I stumbled upon this Slate article from 2005. (Though I did not StumbleUpon it, actually.) It discusses the phenomenon in teevee sitcoms known as "fat guy, hot wife." Writer Matt Feeney points out sitcom couple after couple that are "ill-matched looks-wise." These couples had a lot of other endearing little quirks in common. "In addition to their girth, a signal characteristic of these men is immaturity. Most of them are unable to master the simplest daily tasks." Oh, and the women have no real discernible personality or value besides being the hot wife that graciously puts up with her clumsy husband's antics. Having never really watched the shows mentioned, I skipped down to what appeared at first to be a pretty spot-on explanation:
"It's tempting to register a feminist complaint about the message these shows convey—that they perpetuate the view that women shouldn't expect autonomy or fulfillment in romance and marriage. They do, after all, play to a certain male fantasy: living the gluttonous, irresponsible, self-absorbed life of an infant and basking in the unconditional love of a good-looking woman."
But alas, that's not it at all. As Feeney explains, the reason these incongruous pairings are so common is because women watch sitcoms, too!
"In portraying husbands as lousy parents, marginal breadwinners, and repellant sexual partners, the fat-husband sitcoms convey a persecution fantasy"
That's right! Women want to be saddled with an irresponsible, lazy, all around jackass of a husband to satisfy our persecution fantasies. Ugh.
Now, that's not even the worst of it for me. Men are given a pass to be overweight, sloppy, crude, etc, whereas the women are relegated to playing the stunningly beautiful martyr, bravely putting up with the slovenly man she loves. Why aren't women allowed to be unattractive assholes? Is that not acceptable for television?