Arranged marriages are seen as old-fashioned and even barbaric by many modern Americans, but for centuries they were the norm for families in countries as far flung as Japan, India, and Italy. While you may not have personal experience with these sorts of marriages, you can get your fill of them from TV comedies and historical dramas. From the streets of medieval Rome to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in the distant future, arranged marriages are a frequent topic for TV writers. Here are some prime examples of the shows that have featured these types of marriages.
Almost all of the marriages featured in the first season of this Showtime historical drama were arranged ones. After Juan refuses to marry for political reasons, 13-year old Gioffre enters the arranged marriage with Sancia of Naples that was intended for Juan. She and Juan then proceed to begin an affair.
Meanwhile, Juan's little sister Lucrezia also gets thrown into an arranged marriage to curry political favor. However, things sour quickly after her wedding when her husband violently assaults her. Both arranged marriages in the show's first season seem to indicate that love is not possible under such circumstances.
In an episode of "Pushing Daisies" set in Chinatown, a man offers up his daughter's hand in marriage during a game of dim sum poker. When he loses, his daughter is forced into an engagement with a gambler with a darker purpose. Thankfully, however, the engagement is called off when Emerson Cod, Ned, and Chuck are able to prove that the only reason the father lost was because the other man was cheating at poker.
Vulcans are an alien race dominated by the pursuit of cold, rational logic. That extends to their marriage practices, with nearly all Vulcans submitting to an arranged marriage system where intended spouses are tied to each other in childhood. In "Enterprise," T'Pol struggles with her arranged marriage, as going through with the ceremony would force her to leave the ship and return to her home planet (and also leave behind Trip Tucker, who she has become quite attached to.) Eventually, her husband divorces her, restoring her freedom.
On HBO's historical drama "Rome," Vorenus and Niobe arrange a marriage between their oldest daughter and a senator. Strangely to modern viewers, Niobe and Vorenus tell their daughter that they are happily married now, with Niobe even going so far as to say how strange marriage would be if you loved your spouse from the very start.
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- Arranged marriages