THE POKER GAME
Al Bundy...................Ed O'Neill
Peg Bundy..................Katey Sagal
Steve Rhoades..............David Garrison
Marcy Rhoades..............Amanda Bearse
Buck.......................Mike the Dog
Lisa.......................Sue Ann Gilfillan
Al and Peg are sitting at the kitchen table. Al is holding a coffee mug and reading a magazine.
Peg is holding a cigarette and filling out a lottery ticket.
PEGGY Al, I'm doing the lottery. I need a number.
PEGGY I don't like 23.
AL Why? It was your waist size... once.
PEGGY Come on, Al. Give me a real number.
AL 23 is a real number. What have you got against 23?
PEGGY Well, you were born on the 23rd, and we were married on the 23rd.
PEGGY No, Kelly already picked 17. I need something closer to 20.
AL Yeah, so do I.
Peg looks annoyed.
PEGGY Okay, fine. I'll pick it myself.
Peg gets up and brings the kettle to the table.
PEGGY But I'm telling you something, Al. When we win the 38 million dollars, I am keeping
AL Yeah, you'll live a long time, Peg.
Peg chuckles and tries to look at the cover of the magazine Al is reading.
PEGGY What are you reading?
AL Uh-uh, I'm not going to tell you. Every time I'm reading a magzine and I see something I
think you might like, and I say: "Peg, look at this", you know what you do? You take the
magazine, you look at what I showed you, then you sit down and you read the magazine; I
never get it back. Not this time.
Peg goes back to filling the lottery ticket. Al reads the magazine for a short while,
then shows it to Peg.
AL Oh, Peg, look at this.
Al points to an ad in the magazine. Peg looks.
PEGGY Oh, another fishing catalog. What am I looking at, Al? The apron that says, "He catches
'em, I cook 'em, he eats 'em, I love him"?
AL Nah, you'd wear it, but you wouldn't mean it. No, I was talking about the five and a
half foot meteor-graphite bait casting rod, with the high-speed star drag level wind
PEGGY [with mock excitement] Yippee skip! And a mere 275 dollars. Oh Al, let's buy it. We can
do without food and heat for a year.
AL [surprised] You wouldn't mind?
Peg rolls her eyes and shakes her head.
PEGGY Al, you want everything. When was the last time you bought me something?
AL Oh, I suppose these pots and pans [gestures around the kitchen] are mine.
PEGGY [sarcastically] I'm sorry, Al. It's been so long since I wore them dancing, I forgot
they were even here.
The doorbell rings.
PEGGY I'll get it.
Peg gets up and walks to the door, looking through the magazine on the way. Al tries to grab it
from her, but fails.
PEGGY Ooh, they have clothes in here. [chuckles]
Peg opens the door and Steve comes in.
STEVE [to Peg] Morning!
PEGGY Oh, hi, Steve.
Steve walks over to Al.
STEVE Hi, Al. Glad I caught you before you left for work. I need a ride home tonight.
AL Well, why can't Marcy take you? Saddle in the shop?
STEVE Marcy needs the car tonight for her women's group meeting.
AL Well, what do they do? All pile in and look for men to run over?
PEGGY Room for one more?
Peg chuckles and sits down on the couch.
STEVE What do you say, Al?
AL Ah, sure, why not. Meet me at the store. Oh, wait a second, Steve, I can't! No, no, I'm
coming home late. I'm playing poker tonight.
PEGGY Oh, gee, Al, that's great. Another night I don't get to go out and do anything. Thank
Al walks over to Peg.
AL Honey, you don't wanna go out on Friday night. Everyone and his wife is out on Friday.
Al pats Peg's shoulder and walks towards the door. Steve follows him.
STEVE [to Al] Well, if it's okay with you, I don't mind tagging along. Since we moved in I
haven't met a lot of guys in the neighborhood, besides you, and, uh, it might be nice to
meet somebody... besides you.
AL Fine. And, uh, you might pick up a few pointers watching the "Ollld Master" play.
