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.

History of the Sitcom Review

The beautiful thing about art is that it is never static. It adapts to both time and culture, giving creators the ability to match what is going on in the wider world.

The new eight part mini-series CNN miniseries, History of the Sitcom, premiered on Sunday night. Each episode focuses on how the sitcom evolved over time and reflects on how it explores the different aspects of our lives from family to work to school, etc. Interviewing actors, writers, and producers, it delves into how this genre has shaped American culture.

I really enjoyed the first two episodes. The first one focused on the evolution of the family sitcom and how it has evolved from the white, suburban Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show programs that populated the television schedule of the 1950’s. The second one talked about how sex, sexuality, the LGBTQ community, and the different variations of gender have been seen by audiences.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

History of the Sitcom airs on Sunday night at 9PM on CNN.

Throwback Thursday- Pleasantville (1998)

Happy 2015. This will be my first Throwback Thursday blog post of the New Year.

The 1950’s can often be seen through rose colored glasses, especially when viewed through the family sitcoms of the era. Television programs like Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show presented the audience with a perfect Caucasian suburban family whose problems were easily solved within a 30 minute time span.

Flash forward to the 1990’s where television story lines and  characters were complex and problems were so easily solved within 30 minutes.

In 1998, Pleasantville,  two 1990’s teens into the world of the perfect 1950’s family sitcom. David, who has little to no social life (Tobey Maguire) is obsessed with the 1950’s television program Pleasantville. His sister, Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) has a very active social life and looks down on her brother’s obsession.  A strange looking remote transports them into the television program. As they spend more time in Pleasantville, things begin to change and the boat begins to rock.

I like this movie. What I like about this movie is that it brings color to a world that is black and white, literally and figuratively. The special effects are also a nice touch. They add to the movie as needed, without drawing attention away from the plot or the characters.

I recommend it.

Revolutionary Road-Book And Movie Review

The 1950’s are often viewed with the lenses rose colored glasses. Television programs like the Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best presented the image of the perfect Caucasian middle class family where the problems were simple and solvable with 30 minutes. Life is never that perfect or that easy.

Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates’s novel about the imperfections beneath the surface, was published in 2000.

Frank and April Wheeler are living what seems to be the perfect suburban middle class life in the 1950’s.  But there are issues bubbling beneath the surface the threaten their marriage, their family and the image that they have cultivated for their friends and neighbors.

In 2008, the book was adapted into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

The book and the movie are both incredible.  Despite it’s glossy image, the 1950’s was a very complicated and dark decade. Like any couple, Frank and April had problems that are not always obvious to the passerby, but upon further inspection, reveals large issues that are unresolved. The end is unflinchingly heart breaking.

I recommend both.

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