Married with Children has been one of the most iconic shows of our time, and it’s all thanks to its original writing and hilarious performances by the actors on the show. Al, Peggy, Kelly & Bud were one of the most hilarious families in TV history. We’ve got 29 amazing facts and news of the latest spin-off sitcom (we hear it’s going on Netflix!) from one of the funniest shows ever to run on TV. The American sitcom ran for ten years and totally changed tv’s portrayal of marriage, becoming the first prime time show to be aired on the Fox channel. But what was happening behind the scenes?
$ 1 Million per episode
Despite its huge success and fandom, producing an episode of the sitcom was a large expense. Each episode of Married With Children cost the creators and producers around $ 1 Million per episode, which is would explain the series’ untimely cancellation.
Each broadcast became too expensive and the profit margin wasn’t scale-able to the show’s cult success.
Katey Sagal’s Little Trick To Get The Part Of Peggy
While Katey Sagal read for her audition as Peggy Bundy, she really wanted to get into character and prove that she owns it, and apparently, since she had a pre-notion of what her character should look like, she literally dressed the part when she showed up with a huge red wig.
As we already know this move worked for her and she is the red-headed Peggy Bundy that we love so much! Another wardrobe combination that drove the judges wild was Christina Applegate’s dressed up Kelly character. Just wait and see what she did with Kelly’s on-screen appearance!
The Original Bud & Kelly
The show’s pilot episode featured a completely different Kelly and Bud Bundy that the audience grew to love. Tina Caspary was initially chosen for the role of Kelly and Hunter Carson was supposed to fill the shoes of Bud, but producers made a big switch before the series aired publicly.
Ed O’Neil felt a lack of chemistry with the original kids and asked for a recast. All of the scenes with the Bundy kids had to reshot so the pilot episode could eventually air.
Kramer Could Have Been Al Bundy
Another contender for the role of Al Bundy was Michael Richards, the infamous Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. Ultimately, his comedic style was a bit too energetic for the slouchy and worn out Al, which as we previously discussed, Ed had a natural flare for.
We’re glad things worked out they way they did, though. If Michael ended up playing Al, who do you think would have been cast as Kramer?
Neighbors Or Frenemies?
There was a rumor running around the set that although they were playing neighbors on the show, Ed O’Neill and Amanda Bearse were on bad terms and were constantly clashing.
This was rumored to be due to the fact that O’Neill was not very supportive of Bearse being a lesbian in real life. This is quite ironic as O’Neill plays the dad of a gay man on the sitcom Modern Family.
Peggy Was Pregnant 3 Times
Katey Sagal, who played the nagging Peggy Bundy, was actually pregnant three times throughout the filming of the show over a ten year period. Unfortunately, during her first pregnancy, she gave birth 6 weeks early to a stillborn.
In the show, Al had a nightmare where both Peggy and Marcy were pregnant at the same time, which would explain the extended storyline. Katey’s last two pregnancies were successful! The producers and wardrobe consultants were just terribly good at keeping it under wraps… literally!
A Skyrocket Pilot
Married With Children was an instant overnight hit, In fact, the very first episode, which aired on April 5th, 1987, was so successful in its viewership, that the network played it over and over that same night.
The show’s storyline was evolving the dysfunctional Bundy, and it was the first time Fox aired a prime-time television series.
The Joke’s On Al Bundy
When filming a sitcom with so many talented and especially funny characters, obviously there going to be some jokes and laugh going around. Throughout the show’s 10 years of running, one of the jokes on set was that Al Bundy’s name was constantly being misspelled in many variations. Some of them include Al Birdy, Al Bumby, Al Boondy etc.
Each character ended up getting their own nickname at some point or another. Peggy and Al’s pet names were certainly strange. And what about Kelly’s name for her brother? Christina Applegate certainly never said that off set…
Many actors and actresses play different roles during the same time that they appear on a show, and these roles might require some alterations. During the 10th season of the show, Christina Applegate, who played the ditzy older sister of Bud and the daughter of Al and Peggy, Kelly Bundy, had to actually put on a blonde wig because she went brown for a different movie role.
Throughout the series, the Bundy’s often joke about Kelly’s natural hair color and how she’s actually a bottled blonde.
Married… With Children’s Legacy
Married… With Children was and still is the longest running live-action show on the Fox network. The show ran from 1987-1997 with 259 original episodes and 11 seasons.
