The premiere of Married… With Children on the then-brand-new Fox network was a surprise to TV critics and viewers alike. It showed a really dysfunctional family whose members were constantly arguing, laughing at one another, and consumed by greed. There had never been a family like that on TV before. They are quite different from the picture perfect family that sitcoms showed at the time. Married…With Children is a classic everyone remembers and loves. There is a lot more to the show that even die-hard fans weren’t aware of…you won’t believe these hidden facts!
The Episodes Cost A Fortune To Produce
The show appeared to operate on a rather small budget, but it was, in fact, among the most expensive TV shows at the time. Even though there were no special effects that had to be produced, just one of Kelly’s raunchy outfits cost a fortune. In addition, there were always people who got offended by the TV show and some decided to sue, so the fee for this had to be considered. What’s more, the actors had to be paid. Therefore, the show was a big expense for the Fox network.
In Love With Kelly
Christina Applegate is without question the show’s breakaway star. As soon as she made an entrance on screen, the audience was unable to tear their eyes away from her. The outfits might have been part of the reason, but it was mostly Applegate’s wonderful sense of humor, willingness to self parodies and eagerness to do everything she could to make sure the show was a success. The writers and producers of the show actually noticed Applegate’s appeal and talent early on, so they made sure that they gave her screen time to showcase her different talents (which helped the show gather numerous fans during the first few episodes).
Big Hair And Showing Some Skin
Katey Sagal went into the audition for the role of Peggy with determination to land the part. She had bills to pay as well as a career that needed rescuing. Rather than auditioning for the part like how other regular actresses would, Sagal decided she needed to go all out. She came to her first audition dressed according to how she imagined Peggy – wearing a short ugly dress, with big hair, and with a boatload of makeup. Sagal was really in character and never even once broke off. She continued acting like how Peggy would act when the fictional character was on the audition stage. According to the producers of the show, that is why Sagal got the part.
Christina Applegate was another actress who was quite bold and very determined. When she auditioned for the role of Kelly, the actress wore the most beautiful clothes she had, and showed the producers a sample of the concealed beauty that she could possibly bring to the role of bratty Kelly. Seems like her plan worked.
Some Were Not Fans Of Kelly
Since the airing of Married… With Children’s pilot episode, the show has received TONS of complaints and angry letters. When it comes to criticism, all of the characters on the show had their fair share, but it was Kelly, Christina Applegate’s character, who had a lot of make-or-break moments to deal with. Kelly’s main focus was being a flirty teenager, dressing how she wanted to, and acting badly. Had the writers chosen to listen to the show’s critics, the character would have been cut from the show altogether. There was basically no way to make Kelly a good girl. In the end, the show’s writers chose not to listen to the criticism and opted to continue with the original stories they had in mind for Kelly.
When they were filming the pilot episode of the show, the producers were really pressed for time, so they cast actors to play Bud and Kelly despite not bringing into the mix the star of the show, Ed O’Neil. The result: Ed O’Neil hated the actors that played his TV kids and said it was either them or him. The show’s producers got into a panic and set out to cast new actors hurriedly. That is how David Faustino and Christina Applegate landed their respective roles. This time, Ed O’Neil got the chance to meet the two before they went onstage. Since there were new kids added, they had to film the first episode once again, a move which surely set the production back, but had proven to be a really good investment.
Kelly Got Some Time Off
After the show had been on for a few seasons, Christina Applegate’s star shined even better. She did some modeling, acted in movies and even appeared in music videos. The young Applegate found the career boost hard to navigate. She tried to be her best, but she still failed at times. After Applegate and the show’s producers had a few conversations, they came to a decision to give Kelly some time off occasionally, so that Applegate would have time to film the other teen-oriented projects she had. The show’s fans was not very accepting of this move and they were quite adamant about their view.
Al Bundy Was Almost Played By Kramer!
Can you picture another actor playing Al Bundy? It may seem really weird, but apparently, there was someone else who was being considered for the role. Before Ed O’Neil was cast, the producers of the show were thinking of bringing in Michael Richards instead. After trial tapings of various scenes from the show’s pilot, the producers felt that Richards was way too energetic to play the role of Al. They thought they needed someone a bit more tired and grumpy. We are so happy that they realized that in time because if Richards was on Married… With Children, then who would have played Kramer? Aren’t you glad everything worked out?
