Cost Per Episode
‘Married… with Children’ was hugely successful and had a massive following. It was reported that each episode had cost approximately $1 million to produce.
Popularity Came Overnight
The show was Fox’s first-ever prime-time television series so they had no idea how audiences would respond. Their first episode aired on April 15, 1987, and it was an absolute hit. If the internet had been around back then it probably would’ve become an overnight viral sensation.
Viewers Couldn’t Get Enough
The first episode had so many viewers that Fox decided to air the show over and over on the same day. They couldn’t have anticipated just how popular the show would become. Something unexpected happened that propelled them to even more success.
A Breath Of Fresh Air
The show was so different from what anyone was used to. Most 90s sitcoms depicted happy families with little quirks. Married… with Children was the total opposite, depicting a dysfunctional family. They loved each other but showed it in very unconventional ways.
A Different Working Title
The show basically portrayed the antithesis of ‘The Cosby Show’, which was an existing show that depicted a perfect family with a loving patriarch. That’s why before settling on ‘Married… with Children,’ the show’s working title was ‘Not the Cosbys’ to emphasize the contrast.
Making Birthday Calls On The Show
When the show reached its peak, Ed O’Neill’s character, Al Bundy would make birthday telephone calls to fans during the show. Ed played the role so well, but you’ll never guess who had also auditioned for the part of Al Bundy.
A Winning Audition
Ed O’Neill His audition was simple yet effective. All he had to do was walk through the door into the house. It seems his slumped shoulders and the sigh of defeat was all they needed to know that he was the man for the part.
Playing The Part
Ed had to play the role of a struggling women’s shoe salesman. Not only was his job unsatisfying, but his family was so dysfunctional that it was even more emotionally draining. With his simple audition, he portrays exactly what the role required.
Other Hidden Talents
It seems Ed O’Neill isn’t a one-trick pony but has hidden talents, other than acting. In his spare time, he enjoys training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. John Milius, who is a close friend, director, and writer introduced him to the sport.
Black Belt In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Ed O’Neill started training in Jiu-Jitsu over 20 years ago and has never looked back. He loves the sport so much and is so good at it that in 2007 he earned his black belt. He considers that the greatest achievement of his life.
Cars In The Opening Credits
If you’ve watched the ‘Married… with Children’ you’ll know that they always show a scene of cars driving on the interstate interchange during the opening credits. This shot was actually taken from a scene in the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”
Kramer Could Have Been Al Bundy
The man most of the world knows for his role as Kramer in the sitcom Seinfeld could have actually been Al Bundy. Michael Richards auditioned for the part together with Ed O’Neill, but it just wasn’t meant to be for him.
Better Things Awaited Richards
Ed O’Neill may have gotten the role of Al Bundy, but Richards had left such a lasting impression on the casting director. So much so that when he was casting the role of Kramer for Seinfeld he immediately thought of Richards.
Ed O’Neill’s Requests
Ed O’Neil wasn’t happy with Tina Caspary and Hunter Carson who had been originally cast to play Kelly and Bud for the pilot. He explained that there had to be chemistry amongst the actors so the show would be more successful.
Last Minute Recast Of Kelly And Bud
O’Neill then suggested that Kelly and Bud be recast. The producers agreed with him and finally came to cast Christina Applegate and Davis Faustino. They had to reshoot all the scenes with the kids so the pilot could finally air.
Katey Sagal Goes For What She Wants
Katey Sagal is a true professional and believes that you have to get into character when auditioning for a role. That’s the only way to get the roles you want. An actor should immerse themselves in the role and then it will be believable.
Getting Into Character
Sagal really wanted the role of Peggy Bundy so she dressed the part when she went fo her audition. She believed that Peggy was an attractive woman with big, over-styled red hair. She wore a big red wig for her audition and captured their attention.
Tension On Set
Amanda Bearse played the role of Marcy, the Bundy’s neighbor. It was reported that Ed and Amanda did not get on very well and actually had arguments on the set. Their personalities clashed and they didn’t often see eye to eye.
Being Flexible Actors
Some A-listers are so popular that they have to split themselves between different projects at the same time. When that happens they have to be flexible and sometimes they have to improvise to make things work. Christina Applegate knew all about that.
Being On The Wigs
At the time of filming episodes of the tenth season, Christina Applegate was filming a movie where she had to dye her hair brunette. So she had to wear a blonde wig when on the set of Married… with Children.