The Bundy’s also hold the number 8 spot on the list of longest running weekly comedy series in American television history. You can still catch re-runs of the crowd favorite on Fox and TBS.
What’s A Vista Card?
Nope, it’s not Visa, and yes, it’s on purpose. The famous sign that’s displayed in Bundy’s shoe shop actually reads VISTA cards, and not the common version as we know it – Visa cards.
Maybe the producers wanted to stay away from a clear lawsuit? In any case, if you don’t pay enough attention, it could easily read Visa.
NSFW Reading Material
We tend to forget what a complex character Al Bundy was. It might have seemed like all he was doing was sit on the couch and watch tv, but the grumpy dad had some other interest. Although he was portrayed as a conservative man, Al Bundy did have his ‘slips’ and one of them was how much he loved his adult magazine that was called Big ‘Uns.
That was all part of his charm, and what made his character all the more hilarious and dynamic. Did he ever stop to think about Kelly and how this affected her female generation? Sure, he used to avoid how promiscuous she actually was, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
“Addressing” An Issue
The Bundy’s must have moved quite a lot throughout the shooting of the show, otherwise, how do you explain the fact that their home address kept changing from 9764 Jeopardy Lane to 9674 Jeopardy Lane, a small but a quite hilarious change when you think about it!
Jeopardy Lane was a fictitious street in Chicago and so were the numbers.
Peggy’s Maiden Name
We don’t mean to be rude, but it’s totally true and quite unbelievable – Peggy’s maiden name was in fact, well, Wanker.
What we know today as a British slang for a swear word, was not used in that manner in 1987 when the show was first aired. If the producers could fast forward the show to this day, we have a feeling this wouldn’t have passed.
In 1991, Ed O’Neill was playing in a movie called Dutch which is about a working class man who volunteers to his girlfriend’s son from school in order to get to know him better and from there it goes downhill.
The movie was then mentioned in two instances 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.
They Deserved An Emmy
As successful as Married With Children was, it was nominated seven times for the Emmy award and never won! not even once!
In fact, Married With Children and Baywatch are the only shows that ran for so long and never claimed the grand prize. That’s truly surprising.
The Banned Episode
In 1989, Fox refused to the air the season 3 episode ‘I’ll See You In Court’ due to its racy content. At the time, the show was under attack by Mitt Romney’s sister, Terry Rakolta, a Michigan housewife who had advertisements pulled from backing Married… With Children.
Terry began a letter writing campaign that compromised the show’s funding and the banned episode was shelved indefinitely. The episode was finally released on FX in 2002 after a long wait.
The Dodge Fraud
Some facts are just too weird and we’ll never fully understand why it was that way. The Bundys famous ‘mighty Dodge’ was not a Dodge, in fact, it was a 1972 Plymouth Duster, with a vinyl top.
Al, however, used to refer to it as a Dodge although it was a Plymouth. Besides the fact that the two cars are owned by the same company and look similar, we don’t know what was the thought here.
Ed’s Real Life Inspiration
There’s nothing like doing some good deep research and learning about your future character in the place closest to your heart – your family of course.
When Ed O’Neill was practicing and researching for his role as Al Bundy, he actually found the best inspiration for the role within his own family. One of his uncles, Uncle Joe, was his role model and he and the character shared a great number of similar characteristics.
Budrick Is His Real Name!
We’ve already seen how the writers of the show can be a bit off with their names choices, as it was in the case of Peggy’s maiden name so we’re not really surprised with this one.
Although it was never really spoken of, Bud, the young brother of the Bundy Bunch, had a full name and went by Budrick Franklin Bundy. Let’s not forget, though. Bud has his own special nickname for himself. Can you remember what it was before we give in and tell you?
It’s A Man’s World
We’re not sure this one would have passed in 2016. As much as we’d like to think that Al Bundy and his buddies group was called No Ma’am for the obvious reasons, the name actually stands for National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood.
NO MA’AM was an anti-feminist organization that was founded by Al Bundy and his group of guys which its basic agenda was to stop feminist domination.
Peggy Hearts Oprah
It wasn’t just Al who was fond of the black box. His wife Peggy was a big fan as well, but she preferred shows like Psycho Mom and of course, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah was even mentioned several times during Al and Peggy’s conversations and there’s no doubt that the talk show legend had a significant role in their marriage. In one episode, Peggy even gets a part-time job so she can afford a VCR to tape the Oprah Show. However, in true Peggy fashion, she quit and went back to being a lazy housewife.
