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Marriage. True love. However you put it, the union between two (or more) people is a sacred commitment that should be undertaken with the utmost seriousness.
Except in TV land! There, a person (generally a man) might propose marriage to their significant other (generally a woman) by building giant letters out of gelatin. They could dress up like a knight in shining armor. However they do it, it's going to be funny.
These kind of wacky marriage proposals even creep into serious dramas to provide comic relief. Also, Fan Fiction writers love to make their proposals as convoluted and wacky as possible — if they aren't overflowing with heartrending Purple Prose, that is.
Sub-trope of Grand Romantic Gesture.
- A commercial for Pepsi showed a skywriting plane. All the town came out to watch, while drinking Pepsi. It spelled out "MARRY ME SUE." According to legend there happened to be a woman named Sue in a town near where they filmed the skywriting, who had a boyfriend who had told her that he would never ask her to marry him but if he did it would be in some big grand gesture; so she assumed he was asking her.
- Pictured above: A Japanese Kyojin no Hoshi-based cellphone plan ad begins with Hyuuma's Friendly Rival Mitsuru bursting through a wall of Hyuuma's family's house with his Cool Car, then going on one knee and sort-of proposing to Hyuuma's sister Akiko. It goes downhill from there. It's even funnier when one recalls that Akiko and Mitsuru do get married in canon.
Anime and Manga
- In Dragon Ball, after he wins a Tenkaichi Budokai match against the grownup girl Chichi who he had accidentally agreed to marry years earlier, Goku proposes to her anyway (while still in the ring!) because he always keeps his own word and because he could see how sincerely depressed she was over realizing the truth so he didn't want her to be sad. Aw...
- In Kyo Kara Maoh!! Yuuri accidentally proposes to Wolfram by slapping him for making rude comments about Yuuri's mother. Apparently slapping a noble on the left cheek is the proper way to give a marriage proposal, which no one tells Yuuri about until after it's all done with. And because he refused to take it back (thinking he was taking back his offense at the comments about his mom) it's made permanent.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward invokes the law of Equivalent Exchange when he proposes to his girlfriend Winry. She actually facepalms because it's such an idiosyncratic proposal, but she says yes... in a no less dorky manner — she starts by saying she'll give Ed all of her, but then changes her mind and goes with 90%, then 80%, then 70%, then 85%. Then they both realize how stupid they're being and laugh it off. Presumably, a proper proposal occurred later.
- Baccano: Claire proposing to Chane while ontop of a speeding train and covered in the blood of their enemies.
- Apparently Claire does this all the time. Not the "covered in the blood of their enemies" part, though. Then again this IS Claire so it's kinda hard to believe he wasn't covered in the blood of his enemies a few times.
- Infinite Stratos gives us Laura's hilarious proposal to Ichika:
"You will be my wife. I have decided, and will accept no objections."
- Hidan no Aria has Reki order Kinji to marry her at gunpoint.
- In Kodomo no Jikan, Rin Kokonoe somehow got her hands on a marriage license (she's 10) and told Daisuke Aoki (her 23 year old teacher) to fill it out. For obvious reasons, he refuses.
- In The Ultimates, Tony Stark makes Natasha Romanova her own version of the Iron Man suit for her birthday, then takes her on a test flight over her home city, St. Petersburg, Russia, where it's revealed he's paid the city's entire population to stand in a field spelling out his proposal.
- This is the entire basis of Bobby Crosby's Marry Me — a lesbian fan of the rock idol female lead had her male friend hold a sign that read "Marry Me" at a concert while said friend snuck off to go to the bathroom. Said idol saw the sign and took him up on it and instantly had them wed on stage. Plot Ensues.
- This post from Lucasforums.
- Protip: If a man suggests eloping as a means of messing with your other friends' heads, he might just really mean it.
- Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris pretty much dared each other into a marriage proposal in DC Nation. Considering we're dealing with a Green Lantern and a Star Sapphire, the engagement was pretty much a game of chicken with the altar that would either end wonderfully or blow up in everyone's face. Both parties were pretty much daring each other to back out (and the other heroes were placing odds on which one would back down) up until the judge actually inked the certificate.
- In the Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic "Flowers of Antimony," one of these takes place at the wedding of the above-mentioned Ed and Winry. The newlyweds hatch a plan to push together the fandom's favorite Maybe Ever After pairing, Roy and Riza, by turning Winry's wedding bouquet into a sort of shot put. She aims the weaponized flowers at Roy's head, Riza instinctively pushes him out of the way before she realizes what she's catching, and Hilarity Ensues. Dialogue later in the story does, at least, indicate that a real proposal was coming soon anyway.
