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Beauty and the Buffoon: Implausible TV Couples

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blondie and barney


Throughout the history of television, you could always count on one thing: an abundance of shows featuring a beautiful woman paired with some goofy schmuck. Time after time, plausibility is tossed out the window in favor of eye candy. The genesis of this whole tradition may be the Blondie TV series (which, of course, originated from the comic strip and then movies). Dagwood Bumstead was a bumbling idiot, and his wife was the definition of poise and beauty. Of course, this wasn’t near as implausible as Barney Fife and Thelma Lou.





Bewitched (9)

Check out Darrin’s hungry look. Are we positive Dick Sargent was gay?

Elizabeth Montgomery is an intelligent and incredibly beautiful woman. Plus she has magical powers that could grant your every wish. So, who does she choose as a mate? A neurotic moron who won’t let her do magic. He’s not even all that good at his job – Larry Tate is constantly threatening to have him fired. That is, until Samantha can save his incompetent ass once again.







The Flintstones and The Jetsons are also prime examples. Fred and George are overweight, ignorant, and extremely grouchy – prone to shouting at their ladies. Barney is short, fat, and a complete imbecile. And yet, their spouses are smart, level headed and drop dead gorgeous. Go figure.







Bob Newhart is a successful psychiatrist with a razor sharp dry wit; this adds some bonus points with the ladies, I’m sure. But Suzanne Pleshette? Come on. Next you’re gonna tell me Bosley was makin’ it with all three Angels.

Note that Ladykiller Bob would again find a gorgeous wife in his next show, Newhart.







Perhaps the one I take most umbrage to is The Brady Brides. I’m sorry, but there is no way in hell that the perfect Marcia Brady married this slovenly doofus. Whoever created this show obviously never watched a single episode of The Brady Bunch. Marcia was a cheerleader, school president, miss popularity and all around overachiever… simply being in the same home amid this manic drive for perfection drove Jan to the very edge of sanity. Not to mention, Marcia was a total knockout – not the type to hook up with this lame cornball.







The smoking hot Loretta (Mary Kay Place) has a much older balding man who simply could not look more repulsive… and when he removes his shirt to make love to his wife, audiences are treated to a pale white body covered in a thick mange. Back hair never looked so repulsive.

As out-of-his-league as Loretta was, the show delighted in its own bizarre undertones.  However, there was no such self-referential irony in our top two shows…







One of the most unbelievable examples would have to be Perfect Strangers. Explain to me how Larry and Balki, two of the goofiest individuals who ever lived, can be intimately involved with two hot blonde stewardesses? I mean, these guys make Shemp seem suave and handsome. To quote Balki: “Don’t be ridiculous!”

The honor for the most absurd, completely unbelievable mismatch in the history of television would have to be Téa Leoni and Corey Parker in Flying Blind (1992-1993). There’s no possible way this match could have taken place – not even under the influence of large amounts of alcohol. If Flying Blind had been a science fiction program taking place on a remote corner of the galaxy where nerdy dumb-asses are considered attractive, then I might buy it.




I think Seinfeld deserves a mention. Somehow a neurotic stand-up comedian manages to have one fashion-model girl after another. I mean, this guy makes Sinatra and Lee Majors look like lightweights!  However, he never stuck long enough with a single girlfriend to have an official pair.


new zoo revue emmy7


I nearly included Doug and Emmy Jo from The New Zoo Revue as shining examples of a mismatched couple. Emmy Jo was a stone cold fox, while Doug was as nerdy as they come.  However, they are a real couple and happily married to this day! Hardly what I’d call a mismatch.

It demonstrates the superficiality of this whole exercise…… however, can you name a single example where the reverse is true – where the guy is a studly winner and his wife is an ugly loser?

I won’t wait around till you come up with one.

  • epobirs

    In it’s defense, the mismatch was the core plot of ‘Flying Blind.’

    Show built around stand-up comics always have to give him a very hot wife. It’s in the contract. Newhart may have started it but it has been the pattern ever since.

    • Jason Shepherd

      Agree. Look at more recent shows like “The King of Queens” or “Still Standing.” How else could guys like Kevin James or Mark Addy get women like Leah Remini or Jami Gertz?

  • epobirs

    Hmm, New Zoo Revue guy looks a bit like John Holmes doing a Clark Kent. Perhaps the attraction was for less obvious reasons.

  • HealthyAmerican

    Chandler and Monica would never have gotten together in reality. And as for Seinfeld…see what other comics have hooked up with and rethink that entry.

  • Tom Servo

    You forgot the Great Equalizer: The importance of a mans looks decreases proportionately in relation to his bank balance.

    Now if they were goofy AND broke, now that would be crazy.

    as far as mismatches the other way – name an ugly married woman in any TV series who isn’t divorced or widowed. Bea Arthur, anyone?

  • Michael Ken Dennis

    Dagwood Bumstead was the son of a rich industrialist. His father disowned him when he married Blondie.

  • Lacey W

    At least Flying Blind owned its premise. THAT was the joke of the one joke show.

    I think all of this is like the outrageously sexy women comic book artists create.
    If you can’t find them in real life then make them up.
    That is why you never see hansom men with plain wives in sitcoms.

  • Misanthrope

    News Flash: A man’s looks are only important to a woman when she’s looking for something short-term – and even then, looks are hardly determinative.

  • AlanOne7

    Bridget Loves Bernie: No way would gorgeous Meredith Baxter marry cab-driver David Birney. I’m not being anti-semitic, there’s just no way that …
    What’s that? After the show went off the air, Baxter and Birney did get married in real life, and had a pair of twins?
    Well Baxter that was marriage #2 of 4 for Baxter, who came out as a lesbian in 2009.

  • AlanOne7

    Fred and Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy. William Frawly was born in 1887 and Vivian Vance in 1909, making her young enough to be his daughter.
    Vance hated working with Frawly and was one of the first actress in Hollywood to complain about women in movies and TV being paired with much-older men.

    See also … well …everything:

    Dick Van Patten (b 1928) married to Diana Hyland (b 1936) in Eight is Enough
    Clark Gable (b 1901) paired with Marilyn Monroe (b 1928) in The Misfits
    Pierce Brosnan (b 1951) bedding Denise Richards (b 1971) in The World is Not Enough
    Anthony Hopkins (b 1937) married to supermodel Elle Macpherson (b 1964) in The Edge