Married with Children... All Things Episodic


1110  -  Bud on the Side

"She's naked in the basement!" (Al)

Herein lies a gem... some real concrete signs of the improvement that Season 11 is come 
with the way this episode manages to pack in some little subtexts as well as going for 
pure comedy at times. I was especially reminded of this when Bud is arguing with Al and 
Peg over their marriage, trying to force them to kiss - I guess this is what people talk 
about when they speak about the show being less cartoonish and more "analytical" during 
early seasons. There was a genuine edge to their reluctance to kiss, Peg saying she had 
no idea what love was to do with marriage, and very definitely Kelly's comments about Peg
as a mother. Handled in a funny way, yes, because Kelly is distracted by the memory of a 
man, but it could so easily have been much sharper - definitely a vast contrast from 
something like "Spring Break" or "Twisted".

"...we're gonna find out why sales are down 500% this year!" (Gary)
"Could it be the unexpected strength of the deutschmark in today's international economy?"
"Women are walking less?" (Al)

Considering this episode features Gary more than any other it doesn't really delve into
her character at all - indeed, "Business Still Sucks" was much better for that, when she 
first appeared. She could be any older woman - a new character, even, not necessarily Al's 
boss, except to prompt him into showing a little more revulsion at the idea. Which, I 
suppose, is another hint at the odd 'edge' to this episode; the exploration of sugar 
daddies and imbalanced relationships is portrayed with a distinct lack of sympathy. I 
didn't check the writer of the episode but I wonder if somebody either watched some early
episodes and decided to imitate, or it they brought back some older writer. 

"Well, when I said anyone desperate, I didn't think he'd excavate the
tarpit!" (Al)

This episode does have some odd touches as well, though. Griff's wearing glasses to read a 
book strikes a jarring note - is it supposed to be 'intellectual'? Visual shorthand for...?
Amazingly SKY kept in the joke about "if they start talking about the honeypot", which 
(unless I'm wrong) is pretty risque for 6:30pm. Marcy is completely absent in this episode
which contributes to the odd feeling in the air - it's missing a speech of hers about 
tolerance and the recognition of how people can love each other without being much older 
than one another (presuming you believe that, of course). The final scene in the Bundy 
household is a precise echo of much of "The Undergraduate", too, with Bud and Kelly's roles

"Oh no. If she's that rich, I want a unicorn!" (Kelly)

So, in short, a surprisingly 'traditional' episode. I liked it but I found the edge to it
something that was quite new, rather like trying on a new pair of shoes that are the right 
size but still too stiff to be comfortable. I expect I'll get used to it if we get onto the 
early episodes but right now it's quite a surprise.

Rating 7.5/10.

By Grail


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