Married with Children... All Things Episodic


1120  -  "Damn Bundys"

I did want to have some quotes in this review, but couldn't find any that I found funny.
Make no mistake, this is a seriously bad episode, and is a strong contender for the 
title of worst episode of "Married with Children" ever.  The plot - if one can call it
that - concerns Al making a pact with the Devil to play at the Superbowl, but unwittingly
buying himself a stay in eternal damnation.  What follows is a travesty of a show that 
seems entirely devoid of humour and intelligence.  The cast seems to have completely 
given up, and most of the performances are so laid back, they could have been delivered 
by mail.  Robert Englund fails to convince as Lucifer, and gives a performance akin to a
children's stage show, though given what he has to work with, one can hardly be too 

It's hard to pinpoint what the biggest problem with this episode is.  Is it the plot, 
which lacks both logic and momentum?  Is it the insipid direction?  Is it the poor 
performances?  Unfortunately, it's probably all three.  The plot itself just doesn't 
make sense: why does Al decide to return to a world almost exactly the same as that in 
Hell?  There was a great opportunity to have Al evaluate his life.  A speech along the
lines of  "Being a part of this family might be hell, but at least it's my hell!" could 
have improved matters immensely.  Similarly, the question of what Al's hell would 
actually be is never addressed.  Would it be to be trapped in an elevator with a sweating 
fat woman or trapped in his bedroom with Peggy on heat?  The possibilities are there, but
are simply never exploited.  The whole episode is far too pedestrian, lacking narrative 
drive, that ever-important factor in comedy.  For instance, it might have been funnier to 
have Al have to pick his accommodation in hell, finding himself given the choice of a fat 
woman's aerobics studio or as a spectator for "back to school" night with Jefferson and 
Marcy.  The basic problem is that the ideas aren't even partially realised, and so, even 
with the funniest one-liners in the world, the success of the finished product will always 
be limited.  The idea of exploring Al's reaction to finally achieving his dream is
completely overlooked, and I'm really wondering how a script this bad could actually make 
it before the cameras.      

This episode was originally part of "Mask" week on Fox, celebrating the television debut 
of the Jim Carrey film, and many Fox shows were injected with "Mask" effects.  Thus we are 
subjected to a few flimsy video images inappropriately pasted onto the footage.  This is
corporate marketing at its most crass, and it was probably in an effort to accommodate 
Fox's promotion that this script got beyond the planning stages.  The sets for hell 
wouldn't look out of place in a dodgy "Star Trek" episode, and the whole production manages 
to look cramped and cheap.  Perhaps we should just be glad that the initial idea of making
this a two-parter was abandoned.   

I think that the fundamental problem with this episode is the script, which is simply 
dreadful, consisting of a threadbare tapestry of bad jokes.  I'd say it seems like it was 
written in a hurry-but it doesn't seem to have been written at all.  "Damned Bundys" - 
damned awful.

By Grail


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