Some people may not know this, buy Married... With Children is actually the first prime-time television series to air on Fox in 1987. It stars Ed O'Neill (TV's Modern Family) as miserable family patriarch and TV legend, Al Bundy and lhe series lasted over a decade, which even spawned a couple short lived spin offs. I'm sure just about everyone has heard of this iconic television series at one point or another. Married... With Children was known for it's push the envelope attitude and cruel humor. Looking back at these first two seasons on DVD it's easy to tell why audiences fell in love with the Bundy's.
The series revolves around a miserable married man, named Al Bundy. Al isn't particularly overjoyed about his life. He has a wife named Peg (Katey Sagal from Futurama and Sons of Anarchy) who doesn't work/cook/clean, or do much of anything to be quite honest, she lives to spend any cent he earns. He has two kids, Kelly and Bud (Christina Applegate and David Faustino, respectively) neither of which appreciate anything he does. The eldest is Kelly, she is a promiscuous and stupid bleach blonde girl he hates his neighbors, the goody two shoe pairing of Steve and Marcy Rhodes (David Garrison and Amanda Bearse, respectively), and he has the self proclaimed worst job in the world, he's a shoe salesmen. To put it frank, Al is living in a personal hell. There are moments where we see Al's real feelings shine through, but those are VERY few and are between.
There are some noticeable differences between season 1 and the later seasons. Two of the biggest stick out like sore thumbs. the first is Al and Peggy's marriage. In the first season of the show they seem to have a healthy marriage, They act like a normal couple, they're intimate, Peggy cooks dinner for the family etc. However in succeeding seasons, there is a running gag about Al never having sex with Peg, Peg is never seen cooking, they don't act like a couple in love, like in the first season. The other big inconsistency is Kelly. In the first season, she's a somewhat smart (the only reason she's failing in school is because she doesn't care) and normal girl. In Season 2, she morphs into the Kelly we know for the next 10 seasons, a stone dumb and overly promiscuous teen.
The first 2 seasons feature the first 35 episodes (Of 259) of the series, and while al of them might not be winners, there are some classics in the bunch. A few of my favorites are "Johnny B. Gone" is about Al's favorite burger joint closing up shop, Al is in a rush to get there before closing time despite numerous delays. The actual reasoning for wanting to go there is because it is the location of Al and Peggy's first date. "Al Loses His Cherry", an episode where Al storms out after a fight with Peg. While staying at his best friend's house, he is seduced with temptation from a girl of his dreams."Impo-Dent" is a classic where Steve comes home and finds his prized car wrecked due to Marcy, which causes Impotence. "Just Married... with Children" is about Al and Peggy posing as Steve and Marcy to get on a game show (this episode actually features Ed O'Neill's real life wife as one of the other contestants.) "Whose Room is it Anyway?" is about Steve and Marcy deciding to add an additional room their home, and Al and Peggy take advantage of this, trying to coerce Steve and Marcy into the room THEY want. "Earth Angel" revolves around a beautiful aspiring artist who is homeless stays with the Bundy's, which draws the attention of every male in the neighborhood, much to the annoyance of Peg and Marcy. "But I Didn't Shoot the Deputy" revolves around Al buying a gun, something no one is fond of in the slightest, and he accidentally ends up shooting Steve's dog. Lastly, In "Guys and Dolls", Steve and Al begin a trading card collection, in the process selling Marcy's most prized possession, a Barbie doll, to obtain some of the rarer cards.
- The performances from all of the cast members, especially Ed O'Neill as Al. Due to O'Neill's perfect performance, Al has become a TV icon.
- Married With Children is sitcoms at their best.
- The humor. Even after watching certain episodes a dozen times over the years, the show still manages to make me laugh every time I watch.
- The series was just finding it's footing, so there are quite a few inconsistencies that stick out like a sore thumb.
- While I love it, a lot of newcomers won't like the cheesiness of some of the material.
Video and Audio:
Let me start with the issue some might take with this release. This DVD set is Pillarboxed. What Pillarbox means is to make sure none of the original picture quality is lost, by making the 4:3 aspect ratio to fit the 16:9 format, which means there are black bars placed on both sides of the screen (not at the top and bottom which is more common, that is called Letterboxing.) It's necessary when film or video that was not originally designed for widescreen is shown on a widescreen display. If you can get past that small problem you shouldn't have any problems with this set, the original sets from a few years back look just as clean as this collection, except the grain seemed to be a bit more noticeable in this release.
The Audio on Married... With Children: Seasons 1 & 2 is presented in a 2.0 Dolby Stereo.
- There are no Extras at all on this collection.
The early years of Married With Children is sitcoms at their finest. You might never find a TV dad as funny as Al Bundy, perfectly played by Ed O'Neill. If you've never seen this show, now is the perfect time to jump in.Highly recommended