Feud On Set
Originally, the writers planned to have Al and Peggy love their annoying neighbors, Jefferson and Marcy. However, reality intervened. Ed O’Neill and Amanda Bearse’s relationship in real life was actually so bad, it was quite impossible to keep hidden on screen. According to some people who used to work on the show, Bearse’s lesbian lifestyle was something O’Neill didn’t quite approve of. Can you imagine such a thing happening in 2018? Today, O’Neill is co-starring in Modern Family. It also looks like the LGBTQ community might have his support now.
During the show’s earlier seasons, the writers found out that Katey Sagal was pregnant, so they decided that they would include her pregnancy in the show. They actually wrote a full storyline of Peggy and Marcy being pregnant at the same time, and tormenting Al. Little did they know that something devastating was coming their way…A few months into her pregnancy, Sagal sadly suffered a miscarriage. This was a hard pill to swallow for everyone, and the writers thought that they couldn’t keep Peggy pregnant since that would mean they would have to make Sagal don a fake baby bump for the show. Therefore, they came up with the idea of a dream sequence. When he wakes up, Al says he had a dream where Peggy was pregnant. Fortunately, years later, Sagal gave birth to a pair of healthy children. The pregnancies were kept hidden from TV audiences through set and wardrobe tricks.
Again And Again
When the show’s first episode aired on Fox, American viewers had never seen anything like it on TV. The ratings of the pilot were so high, Fox decided to broadcast it again and again and back to back. They did that so people who got panicked phone calls about the show could have a chance to watch it live. Now, keep in mind that this was at a time when the Internet, as well as DVR didn’t exist yet. TV history was made on the night of April 5th, 1987.
While the producers were working on the popular show, they made fun of Al Bundy’s name a lot. The writers really enjoyed these jokes and they decided to write them into the show. Throughout the 11 seasons of Married… With Children, there are many different and very funny variations of Al’s name such as Al Bumby, Al Boondy, and Al Birdy. Interestingly, the actors also thought of nicknames for one another, especially Christina Applegate. Up to the present, she still refuses to tell others the nickname she had for co-star David Faustino.
An Emmy-Nominated Wig
During the run of the show, the cast got incredibly famous and they worked on numerous films between shooting episodes. There were times when the show was affected by their work on their other films, and sometimes, their work made for hilarious influences. During the show’s 10th season, Christina Applegate landed a part on a movie which required the actress to have her hair dyed brown. She had to wear a special wig in order for Kelly to be blonde as always. This made some fans quite angry. Apparently, most of them knew that it was a wig. To say that they weren’t too happy with it, is an understatement. They wanted Kelly to be blonde and sexy like always. However, this wig somehow worked for the show’s writers because Kelly’s ‘Real Hair Color’ was always made fun of on the show.
The Historic Legacy Of Married… With Children Lives On
Since the show first aired in 1987, there has never really been a show on the Fox network like Married… With Children, which had such an impact on viewers during the screening of its pilot. Until now, the show is the longest running among all of Fox’s live-action comedies, with 259 episodes and a decade of broadcasting. The show has also proven that it has a remarkably long life; Married… With Children continues to air every day on Netflix, in syndication, and more than a hundred countries around the globe.
Al’s Shoe Store Accepts Vista Cards
During the original run of Married… With Children, the Visa cards’ actual name could not be used, so the producers had to improvise. They tried to think of something new, yet still familiar to the people watching the show. And so…that is how the Vista cards were invented! The sign for the cards can be seen in Al’s shoe shop and the cards are occasionally referenced in dialogue. What’s your take on this? Would it have been better if they went with a MoosterCard instead?
Al’s Love For His Dirty Magazines
When we think about the show, we tend to forget that Al was fascinated with ‘Big ‘Uns’ magazine. Al’s shtick included seating himself comfortably in the family living room while reading his dirty magazines, with his wife and children in front of him. Do you think Al ever stopped to consider the fact that Kelly could get featured in a magazine like the ones he enjoyed ‘reading’? Probably not, but that is the reason we like him. The audience were attracted to the show because of that – Al’s secret charm. The fact that he had these little flaws, which were so wrong, made the audience think he was hilarious.
They Moved A Lot
It wouldn’t be surprising if it were revealed that the Bundys moved a lot throughout the filming of the show. How else can the change in their home address be explained? It kept changing from 9764 to 9674 Jeopardy Lane. Even though it is a small change, it is still quite hilarious to think about! The house numbers and the street Jeopardy Lane in Chicago are all fictitious.