- Greg Focker plans one of these at the start of Meet the Parents, having Pam's students hold up a sign asking her to marry him, before learning that she wants him to ask her father for her hand in marriage, thereby kickstarting the plot.
- Sherman from the The Nutty Professor 2 does this. At first trying to use a mariachi band to help him out but Buddy (whose part of his system after the events of the last movie and occasionally cause "hiccups" in him that force Sherman to talk crass) ruins it. The second attempt involves Sherman using a special spray and fireflies to spell out his proposal. This time he met with success.
- The proposal(s) at Yankee Stadium in Anger Management. This is Truth in Television, since many people propose at sporting events.
- Pierre Curie to Marie in Madam Curie. Not sure how true to life the proposal was, but amusing to watch.
- The marriage proposal at the very end of Me, Myself & Irene involves a plane, a MASSIVE banner, and Charlie's "sons" pulling this on the titular Irene for the sake of the soon to be Official Couple. One phrase: "Will you marry me, BITCH?!"
- In Anansi Boys, Fat Charlie makes one of these as cover to get away from his homicidal former boss. He presents a lime instead of a ring. (His proposal is also, as we see in the epilogue, quite sincere.)
- In The Vorkosigan Saga, Ekaterin proposes to Miles while he is being (falsely) accused of murder. His response: "Of course! Now?"
- It got wackier. Directly behind her were Miles's Parents who just can't wait to introduce themselves.
- Lynn Flewelling's Tamír Triad has one at the end. Courtesy goes to Ki who finally got some issues sorted out with himself while nearly dying. After waking up he proposes to [Tamír] to "clear things up" after her complaining that she hates sleeping in separate rooms from him and other inconveniences (thanks to etiquette and her being a woman and his queen. Tamír even lampshades it by calling Ki delirious. Which he admits. Doubles with Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Live Action TV
- Frasier did this when Niles proposed to Daphne. Although the build-up throughout the episode was leading to one of these, it was ultimately subverted; it turned out when Daphne arrived at the apartment that she had the flu and a roaring headache, so Niles got everyone out and ended up just proposing to her quietly. Frasier tackling the trumpeter was the best part of that.
- Not just a trumpeter. A dwarf dressed like Cupid! Apparently money can buy anything.
- And perhaps the dwarf used the money to buy some dignity.
- Not just a trumpeter. A dwarf dressed like Cupid! Apparently money can buy anything.
- An episode of The Drew Carey Show: he proposes to his girlfriend at a Browns game on the Jumbotron. She declines, as it turns out she was cheating and he was the "other man".
- Happened on Friends, where Mike keeps on proposing to Phoebe, only to have her deride all of his attempts as "cliche" just before he gets around to it.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had one of these Gone Horribly Wrong: Hillary requested her news anchor boyfriend Trevor to propose in a "special" way so he ends up doing so on live TV... while bungee-jumping off a bridge. He manages to say the words "Will you marry m..." before getting splattered on the concrete.
- For the record, Hilary was left confused over what he was trying to ask.
- Scrubs has Turk propose to Carla (who dislikes public showings of affection) standing on a car in the middle of the city, demanding that the other drivers "honk in the name of love". In a later episode, Keith proposes to Elliot in a normal way... but then Elliot throws a fit because the ring doesn't fit, taking back her "yes" as she wants the moment to be perfect.
- An episode of Food Network's Ace of Cakes featured a man proposing by ordering a fortune cookie cake with the proposal written on the fortune. Duff shows it off as a cool cake they've been working on, and when it's unveiled, the man fell to one knee. Cue tears.
- Cake Boss once had a proposal cake that included figures of the gentleman on one knee, the lady he was asking, and the actual ring. She said yes.
- In episode 132 of Two and A Half Men, "The 'Ocu' or the 'Pado'?" (2009; production code 617), Charlie hides an engagement ring in Chelsea's champagne in an attempt to propose to her, but she swallows it.
- Somewhat Deconstructed in Everybody Loves Raymond when Ray puts his proposal to Debra in his sports column and then spends the rest of the episode fretting that by making it public he's removed Debra's choice in the matter. Played straight with Robert's proposal to Amy, where his cop buddies pretend to arrest her and read cheesily reworded Miranda Rights.
