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Wet Blanket Wife

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Clara Murphy looks like the most terrible female stereotype in movies, an estrogen-soaked wet blanket. There is not one scene in that trailer where she's not cooking or crying. She literally runs into the middle of the road just to stop RoBroCop from being rad on his motorbike: "You listen here, Mr. Robo, you stop being cool and go in and have a glacial emotional scene with your son! I don't care how many cops die fighting armed felons that your indestructible ass could collar in an instant, we're stopping this action right here and won't move another inch until there are emotions!"

The Wet Blanket Wife is the Love Interest (not necessarily a married spouse) that is a constant reminder of how uncool or troubling events in the story are supposed to be. In The Caper, she reminds The Hero that he promised to retire after that One Last Job, or is trying to get him out of the game to begin with. In a War Film or Fighting Series, she's often an Actual Pacifist who wants her love to stop fighting because she doesn't want to see him hurt or killed. In a police story, she wants her husband to spend more time at home and less time working cases, despite knowing what he did before she married him and that he doesn't control when a crime occurs. In a Superhero story, she chews the main character out for spending too much time crimefighting or perhaps doesn't even know his Secret Identity and angrily wonders where he's run off to. In short, the character exists to slow the pace of the story and provide emotional heft.

This trope is often paired with the Henpecked Husband or Parenting the Husband, and sometimes the arguments form an Awful Wedded Life between the couple. However, the overlap isn't necessary. A woman tearfully begging her Action Hero husband not to go do whatever dangerous thing he wants to do to avoid being widowed can be Happily Married, but she's still trying to get him not to do the awesome thing that the audience paid to see (however justifiably). Scenes involving this kind of wife will involve her fretting or angsting over the events of the story and otherwise reminding the audience how "awful" this is supposed to be.

This is an Always Female trope, but that doesn't mean there aren't rare male versions. Because of tropes like Men Are Tough and Men Act, Women Are, it's usually just assumed that a husband or boyfriend in a heteronormative relationship will be the one advancing the plot. For that reason, this is also a Sub-Trope of Acceptable Feminine Goals; in this case, trying to salvage her relationship/marriage/home is the greater priority for the woman than whatever else is supposed to be going on in the story. Again, even if she's right, the issue is that the husband doesn't seem to agree, and more often than not the story is told from his perspective. At worst, she's an unsympathetic character because she doesn't seem to care that if the hero listens to her and gives up being a hero, people will die (unless he's only one part of a large team, or has a sidekick who can take over). And lastly, still-existing power imbalances in relationships mean that a plotline involving a man trying to control a woman, by assumption his wife, may end up classified in very different terms than if a woman did the same.

Compare and contrast The Obstructive Love Interest, who is against anything their significant other tries to do, as a result of misunderstandings, personal insecurities, and any other number of reasons. See also Yoko Oh No, the girlfriend/wife of an artist that is blamed for destroying their career. Also compare The Killjoy.

Contrast the Battle Couple and Outlaw Couple, who usually avert this trope, and the Understanding Boyfriend. Also Contrast Disneyland Dad, when a parent with less responsibility doesn't enforce as many of the rules the other does, making them seem like the boring one.


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  • The ad for the E-League Finals features two men sitting at a bar as they enjoy watching the pro-gaming matches. One of the men points out to the other that he might want to go home before he upsets his wife. The second replies that it's okay because he "left a note". The scene then cuts to the wife and a police officer reading a Cut-and-Paste Note claiming that the husband has been kidnapped but will be returned unharmed. The policeman is more concerned about the misspellings and typos in the note than the missing person, leaving the wife as the only person who takes the situation at all seriously.
  • A Domino's ad begins with a PSA warning that 1-out-of-6 pizza lovers have their hopes crushed by a "Sally Soulsmasher" who orders salad instead. The aforementioned Soulsmashers are all vapid, snooty, and self-absorbed wives.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: During the Arrancar Arc, Orihime was constantly worried about Ichigo getting hurt or injured fighting on her behalf, even refusing to heal Ichigo if it meant he'd just start fighting again. Her behaviour is so pacifistic for a genre that caters to fans who want to read fights that her lack of battle-appropriate mentality is lampshaded in-universe as well. She does seem to mellow out by the time the two are actually married though. This is a Justified Trope with her, as Orihime was a normal, fifteen-year-old human girl until Ichigo awakened her powers, so she will, of course, be averse to the violence that the Shinigami and arrancar characters display, especially as her powers involve healing and protecting her friends, meaning she often has to witness her close friends and allies horribly wounded.
  • Dragon Ball Z.
