A man and a woman coo over each other. A bystander turns to another and says, "What does she see in him?" Or, conversely, "What does he see in her?"
May also inspire comments about how love is blind — sometimes justly, sometimes unjustly. Common with Romantic False Lead and the Love Triangle. Ugly Guy, Hot Wife may inspire it. So may Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy, if she actually gets him. When jealously motivated, may be coupled with What's He Got That I Ain't Got?! If either member of the couple Has a Type, True Love Is Exceptional is often in play.
In Single Woman Seeks Good Man, likely to be said by less mature characters than the woman; in All Girls Want Bad Boys, the characters who say it are prone to have a better view than the girl, who is prone to dismiss it with You're Just Jealous.
When one half of the couple wonders "What do you see in me?", it's I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me (when they first meet) or Insecure Love Interest (once they're dating). When the questioning comes up about a friendship, it's Loser Friend Puzzles Outsiders. When it's not the attraction but the relationship that leaves people wondering, see Nobody Thinks It Will Work. When the audience has its doubts about the relationship, see Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?. And when what she sees in him is a sucker who's gullible enough to fall for a Honey Trap, that's The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction.
See also (and closely related to): What's He Got That I Ain't Got?!
- In A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, Kuroko Shirai is in love with Mikoto Misaka, but she's in love with Touma Kamijou. Kuroko doesn't understand why; she thinks he's just a dumb brute and is completely unaware that he saves the world a lot and has saved Mikoto and her sisters.
- Aggretsuko: In season 3, everyone from Fenneko to Gori asks Haida just what is it about Retsuko that keeps him fixated on her, despite having been shot down numerous times and being presented a perfectly good substitute in Inui. Haida admits that he's drawn by the little details about Retsuko that tipped him off that she wasn't just a generic Cutie, and he wants nothing more than to get to know her and learn what those Hidden Depths really are.
- Ah! My Goddess: Belldandy quickly elicits this reaction from the Nekomi students when she shows up for the first time in the campus walking alongside Keiichi, who is a Ridiculously Average Guy in pretty much everything, barring his mechanic and riding skills.
- In the OAV, Urd wonders this out loud while chewing out Keiichi for making Belldandy cry and screwing up Urd's plans.
- Azumanga Daioh:
- Platonic example: Pretty much every single character in the main cast wonders how Yomi could ever end up becoming best friends with Tomo. Especially confusing since "best friends" here translates into Tomo acting like an idiot and pushing Yomi's Berserk Buttons, with Yomi retaliating with physical violence in kind, not to mention the fact that Yomi is more belligerent towards Tomo than any of the other girls, but Tomo actually studied hard for the final test at their last school specifically so she could transfer to the same school as Yomi... which she explicitly did in order to spite Yomi and so that she could continue teasing her.
- Some students wonder what their literature teacher's wife saw in him. To elaborate, said literature teacher is Mr. Kimura, who openly ogles girls half his age and once answered the question of why he went into teaching with a shout of "BECAUSE I LIKE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS AND STUFF!" His wife appears to either not notice this or not care; given the amount of ditziness she displays in her appearances, it's more likely the former. It helps he's a decent guy when not being perverted (he donates large amounts of money to charity).
- In Black Clover, Mimosa tells Noelle that she has a crush on Asta. Noelle asks Mimosa why she would like him, a stupid, short, and loud peasant. When Mimosa tells her that she finds all that charming and its gap with his body, Noelle tells her no and wonders why she herself sounds so desperate, denying her own romantic feelings for Asta.
- Case Closed: Sonoko sees Shinichi as a mystery otaku. What does Ran see in him?
- Crimson Spell: Most of the cast, but particularly Halrein, are at a loss to understand what Prince Vald wants with Havi. Like a lot of other examples, Havi is actually a decent partner (not to mention quite literally magical in bed), but he only shows his caring side to Vald.
- Combined with What's He Got That I Ain't Got?! in the case of Vald's Superpowered Evil Side, who's just as madly in love with Havi. He can't see why Havi is so hung up on his human self, who vacillates between denying any attraction between them and begging Havi to stay with him, when Demon Vald is right there, physically identical in almost every way and always willing to declare how much he wants Havi.
- Doctor Slump:
- All the citizens of Penguin Village are bewildered when the Hot Teacher Midori decides to accept the marriage proposal of Senbei.
- At the qualifying round of the bike Grand Prix near the end of the series, Kibault asks an attractive female race-car driver the very question regarding Biker Boy, to whom she's married. Said female driver, whom Biker Boy woos only through besting her at racing, responds with "speed".
- Dragon Ball Z: This was pretty much everyone's reaction (in-universe and out) to the idea that Bulma and Vegeta would end up together. Especially during the Android/Cell saga, where Vegeta more or less ignores Bulma's very existence despite having fathered her child. Future Trunks, however, thinks he has an inkling:
Trunks: I don't think you realize how much honor means to my father. It's the only thing that keeps him going. It's what makes him a warrior. Oh sure, some might see it as arrogance, but I think down at the core, it's much more noble than that. I believe that's what my mother saw in him. And it's what I see too.
- In Full Metal Panic!, Leonard, the jealous Romantic False Lead, says something along these lines to Kaname about her love for Sousuke. He comments on how it's ridiculous that she likes Sousuke more than him since Sousuke killed hundreds of people. Little does Leonard realize that he's fighting a losing battle when the object of desire is Sousuke.
- He also doesn't understand that even though he's never killed anyone in person, his own hands aren't exactly clean. Given that he's a high-ranking member of a terrorist organization and everything.
- There's also the part where Sousuke is not only a hardened professional soldier who's never (intentionally) hurt anyone outside a battlefield but a genuinely nice guy who will literally go to the ends of the earth for the girl he loves. Leonard's a jerkass whose idea of courtship is forcing a kiss on the unwilling object of his affection, kidnapping her, and setting her up to have her personality erased and her body stolen in order to rewrite reality to his liking.
- Ironically, Kaname herself asks this question when she learns Sousuke received a love letter from a girl at school, baffled that any student in their right mind would want to date someone as crazy as him (certainly not herself, no siree). Kyoko points out that not everyone necessarily knows or believes Sousuke's reputation and that, well, he's very physically attractive. Sure enough, the poor girl in question just had no idea how outlandish Sousuke's behavior could be and wisely decides to run away screaming when he attempts to interrogate her at gunpoint.
- Occasionally asked of Kousaka and Kasukabe in Genshiken. As it happens, Kousaka is actually a loving, caring guy it's just it only comes up when his otaku switch is set to "off", and during ninety percent of his screen time it's "on".
- In the Gravitation anime, Suguru is surprised when he learns that the famous novelist Eiri Yuki, an emotionally reserved guy to say the least, is going out with the hyper, bubble-brained Shuichi and asks Hiro why Yuki would be interested in someone like Shuichi. Hiro replies, "That's what I'm trying to figure out."
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon decides on a whim to try and talk to the eponymous girl (who is extremely beautiful and fiercely rejects any social interaction). The rest of their class does not disguise their shock when she talks back.
- Several characters in Haruka Nogizaka's Secret (especially students who attend the same high school Nogizaka Haruka and Ayase Yuuto do) wonder what the popular, talented, and wealthy Nogizaka Haruka sees in average-looking Ayase Yuuto.
- The resident Lovable Sex Maniac Issei Hyodo in High School D×D gets this from all sides at his school, thanks to having many of the school's greatest beauties competing for his attention. What these humans don't see is that Issei will unflinchingly go through absolute hell (even by Devil standards) for those around him and very much earned their affection.
- In the beginning, Tooru asks what Hori sees in Miyamura. He "sees" it, later on. After the Relationship Upgrade, the other kids in school don't even try to be subtle when expressing their disbelief. Sawada, who also has a crush on Hori, asks this as well.
- Inverted with Yanagi. He had confessed to Yuki and she wants no part in it, but everyone can't help but wonder what she doesn't see in him— he's smart, kind, humble, and incredibly handsome. (Yanagi is a bit too perfect in Yuki's eyes. She wants someone normal. And it's a smart decision for Yuki too, since Yanagi is socially inept that he has hard time relating to others on their level, which spells doom to any relationship.)
- Averted in I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying. Despite Hajime being an Otaku who's more interested in anime than the real world, no one ever wonders why Kaoru fell in love with him (they're more surprised that she got married at all). Her friends do ask what he sees in her, but that was more to tease her.