Peggy Has An Interesting Maiden Name
It isn’t our intention to be rude; however, it’s completely true and pretty unbelievable that Peggy’s maiden name happens to be Wanker. Today, it is a swear word which is used in British slang, but in 1987, back when the show first aired, the word was not really used that way. If the producers of the show had the chance to fast forward Married… With Children to this day, this might not have passed. But then again, who knows what producers are willing to put on these days.
Storylines Were Mixed
In 1991, Ed O’Neill got cast in a film called Dutch. It’s a story that revolves around a working class guy who offers to pick up the son of his girlfriend from school to have an opportunity to know more about the boy. From there, things go downhill. On the show, the film was mentioned two times, once in a scene where Al was flying on a plane and another when Al and Peggy went out to rent a movie.
They Should Have Gotten An Emmy
In spite of the success Married… With Children had, and the seven Emmy nominations the show received, it never won! In fact, the only shows that ran for a really long time and never got the grand prize are Married… With Children and Baywatch. Now, that is truly surprising.
The Episode That Never Saw The Light Of Day…
In 1989, the Fox network refused to air the episode ‘I’ll See You In Court’ of the show’s third season, because of its racy content. Back then, Michigan housewife Terry Rakolta, Mitt Romney’s sister, launched an attack on Married… With Children and advertisements that backed the shows were pulled. Terry started a letter writing campaign which jeopardized the show’s funding, as well as causing the banned episode to be shelved indefinitely. Finally, in 2002, FX released the episode after a really long wait.
The Dodge Is A Plymouth
Some facts about the show are simply too weird, and we might never understand how they came to be. The famous ‘mighty Dodge’ that the Bundys have is not actually a Dodge, but a 1972 Plymouth Duster, with all its vinyl top glory. Al, however, calls it a Dodge in spite of the fact that it is a Plymouth. Apart from the two cars being owned by just one company and looking similar, we can’t seem to wrap our heads around what could have been the thought here.
Ed Had A Real Life Inspiration
Doing some good and really deep research is always welcome when it comes to learning about the future character you are playing. It’s even better if you do it somewhere really close to your heart – say, in your family, for example. Back when Ed O’Neill was still researching and practicing for his character Al Bundy, the actor actually got inspiration from his own family. Uncle Joe, one of Ed’s uncles, became the perfect role model for Al Bundy. The two men shared a lot of similar characteristics. In a way, Ed became his Uncle Joe on the show.
His Real Name Is Budrick!
We’ve already showed an example of how the writers of Married… With Children can be a little off sometimes with their choices in names, as is the case of the maiden name Peggy has, so we are not totally surprised by this one. Even though it isn’t really mentioned, Bud Bundy, the younger child of Al and Peggy, actually has a complete name – Budrick Franklin Bundy. However, don’t forget that Bud has a nickname that he made for himself. We’ll let you think about that one first before we give it away.
No Ma’am Has No Place In 2018
It’s safe to say that this one would not have passed in 2018. As much as, we want to think that No Ma’am, the group Al Bundy and his friends formed, is called that for obvious reasons, it actually means National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. The organization NO MA’AM is anti-feminist and Al Bundy and his male friends founded it with the basic agenda of stopping feminist domination. Now, does that sound like a group that many would support these days?
Peggy Loves Oprah
Al isn’t the only one who is fond of TV. His wife Peggy is a huge fan as well. However, she preferred shows such as Psycho Mom and needless to say, The Oprah Winfrey Show. In the conversations Al and Peggy had, Oprah was mentioned several times. Also, without a doubt, the talk show legend has a major role in the couple’s marriage. In fact, there is one episode where Peggy even takes a part-time job just so she can afford to buy a VCR to tape The Oprah Winfrey Show. However, true to form, she quit and returned to being the lazy housewife she was.
A Passion For Rapping On And Off Screen
Bud Bundy always says on the show that he dreams of becoming a rapper. It is clear that it is not just the character’s dream but also the actor’s since David Faustino himself became a rapper in real life. Faustino performs music, specifically rap, under the stage name D’ Lil. In 1992, he released the album Balistyx which had the single ‘I Told Ya.’
The Version Across The Pond Wasn’t As Successful
Some really successful television shows are adapted locally in different countries. What happens is they basically take a show’s concept and modify it to suit the local culture. In 1996, season one of the sitcom’s British version aired in the UK and had the title ‘Married For Life.’ However, the show was not really a success. Contrary to what its name suggested, the show only aired for seven weeks and was subsequently taken off the air.