    • Chi-Chi is constantly pushing Gohan towards more scholarly pursuits, despite living in a world where her husband seems to fight world- or universe-threatening bad guys every few years or so. She remains against all the danger her husband and son go through but learns to adapt. After the seven-year Time Skip, she mellows out a bit with their second son, Goten, to the point where she actually trained him. This may have something to do with Goku dying shortly before he was born since Gohan theorizes that Chi-Chi feels guilt over this behavior now that Goku's gone and believes she might have had an indirect effect on his death.note  In Dragon Ball Super, she's back to nagging Goku now that he's alive again, forcing him to take up farming to provide for the family; when Mr. Satan gave Goku an enormous cash prize for saving the world from Majin Buu, Chi-Chi lied about spending it all because she wanted Goku to keep working.
      • At the beginning of DBZ, she noted she wanted Gohan to become a scholar because of wanting to solve problems non-violently and in her defense, Goku was pretty much the strongest man in the world in early Dragonball Z. Had the Saiyans or alien threats not happened, there wouldn't be a reason for this sort of stuff, barring perhaps the Red Ribbon Androids.
    • Bulma actually averts it. For example, when Vegeta sends Trunks out to fight two minor villains for practice, her only complaint is that Trunks isn't dominating like he should because Vegeta doesn't spend more time training him. Presumably, this is because of Bulma's different background than Chi-Chi (Bulma did adventure with Goku more than Chi-Chi did so she perhaps has a grasp on the inevitability of it).
    • Videl averts it as well, being completely fine with and supportive of Gohan's heroic activities, in part because she as well did - and, once things calm down after they get together, still does - exactly the same sort of thing.
  • In Fist of the North Star, most women fit this trope. Of special note is Lin, who fits the role of Kawaiiko Moe Blob Morality Pet for Kenshiro. What really makes her case strange, however, is that she is a small child with a Precocious Crush on Ken, so this can be very uncomfortable to watch. Mamiya is really the only woman that averts this trope, as when the two men in her life (Rei and Kenshiro) decide to go off and do something dangerous, she goes with them to help. Not that she can put up the same level of fight, though.
  • Pokémon the Series: XY: While not a wife or even an "official" girlfriend, Serena has a bit of this: she is not a fan of Ash's more reckless behaviors, such as jump grabbing his Pokémon before they fall into volcanoes. Sometimes Ash does need someone to reign him in, as Serena did later steer him away from a battle that would have caused him to miss signing up for the Lumiose League Conference, though this is a trait Serena has that isn't really seen in any of the other female companions.
  • Rurouni Kenshin. Kaoru is a Martial Pacifist and spends most of each conflict reacting with disdain and horror at the violence going on.
  • s-CRY-ed. Mimori and Kanami do little else than watch the events of the story unfold and show displeasure at the protagonists' Blood Knight and Spirited Competitor tendencies.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: In Fantastic Four (1961), during the Stan and Jack days, Sue Storm would spend a lot of time complaining at Reed about how he was more interested in SCIENCE than her, or how she hated being a superhero and would much rather be doing normal things like shopping or hanging out with her friends. Eventually, the march of Character Development meant she stopped being like this.
  • The Flash: In The Flash (1987), Wally West very briefly goes through a phase of this with his long-time girlfriend Linda Park. However, it's subverted because, as an investigative reporter and newswoman, she herself is often getting into danger, with Wally having to be her Wet Blanket due to his fear of her getting hurt. It's also notable that her issue isn't so much that she wants Wally to stop being The Flash, but rather she worries that she, a normal woman, doesn't belong with a man who can live lifetimes between ticks of a clock, so it's more that she's worried about being a wet blanket. It's mitigated however by her becoming close friends with his allies, mentors, and partners, the Flash Family.
  • Miracleman: In Alan Moore's run, Mike Moran's wife ends up as a sort of deconstruction, since she stubbornly clings to her humanity and begs her husband to remember his own, even as he embraces an increasingly distant and terrifying superhumanity. In the end, he and his allies take over and completely transform the world into a posthuman benevolent dictatorship, but she still refuses to become a superbeing.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Jane Foster, particularly in her older, Silver Age appearances, typically pined for Thor incessantly and also bemoaned the violence going on around her. In fact, the incident that originally sank her ship with Thor in those days had her briefly transformed into an Asgardian goddess and locked in a room with a monster to prove that she was worthy. Only a couple of minutes later, she was begging to be sent back to Earth and stating that the life of an Asgardian was too horrible.
    • Sif, despite being introduced as more of an Action Girl than Jane Foster, was also used as the "pathos" of the book in her early days. She often spent her time worrying about Thor's safety, begging him not to run off and fight something dangerous, and so on. Later depictions of her made her far more of a bruiser herself, and most modern versions of Sif would sooner charge into battle with Thor than beg him not to go.