- Christine "Chris" Robbins from Itazura Na Kiss has terrible taste in regards to men's looks Really terrible taste◊. She finds guys like Naoki ugly and guys like Kinnosuke sexy. It is implied that she got her tastes from her mother.
- Looks aside, Kinnosuke is a pretty decent guy.
- Naoki's own mother wonders why girls like him, due to his cold personality. Also, a gender-swapped version often occurs after people find out that Naoki married Kotoko due to her seeming to have no talents. That's likely because he has a "cold personality." (Looks aren't everything you know? Okay, maybe it is.) And yeah, Naoki is quite the Jerkass.
- Ishigami from Kaguya-sama: Love is War is baffled by Maki's pining over someone as bland as Tsubasa, especially considering the fact that he's already in a relationship with her best friend Kashiwagi. The only answer he gets is that Tsubasa is a Nice Guy.
- Kaiju Girl Caramelise: When the Ginjuuji High student body discovers that Arata is dating Kuroe, they're almost universally stunned (and in the case of the girls, extremely jealous). Kuroe was so worried about everyone reacting this way that she unsuccessfully tried to keep it a Secret Relationship beforehand. One classmate even asks Arata if Kuroe is threatening him. The only two classmates who aren't shocked and/or disappointed are Manatsu (who helped set the two up) and Rairi (whose insecurities about her appearance and painful experiences with a boy she liked make her naturally sympathetic to Kuroe).
- In Kimagure Orange Road, people wonder what lead female Madoka sees in main male Kyōsuke. He may be a Nice Guy and the one who approached her while she was an outcast and believed to be a Japanese Delinquent, but (besides his Psychic Powers) he's still very average, while she's extremely smart and a Renaissance Man who excels practically at everything.
- At the beginning of episode 2 of Kotoura-san, other girls in class are puzzled about why Manabe is in love with the "creepy" New Transfer Student Haruka.
- It's what all the male students at Tenbi wanna know about Takeru's girl magnetism. As far as they can see, he's plain-looking, a dumbass, and a pervert. None of which has stopped several of the hottest girls at the academy from falling for him; including Love Espada!
- The female students ask the same question about why all the guys drool over Ms. Aki, except they already know the answer. It's because she's got the biggest rack among them, on top of being an older woman and the school nurse.
- Mazinger Z: When Boss realizes that Sayaka likes loud-mouthed, arrogant, tactless Kouji, he wonders why she fell for him.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, this is some people's reaction to the uber-serious, professional, and competent Kati Mannequin falling in love with an ineffectual goofball like Patrick Colasour. Some scenes in the series imply that she enjoys the fun he brings to her life: having him around helps her unwind and stop taking everything so seriously all the time.
Patrick: Colonel! I've come to ask you on a date!
Kati: At a time like this!? The world is currently on the verge of a revolution. You don't have any thoughts on this?
Patrick: No! None at all!
Kati: [sigh] (smiles) Wait, right here. I need to go change.
- Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
- Both Mikoshiba and Nozaki are baffled by Sakura's feelings for Nozaki, though of course the latter is oblivious to the fact that she likes him specifically. Mikoshiba thinks Sakura's mental image of Nozaki sounds really obnoxious and Nozaki is puzzled about what Sakura likes about someone who is emotionally dense and takes her help for granted.
- Misunderstood with Wakamatsu's friends. Upon noticing that Wakamatsu's been paying more attention to and spying on Seo, they are horrified and question what is it that he sees is so appealing about her. He's actually wondering the same thing: surely she must have some kind of good point, but all his investigating shows her constantly being annoying.
- Yamato introduces her friends to her boyfriend Takeo for the first time in My Love Story!!, they can't believe that this intimidatingly huge, muscular, homely-faced guy is the same boyfriend that Yamato had bragged about being so cool. When they witness Takeo selflessly risk himself to save two of them who had gotten caught in a burning building, they begin to see the noble personality that attracted Yamato to him. On top of that, Yamato genuinely thinks Takeo is handsome, regardless of how weird others think her taste is.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, this is Asuka's reaction to hearing that Hikari has a crush on Touji.
- One Stormy Night: Secret Friends: In episode 6, the friends of Lala, a she-wolf who happens to be the little sister of Barry, mocks her when she found out that she has an attraction for the "weak and slow" Gabu. Of course, Lala is annoyed by that.
- In Oreshura, practically all of Eita's classmates wonder this when Masuzu gives him a Love Confession since he seems completely focused on studying while she's the most popular girl at school who's rejected numerous boys. His Childhood Friend Chiwa wonders about this as well...
- During one episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Stocking falls in love with a guy who's incredibly disgusting, foul, sexist, and just all-around unpleasant. Panty (and every single onlooker) wonders what Stocking sees in him. Even worse, the guy is quite obviously a ghost, raising even more questions. The question might be finally answered during the Gainax Ending when Stocking reveals herself to be a demon before slicing Panty into 666 pieces.
- In RaButa, Hiromi is completely baffled by the fact that her best friend Kurume is attracted to the local lazy, overweight, delinquent Harundo. And she's even more baffled by the fact that he initially isn't interested in her.
- In Say I Love You, a few characters, particularly girls, wonder what Yamato Kurosawa, the most popular boy at their high school, sees in Mei Tachibana, a friendless outcast who keeps to herself. However, his interest in her is genuine and keeps trying to get to know her more until she finally opens up to him. And despite that, several characters still try to sabotage the relationship, such as Megumi.
- In the Distant Finale of Stellvia of the Universe, Kouta's doctor wonders what Shima sees in a "blockhead" like him.
- Urusei Yatsura:
- No one seems to understand why Lum is in love with Ataru, particularly her many admirers. For the record, Ataru has no idea either.
- In the second film, Beautiful Dreamer, Shinobu outright asks Lum this very question. Of course, she's being a Hypocrite because she used to be Ataru's girlfriend herself.
- In Mission: Yozakura Family, Kyoichiro is constantly asking this question after Taiyo and Mutsumi agree to marry.
Kyoichiro: [chewing on his own Razor Wire] Such an admirable girl... S-She's such a sweet girl... So why... is she with this guy.
- Played with Spider-Man. In a high school reunion, this is the reaction from Peter's old schoolmates (and jocks) when discovering that Peter (they remember him just as a nerd Butt-Monkey) is married to Mary Jane, a super-model.
- Played with in a crossover between Spider-Man and Invincible: after the latter meets MJ, Spider-Man expects him to bring up the trope, but Invincible points out that Spider-Man is attractive, funny, and a pretty nice guy so it makes sense that someone like MJ would be attracted to him.
- A mind-controlled Supergirl tells Lois Lane that she doesn't know what her cousin sees in her in Justice #8:
Supergirl: I don't know what Superman sees in you, Miss Lane. And don't tell me "X-Ray Vision". I have, too. And I don't see anything.
- Used almost word-for-word in Runaways.
Victor: If I live to be a hundred, I will never understand what you see in him.
Gert: None of us is going to live that long, Victor. That's the one thing Chase knows better than anyone...
- In Trinity (2008) some heroes meet Thomas Tresser and find out Wonder Woman is dating him. Their reactions are: "That's Tresser? And Wonder Woman's really going out with him?"
- In Ultimate Fantastic Four, both Strange Josie and Namor have wondered enviously why Susan Storm is dating Reed Richards.
- Zodiac Starforce: Kim and Emma can't figure out why Savanna is interested in jerkass Darren.
- In Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me Eric, Buddy, and especially Doodle are clearly starting to become exasperated when Freddy gets back together with the eponymous Laura Dean for a third time, despite the fact that she constantly treats Freddy like dirt.
- In a rather long arc of Bloom County, Opus became engaged to a young, attractive human woman named Lola Granola; Opus himself wondered what she saw in him, especially after Opus discovered that her former boyfriend was a real hunk with far more secure finances. (Lola's only stated reason for wanting to marry a penguin was that she believed "men are jerks".) Because Status Quo Is God, this didn't last, but in Breathed's third strip, Lola started dating Steve (the strip's resident chain-smoking Jerkass who was much older than her, who most would agree was an even worse match), suggesting she simply has Horrible Judge of Character.
- In one Fred Basset strip Fred wonders what a poodle could possibly see in the large, scruffy-looking male dog accompanying her.