Al’s Colleague Was Named After ‘The Body’
In season one of the show, Al had a colleague whose name was Luke Ventura. This is not a coincidence since he was named after Jesse Ventura, a pro-wrestler who also goes by the name “The Body” and whose fans included the writers of the show. Actually, James Ventura’s real name is James George Janos, and in addition to his career in wrestling, he has also gone into politics and even became Minnesota’s 38th Governor from 1999 to 2003.
Peggy Was Originally For Someone Else
The hysterical role of Peggy Bundy was actually intended for Roseanne Barr, the well-known comedian and TV producer. Despite her comedic roots and having started as a performer of stand-up comedy, Barr didn’t get the part. The one who eventually got the career-defining role was actress Katey Sagal, whose late father also used to be in show business way before his daughter was. Needless to say, Sagal is quite familiar with Hollywood.
Al’s Favorite Show Is Pyscho Dad
Without a doubt, one of the really epic scenes in the show is where Al can be seen watching television while sitting on the couch. It’s the thing he likes doing the most, and eventually it became his trademark position. What you might not know is what Al’s favorite show was – Psycho Dad . The producers were sending this subtle hint to the audience, so as not to make their stereotyping of Al as the crazy kind of dad so blatantly obvious. Well, life does, in so many ways, imitate art. Food for thought.
Al Bundy Was Almost A Comedian
Sometimes it is hard to understand how anyone else could have been considered for the role of Al Bundy. However, as what happens in any kind of production, may it be for television or stage, people want to see who their options are before they choose who to cast. This is actually quite crucial. Ed O’Neill was perfect as Al Bundy. That is why it is hard to imagine that someone else was intended to play Al, the hilarious dad on the show. However, the part had originally been offered to the comedian Sam Kinison. Phew.
There’s Something About Gary
Big fans of the show know that Al was a salesman and he worked in a shoe store called Gary’s Shoes And Accessories For Today’s Woman, which rarely saw much business, to put it mildly. Even though Al has been working there for a rather long time, he just learns later (as the show progresses) that Gary, the namesake of the store, is actually a gal and not a guy. Really funny since he has a lot of time on his hands at work…how did he not realize!?
James Bond Is A Fan
Sir Roger Moore, the British actor, who is well-known for playing the legendary spy, James Bond, revealed that he is a big fan of the series. Apparently, he also used to be very close to Boris Sagal, the real life father of Peggy Bundy. As a matter of fact, Moore and Sagal knew each other from the time when the actor starred in the detective movie, Sherlock Holmes. Sagal was the one who directed the movie. James Bond is a star fan that any TV show would be happy to have.
Frank Sinatra Sang The Theme Song
In case you didn’t know, the lounge voice you hear singing the theme song, ‘Love and Marriage,’ actually belonged to the legend Frank Sinatra. The legendary singer originally performed the song for a TV production of Our Town way back in 1955, then it was snagged by Married… With Children for their huge debut in 1987. Frank’s album This Is Sinatra released in 1956 has the original version of the song ‘Love and Marriage’. There are actually a total of three versions of the track.
Neighbor David Left For A Greener Pasture
David Garrison, the actor that played the guy living next door to the Bundys, left the series after season four to pursue a theater career. He went on to have a successful career on the stage and he starred in musicals like I Do! I Do!, Torch Song Trilogy, Titanic, and Wicked. Garrison eventually returned to Married… With Children. He did four guests spots throughout the remainder of the show’s run. Each time the actor popped up, he played a different role with a different job.
Divine Was Taken Too Soon
Harris Glenn Milstead was originally supposed to play the legendary character Uncle Otto from Married… With Children. If you didn’t know him, he was the drag queen who performed using the stage name, Divine. Tragically, Milstead passed away before shooting of the series began – Divine had issues with obesity and he had cardiomegaly which ended up taking his life too soon.
The Spin-Off Everyone Is Excited About
Bundy fans everywhere, rejoice! As of 2014, a spin-off featuring Bud Bundy is reported to be in the works. The green light for the spin-off has been stopped and resumed in repeat but don’t give up just yet. David Faustino himself has said the possible series is waiting for some legal issue to get sorted out and there are rumors that Netflix is picking up the show. Each of the original cast members has said yes to co-starring or at least making an appearance. However, it appears that Bud fans will have to wait for a while.
