Married with Children... All Things Episodic
0512 - Married... with Who?
"Who would you rather spend the night with? A, your wife, or B - " (Peg)
The fifth season continues to be a period of change, as with this
episode one of only two really major cast changes occurs - namely, the
introduction of Jefferson. It's interesting to compare this story to
later tales and see what character traits have their roots here. The
answer is simple; almost none. In fact, Jefferson is quite a shadowy
character in this episode, and Ted McGinley clearly realises this. His
reaction is to play the part innocently, letting the Bundys and Marcy
move around him without letting them close, relying on his looks and
sex-appeal to keep him safe - which of course works, right up until he
starts to realise what he has let himself in for. Al betrays his trust,
Marcy turns out to be anything but the sweet innocent wife, while the
children....it's an awakening just like Steve and Marcy Rhoades once
had, but the difference here is that it all takes place in one episode.
Part of this is because Jefferson at least is a more worldly figure than
Steve, having been in prison and so on. Of course, as time went on, this
was to be expanded (and dirtied) quite a bit, but for now Jefferson is
almost - dare I say it? - subtle. Not a word often associated with Mr
Darcy, of course, but then odd moments (see I Want My Psycho Dad :
Second Blood, or The Darcy Files) do occasionally reveal it. Knowing
this, it's possible to place a new interpretation on Married...with Who.
Could it be that Jefferson, after this dirty past, tried to marry an
innocent woman and settle down in an obscure area hoping to fade into
the background and illicitly make millions - only to meet the Bundys and
see all this go crashing? Certainly he's surprised and even disgusted
with Al in this episode and others in this season. In any case, this
doesn't have much to do with the episode at hand. Got distracted, sorry.
"Run, run, run like the wind, run like water through a first time
tourist in Mexico, but the key word is - run." (Al)
The actual structure of the episode is a little disappointing, being
split fairly evenly between the Bundy house and the actual wedding.
Marcy trusting Al and Peg to do this is hard to understand, although
Al's ruthless skimping when it finally comes to the "wedding" is
believable (albeit a little OTT). Even if Jefferson doesn't get it yet,
at least Marcy knows what Al's like. We also see nothing of Marcy's
house, which seems a big waste; instead, both walk over to the Bundy
house as the first thing, despite waking up next to one another,
married! Perhaps they could only erect two sets for this episode (house
and yard), but even the first season could manage location filming, and
to cut corners on an episode performing such an important function is
hard to understand. The production values seem to have been sacrificed
in favour of hoping the script and performances will pull it through. By
and large they do, except for dodgy moments at the wedding, but to place
such a reliance on actors and words is silly. Amanda Bearse manages to
put in the best performance of the episode, though it would be nice to
have seen more self-disgust for her actions as she alternates between
sheer lustful delight at her "catch" and horror as she begins to learn
more about her husband. Katey Sagal once again acts on autopilot, while
Ed O'Neill seems to want to do more, only to be frustrated by not being
given the best possible chances. Despite this, it's hard not to like the
episode for several reasons - introducing Jefferson, the general humour
of the situation ("Clyde's Chapel" indeed!) and the fact that Al's
defeat in this episode is actually deserved.
Rating : 7.5.
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