PEGGY Ho-ho-ho, yeah. Why don't you ask the "Ollld Master" about the time they picked him so
clean, he had to push the ollld car home. [smiles]
AL Hey, Peg, now I was off my game that night. I was nervous. I couldn't concentrate on my
cards, what with you being in the hospital having Bud and all. [to Steve] This time
it'll be different. This time I have a goal. See, all the money that I make is gonna go
towards that fishing rod and reel. You oughta see it, Steve. [to Peg] Peg, give me the
catalog. [holds out his hand]
PEGGY I'm reading it, Al.
Peg gets up and walks over to the kitchen with the catalog.
AL [to Steve] You oughta see it, it's great, Steve. And it's only 275 dollars.
Steve gestures towards the couch and they sit down.
STEVE This is none of my business or anything, but if you really want something, I found the
best way to get it is through saving. At the bank we have a little saying: "If you want
to save money, save money".
AL Thank you, Steve. You're so much wiser than all the other tellers I've met. All except
the automated ones.
STEVE I'm not gonna be a teller for long. You may laugh at me -
AL And I do...
STEVE - but I have a way with money. I know how to save, I know how to invest, and I know how
to make money grow. Give me five dollars and I can find opportunities that other people
miss with hundreds.
PEGGY Yeah. Give Al five dollars and you've just cashed his paycheck. [laughs]
At Russ's place.
Al, Russ, Norris, Barney and E.J. are sitting around a table, playing poker. Steve is sitting
next to Al, watching.
RUSS Anybody been to Guss's Diner lately?
AL The new waitress.
Russ laughs. The other guys make enthusiastic sounds.
RUSS Yeah, what is she, man, like, 25? [mimes a huge pair of breasts] Whoa!
AL Yeah, it's a great age. Just before their butts start to sag and they start wearing
Reeboks. Another dollar.
RUSS She's perfect.
Russ places another chip on the table.
AL Well, she's great, but she's not perfect. Her eyes are too close together. They're
vacant enough, but they're not perfect.
Norris, Barney and E.J. laugh
RUSS Pair of queens.
AL Yeah, if you want a perfect woman, you've gotta build her in your head. You know, it
gives you something to do when you're making love to your wife.
STEVE I like that Connie Chung.
The others stop what they're doing for a moment and look at Steve strangely.
AL I like Connie Mack, too, but neither one have any place in this conversation. Now, for
the perfect woman. Let's start out with the legs.
E.J. Catherine Bach.
RUSS I'd say Tina Turner.
AL Nah, a little too muscular for me. Jamie Lee Curtis.
The others "aaah" in agreement.
BARNEY Okay, now let's talk tush.
E.J. Sigourney Weaver.
RUSS [shaking his head] No, no. Monster touched it.
The others express their disapproval as well.
AL Jamie Lee Curtis.
Everyone goes "aaah" again.
AL Okay, it's hooter time.
Everyone gets excited.
NORRIS Jaqueline "Bigset".
STEVE A young Brigitte Bardot.
Everyone "aaah"s in agreement. Al and E.J. pat Steve on the shoulder.
AL Now that's our perfect woman.
RUSS Nope, gotta have a brain.
The others all start wondering why, then all shout "Vanna White!" together. They laugh and
high-five. Russ puts his cards face-down on the table.
RUSS I fold!
BARNEY My dollar.
Barney tosses a chip to the middle of the table and peeks at the card he's holding.
E.J. I'm out.
E.J. puts his card face down on the table.
AL [to Barney] You're bluffing, Barney!
STEVE [quietly to Al] Al, he's got two pairs showing.
AL [quietly to Steve] E.J.'s got his ten and both queens are gone. No way he's got that
Al smiles at Barney.
AL I call.
Al adds a chip. Barney shows everyone his card - a 10 of spades.
BARNEY Say "hi" to the third ten, Al!
The other guys laugh. Al puts his cards down on the table angrily and gets up.
AL I'm getting another beer. Who wants one?
BARNEY [laughing] You've given me enough already, Al.
