Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0218  -  "The Great Escape"

"I'm getting out of here. And there's nothing you can do to stop me."
"Dad! Report Card Day!" (Bud)

The opening of this episode is the best piece of acting from the two
children so far, and one of the best Bud-Kelly scenes I've ever seen - right
up there with the best. Both of them have parts of their lives that they
don't want their parents to know about, and there's some delightfully
Machiavellian infighting as both battle to keep their secrets and get what
they want. The winner, of course, is Bud, reminding us that he has brains
but Kelly has beauty; however, there's still an echo of the series' more
serious roots in what it is that they have to hide. Examining it in the cold
light of day it isn't quite so funny; Bud is a Peeping Tom with a flashlight
and ski mask, while Kelly is rejecting education, life, all for cheap sex
and a basically emotionally worthless life. As something which illustrates
how rapidly Christina Applegate and David Faustino have developed their
acting skills since Married with Children, however, it's a very watchable
scene; the first time, I think that either of the children provide the
motivation for an entire episode. 

"We're closed and, much like my life, the day is over." (Al)

The rest of the story is a steady rather than spectacular one; the Bundy
house must be fumigated and hence they have to sleep in the shoe store,
while Kelly has to try and get out of there. Bud's constant sniping is
amusing, while Kelly's reactions of wide-eyed apology every time her parents
come close to catching her doing something in the wrong are always funny.
This leaves Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal a chance to relax a little more, and
their performances seem more polished in this episode, more at ease now that
they don't have to carry the episode quite so much. I'm not quite convinced
by them sleeping in the shoe store - wouldn't it have been far funnier if
they were to sleep at Steve and Marcy's house? - but it does at least allow
for some amusing crowd scenes as people stare at the Bundys, much as we do
from outside the television screens. A metaphor, perhaps? There is quite a
lot packed into this episode if you examine it closely, and I can't help
thinking that it would have made quite a good two-parter.

"Damn mannequins, look like hookers." (Al)

Ouch! No wonder that Kelly has a screwed-up sexual pysche, as she herself
declared in Shoeway to Heaven. This is a surprisingly serious comment stuck
in the middle of the rest of the episode and, while for a second it was
surprising, it goes plenty of way towards explaining exactly why Kelly's
trying so hard on this 'escape'. These few serious elements give the comedy
a big boost through contrast, just as Shakespeare used to do, and while The
Great Escape isn't exactly Shakespeare, nor as "deep" as other episodes, it
certainly deserves the title of 'classic'. It's quite possible to watch this
episode over and over again and that's good enough as far as I can see.

Rating 8.

By Grail


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