Married ...with Children (3)

Part 3: My final episode picks
December 15, 2008

At long last I present the third part to my series of Married ...with Children articles, in case you missed either of the previous two, they can be located here:

Married ...with Children Part 1

Married ...with Children Part 2

And now for my final all-time favorite episode selections, starting with...

5.15 A Man's Castle (Original Air Date: 2/17/1991)

Al is shocked to have learned that not only has Peggy invested $2000 to become enrolled at the Cook County School of Interior Design, but she has also singlehandedly turned his bathroom pink and girly, which has an adverse effect on his regularity. Best moment is after Peggy refuses to turn it back the way it was, Al ritualistically eats Mexican food with hot sauce then proceeds to the upstairs bathroom where her classmates are admiring her work.

Al: Peg, this is my house. If you want it to look better, dust. If you want it to smell better, cook. If you want it to be happy, leave. But do not touch this house, I am not a man happy with change.
Peggy: Well, that explains your job and your underwear.

Peggy: Look, why don't you at least try the new bathroom, I put a very special feature on it. When you flush the toilet, it plays "We've Only Just Begun."
Al: Peg, you know that's our wedding song! Everytime I hear it, it freezes up my innards solid!

Peggy: Look, just try it. If you don't like it, you never have to do it again.
Al: Yeah, right, I've heard that before. If that was true, explain Bud to me.

Al: My toilet's not a man! My Ferguson has become...Fergie!

5.17 Oldies But Young 'Uns (Original Air Date: 3/17/1991)

Al hears the tail end of a song on the radio but can't figure out what it is, and begins driving everyone crazy trying to find out the answer. Featuring Matt LeBlanc in a pre-Friends, yet oddly similar to Joey role, and coincidently enough Christina Applegate would also years later play the role of Amy Green on the same show. This episode also has one of the all-time best endings of the series, which like Hot Off the Grill leaves you with a big laugh yet makes you wonder, "Man, what the hell happened next?" great stuff. It should be also noted that the characters of Vinnie and Charlie Verducci were later brought in for not one, but two failed spin-offs of the show, a curse that would follow Matt LeBlanc many years later with his Friends spin-off.

Peggy: When you see your father, ask him if he's done with my mother's cigarette lighter.
Al: In defense of your father, she was bending over, he might've thought that, you know, someone had left it in the folds of a couch.

Al: Thank you. Not even this, huh? What is it? Is Oprah right? Are you a big, fat woman? All I wanted was a 45, a stinkin' 45! The record or the gun! Hell, I'd even settle for the damn malt liquor!

5.21/5.22 You Better Shop Around (Original Air Dates: 4/15-21/1991)

A heatwave hits Chicago, and after Al blows out the power in the entire neighborhood with his thrifty air conditioner purchase, the Bundys decide to move into the supermarket to cool off. After a manager discovers their plan, he orders them to purchase something and leave. So, they cut in line in front of Marcy and wind up winning the one-millionth customer $1000 shopping spree. After Marcy contests the fairness of the situation, the management decides the two families should compete in a form of Supermarket Sweep to see who can gather up $1000 worth of groceries first. Featuring a cameo from a self-deprecating Jerry Mathers playing himself, this is one of the best two-parter episodes of the series.

Al: I wonder what the poor people are doing.

Jerry Mathers: Now for the rules. Whoever gets $1,000 worth of food first, gets to keep it. Which, by the way, is more than I'm getting for this gig. Can it be true? Can Match Game PM not use another celebrity? Am I truly lower than...Charles Nelson Reilly?!

6.1/6.2 She's Having My Baby (Original Air Dates: 9/8-15/1991)

Al gets the worst possible news of his life when he learns that not only is Marcy pregnant, but Peggy as well is now expecting another child. Originally this episode was a clever device to write Katey Sagal's real-life pregnancy into the show. However, several episodes in, Katey tragically lost the baby, so the episodes were written off in a Dallas fashion as being nothing more than an extended dream. It's unfortunate, one has to only imagine the potentially great direction the show would've gone in had things turned out differently. Still, this is a great two-parter, penned by creators Moye and Leavitt. You can always recognize their particular style of dialogue:

Al: I'm gonna get me a Big Boy socket wrench set. Man, it's gonna be great. I'll go around this house and tighten more nuts than you did in high school.