It’s A “Rap”
Bud Bundy, the Bundy’s younger boy, always expressed on the show how his dream was to become a rapper.
This is clearly not just a character dream since the actor, David Faustino, actually became a rapper himself. Faustino became part of the music industry specifically rapping and goes by the name D’ Lil. He released an album called Balistyx in 1992.
Married… But Not For Life
Some of the most successful television shows have many local adaptations in different countries that basically take the concept of the show and adapt it to the local culture.
The British version of the first season of the sitcom was first broadcasted in 1996 and was called Married For Life. The show, however, was not as successful as the name suggested, as it only ran for seven weeks before it was taken off the air.
In The Name Of Who?
During the show’s first season, one of Al’s colleagues was named Luke Ventura, and this wasn’t a coincidence. The character was named after pro-wrestler named Jesse Ventura, who was nicknamed “The Body”, and whom the writers were a big fan of.
James Ventura’s real name was actually James George Janos and besides his wrestling career, he even served as Minnesota’s 38th Governor between 1999 and 2003.
Raise The Barr
Peggy Bundy’s hysterical role was in fact intended for the famous comedian and television producer, Roseanne Barr. Although she has her comedic roots and started as a stand-up comedy performer, she didn’t snag the role.
The one who did end up getting the role of her life was actress Katey Sagal, who is very familiar with Hollywood as her late father was in the show business long before she was.
What Would Freud Say?
There’s no doubt that one of the most epic scenes in the series is when Al sits on his couch watching television. It’s his most favorite thing to do, eventually becoming his trademark position.
What you probably didn’t know – is that his favorite show was Psycho Dad. This was a subtle hint that tv producers were sending the audience, without bluntly steroetyping Al as a craazy kind of pops. Well, life does imitate art. We’re just saying.
The Almost Ed Bundy
Sometimes it’s hard to forget that anyone else was considered for the legendary role of Al Bundy. But just like in any production, television or stage, it’s crucial to see who your options are before you decide who to cast.
Ed O’Neill was so perfect for the role of Al Bundy that it’s hard to imagine anyone else was ever intended to play the funny father on the show, but the part was originally offered to comedian Sam Kinison. Phew.
Gary Is A What..?
Anybody who is a big Bundy fan knows that Al worked as a salesman in a shoe shop that’s called Gary’s Shoes And Accessories For Today’s Woman, which, to say the least, rarely saw any business.
Although Al was working there for quite a long time, both on and off, he only finds out later (as the series progresses) that Gary, from the name of the shop, is in fact, a woman and not a man.
James Bond: #1 Fan
The British actor, Sir Roger Moore, who is famous for his role as the legendary secret agent, James Bond, confessed he was a huge fan of the sitcom and apparently he was very close to Peggy Bundy’s real life father, Boris Sagal.
In fact, one way that the two knew each other was when Moore starred in the detective film, Sherlock Holmes in New York in 1976, while Sagal was the director of the movie. Now that’s one-star fan that any show would have been happy to have as a fan.
Frank Sinatra’s Theme Song
If you didn’t already know, that’s Frank Sinatra’s lounge voice that sings the show’s theme song, ‘Love and Marriage.’ Sinatra originally performed the number for a television production of Our Town in 1955, then Married… With Children snagged it for their big debut in 1987.
The original version of ‘Love and Marriage’ was released on Frank’s 1956 album, This Is Sinatra. There are 3 versions of the tune in total.
David’s Neighborly Departure
The Bundy’s next door neighbor, played by David Garrison, left the show after season 4 to pursue a career in theater. He had a successful run on the stage, starring in musicals such as Titanic, Torch Song Trilogy, I Do! I Do!, and Wicked.
Garrison returned to Married… With Children for 4 guests spots during the remainder of its run. Each time he popped up he was playing a different character with a different profession.
Divine Couldn’t Make It To The Stage
The legendary Uncle Otto from Married With Children was originally supposed to be played by Harris Glenn Milstead, the drag queen who went by the stage name, Divine.
Tragically enough, Milstead died before filming of the show began – Divine struggled with obesity and his cardiomegaly took the actor’s life too soon.
Bud Bundy: The Spin-Off
Great news for Bundy fans everywhere! A Bud Bundy spin-off is reportedly in works as of 2014. The spin-off’s green light has been halted and moved forward in a repeated motion but hasn’t given up hope just yet.
