Married with Children... All Things Episodic


0924  -  SHOELESS AL

Hmm... a mixed bag ! Although this one didn't have that many hilarious laughs, it had a decent
storyline, and the usual array of outstanding character driven scenes.

The beginning was right on the spot : instead of the (over)familiar home shopping network joke,
a home swapping network joke ! They didn't loose any time in cutting to Al's and his pal's
victory at the semi finale of the Puggy Weaver Cup. Nice (dis)continuity: in "Peggy Turns 300"
Puggy Weaver was featured as Al's rival, now he seems to be some kind of hero because he choked
on 8 waffles... Pff, happens all the time in Belgium...

Anyway, the scene in the shoestore was perfect. Griff insults the fat woman, Al starts to laugh,
Al insults the fat woman, Griff starts to laugh. 
Al: If it wasn't for the customers, this would actually be a great job.
Another nice reminder-moment : when Griff returns to the shoe store the following day after his
'wild night', he's singing the same song he was singing during his polaroid encounter in 
"Business Sucks".

Naturally, it has to be Jefferson who comes up with the idea of sueing The New Market Mall after
Al's horror night of a thousand shoes. No wonder the plan turns foul afterwards. The guy who
played the insurance-agent overplayed his part, I thought. It could have been acted funnier, but
that didn't hurt the story. There was the inspired moment wherein he informs Peg that her son
isn't reading at all, but staring at a picture. Yeah, like if we didn't noticed that. Nice twist
in that scene was when Bud was heading upstairs, Al just came down. The two actors had an
extremely well played interchange on the stairs.  

The bowling alley sequence did look a lot like the montage in "Alley Of The Dolls", the biggest
difference being that Bud then saved the day, and now seemed to have lost his complete bowling
skills. Had its moments though (Al is always funny insulting his opponents in the sports
competitions), and the moment where in Mary Pat shouts 'You need shoes' instead of the usual 'I
need shoes' when she's in the store as a customer was the real scenestealer. Certainly because 
it appeared it was against the law to bowl bare foot after someone sued the alley. Now, this
could have been an ending of this episode, if you ask me. It's something Al could have done
himself at the ending of the episode : win the Puggy Cup, win the lawsuit against the mall, and
sue the bowling alley because he ended up with a splinter in his foot.

But I liked the ending : it wasn't funny per se, it did define Al. Giving up yet another chance
at fortune, because he prefers the glory of manhood, the glory of sports. Correct me if I'm
wrong, but wasn't he the one who scored four touchdowns in one game ? I seemed to recall he
was... Or like he said : 'It's a guy thing, Peg'. It also shows that Al really liked the
guy-company he's in, and that he has found his perfect company to escape the couched wife-curse
of his life. 

Another nice twist in the ending/episode : defining Bud once again as the real loser. It was
extremely well directed at  the ending : when Al & Peg are off to join Griff in his victory
eatin', I thought that was going to be the final freeze frame. Never thought that Bud was to 
come into the frame, carrying the bags while Al give him a 'come on, ya loser' stare. Well 
worked out twist in an episode that's despite being worked out of elements that already had been
used (bowling competition, Al sueing) finished as an almost laid back episode, but with enough
ingenuity to please the fans.

MWC : 10 years and still blooming ! Whooa Season 12 !

By Alex de Rouke


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