Classic Cartoon Characters’ Wives and Girlfriends
One of the most interesting and endearing things about history’s most popular cartoons is the fact that nearly all of them have had either wives or girlfriends. Seriously, think of any one of your favorites and chances are pretty good that the dude had a significant other on his arm. Sure, we could very easily talk about wives like Lois Griffin, Marge Simpson or even Lana Kane, for that matter. But we’ve decided to go old-school… because it’s fun, that’s why. And many of those classic couples we are going to look at today and just what it was about that little lady that really brought something to the pair, other than the obvious nagging and outright irritation.
The problem with Minnie was she was neither the antithesis of Mickey nor precisely exactly like him. What she did have going for her was a candy cane’s worth of saccharine sweetness and an almost overtly child-like quality that regularly threatened to make her less of a girlfriend and more of an annoying little sister. When she did show a flurry of emotion, such as anger or distress, it was never for very long and it was always aimed at something as simplistic as which pink bow she was going to wear on her head.
While Mickey was out and about doing such unbelievable activities as busting ghosts, toppling giants or hunting with Pluto, Minnie was — we assume — at home knitting her fingers in worry and staring side-long at the gigantic cake she’d just made wondering how long until Goofy was gonna come over and fuck it up. Oddly, the Disney Universe is lousy with ‘nephews’ (see Huey, Dewey, and Louie), and Mickey was no different. So when it came to kids for Minnie to mind, sometimes it was Mickey’s nephews, Morty and Ferdie. Who’s brother was he, anyway?
Olive Oyl is a bizarre collection of foibles, emotions and Münchausen syndrome all wrapped up in a waifish frame with no discernible shape or figure. One minute she’s all about her standard beau, Popeye, but if for one second the current situation shifts even an iota in a direction where Popeye has somehow dropped the ball, then Bluto is always there to gather up the shattered remains and take her hand… violently. Olive frequently finds herself in increasingly outrageous predicaments where, thanks again to Bluto, Popeye has been incapacitated beyond belief; possibly with his head trapped in the ice, stuck in an alligator or strapped to a rocket.
Olive might be stuck on a roof of a house in flames, or stuck in a tree, or even tied to train tracks with her arms… as the ropes! But, no matter the consequence, Popeye will exert every bit of reserve effort to free himself, only to once again run into the chuckling bulk of the ever persistent Bluto. Meanwhile, Olive pines for assistance and the two love-and-dumb-struck gents will continue their rescue efforts, only to suddenly be kicked away in favor of the other… it is one crazy triangle relationship. But, for some wacky reason, Olive Oyl always ends up with Popeye at the end, and they traipse off, arm in arm, to take care of Swee’ Pea. Someone’s kid… possibly Bluto’s.
When your significant other is a blatant amalgam of Conan, Han Solo and Thor, whose name happens to be Thundarr, it’s probably for the best that you play coy and hard-to-get. Though it’s never outwardly announced that Princess Ariel is in any certain relationship with Thundarr, there are a ton of moments where the affection connection (ha!) is so palpable you can nearly slice through it with the Sunsword.
Ariel seems to always find herself in dire straights just as Thundarr and Ookla are off thwarting imminent danger over a mountain range or beyond the horizon, but it’s not like she’s useless or a load. In fact, it’s sometimes the opposite. Ariel will use her magic to get Ookla out of a giant web or save Thundarr from some marauding horde sneaking up from the rear. She’s pretty damn brave… until she needs her Barbarian and her Mok, then it’s all “save me, Thundarr! Save me!”
Of all the women on this list, Wilma is perhaps the most modern and ultimately the most powerful match to her man. She’s also, it seems, far ahead of her time — after all, we are talking about the Stone Age — that when the original toon aired (I say original, because as we speak Seth MacFarlane is about to drop a new version) women were still largely considered the weaker sex and more or less confined to the kitchen. Oh sure, Wilma still spent much of her time alone at home vacuuming with a baby elephant and ironing with a… I don’t know, hot rock?
Fred would always slip away with Barney, either to work or to bowl or to have a Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo meeting, while Wilma was left to her own devices… sometimes with Betty. Sometimes. WITH. Betty. Oh yeah… Betty. But I digress. Without Wilma, Fred would pretty much do what any other self-respecting male Neanderthal would do, by which I mean attempt, a lot, to fuck Betty. Barney wouldn’t stand a chance against Fred’s far larger, more rock-solid arms, while he went all “Bluto” on Betty. So this is the exact reason why Wilma needs to keep Fred in check. Wilma is nearly the perfect wife… were it not for her odd attraction to her elephant vacuum.
Who the hell is Honey Bunny? Well, in all actuality she wasn’t much and really wasn’t around for long, but what she did do was make Bugs Bunny’s ill-fated attempts to dress like chicks a little less necessary. She made her first and most bizarre appearance in the holiday special Bug’s Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet where she arrived in a shape more reminiscent of a sow rather than a sow (you see, a sow is also a female bunny… never mind), and Bugs thought it better to put her on a carrot diet rather than let her eat other, less meat-like food. Eventually she appeared in a few more cartoons in various other forms, and a lot more frequently in the Looney Tunes comics.
Strangely, Honey Bunny is the name of more than just one lady rabbit, and has even taken on far more feminine shapes. Eventually, the move Space Jam turned Honey into Lola, who is a much sexier bunny… what did I just say? Anyway, the simple fact of the matter is that Honey (or Lola) did nothing to actually change Bugs, other than the fact that she’d turn Bugs into a drooling fool with spinning, slot-machine eyes and hearts spitting from his every pore. Bugs is bugs, a man (for the most part) through and through, and he wasn’t gonna let no damn chick change him… sexy or not.