Peggy: Al, what should we name the baby?
Al: The Reaper?

Al: God, I feel like Exxon, one spill, I'm paying for it the rest of my life.

6.22 The Goodbye Girl (Original Air Date: 4/19/1992)

Kelly's modeling school closes, and after soul searching, she decides to get a job at the local theme park "TV World." Meanwhile, Al takes a week-long vacation from work, which requires solitary confinement on the fenced-off couch. This is by far my favorite Kelly episode, after coming home from work she provides a hilarious monologue:

Kelly: Why doesn't the world explode into a firey, pus-filled death? A fat woman comes to the gate today, her mu-mu covering what must've been three or four heinous. Now, she could exit through the little, itsy-bitsy turnstyle or a huge gate. Guess which one she chooses. A line was forming, so I had to do something. So I got a tub of butter from the Delta Burke "Let's Get Big" exhibit, and oiled her up. Then I went over to Star Trek Land, hot-wired the Enterprise, and sent it up where no man has gone before. She goes flying like a vegetable out of Dad's mouth, right into the Facts of Life fan club pavillion. Thank god it's always empty. Can somebody give me a reason to live?

The minute she stuck her hand down her pants, I was rolling on the floor. The mannerisms and vocal patterns alone were a dead-on perfect Al impersonation, a classic moment.

8.15 Honey, I Blew Up Myself (Original Air Date: 1/23/1994)

It's Al's birthday again, and while Bud and Kelly can't help but keep delivering identical "Godawful" gifts, Peggy has decided to give Al a professionally shot sexy photo of herself to hang up in the shoe store. As if matters couldn't possibly get worse, to Al's horror the photographer has just installed a billboard-sized version directly outside the shoe store window. Best moment is when Al describes his contempt for Peggy in a Seuss-like manner:

Al: You see, Aaron, I've been married to Peg for over twenty years. I've seen her from the front, I've seen her from the back. I've seen her in a chair, I've seen her in a sack. I've seen her stand, I've seen her crouch, I've seen her on her stupid couch. I do not like her in the mall, I do not like her in the hall. I do not like her in my life, I do not like my big, red wife.

Woman: See, I told you I was a four.
Al: No, ma'am, "Fore!" is what you'll have to yell when the shoe pops off your foot. Are we finished here?
Woman: Well, I'm not sure I like this shade of blue.
Al: I'll tell you what I'll do then. We'll stand you in front of a mirror, I'll begin strangling you. When you reach the shade of blue that's satisfactory to you, you yell "Moo!" and I'll stop.
Woman: That's it, I'm taking my business elsewhere!
Al: May I suggest Jenny Craig?

Marcy: We prefer to be called "gyno-Americans."
Al: Then "rhino-Americans" it is!

Al: Women, can't live with em, can't herd em all into Canada.

9.4 Naughty But Niece (Original Air Date: 9/25/1994)

Bud has an opportunity to receive a scholarship to study at Oxford, but extensive studying for the exam has left him sleep deprived, and he keeps nodding off into sexual fantasies. Meanwhile, Marcy's niece has moved in next door, and proves to be an even bigger distraction. This episode not only introduces Al's equally hapless coworker Griff, but also brings in the hottest recurring character ever, Amber, played by Juliet Tablak (who quite frankly in my opinion deserved much more exposure on the show in more ways than one).

Marcy: Guess what, we're going to have a new addition to our family.
Al: Well, shouldn't you be sitting on it, waiting for it to hatch?

Bud: Just you and me now, Buck boy.
Buck: Uh-oh, I've seen porno films that start like this.

Amber: Ooh, your hands feel so strong...especially the right one.

