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This man: this no-thing: vile: this brutish slave:

This man is beloved, and rules another's soul.
Bianor

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?" (Of course, it may just be not wanting to see it; this is commonly said by an unattached person of the same sex as the disfavored lover.)

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?.

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 of the couple wonders "What do you see in me?" it's I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me.

Examples of What Does She See in Him? include:


Anime and Manga

  • Christine "Chris" Robbins from Itazura na Kiss has terrible taste in men. Really terrible taste. She finds guys like Naoki ugly and guys like Kinnosuke sexy. It is implied that she got her bad tastes from her mother.
    • Oddly enough Naoki's own mother wonders why girls like him, due to his cold personality. Also, a gender swapped verison often occurs after people find out that Naoki married Kotoko due to her seeming to have no talents.
      • Maybe its because he has "cold personality." Looks aren't everything you know? Okay, maybe it is.
  • In the Distant Finale of Stellvia of the Universe, Kouta's doctor wonders what Shima sees in a "blockhead" like him.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Neon Genesis Evangelion, this is Asuka's reaction to hearing that Hikari has a crush on Touji.
    • Shinji/Rei shipping usually has Asuka reacting to the romance the same way: "What the fuck does that doll have that I don't?!"
  • Detective Conan: Sonoko sees Shinichi as a mystery Otaku. What does Ran sees in him?
  • Several characters in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (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.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, some students wonder what their literature teacher's wife saw in him.
  • This is many people's reaction to the general Harem Genre and shojo romances.

Comics

  • 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...


Film

  • Eddie Valiant's reaction to Jessica Rabbit being married to Roger in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. (Betty Boop's reaction, note, is "What a lucky girl".) 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.

  • The "Stepsisters' Lament" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella:

 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?

  • In Wolf Creek, Ben is travelling with two girls, hot, curvy blonde Kristy, and skinny brunette Liz. Guess who he has a crush on. Your Mileage May Vary on how plausible it is (depending on whether you focus on Liz's Jay-Leno-esque chin or her sexy accent).
  • In Wedding Crashers, Claire is engaged to Complete Monster Sack Lodge, who cheats on her and inflicts multiple acts of savage brutality on the protagonists.
  • In Mean Girls, Kady asks this of Aaron about Regina. He asks the exact same question of her, except in a more friendship-oriented way.
  • 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."

Literature

  • 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, acned, 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 are considered by most people to be Complete Monsters (unfortunately, a stereotype that most of them fulfill), or, at the very least, dangerous animals to avoided with great prejudice, and killed if necessary.
  • In Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows 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!"
  • In Jack Campbell'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.
  • The protagonists of Warrior Cats often wonder why the arrogant Berrynose attracts Poppyfrost and Honeyfern.
  • In PG Wodehouse's Jill The Reckless, Barker wonders this about Jill's engagement to Derek. Mrs. Barker urges his good looks.

Live Action TV

  • This happens in Popular when Josh the "cool" jock hooks up with the unpopular "fat girl" Carmen, and everyone is completely horrified (if memory serves, 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 Pudgy 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.
    • Actually, the show did this every single time a popular kid showed interest in someone outside their immediate social circle, which is ludicrous considering there are only about six people in the popular crowd, and doubly ludicrous given how suspiciously good-looking many of the inexplicably unpopular kids are. The girls in particular aren't even Hollywood Homely, they're just blatantly drop-dead gorgeous and don't even hide it behind glasses or geek stylings. Then again, it was all pretty tongue-in-cheek. This is Popular we're talking about. Try too hard to analyse that show and you'll probably go nuts...
  • Sam and Diane in Cheers. In both directions.
  • 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."
  • In the Zoey 101 episode "Zoey's Ribs", Lola says this word-for-word regarding Quinn and Mark's relationship. No one can answer her.
  • Gender inverted with regards to Beck and Jade's relationship in Victorious. It's even said that Beck likes a girl who will challenge him only for him to spend all the time with Jade with a face that reads "God, kill me now."
  • Regarding the relationship Ivy of Good Luck Charlie previously had with Emmet, Ivy can only plead temporary insanity.
  • 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.
    • That said, this question is averted entirely by Marcy Rhoades/D'Arcy and her husbands Steve and Jefferson. Steve and Marcy were clearly attracted to each other because they were both greedy, selfish and materialistic, and the marriage eventually broke down as Steve began losing these traits. As for Jefferson, his relationship with Marcy is pretty clear-Marcy gets to display him as a trophy husband, while Jefferson gets to sponge off her without having to get a job. The fact that they also apparently have a really steamy sex life doesn't hurt, either.
  • In That 70s Show, Eric doesn't understand how can his friend, Hyde 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.