- On The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Ricky proposes to Amy at the former's high school graduation ceremony, with the proposal serving as the conclusion to his speech. She accepts.
- In one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie writes a musical called "The Night Man Cometh" with the sole purpose of proposing to the waitress at the end. It doesn't work out.
- Wolf's proposal to Virginia in The Tenth Kingdom. Not only does he preface the evening, when Virginia initially tries to weasel out of dinner, by saying he "spent a lot of time planning this spontaneous evening", he: has a song composed especially for her, played by a string quartet on the roof of their carriage (which is filled to overflowing with flowers); rents an entire restaurant just for the two of them, with a meal consisting of 13 main courses; and purchases the most expensive engagement ring he can find--a magical singing ring with a saccharinely cute cherub face and shimmering, bell-like voice which extols the virtues of their love to Virginia. She turns him down out of outrage when she learns he spent money they could have used to accomplish their goals on the proposal instead. At the end of the miniseries, he tries again, in a much more restrained manner, and she accepts.
- Ced's proposal to Lovita on The Steve Harvey Show. First he gets a radio DJ to pop the question during Lovita's favorite radio program but she changes the station and wins tickets to a concert instead; Ced then pops the question on a Jumbo Tron at a Bulls game but Lovita misses it entirely because she is in the bathroom and the screen is shown earlier than Ced would have liked. When Ced does manage to drag Lovita out of the bathroom, the proposal is gone and in its place is an ad for rhinoplasty, furiating Lovita. Finally, he prepares a romantic dinner for Lovita and puts the ring in a piece of pie. Lovita refuses to eat the pie, saying she's full. Ced keeps asking her to have a bite of the pie. Lovita starts to eat it but then puts the pie down. Steve, having witnessed the whole exchange, gets mad and takes the ring out of the pie and shows it to Lovita explaining that Ced had been trying to propose to her all week. She then says yes.
- Hodgins from Bones had several ways trying to propose to his longtime girlfriend Angela. Eventually, he accepted that she didn't want a commitment, signifying this by spelling out "I Love You" with glowing shrimp (long story). She immediately turned around and proposed to him.
- On The Golden Girls, Stan hides Dorothy's engagement ring in a baked potato, which she refuses to eat because she's full. Stan then asks her to stick her finger in the potato, and when she does, she pulls out the scalding ring and dumps it in a pitcher of water.
- Why the potato (and thus the ring) would still be hot at the end of the meal is unclear.
- An example that turns out to be anything but funny occurs on Desperate Housewives. Bree finally decides to divorce Orson, and Karl plans to proposes to her with an airplane banner. Unfortunately, the plane's pilot has a heart attack and dies while flying. His wife, who doesn't know how to fly, crash-lands the plane onto Wisteria Lane, killing several people, including Karl.
- Life with Derek had two of them:
- In a Flash Back episode, Casey and Derek have such a lousy rapport that they try, and initially succeed, at torpedoing their parents' marriage plans. In the end, Casey proposes on behalf of her mother, and Derek accepts on behalf of his father.
- At their junior prom, Sheldon proposes to Emily in front of the entire student body. He's about to move to Newfoundland with his parents, and is making a last ditch effort to hold onto Emily.
- Ted Baxter of The Mary Tyler Moore Show did one of his many marriage proposals to his girlfriend Georgette while doing the news. However, since he didn't mention her name, there was some confusion and several women had answered yes.
- True Jackson, VP does this with Max and his girlfriend. When he gives a normal proposal, she says no because his proposal isn't wacky enough. True goes to talk to her, and tells her that if she loves him, he doesn't have to "propose from a lawn chair suspended by balloons". She decides that that's exactly how she wants to be proposed to. He is afraid of heights. It still happens.
- In one episode of Castle Martha expresses her annoyance at these claiming that all a woman really wants is a man down on one knee with tears in his eyes and a ring in his hand.
- Not as wacky as other examples, but on In Plain Sight Marshall proposed to Abigail by attaching a ring to her target when they go to the shooting range for their one-year anniversary. But then, Abigail is a police detective and it was her favorite range.
- In the letters section of an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, a man wrote in recounting how he created an original Game Boy tennis game which would display his proposal upon winning, and gave it to his girlfriend for Christmas.
- Done in Infinite Space by Cico to Kira, where he just grabs her by the shoulders and yells his intentions and about wanting a lot of babies. She ends up slapping him.
