Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0516  -  "All Night Security Dude"

"I miss my bowl, Peg." (Al)
"Oh honey, it's not your fault. Sometimes you're groggy, it's two in the
morning and - "
"Not that bowl, you whining ninny of a woman!"

Another true classic, All Night Security Dude goes for a sure winner -
Al's high school days. This time he actually physically returns there
(Polk High was last seen in What Goes Around Comes Around) to become a
typically inept security guard. Sometimes it's a wonder why the creators
decided to make Al a shoe salesman, considering the number of other jobs
he's held. Couldn't he just have been unemployed? No, perhaps not...then
we'd have missed the fat women jokes. Anyway. All Night... works because
it takes something as mundane as a high school football victory and
makes it into a conflict that has had repercussions lasting nineteen
years. The episode is stuffed to the gills with mocking things,
including the Chariots of Fire music, a ceremony of military disgrace,
Westerns and American high schools - culminating in the special
appearance by Bubba Smith, more widely known from the Police Academy
series of films, the first three of which were excellent parodies
themselves. All Night... is what Poke High, two seasons ago, should have
been. It's the ultimate episode for those who identify with Al in any
way (which is most of us), as he is initially disgraced but recaptures
his glory in a superb slow-motion fight sequence. It's an episode which
needs no subplots because the main one is so memorable, and is executed
with so much panache.

"The shoe store decided to lay me off until repairs are made." (Al)
"Can the economy take the hit?" (Peg)
"Can you?!?!"

The quote illustrates the only brief attempt at rooting this episode in
the present day, mentioning the recession - which, of course, is not
applicable any more at the time of writing this review. It doesn't work
because most of this episode lives in a twilight world where past
glories can be retrieved and relived over and over again. Where was
Spare Tire Dixon all those 19 years, for example - why steal the bowl
now? What was Bud doing in the high school with Trixie if they were
planning to go to a club - he couldn't have got money off Al before the
latter went to work? The episode follows its own line of logic to bring
Al to the point where he will have to fight for his glory once again. As
with other tales like this, Al wins a victory at the cost of much
effort, but as always proves that he is telling the truth when he
constantly talks about what he could've been if not for Peg and the
kids. It's a victory for the underdog because Al is living proof that
everyone has their own little glory and, even if that's all you're ever
likely to have, you have to hold onto it and defend what's yours. All
Night.. is very careful not to mock the fact that Al is proud of his
triumph, or indeed the fact that it was a triumph that nobody has ever
equalled. It's why Poke High (which nearly breached this rule) failed
and this episode succeeds. For once, the script deeply respects Al, even
though it's comic.

"It was cellulite winter. Oh, the humungity!" (Al)

So, things that are bad about All Night Security Dude; the fact that
both high schools use an identical set. Things that are good about All
Night Security Dude; the "cellulite winter" line above, Al's entrance
dressed in his uniform, "Dad, she's not wearing a bra", the kids
stealing from the school while Al's in the toilet, the disgrace
ceremony, Bud's brown paper bag, Peg's "garbage day" speech, Spare
Tire's "pie" speech, the marvellous fight sequence....

Rating : 10. No question.

By Grail


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