  • 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.
    • 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?"

    • Also in the U.S. series, when Andy was engaged to Angela, Oscar flat out asks him what he sees in her.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gender-flipped version: Sherlock seems incredibly confused as to why John would rather be on a date with Sarah than hanging out with him. Then again, he seems completely oblivious as to what dating actually means. When John explains it to him, the following conversation ensues:

 Sherlock: [confused] That's what I was suggesting.

John: No, it's not. At least, I hope it wasn't.


Music

  • "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" by Joe Jackson is all about this.
  • Not to mention Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know".
  • Gender-flipped version in Adele"s "Rumour Has It"

Theatre

  • 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!


Video Games

  • This is Noce's attitude toward Alicia's relationship with Welkin in Valkyria Chronicles.
  • From Dragon Age: Origins, this is pretty much what Alistair says if you continually gain approval with Zevran.
    • Oghren will also ask Morrigan this in exact words, if the PC is in a romance with her. (going by some other things he says, he's probably at least a little jealous.)
    • Morrigan herself will pose this question to a male PC that romances Leliana instead of her. To a female PC 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 PC pursues a relationship with Morrigan.
    • Also, in Dragon Age II should the female PC romance Fenris instead of Anders, the latter will stop her and outright ask why, likening him to a dog.
  • 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?"
  • 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 Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice 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?

  • Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations: Nobody has a clue what attracted Desiree DeLite (extremely attractive Biker Babe) to her husband Ron (a high-strung, nebbishly girly-boy) at first. Turns out it was a Rescue Romance.
  • One base conversation in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has everyone saying this verbatim about Astrid's feelings for Makalov. Hell, Makalov himself basically says she's too good for him in another convo, but Astrid not only refuses to listen, if you pursue their support conversations she marries him.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Many characters (justifiably) have this reaction to Lois' marriage to Peter in Family Guy. At one point, Brian asks her: "Have you ever stopped to think 'Christ, I'm married to that guy?'"
    • She doesn't answer him then, but she's thought about it.

 Lois: My god, you're dumb. Thank god for that ass.

    • The canon answer is that she's Chubby Chaser, and that she and Peter share a sense of humor. Whether this is enough to make up for Peter's regular Jerkassitude is another matter.
  • Marge and Homer Simpson are (sadly) a milder version of this trope.
  • Some episodes answer the question. Your Mileage May Vary as to whether that's enough to make up for the rest of the time, but it's usually enough for Marge.
      • 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.
    • In one episode, Bart questions what the baby sitter 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.
    • Patty and Selma never approved of Homer and Marge's relationship throughout the entire series. Upon meeting him when they were teenagers, they immediately hate him for no reason at all. They spend most of their time trying to separate them and pair Marge with someone else (usually Artie Ziff). Of the two, Selma seems to be more tolerable to their relationship, mainly because Homer has helped her out and it was heavily implied that she was jealous of their relationship. Patty on the other hand continues to hate Homer, even more so after Selma came out of the closet.
  • Sam says these exact words to Danny Phantom in one episode as he drools over Rich Bitch Paulina.
  • Some characters (and fans) notably Peggy and Mihn wonder why Luanne hooked up with Lucky in King of the Hill as he's a stupid, ugly, bucktoothed, middle aged, stereotypical hillbilly.
    • To be fair though, he is also kind, supportive, honorable, and genuinely loving.
      • You might ask what HE sees in HER. He's generally at least smarter and more mature than she is.
    • While 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.
      • Dale shows his love for his wife constantly.
      • And Nancy has said she "Loves Dale, in a lights on kind of way."
      • And don't forget that Nancy did eventually choose her husband over John Redcorn.
    • What about Didi and Cotton?
    • Or all the women Buck Strickland has bedded?
      • To be fair, Buck is rich and it's been shown multiple times that he uses his money to get women.
  • 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.
    • Especially Dr. Dementor, who was more obnoxious about this than Bonnie Rockwaller, even.
  • Played for laughs in 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?"

  • 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!"
  • Helga on Hey Arnold utters this many time to all the crushes that Arnold goes through over the course of the series.
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