  • Runaways: The comic offers a rare boyfriend example in Victor Mancha; during his short-lived relationship with Nico Minoru, he started questioning her leadership and disapproved of her plan to make an alliance with the Kingpin in order to get S.H.I.E.L.D. off of their backs.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Gwen Stacy as Peter's girlfriend was this when she was alive. Her relationship with Peter was strained by the fact that she loved Peter but hated Spider-Man. Peter loved her but constantly had to lie to her since the minute he told her the truth he would lose her. Indeed, one attempt to confess his identity to his friends which Peter later passed as a prank confirmed these views since Gwen became hysterical at the idea of Peter as a superhero. The one situation that could have helped them out, namely the fact that her father George Stacy approved of Peter and Spider-Man and was his Secret-Keeper, was lost when George Stacy died in an accident and Gwen blamed Spider-Man for the death of her beloved father, and Peter's guilt felt worse than ever. As such, readers got annoyed by Gwen for her whiny nature, her irrational fear and grief-stricken rage at Spider-Man, and for the fact that whenever Peter contemplated a future he just felt incredibly guilty. Then she died and Peter lost her, felt guilty for one big major failure rather than every day while he was with her, and moved on to his real love interest.
    • Mary Jane Watson was initially an aversion. When she and Peter first met, she basically had an adventurous attitude to superheroics in many of her early appearances, openly liking both Peter and Spider-Man. After the Retcon that she had known Peter was Spider-Man all along was applied, she became his confidant. She started becoming more of this trope once she began dating Peter in the 70s, and after they got married she told Peter that she couldn't stand being a "policeman's wife" (i.e., lying awake at night wondering if Peter would return or not). How well this was applied is a case of Depending on the Writer; since Spider-Man is presented as an Everyman, some writers used this as a way to make being married to such a beautiful woman a pain, but some did it to add legitimate tension to their marriage since MJ is right to be concerned that Peter could die. For example, Kraven's Last Hunt, Peter's brief "death" and disappearance and MJ's inability to discuss Peter's real reasons for it add believable emotional stakes to their relationship while comics involved MJ being little else than a Damsel in Distress, constantly nagging Peter for spending too much time superheroing or sitting at home stressing over it. This was especially the case in the "Maximum Carnage" story arc in the '90s. Other writers such as JMS and Tom Beland tried to avert this and insist that while MJ did have these fears, it also stemmed from her fears of helplessness about not being able to fully be part of Peter's world, a situation remedied when she and Peter moved to Avengers Tower, and when Peter gifted her his own special web-shooters for Valentine's day which thrilled and delighted her. Matt Fraction's "To Have and to Hold" was intended by him to demolish this trope:
      Matt Fraction: When his marriage with MJ worked, it worked very well, but sometimes it seemed like people didn't know what to do with MJ. Way too often MJ would be relegated to hostage or obstacle. Too seldom did she play the role of supporter, friend or nurturer.
    • The The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows reality, first appearing in Secret Wars (2015), actually subverts this, with her complaint not so much about his being Spidey, but his workload. Specifically, she's remarking that under the circumstances, the other heroes should be taking up the slack for Peter. As it was, the heroes in question had been killed by the Regent, though no one was aware at the time. Additionally, she keeps her cool when Venom comes after her and baby Annie, actually luring him into a burning building to exploit Venom's vulnerability to fire, she's the one who later encourages him to once more take up the Spidey mask despite the risks that come with it, and she also uses the prototype Regent suit to help fight Regent, and then later becomes a superhero in her own right alongside Peter.
  • X-Men: Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor slammed into this trope the moment she became a wife and mother. Beforehand, Madelyne had been presented as a patient and understanding woman who had her own adventurous side as a cargo pilot. However, after she became married and settled down as a housewife, she began complaining that Scott spent all his time as an X-Man instead of at home helping to raise their son, even though she knew that the purpose of the team was to stem the growing bigotry towards mutants (which includes their son) and that Scott's leadership was often the only thing that kept his closest friends from being killed. Things escalated to the point that when Jean Grey was discovered alive, Scott felt obligated to spend time reconnecting with her rather than fix his strained marriage. This finally culminated in Madelyne giving Scott an ultimatum between their marriage and the X-Men, and leaving when he ignored it.

    Fan Works 
  • In Adorkable Twilight and Friends, "Comes with the Territory," Twilight's boyfriend Greg gets a big break as a journalist—covering the border dispute in Yakyakistan. Twilight is saddened that he'll be leaving for a full month on this job. Then she immediately lightens up and admits she was just pretending to pull "the guilt-trip marefriend routine".