- In the Awakening expansion for Dragon Age, the Warden can find the corpse of a man who poisoned himself after his attempt at such a proposal goes horribly awry and his would-be fiancee dumps him. He tried to lead her on a scavenger hunt that ended with an engagement ring, but she got offended over the wording of one of her clues, thinking he was playing some dirty joke on her.
Tristan: Hello, Serenity, you probably can't see me right now, but I'm standing in the middle of a field, it's a very romantic image, by the way will you marry me?
- Lolcat marriage proposal.
- Rob Malda, the founder of Slashdot, proposed to his girlfriend Kathleen Fent, on the Slashdot frontpage. She said yes.
- Improv Everywhere staged a fake version of one of these in a New York subway car. The random bystanders who helped the young man propose to his girlfriend by holding up signs when she entered the car had no idea that the two of them had already been married for years.
- A rather important and necessary deception, actually, considering the requirement of a guaranteed heartfelt "yes" for the prank to end happily.
- This Cracked article.
- Perry Bible Fellowship has a twisted variation.
- Ethan's proposal in Ctrl+Alt+Del was quite... Ethany.
- Girl Genius: it's not so much wacky as... accidental and random, and then takes a turn for the hilarious: "You want to marry me to annoy your father? How romantic."
- Recently Tarvek got in on it, although he wasn't being completely serious.
Tarvek: Agatha, I've decided. I'm going to marry you for your library.
- Gabe from Penny Arcade proposed to his now-wife through the comic. Considering their number of readers and archived nature of the internet, it was pretty gutsy. And sweet.
- Truth in Television / Web Comic example: In the Walkyverse David Willis proposed to Maggie on "International Talk Like A Pirate Day", by getting the staff of Shortpacked to dress up like pirates and put up a huge banner. In Real Life, he proposed by writing a comic where this happened.
- Later, Mike proposes to Amber by tricking her mother into sleeping with their relapsed sex-addict neighbor, recording it, then splicing the sounds into "Amber, will you marry me?".
- This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic. Oops.
- Subverted HARD with this Something Positive Valentine's Day strip. Randal Milholland starts off with his Author Avatar musing about his girlfriend, speaking directly to her, leading up to Popping THE Question and then WHAM!
- The follow-up strip is actually the third punchline.
- It's a parody of Eric Burns' real proposal, the Websnark entry in "Real Life" above.
- Bug shows us a few of these with Less popular methods of proposing marriage...
- Cyanide and Happiness gives us a characteristically disturbing proposal.
- This from Crazy Art Ideas.
- Subverted on The Simpsons in the episode "Lisa's Wedding". Lisa's fiancé tries to put his proposal on a big electrical letterboard, but it shorts out, so he falls to "Plan B": sending out a cow wearing a sign that says, "Marry Me."
- Played straight in "A Fish Called Selma" when Troy proposes to Selma while screening his old film Muppets Go Medieval:
Troy (in unison with the film): No longer canst I conceal my love, my wimpled turtledove... Oh Princess fair, wilst thou grant me thine dainty hoof in marriage?
- The Donkey Kong Country episode has DK attempting to propose marriage to Candy (something he really doesn't want to go through with), resulting in the following exchange:
DK: Candy, may I have this hand in (gulps) marriage? (kisses hand)
- The wacky (sometimes horrifying) "prom-posals" in Clone High parody this concept-- the students stage outlandish events (like flying in on helicopter and teaching a horse fetus to talk) just to ask girls to the prom. The winter prom.
Real Life / Truth In Television
- Let's face it folks, there's plenty of Truth in Television examples to back this up.
- Truth in Television: Websnark.
- A man and his girlfriend were at a baseball game. Right before the seventh-inning stretch, he receives a "congratulations" text message, and then afterward a marriage proposal from him to his girlfriend lit up on the big screen. So what? Lots of people propose on those giant screens. In this case, it was a prank by a "friend" of his, who even sent the text message. The clincher? She said yes. When the man firmly denied being behind the proposal the girlfriend was understandably rather irate at the stunt. Feeling humiliated, the two began to argue back and forth. The whole thing was caught on-camera and broadcast live to the whole stadium and probably several local TV stations. This was actually part of the (on-going) prank wars at College Humor. #6 to be exact.
- Richard Garfield had a custom card made and used it to propose to his future wife in a game.
- This guy hacked a proposal inside Super Mario World.
