Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0113  -  Johnny Be Gone

And so we come to the first Married with Children finale. Johnny Be Gone was an experiment, 
probably quite bold for its time, which was filmed in real-time; that is, you're watching a 23 
minute story that takes place in 23 minutes. An experiment later repeated in Desperate Half Hour 
but with much better results in this episode. A multitude of plots and subplots circle in and 
around one another with the complexity of a Restoration comedy - Bud's model, Marcy's party, the 
Johnny B. Goode diner, and so on - all bouncing off one another and producing some sparkling 
Al and Marcy's "mystery" exchange is the first example of what was to become one of the show's 
greatest running gags, and there's also the first example of a Chicken joke (tm) here. The danger 
with watching these early episodes, which introduce traditions to which we've all become used, is 
that we might find the first examples dated. The speed and smoothness of Johnny Be Gone ensures 
this doesn't happen.

Another traditional theme introduced herein, of course, is that of Al and Peggy's world being 
swallowed up by modern developments. Here it's almost tragic - the closing of their favourite 
diner - and because these are he early years both Al and Peg are united in sadness. In later 
stories you can see a big difference; one of this pair will always refer to the memory in 
question in less that polite terms while the other is grieving. Here, in contrast, both regret 
the diner's passing.

 7 points.

By Grail


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