  • A good description of Riley in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic "Balance", as he tries to persuade Buffy to give up Slaying when she becomes pregnant, not understanding that slaying for Buffy is a duty and responsibility rather than just a 'job'. His attempt to basically control Buffy eventually leads to her breaking up with Riley when he tries to propose, and Buffy eventually gets back together with Angel because she appreciates that he accepts her responsibilities.
  • Ochako in Green Tea Rescue, even if she isn't Izuku's wife (yet), though her case is more justified than most, given Izuku's total disregard for his safety and tendency to hurt himself.
    Izuku: I figured I could practice with the large stones over there. No need to carry anything, plus if something breaks it will be fine.
    Ochako: Just make sure you don't include yourself in the "if something breaks it will be fine" category.
    [Much later, before the Heroes vs Villains Exercise]
    All Might: So if you want to win, you will have to go all out. And don't worry about getting hurt. Remember that we have the best healer in the country, Recovery Girl.
    Ochako: That was not permission for you to be reckless, Deku.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Nate in The Devil Wears Prada is not only not a spouse, he's one of the rare male versions of this trope, as screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna admitted in 2017:
    That was a 'girlfriend' part, really ... That's a part that a lot of women end up playing, the 'why aren't you home more,' the naggy wife.
  • Face/Off. Eve Archer, the wife of protagonist Simon Archer, is one of those "you promised to quit after one last job" types of wives. What makes this example particularly strange is that not only does she seem to show no interest in bringing to justice the Big Bad responsible for killing her son, but Archer doesn't even try to explain to her that there's a nuclear bomb threatening to blow up their city (he may (and it's a big "may") not want to scare her, but seriously, "Castor Troy gloated to me that he put a terrorist plan, which is going to happen in two weeks if we don't stop it, in motion before I knocked him into a coma, and now I need to help find it" could have worked). The movie just sets up Archer as a workaholic cop with a distant marriage and expects it to fly.
  • In Falling Down, Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist Martin Prendergast's wife experienced Sanity Slippage after the death of their daughter and pressured him into retiring early out of paranoia of losing him too, turning him into a Henpecked Husband who's disrespected by his peers. At the end of the film, he stands up to her and decides to continue being a cop.
  • Agent Devlin in Notorious is a Rare Male Example. He recruits Alicia to seduce and marry a Nazi leader so she can spy on him, but once he falls in love with her he starts taking digs at her for sleeping with the Nazi before she married him and trying to make her choose between him and the mission.
  • Notably averted in The Greatest Showman. Charity approves of her husband's adventurous nature and isn't angry that he took some risks to achieve his dreams. What she does get angry enough about that she temporarily leaves him is the fact that he didn't tell her about taking them - in essence, that he treated her like this trope.
  • High Noon: Kate (Grace Kelly) is a Quaker and Will promised her he would give up law enforcement when they married. For most of the film, she is adamant that if he stays and fights a group who are out to kill him, she will leave him. She's trying to keep him alive, and if he's going to recklessly endanger his life, she wants to be on the train out of town when he gets himself killed rather than see it happen. If you don't know how the story ends, she later finds another way to keep him alive after realizing that she cannot persuade him to run.
  • In School of Rock Ned Schneebly's girlfriend is this in spades; she frequently reminds both Ned and Dewey of their responsibilities during the film and discourages any sort of fun that goes outside of their adult duties. She even blows the whistle on Dewey's charade.
  • Angela Bassett's character in The Score is a Wet Blanket Girlfriend, tired of Gentleman Thief Nick's double life and a bit skeptical of his desire to perform One Last Job. Unusual for the trope, Nick wholeheartedly agrees with her point, makes sure everybody knows it will be his Last Job (he even tries pulling off a Screw This, I'm Outta Here a few times throughout the film and has to be talked out of it by whoever is with him at the moment), and gets rid of all of his thief tools (except the ones he needs for the titular "score") off-screen before meeting her at the end.
  • Rosie Perez in White Men Can't Jump shows extreme displeasure at Woody Harrelson's character being a basketball hustler. When he breaks his promise to quit one time too many, she leaves him.
  • RoboCop (2014): Oddly enough, Clara Murphy's actions, which are the focus of the Trope Namer Cracked article, are not only not an example of this trope, but make sense within the film: Alex Murphy is undergoing a corporate mandated Cybernetics Eat Your Soul and she shocks him out of it, she fights for her husband's rights, and later on when Omnicorp tries to ruin her reputation because of this and even threatens to find a legal way to leave her homeless in retaliation, her response is more or less "Bring It".
