Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0722  -  "Til Death Do Us Part"

"I'm Al 'The Mailman' Bundy. I deliver." (Al)

The first of SKY's double episode special on New Years' Eve 1997 - and
special it is, because this episode had me in stitches for most of the time.
I think I've been watching too many early episodes, because the polish and
verve of this story was like a breath of fresh air; not just because
Jefferson was around instead of Steve (in fact, he's hardly around at all);
indeed, as an Al episode, everyone else is really only there to push the
plot on to the next stage. The issue at hand is, of course, handled
humorously - right down to Al getting out a little black book and calling
girlfriends of 20 years past - but as so often with later episodes, there
are constant little reminders in the background. Unfortunately they opt to
jump through a few hoops to get to the same situation at end as at start,
but the final shot is a likeable one. 

"I was pretty tired. I hope the buzzing didn't keep you awake." (Peg)
"Damn bees. I think one of them must have stung you 'cos I heard you
scream." (Al)

At this stage the audience has now become a character in the show, even
becoming obtrusive by going 'aww' every time Al gets a disappointment. This
is a little intrusive in this show, and could have been toned down a bit; on
the other hand, one thing I've discovered is that later episodes of MWC are
best watched with a small amount of  inside
you, because then you tend to cheer just like the audience. This, to my
mind, suggests that there was free booze laid on for the MWC audience.
Anyway, this aside, the episode's strength lies in its script and in the way
the regular actors carry the tale. There's no guest cast at all in this
story and so much the better. 

"Hey, Bundy. Have sex with your wife 50 times - I'm cooking an egg!" (Guy)
"Why don't you use the time it takes your son to get out of his dress?" (Al)

The episodes about sex tend to be the best of the later MWC stories, and
this one is a prime example. It's a kind of reverse of "Do Ya Think I'm
Sexy" (5.09), being all about Al's self-confidence but in the opposite
direction to its predecessor episode. Part of the way age gradually becomes
one of the series' themes, I suppose; Al worries he's past it, Peg thinks
she is but shouldn't be, Kelly's life is going nowhere and Bud believes he's
too old for the amount of sex that he (isn't) getting. As with the other
characters, once Al gets determined enough he solves the problem, suggesting
that it was all in his mind in the first place. A bit of a warm'n'fuzzy
thing, really, since most real-life problems aren't that simple, but never
mind. Ed O'Neill is certainly enjoying himself in this episode and it's
impossible for us not to as well. 

Excellence indeed. Rating 9.

By Grail


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