Although most people today may recognize Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett from Modern Family, O’Neill became the face of grumpy fathers everywhere thanks to his 1980s and ’90s role as Al Bundy in Married… with Children.
This family sitcom was the starting place for many popular actors, such as Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, Amanda Bearse, and David Faustino.
Although the show was hit during the late 1980s, in the late ’90s, the show suddenly came to an end that completely blindsided the cast and crew.
Why Was Married With Children Cancelled?
Married with Children was cancelled because of the quickly rising production costs that weren’t matching up with the decreasing number of viewers.
Although the series had once been Fox Entertainment’s most successful show, fans were getting bored of repeating storylines and lack of character progression.
Fox Entertainment waited for the last moment to decide to cut Married… with Children, meaning that they had to publicly announce the cancellations before the majority of the cast and crew were informed.
It was sudden that Christina Applegate, who played the daughter, Kelly Bundy, learned about the cancellation secondhand.
Christina Applegate was listening to a local radio show, Kevin & Bean when she found out that her time on the hit show was over.
She was heartbroken that there were so many people who knew about what happened before she did.
Toward the end of the show’s run, Fox was paying $1.5 million for the licensing of each episode.
Although some fans may point to co-star feuds as part of the reason that the sitcom was canceled, even Bud Bundy’s actor, David Faustino, has pointed out the legal problems that arise when trying to make one more episode or an entire reboot.
Most of the Married… with Children cast would be open to doing a final episode special or something of the sort, but the majority of them don’t see themselves ever reprising their roles or working on anything related to Married… with Children.
Actors like Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal have found that their schedules are too full to consider adding another project like their ’80s comedy show to their schedules.
Sagal is quick to recognize that not all of the material of the show would go over as well with television fans today.
How Did Ed O’Neill Get The Role Of Al Bundy?
Ed O’Neill got the role of Al Bundy after being recommended by one of the casting directors after they had seen O’Neill perform as Lennie in Of Men and Mice in New York City.
Considering how the auditions were being held in Los Angeles, O’Neill seemed like an unlikely option for the role.
However, O’Neill had brought something so unique to the character of Lennie that the casting director knew he had what it took to play the worn-out father, Al Bundy.
While most of the other actors auditioning for the role were mimicking your stereotypical sitcom father, O’Neill based his performance on one of his unlucky uncles.
O’Neill’s uncle was the kind of man who could be given the worst kind of news and immediately respond by simply wondering what was for dinner that night because he had become so numb to the bad things happening around him.
Most television fathers get angry when their family members aren’t living up to their expectations, but Ed O’Neill’s rendition of Al Bundy has shown a father who has given up on having expectations and has decided that all the bad things happening around him aren’t worth the additional stress.
Much of O’Neill’s success when formulating the right character for the Bundy father not only came from the way he delivered his lines, but much of what helped him stand apart was his physical acting.
As part of his audition for a role, O’Neill was asked to walk through the front door of the Bundy’s home.
Before opening the door, O’Neill took a deep breath and slouched his shoulders to show a man who knew there was more work to be done at home.
After watching this moment, the production team knew they had the right man for the job.
Do Ed O’Neill And Amanda Bearse Get Along?
No, the actors are two of the few actors from Married… with Children that no longer keep in contact with each other.
While the actors are willing to remain professional, some of the comments that Ed O’Neill has made in the past have pushed Amanda Bearse to no longer want any kind of friendship or relationship with her former co-star.
The tension between Marcy and Al in Married… with Children wasn’t just good acting between two actors.
Amanda Bearse has been asked about the strained relationship between her and Ed O’Neill at conventions, but Bearse always responds with, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
When Ed O’Neill has been asked about their relationship, he is willing to be a bit more upfront about how much they used to argue.
Although the actors got along at first, O’Neill quickly began to develop a dislike towards Bearse.
O’Neill claims that it has nothing to do with the fact that Amanda Bearse is homosexual, something that he has seen in her for a long time as her co-star of 10 years.
However, O’Neill has made some comments about how he didn’t like the way that Bearse was appearing and acting more masculine to him as they got older.
