The little show that could.
MARRIED WITH CHILDREN is my favourite show and has been for many a year. So, I felt my first official blog should be about MWC.
Why do I like this show so much? I can't remember what first attracted me to it, but I have fond memories of rushing home from school in the early '90s to catch it on channel 9 at 3:30pm. Me wanna watch the funny show! Whether it's the dysfunctional blue collar caricature-ness or its satirical approach to family life and life in general, I took to it. We first got cable television in October of 1997, and I was chuffed to bits to see MWC on FOX8 every night. The end of the third season was playing... I kept watching and watching and decided 5 episodes later to start recording the episodes to keep. Episode #404, "Tooth And Consequences" was the first I ever kept.
My mother, upon seeing some videos of episodes on the table: "Four whole tapes? That is beyond a joke." What must she think, 250+ tapes later?
January 1998 saw it move to TV1 (its current home) with the beginning of the fifth season. And guess what? Back then, the channel didn't have commercial breaks! Bliss. It was smooth sailing until the eight season began to wind up and the ad breaks started coming in - rather clumsily at first. I still hate them, but I understand the fact they need to show them to keep sponsors happy and generate money.
Nowadays, after collating all the episodes from various sources, I have a huge collection of specials, interviews and some rarities. I am always looking for anything MWC things I don't have, particularly from the 80s/90s.
From 1987 to 1997, America's first family of FOX was the Bundys. Al was a shoe salesman bogged down by life and family. Peg was the "evil, red-headed, high-heeled spandex monster"; Kelly, the definitive blonde bimbo, and Bud, who would often strike out with the ladies, was the smartest of the Bundy clan, and the first to graduate college. Marcy is the chicken-like next door neighbour - conservative on the outside, a wild sexual deviant on the inside. The Pilot introduced us to the Bundys, and the Bundys to their new neighbours, Marcy & Steve - a newly married couple they could really sink their teeth into. "Greedy, materialistic pig" Steve would leave in season four to be replaced later by Jefferson, a good looking gigolo-type who would rather work on his tan than anything else.
I feel it's best to sum up the show and the characters, particularly Al, with this quote from the season 4 Christmas episode:
Al reciting a la 'Twas The Night Before Christmas:
"Bundy", he said. "You only sell shoes.
Your son is a sneak-thief, your daughter's a flooze!
Ho ho," Santa said, "should I mention your wife?
Her hair's like an A-Bomb, her nails like a knife!"
Then I heard him exclaim, as he broke wind with glee:
"You're married with children... you'll never be free."
Yes, I watch and obsess over other shows as well. So why this show as the all-time favourite? It was the first I felt connected with it. It's wall-to-wall laughs, with no real-life, heavy issues bogging down the story lines. Other shows took care of that. It pushed the envelope, a rich, angry housewife is hugely responsible for the show's huge ratings in early 1989... but for such a controversial show, it is one of the least racist, fascist, prejudice shows ever created. The creators are a black dude and a Jew. The casting? Inspired.
Al feared change (Peg: "well, that explains your job and your underwear.") He was every man's hero. A big star of high school football, he became a man with a job he dislikes and a family he resents. But would he have it any other way?
You can read transcripts at my site here.
You can also find episode reviews by various fans, and a growing reference database.
I also recommended Bundyology for in depth information. You can always ask me any questions you have about the show.
stay tuned for the rest of my top 10 shows! :)