Category Archives: Character Review

Married With Children Character Review: Kelly Bundy

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. The family came first.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show Married… With Children. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

If we can say nothing else about Kelly Bundy (Christina Applegate), we can say that she is a chip off the old block. Like her mother, Peg (Katey Sagal), Kelly is not above using her sexuality to get her way. Like her father, Al (Ed O’Neill), she isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. Combine that with the blonde hair, and you’ve got the typical dumb blonde teenage girl.

Though she has a long series of boyfriends, none of them last. Al takes particular pleasure in sending them packing. She also loves to mock her little brother, Bud, who turns around and mocks her right back. When she is in school, Kelly would prefer to be elsewhere. Which accounts for grades that are nothing to brag about. In the eyes of her classmates, she is the mean girl.

But when push comes to shove, she is a Bundy. Bundys stick together, no matter what.

To sum it up: Obviously, Kelly is a dumb blonde who relies on her physical features to get by. But that is what makes her a brilliant character. She is a satire of a character who in another program might be wholesome, studious, and, well smart. In being who she is, Kelly ridicules the trope that often appears in family sitcoms. Applegate is clearly a smart performer. It takes a certain kind of intelligence to play a girl like Kelly.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Married… With Children Character Review: Peg Bundy

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show Married… With Children. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The image of the classic sitcom housewife is as follows: she cleans her house, takes care of her children and husband, cooks delicious meals, dispenses advice, and does with a smile on her face. There is little in the way of unhappiness or wanting more. Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal) is the exact opposite of this vision of maternal perfection. She can’t cook to save her life, her house is a mess, her children are undisciplined, and she mocks her husband Al (Ed O’Neill) for the fun of it.

Knocked up by Al in high school, their wedding was far from a grand, romantic affair. Instead of being wise with the income that comes in from her husband’s job, she picks his pockets frequently and dresses in a way that some might view as inappropriate for a mother. When her kids are in school and Al is at work, Peg can be found on the living room couch, feigning housework, watching daytime TV, and stuffing her face.

But for all of her crassness and lack of caring, Peg does her best, in her own way. She is loyal to her husband and is raising the next generation the best way she knows how to.

Donna Reed, Peg is not. But in going against type, she reflects the everyday woman, even if her character is exaggerated. Real-life is complicated, as we all know. So are marriage and being a parent. It is those complications that make her unique, interesting, and forever funny.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Married… With Children Character Review: Al Bundy

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. There is only so much that can be done in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show Married… With Children. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The image of the family sitcom father is one that was developed in the 1950s and has changed over the decades. Though he is imperfect and has his flaws (as well do), he does the best he can to take care of his wife and children. Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) from Married With Children is the exact opposite.

His adult life is one long string of miseries. After knocking up his wife, Peg (Katey Sagal), he was forced to marry her in a literal shotgun wedding. To support his wife and kids, this former high school football star is a shoe salesman in the local mall. He hates his job (which pays nothing) and hates the customers. The only bright spot is that it gets him away from Peggy, who is frequently looking for some bedroom alone time with her husband.

It doesn’t help that his children are moochers. His daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) is the epitome of a dumb blonde. His son Bud (David Faustino), is well, an idiot. His only outlet is drinking with is spending with his friends and drooling over half-naked women half his age.

When Al is home, he has more than his family to contend with. Neighbors Marcy and Steve Rhoades (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison) are introduced as the new neighbors and newlyweds who are the picture-perfect couple. While Al is able to corrupt both Steve and Marcy’s second husband, Jefferson D’Arcy (Ted McGinley), he frequently buts heads with Marcy. But, when push comes to shove, he is the man you want in your corner.

To sum it up: To say that Al Bundy is politically incorrect is an understatement. He is rude, he is crude, miserable, and sarcastic. But he is also, in a sense, more true to life than some of his counterparts in other sitcoms. The humor in his character comes from the crassness that is over the top, but completely relatable.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Walter Harvey

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. There is only so much that can be done in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When a businessperson starts a new venture, the outcome is unknown. The only objective is to increase the bottom line. In A League of Their Own, Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) is the CEO of a candy company. With the men away fighting in World War II, he sees an opportunity in helping to establish the AAGPBL. Though he sees an economic opportunity, he does not know that he is creating an important crack in the glass ceiling.

When the teams are not doing as well as hoped, Walter and the other owners want to fold. But Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) sees its potential and takes over running the organization, creating the success that the original owners could not see.

Starts at 3:39

Walter is both a man of his time and a CEO whose job is to keep his company open. He cannot understand or see that what he is doing is opening the door for future generations of women to spread their wings.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

This will be my last character review post for A League of Their Own. Come back next weekend to find out the next set of characters that I will be reviewing,

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Ira Lowenstein

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The key to any successful business is marketing. The product or service can be the best thing since sliced bread, but without the buying public being aware of it, success is unlikely to happen. In A League of Their Own, Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) is the man behind the appeal of the AAGPBL. When his boss, Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) wants to close down the league due to the lack of an audience, it is Ira who keeps it alive. But, like any businessman, the cold truth of the bottom line counteracts the personal relationships of its employees. When Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) becomes a star, that spotlight adds to the long-simmering tension with her younger sister, Kit Keller (Lori Petty).

To sum it up: It takes vision, drive, and belief to make it in the business world. This is especially true when an idea is new, untested, and the response from the public is not what it was expected to be. What makes Ira special is that he believes in the players, even when it contradicts the ideals of the period and is not bringing in the expected profit.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Evelyn Gardner

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations..