Paying With A Vista Card
Everyone will remember that sign at Al Bundy’s shoe shop that reads “Vista.” It’s not quite clear whether the producers did that to avoid a lawsuit from VISA, or if it was meant to add to Al Bundy’s character of being aloof by misspelling his sign.
Fox Makes A Call
Not many people know about the episode of ‘Married… with Children’ that Fox refused to air. It apparently had a mildly suggestive nature and they didn’t want to take the chance and have viewers complain.
An episode during season three called “I’ll See You In Court” was being attacked by Terry Rakolta, who is an activist against obscenity. The episode showed Al Bundy ogling a model. Despite all her efforts, the episode was released in 2002.
Television Is An Art Form
Art can be expressed in many different mediums and television is one of them. Specifically making television series like ‘Married… with Children.’ they have to pull off some stunts sometimes to make the show successful. Each one has to play their part to pull it off.
A Little TV Trickery
Sometimes television producers have to do a little trickery to achieve a certain result, like with the Bundy’s beloved car. On the show, the car is said to be a Dodge, but in fact, it is a 1972 Plymouth Duster.
It’s All In The Name
On the show, it is mentioned that Peggy Bundy’s maiden name is rather embarrassing. Thanks to Al, she could finally be rid of her maiden name and be known as Mrs. Bundy, which had a much better ring to it.
A Great Pastime
Television dominated back in the80s and 90s so it’s no surprise that both Al and Peggy Bundy loved the black box. Al spent most of his free time watching football whereas Peggy enjoyed watching Psycho Mom and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
An Adoration For Oprah
Peggy Bundy’s character absolutely adored Oprah on the show. During one episode Peggy even got a job so she could afford to buy a VCR so she could tape the Oprah Show. She said Oprah was an inspiration and a role model.
The ‘No-Ma’am Club’
Had the show been created in today’s day and age, many aspects of the show would have never made to television. Al Bundy’s all-men’s group called “No Ma’am” most likely would have been scrapped, as it was a club that was against feminism.
What Does It Stand For?
In the show, Al’s all-men group stands for “National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood.” Things would have gotten even more interesting if the person who was originally meant to play Al Bundy had actually gotten the part. But who was he?
Bud’s Dream Of Becoming A Rapper
You wouldn’t associate the dysfunctional Bundy family with hip hop music but if you recall, Bud, who is Al’s youngest son, had a dream of becoming a rap artist. That’s about the extent of hip hop that featured on the show.
Rapping Into Stardom
David Faustino played the role of Bud Bundy and he expressed how it wasn’t only his character’s dream to pursue music but it was his personal dream as well. In 1992 he finally released an album under the name D’Lil.
The Producers’ First Choice
Katey Sagal was a talented actress and had been in the Hollywood scene already before auditioning for the role of Peggy Bundy. It has been reported that even though Katey Sagal ended up getting the part, she wasn’t the producers’ first choice.
Earning The Part
Apparently the role of Peggy Bundy was intended for television producer and big-time comedian Roseanne Barr, but Sagal’s audition blew the casting directors away to such a degree that they couldn’t imagine anyone playing the role of Peggy better than her.
A Better Al Bundy?
It’s difficult to imagine anyone else as Al Bundy, but the producers originally wanted comedian San Kinison to play the role. After his audition, casting directors and producers realized that Ed O’Neill was indeed the best man for the part.
A Classic Theme Song
The theme song for ‘Married… with Children’ is a classic song by one of the most iconic singers of all time, Frank Sinatra. The song was originally performed for a 1955 television production but ‘Married… with Children’ snagged the song.
Walk Of Fame For Ed O’Neill
Many acclaimed Hollywood actors have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but none is placed in a more appropriate place like Ed O’Neill’s. His star is situated right in front of a local shoe store.
Retirement Party For Buck
Buck was the Bundy’s family dog, and he appeared on the show from day one. He never missed a season, except for their tenth and final season. He was a bit too old to act so he retired. The producers even threw him a retirement party.
A Spinoff Around Bud Bundy
The show ended in June 1997 but it is reported that a spinoff surrounding Bud Bundy is in the pipelines. However, it has been put on hold due to legal issues. Faustino says that the original cast has agreed to make an appearance.
