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"Take my wife. Please!"
A species of Dom Com based on the premise that monogamous marriage is rather like a long, slow, exquisite torture by a sadistic god from whose maleficent clutches escape is impossible. Husbands are child-like buffoons who watch too much football, leave the toilet seat up, ogle hot women, and forget anniversaries. Wives are frigid, nagging, hateful shrews with zero interest in sex. Children destroy your home and what little peace of mind you have left, while waiting their turn to perpetuate the cycle. Obnoxious In-Laws serve to add to the misery. The audience may be left wondering, "Why don't they just get a divorce, if they're so miserable?"
The name, for those who don't get it, is a reference to the line of the traditional wedding vows, "Lawful wedded life."
- Too often a source of jokes in stand-up comedy.
- The Lockhorns, though thankfully the eponymous couple apparently doesn't have kids.
- For Better or For Worse since going into reprints/new-runs seems to spend a lot of time dwelling on how John is an insensitive dolt and the children have nothing better to do than make Elly's life harder. Perversely, the strip also implies that anyone who doesn't settle down and live the same kind of life is irresponsible, childish and a bad person.
- The form reached its pinnacle of perfection in the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
- The King of Queens
- Mad About You became this in the later years.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- The husband is the frigid one, but Married... with Children fits otherwise.
- Home Improvement occasionally slipped into this.
- As did Family Matters.
- Til Death is somewhat of a Deconstruction in that the better you know Joy, the slobbier she seems, and the better a match for Eddie.
- My Family
- Keeping Up Appearances—Poor Richard deserves a sainthood for putting up with Hyacinth for all those years.
- Any time a married couple is seen in The Benny Hill Show, it falls square into this.
- Similar to the Married... with Children example, the Ropers on Three's Company and their own spinoff feature this with a frigid husband and a wife always in the mood.
- Done in plenty of old cartoons—examples include Porky's Romance, Donald's Diary, and His Bitter Half.
- Family Guy didn't start out this way, but post-cancellation eventually turned into it. Peter is a sociopath, Lois is a bitch, and the only reason they stay together is because their infant son will never grow up and go to college.
- Homer and Marge Simpson just barely manage to avoid this. Homer's a buffoon, but he at least tries to better himself despite his limited intelligence. Marge, meanwhile, is a fussy wet blanket, but she behaves this way out of love and concern as she tries to hold her wild family together.