- In Garfield, the question of why Liz became Jon's girlfriend has been brought up after Jon and Liz became an Official Couple, but Liz has yet to give an answer to it whenever it's raised. Here is an example.
- A Crown of Stars: As stated in chapter 55, a while ago Asuka asked Hikari what she saw in Touji. Hikari replied that it was his compassion.
Hikari: A while back, Asuka asked me what I saw in you. I told her it was your compassion.
- Advice and Trust: In chapter 4 Asuka thinks this of her friend Hikari after Touji has been acting like a perverted idiot:
Asuka: Jock-Stooge, sharp as a brick as always. I have no idea what you see in him, Hikari.
- Doing It Right This Time: After considering his mother got absorbed into Unit 01 on purpose to become an eternal reminder of humankinds existence and she actually wanted him to watch how she seeming died, Shinji wonders what his father saw in her. Asuka cannot figure it out either.
Shinji: It's just that I'd repressed the memory as thoroughly as possible because I saw my mother die horribly when she tried to synch with it and succeeded a bit too well. Or so everyone thought; if I didn't hallucinate everything between seeing you go down to the Mass-Production Evas and waking up on the beach, she actually did it on purpose so that Unit-01 could become an eternal monument to mankind's existence... or something. I don't know all the details and I'm not sure I want to, especially why she found it necessary to make me watch.
Shinji: So, yeah, [...] That's the woman my father is planning to cause total human extinction to reunite with. No accounting for taste, I suppose.
Asuka: Guess not.
- Hail To The King: In a scene Zone Fighter tells Asuka that he has no idea what Shinji sees in her.
- Hellsister Trilogy: Neither Superman nor Supergirl's adoptive parents understands why a sweet, kind-hearted, mature woman like Kara fell in love with a rude ass like Dev-Em.
- Kurumi never understood what Shinji saw in Asuka or why they got married.
- For that matter, her older sister does not get what Kurumi sees in Shinji.
Natsume: Oh, your darling Shinji-kun! You know, I never really understood what you saw in him.
- Last Child of Krypton: In chapter 4 Touji has realized Shinji likes Asuka and he says: "I don't know what you see in her,"
- The One I Love Is...: In chapter 6 "Friends" Asuka tells Shinji her best friend has a huge crush on his best friend... and she has no idea of why she likes that perverted idiot:
Shinji: Are you really sure she likes him?
Asuka: Sure! I asked her. I don't know why, but she has the biggest crush on that baka. Personally, I think she deserves better, but if she wants him that bad...
- Lily gets this reaction a lot in The Peace Not Promised when she starts returning Severus' affections. In fairness, it wasn't just his proud and prickly personality, unkempt appearance, or poverty; they were also worried about his former association with the Death Eaters, who would torture and kill Lily if given the chance (Lily's confident that he's repented and reformed, but not everyone is so readily convinced). She's eventually able to win them over when they see how much good he's doing.
- In this Wreck-It Ralph Fan Art, Felix 2.0 is confused by the fact that a "high-def chick" like Calhoun would be married to anyone like his original.
- In Suzumiya Haruhi No Index, several characters wonder why both Haruhi Suzumiya and Shizuri Mugino are in love with Kyon, commenting that he's plain-looking, has no powers, that there's nothing special about him at all. Mugino's reason is that he saved her life.
- Hitsugaya has this kind of reaction in On Life, On Death, On Everything In Between when he finds out Ichigo's father Isshin had gotten married, even without knowing anything about the "she" in question.
"What kind of person would willingly marry Shiba-taichou?"
- In the fifth chapter of Thousand Shinji, Asuka ponders that she cannot figure out what her best friend Hikari sees in Touji.
- In chapter 9 of Children of an Elder God, Asuka and Hikari argue because Asuka doesn't like Touji and doesn't get why Hikari likes him. Ironically, Hikari thought Asuka's then-current crush on Kaji was bad because Kaji was an older man and a playboy.
Asuka started to retort, then sighed. She didn't want to fight with Hikari about this. He was bad for her, but she just wouldn't ever see it. I can't believe she likes this guy, Asuka thought. "Okay, okay, I'll try to get along with him, but..." He's a butthead, she thought.
I'm not too fond of your date either, Hikari thought. How can you like that guy? He's just a playboy. This is gonna be one big mess. But it gives me an excuse to ask Touji out, so... "Right. I'll talk to Touji as soon as I can."
- A gender-inverted and kind of variation in Sol Invictus. Johnny finds himself wondering how Zoro, who is pretty much sexist because of some circumstances the last time he checked, would pledge his allegiance to Luffy.
- In Bring Me Back Home, this is Marinette's reaction when she meets Felix, her parallel universe counterpart Bridgette's crush, and immediately picks up on his cold indifference to her. After getting into an argument with him later, Marinette notes that she's probably ruining Bridgette's chances with him, but wonders if that might be doing her a favour.
- It's a Running Gag in the Skyhold Academy Yearbook series that Varric doesn't understand Bethany's taste in men. He jokes that it's her only real flaw. He doesn't start making this joke until after she's in a relationship with him.
- Yu Mustang in Mother Arc is at a loss as to why her son is so enamored with Edward, who comes off as hot-tempered, immature, and arrogant.
- No One Breaks My Heart Like You: Downplayed. Barbara Heinz, Mary Jane's friend, does not hate Peter or look down on him; she knows that Peter and Mary Jane love each other and that Peter is a good guy. However, she can tell that Mary Jane is unhappy and sometimes feels that he's weighing her down.
- Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: After getting to know how much Cody has changed over the years, Gwen points out that he could do much better than Heather. As much as Heather hates to admit it (even to herself), she acknowledges that Gwen has a point and that Cody would have no problem finding himself a much nicer and still attractive new girlfriend; this actually has a positive effect on Heather, as it encourages her to be an even better girlfriend to him.
- In Dragon Ball Z: Dynasty, this is Zangya's reaction upon realizing that 18 and Krillin are a couple:
Zangya: Wait a minute... that ugly little troll is your husband!? Sweetie... you do realize you can set the bar higher than the floor, right?
Android 18: He's going to be my husband very soon... and I'm going to make you pay for daring to insult him!
- A Glass Of Wine: When Toji and Kensuke ask Shinji because he is trying to bond with Asuka, Shinji answers she is just like him. They do not yet get it.
- The RWBY fanfic "One Day They'll Understand" revolves around this. Absolutely no one understands why Blake and Jaune are dating, with much of it being confusion over how it happened in the first place and wondering what someone like Blake sees in someone like Jaune. Only two people, Ruby and Pyrrha, ask the opposite question, if only because they're attracted to Jaune and are frustrated that they might have lost their chance. Each chapter focuses on a different character reacting to Blake and Jaune's relationship and ends with them finally accepting that the two are genuinely in love.
- In Happily N'Ever After, Rick wonders what in the world Ella sees in the Prince because while the man is pretty, he's a complete moron.
- InThe Haunted Mansion, when Jim learns from Ramsley the butler that Edward Gracey thinks Sara is the reincarnation of his love interest and wants to marry her, he protests that she is his wife. Ramsley calmly admits that's true, but adds he can't see what [Sara] ever saw in [Jim].
- The King's Speech. Winston Churchill growls, "What is her hold over him?" on watching from the sidelines as Wallis Simpson orders around the future King of England. He's told the (quite likely untrue) rumor that she learned sexual skills in a Shanghai house of pleasure.
- In Mean Girls, Cady asks this of Aaron about Regina. He asks the exact same question of her, except in a more friendship-oriented way.
- In My Best Friend is a Vampire, Ralph has no clue why Jeremy ignores Candy, who's a blonde cheerleader and obviously very attracted to him, in favor of Darla. Jeremy cheerily ignores Ralph's commentary on the subject, as Darla does with her own best friend, Gloria, who can't figure out why Darla has any interest at all in Jeremy.
- In The Other Guys, evident when Detective Terry Hoitz and the audience are introduced to Detective Allen Gamble's wife, Dr. Sheila Gamble (Eva Mendes), amplified by dialogue where Allen denies to Terry that his wife is hot.
Hoitz: WHY ARE YOU WITH HIM?! (beat) I mean... How did you two meet?
- In a review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it's said of Decker that it's clear what he sees in an alien character: "his reflection in her (bald) skull. What she sees in him is never made clear."
