Nearly twenty years after I was happily divorced, I still encounter occasions when I pretend to be married. When a salesman calls, I act friendly while he presents his spiel, after which I inform him that I can make no purchase decisions without consulting my wife.
There are tax advantages and perhaps emotional benefits as well, and a classic episode of Seinfeld pointed out how marriage could save expenses on dry cleaning. Jerry pretended to be married in order for his girlfriend to get free service, only to find it a bit of a mess when his parents hear of the abrupt wedding of which they had not been informed.
None of them have shared Seinfeld’s reason for the pretext, but numerous sitcoms have featured episodes on which two regular characters pretend to be married. Here are right of the most well-known.
Dorothy Petrillo and Stan Zbornak on Golden Girls
Because Sophia’s priest brother is visiting, she asks her friend (played by Bea Arthur) to pretend to be married to Stab (played by Herb Edelman) in an episode called “My Brother, My Father.”
Jack Tripper and Janet on Three’s Company
Chrissy (played by Suzanne Sommers) is visited by her father Reverend Snow, causing her to try to convince him that her two roommates are husband and wife.
Homer Simpson and Selma Bouvier on The Simpsons
In the episode called “Goo Goo Gai Pan” Homer has to act as the late of his despised sister-in-laws so that she can adopt a child in China.
Sam Malone and Rebecca Howe on Cheers
In “One For the Road” Diane (played by Shelly Long) comes back to town, where she pretends to be married. Sam (played by Ted Danson) employs the same ruse with Rebecca (played by Kirstie Alley) as his wife, but his lie is revealed when her real boyfriend proposes to her on that very occasion.
Ross Geller and Rachel Green on Friends
“The One In Messagua” features the 35th wedding anniversary of Judy and Jack, where the two “RG” friends (played by Jennifer Aniston and David Schwirmer) pretend that they have tied the knot.
Jolene Hunnicut and Mel Sharples on Alice
To impress an old friend of Mel’s, the owner of the finer (played by Vic Tayback) makes the young waitress (played by Celia Weston) pose as his wife.
Francine and Roger on American Dad
Although he is a centuries old alien, Roger (voiced by Seth McFarlane) loses as a college professor married to the show’s mother.
Pam Beasley and Andy Bernard on The Office
Since she is obviously expecting, a sales client assumes that the office partner accompanying her is her husband.
Charlie and Alan on Two and a Half Men
In the edition titled “It Was Mame, Mom” Charlie convinced Alan to pretend to be his life partner in order to impress a gay ad-executive.