It’s hard to believe the Bundy’s have been off the air for 20 years, because reruns of Married With Children are still fresh and funny to this day.
Here are 13 facts you probably never knew about the classic sitcom:
1. The Lost Episode
The show’s racy storylines attracted a lot of attention, including a letter-writing campaign over “anti-family” content that made advertisers pull their money from the show. Ironically, these protests only made the series more popular.
But censors still cracked down on sex after the campaign, and wound up taking one episode from season three, “I’ll See You In Court,” off the air completely.
The episode involved Marcy and Steve, then Peggy and Al being caught on tape having sex at a motel. The episode didn’t air in America until 2002, when FX played it in reruns (they still cut out four lines from the episode).
2. Ed O’Neill’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star is in front of a shoe store
A fitting tribute for the actor who played a shoe salesman. You can find his star in front of a DSW Shoes store on Hollywood Boulevard.
3. Ed would also make birthday calls to fans in character as Al Bundy
That’s a pretty nice gift, but there was a catch: O’Neill always made the call collect, just like the notoriously stingy Al would, leaving the birthday boy or girl to pay 65 cents a minute for the privilege.
4. David Faustino didn’t just play a rapper on TV
The show’s writers got a lot of mileage out of Bud Bundy’s quest to become a famous rapper under the name “Grandmaster B,” but they had a lot of inspiration to work with.
Faustino was a real life hip-hop head who tried to kick start a music career while acting on the show. He went by the rap name D’ Lil, and released an album called Balistyx in 1992.
5. Roseanne almost played Peggy Bundy
When the show was pitched, Roseanne Barr and comedian Sam Kinison were imagined as Al and Peggy Bundy, but both their managers turned the show down. At the time, neither of them was interested in TV parts (although Roseanne started two years later).
6. Bud and Kelly were recast too
The show’s pilot was taped with actress Tina Caspary playing Kelly Bundy, and with Hunter Carson as her little brother Bud. Reportedly, Ed O’Neill complained he had no chemistry with his TV children, and asked for them to be recast.
7. Ed O’Neill won his part just by walking through a door
Michael Moye, one of the show’s writers, says that lots of actors tested for the part of Al, including Michael Richards, who went on to play Kramer on Seinfeld. Moye remembers that 80 percent of actors played Al like Jackie Gleason from The Honeymooners, while five percent imagined him like Jack Nicholson from The Shining.
Of course, Ed O’Neill brought a mix of both to the part, but he impressed producers just by walking in the front door of the Bundy home. O’Neill slumped his shoulders and sighed before walking in, which perfectly embodied Al.
8. The show’s budget started small…then became way too big
In the early seasons Katey Sagal had to use her own wig (more on that later) because the show’s budget was so tight. For a gag involving Bud buying big-ticket items on a credit card, the show’s cast had to bring in the products from their own homes.
But by the end of the show’s 11-year run, each episode cost a whopping $1 million, which is part of why Fox suddenly cancelled the series in 1997.
9. There are lots of foreign imitators
Just like other huge American sitcoms, Married was imported overseas, where it was adapted to suit the local language and culture. Everywhere from Turkey and Russia to India and Spain had their own version.
But while most versions were popular, the British remake, Married For Life, was a surprise flop, and most people barely even remember it.
10. Katey Sagal designed Peggy’s signature look herself
The pilot’s original script described Peggy lounging around the house in a bathrobe, but Sagal had her own ideas. She brought in a red wig for the part, and dressed like “a former cocktail waitress,” which was her impression of Peggy.
11. The show was a hit from the very first night
Married was Fox’s first ever prime time series, and when it aired on April 5th, 1987 they knew they had a hit on their hands immediately. The network re-arranged their lineup to run the pilot over and over all night, and the rest is history.
12. Ted McGinley asked for Jefferson D’Arcy to be turned into a spy
The actor reportedly couldn’t stand how his character had become “such a wuss.”
13. You may notice another famous family in the opening credits
The show used a clip from National Lampoon’s Vacation in the credits, and you can see the Griswold family’s station wagon cruising down the highway.
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