Al walks to the fridge, and Steve follows him. Meanwhile, the phone rings and Russ answers it.
RUSS [on the phone] Russ here.
Al gets a can of beer from the fridge.
STEVE Gee, Al, you stink.
AL [annoyed] Thanks a lot, pal.
STEVE Oh, come on! I can't believe you are losing to these guys! I've only been watching for
an hour, I got the whole rhythm of the game down.
AL What rhythm?
STEVE Well, it's pretty obvious. Look, you take Russ. Whenever he's got a bad hand, he
shuffles his whole card, as if he thinks it's gonna change. Whenever Barney bluffs, he
taps his chips. Dead giveaway. Norris, he never bluffs. He won't stay in the game unless
he's got three of a kind. And you, Al - you stink.
AL Gee, Steve, you're a real Cincinnati Kid. I think he walked home after a game, too. If
we're such suckers, why don't you sit in?
Steve shakes his head.
STEVE Oh no, oh no. I just cashed my paycheck, and I give that money to Marcy. The mortgage is
due Monday. Besides, I don't gamble.
AL Steve, we're married men. We all gamble.
Al returns to his seat.
E.J. I gotta run, guys. Wife is real sick.
The others express disbelief and shout things like "oh, bull!", "where are you going?", "come
on, what is it?" etc. E.J. wears his jacket.
E.J. [uneasily] I promisd my wife I'd take her to the... ballet.
The others explode with laughter. Barney gets up and mimes a ballet dancer. E.J. leaves.
Steve sits in E.J.'s chair.
AL The ballet, huh? He oughta take Norris along. [to Norris] Show 'em what you do when
they're up in the air doing those splits.
Norris gets up and stands behind Al and Russ. Al sings a few bars from "The Blue Danube", and
Norris makes farting noises with his armpit in rhythm to the music. Steve looks fascinated. The
others clap and cheer enthusiastically. Norris returns to his seat.
RUSS [to Steve] It's up to you, Steve.
Steve is busy trying to make farting noises with his armpit.
RUSS [to Steve] Uh, excuse me...
STEVE Oh, uh, uh, look, I'm not playing. I, uh, I don't believe in gambling.
Steve looks at Russ, who is shuffling his cards, and then at Barney, who is tapping his chips.
He peeks at the cards he was dealt and mouths an "ooh". He thinks for a moment.
STEVE I'm in.
Steve leans back in his chair and folds his arms behind his head.
The Bundy house.
Marcy is sitting by the counter. Peg pours some coffee into her mug.
PEGGY Sure you wouldn't like some cake or something?
MARCY No, thanks. After our meeting we stopped at Guss's Diner for a bite. They have the
dumbest waitress I've ever seen. Twiddling around in her short skirt... Heh. As if
anyone was looking. She got our orders wrong, she got our change wrong... Thank God our
club president had enough nerve to complain and get her fired.
Marcy smiles and sips her coffee. Peg walks over to the couch, holding the fishing catalog.
Marcy follows her.
MARCY What are you doing?
PEGGY Well, Al was admiring this fishing rod this morning, so when he comes in, broke from
poker, I like to leave it out. You know, just to remind him of yet another thing he'll
MARCY I hope they get home soon. Steve and I usually go over our budget tonight. It's getting
late, maybe we should call...
PEGGY Hmm, we can't. Al says there's no phone there.
Peg and Marcy sit on the couch.
MARCY Well, I'm glad Steve's out having a good time. I know he doesn't gamble or anything, but
it's good that he's out there, trying to meet new people. Maybe he'll invite some of the
guys over to our house.
PEGGY Haha, oh yeah, that would make for quite a stimulating evening. I wonder which one he'll
bring home. Let's see... There's Norris, who can make obscene sounds with his armpit. He
is naturally a welcome guest at any occasion. Oh, and then there's Barney, the man no
deodorant could tame... And if you're really lucky, you'll get Russ The Invincible. He
hasn't met a toilet yet he couldn't overflow.
Marcy looks worried.