David Faustino says the possible show is waiting for a legal issue to be sorted out and that Netflix is rumored to pick up the series when production is underway. Each member of the original cast has agreed to co-star or at least make an appearance, but it seems that Bud fans will still be waiting a while.
The Name is Bob Rooney
We’re not sure what the writers were thinking when they came up with this one, but if you pay close attention you’ll notice that when referred to, Bob Rooney is never just “Bob,” it’s always by his full name “Bob Rooney”.
We hope that E.E Bell, the actor who plays one of the No Ma’am club members, doesn’t do the same thing in real life. It might be quite difficult to pronounce all the time.
Can You See It?
The producers sure knew how to create a buzz and get people talking about the show when they decided to insert a random clip between other clips in the show’s opening.
If you take a really close look at the show’s opening sequence, you’ll notice there’s one clip from Chevy Chase’s movie, Vacation, where the Griswald family drive their green station wagon down to Vegas for their first vacation with a bunch of luggage on top. That same scene is in the opening of the sitcom. That’s just too funny!
Ed’s First Impression
Ed O’Neill got the part of Al Bundy largely due to the first impression he made on the casting directors. Initially, he had been called in to do a reading after a Fox executive had remembered his performance as Lenny in a stage production of ‘Of Mice & Men.’
When Ed showed up to the audition, he took a deep breath, slumped his shoulders, lazily walked to where the casting judges were seated. He had embodied Al Bundy without even knowing it!
“Not The Cosby’s”
Before it was Married… With Children, the producers were seriously considering calling the show “Not The Cosby’s.” For anyone who missed out on the clever humor of Bill Cosby and the Huxtable clan – they were a wholesome, hard-working, fairly wealthy family who lived in the suburbs of New York.
The Bundy’s were the anti-Cosby, although, I don’t think we needed such an obvious name for the show that would deliberately point that out. The Bundy’s were clearly a different breed.
Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked
Al Bundy lacked something important that his off-screen counterpart, Ed O’Neil, clearly possessed: a strong work ethic. Ed was only cast member to appear in every episode of Married… With Children’s 10 year run.
Al Bundy was present and accounted for in all 260 episodes aired. Thar must explain why he took such a long hiatus from the industry until he signed on to Modern Family.
What? The Show Is Canceled?
Married… With Children’s producers didn’t let the cast members know that the show had been canceled. Each one of the Bundy’s had to find out on their own terms! Ed O’Neil, for example, was on vacation when he overheard a couple talking about the series cancellation being announced in the newspaper.
Christina Applegate found out the show was being axed from two close friends of hers. That’s gotta hurt!
Ed’s Phone Calls.. To The Fans!
Ed O’Neil used to use his free time on the set to call loyal fans who were celebrating their birthdays. One hand, this was very characteristic of the considerate actor we all know, Ed.
On the other hand, knowing the calls came from 1-800-collect, makes us think it was Al Bundy who was dialing their numbers. We guess 65 cents a minute is a small price to pay to talk to your favorite, television sitcom father.
Special Guest Stars You Didn’t Notice
During the show’s run, cameos and guest appearances were made by the cast’s family members. Ed O’Neil’s wife, Catherine Rusoff was a guest star twice. Joey Sagal (Katey’s brother) and Nancy Priddy (Christina;s mother) also made guest appearances here and there.
David Faustino was apparently quite the ladies man off-screen and two of his former girlfriends, Elaine Hendrix and Julia Teblak, got to appear in an each episode each.
Ed’s Walk Of Fame Star
To pay homage to his most famous character’s dead-end job, Ed O’Neil’s star on the walk of fame is placed directly in front of a local shoe store chain!
On the day he received this great, Hollywood honor, fans showed up to ger autographs from the iconic tv dad and even brought him a pair of their favorite shoes to sign. Even we have to admit, that’s pretty clever thinking!
Buck: The Bundy Dog
How can you spill the Bundy’s biggest secrets and share the most special facts without mentioning the family dog – Buck! Buck Bundy was on set from day one of filming and during the 10th season, was given a retirement party by the producers.
Buck died of natural causes on May 25th, 1996. Awww! Cast families are real families too!
A 200th Episode To Remember
When it was time to celebrate a great milestone in Married… With Children’s long run, George Plimpton stepped up to the plate! He hosted the 200th episode special from the iconic Bundy couch and showcased the show’s best moments and dialogue since it aired in ’87.
The best joke of the episode was passive-aggressive bid for a long-awaited Emmy nomination… that would still never come.