Married with Children... All Things Episodic
Episode: 1123 / 1124 - THE DESPERATE HALF-HOUR / HOW TO MARRY A MORON
Reviewed By: John P. Stevenson
I must admit that Iíve never cared much for this two-parter; not because of the episodes
themselves, but for the fact that these episodes marked the end of the greatest Sitcom ever. The
generally shoddy treatment of the series by FOX has to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of
anyone who truly cares about the Bundyís and their adventures. Most of you, Iím sure, are
familiar with that sad chapter, and this isnít the place to go into a detailed discussion of it.
As for the episodes themselves, I decided to rewatch them devoid of the context that has
always colored my opinion of them, approaching them as any later season episodes.
The first thing that struck me was that these are very well written, well-directed
episodes. The humor doesnít work all of the time; but often enough to succeed. That wasnít
always the case this late in the showís run. The one thing that did improve over time were the
characters themselves. By this point, the portrayals had become second nature to this very
talented cast, and these two episodes are certainly no exception. The plots, especially of
TDH-H, donít bear close scrutiny; but then, thatís hardly unusual for MWC. For this show, plot
development was never a priority.
In deference to our beloved Marriedaniac, I feel I must comment on the Lonnie Tot
character, played by Charles Esten (actually, Iím being forced to mention him!). Hardly a great
character, heís nonetheless well-played, and has one of the funniest lines in either episode at
the end of TDH-H: "No matter whose wife I am in prison, Iíll always be your husband!"
He comes off less favorably in HTMAM, though intentionally so. This is much more of a
typical later-season effort, with jokes that are hit-or-miss, and too many extraneous characters
that just arenít necessary. This was a major problem for the seriesí later years, as more and
more supporting characters and guest stars were brought in, all too often at the expense of what
made the show great in the first place: The interaction between the main characters.
In short, these episodes are enjoyable, funny ones, though hardly noteworthy.
Unfortunately, they will always be associated with the end of MWCís fantastic run, and thatís
just a little sad. MWC, as well as its legions of fans, deserved to have the show go out with a
bang, not a whimper. And these episodes, while ok, were definitely whimpers.
RATING: *** out of five.
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