Airing from 1987 until 1997 for eleven seasons, Married…With Children was a groundbreaking sitcom that changed the television landscape forever. It was crude, lewd, and hilarious, pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable to air on network television.
The show brought us some of the most iconic characters in television history and some of its stars are now some of the most famous actors around, including Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, and Christina Applegate. Here are some facts that will surprise you, even if you you’re a die-hard fan of the show!
1. Married…With Children Was Fox’s First Prime Time Show
Fox Broadcasting first launched on October 9, 1986. It started out broadcasting during the late-night time slot and only in 1987 did it venture into prime time television, considered the most lucrative time slot. Its big launch was on April 5th with Married…With Children which aired on Sunday night.
It was quite a smart move for the network as not only did it venture into prime time television, it also managed to finally pose as an alternative to the big three broadcasters (ABC, CBS, and NBC).
2. The Complaint Letter
This became known later as “The Streisand Effect,” after Barbra Streisand tried to hide photos of her Malibu home, only drawing more interest in them.
3. Kelly’s Evolving Style And Personality
Kelly Bundy wasn’t always as simple as she ended up being in the later seasons. During the first season, she dressed in a grungy style and had a sarcastic personality. Then the character turned into an underachieving delinquent, wearing leather jackets and tie-dye t-shirts.
Only in the later seasons did Kelly become the hysterical, if somewhat ignorant, character we all know and love. The common factor in these evolving styles was, of course, Kelly actress Christina Applegate’s ability to pull off any performance she attempts!
4. It Took Ed O’Neill Only One Move To Land The Role Of Al Bundy
The producers of the show weren’t completely sold on the idea that Ed O’Neill should play Al Bundy until they saw his audition. The direction was simple, walk into the room and read your lines.
Apparently, O’Neill didn’t even need to read the lines, as he was cast as soon as he walked through the door. He simply sighed loudly and hunched over just before entering the room, selling the casting directors and producers on his take. We agree O’Neill’s take on the character is perfect!
5. Katey Sagal Was The Brains Behind Peggy’s Style
In the original pitch for the show, Peggy Bundy’s style was supposed to be completely different. However, Katey Sagal (the actress who played Peggy) already had a particular look in mind. When Sagal turned up for her audition she arrived wearing the famous red wig she wore on the show.
Sagal stated in an interview that she wanted to disguise herself in case she ever left the show and decided that the over-the-top wig, skin-tight clothes, and high heels were the way to go.
6. Forgotten At The Emmys
Married…With Children was a beloved TV show during its time on the air and long after it went off the air. However, despite its major audience, Married With Children missed out on a certain type of acknowledgment: major awards!
The show received 29 nominations for various awards in its ten-season run, however, the biggest snub of all was that it never won an Emmy Award. This made it the longest running TV show that didn’t win a single Emmy. This record was only broken by Baywatch when it ended in 2001.
7. The Al Bundy Treatment
Ed O’Neill is one of the kindest and hardest working actors in all of Hollywood. Part of this reputation stems from his personal interactions with Married…With Children fans.
Knowing what his fans wanted and staying true to his wonderful character, Al Bundy, O’Neill treated his fans to the best, worst kind of surprise. For their birthdays and holidays, O’Neill would call his loyal fans in character, as Al, and not only stay in character but also dial them collect! Now that’s method acting!
8. The Pilot Featured Different Actors Playing Bud And Kelly
Although it never aired, as producers didn’t quite feel that it worked, the pilot was filmed with different actors (Tina Caspary and Hunter Carson) playing Kelly and Bud Bundy. It is difficult to imagine ditsy Kelly as a Brunette and Bud as a Blonde. Luckily for us, the producers felt the same!
9. The Banned Episode
Deeming the episode too racy, the network refused to air it. The episode ultimately aired on American TV only in 2002 (still edited) but an unedited version aired in other countries.
10. Michael Richards (AKA Kramer) Auditioned For The Role Of Al Bundy!
Thankfully, it worked out perfectly in the end and each actor was cast in their correct and ideal roles.
11. A Familiar Shot
One of the shots was actually from the 1983 comedy movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, starring none other than Chevy Chase. The reason producers chose to use this clip in the opening sequence is unknown, but it adds to the hilarity of the show, no doubt.
12. There Is Only One Married...With Children
A third attempt that never aired involved David Garrison, playing Steve as a university dean. It seems that the genius of Married…With Children could not be emulated.
13. Not Your Average Cosbys
Luckily, the executives at Fox saw the huge potential of this material and took the challenge and risk of producing a show so controversial, and it definitely paid off! Thankfully, the network changed the name before the copyright suits came in. Indeed, the Bundys are no Cosbys.
