Reviewed by David Williams (May 25, 2004)
After a rather successful first season run that included a mere 13 episodes, little did most viewers and critics realize that Married With Children was just beginning its reign of terror on network TV. During 1987-1988, the Bundy’s would return to the FOX network for a second season that included 22 episodes that allowed fans to tag along on many more escapades with one of America’s favorite dysfunctional families. (I assume if you’re reading this review, you’re more than familiar with the show and its cast of characters, but if you need a quick update, check out my review of season one.)
The show definitely didn’t become any more mature from its first season, as the storylines and situations only became more crude and risqué (especially for their time). As expected, the characters didn’t develop much more either – nor would they ever – as we find Al (Ed O’Neill) still working at the shoe store and staking his claim as a former local football hero and the rightful head of the Bundy household; Peg (Katey Sagal) isn’t enjoying sex (or even the mention of it) with her Al any more than before, but has no problems spending what little money he brings home; oldest daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) remains hot, dumb, and slutty; and the Bundy’s son, Bud (David Faustino), still spends every waking moment dreaming of and planning his first sexual encounter. The much more prim and proper Rhoades’, Steve (David Garrison) and Marcy (Amanda Bearse), still live next door and make a great foil for the Bundy’s and their comical exploits.
Now that you’ve gotten a quick refresher, let’s take a quick look at season two … (As with season one, there are a couple of episodes that are out of order based on their original air date, as Columbia has changed them around slightly. I can only assume that the order the episodes air on the DVD set was the intended order.)
- Disc One -
Buck Can Do It (Original Air Date: October 11, 1987)
One of the Bundy’s neighbors threatens to sue when the Bundy’s dog, Buck, is caught doing the nasty with their dog and they owners feel that the conceived puppies will be dumb and ugly. One of the options suggested for curing this problem in the future is having Buck neutered, but Al doesn’t like that idea one bit.
Poppy’s By The Tree: Part I (Original Air Date: September 27, 1987)
The Bundy’s decide to take a vacation in Dumpwater, FL (where else?) and stay in a low-rent motel. When they get there, they learn that an axe murderer (Vic Polizos) – who hatestourists - visits the town every five years looking for his next victim(s). The locals enjoy the show, as they bet on when he will strike during the year.
Poppy’s By The Tree: Conclusion (Original Air Date: September 27, 1987)
Peg (Katey Sagal) is unfortunately kidnapped by the axe murderer and Al must come to her rescue.
If I Were A Rich Man (Original Air Date: October 4, 1987)
Al (Ed O’Neill) and Steve (David Garrison) spend a little time in a Steve’s vault at the local bank and the next day, it’s reported that $1 million dollars has shown up missing and/or stolen. When the news hits the Bundy household, everyone assumes Al stole the cash and they start treating him with tons of respect as they assume that they are now rich.
For Whom The Bell Tolls (Original Air Date: October 25, 1987)
Al gets an unusually large phone bill that he refuses to pay because of a huge discrepancy and when the phone company cuts off their service, everyone takes it out on Al … again.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Part I (Original Air Date: October 18, 1987)
Problems at home causes the girls, namely Peggy and Marcy (Amanda Bearse), to head out to a male strip club for the first time ever. However, their problems have only just begun, as Marcy loses her self-control – and then her wedding ring - down a stripper’s (Billy Hufsey) pants while giving him a tip.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Conclusion (Original Air Date: October 18, 1987)
Zorro, the stripper, shows up at Steve and Marcy’s house to return her wedding ring. Steve awkwardly takes the ring from Zorro and waits for an inopportune time to confront Marcy about her escapades at the club …
Born To Walk (Original Air Date: November 1, 1987)
Kelly (Christina Applegate) passes her driver’s test and gets her license … on the same day that Al fails his driver’s license renewal test.
Alley Of The Dolls (Original Air Date: November 8, 1987)
Peg meets up with an old rival from her high school days and the two agree to a bowling match to see who will become the ultimate loser. However, the Bundy’s bowling team is a man short, so Steve agrees to help out. Also, we learn that Bud (David Faustino) has been spending his money for bowling lessons on other things.
- Disc Two -
The Razor’s Edge (Original Air Date: November 15, 1987)
When Steve goes away on a rafting trip, he comes back home to Marcy with a full grown beard. This causes a huge argument between the two when Steve refuses to shave it off. Steve decides to move in with the Bundy’s while things cool off at home.