- Strange Magic: Marianne is shocked by her sister's adoration of the Bog King until she finds out about the Love Potion. Roland has the same reaction when he finds out Marianne and the Bog King have fallen in love naturally. The Bog King is less than impressed with Roland being Marianne's ex-fiance himself.
- In Wedding Crashers, Claire is engaged to Sack Lodge, who cheats on her and inflicts multiple acts of savage brutality on the protagonists. Subverted as Sack makes extensive effort to keep his true self hidden from Claire and her family.
- Eddie Valiant's reaction to Jessica Rabbit being married to Roger in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In due course, Eddie does ask, and gets told why. "He makes me laugh!"
- She also seems to imply there are other reasons...
Eddie: Better lover than a driver, huh?
Jessica: You better believe it, buster.
- Note that from the Toons' perspective, it's the other way around: they're trying to figure out what Roger sees in Jessica.
Eddie: She's married to Roger Rabbit?
Betty Boop: Yeah, what a lucky girl!
- She also seems to imply there are other reasons...
- In Wolf Creek, Ben is travelling with two girls, hot, curvy blonde Kristy, and skinny brunette Liz. Guess which one he has a crush on.
- In The Wedding Singer, Robbie remarks to Holly that he can't figure out why her cousin Julia is with Glenn. It's a legitimate query since by this point Robbie knows (but Julia doesn't) that Glenn is a serial cheater.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- In Iron Man 3, Killian tries to give a Breaking Speech to Tony about how he doesnt deserve Peppers love. Tony rejects it wholesale, though he does concede that Pepper is a better person than he is - all the more reason to fight for her and kick Killians ass.
- In Avengers: Endgame, Gamora from the year 2014 is utterly baffled that her 2018 self was/will be in a relationship with Peter Quill. Her sister quips that her options were him, or the talking tree.
- In Spider-Man: Far From Home, much of the comic relief comes from Peter being utterly baffled by two unlikely relationships: his Aunt May and Happy Hogan, and his best friend Ned and their acquaintance Betty.
- Heaven Knows What: Everyone who knows Harley can't seem to understand why she's madly in love with Ilya because he's an asshole who is often cruel to her. She realizes that he does bad things, but can't out-think the way she feels about him. She'll always love him. The story was based on the memoirs of the lead actress, and it's her actual feelings about her late boyfriend.
- Birgitte Silverbow in The Wheel of Time series elicits this from almost every female character she gets to know. Birgitte is a blonde warrior, and many men find her attractive, but she has a stated preference for ugly men. The man to whom she is fated to love in every one of her lives, Gaidal Cain, is nobody's idea of handsome—with the exception of Birgitte.
- In the Darkest Powers series, anyone who sees Derek and Chloe together, especially other supernaturals, is very likely going to think this (Chloe's aunt certainly does) about them. Chloe is very pretty, petite, and blond-haired and blue-eyed. She also tends to be very sweet, kind, and friendly to people who aren't total dicks. Derek, on the other hand, is hulking, not attractive, riddled with acne, generally unfriendly and mostly standoffish with people he doesn't know, and has a bad temper. (He does have good qualities. Seriously.) He's also a werewolf, which is considered by most people to be evil (unfortunately, a stereotype that most of them fulfill), or, at the very least, dangerous animals to be avoided with great prejudice, and killed if necessary.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Ron asks this about what Hermione sees in Krum. Harry immediately points out that he's a famous international Quidditch player, to which Ron responds "Yeah, but besides that!"
- A platonic (at least on her side) example happened in the past, between Severus Snape and Lily Evans. Lily was an attractive and popular witch who was friends with the less-than-attractive and dark-minded Snape. However, Lily ended that friendship when Snape called her a "Mudblood" in a bout of anger.
- In John Hemry's Relentless, after a conference with Rione and some officers, the officers' reaction to Rione's acts is to comment on how it explains things. Duellos explains to Geary that they had wondered what he saw in her; now, they know.
- A minor mystery for Sally and Angua in Thud! is why exotic dancer Tawnee is going out with Nobby Nobbs of all, uh, people.
- The protagonists of Warrior Cats often wonder why the arrogant Berrynose attracts Poppyfrost and Honeyfern.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's Jill The Reckless, Barker wonders this about Jill's engagement to Derek. Mrs. Barker urges his good looks.
- Jane Austen likes to invoke this occasionally:
- In Mansfield Park, Fanny Price often wonders what Edmund can possibly see in Mary Crawford. She admits that Mary is beautiful, spirited, and witty, but she's aware that he's blind to her faults and twists facts so that they would fit to his ideas. Of course, Fanny is the jealous variety since Edmund is her only friend and teenage crush.
- The narrator of Northanger Abbey observes this about Mrs. Allen: "Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them."
- Elinor, in Sense and Sensibility, observes that both of Mrs. Jennings's daughters seem to be in completely ill-suited marriages. Mary (Lady Middleton) is vapid and society-oriented, with no sense of humor, and she's married to the cheerful and down-to-earth Sir John. Meanwhile, Charlotte is empty-headed and good-humored, and her husband Mr. Palmer is a snob who wants to be better than everyone. Despite this, however, both marriages appear to be fairly happy; Mr. Palmer is much nicer to his wife in private than in public, and the Middletons are never shown to have any particular quarrels.
- The Scholomance: Orion and El provide an (initially) platonic version. The other students (especially the kids who grew up with Orion in New York) are stunned and baffled by how much time Orion starts spending around surly loner El when he's spent his entire life ignoring everyone else except when acting on his Chronic Hero Syndrome. The real reason is that Orion finds all of the attention everyone else gives him unsettling and considers El's annoyance at his rescues as a sign that he can be more open with her. It takes a while for anyone else to figure this out.
Chloe: I've known him since we were born, and the only reason he knows my name is that his mom drilled him with flashcards in the second grade ... We all knew he was special, we were all grateful. But it didn't register. He wasn't being a snob or anything, he's never mean or rude. I just —didn't matter to him. Nobody ever mattered to him before. Then he talks to you once, and all of a sudden he's making excuses for following you around ... We've only been arguing about whether or not you're a maleficer who's doing something to him.
- Just about everybody in The Worm Ouroboros wonders why on Mercury the beauteous Prezmyra picked Corund of Witchland - at least a decade her senior and frequently compared to an ox in appearance - out of a score of suitors. She is clearly devoted to him to the point of committing suicide after he is killed.
- The War Against the Chtorr. Lampshaded by Lizard Tirelli when telling Jim McCarthy why she's ending their relationship, as his antics have destroyed her credibility as his superior officer. They end up getting married instead.
- The reaction of most characters in-universe to the marriage of Beren and Lúthien in The Silmarillion. This is perfectly understandable. Lúthien turned down Daeron, a talented poet and loremaster. Beren, is kind of a loser in comparison. However, it's revealing that Daeron is one of the few people who does understand why Lúthien likes Beren from the beginning. Since Daeron is the one telling the story, the audience is thus also not left in doubt. Everyone has expectations for Lúthien, everyone is trying to limit her or get her on their side: everyone except Beren.
- On Arrested Development, the rest of the Bluth family has no idea what George Michael sees in Ann Veal.
G.O.B.: That's his girlfriend? What, is she funny or something?
Michael: And most importantly, Dad, my son does not like to be seen in [the family's Alleged Car].
George Sr.: (laughing) But he's okay being seen with that girl?!
Michael: It makes no sense, I know.
George Sr.: (serious again) It doesn't.
- Better Call Saul: The beautiful Kim Wexler could have any man she wanted, so why would she go for a sleazy lowlife like Jimmy McGill? Viewers can see that Jimmy has a certain charm which appeals to her, that they have a lot of fun together, and that Kim actually has far more in common with Jimmy than she does with her more straight-laced colleagues, but none of this is apparent to them:
"Kim, one more thing. This fellow, McGill, or Goodman, whatever... You could do a whole lot better."- Kevin Wachtell
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Howard (a perverted gonky Casanova Wannabe) with Bernadette (a cute, bubbly, sweet girl). The funny part was that they met due to a promise between Leonard and Howard years prior if either got girlfriends they would set the other up on a blind date; Penny set them up and was dumbfounded that it worked out as well as it did.