  • In Rounders, main character Mike McDermott's (Matt Damon) fiancée Jo is a particularly sympathetic example. After supporting him through a very rough period in which he loses his life savings at the poker table, she gives him a clear ultimatum: give up poker or give up Jo, as she's unwilling to go through that again. When he falls back into his poker obsession thanks to Toxic Friend Influence Worm (Edward Norton), she leaves him with a bare minimum of angst, correctly seeing that he'll never be able to give up poker on any kind of permanent basis and she's not cut out for weathering the ups and downs of the professional gambler. Notably, they do not get back together after Mike pokers his way out of debt at the end. She makes her decision and sticks to it. He also doesn't resent her for her decision and at the end of the movie, they part on good terms.
  • The Finest Hours provides a nice subversion in Miriam. Her repeated, forceful demands that the rescue effort to save the crew of the Pendleton be called off to keep her fiance Bernie out of danger are refused by Bernie's C.O. She gets kicked out of the Coast Guard station over the ensuing argument, and on the way home, she hits a snowbank and is bailed out by a worried housewife and her children, whose father is trapped on the sinking ship. This gives Miriam a much-needed reality check that she is not the only person out there with a loved one's life hanging in the balance, and that as dangerous as Bernie's mission is, a lot of other ladies will definitely become widows if he doesn't at least make the attempt. She then bands together with the other wives to lend support to one another and help their endangered menfolk however they can.
  • Downplayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: While at first Pepper Potts seemed fine with Tony's Iron Man alter-ego, following his near-death in The Avengers and the destruction of their home, she urges Tony to quit. While Tony actually does quit, he is unable to remain on the sidelines and goes back to the field, despite the events of Iron Man 3 and beyond, which ended their relationship. They have gotten back together and are engaged by the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, though Avengers: Infinity War shows that she's still trying to convince Tony to give up heroing. Come Avengers: Endgame, in the five-year time skip following Thanos' decimation of half of all life when Tony admits to her that he may have found a way to undo all the deaths and decides to simply shelf it in favor of living out the rest of his days with her and their daughter, she's now the one who convinces him to go through with the Avengers' plan, knowing that not doing so will haunt him forever, so he'll never truly be at peace. It's also why her final words to him after his Heroic Sacrifice is the assurance that he did everything he could do, so he can finally rest.
  • Played for laughs in Walk Hard, in which practically every single line of dialogue Dewey Cox's first wife has to him is nagging him about how his dreams of musical success are futile and doomed to failure, despite how increasingly successful he becomes. It gets to the point where he's recording number ones and playing sold-out gigs across the country and she's still telling him to give up this hopeless dream of becoming a successful musician.
  • In Oblivion (2013), this is exactly the interaction between the protagonist and his partner. They are not a married couple but are sort of involved in a budding workplace romance. Still, she is constantly nagging him to stop fooling around, acting jealous and/or broken-hearted when he does, and so on and so forth. When the real wife finally appears, she does not exhibit these traits.
  • In Deep in the Valley, Carl has a wet blanket fiancee who is determined to stop him from having any fun, making any decisions for himself, or doing anything contrary to her wishes. When they are Trapped in TV Land, his best friend Lester makes him promise that if they get out of there, he will start standing up for himself.
  • Played with with Connie, O'Mara's wife in Gangster Squad. While she does have some characteristics of this trope, such as being very vocal on how she doesn't want her husband to keep up with his Cowboy Cop methods and urging him to stop, it is justified in that she's pregnant and wants her unborn child to have a father. She does eventually come around and accepts that he will have to take down Cohen, even handpicking every member of the Squad (with the exception of Ramirez) out for him.
  • Leah from Bill Burr's Old Dads. While her husband Jack does indeed have a problem with his temper and eventually owns up to it, she remains utterly hostile to him every time he reacts poorly to some legitimately infuriating people, like the faux-polite and tyrannical preschool director who makes a show of publicly humiliating him (once in front of Leah) and quietly threatens to write their son a negative letter of recommendation just because she has a personal beef with Jack. Add in that she keeps blowing up on him over a letter of recommendation from a pre-kindergarten school (something no sane college admissions department would ever give a shit about), and Leah flat-out comes off as Unintentionally Unsympathetic.

  • Discworld: War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, has a retired Valkyrie wife who mostly henpecks him (Death has to use The Voice to get her away, and he makes it clear she won't forget this). In Thief of Time, when she objects to him riding out, he stands up to her, and she blushes and murmurs about it reminding her of him when he was younger...
  • Conservative political writer P.J. O'Rourke once invoked this trope by suggesting his "American Girlfriend Plan for World Peace", by which every world leader would be given an American girlfriendnote , which would presumably mean they would be harangued into staying home for the weekend and not going out and leading military actions ...
  • Steris of Wax and Wayne is a subversion. She first appears as the only lady in Elendel willing to marry Wax, and their first interactions are her laying a twenty-page marriage contract dictating how their courtship and marriage will go, and her trying to steer the dinner conversation away from Wax's job as a lawman. Once they have a proper conversation at the end of the book, Steris clarifies that she's fine with him fighting crime, since she doesn't expect him to change for her. The marriage contract is only for when they're together, and she was uncomfortable with the conversation less because she's stuffy and more because she has to plan her conversations in advance, and changing the topic left her adrift.