9.16 Get the Dodge Out of Hell (Original Air Date: 2/5/1995)

Billed as the 200th episode, while on a trip to Wanker County, the Bundy's stop at Traugott's House of Scrubbin' for a necessary wash of the Dodge, only for the management to mysteriously lose the car. Featuring one of the several Steve cameos during the final few seasons of the show, and filled with many of those classic dialogue moments such as:

Al: Ooh, Peg, look, car bras.
Peggy: The Dodge does not need a car bra.
Al: Oh, it's not for the Dodge, Peg. No, it's for your mom. See, it's even in her size -- "Astrovan."

Al: Peg, what is it with you? You can change six "D" batteries in the dark, but you can't find a two-ton automobile in broad daylight.
Peggy: Let's not start talking about who can't find what in the dark.

The episode also closes out with a "For Your Emmy Consideration" moment, which I'm sure was mostly a joke, cause lets face it, this show is not the type of pretentious drivel the Academy usually embraces. It's a show that has a real and devoted fanbase, and it's cult appeal will continue to bring in future generations of fans while other "award winning" shows are long forgotten.

11.9 Crimes Against Obesity (Original Air Date: 12/29/1996)

After years of insulting numerous random fat women, the tables turn and the fat women wind up barricading Al inside the shoe store, who then proceed to put him on trial for his prejudicial actions. Appropriately enough, the judge is played by Diana Bellamy, who was Al's first verbal victim in the pilot episode. If you've loved the fat jokes over the years then this is the definative episode for that aspect of the show, as it features both new and classic lines from the entire run including:

Woman: I want my money back. These shoes fell apart after one day and I wanna know why.
Griff: Well, you see ma'am, this is a pliant heel with a cork filling.
Al: Whereas you are a giant seal with a pork filling.

Matilda: I don't understand it, I was a size six before aerobics class. All that jumping must've expanded my foot.
Al: Then I see you must've fallen on your butt a time or two.
Matilda: How dare you say that to my face!
Al: I'd say it behind your back, but my car's only got half a tank of gas!

And now to wind things down, here's a few more notable quotes from episodes I didn't cover previously:

The Razor's Edge

Peggy: Marcy, let me tell you a little something about men. You see, nature played a very cruel joke on them. It gave them a source of pleasure, but in order for it to work, the blood has to leave the brain. And you see it leaves them confused, disoriented and eager to enter into negotiations. Because the brain wants that blood back. You see, it needs it to go to work, to pay for all those things it agreed to only moments before.

Poke High

Peggy: Okay, Honey, now it's time to do your chores.
Al: Wait a second, Peg, we had sex three nights ago. I'm still kinda woozy.
Peggy: The garbage, Al. The longer of the two jobs.
Al: And the more rewarding.
[Al picks up garbage bag which rips and spills the contents]
Peggy: Don't you even know how to do that?
Al: Well thanks, Peg. Now it's exactly like sex.

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

Peggy: Now sit up, shut up and brace yourself!
Al: Wait a second, Peg, remember the kids are here. Now if you wanna have sex, they'll have to leave. And if you want it to be good, you'll have to leave.

Kids, Whadaya Gonna Do?

Marcy: I guess about a month ago when you came over to borrow a soda and we said "Take whatever you want," you might've misunderstood. Which brings me to our flatware.
Al: Hey, I didn't steal your bra!

So This is How Sinatra Felt

Woman: I want my money back! These shoes you sold me are as useless to me as a comb is to you. I've only worn them once and they split at the sides.
Al: Well, let me explain, see it's just like an elevator, there's a two-ton weight limit on these shoes. What's say I nail the soles directly to your feet. It'll give you more traction when you're pulling the ice wagon.
Woman: You'll be hearing from my attorney!
Al: Is that the law offices of Haagen and Dazs?

And that about wraps things up. I hope you've enjoyed all three parts of this article series which I've worked on all year. It's taken up a lot of free time and energy, but I'm glad I've finally got it completed. So in closing, I leave you with an appropriate photo of me from last Halloween, further proving my love for the show. Hope you're a big fan too. Thanks for reading.

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