MSRP: $39.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 600 minutes
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The Pitch

“Lower class family makes their way through life with the help of Ted McGinley.”

The Humans

Ed O’ Neill, Katey Sagal, David Faustino, Christina Applegate, Amanda Bearse and Ted McGinley

The Nutshell

Al Bundy is the poorest man in the Chicagoland area. He was once a star athlete at Polk High, but now he’s a shoe salesman. Then, there’s his wife who takes his money and will to live. Tack on some dumb kids and an annoying neighbor or two, and then you’ve got the backbone of the show. It changes every couple of episodes, but not in the way that matters. Sometimes, they leave the main set.

You ever wonder what Gonzo the Muppet was? You’re looking at its parents. That’s what happens when you fuck chickens, kids.

The Lowdown

Married with Children was one of the shows that launched FOX. After the first two seasons, it was the sole remaining flagship for the fourth network. But, what made it popular? Why didn’t Tracey Ullman or D.C. Follies catch on and last for eleven years? Well, they didn’t keep up with the T&A that only basic cable can provide.

Season Seven of the show opens up with a cameo from Linda Blair and Bobcat Goldthwait. They mug it up and play to the typical audience noises, then they ditch their kid Seven there. For the first half of the season, we’re left with the most annoying edition to a popular sitcom this side of Cousin Oliver. The kid causes Peg to actually act like a parent, but at the expense of her older children.

I spent most of my formative years wearing a similar sign.

Bud and Kelly grow to hate the little bastard, while Al remains defeated as always. Halfway through the season, the creative staff got it together and chose to ditch the little brat. That’s where the remaining check of the season folds back into the same old routine. Bud’s chasing the ladies, Kelly is borderline special and Peg wants to take all of Al’s money. Then, there’s Al.

Al Bundy was the sitcom patriarch that I could never understand. He was terrified of his wife, but she wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t like he lived in the Connor household and was being asked to bone Roseanne everyday. For that alone, all sitcom dads should just bite the bullet and hope like hell they never end up in Lanford. That’s unless one of them is a Chubby Chaser. If I had to place my bets, I’d throw some cash on the Cosby or the dad from Malcolm in the Middle.

The highlights of this season are sparse, as a lot of longtime Married with Children fans pin this as the season that the show jumped the shark. For your hard-earned money, you get at least five classics. Every Bundy Has A Birthday is the episode where we get the first Bundy brawl of the new season at a public park. Rock of Ages is a rather lame episode that is made better by a veritable B-List of shit rock stars from the 60s that all convene on an airport. Al and the Bundy Clan decide to push themselves upon the Rock Stars as a way of sneaking into the First Class Lounge. Peggy created her own comic strip hero with Mr. Emptypants. The family went to the movies and discovered that David Boreanaz was cheating on Kelly with another girl. But, the highlight of the season came down to The Old College Try.

I was in "The Goonies", bitch. Just give me a treasure map and a guy named One Eyed Willie and I can find my good time elsewhere.

When I was about eleven or twelve when that episode first aired, I was terrified that someone at the Bank was going to wipe out savings the same way that Bud Bundy lost his college fund to his family. It doesn’t make any sense now, but it’s one of those crazy fears that an impressionable youth can pull off a cheaply made FOX sitcom. I also used to be scared of the Ronald Reagan puppet on D.C. Follies, but that’s another story all together. But, when I rewatch The Old College Try, I come back to the realization that you can never go home again with the shows of your youth. Upon hitting the third disc of this set, I was a little exhausted by watching what amounts to the same episode roughly twenty-six times across the set.

Most of the jokes are bad. It’s painfully obvious now that if you cut every dick and toilet joke out of every episode, you could cut it down the length of something airing on Adult Swim. Everybody stops to soak in the rather lame audience approval to the point that you can take a stopwatch and count down from thirty how long it takes for the howls to stop. Maybe we’ve been spoiled in this age of sitcoms like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development. But, I expected better when I returned to the tales of Al Bundy.

This shot makes more sense than Inland Empire.

The Package

Married with Children – The Complete Seventh Season is another entry into SONY’s established line for the series and the rest of their TV on DVD titles. They’ve also made a lot of concessions. The most disheartening is a music change that I normally wouldn’t have a reason to complain. But, by dropping Love and Marriage from the opening credits you rob the show of that bitter irony that helped to make it a hit. After several years in syndication and on the air, the viewer gets an almost Pavlovian response to the theme song.

So, there I was with my entire first up Chris Sarandon’s ass. Roddy McDowall was crying in the corner, while William Ragsdale was trying to talk me down from my PCP trip. That is the reason why I wasn’t invited back for the sequel.

You expect to hear it and it triggers an awareness that a new episode’s about to begin. But, then you get hit by something that sounds a step above a well orchestrated MIDI file. While I was reviewing this title, I got more comments about the change in music than the episodes I was actually watching. But, that’s kind of my fault for doing these things in public spaces. I’m a people person, what can I say?

The presentation quality is standard for a TV on DVD release from this era. There isn’t a sign of digital cleanup, but it loses that early video sheen that plagued the show upon its first three seasons. Matching the video quality, the audio doesn’t pack a punch. It’s a basic Dolby Surround track that backs up the sitcom in the most average of ways. All together, if you’re going to pick up this show…you’re doing it because you’re already trying to finish off the set. Otherwise, stick to the re-runs on FX.

6.5 out of 10