The actor has made comments, describing Bearse in her earlier relationships as “the woman in her relationships.”
He then added that she began to act more as “the man” in the relationship and began to become more argumentative with him.
When Bearse was getting married to her wife, she invited nearly all of her old castmates, except for O’Neill and David Faustino.
Bearse has claimed that the reason was that O’Neill admitted that he would laugh at seeing two women in tuxedos getting married.
Why Does Peggy Bundy Wear 1960s-Inspired Clothes?
Katey Sagal is the reason that Peggy Bundy wears ’60s-inspired clothes and her red wig, which hides her naturally dark brown hair underneath.
Prior to working on Married… with Children, Sagal was a backup singer for a variety of performers, such as Bob Dylan.
Sagal was also a member of Bette Midler’s Harlettes group and had planned on returning to her career as a singer after what she had thought was going to be a short time on television.
To help separate her work as a television actress and a singer, Sagal planned to completely disguise herself in a drag queen-inspired manner.
Although Peggy Bundy was originally meant to be a slouchy mess of a person, Sagal wanted to ensure that none of that slouchy nature would affect her reputation as a performer.
In the actress’s eyes, Peggy Bundy is like a drag persona that has allowed her to go out in public and not get recognized by fans.
Like any good drag persona, Peggy Bundy is meant to be the pinnacle of your stereotypical 1960s housewife, which is physically achieved by the combinations of her bouffant hair wig, the tight Capri-style leggings, a chunky belt, and a pair of some trusty slip-on heels.
Katey Sagal plays a hefty role in the reason that Married… with Children was so popular among a variety of people.
Even former James Bond actor, Sir Roger Moore, has admitted that the 1980s sitcom was a guilty pleasure for him after discovering that his friend Boris Sagal’s daughter was on the show.
Katey Sagal would reference her role on Married… with Children during her time as Leela from Futurama.
In the Futurama episode “A Bicyclops Built for Two,” Leela meets a cyclops man named Alcazar and refers to him mostly as just “Al.”
What Kind Of Dog Is Buck Bundy?
Buck Bundy was a sassy Briard, who was best known for the witty insults he had stored in his mind for his owners.
This canine actor was born on July 13th of 1983 and would go on to live a luxurious celebrity life until May 28th of 1996.
Briards live for an average of 12 years, weighing anywhere from 55 to 100 pounds.
These dogs are best known for their affectionate nature and intense sense of loyalty that leads them to become very close and protective of their owners.
Briards were originally bred to work as French herding dogs, with an average of two to three dogs being responsible for the protection of hundreds of sheep.
Most modern Briards are praised for their thick, soft coats that have helped earn them the title of “a heart wrapped in fur.”
Although Buck Bundy may be known for his sassy comments, he didn’t actually begin speaking until the fourth season of Married… with Children.
The first time Buck spoke was on the episode, “Peggy Made a Little Lamb,” in which he can identify what channel Wheel of Fortune is on before Peggy figures it out.
Most of the time, Buck Bundy could be found on the floor or couch of the Bundy’s home because it was easy for the dog actor to do.
Buck’s voice has been provided by Kevin Curran, Kim Weiskopf, and even Cheech Marin.
Buck Bundy had been a part of Married… with Children since the pilot episode, but Buck’s old age was catching up to him.
To give the dog a proper retirement after his time on the show, the producer decided to cut his character from the show early during the episode “Requiem for a Dead Briard.”
Why Did David Garrison Leave Married… With Children?
David Garrison was a beloved member of the Married… with Children cast, who was best known for his role as Steve Rhoades.
Garrison appreciated his time on the sitcom, but his role on the show was nothing more than a side gig for Garrison.
David Garrison had been a Broadway actor well before he appeared on television and continued to appear on Broadway even while filming Married… with Children.
Eventually, the traveling between Los Angeles and New York City became too exhausting for the actor who was working two jobs at the same time.
By the fourth season, Garrison had had enough of cross-country traveling and decided to devote his time to his Broadway career.
He organized a deal that would allow him to take his leave by the end of the season and buy out the rest of his contract.
