Married with Children
Episode: ITíS A BUNDYFUL LIFE, pts. 1 & 2
Reviewed By: John P. Stevenson
I have a theory as to why MWC strikes a chord with those of us who are true fans: We
watch it because, for a half-hour at a time, no matter whatís going on in our lives, we can
see someone who is definitely worse off than us, and still struggles on. Yes, I refer to our
hero, a contemporary everyman, Al Bundy. Few episodes demonstrate this as well as this
Christmas-time send-up of Frank Capraís "Itís a Wonderful Life."
MWC usually had itís best moments when it focused on the main characters, instead of
on guest stars and supporting players. This, however, is an exception to that rule. Very few
comedians can go head-to-head with Ed OíNeillís Al Bundy and come off favorably; many have
tried in the seriesí 11-year run, and most have come off second best.
But Sam Kinison, without a doubt, does more than hold his own: He steals the show!
All the elements we Sam Kinison fans loved about his act are here (except for the profanity,
of course): The irreverence; the jokes about married life; the manic personality. Everything
that made Kinison great is on display in this episode, and itís definitely a treat.
But donít think that OíNeill is asleep on the job. This is definitely his episode, and
he makes full use of the extra half-hour as we see Al, through no fault of his own, disappoint
his family on yet another Christmas. His struggle to close the shoe-store in time to get to
the bank is hilarious, and the look on his face as the security barrier is lowered, cutting
him off from the chance of a successful holiday, is priceless. The recitation of the Bundy
version of The Night Before Christmas is classic, as is his "kiddie corral".
But itís the second part of the episode that truly raises this to the level of greatness.
The interplay between OíNeill and Kinison is superb, as they trade insults and comebacks like
a verbal tennis match. Both have brought their "A" games, and weíre the winners.
There are too many high points in this episode to describe them all: Kinison Ďgoosingí
Peg; seeing Kelly as a frigid virgin; Kinisonís reaction when he meets Al, these are just a few
of the comedic gems in this episode. If you havenít seen it yet; donít wait until Christmas -
watch it as soon as you can. If you have seen it before, then watch it again. Believe me, it
holds up well to repeated viewings. I should know -- Iíve certainly watched it more than once!
RATING: ***** out of Five!
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