Taking The Role Far
When Katey Sagal got the role of Peg Bundy, she was only an up and coming actress who hadn’t really made a name for herself yet. She quickly became a fan favorite and appeared in 260 episodes of Married…With Children and solidified herself as a household name.
Before Ed O’Neill became Al Bundy, the role that propelled him to stardom, he actually got his start on the long-running soap opera All My Children, where he starred as an extra. Now, most people probably recognize him for his role as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family.
A Nod To His Past
Ed O’Neill played football while he attended Ohio University and also at Youngstown State University, which he transferred to his sophomore year. He then was signed as an undrafted free agent for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was later cut during training camp. As a tribute to this, his character, Al Bundy, is a former high school football star who is always reminiscing about “the glory days.”
An NFL Guest Star
In addition to the reference to O’Neills football playing days, the show also featured former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw as a guest star in two episodes of the show.
His Hollywood Star
As a hilarious tribute to his Al Bundy character, Ed O’Neill’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located directly in front of a shoe store, as a nod to Bundy working at a shoe store.
The Unexpected Ending
When the show’s last episode aired on May 6th, 1997, FOX executives were still undecided on whether the show would be renewed for another season. When they decided that it would not, they chose not to notify the show’s cast.
Ed O’Neill shared that he was on vacation when he discovered that Married…With Children was cancelled, and actually heard the news from a couple he met randomly who read about the cancellation in a newspaper. Christina Applegate found out through some friends who heard about it before her.
No Awards Here
Married…With Children was nominated several times for Primetime Emmy Awards as well as Golden Globes. However, despite the repeated nominations, the show never actually won any of these awards.
Her Hollywood Star
Ed O’Neill is not the only Married…With Children alum who appears on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Katey Sagal was also awarded a star on the famous boulevard, making hers the 2529th star. In addition to her role as Peggy, she also starred on Sons of Anarchy and Futurama.
A Consistent Theme
Throughout the show, the running theme of the family’s financial struggles never gets resolved. In fact, the family’s financial situation is still so bad towards the end of the series that Peg and Al have to resort to sharing a plot in the cemetery where they end up being buried.
In Every Single Episode
Ed O’Neill is the only member of the Married…With Children cast that has appeared in every single episode of the show. That includes the multiple unaired failed pilots of the show as well as the lost episode. What a feat!
James Bond Was A Fan
Sir Roger Moor, who is known for playing the starring role in James Bond films openly admitted that Married…With Children was one of his guilty pleasures. He was also a good friend of Boris Sagal, Katey Sagal’s father.
Sometimes product placement and promotion on a show is quite obvious. Other times, it can be incorporated in more naturally. Ed O’Neill starred in a film called Dutch, which happened to be mentioned twice during episodes on Married…With Children.
The U.K. Version
Many times when a show is monumentally successful, another country will try to replicate its success with a more local version. A United Kingdom version of Married…With Children, called Married For Life, managed to run for a mere seven weeks before it was cancelled and taken off the air.
Quite Expensive To Air
Towards the end of the show and at the peak of its popularity, each episode of Married…With Children would cost about $1 million to air. This hefty cost is most likely what caused the show to be cancelled, at least that’s Ed O’Neill’s theory.
A Talented Guy
We all know Ed O’Neill is a talented actor, whether we enjoyed him as Al Bundy on Married…With Children or as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family…but did you know that he also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu? What an impressive guy!
A Family Connection
Sometimes actors’ real-life spouses make guest appearances on shows. Brad Pitt starred in an episode of Friends while he was married to Jennifer Aniston. Similarly, Ed O’Neill’s real-life wife, Catherine Rusoff, guest starred on a few episodes of Married…With Children.
All’s Well That Ends Well
The last episode of Married…With Children features the Bundy family first wins the lottery but then get struck by lightning. The hilariously macabre plot point was actually Ed O’Neill’s idea!
Marcy D’Arsy Was A Tribute
If you thought that the name Marcy D’Arsy sounded a bit familiar to you, there’s a very good reason why. The character’s name paid tribute to Marcy Carsey, the executive producer of The Cosby Show.
The Funniest Moment
The scene in which we see Al falling off the roof when he is trying to fix the TV’s antennae is hilarious. So much so that it was actually voted as the show’s funniest moment of the entire series.