  • The Bone Maker: Subverted with the Retired Badass Stran's wife Amurra. She's initially opposed to him coming out of retirement and admits to hating Kreya for calling on him. However, when they realize it's for a truly important cause, she throws her full support behind them and becomes a valuable ally.
  • In book 6 of The Iliad, Andromache tries to dissuade her husband Hector from returning to combat: "Nay, Hector, thou art to me father and queenly mother, thou art brother, and thou art my stalwart husband. Come now, have pity, and remain here on the wall, lest thou make thy child an orphan and thy wife a widow."
  • Homer Price: Homer's aunt Agnes, wife of Uncle Ulysses, is something of one. Ulysses is always on the lookout for the newest labor-saving device, but his wife never approves, always throwing up her hands and sighing and sometimes becoming unkindly disposed towards him for days, because "She was of the opinion that Uncle Ulysses just frittered away his spare time over at the barbershop with the sheriff and the boys, so what was the good of a labor-saving device that gave you more time to fritter?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Skyler White of Breaking Bad: she starts out (especially in the pilot) as a wet blanket who forces her husband to eat soy bacon and reminds him which credit card to use, but as Walter slides into increasingly erratic, destructive, and criminal behavior, she becomes seen more as the Only Sane Man. She even forces Walt to return a flashy Dodge Challenger he bought for their son on the grounds that it contradicts their story while they're trying to effectively launder money. While she has plenty of flaws, some fans didn't like her seemingly just because they considered Walter the "hero", and she dared to have a problem with her middle-class husband becoming a meth-dealing drug kingpin. More than a few Author Filibuster scenes intended to drive home the point that she's trying to get herself and her children away from an increasingly violent, delusional criminal. The series finale flat out has Walter say this to her, but Played With in that by that point, she has (partly out of desperation to "protect this family from the man who protects this family" and get at least one hand on the steering wheel, and partly for her own ego) become a full accomplice in Walt's schemes, with a conscience at a similar level to his.
  • Fred Yokas from Third Watch represents a gender flipping of the trope. He was both worried for his wife Faith's safety on the force and jealous of her partner Bosco. Eventually, this leads to the end of their marriage.
  • In Criminal Minds this is the main cause of the strife in Aaron and Haley Hotchner's marriage, culminating in her leaving him and filing for divorce after Hotch decides to go out in the field on "one last case".
    Haley: Aaron, stop! Don't make me the monster here. I feel sick about these women, but when this case is over, there will be another one. And another one and another one. It is never going to stop.
    Aaron: This is who I am.
    Haley: No... This is what you do.
    Aaron: I'm trying to do the right thing, here and there, and I would really appreciate a little support.
    Haley: That's right. 'Cause you always need to be the hero.
    Aaron: Don't give me that.
    Haley: No. Obviously a happy life isn't enough for you.
  • In the first season of Halt and Catch Fire, Donna Clark is a deconstruction; she knows very well that she's a nag and she hates having to fill the role, but she has two daughters to take care of and her husband Gordon is a self-destructive alcoholic.
  • Jill Taylor of Home Improvement: Even though the series tries to present her as the Only Sane Man, she comes across more and more as the series progresses as a spoiled, nagging shrew. During one episode she interrupts Tim while filming his TV show on location (you know, the ONLY source of income for a five-person household) because nobody wants to spend any time with her.
  • Saturday Night Live parodies this with Angel, Every Boxer's Girlfriend from Every Movie About Boxing Ever, who throws emotional tirades over her boyfriend's career, threatening to take the kids to her sister's, and also over unrelated things, like Apple releasing upgraded iPhones.
    • Heidi Gardner, who plays Angel, also does the trope again in this Christmas Lexus commercial parody. Here, it's a justified, as her character is beside herself that her husband, unemployed for almost two years despite their apparent affluence, went and bought her an expensive SUV that they can't afford, not only without asking her and without considering what the monthly payments are, but by borrowing the down payment money from their neighbor.note  His obvious desire to impress their teenage son's presumably also teen girlfriend doesn't help either.
  • JAG: Harm was once a carrier-based fighter pilot before eyesight problems forced him to give it up and become a military lawyer. When he tries to resume flight status and fly fighters off carriers again, two of his love interests throw the proverbial wet blanket on him. His girlfriend at the time, navy psychologist Jordan Parker threatens to leave him if he deploys on a carrier, stating that she "fell in love with a lawyer, not a fighter pilot who leaves me and goes away for a few months". His partner Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie with whom he has Unresolved Sexual Tension also tries very hard to dissuade him from returning to aviation, claiming that "it isn't good for his career, or for a possibility of life outside the Navy". Eventually, nine years after they get together, Harm's desire to return to combat fractures his relationship with Mac.
