"Wild Wife" is a 1954 Merrie Melodies one-shot cartoon directed by Robert McKimson. Featuring none of the staple characters, it is instead a darker (and, in hindsight, somewhat progressive) take on the stereotypical human television couple of the era.
Marsha, a housewife, is exhausted and slumping in an armchair when her pipe-smoking husband John comes home. The very first thing he asks is if she did any of the chores. She replies that mowing the lawn was the only chore that didn't get done. After John makes a sexist remark about how women (at least, at the time this cartoon was made) have all the time in the world and can never get anything done, Marsha recounts her day to show what she normally goes through:
- Putting up with John's snoring until 6:00 in the morning.
- Waking up to close all the windows in the house and make breakfast for her bickering kids and chronically late-for-work husband.
- Vacuuming the house... and sweeping the floor when the dust comes out the other way;
- Going to the bank, where she had to deal with two elderly customers slowly counting out their large deposits in pennies;
- Going to the blood bank, where she had to deal with a green-skinned man who wants to make a withdrawal instead of a deposit;
- Going to the department store, the drugstore (which, at the time this short was made, had a soda counter for malts and milkshakes), and the grocery store;
- And finally, her hair and make-up appointment, where she had to put money in the parking meter. Despite pulling out the salon's permanent wave machine and scaring a man with the mud mask she had on her face, she still got a parking ticket because the city moved the parking meter and replaced it with a fire hydrant and the cop giving her the ticket didn't believe Marsha when she tells him, "It wasn't there when I parked it."
Despite all of Marsha's accounts of her day, John remains unimpressed until she answers that she did indeed get him something. It turns out to be a wooden rolling pin, which she uses to knock him out for his putting her through all that trouble and then showing zero appreciation for it afterwards.
Bea Benaderet was the (uncredited) voice of Marsha.
"Wild Wife" provides examples of:
- Alliterative Title: "Wild Wife".
- An Aesop: While it's highly unlikely (hopefully) you'll ever get bashed with a rolling pin anytime soon, It's still important to listen to your loved one and show a little appreciation and gratitude.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: John asks if Marsha bought him anything. When she answers yes, his face lights up. However, the page image indicates precisely what it was.
- Facepalm: The blood bank clerk when the little man wants a withdrawal.
- Housewife: Marsha, who is greatly annoyed by John not realizing all she goes through in her day.
- Jerkass: John, a very chauvinistic husband with virtually no empathy for his wife.
- Loud Sleeper Gag: The first part of Marsha's flashback has her finding trouble sleeping due to her husband's snoring. She jokingly calls him "the human buzzsaw" in reference to the loudness of his snoring.
- One-Shot Character: John and Marsha's debut (and only) cartoon short. They never appear again in any follow up shorts.
- Paying in Coins: At the bank, the old lady in front of Marsha is making a large deposit in pennies. Marsha switches to another line when it clears up, only to be cut off by another old lady doing the same thing.
- Pun-Based Title: Of "wildlife".
- Rolling Pin of Doom: What Marsha "bought" John. She uses it to zap him over the noggin and proceeds to deliver the closing line of the cartoon.
- Shown Their Work: Marsha's accounts of her hectic day are highly accurate even if the seniors' bank deposits are exaggerated.
- Slapstick Knows no Gender: Marsha's day is full of Merrie Melodies-level frustration and misfortune.
- Understatement: "Little man, I've had a busy day!"
- The Unfair Sex: Subverted. John shows clearly lacking understanding and gratitude towards his wife Marsha and gets bashed over the head for his trouble.
- Ungrateful Bastard: John, as his reaction to hearing that the lawn hadn't been mowed was to make a sexist crack at his wife's expense.
- Whole Cartoon Flashback: Marsha describing her day to John.