Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0204  -  "If I Were a Rich Man"

"You're my rock, Peg." (Al)
"You're my albatross." (Peg)

For some reason, it's taken me up until now to notice that the kids have a
catchphrase in these early episodes - the "Thanks Dad" routine which, I now
realise, has been in several other stories too. Clearly it's the plant
behind the door which distracted me. Anyhow, one interesting thing about
this episode is the similarity between this and "Sixteen Years and What do
You Get", insofar as everyone else thinks something about Al (he's forgotten
Peg, or he's stolen $1,000,000) which isn't true. However, the difference
comes in the treatment; this episode is considerably "softer", opting for
easy laughs rather than the edginess of "Sixteen". There are also echoes of
"The Poker Game" and "Have You Driven a Ford Lately" in the Al/Steve bonding
scene at the bank, so overall I didn't think this episode was particularly
original. Only the attempted suicide of Peg and the kids at the end is
anything like serious, and even then is treated jokily, so with this and the
"Poppy's" two-parter it's clear that the new - to me - season is much less
edgy (so far) than its predecessor.

"Okay, I'm going home to drink moderately and pass out..." (Steve)

Incidentally, David Garrison looks oddly porky in the opening scene with
Marcy at the Bundys' house. Overdoing the champagne parties at the theatres,
perhaps. Not that this is relevant, except to note that the episode does not
really focus on him (though it's his bank) or any other one character - not
even upon Al, as he says curiously little. In fact, when they think he's
taken the money, everyone talks around Al rather than to him. All he does is
reiterate his innocence, basically, and he's not believed at all. As Peg
observes, she never listens to him. So perhaps the much-vaunted 'darker'
aspects of the show are not being shown directly, but rather left to linger
in the audience's subconscious. I can't decide whether this is clever or
whether it simply means the producers can't make up their minds. At the
moment I'm leaning towards clever but time will tell.

"The moment we're behind bars I'm going to kill you. And if I can't do it
myself I'll make sure my boyfriend's bigger than yours." (Steve)

Is there something I don't know about American prisons? Well, anyway. Amanda
Bearse puts in only a token appearance and the kids are mostly there as
support, leaving Peg and Steve to be the ones who make the mistake. In some
ways this is a loss as to have Marcy discover the missing money might have
been funnier - especially if she had to think of a way to make Al take the
blame whilst keeping hold of her husband's job. On the other hand, Marcy
wouldn't have given Al two days like Steve does; she would have had him in
front of the police quicker than you can say 'frog legs'. This serves to
demonstrate another point, though; the script is not only somewhat
unoriginal, but it relies on one or two suspicious plot devices. Do American
banks not open on Saturday, for example? Surely the bank people would've
blamed Wyatt the security guard before they blamed Steve? A bit of a
Swiss-cheese plot really, but enjoyable all the same. 

Flawed fun, but fun all the same. Rating 7.

By Grail


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