Behind-The-Scenes Facts You Never Knew About Married With Children

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Name Games


Married With… Children aired for 11 years from April 1987 to April 1997. At the time of the show’s first airing The Cosby Show was one of its biggest comedic competitors. Creators wanted to make the new series as different from the wholesome Cosby Show as possible, they even considered hilariously calling the comedy Not The Cosbys.

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Shoes Shoes Shoes


Ed O’Neill actually occasionally wrote for the series. He penned this classic scene… “I hate those complaint boxes they put in at the mall. A woman comes in the shoe store today, so huge she’s protected by ‘Green Peace’, and ask for a size-4 shoe. So I asked her if she wants to eat them there or take them home, and she has the nerve to complain about my performance.”

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Different Strokes


Series creators based the characters of Al and Peggy on Sam Kinison and Roseanne Barr, both of whom were initially offered the show’s lead roles. At the time, Barr and Kinison both had thriving careers doing stand-up comedy. Barr turned down the part because she was developing on her own series. Tragically, Kinison died in a car accident in 1992 at the age of 38.

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A Sneaky Tribute


The show’s producers loved to play games with their captive audience! During the first four seasons of the series, they playfully snuck in some hidden tidbits into the show’s opening credits. As the opening shot begins, an aerial shot of a highway in Chicago is seen. Observant viewers may spot that the car used is the truckster from the film National Lampoon’s Vacation. Being huge fans of the iconic movie, the producers wanted to pay tribute to the movie that inspired them to work in television.

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Not What you May Think


When the show first made it on to television screens, many viewers assumed the famous family was named after the serial killer and kidnapper, Ted Bundy. The Bundy family was actually named after a wrestler named King Kong Bundy. The comedian, actor and wrestler was a huge fan of the show and even made two cameo appearances.

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Miss and Hit


Michael Richards actually auditioned to play the lead role of Al Bundy. Even though he didn’t land the part, he went on to nab the immortal role of Kramer on Seinfeld. Richards won three Emmy Awards for his role on Seinfeld.

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Lucky Strike


According to The E! True Hollywood Story, actors Tina Caspary and Hunter Carson played Kelly and Bud Bundy in the pilot of the series. After the pilot was shot, producers decided the two actors weren’t exactly what they were looking for. Christina Applegate and David Faustino then took on the roles of the two quirky teenagers.

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Something Extra


Before auditioning, Ed O’Neill did his research and wowed the casting directors with some unique touches. When asked to simply walk to the Bundy’s front door, he added a deep sigh and look of utter depression before opening the door. He nabbed the role after just one audition.

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Not a Fan


In a 2017 magazine interview, Katey Sagal, who played Bundy’s voluptuous wife, revealed that she thought the sitcom was a “very misogynistic show” and didn’t support most of its themes. She explained in an interview, “It was when I really, clearly understood that my job as an actor was to interpret the material. It’s not necessarily my belief system. My belief system has nothing to do with being an actor. You know, I was hired to play a part … The women were portrayed completely exploited on that show. That was part of Al Bundy’s thing — he liked hot women, and they showed them all the time.”

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Surprise Talent


Unlike his lazy character, Ed O’Neill is a pretty disciplined guy. He actually earned himself a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been training in the martial art for two decades. He says of his training: “You don’t have to be big, strong or the greatest athlete to do it. You can use certain principles to maximum effect.”

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Tragic News


Sagal fell pregnant three times during the show’s stretch. The first pregnancy was expertly worked into the show’s plot, but then creators had to write it out of the storyline after she sadly suffered a stillbirth after seven months. Sagal got pregnant a second time in 1994, while her third pregnancy occurred in season 10. Both times, producers decided to hide her pregnancies through clever cinematography and creative use of props.

