Married with Children... All Things Episodic


Episode 0103 -  "16 Years And What Do You Get?"

A quick rundown:
Both Al and Peg agree not to buy presents for their 16th wedding anniversary, 
but when Al decides to buy a present anyway, he finds his credit card has been
maxed out -- because Peg and the kids went spend-crazy buying things they all
agreed not to buy things for the anniversary. 

Well, it was fairly obvious, I suppose, but I'm a little disappointed now in
a certain ninth-season episode. Indeed, "16 Years and What do You Get?" and
"25 Years and What Have You Got?" are pretty much identical episodes, from
the title onwards. Both are about Al and Peg's anniversary, and about buying
presents. Come to think of it, "Valentine's Day Massacre" can be (sort of)
counted in with this group too. Identical plotlines, with the difference in
style between late and early MWC being the only way I can tell the episodes
apart. It made "16" a little more unsettling, really, considering the
sharper scripts of the first season. Even for a comedy, this was

Little things mark it out, too. Al has been quite wronged by his family in
this episode and it's possible to feel genuinely sorry for him, being
trapped somewhere that has now done something so severe to him. It also
means that it's difficult to find any sympathy for any of the other
characters in this episode. Rarely does Al show any genuine affection for
his family in later episodes - but almost never does he suffer as he does in
this episode, and for so little, and in such a non-cartoonish way. 

Apart from getting a flash of deja vu when Al is in the shop - does that
shop appear again, I wonder, in an episode I have seen years ago? - I felt
this episode was in one ear and out of the other. While it was onscreen it
was unsettling in showing things as being quite so unpleasant; as soon as
the end credits rolled, however, it was easy to forget. Only the scene with
Al and Peg in the garage has stayed in my memory, which is why I can't
summon up any quotes for separating the paragraphs in this review. Not an
enjoyable experience at all, really; the episode joins "Thinnergy" in my
list of unfavourites.

Rating: 5/10.

By Grail


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