Fans Noticed ‘Married With Children’ Easter Eggs On ‘Modern Family’

There are both surface-level and structural Married with Children references to be found.

Even though TV is in the midst of a period that many people consider to be the golden age of television, the truth is that only so many shows can succeed at any given time. For that reason, even if a show has all the ingredients needed for success, there always is a good chance that it will be canceled before it can find an audience.

Considering that every show that goes into production has the odds stacked against it, TV actors have to know that the chances of their series lasting are a total craps shoot. Despite that, there are a select few actors who’ve managed to not only star in one hit show that lasted, they’ve won the acting lottery again.

A perfect example of an actor who seemingly has the Midas touch, Ed O’Neill starred in Married… with Children and Modern Family. Given the fact that O’Neill anchored both of those popular series, it makes sense that viewers would compare them to one another. However, it may come as a surprise to some that multiple Modern Family and Married… with Children connections have been found.

The Sitcom That Started A Network

Back when Disney bought Fox in 2019, the majority of people paid attention to the movie properties the House of Mouse was acquiring. After all, loads of fans were overjoyed that Disney could add the X-Men and Fantastic Four to the Marvel Cinematic Universe whenever they want to. However, there is no doubt that Disney was pleased to own the long list of popular TV shows that aired on the Fox Network over the years.

Given the fact that the Fox Network has been a television mainstay for decades at this point, it can be easy to forget that when it debuted it was considered an upstart that likely could fail. Thankfully, The Simpsons and Married… with Children came along and were big enough hits to breathe life into the fledgling network.

Focused on a dysfunctional family the likes of which television viewers had never witnessed before, Married… with Children’s crude humor helped it to instantly stand out. In fact, to this day Married… with Children remains the longest-running live-action show in Fox’s history.

While there is no doubt that Married… with Children’s legendary television run was made possible by its entire cast, the fact remains that Al Bundy was the series’ main character. With that in mind, it is perfectly reasonable to give Ed O’Neill and his impeccable comedic timing the lion’s share of the credit for everything the show achieved.

Career Resurgence

For all of the success that Ed O’Neill enjoyed during Married… with Children’s initial run, the fact of the matter is that he mainly disappeared from the spotlight after it came to an end. Of course, he landed some recurring television roles here and there and even showed up in some minor movie roles but it was a shame that he wasn’t a huge star any longer.

Thankfully for everyone that missed him during that era, in 2009 Modern Family helped Ed O’Neill to stage a comeback for the ages. Actually, in an amusing twist of fate, Modern family lasted 11 seasons, which is the same amount of time that Married… with Children remained on the air.

Focused on a large mixed family and their often hilarious interactions with one another, Modern Family starred Ed O’Neill as the show’s patriarch Jay Pritchett. Cast as a wealthy closet business owner, which is a thing apparently, landing a starring role in Modern Family allowed O’Neill to exhibit his comedic skills once again.

Interesting Connections

When you compare Modern Family to Married… with Children, the most obvious connection is that both series starred Ed O’Neill. However, if you look into the shows a little bit deeper, some more things the 2 shows have in common will begin to jump out at you. For example, both shows focused on families that were very different than the types of clans that most sitcoms typically feature. Of course, Married… with Children’s Bundy family was very crude, whereas Modern Family was a lot more family-friendly, amusingly enough.

On top of the more surface-level similarities, Modern Family and Married… with Children share, there are some more specific things that fans have pointed out. For example, Ed O’Neill’s old television son David Faustino was cast as Tater, Claire’s old friend, during an episode of Modern Family. On top of that, fans of both series noticed how similar the scene in which Gloria wore glasses was to a hilarious Married… with Children sequence in which Al can see well for the first time.

Finally, the most amazing connection these two shows share is the fact that an eagle-eyed fan noticed that Ed O’Neill’s characters in both series read the exact same fake newspaper. Considering that the shows aired decades apart from one another, that is incredible. That said, it has to be pointed out that a slew of other movies and TV shows have used the same fake newspaper prop, but still.

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