14. Roseanne Barr As Peggy Bundy?
Funnily enough, a year after Married…With Children premiered, Barr starred in her own television sitcom, Roseanne. Both shows were radically different than the clean-cut comedies that came before them, changing TV forever.
15. When A Blonde Becomes A Redhead
During the tenth season, Applegate was filming an indie movie called Nowhere that required her to dye her famous blonde locks red! Luckily for fans, during the last season, the actress returned to her iconic blonde look, sending the show off with the same style she started it with.
16. Buck The Dog
Buck was so beloved that when he retired during the tenth season, the cast and crew threw him a farewell party. Buck died of natural causes in 1996. Rest in peace, Buck.
17. Ed O’Neill’s Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Is Where?!
However, this wasn’t even the best part of the ceremony. When O’Neill, his family, and friends arrived they realized that his star was intentionally placed in front of a shoe shop! A terrific homage to his most beloved character, Al, who was a ladies’ shoe salesman.
18. Katey Sagal’s Star was Placed Right Next To Ed’s
Sagal invited all her co-stars to the unveiling ceremony, and the pictures of the reunited Bundy family made us all very happy! Now, here’s to a reunion episode!
19. No Neighborly Love Here
Today, Ed O’Neill plays the dad of an openly gay actor on Modern Family, so maybe it was not the issue it was made out to be.
20. The Name’s Bundy, Budrick Bundy
We cannot imagine a scene where Bud would be referred to as Budrick and, thankfully, neither did the producers. This is not the only odd name choice on the show. Peggy’s maiden name was also quite unusual – it was Wanker!
29. The “Wuss” Situation
In season five, shortly after Steve leaves Marcy, a new love interest is introduced, the dim-witted Jefferson D’Arcy. This new character also becomes Al’s new best friend on the show.
However, not all was perfect behind the scenes. Ted McGinley, who played D’Arcy was unhappy with how his character was such a “wuss” (his words!), being bossed around by Marcy all the time. The writers decided to humor McGinley’s request and made D’Arcy’s character a former CIA agent. Despite thinking his character was less than ideal, D’Arcy continues to have a successful acting career, even today.
22. Grandmaster B
As such, the writers of the show incorporated Faustino’s secret passion and turned it into comedy gold with the recurring subplot of Bud’s aspirations to become a rap star. This subplot paid off as it was hugely successful and loved by audiences. The greatest part of it all was the nickname they chose for Bud, Grandmaster B!
23. Double “Dutch”
The writers and producers of the show were very supportive and encouraged the actors to pursue other acting opportunities while filming the show. They even went as far as to incorporate one of Ed O’Neill’s movies in the show, not once, but multiple times.
In 1991, O’Neill starred in the John Hughes movie, Dutch and the writers added it into the plot line twice! Once when Al and Peggy were in a flight and the other when they rented a movie. Now, that’s truly supporting your actors!
24. The Mighty Bundy Dodge
It was, in fact, a 1972 Plymouth Duster! Was this a joke on the family being so clueless or a joke on us viewers? Some questions are best left unanswered.
25. Marcy’s First Husband
Some marriages just don’t last forever. Especially on Married…With Children! Marcy’s first husband, Steve Rhoades, played by David Garrison, leaves Marcy during the fourth season of the show to become a forest ranger at Yosemite National Park. This plot line was due to Garrison’s decision to pursue a career in theatre.
However, this was not the last we saw of the actor. Garrison returned four times after his departure as a guest star, each time as a different character. That’s not confusing…
26. What? No Goodbye?
Most of the actors found out after the news went public. Christina Applegate found out through friends and Ed O’Neill overheard a couple talking about it while on vacation! O’Neill was nice enough, though, and bought the poor couple lunch.
27. Keeping It In The Family
Ed O’Neill’s wife, Catherine Rusoff, appeared twice, Katey Sagal’s brother cameoed in one episode, as did Christina Applegate’s mother. In addition, two of ladies’ man David Faustino’s former girlfriends had small cameos on the show.
28. The Friends Connection
One of the episodes called “Top of the Heap” was actually the backdoor pilot episode of a Married…With Children spinoff starring LeBlanc himself as Vinnie. As stated, however, these spinoffs failed to materialize into long-running programs.
29. The 007 Secret
Well, not the actual James Bond, but Sir Roger Moore, which we think is close enough! Not only did the British icon confess that the show was his guilty pleasure, he was also close to Katey Sagal’s father, Boris Sagal. The two met when Sagal directed Moore in a Sherlock Holmes film in 1976.
30. High Maintenance
Producers were unable to write a proper finale and tie together all the loose ends. The final episode of the show to air was “Chicago Shoe Exchange” which didn’t offer viewers a real goodbye. Well, there’s never been a more perfect time to reboot the show!