It’s Always Bob Rooney
Like how it is in life, some things will always remain a mystery. We don’t know what the writers had been thinking when they decided to do this, but you might have noticed that Bob Rooney is always “Bob Rooney” and he is never just “Bob.” We do hope that the actor E.E Bell who plays the character doesn’t do this full name thing in real life. Saying his name all the time might be quite difficult to do. Try saying his name a lot of times. You’ll see what we’re saying
Did You See It?
The producers were really good at creating buzz and getting people talking about their show. In the opening of the show, you will see that they inserted a random clip in between other clips. If you look at it closely, you’ll notice in the opening sequence of the show that there is one clip from the Chevy Chase movie Vacation. The clip shows the Griswald family driving the green station wagon they owned down to Vegas to have their first vacation, and they brought a lot of luggage and loaded it on top of their car. That same scene can be seen in the opening of Married… With Children. Isn’t that funny?
The First Impression Can Get You A Part
Ed O’Neill was cast as Al Bundy mainly because the casting director was taken back by the first impression that he made. Initially, they called the actor in for a reading after one of the Fox executives remembered Ed’s performance when he played Lenny on stage for a production of ‘Of Mice & Men’. During his audition, Ed showed up, took one deep breath, then slumped his shoulders. He lazily walked towards the casting judges and they knew he was THE Al Bundy. The thing is, he did it without even knowing he was doing it!
Definitely Not The Cosbys
Before they decided on Married… With Children, the producers had been thinking about calling the series “Not The Cosbys.” For those who have not had the chance to watch Bill Cosby’s clever humor and for people who don’t know the Huxtable family, they were a hard-working, wholesome, and fairly wealthy family that lived in the New York suburbs. The Bundys, in a way were the anti-Cosby. However, surely there was no need for such a blatantly obvious name. Clearly, the Bundys were a different breed.
Ed Is A Hardworking Guy
There is something important that Al Bundy lacked but Ed O’Neil, his off-screen counterpart, clearly had: a really strong work ethic. The star is the only cast member who appears in every single episode of the 10 year run that Married… With Children had. Al Bundy was present in all of the 260 episodes. That must be the reason why Ed O’Neill took a really long hiatus from acting. He just came back when he co-starred in Modern Family.
They Didn’t Tell Me
The producers of Married… With Children didn’t tell the members of the cast about the cancellation of the show. Each Bundy had to learn on his or her own terms! For example, when Ed O’Neil was on vacation, he heard a couple discussing the announcement of the show’s cancellation in the papers. Christina Applegate learned the show was getting axed from two of her close friends. That’s gotta hurt!
Ed Liked Calling The Fans
When Ed O’Neil was on set and had free time, he would call loyal fans that were celebrating their birthdays. On the one hand, this is so Ed, very considerate and just so likeable. However, knowing that the calls were from 1-800-collect, it makes us think Al Bundy was the one dialing the fans’ numbers. Maybe 65 cents per minute is really worth it if you get the chance to have a conversation with your favorite TV sitcom father.
They Had Some Special Guests Stars
During the run of the show, guest appearances and cameos were made by different members of the family of the cast. Catherine Rusoff, Ed O’Neil’s wife, guest starred twice. (Katey Sagal’s brother) Joey Sagal and (Christina Applegate’s mom) Nancy Priddy also made appearances in various episodes. Apparently, David Faustino was quite popular with the ladies off-screen. Two of his ex-girlfriends, Julia Teblak and Elaine Hendrix, each appeared in an episode.
Ed O’Neil’s Star
In a very interesting homage to the dead-end job of the most famous character he has played, Ed O’Neil’s walk of fame star is placed in front of a shoe store chain! On the day Ed received this great honor, fans turned up in order to get autographs from him. They asked the iconic TV father to sign the favorite pair of shoes they brought. Now we have to say, that that is pretty clever thinking!
The Bundys’ Favorite Dog
Spilling the biggest secrets of the Bundys’ and sharing the most special tidbits are not complete without talking about the family dog – Buck! The lovable Buck Bundy was already on set since day one of shooting and was also in the show’s 10th season…the producers gave him a retirement party! On May 25th, 1996, Buck passed away because of natural causes. Awww! Cast families can be real families too!
A Truly Special 200th
When the time came for Married… With Children to celebrate a great milestone in its long run, none other than George Plimpton hosted the special! It was the 200th episode and he hosted from the Bundy couch, which has of course become iconic. He showcased the best moments on the show and the dialogue since it first aired in ’87. The special’s best joke would have to be the passive-aggressive bid for the long-awaited Emmy win, which would never come.