Married… With Children Character Review: Jefferson D’Arcy

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 time 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.

When we get married, the hope is that your spouse says “I do” because they are in love and want to make a life with you. But not everyone marries for love. Some marry for the lifestyle.

In Married…With Children, Jefferson D’Arcy (Ted McGinley) is the second husband of the former Marcy Rhoades (Amanda Bearse). The best description of him is that he is a pretty boy. Younger than his wife, Jefferson has married Marcy for her money. He has no ambition and cannot see beyond his own image. The male version of Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal), he is fine with sitting at home all day or spending Marcy’s money without a second thought.

At this wife’s urging, Jefferson does try his hand at work. But every job he has goes down in flames, mostly due to the women he works with. Upon meeting her husband’s colleagues, Marcy demands that he quit, sending him back to the life of a pampered househusband.

He also represents Al Bundy‘s (Ed O’Neill) worst instincts. If there is an opportunity for a get-rich-quick scheme, Jefferson is quick to get on board with Al not too far behind him. When it comes to his marriage, Marcy wears the pants and has no problem telling her husband what to do. When she is not around, however, Jefferson is not above mocking his wife, ignoring her instructions, and maybe cheating on her.

To sum it up: Part of maintaining a relationship is honesty. The best thing you can say about Jefferson is that he is honest about his intentions. It is certainly better than some people, who married for money and pretend to marry for love.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

This will be my last character post for Married….With Children. Come back next week to find out which group of characters I will be reviewing next.

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: Bud 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.

In the world of family sitcoms, the son of the family is sometimes a skirt-chasing fool for whom getting an education is secondary. In Married…With Children, Bud Bundy (David Faustino) is just that. Like many young men, the organ he is thinking with is not on the top of his head. The younger child and only son of Al and Peg Bundy, he loves teasing his older sister, Kelly.

Academically speaking, Bud is the smartest member of the family. Graduating from both high school and college, he excels professionally in a way that his father never did. But that does not mean that he gets everything he wants. He still struggles in the romance department and wasn’t very popular during his school years. Like his father, he has a certain perspective on women and at the end of the day, he is still a Bundy.

To sum it up: Some people are who they are. Though Bud in one way stands out from his family, he is still one of them. As much as we may want to get away from the people who raised us and our childhood experiences, this is part of who we are. The thing about Bud is that he does not try to hide where he came from, but he does his best to rise above his circumstances.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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.

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.

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.

Thoughts On the 30th Anniversary of Married… With Children

Before Married… With Children hit the airwaves in 1987, the family sitcoms that littered the television landscape were a 1980’s reproduction of the family sitcoms of the 1950’s. Following in the groundbreaking steps of Roseanne, Married With Children push the envelope in ways that had not been seen before.

Al Bundy and Peg Bundy (Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal) appear to be the hetero-norm, middle class white suburban couple that has been seen on television since it’s inception. But they aren’t. Al works in a shoe store for a living and hates every minute of it with a passion. Peg is a housewife who does not do housework. Their teenage daughter, Kelly (Christina Applegate), has only one thing going for her: her looks. Ne’er do well son Bud (David Faustino) is not exactly the brightest bulb in the box. Their new neighbors Marcy and Steve Rhoades (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison) are newlyweds and the picture perfect image of suburban normal-ness.

Married With Children was crude, rude and so far from politically correct that it didn’t even have a moral compass. But it was and is so funny. It was the perfect antidote to the perfect TV families of the late 1980’s and 1990’s. But that was the brilliance of this show. It mocked the perfection of the genre in a way that was refreshing. Sometimes when you turn on the television, you don’t want to think. You just need a dumb show to make you laugh and Married With Children was that show.

The legacy of Married With Children is not just the pushing of the envelope, but the idea that families on television reflect the audience who is watching. Families are messy and no one is perfect. While this show was a little far from reality, it revealed a truth about life and what audiences really want to see on television.

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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