Although there were rumors of discontent on the set of Married… with Children, David Garrison left the set of the sitcom on good terms and made regular guest appearances to reprise his beloved character.
To explain Steve Rhoades’s disappearance from the show, the writer had Steve and Marcy grow apart and decide to go their separate ways.
This later allowed the writers to bring in a new character to freshen up the old show.
Steve Rhoades was replaced with Jefferson D’Arcy, who was played by Ted McGinley.
While Rhoades had always served as a counterbalance to Al Bundy in personality, Jefferson became sort of a sidekick to Al and was like-minded enough to go along with Bundy’s ridiculous antics.
Fans were saddened by Garrison’s departure from Married… with Children, but they were always elated to see the beloved character come back to the series with a new career each time he returned.
The writers were also able to create a rivalry between Steve and Jefferson.
Was Katey Sagal Really Pregnant?
Yes, the actress behind Peggy Bundy was actually pregnant during the filming of Married… with Children.
The sixth season was originally meant to follow the story of Al and Peggy as they welcomed a third child to their family, but the season’s plot was scrapped and turned into a dream sequence after actress Katey Sagal ended up suffering a miscarriage partway through filming the season.
Sagal offered to continue the plot, but the producers were more concerned about potentially traumatizing her by having to perform the role.
The plot originally featured Marcy D’Arcy also becoming pregnant at the same time, to add nightmare fuel to the situation for Al Bundy.
While many people may point to Al Bundy being a bit of a questionable character, it is difficult to blame him for seeing the unexpected pregnancy of his wife as a nightmare.
The Bundy family is struggling to keep everyone fed with only two children, so adding a third mouth to feed would be incredibly expensive for the family that was just scraping by.
Although many fans have pointed to the idea of that entire sequence being “lazy writing,” the writers behind the sitcom were just trying to make the best out of a heartbreaking situation.
Luckily for Katey Sagal, she was able to go on to have three children.
For her later pregnancies, the writers behind Married… with Children decided to go the more traditional route of handling cast member pregnancies by using a collection of clever prop placement, camera angles, and even temporarily writing Peggy Bundy out of certain episodes for short periods of time.
The writers would bring back the idea of adding another child to the Bundy household when they introduced Seven in the seventh season, but Seven never gained much popularity.
Does Married… With Children Have Any Spinoffs?
Yes, Married… with Children had three different spinoffs.
However, the spinoffs were never able to capture the same lightning in a bottle that the original sitcom had managed to obtain.
The first spinoff that Fox introduced to the public was Top of the Heap, which starred Friends star Matthew LeBlanc and Joseph Bologna.
The show premiered in 1991 but was cut down to only one season after Fox found that the series was grossly underperforming.
However, they were able to recognize that fans were falling in love with Matthew LeBlanc and turned the show into Vinnie and Bobby.
Like Married… with Children, Top of the Heap followed the financially struggling father-son duo as they shared an apartment.
Throughout the show, Joseph Bologna’s character, Charlie Verducci, tries to escape poverty by convincing his son to marry into a wealthy family.
The show only lasted six episodes before becoming Vinnie and Bobby.
The second Married… with Children spin-off Fox Entertainment tried to push onto viewers was Radio Free Trumaine.
This show was going to follow Bud Bundy as he experienced college life at Trumaine University, where Steve Rhoades was set to be the dean.
However, the pilot for the show ended up instead serving as Bud Bundy’s exit episode from Married in Children.
The failure to even start the spinoff series served as a nail in the coffin of the series and affirmed the studio’s fear of the audience losing interest in their characters.
The final spinoff that Fox was never able to produce was a parody of the popular sitcom Friends called Enemies.
The plot followed young adults who lived in an apartment complex and didn’t get along, but they didn’t plan on using any of the characters from the original television show.
The Legacy Of Married… With Children
Fans of Married… with Children may not be willing to let the sitcom fade into the past, but many of the old cast members recognize that that sitcom was a product of its time.
The sitcom was able to land its cast in television history and has allowed him to go on to create legendary characters, even if it was filled with controversy.