- Downplayed with Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler. Amy isn't exactly a great catch, being kind of plain-looking and socially awkward... but Sheldon is even more socially awkward than she is, being more akin to an overgrown neurotic, socially inept, temperamental, and very selfish child than anything. She even lampshades it in the episode "The Spoiler-Alert Segmentation," remarking that she finds his personality... quirks... "cute as a button", when others find them "abhorrent and rage-inducing". The trope is subverted when Sheldon actually causes her to break up with him after one particularly stunning display of self-centeredness, and she doesn't take him back until he gets Character Development. And even then she admits that Sheldon is not right in the head at all times. However, due to severe self-esteem issues and Rule of Funny, she never leaves him note .
- Stuart is a Straw Loser who easily makes everyone else around him seem cool, so it's nothing short of miraculous for him that Denise, the girl he hires to help run his comic book store, finds his knowledge about various "nerdy" subjects sexy, as his awkward demeanor weirds others, including Howard, out easily.
- Discussed between Bernadette and Denise regarding Howard and Stuart, respectively, during "The Citation Negation".
Bernadette: You and Stuart... why?Denise: I don't know. My parents own a funeral home. Read into that what you will. [...] Let me ask you a question: Howard... why?Bernadette: You got eyes. What do you think?
- Nick & Vicki in season 17 of The Amazing Race. Vicki was a tough yet friendly Determinator who regularly creamed her male competitors in physical-oriented challenges even with her asthma, and despite her and Nick's consistently low placements, she kept an optimistic outlook on the race. Sadly for her, she got stuck with Nick who contrary to his appearance, a wimp. He was easily their anchor and contributed next to nothing. If that's not bad enough he was easily the most hated racer than season by being a Bastard Boyfriend to Vicki constantly verbally abusing her. Heck not even just her, even other contestants. Even worse, was in the 10th leg he forced Vicki to quit the Roadblock thoroughly obliterating any chance they had at catching up, not that the viewers wanted them too. By the end of the season, everyone was asking themselves this.
- In Charite, Hedwig comes to wonder this when she learns that her friend Ida has feelings for the rude, erratic, troubled Doctor Behring. Ida insists that he can be caring and compassionate — which barely anyone but her ever gets to see.
- Sam and Diane in Cheers. In both directions.
- Played for Laughs in Series 2. After he and Rachel break up, Ross feels this way towards Rachel's new boyfriend Russ. The joke being that he's completely oblivious to the fact that Russ looks and acts exactly like him.
- After discovering Monica and Chandler are dating, Phoebe and Rachel comment that "she could do better". Played with as Chandler, despite his neuroses, is actually a great boyfriend and he and Monica are very happy together. (Plus she has plenty of her own issues so they're well-suited.) As Rachel and Phoebe have failed to establish successful relationships themselves at this point, it's more of a justified case of extremely jealousy than them having any reasonable criticisms.
- Game of Thrones: Tyrion and Bronn are puzzled about just why the whores of King's Landing consider Pod a Sex God, and they are helpless to explain.
- Regarding the relationship Ivy of Good Luck Charlie previously had with Emmet, Ivy can only plead temporary insanity.
- iCarly: In iEnrage Gibby, Carly, Sam, and especially Freddie are dumbfounded that Gibby can get someone hot like Tasha as his girlfriend. They all agree in the end that "There's something wrong with that chick."
- The reality TV show Is She Really Going Out With Him? takes this question and runs with it, picking out a couple where the guy can, generally speaking, be referred to as a "tool" with no objection. In most episodes, the guy is shown as being uncaring (or having very messed up priorities regarding his relationships), insensitive, and an all-around jerk. Whether this is the reality of the situation or the result of post-production editing is sometimes debatable, but when the boyfriend shows up to a formal dinner with his friends (who weren't invited) wearing very casual clothing (including muscle-shirts), it tends to be pretty clear why he and his girlfriend are on that show.
- Played with in Keeping Up Appearances, where Hyacinth often wonders what her sister Daisy sees in Onslow (who, apart from being a lazy slob, is a fairly decent guy), despite the fact that Hyacinth herself is loud, brutish, and unbearable to be around, to the point where her husband Richard dreads retirement because it would mean spending more time with her.
- Married... with Children plays this both ways. One could wonder (and in fact, Marcy has openly questioned her about this on multiple occasions) what Peg sees in her balding, homely, minimum-wage earning loser of a husband when she's been hit on by more attractive and wealthier men. Al, on the other hand, could be asked why he continues to stick with Peg when he'd be fully justified in kicking her out for her ridiculous sense of entitlement and freeloading without contributing to the family. The question is never really answered since whatever the headaches Al and Peg give each other, they're still too attached to break up their relationship even when they could profit materially by doing so.
- Mimpi Metropolitan: Bambang and Melani's relationship gets this reaction from most bystanders. Bambang is an unattractive man who can't keep a stable job while Melani is a beautiful woman with a respectable career, so people assume that either Bambang is lying about the relationship, Melani gets forced into it or Bambang uses some supernatural means to make Melani falls in love with him. One of Bambang's romantic rivals, the much more handsome Juna, directly asks this to Melani. The answer is simply Single Woman Seeks Good Man.
- Lee and Dawn in the British version of The Office. Lee is constantly shown to be miserly, misogynistic, joyless and a bully who, on various occasions, talks down to Dawn, outright offends her and belittles her ambitions. Done on purpose, since Lee is the Romantic False Lead who comes between Dawn and Tim, with whom she is clearly besotted. Given the show's aspiration towards low-key realism, it's odd that the show never explains why Dawn stays with Lee for as long as she does.
- The writers freely admitted in this case that they had intended to make the Lee vs. Tim romantic rivalry more a battle of equals, each with their own merits, but fell into this trap partly because owing to the nature of the show Tim naturally had more opportunity to be presented as a more appropriate match for Dawn than Lee did. Although it didn't help that, when they were on together, Tim naturally ended up being more likable than Lee anyway.
- The Christmas Special and Grand Finale somewhat answer this, with Lee being shown to have repeatedly squashed Dawn's hopes and dreams, to the point where she finally gave up having any dreams whatsoever and settled for the simple humdrum of day-to-day living. Tim's encouragement for her not to give up her dream of being a children's illustrator leads her to finally stand up for herself and dump Lee's worthless hide.
- This dynamic is replicated in the US series with their respective counterparts, Pam (Dawn), Jim (Tim), and Roy (Lee). After leaving Roy for good, she acknowledges in her Love Confession to Jim at the beach games that she never should have been with Roy as long as she did, but never gave much thought to the reasons why until she met Jim.
- In the U.S. series, this is Erin's reaction to Michael's pining for Holly Flax.
"I don't get it. I'm sorry, I just... I don't get it!... Is she an amazing cook or something?"
- Considering Erin clearly came to see Michael as a father figure, it might have just been her being a jealous Daddy's Girl.
- Also in the U.S. series, when Andy was engaged to Angela, Oscar flat out asks him what he sees in her.
- Both Oscar and Angela in their relationships with Senator Robert Lipton. Lipton is good looking, wealthy and powerful but also openly treats both of them as political props. Angela appears to stay with him for money and status and because he's her son's legal father, but she does appear to truly believe that he'll one day stop being gay and fall in love with her. Meanwhile Oscar claims that Robert is that first man hes ever truly loved despite his refusal to have a public relationship with him, only allowing Oscar to come to his political rallies as outreach to Hispanic voters. When Lipton does come out he still never admits to dating Oscar and starts a relationship with his campaign manager, and throws Angela and the boy he must assume is his son out on the street, showing that he never cared about either of them.
- It's a running gag in Parks and Recreation that no one can figure out how Jerry ended up with his insanely hot wife. The fact that he's a genuinely nice person and that they seem to be very much in love doesn't seem to satisfy anyone. There is one possibility...
- Please Like Me: Josh's mother wonders what exactly fit and conventionally attractive Geoffrey sees in her son Josh, who looks "like a fifty-year-old baby". Josh wonders the same thing.
- This happens in Popular when Josh the "cool" jock hooks up with the unpopular "fat girl" Carmen, and everyone is completely horrified, Harrison (for reasons best known to himself) writes a song about the absurdity of Josh finding Carmen attractive and performs it in front of everyone). It's basically an in-universe example though, as Carmen is blatantly a very pretty girl - albeit in a quirky way - and is only really "fat" by Hollywood standards. To the unbiased observer they don't seem an ill-matched couple at all (if anything, she's better-looking) but whether the makers of the show did this deliberately to demonstrate how pointless generic standards of "beauty" are, or whether they just couldn't bring themselves to cast a genuinely obese or unattractive girl in the role, is open for debate.
