Now in syndication, "The King of Queens" sitcom focused on the relationship between Kevin James' husky delivery driver Doug Heffernan and his petite, attractive wife Carrie, played by Leah Remini. Viewers and critics often wondered how a guy like Doug could have attracted a woman like Carrie, but television history is rich with stories of Valentines who choose partners and mates that may be considered above or beloe "their level."
The legacy of Ralph Kramden
Nearly 60 years ago, Jackie Gleason created the character of Ralph Kramden, a big, blustery bus driver with get-rich-quick schemes and a long-suffering wife named Alice. Gleason used these characters in several television sketches before giving them a more permanent home on "The Honeymooners" sitcom. The original 39 episodes showed Ralph's violent temper, which never truly fazed Alice. Ralph could be a big-mouthed jerk, but these two New Yorkers truly loved each other no matter what.
The mismatched couple concept created by Gleason carried over into "The Flintstones" and contemporary shows like "According to Jim," "Still Standing" and the aforementioned "King of Queens." The women on these shows married these men because they were solid and dependable, even though they had their faults.
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder
On television, the dating scale tips in favor of the men instead of the women at times. In 2001, the wonderful Joan Cusack starred in "What About Joan," a sweet sitcom about a schoolteacher who considered herself something of a "Plain Jane." As reported by Ken Tucker in his Entertainment Weekly review of the show, when boyfriend Jake (Kyle Chandler) proposed marriage to Joan, she thought it might be a wild attempt for him to end their relationship.
In 1992, Tea Leoni appeared in the short-lived sitcom "Flying Blind," playing a beautiful free spirit who is attracted to a conservative, repressed college graduate. The humor here was supposed to be derived from a knockout dating an ordinary average guy, but the heart knows what the heart wants, even in a 30-minute sitcom.
The on-again, off-again relationship between Leonard and Penny on "The Big Bang Theory" indicates insecurities on both sides of the gender fence. Immediately smitten with Penny, Leonard tries to suppress his "nerdy" qualities in the hopes of attracting her attentions. When the two finally start dating, Penny feels somewhat intimidated by Leonard's intelligence and asks his roommate Sheldon to school her in physics.
Speaking of Sheldon, "Big Bang Theory" writers found his female equivalent in the person of Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist who initially sounded as robotic as Sheldon. Amy's character has grown to show that she is not as asexual as she first appeared to be, even expressing an interest in Penny as a romantic partner. Sheldon obviously cares for Amy and finally admitted it through a multi-paged "Relationship Agreement" that outlined all aspects of their interaction.
When all is said and done, the most memorable and enduring couples are less like Ken and Barbie and more like puzzle pieces that look different but fit together perfectly.