Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0510  -  One Down, Two To Go

"No! I got a brother named Mungo!" (Sam)

This episode is something of an oddity, being one of the rare occasions
when a writer seems to have sat down and thought about how real-world
situations might, just possibly, have something to do with the Bundys.
In this case, the spotlight falls on Kelly; an 18-year-old young woman
who might, just possibly, want an independent life of her own? Naah,
surely not. And naturally enough, since Christina Applegate wasn't about
to "do a Garrison", by the end of the episode, Kelly is back within the
family bosom. Since we know this, and the audience knows this, the
episode would only succeed if it was an entertaining ride getting to
this point. The good news is that sometimes it is. The bad news is that
sometimes it isn't even close. There's a good attempt to create a
knowing post-modern style to the series at the end, when Al only has to
point and Kelly's latest beau beats himself up. Sadly, this is one of
the funniest moments of the episode.

"Threats don't work with me....." (Al)
"Nobody's rubbing my tushie!" (Peg)
"....because I've already been to hell...." (Al)

Ever since Al..with Kelly we've seen that father and daughter share a
closer kinship than father and son, and so it's natural that Al should
be the one who goes out to retrieve Kelly (despite Peg being the one
who's more overtly "upset"). Perhaps this even goes some way to
explaining why Kelly moved out - was it just a way of provoking more
attention from her father? Al must be going soft - it once took a whole
episode to get him to say he loved Peg (Peggy Loves Al - Yeah, Yeah,
Yeah), but now he casually admits to caring for his
daughter. On the other hand, he jibs at helping out Bud when Peg goes
"Psycho Mom" on her son. So the episode has a deeper subtext, yes,
trying to indicate that relationships between parents and offspring
aren't always father-son and mother-daughter. Unfortunately, later
episodes captured this much better (for example, Pump Fiction). There
are so many holes in this episode's plot and the relationship that it's
trying to show that it's tiring to point them out....why does Kelly
return just because Al cares? She kind of already knew that was why he
was beating up her boyfriends. Why is Al so scared by Marcy's prediction
when he knows Kelly is hugely different from the neighbour?

"I was here first. And do you remember the last time you and a victim
used the couch? We had to de-flea it." (Bud)

Meanwhile, Amanda Bearse, David Faustino and Katey Sagal are left with
little to do as Ed O'Neill and Christina Applegate grapple vainly with
an excuse for a decent script. The best of the three is Marcy, in her
"token scene" with her boyfriend, simultaneously trying to
be important and independent and yet so filled with hormones that she's
willing to do anything her man asks. The lesson there, of course, is not
to deny yourself chances in either direction; while Peg chose (and Kelly
is choosing) to go straight for the sex-and-home angle, Marcy chose to
concentrate too much on her career and forgot her own emotional
satisfaction too. Sagal and Faustino have little to do other than clown
around - a common thing in later years, but unusual enough in the early
seasons to be remarked upon. In the first or second season they would
simply have been absent from the episode, but the show has become too
successful by now. A shame? Not really. There wasn't anything that could
have rescued this episode.....

Rating : 4.

By Grail


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