Even My TV’s Elite – The Married with Children Edition
Ace Wellington the Third Celebrates 25 Years with Our Favorite Dysfunctional Family
When you look back on your childhood, what do you remember the most? Your first day of school, your first girlfriend, or even your first kiss? You probably remember all of those but what you remember most is your dysfunctional family. That time your dad threw that beer bottle at the dog, that time you got kicked out of the house, those dudes that were pining after your older sister, and of course how money was always a struggle. The Bundy’s are that all-American family: Dysfunctional and delinquent.
Al: Now let me tell you something. We Bundy’s may have our faults; but we believe that marriage should be forever, no matter how pitiful or disgusting it may be to wake up to the same horrifying face each day. That’s what the marriage vows are all about; and anyone who can’t stand the nagging, bonbon-eating heat should stay out of the whining, sex-starved kitchen.
Married with Children started it’s run in 1987 on the then infantile Fox Network. The theme song for the show, “Love and Marriage” was performed by Frank Sinatra during a rendition ofOur Town in 1955 and is almost synonymous with the show. It was the first primetime show to air on Fox which was a big step for the television network and outlasted the other starters of that time. It was a validation for Fox among the “Big Three” networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) but it also gave affirmation to viewers that it was okay to be dysfunctional and messed up. It was new ground for TV at the time that didn’t really like going into subject matter that might be considered offensive. Fuck that- being offensive might be the best thing a television show can do. If you don’t push the limitations that is the standard and normality there is no progress. So, when Al Bundy (Ed O’Neil) looks in the fridge and sees that there is no food because he’s barely able to afford electricity, fix his piece of shit Dodge, and provide bon-bons for his wife- its okay because no matter how much they fought, his family was there for him. They were the Bundy’s:
Al: Kelly, when I was a kid, there were lots of parties I wasn’t invited to. I showed up anyway. I stood there with a big smile on my face and said, “I’m here” and headed right for the food. Sure, they didn’t want me there, but I had a great time. And if they didn’t, so what? The point is if you want to be there, be there. Even if they hate you. You’re a Bundy. Start acting like one.
Married with Children was canceled in 1997 and never received a proper “finale”. It never really garnered the ratings it deserved because the Fox Network was still so young and wasn’t as widespread as it is today. But, it had a profound effect on the way society viewed television and taught us a great lesson about family and life. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how you act, or who likes you- believe in yourself and throw up a middle finger to those who don’t agree.
Fox honored the 25th Anniversary by airing the original Married with Children pilot and you can catch all 11 seasons on Netflix and Hulu.