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The Lost Episode


The show never did shy away from controversial content but there were times when the writers took it a little too far. One episode from season three, “I’ll See You In Court,” was scheduled to air in 1989, but due to the politically incorrect themes, never saw the light of day until 2002, when a heavily edited version was released. The episode followed the Bundys and the Rhoades having their private relations recorded on a sex tape.

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A Rude Discovery


15 Million viewers tuned in each week to find out what the family got up to next. By 1997, viewership had dropped to 9 million. When the show was eventually canceled due to the decreasing ratings, no one informed the cast of the sudden cancellation. Ed O’Neill actually overheard the news from a couple who were discussing it next to him.

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High Praise


By the time the show came to an end, O’Neill was pocketing more than $500,000 for each episode. Back then, the leading man was one of the highest-paid actors on TV. The rest of the cast were also paid particularly high salaries.

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Fast Fail


The cast had a pretty tough time accepting that the show was coming to an end. Producers pitched two spin-off concepts to the network, but both were subsequently rejected. Fox did agree to come up with a show that centered on Kelly’s one-time boyfriend, Vinnie Verducci, who was played by the young and gorgeous Matt LeBlanc. He appeared in two spinoffs: Top of the Heap and Vinnie & Bobby. Both shows flopped but LeBlanc would soon go on to land his iconic role of Joey, on Friends.

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Doggie Days


Buck the Dog was the hilarious and unapologetic pet of the famous family. The very same dog would play Buck for 10 long seasons. In the tenth season of the show, he would retire due to old age. The furry guy made it to puppy dog heaven just after the show came to an end in 1996.

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Keeping it in The Family


During the 11 season course of the show a few of the star’s family and friends made an appearance on the show. Ed O’Neill’s real-life wife, Catherine Rusoff, made a two-episode cameo appearance. David Faustino’s brother, Michael Faustino, also got his time in front of the camera. Christina Applegate’s mother, Nancy Priddy, appeared in one episode, and Katey Sagal’s brother, Joey Sagal, also landed a chance to appear in a few episodes.

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Star Strategy


Ed O’Neill’s on-screen job of a sad shoe salesman was a long-running joke throughout the series. It was only fitting that when Ed earned himself a much-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was strategically placed in front of a shoe store. O’Neill was honored with the star in 2011.

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Longest Running Show In History


There were 259 original installments of Married… with Children. The final episode was unceremoniously aired on June 9, 1997.

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Failed Spin-offs


Garrison’s very last appearance as Steve Rhoades was in the season nine finale “Radio Free Trumaine,” where Steve was suddenly a college dean who makes the grave mistake of expelling rebellious school DJs. It was shopped as a pilot starring Keri Russel, but Fox declined the series. The spinoff Top of the Heap, starring Matt LeBlanc as Vinnie Verducci, flopped, only airing six episodes.

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An Untimely End


When O’Neill eventually learned that the series was canecelled, he was determined to make the finale something truly memorable. He came up with the wild idea that the family should win millions in the lottery and then subsequently be hit by a massive tornado while they’re celebrating their new fortune. The producers were not a fan of the suggestion.

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No Ma’am


Do you remember the NO MA’AM organization? It stood for: National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood/Numb Old Men Anxiously Awaiting Morticians. It was an anti-feminist group founded by Al Bundy in response to Women’s Bowling Night replacing the Men’s, and the nudie bar being turned into a Women’s Coffee House. What would women think of this now?

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Huge Expenditure Per Episode


Despite its huge success and millions of avid fans, producing an episode of the sitcom was still a huge expense. Each episode cost the creators and producers around $ 1 million, which would eventually contribute to the show’s untimely end.

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Playing The Part From Day One


When Katey Sagal read for her audition as Peggy Bundy, she was a struggling actress who was truly desperate to land the role. She was determined to land the part.  She showed up to her audition dressed in a revealing outfit and a huge red wig.

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Wigging Out


During the penultimate season of the show, Christina Applegate, had to actually put on a blonde wig because she had dyed her hair brown for another role.

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Vista What Now?