MARCY Poor Steve.
PEGGY Yeah, these guys are a real bunch of losers.
MARCY Well, then Steve will just have to find some friends elsewhere. Because if there's one
thing my Steve is, it's a winner.
Steve is sitting alone at the round table, with his face buried in his cards. Al is standing
behind him. Al rubs Steve's shoulders.
AL How're you doing, Steve? [starts removing the cards from Steve's hands] Are you okay?
Come on, Steve, you had a good time, you met some good people... [Al fishes a wad of
bills from his pocket] And you lost 300 dollars to a good friend.
Al and Steve are sitting at the round table. Al is counting the money he won.
STEVE I can't believe I lost my share of the mortgage payment. What am I gonna tell Marcy?
AL Steve, you're a man; lie like a dog! Tell her you got mugged. We got jumped by four
guys. I fought off three, but the little guy beat you silly and took your money.
STEVE You're enjoying this, aren't you, Al?
AL [smiling] Well, you're the one who had the rhythm of the game... Wasn't my fault you
couldn't stop mouthing your whole card.
Steve gets up.
STEVE I gotta tell her the truth. I got no choice.
AL Well, I wouldn't.
STEVE I have to! She's gonna ask.
Al gets up.
AL Here's what I do: I walk in the door. Before Peg can say a word - which means I've gotta
be quick - I tell her how great she looks. Then if it's real rough, I grit my teeth and
throw her a quick one. She's so grateful, she forgets what she was gonna ask me. And
even if she says something later on - I'm asleep!
STEVE Can't do it. Our relationship is based on honesty.
Al laughs to himself. Steve looks annoyed.
Peg and Marcy are sitting at the kitchen table. Marcy is eating a cake.
PEGGY ...and the buns of Mel Gibson.
Marcy goes "ooh" and nods in agreement.
PEGGY That is our perfect man.
MARCY Oh, wait! We need a brain.
PEGGY Why? It's a man.
Peg and Marcy laugh. Al and Steve come in.
PEGGY [to Al] Hi, honey.
Marcy rushes over to Steve.
MARCY Steve! I was worried about you. Did you have a good time?
Steve looks very uneasy.
STEVE Well, you know... kinda... you know... cons - considering...
Steve plays with his earlobe. Al stands behind Steve and Marcy and watches.
MARCY Oh. Well, I'm sure it was hard on you, being the only one there with the strength not to
Steve thinks this over for a moment.
STEVE Marcy, I have to tell you something.
Steve and Marcy hold hands. Steve looks at Al, then pulls Marcy towards him.
STEVE [to Marcy] You look beautiful. More beautiful than I've ever seen you.
Steve leads Marcy to the door.
MARCY Oh, Steve!
STEVE Your lips are like wine and I wanna get drunk tonight.
Steve gives Al another look and takes a deep breath.
Steve opens the door.
MARCY But Steve, we need to finish our budget.
STEVE Damn the budget. A man has needs!
Steve picks Marcy up and carries her outside in his arms.
MARCY [surprised, excited] Oh, Steve!
Marcy waves to Al and Peg as the door closes. Peg walks over to Al and starts running her hands
across his chest.
PEGGY Has all this talk done something for you, Al?
AL Yeah. I'm thirsty. Get me a beer.
Al sits on the couch.
PEGGY [with mock excitement] Oh, Al.
PEGGY So, how'd you do tonight? Lose as usual?
AL Yeah. [chuckles]
PEGGY Oh, darn. Now you won't be able to buy that beautiful fishing pole you wanted.
Peg laughs evilly and leaves the room. Al laughs too, picks up the fishing catalog and looks at
AL [chuckling] When will I ever learn.
The shoe store.
Al is kneeling in front of a customer named Lisa. There is a large pile of shoe boxes beside
him. Al takes a shoe out of one of the boxes and shows it to her.
LISA No! Look, you don't seem to understand me. I want something that goes with this dress.
AL A bubbling couldron?
LISA You've got a lot of nerve.
AL I need it to get this close to your feet.
