Married with Children... All Things Episodic
0104 - "But I Didn't Shoot the Deputy"
"Who're they?" (Al)
"The local Neighbourhood Watch. I invited them." (Peg)
"To watch *this*!?" (Al)
This episode begins in a very strange, not to say disturbing, way. Al walks
in from the shoe store, tired and asking for a massage. This then turns into
sex which is interrupted by the Neighbourhood Watch walking in! A surreal
opening indeed which is also a very obvious plot device. Within two minutes
we understand what the problem is and launch straight into the plot and the
discussion of the solution. Within five the dog has been bought. It gives an
odd sense of urgency about the whole story, especially given the more
leisured nature of the first two episodes. Indeed, the story is somewhat
disjointed, split into scenes which each fulfill one single function. On the
other hand, the actors have obviously become a little more comfortable with
their situation. Katey Sagal is the most polished in her performance, with
David Garrison a close second, but Amanda Bearse steals the show with her
violent speeches. Fish-hooks indeed!
"Steve, is he really dead?" (Marcy)
"Yes dear." (Steve)
"How do you know?"
"Well, number one, he doesn't respond to any of my commands. And number two,
his brains are in the begonias."
This is the first episode with a plot that actually sounds funny when
described, as opposed to 'Al and Peg meet their new neighbours', or 'Al and
Peg go on a diet'. Indeed, once Steve and Marcy are told, the episode
becomes much funnier, with plenty of jokes about the dog, especially puns on
shooting. It's also the first episode where Steve calls on the Bundys alone,
and he noticeably treats Al as a friend far more than when Marcy is around
to remind him. The dog's funeral is also funny, with the Neighbourhood Watch
men a kind of protoype NO MA'AM with no individual characters. Noticeably
absent from the show are elements that still have yet to work, such as what
roles the children will play, or the function of the shoe store, or Luke
Ventura. Perhaps the writers were already having a rethink, but this episode
is much closer to what I know as MWC than the previous two.
Things are looking up.
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