  • Barbara Keane, Jim Gordon's fiancée on Gotham, sometimes guilt-trips him for being so invested in his work while they're engaged. There's some implication she does this with her sometime lover Det. Renee Montoya as well. This stops when she gets kidnapped by a serial killer, kills her own parents, and generally embraces the dark side.
  • Kevin Can F**k Himself: Allison is this to her husband, the titular Kevin, and frequently tries to stop him from doing dangerous activities, damaging their possessions, or blowing large sums of money on various Zany Schemes. While the "sitcom scenes" of the show play everything for laughs, the "real world" scenes deconstruct the trope - ten years of having to be the responsible one (and getting mocked and dismissed by Kevin and his friends for daring to try stopping them from doing something stupid or harmful to themselves) has left Allison deeply unhappy and resentful of constantly having to clean up Kevin's messes, and his continual Aesop Amnesia only worsens it. The Pilot Episode has her finally hit her Rage Breaking Point after discovering Kevin blew their savings some years ago on an idiotic Get-Rich-Quick Scheme and kept her in the dark about it, driving her to decide Murder Is the Best Solution and formulate a plot to kill Kevin so she can finally be free of him.
  • In The Unit Hector starts dating a woman who is eventually revealed to be one of these. Hector is actually a Special Forces operative pretending to be a logistics clerk. When he finally reveals his true job to her, she immediately dumps him because she wants to get with someone who has good prospects for a civilian career outside the army ie an actual logistics clerk instead of a “gunfighter”.
  • On The West Wing, Leo McGarry's wife Jenny refuses to accept the degree to which Leo prioritizes his job over their marriage. When Leo flat-out tells her he feels that working for the President of the United States is more important than his marriage, she decides to divorce him.

  • 'Beth', the title character in KISS's biggest hit, comes across as this based on the singer's side of the phone conversation in the song as he begs her for "just a few more hours" so he can help his bandmates "find that sound" before he returns home.
    • It was originally much nastier, as Peter Criss and a former bandmate of his wrote it to mock another bandmate's girlfriend, "Beck", a hypochondriac who called the studio every 15 minutes. Producer Bob Ezrin heard Criss playing it during downtime, saw the single potential, and rewrote the lyrics to make the song less mean.
  • The Who's "My Wife" combines this trope with Clingy Jealous Girl.
  • Pink's wife comes across this way in "The Trial" on Pink Floyd's The Wall.
  • Subverted by aversion in Living Colour's "Love Rears Its Ugly Head". The singer's girlfriend doesn't complain about him going out with his friends without her, so ... he stops going out with them and presumably spends more time with her.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: While not a girlfriend, Dr. Victoria Biebau in the modern-day segments spends all her time fussing and mother-henning over Layla's Assassin team. Nearly every e-mail she's shown sending is "don't do that" or some variation of "stop enjoying this".
  • Far Cry 3. Liza Snow, the girlfriend of protagonist Jason Brody, constantly expresses concern over how Jason is becoming more and more of a bloodthirsty killer. The rest of Jason's friends also get on his case for the insane things he does, but at the same time, they'd be dead if he didn't, and more importantly, we'd have no game if he didn't. However, Liza is by far the most blatant example. She turns out to be totally right, as Jason almost sails off the deep end (or actually does, if you choose the Bad Ending).
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The first time you enter Whiterun, you'll come across a married couple arguing because the husband, a retired mercenary, wants to retrieve his father's sword from a den of bandits outside the city, while his wife threatens to take their daughter and leave him if he even thinks about it. Naturally, the husband will ask you to get the sword for him.
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia has Rinea, the fiancé of Lord Berkut. Unlike Berkut, she is an Extreme Doormat Neutral Female who hates war and violence, is incredibly timid and passive and is incapable of doing anything to stop Berkut's descent into madness and is ultimately sacrificed to Duma by an insane Berkut in order to gain enough power to destroy Alm.
  • Grand Theft Auto series
    • Kendl Johnson, sister of protagonist CJ and lover of CJ's ally, Caesar Vialpando, constantly acts as an exasperated voice of reason between the two macho Gangbangers in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. She usually has some sort of gripe against their lifestyle, but she's often right, such as when one of them plans to run off and do something stupid.