How Do You Spell Revenge? (Original Air Date: November 22, 1987)
Al wants Peggy to work on her softball skills and he tells her that he plans on kicking her off of the team if she can’t improve soon. Meanwhile, Kelly’s boyfriend wants proof of her undying love for him, as he asks her to get a tattoo.
Earth Angel (Original Air Date: December 6, 1987)
Bud finally gets the girl of his dreams when he meets a 21-year-old art student, Tiffany (Dawn Merrick), in the park and brings her home to meet the family. Everyone really seems to like Tiffany except for Marcy … and she has plans for getting rid of her.
You Better Watch Out (Original Air Date: December 20, 1987)
Here’s the Bundy’s infamous Christmas episode … and it’s anything but traditional, as the Bundy’s receive a visit from Santa in a very unexpected manner. You see, this Santa was supposed to parachute into the local mall for a visit; but when his chute fails to open, he ends up landing in the Bundy’s back yard, d-e-a-d.
Guys And Dolls (Original Air Date: January 10, 1988)
Al and Steve buy a coupe of old, rather valuable, baseball cards by selling Marcy’s 20-year-old Barbie keepsake doll that she intended to give her daughter one day (when she has one). Needless to say, she’s not too happy when she hears the news and it’s up to Al and Steve to pound the pavement, find Marcy’s doll, and bring it back home to her.
Build A Better Mousetrap (Original Air Date: January 17, 1988)
A mouse is on the loose in the Bundy home and Al, being the consummate man, refuses to call an exterminator. However, when the war he’s waging against the rodent becomes “personal”, Al is more determined than ever to kill the rat, even if it means destroying his own house in the process.
Master The Possibilities (Original Air Date: February 7, 1988)
The Bundy’s go on a wild spending spree when the postman delivers a credit card … issued to Buck, the family dog.
Peggy Loves Al - Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Original Air Date: February 14, 1988)
On Valentine’s Day, Bud is holding a vigil at the mailbox waiting for his first Valentine; Kelly has more than her fair share; and Steve has plans to take Marcy to Hawaii. All Peg wants for Valentines Day is for Al to say “I Love You”. (During this episode, viewers were actually given a number to call to vote on whether or not Al should tell her. After the votes were tallied, an overwhelming 67% of viewers thought that Al should tell Peg he loved her. An ending was played showing just that …)
Great Escape (Original Air Date: February 21, 1988)
The Bundy home is being fumigated because of a termite problem, so the clan moves in to the shoe store until their home is livable again. While there, a grounded Kelly plots her escape in order to attend a rock concert.
- Disc Three -
Im-Po-Dent (Original Air Date: February 28, 1988)
Steve makes sure that Marcy regrets ever putting a dent in his Mercedes. He makes a wild claim that the damage to his car has made him impotent and he forces Marcy to be his “slave” while he recovers.
Just Married … With Children (Original Air Date: March 6, 1988)
Al and Peg find an interesting piece of mail in Steve and Marcy’s mailbox – an invitation to appear on a game show called “How Do I Love Thee?”. Al and Peggy sign up for the show … as Steve and Marcy … and when Steve and Marcy learn about the Bundy’s plans, they sign up for the show as well … as Al and Peg. However, they’re all “shocked” to learn that the object of the show is to find out who can survive the most pain and torture in order to prove their love.
Father Lode (Original Air Date: March 13, 1988)
Al wins a nice chunk of money while gambling at a local racetrack and then stresses over how to keep Peg from finding out. Meanwhile, Peg is consistently removing money from Al’s wallet.
All In The Family (Original Air Date: May 1, 1988)
All Al wants to do is watch the John Wayne classic “Hondo”, but he has to deal with Peg’s visiting relatives from Wanker County. With a strange mix of fighting uncles and triplet aunts who love to sing and dance, Al’s simple task is going to be much harder than he ever imagined.
Well, that’s the second season of Married With Children in a nutshell … and it ends up being a very strong collection of episodes. Married definitely started finding its footing during its sophomore season and the increased popularity and ratings for the show proved many of its staunchest critics dead wrong on what made for “good TV”. Americans embraced the dysfunctional Bundy’s and their brand of raunchy and politically incorrect humor, causing the show to become one of the most popular and longest running sitcoms of all time.
Married With Children: The Complete Second Season is simply another excellent boxed set from the folks at Columbia and hardcore fans of the show have more than likely picked this one up already. If you haven’t … well, what are you waiting for?!?