to keep her Mad Scientist father in her life who constantly throws their family in danger, especially their children, and constantly insults Jerry, believing he isn't worthy of his daughter and Beth's domineering personality. In an episode where they are in a couples' therapy, it is shown that Beth's perception of Jerry is that of a spineless meek worm. He and Beth are shown to have a rather malicious, codependent relationship. No one in the family respects Jerry. He even lampshades this in an episode.
    Jerry: I'm just this entire family's toilet paper.
  • Ed Bighead is constantly bossed around by his wife Bev in Rocko's Modern Life. She is the only person (well, toad) that he fears. His hot-headed personality makes it hard to feel too sorry for him. The fact that she's much nicer than him (most of the time) doesn't help either.
  • Howard DeVille from Rugrats is the submissive one of the family, though it's worth pointing out that his wife Betty isn't abusive or commanding, just boisterous, and she actively encourages him to stick up for himself.
  • The Scotsman from Samurai Jack is absolutely lorded over by his even bigger and more violent wife. And if the giant smile is any indication, he loves every minute of it.
  • Shaggy's father, Colton, is this in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. He's quiet and timid in response to his wife.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer Simpson sometimes slips into this, but since he's by far the most extreme example of the Bumbling Dad, it's hard to imagine how the family could possibly function otherwise.
    • Ricky Gervais played one in the Simpsons episode he guest-starred in and wrote, "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife". His character Charles Heathbar is married to a domineering woman named Verity, and then when Charles gets paired with Marge on a Wife Swap-esque show, he falls in love with her, but eventually gets over it and separates from his wife.
    • There's another humorous version in "Two Bad Neighbors", where former President George H. W. Bush (the first one) and his wife Barbara move to Springfield and buy a house across the street from the Simpsons. When Bush spanks Bart for shredding his memoirs, he provokes an Escalating War between himself and Bart and Homer, which culminates in Bush and Homer having a fistfight in front of Bush's house just as former Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev has stopped by to give a housewarming present. Fed up with the whole conflict, Barbara orders her husband to apologize to Homer.
      George: But Bar, we can't show any weakness in front of the Russians!
      Barbara: [glaring at him with her arms crossed] GEORGE...
      George: [grumbling under his breath] Yes, dear.
      [Gorbachev smiles evilly and says something in Russian to his aide]
    • Invoked in a later episode with Bill Clinton, whose marriage to Hillary has been joked as being this trope ever since he left office and she began her own political career:
      Bill: [calling Hillary on the phone after placing a lawn sign for her campaign] Alright, honey, that's the last one. What's next?
      Bill: Twenty-five more?! What the hell did I do to you?!
      [Indistinct yelling from the phone]
      Bill: Oh you're never gonna let that go, are you?
  • 1973/74 Superfriends episode "The Mysterious Moles". Maximums Mole is very weak-willed and dominated by his wife Minimus Mole. She's about twice his size, has a loud voice, and regularly insults and demeans him.
  • Terrytoons character John Doormat is this trope incarnate. As his name indicates, he is a total pushover, lorded over by his battleaxe of a wife. One episode does have him become more assertive, which Mrs. Doormat finds irresistible. But the moment they meet eye to eye, he shrinks back to his former self. In another cartoon his neighbor gives him flack over it, but then John discovers that he is just as henpecked as he is, if not more so.
  • The Venture Bros. has an inversion of the trope in Sally Impossible. Richard Impossible acts like the worst sort of cold, jealous, controlling bastard, keeping his wife shut up indoors at all times so the disfiguring condition he inflicted on her won't embarrass him. This is portrayed as pretty clearly abusive and disturbing, but on the other hand, it's Played for Laughs at the same time. Sally is much more sympathetic than her husband, but she's also portrayed as sort of comically pathetic in much the same way the classic male Henpecked Husband is. In fact, she's possibly even more absurdly spineless — she throws herself at any male character she meets, begging them to take her away from Richard, but makes no attempt to leave him without another man to take care of her. She eventually gets up the courage to leave him and is shown in a much healthier relationship with JJ Venture.

    Real Life 
  • Mary Todd Lincoln was reportedly rather abusive to Abraham Lincoln. She would throw potatoes at her husband and had once smacked him in the face with a piece of wood when he didn't build a fire quickly enough to please her. There was also one documented incident where she chased him outside with a kitchen knife, but when Abe saw a crowd of other people in town he picked her up and took her back inside, telling her not to do it in front of the neighbors. She suffered from severe mental illness (likely bipolar disorder) and was institutionalized by her own son later in life. The fact that Lincoln himself was killed by an assassin right in front of her probably didn't help her condition.
  • Wu Zetian made Emperor Gaozong into this, with him basically allowing her to make all the decisions and constantly wanting her advice instead of thinking for himself. He would state when asked about big decisions "Have you ever discussed with Empress Wu? what is her opinion?"
  • Maria Theresa was this to her husband Francis, although she did care for him. Being married to a beautiful, charming, and intelligent queen who has palaces and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and lives in Austria has its advantages obviously. But it can get awkward, particularly given that she is the ruler of a vast Empire, and that even though you are the one with the title "Emperor", you have it because you were fortunate enough to marry her...
  • Isabella of Castile was noted to be like this to her husband Ferdinand of Aragon, despite being nominally-equal corulers as monarchs of their respective kingdoms. According to a contemporary observer:
    "The queen is king and the king is her servant. The nobility fears the queen more than the king, who at all times thinks only of fulfilling her orders, mandates and wishes. The king can do nothing without the queen's permission; on the other hand, what she desires he must set out to accomplish."
  • "The Gentleman Pirate" Stede Bonnet, according to a contemporary source, was said to have abandoned his aristocratic life and become a pirate due to "some discomforts he found in a married state." This is widely interpreted to mean that he was escaping from an overbearing wife.
  • According to tradition, Socrates was this to his wife Xanthippe (who was also considerably younger than him). One account depicts the furious Xanthippe pouring a chamber pot over his head. While accounts on her personality vary, a number of accounts (most notably Xenophon) depict her as a nagging, scolding harpy. Whether these accounts were true or simply exaggerations of Xanthippe's personality flaws is debated. Nevertheless, the influence of several accounts has led to Xanthippe's name becoming a synonym for a shrewish woman.
  • By some accounts, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons. One really wonders why he allowed men to have several wives, then. Maybe so they would henpeck each other instead of their husbands?
  • According to Napoléon Bonaparte, Marshal Edouard Mortier was "a brave man, but his wife pushed him around".
  • A more certain case from the same era is Camillo Borghese, Napoleon's brother-in-law by virtue of having married his sister Pauline. Despite being the one with the princely title (Pauline married him before the Empire was established) and the rightful owner of the jewels that Pauline loved to wear, she tyrannised him in his own home... not so surprising considering her own brother's personality.
  • Napoleon himself might have been a milder example. He claimed that Joséphine was the only one who could make him yield on anything.


Alternative Title(s): Whipped, Henpecking Wife


Would I Lie To You?

In which the viewer gets a possible insight into David and Victoria's marriage.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / HenpeckedHusband

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