Lisa gets up and leaves angrily. On her way out she shoves past Steve, who is just coming in.
STEVE Uh, hi, Al.
AL Hi, Steve. How's it going? Hey, did Marcy ever bring up that budget again?
STEVE Yes, Al, she did. And every time she did, I told her how beautiful she looked. And
showed her. [shakily] I showed her till eight o'clock this morning, Al. She's out cold
and I don't remember how I got here.
AL Then it worked!
STEVE Yeah, but I'm afraid it will never work again, Al.
Steve sits down stiffly.
STEVE I don't know how to ask you this, but I gotta ask you for a big favor.
AL Whoa, Steve, I can't! She's your wife! I don't like touching mine...
STEVE Al, I know this is something that isn't normally done, but I was wondering if you could,
kinda, give me my money back.
AL Wait a second. This is over the line!
Al picks up three shoe boxes and walks over to the stock room. Steve gets up and follows him.
STEVE Okay, how about this: just loan it to me. You're just gonna take it back to the poker
game next week and lose it, because you stink.
AL I stink?
Al walks over to the cashier.
AL I'll tell you what we'll do, Steve. You're real good with money, you know how to invest
it and make it grow. How much was it you said you needed to find those opportunities
other people miss?
Al picks up a wad of bills.
STEVE 300 dollars, Al.
AL No, it was five dollars, Steve.
Al holds up a five dollar bill.
AL Make it grow, buddy.
Steve looks furious.
STEVE This is how you treat me? This is how you treat a neighbor? This is how you treat a man
who calls you "friend"?
AL [still holding up the bill] Yes it is, Steve.
STEVE Give me the five.
Steve takes the bill from Al and sits down on Al's stool.
STEVE [thinking out loud] Okay. Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. I need a plan. Let's see... I
work in a bank. If I took a quarter out of every quarter roll...
Al sits down opposite Steve.
AL Why don't you do this, Steve: why don't you go home, wake up Marcy, say: "Hey, I lost
all my money, I screwed up, I'm sorry and what's for dinner?". That's what being a man
is all about, Steve. Making mistakes and not caring.
STEVE Well, I do care, Al.
A bum walks into the shoe store. Al walks over to him.
BUM [to Al] Excuse me, could you spare some change for a decent meal?
Al reaches into his pocket, finds a coin and gives it to the bum.
BUM Thank you.
The bum starts to leave. Steve calls after him.
STEVE Hey, hey, hey, wait a minute.
Steve walks over to the bum, holds the five dollar bill in front of Al's face and gives it to
BUM [excitedly] Thanks! Thanks a lot!
The bum rushes outside.
AL Well, Steve, you're a real decent guy. You're about as sharp as a bag of wet hair, but
you're a decent guy.
STEVE You know, Al, that five dollars wasn't gonna do anything for me. But it'll do a lot of
good for him.
The bum walks past the shoe store with a flashy blonde girl. Steve doesn't notice.
STEVE You see, I believe something, Al. I believe that if you do something good, something
good will always happen to you in return. You'll see, Al. You'll see.
Steve leaves. A moment later we see him being chased outside the store by three other bums, all
asking for money.
The Bundy house.
Peg is cooking. Steve is sitting at the kitchen table, doing nothing.
PEGGY Steve, uh, it's been real nice having you here all day.
Steve says nothing.
PEGGY So, uh, as the hostess here I guess it's up to me to ask: what are you doing here?
STEVE Waiting for something good to happen. And it will, too. I walked around most of the
morning. Nothing good happened. But I know that when Al gets home, something good is
PEGGY Well, that'll be a first.
Peg sits down next to Steve.
PEGGY You know, I haven't seen Marcy all day. Is she okay?
STEVE Sure. I did all the work.
Steve stretches his neck.
PEGGY Are you okay?
STEVE Oh, yeah, ev-everything's fine. Marcy decided to sleep in today, and, uh, me, I'm
happy as a duck in orange sauce.
Steve forces a chuckle.
