The nagging, no-fun wife
This particular trope goes really well with the hapless husband. I can’t tell which came first, but whereever you find a husband who isn’t worth much, you’ll find a wife that is exactly as much fun as a root canal. You know the type – she’s tired, cranky, overworked, stressed, and bedraggled.
This poor woman is so under-appreciated and overlooked, she’s practically dead inside. She chases after her family with sack lunches, forgotten cleats, and a Dust Buster, but they all treat her with disdain and embarrassment. Her kids are jerks and her husband is a mess, and she’s the only one holding the family together. This is another damaging stereotype that forces women to be the nurturer/mothers, and relegates husbands to idiots that need babysitting.
Although this poor character deserves to be as naggy and grumpy as she pleases, she’s always painted as the bad guy, and she is never as much fun as her immature husband. Writers write this character as sharp, angular, and are often highly unlikeable. We’re meant to understand her, but we don’t want to be her (although I feel like I might be her, a little). Clare Dunphy performs this type-A trope as twitchy, tightly wound, and aggressively right about everything.
Don’t they just sound like a ton of fun at parties? Oh wait, they don’t get to go to parties because of their families sucking the life out of them.
Examples: Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle, and Friends