Married... with Articles

The Boston Globe (November 1989)

This is a partial article from The Boston Globe

Originally posted by Carolyn on

November 12, 1989

'Married... with' High Ratings - FOX Sitcom Thumbs Its Nose At Cosby-type Shows
  By Jim Sullivan

LOS ANGELES - Ron Leavitt and Michael Moye - executive producers and head writers
of FOX TV's hottest program and the nastiest, funniest sitcom on the air - are
discussing their controversial show amid the toys and clutter of their Hollywood
office. Moye, full of fervor, makes a promise to the show's fans: "We've never had
a 'very special episode' of MWC and never will we have a 'very special episode' as
long as there's breath in our bodies!" "The scariest words in television land are 
'a very special episode'", he concludes, clearly obsessed with the notion. "We
have nothing important to say and never will," adds Leavitt. "'A very special
show'" is a code phrase for a message show: about AIDS or alcoholism or health or
death. The concerns of MWC's main characters Al and Peggy Bundy, as well as their
children Kelly and Bud, are more mundane - trying to get through the day with a
minimum of grief - and at times, venal. They're a family bound by mutual dislike,
a family that shares a credo that says that, if one Bundy screws up, it makes all
the other Bundys feel better. This is Bundy bliss... MWC is a willfully stupid,
knowingly lowbrow show, a parody of normal sitcoms..."I don't think people
watching our show think it's incredibly reality based," says Sagal, as she's being
made up for rehearsal."We're like a cartoon; we're the Flintstones, in a sense."
Three years ago, Leavitt and Moye, longtime friends and writers for such shows as
"Happy Days", "Laverne and Shirley", and "Good Times" were asked by the fledging
FOX network to create any show they wanted. They came up with the caustic MWC.
They named the Bundys after pro wrestler King Kong Bundy, but acknowledge serial
killer Ted Bundy, who was executed last January, was in the back of their minds as
well. "The truth is, we thought we'd be off the air long before he reared his
ugly head again," says Leavitt. Moye explained the show's genesis: "...It was in
our desire to go against that deluge of clean sweaters and hugs and joy all over
the place, and we always believed there was an audience out there that hated
that."  Moye, who is black, says, "Most of the families I grew up with were black,
and nobody had it that good even if they were doing OK. I'd like to think that
there aren't that many happy white people, too." Said director Gerry Cohen, later
on the set, "We'll take something that's a grain of sand in your life and make a
mountain out of that, then shine a light on it for twenty-two minutes." Each
Monday, around 3:30 p.m. the producers get a call from Standards and Practices
about their latest effort... a double entendre that's too obvious, a hidden
reference that's not so hidden. They'll change individual lines, but not plots.
And they continue to get in some zingers. "We're not about to sacrifice the
integrity of the show," says Moye. "We're not going to pull back to a point where
the Bundys are saying, 'Hey kids, don't drink," One show this summer featured a
Bundy barbecue, built on the ashes of a deceased Rhoades relative, raising
questions of morbidity. "I think your normal sitcoms paint more of a morbid
picture than we do," says Moye, "because you're showing people something they
can't possibly live up to. I think it sends 'em cartwheeling into therapy. At
least, you can look at this show and say, 'Thank God I'm not like them!"

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