    • Grand Theft Auto V:
      • Tanisha, Franklin Clinton's ex-girlfriend is pretty much the Only Sane Woman in the entire game. She's certainly the only person in Franklin's life that wants no part of the criminal or hood lifestyle. She broke up with Franklin because he wouldn't get his act together, and continues to yell at him about it throughout the game. The thing is, GTA is a game about being a criminal, so her protests do nothing except provide Angst for Franklin. She also comes across as more than a touch hypocritical, as her apparent means of moving up in the world seems to be marrying a wealthy doctor and it's implied that their relationship is abusive.
      • Amanda De Santa, the wife of the other protagonist Michael, eventually leaves him and leaves behind a note basically saying that she's afraid for herself and their children after Michael returns to a life of crime and brings back all of their old baggage. When the two start reconciling at the end, her primary complaint is that she hates his behavior and lifestyle because she doesn't want Michael to get killed.
  • Ciel in Mega Man Zero at times reminds Zero that he shouldn't fight too much, out of worry for his safety (and worry that he might be bothered by helping her so much). Zero counters this by saying that he has battled his entire life that it's basically his purpose to do the dirty work.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Ken's wife, Eliza, subverts this. She's well aware that she will forever divide her life with her husband with his passion for fighting, probably ever since she met him in Street Fighter Alpha. In Street Fighter IV, when Ken agonizes over whether to stay with his wife with the baby due any day now or take another opportunity to fight Ryu, Eliza tells him to go right ahead and do what he wants. It's not like she or the baby will be going anywhere. The baby is born in his Super Street Fighter IV ending, meaning she's right.
    • Played straight in the UDON comic. For a brief time, Eliza becomes dispirited and walks out on Ken when it becomes clear that he'd choose a life of fighting over her. She comes back, though, just in time to give him the morale needed to win his match.
  • While Uncharted 3 and 4 has Nate and Elena having marital problems because Nate simply can't stop being a Doom Magnet, this is still subverted. Much of the early part of the fourth game has Elena trying to avert this trope and encouraging Nate to take a potentially risky job in Malaysia while Nate demurs because he doesn't want to go adventuring again. She only becomes upset with him when he lies to her and runs off with his brother anyway, and she still helps him. In the end, Nate and Elena resolve this by becoming legal archaeologists, and full-time partners and co-workers.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 
  • Extra Credits: During their "Extra History" segment on the 100-Years War, they mention that the standard role of a King and Queen (especially during wartime) was for the King to make harsh and ruthless decisions, but the queen to plead for more merciful or diplomatic measures. This was done in order for the King to appear strong and to remain feared and respected, and only "tempered" because of his wife.

    Western Animation 
  • Dan Vs. subverts this in "Dan vs. The Wolf-Man". The start of the episode paints Elise as this, with Chris mentioning that she doesn't like him hanging out with Dan. But a scene shortly afterwards clarifies: Elise just wants her husband to be less of a doormat, and apparently he mistook "Stop letting Dan step all over you" for "You can't hang out with Dan anymore." Elise is actually an elite super spy with Blood Knight tendencies; on occasion, she's been known to actively join in on Dan's elaborate revenge plots, then Chris has to be the wet blanket.
  • While Didi Pickles from Rugrats (1991) is Happily Married to Stu, there are times when she impedes on her husband and father-in-law's fun, such as saddling them and the other dads with caring for the babies during the Super Bowl in "Touchdown Tommy", or trying to keep them from going to a baseball game in "A Visit From Lipschitz" (despite them having paid good money for their tickets) because Dr. Lipschitz was going to visit with no notice. She also stops Lou from reading uncensored pirate stories and fairy tales with dragon fighting in "Sand Ho!" and "Faire Play", respectively, because they are too violent, and threatens to withhold his dentures if he orders too much junk food in "Angelica Orders Out"; all of this is in huge contrast to how she was in "Candy Bar Creep Show", the series' first Halloween episode, where she considered introducing the babies to the spookiness of Halloween when they turn two.
  • In The Simpsons, Marge started off as a Closer to Earth spouse for Homer, though was eventually Flanderized into a more dull and neurotic character. She tends to find the least enjoyable way of doing things the most acceptable, will actively seek to ruin everybody's good time if she couldn't imagine enjoying something herself, or thinks what everybody else is doing is somehow morally unwholesome (which is often). One episode lampshaded Marge's need for her family's reckless antics for any excitement in her life, to the point she ended up taking Homer's place when a Jerkass Realization made him this trope instead.
  • Princess Sally of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) is a downplayed unmarried example. She's humorless, uptight, and constantly on Sonic's back for showing off, but in a dystopian world where his recklessness often risks getting him robotocized or worse by a sadistic Evil Overlord, she's usually in the right to. She started off similar in the comic books, though became more easygoing after a while.

    Real Life 
  • Verdon Hayes held the world record for oldest skydiver when he jumped at 101 years old. He wanted to do it when he was younger, but his wife said absolutely not, so he waited until after she passed away.