Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0210  -  The Razor's Edge

"Take a look at....MY MOTHER-IN-LAW!" (Al)

Renowned as a classic, The Razor's Edge is justly famous. On the surface it is nothing more 
than a familiar men-vs-women episode, one of those early episodes which features no 
extra cast and uses only the regular characters. However, it packs so much into twenty-two 
minutes that it surpasses almost every other one of those stories. Steve returns 
from a river-rafting trip (another example of art and life intertwining, as with the 
constant anti-Dutch comments of later years) with a beard, which Marcy hates. 
I can kind 
of sympathise with this episode, as my fiancée used to complain at times about me not 
shaving! As has been so often observed, of course, you don't have to be married to enjoy 
MWC, and The Razor's Edge is not just about the power relationships of a marriage. 
A myriad little moments that shine - Al's photograph treatment, the way that Steve 
delicately helps Al with his tie one morning, the final dramatic moment when Marcy 
overwhelms Steve's resistance - the story is a wealth of humour.

"Peg, can you make those little brown potatoes like Steve does?" (Al)
"Can you make love for an hour and a half like Steve does?" (Peg)

On the down side (possibly), the episode lacks the social commentary on 20th century 
America that the Bundys normally provide, as a counterpart to the Rhoadeses' more 
"eternal" dilemmas, and as usual for this year the kids get almost nothing to do 
(nothing significant, anyway). The episode belongs to Peg, from this point of view, 
as she watches her family grow happier and happier and realises that she is staring 
death (aka work) in the face. Perhaps that could be a comment on career women and the 
demands of work plus family? The story is therefore a little more lightweight than many 
of the other episodes to which I've given a ten, but it's just so unbelievably watchable 
that you have to remember that you don't have to have a message to keep people happy. 
MWC is entertainment as well.

"Our marriage isn't based on that!" (Marcy)
"Then what does it mean when you're screaming 'Oh God' and yet never go to church?" (Peg)

As one of the episodes which ostensibly concentrates on Steve, it's surprising that we get 
so little of his background or of his personality; his pernickety nature is made clear 
for the first time (only hinted at before), as is his possessiveness about everything 
- except, curiously, Marcy. He also shares Marcy's strong sex drive, being as 
'professional' as she is, but is a lot more open about his desires when they are strong. 
Watch Marcy's expression when Peg is quoting the "oh god" line above, one of unc
whether to be proud or embarrassed, as opposed to Steve openly admitting he can't sit 
down (this and the t-shirt line are incredibly funny). Worth every moment and every point 
I've given it. 

Rating : 10.

By Grail


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