Married… With Children Character Review: Steve Rhoades

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.

Marriage is a partnership. It is also a balancing act. What one person lacks, the other person has, and visa versa. In Married…With Children, Steve Rhoades (David Garrison) is married to Marcy Rhoades (later D’arcy). They live next door to Al and Peg Bundy (Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal). Compared to his wife, Steve is quiet and generally goes along with whatever is going on. Unlike Al, Steve respects Marcy and their marriage. At least initially.

Coming under Al’s caveman-like ways, Steve starts to morph into Al’s second in command. He also gets back at the bullies who made his high school experience miserable by denying them the funding at the bank he works at. After a few years, Steve leaves Marcy, wanting to be an outdoorsman. Marcy eventually remarries and introduces her neighbors to her new husband, Jefferson D’Arcy (Ted McGinley). He comes back now and again, unhappy, but accepting that Marcy has moved on.

To sum it up: Being a nice person is important. But is also important to stand up for yourself. Steve does stand up for himself, but it takes him a while to do so. But the only way for him to do that is to leave everything and everyone he loves.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Married… With Children Character Review: Marcy D’Arcy

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.

When we are newlyweds, it appears that nothing will spoil the bubble of perfection that we are in. But life has a way of interfering and reminding us that imperfection is just around the corner. When the audience first meets Marcy Rhoades (Amanda Bearse), she and her husband Steve (David Garrison) are newlyweds and the image of suburban perfection. Then they meet their new neighbors: Al and Peg Bundy (Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal).

Marcy becomes besties with Peg, but she clashes with Al because she believes that he is a misogynistic pig. The insults she hurls at him come back at her tenfold. While this is happening, Steve comes under Al’s spell. This lasts until Marcy and Steve go their separate ways. Her new husband, Jefferson D’Arcy (Ted McGinley) is younger, very into himself, and not above using his wife for her paycheck. As her first husband did, Jefferson sinks to a new low when he is around Al.

To sum it up: As much as we may wish and yearn for perfection, the reality is that it will never happen. That means that we have to accept reality, warts and all. In her unique way, Marcy both accepts this reality and fights against it. It is that push and pull that makes her stand out in this satire of the family sitcom.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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.

Throwback Thursday- TV Edition- Married… With Children

In the 1980’s, family sitcoms were basically a retooling of the family sitcoms from the 1950’s.  Even with modern updates, it was the same concept.  It was still the happy nuclear family who would somehow (with the exception of the very special episodes) find a way to resolve any issues within a 30 minute episode.

Then Married… With Children premiered.  It was everything the other shows were not. It was raunchy, it was sexist, it was so far from politically correct that one needed a telescope to find the political correctness in a show. But it was funny and it is still funny today.

Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) works in a women’s shoe store and tries to relive the 15 seconds of glory he had on the high school football field. His wife, Peggy (Katey Sagal) is suppose to be a housewife, but doesn’t do much housework. Their daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) is a blonde ditz and their son Bud (David Faustino) has only girls on the brain.  Living next door are the yuppy Marcy and Steve Rhoades (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison).  Later on in the series Steve leaves and Marcy marries Jefferson D’Arcy (Ted McGinley).

As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like waking up a Saturday morning and beginning my weekend with a Married With Children rerun. What makes it’s so funny is that is more real that other family sitcoms of the same era. Not every issue is wrapped up neatly within 30 minutes and not everyone is as lovey dovey to their spouse and children as television would make it seem.  Sometimes you need to laugh out loud and Married With Children never fails to make me laugh out loud.

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