Married with Children... All Things Episodic
0215 - "Build a Better Mousetrap"
"I, er, thought Steve was the mouse. I got him full in the face."
A direct precursor of "Wabbit Season", which I saw years'n'years ago, "Build
a Better Mousetrap" is one of those rare examples of the original not being
as good as the later remake. Perhaps it's because this episode would
naturally slot into a later style of MWC rather than an earlier one, since
its 'cartoonish' nature requires more cartoonish behaviour from the
characters, and they're still in serious mode. Because I remember "Wabbit
Season", I'm less inclined to be generous to "Mousetrap", even if it had
been a good episode - and it wasn't, unfortunately. The theme of the episode
is a traditional MWC staple, namely independence of the household away from
corporations and mechanics and so on; in many episodes this ends up being
shown as ridiculous and impossible. However, in this one Al actually does
succeed, in a way - yes, he suffers as a result, but at least he did catch
the mouse. In a sense.
"He'll eat you alive! This is the mouse from hell!" (Al)
The episode also contains one of the worst pieces of physical comedy I've
ever seen; there are holes in the walls and Al is holding a piece of cheese
for the mouse. Predictably, as Peg amusingly admits, Al manages to hit his
hand with the hammer and miss the mouse. However, Ed O'Neill misses so
obviously with the hammer, hitting the wall almost three or four inches away
from his thumb, that it's almost worth cringeing at. David Garrison seems to
recognise how weak and padded the script is, and Amanda Bearse also looks
like she's sleepwalking her way through the story. Ultimately, the episode
just isn't enjoyable.
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