- A man asked his girlfriend to marry him in a letter published in The Ethicist's column in The New York Times Magazine. Three weeks later, another letter appeared in the same column: "Often your readers' questions are difficult to answer. Not the one from Justin in San Francisco — Yes!"
- During an improv show at the 2010 Magfest, the performers brought up two people from the audience for one last game, where the performers would move the audience members around like mannequins/props for the scene. During the game, the performer turned the girl away from the guy while said guy got on one knee, then turned her back around. She said yes. Afterward the host admitted that, unlike the rest of the show, they had planned that in advance.
- Astronomy magazine once mentioned a magazine-sponsored trip to see a total eclipse of the sun where one man proposed to his girlfriend just as the moon had almost covered the sun, ie, during the optical effect known as "The diamond ring". According to the reporter, she said yes. Nerdy, but oh so romantic.
- This one here. A man proposes to his fiancée in the middle of fifty synchronized dancers in Washington Park.
- During Old Spice's video response campaign, @Jsbeals successfully got the Old Spice Man to ask Angela A. Hutt-Chamberlin to marry him on his behalf.
- Upon Neil Gaiman's visit and book signing in the Philippines, a fan sent an email asking if Gaiman would help him propose to his girlfriend...Video here
- On a similar note to the Super Mario World hack above: Another guy made a similar proposal by hacking a special new area into Chrono Trigger.
- Love Letters is an adorable animation short picturing a guy trying (and failing) to write the perfect love letter. When he gives up, the camera backs away to reveal the crumpled pieces of paper spell "WILL U MARRY ME?". The best part? The guy in the animation IS the animator, who used the short to propose to his girlfriend in a movie theater.
- One couple always did the Sunday crossword together, so he wrote to the New York Times Crossword, and managed to get them to put "Jenny will you marry me?" in the crossword as one of the answers.
- Comic artist Leigh Gallagher proposed with a special comic he wrote in his blog. She said yes.
- There was one story of a man who proposed to his girlfriend by.... taking her to Disneyworld and having a huge musical production put on leading up to his question.
- Following suit to the Super Mario World and Chrono Trigger proposals, one person hacked the Lumine Hall in Earthbound to propose to his girlfriend. The proposal even took place during a live stream!
- Another nerdy one took place at ComicCon by two Red vs. Blue cosplayers. In front of the Rooster Teeth booth, they were performing some of the RvB skits, dressed as Tucker and Sister (who sort of had a relationship in the show). And then the guy proposed. There's even video!
- Gary Hudston commissioned professional level designers AND Ellen McLain, the voice of G La DOS, to create a giant three stage level in Portal 2 to propose to his girlfriend.
- This news report about a guy who proposed to his girlfriend in a "job advertisment for a wife". She accepted by "applying" for the "job". Justified in that according to the guy, the girl often reads job advertisement columns.
- The various nerd conventions, anime, star trek, comic, and what have you, are basically a boiling pan of geeky social life for one full weekend. Does this happen when you get a bunch of people obsessed with various fantastical stories, half of whom dress up, in one place? You better believe it happens.
- One particular sub category of this is the masquerades. The couple will book a time slot and usually do some sort of romantic skit before the proposal at the end. One year at Conneticon, this happened twice in one night during the same masquerade (not the same skit, though).
- One couple met at a Girl Genius booth. Several years later, at the same Con, the guy set up a treasure hunt, with clues leading all over. The final clue lead the girl to the booth, where he was waiting, alone with the Foglios, for her. He proposed. She said yes.
- Dave Roman proposed to Raina Telgemeier in a comic he drew, but left unfinished. It was later posted online, with the ending drawn by Raina herself.
- Top 25 Marriage Proposals — while some of these are regular ways to propose, a certain number are certainly on the wacky side.
- A lot of these can be found on the Wedinator here.
- Timothy Tiah, one of the founders of online blog advertising community Nuffnang, proposed to his now-fiance Audrey, a fellow blogger, using internet memes on flashcards.
- During NBC's pregame show for a Thanksgiving NFL game in 1985, sideline reporter Ahmad Rashad interrupted his analysis to propose to Cosby Show star Phylicia Ayers-Allen.
- This Final Fantasy-styled proposal involving Nobuo Uematsu himself (he's not part of the couple that did the proposal, by the way). It was done during the "Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy" concert in Toronto in late March 2012.
- It must be overwhelming, being proposed to and learning you live in The Matrix at the same time as seen here.
- of her first husband, no less