The Lost Episode
You may think that you’re the biggest Married…With Children fan out there. You might even think that you saw every single episode that was originally aired. However, there was actually one episode that aired 5 years after the original airing of rest of the season. The episode, called “I’ll See You In Court” was only aired in 2002.
The success of Married…With Children led to several remakes of it being produced in other countries. One of these includes the Russian version. The show’s title translates to “Happy Together.” This version lasted 6 seasons between 2006 and 2013.
A Rockin’ Cameo
When Married…With Children was aired, hair metal bands were at the peak of their popularity. The show acknowledged this by featuring the band Anthrax on an episode, with the band performing their song “In My World.”
You Can Still Visit
If you were wondering if you could go and see the physical house that was used for filming the show’s opening montage, you certainly can! The house can be found in Deerfield, Illinois, which is just over 20 miles from Chicago.
The Network’s First Prime Time
Before Married…With Children aired, Fox did not have any sitcoms broadcasting during the prime time slot. When it premiered in 1987, it was the first to take up that time, and would become the longest running live action sitcom on Fox.
Toughening Up Darcey
Actor Ted McGinley who played Jeff Darcey eventually grew tired of his character arc and wanted his character to become tougher. The writers agreed and decided that they would create a secret agent role for the character.
No Emmys Around
Married…With Children once held the title for longest running show that did not win an Emmy Award. The show was eventually overtaken by the show Baywatch, which also never was awarded an Emmy despite its massive popularity and longevity.
A Familiar Face
If you rewatch old episodes of Married…With Children, you might be pleasantly surprised to spot a very familiar face. Way before we all knew him as Joey Tribbiani, Matt LeBlanc had a recurring role on Married…With Children, playing Vinnie, Kelly’s on-and-off boyfriend.
What’s In A Name?
While some people may mistakenly think that the Bundy family’s last name came from Ted Bundy, the real origin behind the family name is actually quite different. They were named after wrestler King Kong Bundy, who actually ended up making two guest appearances on the show.
Not Working With Much
When the show was first starting out, it did not have a large budget to work with and so the cast and crew had to be a bit creative. In an episode where the family dog, Buck, goes shopping, the items he got were actually random personal items that the crew and cast brought in on their own.
During the first few seasons of the show, Peg’s exaggerated hairstyle was achieved on Katey Sagal’s real hair. However, as time passed, she opted to wear a wig instead for later seasons.
Who Inspired Him
You know what they say, write what you know? The same can be said for actors. Ed O’Neill borrowed many mannerisms from people in his life like friends and family members in order to create a dynamic and realistic character in Al Bundy.
He Was Pigeonholed
While it is a testament to how well he played the character of Al Bundy, Ed O’Neill felt that he was then typecast as similar characters for other projects and he struggled getting more serious roles. He finally broke out of the cycle when he starred on Modern Family.
A Potential Spinoff
In 2014, the cast made vague mentions of the possibility for a spinoff show that would focus on Bud Bundy. They also talked about being open to the idea of a reunion, but Katey Sagal admitted it would difficult to coordinate. She said: “We’ve talked about [a reunion] every year, but then there are so many pieces that have to be in alignment that for some reason it never happens. But we love each other. Well, we’re all working now, so it’s hard to find the time!”
Married…With Children experienced an unexpected surge in publicity from media coverage that was brought on by “family values” activists who were offended and upset by the show. You know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity!
Actor Sam Kinison was almost cast for the role of Al Bundy. However, he was still included in the show as he played the role of Al’s guardian angel and made several appearances on a few episodes of the show.
Producer Joins The Fun
Often we only hear about the cast of a show and we rarely hear about the show’s crew. However, Married…With Children’s producer Ron Leavitt made waves when he beat wrestler King Kong Bundy at a competitive eating competition.
A Running Gag
One of the funniest recurring bits on Married…With Children was the fact that Al’s name was constantly being misspelled throughout different episodes of the show. This was done on purpose as a running gag.
His Full Name
Speaking of the Bundy family and names, did you ever know what Bud’s full name was? It was rarely mentioned on the show, but his full name is Budrick Franklin Bundy.
Christina Applegate and her character Kelly Bundy have an interesting fact in common. They actually have the same birthday, November 25th, 1971! We’re sure that this cannot be a total coincidence, but you never know.
Ted McGinley, the actor who played Jefferson D’Arsy on Married…With Children had other appearances on popular TV shows as well. These include roles on The Love Boat and also Happy Days.