I’m not really sure what Grammi was in the familial structure of the Gummi family. Sure, she was the head matriarch to Zummi’s slightly less head patriarch, but it’s never been confirmed whether the two of them are actually married, or just kind of like bear friends with bare benefits. See what I did there? Anyway, what was definitely happening was Grammi was the main Gummi concocting the Gummiberry Juice, which was more or less the entire basis for the Gummi’s existence. Because they really had nothing better to do. Other than get eaten, I suppose.
But other than her amazing cooking prowess — which is nothing to scoff at, mind you — what the hell else did she actually do? Well, as it turns out, she was the only Gummi Bear who held the magic recipe for the Juice itself. Seriously. The most coveted, sought-after list of ingredients in Gunni Glenn were under the watchful eye of an elderly bruin with no other ability than to spring about with little control? Apparently. This really doesn’t seem like the best idea ever. Why she wasn’t kidnapped… oh wait, I guess she kind of was. a lot. And Zummi and the crew went after her each and every time. Because it’s all she knew… and all they knew. Fuckin’ Grammi.
Drake Mallard was just your regular, everyday duck living a pretty normal life with his adopted daughter, Gosalyn, struggling to get by… also, as it was, as a spy/vindicator/anti-hero called Darkwing Duck. Neither Drake nor Darkwing had any girlfriend to speak of, but there was one lady that literally went apeshit whenever she got around him. And her name was Morgana McCawber. And she was a sorceress. She wasn’t a very good one, mind you, but oh how she tried.
And she always seemed to try harder whenever Darkwing was around. She’d do everything she could to help, always wanting to pair up with him to battle whichever bad guys were throttling the city. But the one thing she had going for her that always turned out to be the bane to Darkwing’s existence, was exactly the only thing she had going for her: her annoying persistence. She wanted so much to help that she ended up being monumentally irritating. And obviously, Darkwing almost never reciprocated Morgana’s desires. I can’t imagine why. Drake needs some strange, ya know?
Speaking of one and only, Lois Lane is the only woman to be actively dating an indestructible superhero. Oh sure, Morgana was in love with the secondary persona of Drake Mallard, and thus an active crime fighter, but Darkwing was decidedly not a superhero. But you see, the thing of it is, Lois didn’t — at least for a time — realize (just like everyone else, for the most part) that Clark was Superman. All it took was a strategically located pair of eyeglasses and a minor masculine lilt to the voice to throw off an entire town, up to and including the dame who was actively lovestruck by him.
But it’s not like Lois is an idiot. Far from it! She’s the head reporter for the Daily Planet and a hard-nosed story gatherer with a trained eye for the facts (went a little long-winded there, sorry). Yet somehow, it took Superman himself to actually tell Lois that he was, in fact, both Clark and the Man of Steel. And then, inexplicably, she decided to use her knowledge for her own benefit and gain, at least in many of the early DC Comics, and often put her love in truly precarious positions all with the plot to reveal who he really was. What a bitch! I guess we can’t blame her entirely. Superman’s best pal, Jimmy Olsen did exactly the same thing. As for Lois, at least she was never really able to tie Kent down for long, even if he did love her unconditionally, too. You see, he was far to busy pining for Diana…
The comparisons between Wilma Flintstone and Jane Jetson were many: they both did their damnedest to keep their blissfully borderline retarded husbands in check, and they both doled out love with genuine affection. But, in all actuality, this is where the major similarities stop. Where Wilma had more tendencies toward hard edginess and outright sass, Jane seemed far more subservient and modest. While Wilma was quick to ostracize, Jane took a more subtle approach and softened her ire with coos and comfort.
As Wilma willfully attempted to nip Fred’s ridiculous forays into the absurd before they had a chance to flourish, Jane merely suggested George try less outrageous attempts to create schemes and plots only to soothe him when they doubtlessly failed miserably. Basically, Jane was a product of the time in which she was drawn, not a product of time from which she was drawn. Whereas Wilma was a modern woman in an ancient world. Both showed signs of women through the ages, just in reverse settings. Jane was a sexy bitch, that much goes without saying, and behind closed doors, well, things are best left to the imagination. Maybe Rosey recorded something…
What? Why Mrs. Claus? Because of all the wives in the history of animated characters, Mrs. Claus was not only the perfect wife, but also a creation made for the direct benefit of her lonely husband. Let me explain. When Santa was created and merged from folklore into the red-suited, white-bearded, jolly ol’ elf we know today, he never had a companion of any kind. Then at the end of the 19th Century in a tale called Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride, (where ‘goody’ is an old term for wife) Santa’s better half is thrust into the scene. But it wasn’t until midway through the 20th Century that Mrs. Claus was given a personality and a place within the Christmas mythos.
She is often portrayed as a kindly, rotund woman with lilting curls of white hair and frequently a knit cap or spectacles. She spends her days fattening up Kris Kringle by baking cookies and preparing meals. She assists as often as necessary in the toy making process, sometimes even steering Santa in a better direction with her well-concealed omnipotence. She maintains the reindeer, comforts and sees to the elves, and is anywhere her helping hands are needed. But why is this any different from any other wife on this list? Because her husband Santa is without a doubt one of the hardest working men in the world even if his real job only lasts for one night. One must assume that the other 364 days of the year are spent prepping for next year’s big night and that, folks, is as stressful a job as there is. Luckily for him Mrs. Claus is very, very handy. Or so I’m told.