Married with Children... All Things Episodic
1021 - "Bud Hits The Books"
"The girl just had the best sex of her life!" (Bud)
"I didn't say it was the best - I said you did your best!" (Ariel)
Stacie Lipp was probably the most outrageous writer ever to work on "Married...
with Children", and it's no coincidence that Sky skipped more of her episodes
than those of any other writer. Her greatest strength seemed to lie in
contriving plots that served only to confirm the arguments of the censors, and
maintain the show's reputation as the raunchiest on television. Sometimes, the
episodes were sparkling with genius ("Banking on Marcy", "Till Death Us Do
Part"), and sometimes, they were like "Bud Hits the Books".
"The answer's the Civil War." (Bud)
"They named a war after Cybil Shepherd?" (Ariel)
The episode opens well with an amusing scene of Bud and Ariel playing "Strip
Study" and goes rapidly downhill. The main plot is based around the idea of Bud
finding himself craving sex to such an extent that he takes matters into his
own hands - literally. Unfortunately, he chooses to do so in the university
library, and finds his education in jeopardy. And thus, having turned its
attention towards masturbation, "Married… with Children" succeeds in breaking
television's last major taboo. I think that there is a fundamental problem with
the plot of this episode. Much of the humour on the show derives from irony:
The suggestions of Kelly's dubious relationships wouldn't be funny if we could
believe them; Al's insults to Peggy wouldn't be amusing if she really was ugly.
I have the same reservations about Bud doing the 'Bundy' as I have about the
rubber woman being seen on-screen. These things are best implied, but to confirm
that they are true serves only to destroy the humour. In doing so, "Bud Hits
The Books" is completely inappropriate to the "Married… with Children" formula,
and completely ignores what makes the series successful.
"Dad, I need a hand." (Bud)
"It looks like you've got one too many already!" (Al)
However, I'm inclined to be lenient, as it's one of the best shows out of a
very mediocre season. The dialogue is passable, but relies too greatly on
schoolboy humour and smut, and the lines simply aren't intelligent enough to
overcome their simple origins. The whole production seems extremely juvenile,
and is more content to revel in its own apparent subversiveness than use its
situation to full effect. We never see Kelly's reaction to events, or Bud
asking Marcy to defend him - which could have been a gem. Marcy's decision to
defend Bud alsodoesn't ring true, and the whole episode comes across as one-
sided and sexist. With Katey Sagal away on maternity leave, and Marcy and Kelly
largely ignored, we are robbed of another of "Married with Children"'s greatest
strengths, the unresolved clash of the sexes, which would remain a driving
force of the show.
"Bud was caught doing what will soon be referred to as the 'Bundy'"(Jefferson)
At centre of this, is Bud himself, and David Faustino struggles to make the
script work, despite the fact that his character, in particular, is written in
an especially bland manner, seemingly unable to solve his problems on his own.
So, in true season ten manner, the writing team take the easy option, and call
in No Ma'am for a tedious conclusion, with Miranda Cardinal not far behind.
Like most of season ten, a mixed dish. Like most of season ten, a dish best not
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