Being a working mother is never easy. The scales between parenting and raising the next generation can seem like they will never be balanced. In A League of Their Own, Evelyn Gardner (Bitty Schram) has been forced by her husband to take their son, Stillwell (played by Justin Scheller as a child and Mark Holton as an adult) on the road with her. Evelyn is a bit of an indulgent mother, attempting to keep Stillwell from getting into trouble with multiple chocolate bars while on the bus in between games. To say that this does not go over well with her teammates is an understatement. She also allows Stillwell to taunt the team, which also gets under the skin of the rest of the women.

Evelyn is also an emotional softie who does not respond well to criticism from her coach, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) when she makes a poor decision on the ballfield. But that does not mean that she is weak. Evelyn has a backbone that allows her to be a trailblazer, as both a working mother and a female athlete.

To sum it up: I think we, as an audience, underestimate Evelyn. She may appear to be a softie, but underneath that softness is a will of iron that is not often associated with women from the period. The truth is that we, as women have had it all along, we just needed the opportunity to show it.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Marla Hooch

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last week. Life got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Movie makeovers are not uncommon narratives. What makes one stereotypical and another unique is how the writer(s) approach the makeover. In A League of Their Own, Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanaugh) is not your average woman. Raised by her widower father, Marla was brought up as a boy. She can play baseball like no one’s business but was never taught the female graces of the era.

Brought to tryouts with sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty), she makes the team. Before they can get on the ballfield, they must go through etiquette lessons and a beauty expert. The response to Marla’s appearance is not unexpected.

Ironically, it is Marla who lives the traditional life. She meets her husband at a jukebox joint. After being given a lot of liquor and a tight dress, she gets on stage and starts to sing. Though she lacks the voice, the standard image of a beautiful woman, and the confidence without the liquid courage, she gets the guy. Marrying halfway through the season, Marla returns the next season to play with the Peaches.

To sum it up: Marla’s glow-up is more than a physical makeover. True beauty, as cliche as it sounds, comes from within. It is her belief in herself that not only gets her on to the team, but also provides the romantic life that might not have had otherwise.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Doris Murphy

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Every era has its own ideal of female beauty. Though the external images change, the expectations of how to be a “proper woman” remain the same. This, of course, does not include playing sports in either a formal or informal team. In A League of Their Own, Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) is far from the idealized 1940’s pinup (unlike her best friend Mae Mordabito). A resident of New York City, Doris has a zaftig figure and speaks with a stereotypical NYC accent.

Joining the AAGBPL gives her the opportunity to feel like an insider. After spending years feeling like an outsider due to her physical appearance and her love of baseball, Doris has finally found her people. She also finds the confidence to believe that she is worthy of being loved and not forced to be with someone for the sake of being with someone.

But she also has a temper. When Kit Keller (Lori Petty) has an argument with her sister Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis), Doris makes a joke at Kit’s expense, which leads to a fight that changes the course of their relationship. Doris does not just talk the talk. She walks the walk. When pushed, she is not one to be messed with.

To sum it up: Then and now, seeing women who are not a size 2 is still revolutionary. In both the character and actor looking like the average woman, it allows those of us who are not modelesque to see themselves on screen.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Mae Mordabito

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

There is and has been, for all of human history, a double-edged sword for female sexuality. We know that without it, life would not continue on. But, at the same time, it has been demonized (by men mostly) as the evil to end all evils. It has also been one of the only ways to be independent and earn a living in a world in which marriage is the only acceptable outcome.

In A League of Their Own, Mae Mordabito (Madonna) has up to this point, brought home the bacon by working at a gentleman’s club. Best friends with Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell), both have found a new opportunity via the AAGPBL. Known as “All The Way Mae” on the ballfield, she has an interesting duality. When not in uniform, she is known for not being without a date. Mae is also not heartless. She teaches a teammate to read via a romance novel. It’s not the most traditional way to learn, but it’s the thought that counts.

To sum it up: Then, as now, a woman’s use of her physical form as she wished to was a controversial topic. But Mae owns who she is and what she does. Like the actress who plays her, that is a subject that is still unfortunately timely and not without it’s detractors.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

P.S. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is at the roadhouse.

P.P.S. The theme song from the movie, This Used to be My Playground is one of my favorite songs of hers.

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Kit Keller

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It’s hard to be the younger sibling when your older sibling is perceived as a paragon of perfection. In A League of Their Own, Kit Keller (Lori Petty) feels as if she is in the shadow of her elder sister, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis). When they are recruited to join the AAGPBL, Kit is eager to sign up, but Dottie would prefer not to. She only agrees to stay on when Kit convinces her to.

Though the sisters start on an equal playing field, Dottie quickly becomes a star. Kit’s insecurities start to get the best of her. The conflict between them starts to affect the rest of the team when Dottie insists that her sister can no longer play. As it was back home, Kit believes that she will never be seen as anything else than Dottie’s little sister. This eventually leads to Kit being traded. At the climax of their dispute, they meet on the ballfield as both the personal and professional issues collide.

The last time we see Kit, she is a woman of a certain age. The strife between the sisters is in the past, their relationship has come full circle, allowing them to regain the bond they had when they were younger.

What I think makes Kit relatable is her insecurities. Regardless of whether we are the oldest, the middle, or the youngest child, it’s difficult to walk your own path when you feel like you are fighting for the spotlight. The only way to move beyond this insecurity is to be bold enough to go your own way. In doing so, Kit finds the courage and confidence to make her own decisions, regardless of what Dottie may say or do.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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