Nope, it’s not Visa, and yes, it was in fact done intentionally. The famous sign that’s hung in Bundy’s shoe shop actually reads ‘VISTA’ cards. Perhaps the producers wanted to stay away from a copyright lawsuit?

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The Bald And The Beautiful


Do you remember this episode? “The Bald and the Beautiful”, follows Al and Steve, who attempt to use a hair tonic to grow back their thick locks. Ultimately, the pair attend a panel for bald (and balding) men. When Al gets his turn to share his tory, he delivers a hilarious “The Reason You Suck” Speech to the men in attendance. This was actually based on something real that Katey’s husband had been to, so they used the idea for the show, and it worked.

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Life’s A Beach


The beginning of “Life’s A Beach” has Kelly and Bud pretending to be blind while mocking Al behind his back to get money. They then find Peggy in the closet looking for change in her husband’s wallet. Peg prepares Al for the family’s trip to the beach for a photo and gives him a T.V. to watch. Then she blinds Al when a beautiful woman comes up to him. This scene had to be filmed more that 10 times, the cast kept bursting into hysterical laughter.

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One Down, Two To Go


The episode “One Down, Two To Go”, begins with Bud answering a sex hotline. Kelly and her then boyfriend Jake catch him in the act, leading to Bud lying about why he was barking into the phone. “Let’s go upstairs and play Strip Nintendo like adults.” This line was ad-libbed, but it worked so well, that they kept it in the episode.

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Mixing Storylines


In 1991, Ed O’Neill starred in a film called Dutch, which tells the story of a working class man who volunteers to
pick his girlfriend’s son from school in order to create a bond with the young man and things soon go horribly wrong. The film was mentioned twice on the show, the first scene was when Al was on a plane and the second Al and his wife Peggy went to rent a movie to watch at home.

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Where Is Ed Now?


To many TV fans, O’Neil will forever be Al Bundy. But since landing the role of grumpy Jay Pritchett on Modern Family in 2009, O’Neil has shed his Bundy image, and transformed into a much more lovable PG-rated dad.

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What Did The Futurama Hold For Peggy?


It didn’t take long for Katey to shake her beloved and sexy Peg persona. She has gone on to have a thriving television career. Immediately after the show ended, she became the voice of Leela on the hit animated comedy Futurama.

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Cancer Scare


Applegate has had success in both film and television throughout her long-lasting career. Christina became an advocate for Breast Cancer after she was diagnosed with the disease while filming Married With Children, at such a young age. We are happy to report, the star is now cancer free!

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Frank Sinatra Featured


The show’s theme song was originally performed by the late, great Frank Sinatra for a television production of Our Town. The version of the song that ended up featured in the sries was released on Sinatra’s 1956 album This Is Sinatra!

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Activists Complain


The show made major headlines after a family activist started a letter-writing campaign highlighting the show’s controversial subject matter. The activists thought the show promoted anti-family values. The campaign actually backfired. The story became huge news and it actually helped the show to end up becoming a huge success!

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Prank Calls


For birthdays and during many festive holidays, O’Neill used to make prank phone calls to fans of the show while in character. Imagine picking up the phone and hearing Al Bundy on the other line!

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Budget Budget Budget


The budget for the show was initially very low. So low that when Buck the dog went on a shopping trip, the items he bought were really just items from the cast’s and crew’s homes. Katey Sagal also didn’t get a proper wig until the third season of the show when the cash started rolling in.

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Directorial Debut


Amanda Bearse was Marcy, the Bundy neighbor who loved to rile up Al. Since the show’s end Amanda has kept herself busy behind the camera focusing on her budding directing career. Bearse directed more than 30 episodes of Married With Children during its 11 season run.

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Let Me Go


David Garrison played Steve Rhoades, Marcy’s first husband for only three and half seasons. Garrison, who was originally a theatre actor, asked to be let out of his contract so he could return to his true passion, stage acting.

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