- This came up in Royal Pains. When Hank started dating Dr. Emily Peck, everyone (including other characters) couldn't understand it. She constantly tried to steal all of Hank's business, and whenever he even bothered to bring any of her faults up, she would start to undress and they'd end up having sex. Hank ''never'' saw any of her faults. Many were convinced that he had swallowed the Idiot Ball.
- In Seinfeld, Jerry starts dating a girl that is perfectly acceptable by his own standards, but everybody (and that is everybody, including the girl's friends, the girl's family, Jerry's friends (that even go as far as staging an intervention), random passersby and even Newman) treats her like some kind of incredible loser and Jerry is, at best, doing her a favor. Jerry can't understand what is it that is making them treat her like that... up until the moment that Jerry's parents meet her, and are the only other people in the whole episode that treat her like a human being. Jerry dumps her immediately.
- In Smallville, Clark does a variant by telling Chloe he can't see what she sees in Davis. She denies being with him at all. Kind of justified given that he is Doomsday...
- The Sopranos: Several people tell Christopher right to his face that he's batting way above his league with Adriana and should be thankful that she's devoted to him.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Jadzia Dax occasionally had dinner with Captain Boday, an alien with a transparent skull, leading to this exchange:
Bashir: Personally I don't know what Jadzia ever saw in the man.O'Brien: Well, his brains.
- In That '70s Show, Eric doesn't understand how his friend Hyde can be attracted to Jackie, whom Eric can't stand (even calling her "the devil"), because she's shallow, self-obsessed, and annoying. On the flip side, many people (including Eric himself on occasion) don't understand what the heck Donna is doing with Eric.
Eric Donna? I just have to ask... why me? I mean there are so many other guys who are way better looking.Donna You know, you're right, if only I could be with some handsome jock who was mean and shallow and didn't make me laugh.
- Subverted when Hyde tries to explain his attraction to Jackie to Eric, making Eric realize it's not so much that Jackie isn't hot as much as her attitude is so annoying that it distracts him from her hotness.
- Quite a few viewers have observed that Jackie, being a teenage girl who's been raised with pre-feminist standards, tends to reflect the traits of the boy she's dating at the time. Kelso, who she dates for the first few seasons, is also shallow, self-obsessed and annoying, but Eric and the gang excuse it because he's their friend, while Jackie mostly spends time with them because of Kelso. Hyde, on the other hand, brings out Jackie's sarcastic side, which is one of the reasons they both enjoy arguing (to the point where it's occasionally foreplay).
- Watching had a theme tune that addressed this trope, sung from the perspective of the female lead. She reels off a substantial list of all his faults and asks herself what she sees in him, but then she's forced to admit that she's not exactly a prize catch herself and wonders what he sees in her. It's actually quite sweet in a dysfunctional kind of way.
- Victorious: Given how mean she is to everyone even him, it's a genuine wonder to viewers what Beck sees in Jade.
- In Wizards of Waverly Place, every supposedly decent girl that Justin falls for - first Juliet, and then, Rosie.
- This is pretty much everyone's first thoughts when they learn about Schmidt and Cece on New Girl. He's a loud and obnoxious jerk and she's a gorgeous model. Turns out they're both quite insecure about themselves and he's actually kind of nice deep down.
- This 2016 sketch from Saturday Night Live, in which the report about an earthquake gets utterly sidetracked by this trope. The same Kavorka Man got a 2019 follow-up with Jennifer Lopez as his new wife, with a new wrinkle - they have an open relationship.
- Rebecca of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a tendency of dragging normally reasonable people into her chaos and, despite all of the strange and morally questionable things she does, making them care about her (usually to their detriment, at least in the first few seasons). It's eventually lampshaded when White Josh finds himself face to face with Rebecca's craziness and wonders aloud why all of his straight friends are in love with this girl.
- A French Village: Daniel openly asks Müller what Hortense sees in him. Müller dismisses the question.
- "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" by Joe Jackson is the passive-aggressive version of this trope.
- Not to mention Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know".
- Gender-flipped version in Adele"s "Rumour Has It".
- Comedian Graham Fellow's One-Hit Wonder song "Jilted John" is all about the 'moron' called Gordon who's stolen his girlfriend, although the song then subverts itself by saying "Just 'cos he's better looking than me, just 'cos he's cool and trendy".
- Gets a mention in the Train song "Mermaid":
Sharks green with envy
They wonder what she sees in me
Funny but sometimes can't help but wonder that as well
- The Smiths' only-live song "What Do You See in Her", which was recorded with different lyrics and theme as "Wonderful Woman".
- "Madam Broshkina" by Russian singer Alla Pugacheva is sung from the perspective of a lady wondering what her ex-husband sees in this Witch with a Capital "B".
- Hamlet: The titular character spends a long tirade comparing her mother's (vicious, monstrous) new husband to his (noble, kind, handsome) father, asking her this question to try and convince her she's in the wrong.
- In Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro, Joseph Taylor Jr. is about to walk down the aisle with Jenny Brinker, and the guests express their concerns in "What a Lovely Day for the Wedding":
The Taylor Group: What can he see in her?
The Brinker Group: What can she see in him?
The Taylor Group: The Brinkers are all stinkers!
The Brinker Group: All the Taylor crowd is grim!
- Although not explicitly stated in A Very Potter Musical, Harry clearly wonders this of Cho Chang's relationship with Cedric Diggory.
- Sung word for word in The Little Mermaid when the servants are trying to figure out why Prince Eric invited Ariel who cant talk to dinner.
- Another Rodgers and Hammerstein example is from Cinderella, "The Stepsisters' Lament.'' The twist, of course, is that the ugly stepsisters can't figure out why the prince would turn them down for the much more attractive Cinderella.
Oh, why would a fellow want a girl like her,
A girl who's merely lovely,
Why can't a fellow ever once prefer
A girl who's merely me?
- A variation in Bye Bye Birdie, where Rosie has a number trying to figure out what she ever saw in Albert.
- This is Noce's attitude toward Alicia's relationship with Welkin in Valkyria Chronicles.
- All over the place in Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- This is pretty much what Alistair says if you continually gain approval with Zevran. Amusingly, he asks this of Leliana, who invokes All Girls Want Bad Boys and implies that she can also see the attraction.
- Oghren will also ask Morrigan this in exact words if the Warden is in a romance with her. Going by some other things he says to her, he's probably at least a little jealous. That and likely intends to steal your moves to pick up the ladies.
- Morrigan herself will pose this question to a male Warden that romances Leliana instead of her. To a female Warden who romances Alistair, she will remark that he must be very good in bed because she can't imagine any other reason why a woman would want him.
- Leliana will pose this question to Alistair if a male Warden pursues a relationship with Morrigan.
- Alistair poses this question to Wynne if a male Warden romances Morrigan. It's not out of jealousy, but more him likely wondering if he should find a straitjacket for his fellow Warden, as they have quite clearly gone crazy.
- Dragon Age II
- Should Hawke romance Fenris instead of Anders, the latter will stop them and outright ask why, likening him to a dog. He will also ask this if Hawke romances Merrill, worded differently.
- If a male Hawke romances Merrill, a rivaled Isabela will ask her what she could possibly see in Hawke, not knowing where to even begin listing his flaws. This is not a straight example, as Isabela actually rather supports the relationship, so long as Hawke understands that breaking Merrill's heart would have unfortunate consequences, so she's probably just having a little fun at Hawke's expense.
- If female Hawke romances Sebastian, Varric will remark to Cassandra that he never understood how that worked; Hawke is his best friend, but Varric really doesn't like Sebastian very much, and he invokes the trope by name.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition:
- Implied to be the case with many outsiders (though not really anyone in the inner circle) should the Inquisitor romance Dorian. One noble even sends a letter to Vivienne complaining about the unsuitability of the match, though she assures the pair in party banter that she effectively told off the offending party.
- On the other hand, should the Inquisitor romance Sera, this question does seem to be on the minds of a few of their companions.
- Dorian himself has this reaction should the Inquisitor romance Blackwall.
- As shown in Party Banter, Vivienne also questions the Inquisitor/Blackwall romance. He in turn quickly shuts her down:
Vivienne: Well, you two seem to make each other happy.
Blackwall: And? Surely, you're not ending this on a complimentary note.
