Who digs funny couples? Not the awkward, laughing-at-you kind that might be clueless or socially weird but the legitimately engaging, entertaining and hilarious ying and yang of Mr. & Mrs. Whomever. Rarely will the life of the party date the other life of the party - at times there's not enough attention to go around. But sometimes it happens, and if we're lucky they'll go into showbiz.
Take a look at some memorable comedic couples and the neat little niches they have filled:
There was a time when identification of a "Simpsons" episode took less than 10 seconds, and the cultural vernacular included "D'oh!" and "Mmmm, (insert any word or sound here)." Thanks to the astounding longevity of this series that pulled little from current events for the majority of each season, we were introduced to a numbskull glutton and his naggy, sometimes simpleton, of a wife. Homer and Marge are a fabrication, but they're done so well they've beaten out all the other animated couples. Just like any marriage, staying power makes the jokes and situations evolve without becoming stale. Homer's idiocy knows no bounds, and although Marge is painted as the voice of reason she's not immune to buffoonery of her own. Despite the obvious danger to someone's well-being, having parents like these would always be entertaining. There have been so many goofy instances - Marge becoming a cop and arresting Homer, Homer insisting Marge has been taken over by "Gamblor" the gambling monster, Homer using Marge as a candy mule - that's love. And that's funny.
RUNNER UP: Fred and Wilma Flintstone
From their beginnings on "Upright Citizen's Brigade" and "Arrested Development
," these two have always been a bit quirky. They bring the kind of funny that starts a little uncomfortably but soon evolves into broad public appeal and more mainstream roles. Although their joint appearances fell flat in "Blades of Glory
," they were creepy enough to keep the audience watching. Both have gone on to excel in their own niches...their sometimes uncomfortable, creepy-funny or overtly ghetto niches. Arnett's ability to take ridiculous lines and deliver them like Harrison Ford
in a film concerning nuclear proliferation is spectacular. His oddball comments on "30 Rock
" have cemented this uncanny ability. Poehler has survived the hot seat of Saturday Night Live
"Weekend Update" and emerged with better work as the years have passed. Her bit role as the cool mom in "Mean Girls
" was spot-on for so many 35-45 MILFs who don't seem to realize they're not their kid. Together, this couple is going to have one funny kid - seriously. Who names their kid Archibald in 2008?
RUNNER UP: Sarah Silverman
and Jimmy Kimmel
Please don't tell anyone, but the sharp-edged banter Sonny and Cher engaged in elicited laughs. Out loud. It might be the kitschy outfits or the uncomfortable variety show set-up for Gen-Xers or Millenials, but this comedic couple falls into the same category as "The Notebook
," raw cookie dough and Miley Cyrus
. Yes, they are good, but not something one wants to brag about liking...or eating a pint of. The formula they perfected on screen consisted of Sonny's good-natured remarks being cut down by Cher's witty response. Was this an answer to the women's movement of the time or simply Cher's ability to deliver a comeback? Either way, it worked. Pair their dialogue with outrageous Simpsonian sketches that only a variety show can pull off and there you go. Another successful take on hilarious couples. As long as you ignore that messy divorce...
RUNNER UP: Roseanne Barr
and Tom Arnold
"I Love Lucy" is still making people laugh. The cast of characters was wonderful then and now and somewhat progressive for the time. Lucy Ricardo married Cuban entertainer Ricky Ricardo - this culturally diverse marriage was in the 50s. The two were married in real life, adding to their onscreen chemistry. The character of an oblivious, well-meaning wife did play up a stereotypical bimbo role, but her commitment was always 100 percent. Lucy's indignant responses to Ricky's usual discipline often resulted in a frustrating 100-mph rant from Ricky in Spanish. It was a show that focused more on the now cliché formula of dysfunction. They didn't have the nuclear family, but they had the adventures and oddball scenarios that Lucy and Ricky navigated. As one of the first TV shows to star a female entertainer with the male lead playing it straight (most of the time), Lucy and Desi paved the way for more role juxtapositions and expansions on their successful formula for an entertaining series that lasted for the majority of the 50s. Let it be noted that Fred and Ethel (Vivian Vance
and William Frawley
) made priceless contributions as the neighboring couple we are certain would've been divorced had the show been set in the '80s.
RUNNER UP: Jackie Gleason
and Audrey Meadows
as Ralph and Alice in "The Honeymooners
Who are your favorite comedic couples? Let us know in the comments!
Story by Kate Kostal
Starpulse contributing writer