Married with Children... All Things Episodic
0108 - "Peggy Sue Got Work"
"I hate working! That's why I got married!" (Peg)
Some curious points in this episode show that the writers were beginning to
work out the dynamics between Al and Peg. After the experimental stuff of
"Married without Children" and "Sixteen Years..", "Peggy Sue" is about
communication between husband and wife - or, more accurately, about the lack
of communication. This is a bit odd because they've supposedly been married
for sixteen years, and if this were the case, I would have expected there to
be no communication problems by now. Indeed, the pilot episode had more
communication than this, and the upcoming "Al Loses His Cherry" handles the
topic in a better way. So in that sense, the premise of this episode is a
little hard to believe. Fortunately, it makes up for it in the script and in
the acting of the regular characters.
"Don't you find it humiliating?" (Marcy)
"No, just the point where I have to explain it to you." (Peg)
Peg's explanation of how to persuade Al to get her a VCR is impressively
bittersweet; as she says to Marcy, she finds it humiliating to explain it
all, but not to do it. In some ways I think this episode shows Peg at her
best, caught between a powerless but pleasant home life or an unpleasant
career. Fortunately the writers don't show it as a case of career or home,
but choose to portray it on a slightly more philosophical level. This is
good, because otherwise they'd be implying that women shouldn't work and
ought to stay at home. Instead, Peg is just too used to the inactivity of
her home life. In consequence, she's given up any control she had over her
finances, her anything, pretty much. This is the only episode that I can
think of which suggests this, with the exception of "The Weaker Sex", which
handles it in a far less serious manner.
"Does Mum know Dad paid us?" (Bud)
"Does Dad know Mum paid us?" (Bud)
"Does Mum know about your fake ID?" (Bud)
As a prime Peg episode, the story doesn't give too much focus to any of the
other characters. Peg is still giving advice to Marcy at this stage, before
the latter gets experience of the wide world, but already their relationship
is different from the master-pupil link between Al and Steve. The children
both acquit themselves well, showing that their mother pays them no
attention and making the real 'tragedy' that they don't actually realise
that she should do so. Al, again like "Nightmare on Al's Street", is the
smug manipulator who knows how things are, even if they're not nice things,
but is too lazy to change them. These characterisations, which disappeared
in later seasons, are well-produced and quite enjoyable.
"Have a Mullins day!" (Supervisor)
Welcome to the ranks of the wage slaves. Rating 7.
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