Vivienne: I was just wondering how you imagined your future. The Inquisitor and the— well, whatever you are now.
Blackwall: Ah, I see. You think we're a poor match. Lady Vivienne, that woman there will stand with Thedas' mightiest because of who she is. She may choose whomever she pleases, even an undeserving nobody. Envy her for her ability to love freely, but recognize that envy is what it is.
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- In the Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC, there's a point where the party must infiltrate a charity event at a casino. If a female Shepard has romanced Garrus and picks him as her date, he'll admit later that he overheard people wondering what he did to get such a gorgeous human woman for a date. "I have no idea."
- Although never explicitly stated in-game, this must have crossed the minds of many characters in Monkey Island when Elaine, the rich, intelligent, gorgeous, and independent governor, who turned down proposals of marriage from many eligible suitors, married a goofy-looking, dorky nobody like Guybrush Threepwood.
- Etna asks Flonne this in Disgaea 3 when they start arguing over who gets to be Laharl's "wife" when they pretend to be Mao's parents.
Etna: Then tell me, what part of this made you want to marry him?Flonne: Um, uh. Well... How everything revolves around him?
- Everyone in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn wonders how Astrid can defend lazy, drunken gambler Makalov. Even Makalov himself says she's wasting her time, but she refuses to listen to reason. If they have A support in the previous game, they'll get married and their ending states that he never changes.
- Nah in Fire Emblem Awakening is a rare case of a Kid from the Future wondering this about her own parents! Though given that her mother Nowi is not only a Cloud Cuckoo Lander but a 1000-year-old dragon with the body of a pre-teenage girl, it's kinda understandable. To wit, her first assumption on why her folks got married is that she's under the assumption that her father got Nowi pregnant.note
- In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND, Hazama literally asks Tsubaki Yayoi what she sees in Jin Kisaragi at one point during Slight Hope, making it clear that he knows she's in love with him. To be fair, he could give a shit less, and is looking for ways and/or reasons to exploit their relationship for his own ends. Any manipulation would have to be done in another iteration of the past century, however, as Tsubaki's friend Makoto Nanaya broke all his plans in this one.
- Done tragically in Overwatch. Because Ana doesn't know the full story of how her old friend Amélie became Widowmaker, she assumed that Gérard married a complete bitch who killed him once she was done stringing him along. Widowmaker is furious once she heard Ana's version of the story.
- In Gal*Gun Double Peace, the angel Ekoro asks what the main character sees in his childhood friend, Shinobu, should he choose to romance her. Considering Shinobu actively avoided any contact at all for three years and was very cold to him when they talked again (which happened primarily due to outside influence), she has a point.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Kodah questions her daughter's taste in men after she hooks up with a Hylian, though she notes that she's not one to talk given that she used to have a crush on Link.
- Info-chan in Yandere Simulator notes that she isn't sure what Ayano sees in Senpai in the latter's profile, noting his average... everything.
- This is one of Zagreus's first questions in Hades upon finally meeting his mother Persephone and discovering she hooked up with Hades willingly. Demeter is similarly baffled, but decides she likes Zagreus too much to question the union much further.
- One group victory quote in Tales of Symphonia has Genis question Colettes taste in men:
Colette: Lloyd! You looked so cool!Genis: Im starting to wonder about your taste, Colette.
- Mortal Kombat 4: In Tanya's ending. When Liu Kang follows her into a trap where Shinnok and Quan Chi are waiting for him, she wonders what Kitana saw in him.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations:
- A plot point in the first case. Mia questions why would someone like Dahlia Hawthorne, who's described as incredibly beautiful by practically everyone, be interested in someone like Phoenix, who at the time wasn't really anything great. Phoenix claims that she's simply in love with him, while Mia says that the only reason she was dating him was a necklace that was evidence of her earlier crime. The truth turned out to be much more complicated. Neither of them knew that Phoenix was actually dating Dahlia's Nice Girl twin sister Iris, who indeed started dating him to get that necklace for her sister, but genuinely fell in love with him over time.
- Nobody has a clue what attracted Desirée DeLite (extremely attractive Biker Babe) to her husband Ron (a high-strung, nebbish girly-boy) at first. Turns out it was a Rescue Romance.
- At the end of Sunrider Liberation Day, Icari starts to question why almost every woman in the crew is suddenly expressing their interest in Kayto after all the times he screwed up throughout the plot. Thanks to a Freudian Slip, however, she ends up doing this to herself:
Icari: Aah, what is this stupid love fest... Hmph! I cant believe you guys still even like this guy! Just look at him! Totally got backstabbed by his new girlfriend, like literally just days after going out! Totally ruined everything we fought for the past year! And on top of that, completely vaporized our ship! Ah, the most unreliable space captain in the history of space captains! I cant believe I like a guy like him! (realizes what she just said) U-uck... I-I-I-I-I MEAN I-i-i-i-it... ITS NOT LIKE I LIKE YOU OR ANYTHING!!! (runs off screaming in embarrassment)
- If you follow Ittosai's Good ending in Yo-Jin-Bo, this is the general reaction of the other guys. However, due to their tendencies toward jealousy, it comes off as "What does she see in him that I'm not better at?"
- This is most people's standard reaction upon seeing Claudia being enamored by Wilhelm in Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~. Beatrice in particular can't stand the mere thought of it as does Ludwig, though in his case it is a bit more complicated.
- Girl Genius: about Agatha and Tarvek. Played with when a character who knows better honestly answers "Probably nothing."
- James can't understand why Ash is with Rumisiel in Misfile. Of course, he doesn't know that Ash is only pretending to be with Rumisiel so her father will allow him to stay at her house.
- This trope is deconstructed by Bug.
- MegaTokyo: Meimi somehow got it into her head that you were dating this walking disaster. To be followed by a stunned reaction.
- In Endstone, Cole doesn't know what her mother saw in her father.
- In Sinfest, Slick grumbles about Monique's lack of taste.
- In Sluggy Freelance, Bunbun and Gwynn see Zoe's relationship with Torg as this, since she is (usually) the Only Sane Woman, and Torg is an Idiot Hero and a Genius Ditz at best.
- In a Gunnerkrigg Court flashback, Sir Eglamore literally asks this question when he learns that Surma has left him for the stoic and aloof Anthony Carver.
- In Peanuts Untold, upon seeing Lila give Charlie Brown a Valentine's Day kiss, Sally drags her to Lucy's psychiatric help booth to "fix" her. Lucy's reaction is a Big "WHAT?!" and to ask who in her right mind would want to kiss Charlie Brown.
- Laser Pony in League of Super Redundant Heroes is in a relationship with Mary Sue, who's exactly what you'd expect. While Laser Pony is friendly, it's obvious that Mary's way out of his league.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: "She called him sweet. How is he sweet?"
- Played with by The Nostalgia Critic, The Nostalgia Chick and Todd in the Shadows. Critic doesn't care about Todd either way, what he's wary of is the Chick driving herself crazy over him.
- Weiss is noticeably shocked that Pyrrha doesn't share her disgusted reaction when Jaune tries to flirt with them.
- This is also used in reverse: in Pyrrha's song "Dream Come True", she is wondering what Jaune sees in Weiss.
- During the second fight between Yang and Adam, Adam screams "What does she see in you!?" There's a long list of reasons, but the most immediately relevant one is that Blake and Yang are equal partners who help each other, which contrasts with Adam who used emotional manipulation to make Blake feel guilty for hurting him whenever she stepped out of line.
- Movie Rehab: One of the main problems that Sag has with Being John Malkovich in which he doesn't understand why Craig keeps trying to hit on Maxine if she frequently treats him like crap.
- In the Simgmproductions Glee Season Two Spoof song Obsession of Finn, detailing Rachels... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this is asked by Finn himself.
- Finn: I'm not that great, whats all this about? (...)Why can't you just leave me alone? I'm sometimes a jerk to you girls. You can do better, I know you can.
- Blitzo and Verosika, from Helluva Boss. Verosika is a world (Hell) famous popstar succubus. Blitzo is just a regular imp, member of the lowest class of Hell's creatures, and a total Jerkass. Blitzo's co-workers are all shocked by the revelation that they used to date, though there is the question if their boss dated her before or after Verosika became famous. And then there's this exchange:
Blitzo: Okay, why are you all acting like thats such a shock?
Loona: Hel-lo. It's Verosika Mayday?
Millie: It's... you?