PEGGY Oh, Marcy's light just came on. She must be up.
Steve looks outside with sudden panic, then turns back to Peg and takes her hand.
STEVE Peg, listen very carefully to me. [breaks into tears] I lost my paycheck to Al in the
poker game. He won't give it back. Marcy's gonna kill me! [looks down at his crotch] If
she hasn't already.
PEGGY How much did he win?
STEVE 300 dollars.
Steve wipes his nose with a napkin. Peg looks upset.
PEGGY I haven't had a new bra for two years, and that baboon is sitting on 300 bucks?
STEVE I'm gonna have to tell Marcy. It's - it's the right thing to do.
PEGGY Yeah. You go tell Marcy, and then bring her over here. Al will be home soon, and believe
me, you will get your money back. [pats Steve's hand] I'll see to that.
STEVE [relieved] Really? [takes Peg's hand] Oh, oh, thank you, Peggy, thank you! [gets up]
See? I knew something good was gonna happen.
Steve leaves through the washing room. Peg gets up.
PEGGY [talking to herself] So, you lost at poker again, huh, Al?
Peg puts the steak she was cooking on a plate.
PEGGY So, I can buy a new bra when we can afford it, huh, Al?
Peg puts the plate down in front of Buck.
PEGGY [to Buck] Enjoy Daddy's dinner.
Al comes in.
Peg waits expectantly with her arms folded.
AL What's for supper?
PEGGY Filthy pig!
AL We had that last night.
PEGGY Al, Steve told me that you won his money in the poker game. You cannot keep the money.
AL Where did this rule come from? When I lose, I lose. You don't play cards and then sit
down and when it's finished you say: "Hey hey hey, give me my money back." That's no
fun! If that's the way it worked, I might as well stay home with you.
PEGGY You know, it's bad enough that you lied to me about winning the money. But Al, these are
the only friends I've got. I like having people to talk to. You know, people that will
come over to the house even though you're here. That makes them special, Al. Now I want
you to give him back his money. For me.
AL I can't. I spent it.
PEGGY [furiously] Oh, Al, you are the lowest! Now what did you waste that money on!?
Al takes a small rectangular box out of his jacket pocket and opens it for Peg to see.
AL I got you this.
PEGGY [joyously, chuckling] Oh! Oh, Al, it's beautiful! I love it! Oh, honey, I don't deserve
AL I felt kinda bad about not ever getting you anything.
PEGGY [in a mushy voice] Oh, you are the sweetest man [kisses Al on the cheek] in the whole
world. Now honey, I'm just gonna go upstairs and try this on and then I'll come make you
a nice juicy steak, just like the dog had.
Peg kisses Al on the cheek again and runs towards the stairs. She blows Al a kiss before going
upstairs. Al goes outside and gets a fishing rod from the veranda. We hear Peg's voice from the
PEGGY [o.s.] Oh, it's priceless, Al!
AL [quietly] No, it was 15 bucks. [to the fishing rod] But you, my love, were 275.
Al kisses the fishing rod.
AL [calling out] Peg, I'll be down in the basement!
PEGGY [o.s.] Okay, honey!
Al goes into the basement. The view changes to the veranda. Steve and Marcy approach the door.
MARCY [angrily] You better get that money back!
STEVE All taken care of.
Steve rings the doorbell. Nothing happens. Steve rings it again. Still, nothing happens.
STEVE [calling out] Al? Peggy?
Steve turns to Marcy and chuckles nervously. He peers inside through the door.
STEVE Guys? It's me!
Steve knocks several times. We see the empty Bundy living room and hear Marcy and Steve talking
MARCY [o.s.] Where's our money, Steven?
STEVE [o.s., stiffly] Marcy, you look beautiful.
DIRECTED BY BRIAN LEVANT
WRITTEN BY RON LEAVITT & MICHAEL G. MOYE
CREATED BY MICHAEL G. MOYE & RON LEAVITT
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER BARBARA BLACHUT CRAMER
Transcribed by Nitzan Gilkis
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