Married with Children... All Things Episodic
0513 - "Look Who's Barking"
"When you're frozen solid, you really don't think that much about sex."
Every so often, it's like the writers of the later seasons of MWC got bored.
They would reach into a bag and pull out one of a set of standard episode
types, which they could then fill in and play with to their hearts' content.
Look Who's Barking is the first appearance of one of those types which would
then be used (or misused) several times in later years when the writers were
on an 'off ' day. Consequently the memory of such episodes as Change for a Buck
colours the experience of Look Who's Barking, which is actually a considerable
innovation. It breaks with every kind of sitcom plot thought of before, and is
quite a brave step - featuring the regular cast in the background while the pet
dog takes centre stage. It's not an exaggeration to suggest this as the
inspiration for an episode of Star Trek : The Next Generation (four ensigns'
time on the Enterprise with the regular cast as background), and one of Babylon
5 too (two maintenance men wander round the station). To my knowledge, Look
Who's Barking is the first example of such a storyline. The plot of the episode
is actually fairly simple, which is probably to be expected - after all,
visually, the episode is hamstrung by the inevitable fact that dogs aren't
always that expressive! To cover this up there is the subplot of Al and the
cheesecake, which is nicely tied into the dogs' plot at the very end,
emphasising that it is Buck and his troubles which sits at the centre of this
"Ahh, alright. I'll sneak you back into the house and get you some food.
But this time, before you get to eat, I get some heat!" (Buck)
Voiced by Cheech Marin rather than Kevin Curran, the character of Buck is
quite interesting to think about for a moment. It is a true MWC irony that
Buck is a free-wheeling single version of Al (remember that Al said this
himself in Buck Can Do It?). And apparently Buck is rather good at what he
does, too, which Al can also be on occasions (for example, 'Til Death Do Us
Part). In some ways it's a shame that the Bundys couldn't afford two dogs,
as the nameless white dog would have been quite interesting, constantly trying
to edge Buck out of the way and shaking him out of his dullish complacency.
Still, the episode is an enjoyable one, and its later offspring can't really
hold a candle to it. The onlyreason it doesn't get a higher score is that it's
not truly a Bundy storyline, and gives us little that is enjoyable from the
human cast. While entertaining, if there were more than one episode per season
like this, we'd quickly begin switching the television off, and fortunately the
writers rarely rely upon Buck too much. But at least it's a more enjoyable
filler than The Godfather and has some claim to a place in history.
Rating : 6.
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