Moxxie: I just... Is she blind? Suffering some form of brain damage?
- This theme is explored in the The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Choices," which reveals how Nicole and Richard met. Turns out Nicole's parents put a lot of pressure on her to be perfect, to the point where she thought being the best was the only way people would like her. Richard was the first person she met that liked her for her, and didn't care if she was perfect. Richard may be the epitome of the Bumbling Dad stereotype, but there's no doubt that he and Nicole genuinely love each other.
- American Dad!: While not really pointed out in-universe, Stan is a Jerkass who's incapable of learning any lessons and does such things as lying to and use his own family for his own benefit, and has forgotten his and Francine's wedding anniversary more than once. In at least one episode, Francine has actually thought about leaving him.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, during their team-up, Poison Ivy asked Harley what she ever saw in the Joker, and throughout the series appeared to be annoyed (with hints of jealousy) whenever she went back to him. Even Batman once tried to convince her that the Joker didn't see her the way she saw him.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman says it almost word-for-word in reference to Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor in the Cold Opening for "Scorn of the Star Sapphire!"
- Jimmy Pesto Jr. from Bob's Burgers is ditzy (and not in the endearing way), he frequently ignores Tina until she ignores him back, and as "V for Valentine-detta" shows he's capable of being pretty nasty towards her. As a result, the Belchers don't know why Tina likes him so much, and have more than once said as much.
- In Code Lyoko Sissi says, "I wonder what he sees in her" referring to Ulrich and Yumi respectively.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: Many would wonder why such a sweet, kind, old lady like Muriel would marry an immature, selfish Jerkass like Eustace. The fact that he tried to have Courage killed by his foes near the end of the series has you wonder why Muriel never got a divorce after this.
- In Danny Phantom, Sam says these exact words to Danny in one episode as he drools over Rich Bitch Paulina.
- In Darkwing Duck, "U.F. Foe", Darkwing is shocked when Tia expresses interest in Launchpad. According to Tia, it's because he's kind, has a good heart, and taught her how to laugh and have fun.
- Brad of Detentionaire feels this way about Tina picking Lee over him.
- In one episode of Donkey Kong Country, Bluster Kong outright asks Candy Kong what she sees in Donkey Kong("...This big hairy ape?")
Candy: He's... a big, hairy ape! And you're not.
- Many characters (justifiably) have this reaction to Lois' marriage to Peter in Family Guy. In the episode "Petarded", Brian flat-out asks her, "Have you ever stopped to think, "Wow, I'm married to that guy?" Lois simply states that she represses such thoughts... and as it turns out, she has done so so often that she's developed a brain tumor. Death asks her this question verbatim after Peter asks him to elaborate on his previous sentence, even though he was obviously finished talking.
- The canon answer is that she finds fat men attractive, and they share a sense of humor. Whether this is enough to make up for Peter's regular Jerkassitude is another matter.
- This seems to Retcon from an earlier episode when she couldn't form sentences when Peter became thin and muscular. On the other hand, finding muscular people more attractive than fat guys doesn't mean she's not also attracted to fat guys.
- The canon answer is that she finds fat men attractive, and they share a sense of humor. Whether this is enough to make up for Peter's regular Jerkassitude is another matter.
- Cobra Queen once asked Steff what she saw in Freakazoid!, commenting that he seems so stupid. Steff explains he's only like that for TV and is actually normal off camera.
- Glenn Martin DDS: Upon forming a crush on Conor, the Martins' gross Dumbass Teenage Son, Wendy does this to herself. She laments that she has no idea what she sees in him while also describing Conor as a "dreamboat". This is also to the ire of Courtney, Wendy's best friend/boss and Conor's sister, who knows firsthand how gross her brother is. Wendy is able to look past all of Conor's negative traits (he has quite a few), but the last straw is when he tries to sacrifice her to what he believes is a monster is trying to eat them. Just like that, Wendy finally snaps out of it.
- Helga on Hey Arnold! utters this many times to all the crushes that Arnold goes through over the course of the series.
- In Justice League, it's revealed that thousands of years prior to the series, Wonder Woman's mother, Hippolyta had been seduced by Hades and tricked into helping him overthrow the gods of Mount Olympus. After the League defeated him when he was unleashed by Felix Faust, Wonder Woman asked her mother what she saw in him. Hippolyta merely replied, "Ancient history."note
- In the fourth season of Kim Possible, Ron gets quite a bit of this when he starts dating Kim, even from the villains they're fighting.
- Surprisingly enough, especially Dr. Dementor, who pressed the issue more than Bonnie Rockwaller, even. However, it's subtly implied (in his final main appearance, along with the reappearance of Kim's cousin, Larry) that he may be projecting, specifically his frustrations when his younger sister, Hildegarde, gets married and, due to a promise, is forced to take his brother-in-law, Myron, in his scheme during the episode (where he voices a majority of said thoughts.)
- King of the Hill:
- Some characters (and fans), notably Peggy and Mihn, wonder why Luanne hooked up with Lucky as he's a stupid, ugly, bucktoothed, middle-aged, stereotypical hillbilly.
- Other characters wonder this about Nancy and Dale as they rarely show their love for each other and Nancy cheated on Dale with John Redcorn for years. In fact, this trope applies to many couples in the series.
- The Looney Tunes short, "Eatin' On The Cuff Or The Moth Who Came To Dinner", revolves around a goofy clothes moth marries a bee. At the end of the short, the narrator, a live-action actor at a piano, is left wondering what that bee ever saw in the moth, and muttered to himself, "What a dope!" Unfortunately, the moth heard him, and ate the narrator's pants in retaliation.
- The Looney Tunes Show: In "You've Got Hate Mail", Daffy accidentally sends an angry e-mail to everyone he knows listing the things about them that annoy him. The part about his girlfriend Tina takes an oddly heartwarming twist when he accuses her of being crazy... because "Why else would the kindest, most beautiful, generous, and intelligent woman in the world go out with someone like me?"
- Played for laughs in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Peppermint Larry starts kissing Candy Wife, which causes this exchange:
K'nuckles: There she goes again, givin' him kisses! What does she see in that guy?! Why doesn't she ever give ME kisses?!
Flapjack: Maybe 'cause she's married?
- Made funnier by the fact that Candy Wife is an inanimate lump of candy.
- Miraculous Ladybug:
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Regular Show: Eileen, who's a cute dorky Girl Next Door and genuinely friendly has a crush on Rigby, who's a rude, lazy Jerkass towards her... at least at first. By the third season, he's warmed up to her, seeing her as a friend and slowly becoming a better person under her influence. It's then revealed in a Wham Line at the end of Season 6 that they've been dating since at least the beginning of that season, but Eileen told Rigby to not mention it so Mordecai wouldn't feel bad about his many, many romance issues. The show's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue at the end of season eight reveals that they married and had two children.
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: When Catra is captured by Glimmer and Bow, she acts as uncooperative as possible. The frustrated Glimmer eventually asks what Adora ever saw in Catra, visibly upsetting Catra.
- The Simpsons:
- Marge and Homer Simpson. Some episodes answer the question. In The Movie, Marge actually can't come up with an answer to this question after his latest and most extreme bout of jerkassery and selfishness and leaves him as a result. He does make up for all the dickish things he did, though, and they got back together. Marge's sisters Patty and Selma never approved of their relationship throughout the entire series.
- In one episode, Bart questions what the babysitter sees in Jimbo. "What do you like about him? He's just a good-looking rebel who plays by his own rules." Which makes both the babysitter and Lisa sigh dreamily.
- In the episode where Lisa has a crush on Nelson, Bart has this reaction.
Lisa: Nelson's my new... friend.
Bart: Are you nuts? I'll probably never say this to you again, but... you can do better!
- Steven Universe: In early episodes, the other Crystal Gems often questioned what the late Rose Quartz saw in Greg Universe, a bumbling one-man band/car wash owner who lives in his van. Greg often asked the same himself. It's later shown that they didn't start off in a good relationship, with Rose just treating him as a novelty. Him being the first person to call her out on this disrespectful attitude and insisting she treat him with respect is a major factor in why Greg went on to be the most serious romantic relationship she's ever had. Plus, being an attractive young man when they met helped quite a bit.
- In SpacePOP, Luna's crush on Captain Hansome is questioned by a couple of characters, particularly for his Stay in the Kitchen attitude, but she's oblivious and continues to fawn over how handsome he is.