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Married With Children Facts That You Didn’t Know

FOX network shocked its viewers and critics with the TV show ‘Married… with Children.’ First thing first, this show was anything but about perfect American life and family. The American dream was a very dysfunctional family that was constantly fighting, yelling and laughing at each other. In addition, these family members were always greedy and far from picture perfect family.

One of the most shocking moment on-screen happened in this show and it came with 16-year-old Kelly Bundy. This on-screen daughter acted like a 40-plus-year-old woman that just got divorced and relives her life.
Check out the 20 most shocking facts about ‘Married… with Children’ that you probably never heard about.

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20. $1 Million Per Episode

Although you might think thanks to Peggy’s giant-red hair, that everything was on a strict and low budget, right? But the truth goes beyond that. There was nothing cheap about this tv show. Literally. Every episode cost $1 Million to produce, making it one of the most expensive shows on TV at the time.

The TV show was without any special effects, but they had Peggy. The main actresses had a different outfit in almost every scene and dressing her up was anything but cheap. Add to that salaries and constant fee for people who were offended by the show. The show was a huge expanse for, at the time, new FOX network.

19. Than…There was Kelly

Christina Applegate sky-rocked her career with the role of Kelly, 16-year-old daughter, at the beginning of the show. People loved her from the first second she put a foot in front of the camera. People just couldn’t look another way around. She was confident, with a great sense of humor, kick-ass outfit and great taste for self-parody.

Producers loved her many talents and therefore, they gave her a significant amount of time in front of the camera to showcase each of her talents. And it turned out to be the best decision ever, because she helped the show gain a lot of fans, of different age, across the globe.

18. Get Big Hair or Go Home

Before landing a part of Peggy, Katey Sagal was in a really low point of her life. She had bills to pay and a career to rescue. She knew that she had to get that role and she decided to go BIG. For her first audition, she dressed up just like she envisioned Peggy, with big hair, jillion of makeup and short awful dress. Show’s producers said that she nailed the character persona and that’s what landed her the role.

Katey Sagal remained true to her first audience appearance and never left that version of Peggy. She always acted like she was around that first audition stage.

17. Kelly’s Outfit vs. Christian Groups

Married… with Children landed first criticism with the first episode. The show was bombarded with numerous complaints and a bunch of letters. Every character was heavily criticized, but none brought so much fury of Christians groups like Christina Applegate’s character Kelly did. For her it was all about – make it or break it.

Christina’s character main focus was on being a flirty teenager who acts the way she wants to. In addition, she acts badly and dresses accordingly. There was no way to change this character, and make her go from bad to good girl. Writers stick to its primary vision of the character and ignore every form of criticism.

16. Children Were Not The Same In First Episode

Producers wanted everything to be done super fast with the first episode that they had no time to properly introduce Ed O’Neill and actors that were supposed to act his children. However, there was no magic and O’Neill said that he can’t stand the kids and set an ultimatum to producers: it’s them or me.

The result of this new quest brought Christina Applegate and David Faustino in. This time O’Neill had an opportunity to meet them before they hit the stage, and they hit it off. However, they had to shot the first episode all over again. It cost the production a lot, but it was one of the better investments in the show.

15. Good Girl Goes Bad

Fans were crazy about Applegate and they loved every scene that she was in. However, after a few seasons on the show, Applegate’s fame exploded and she was engaged in a number of projects, including music videos appearance, movies, and modeling. This was challenging for, at the time, young Applegate to navigate so she failed a couple of times.

After a number of failures, Christina had a few conversations with her producers, who decided to cut her loose and give her some free time once in a while. This wasn’t well accepted by her fans, but tv producers remained firm to their decision to support Christina’s other teen-oriented projects.

14. Kramer Vs. Al Bandy

It would be hard to imagine anyone but Ed O’Neill playing Al Bundy, right? But at the time producers were thinking about bringing in Michael Richards for this role. Richards is known for his Kramer role in ‘Seinfeld.’

Richards was too energetic for this role, according to producers. They simply needed someone tired from living and more grumpy. And we are so glad that things didn’t go another way around. It would be such a lost, both for ‘Married…With Children’ and ‘Seinfeld,’ right?

13. There Was Some Love-Hate Relationship

Writers original plan was for Al and Peggy to be in a calm and loving relationship with their next-door neighbors Marcy and Jefferson. However, reality brought something else. O’Neill and Amanda Bearse were so plain to each other and hate-ish oriented that there was no way for them to hide it.

According to people who worked on the set, O’Neill had real issues with Bearse’s lesbian lifestyle. Hard to imagine that from O’Neill that we know from ‘Modern Family.’ It seems that he come a long way since then.

12. Katey Sagal Had A Miscarriage

When Katey Sagal announced her pregnancy to everyone, writers decided to write he pregnancy into the show and make the show juicier. There was even a whole storyline about Marcy and her being together at the same time. Talking about torturing Al, no? Unfortunately, that part had to be written off.

Just after a few months, Katey suffered a miscarriage. Everyone decided that they cant make Sagal wear a fake belly. Instead, they decided to make it all just a dream that Al has. Years later, Sagal welcomed two healthy children and her pregnancy was kept hidden from the audience through set tricks and adequate wardrobe.

11. Pilot Run For Three Times In Just One Night

This show was nothing like ever aired before it made a huge buzz. Americans were shocked with this pilot and they loved instantly loved it. The ratings were so high that FOX decided to air the episode again and again back to back.

Bear in mind that this show run when there was no DVR’s and Internet so having panicked phone calls about this pilot episode was a huge thing. April 5th, 1987, went down in TC history in a period of only 20 minutes.

10. Al Bandy or Al Boondy?

For no specific reasons producers had a lot of fun of Al’s name and writers loved them. Actually, they liked them so much that they decided to add them to the show. You can notice during the show’s 11 seasons a lot of different and funny variations of Al’s name, like Al Bumby, Al Birdy, and Al Boondy.

What is more interesting is the fact that actors had their own nicknames for each other. Christina Applegate was especially known for giving nicknames. However, to this day she refuses to say her nickname for her co-star David Faustino.

9. Kelly’s Wig

The cast became incredibly famous in a short period of time. They got also pretty busy with working on side projects, between shooting episodes. Occasionally, they show shooting would be affected with their movies, so makeup crew had to improve from time to time.

Christina Applegate took on a movie role during the 10th season, that required her to dye her blonde hair brown. To stay authentic to her role she has to wear a special wig, that made some fans miserable. But, writers had no problem with it as they have always made fun of her ‘real hair color’ on the show.

8. Do You Have Vista Card?

Producers were forbidden from using the actual name of Visa cards, so they had to act fast and smart, and above all to improvise. Even more, they had to think of something that will sound familiar to the audience. Therefore, Vista cards were born.

They even had a new and realistic Vista logo, visible all the time in Al’s shoe store. You can hear it occasionally as well in different dialogues.

7. Let’s Watch Dirty

As this show was all about being different, no wonder that we could see Al so many times looking at dirty magazines, that he loved for some reason to read and watch in front of his wife and kids. His number one magazine was ‘Big ‘Uns’ magazine.

What’s more crazy about this magazine lover thing is the fact that not even for a sec it didn’t cross his mind that Kelly could be featured in such magazine. And that’s probably one of many reasons why we like him. His flaws are just hilarious.

6. Peggy’s Maiden Name

We are not here to judge, but Peggy’s name is completely hilarious once you think about her husband’s humor preferences. Her maiden name is, Wanker. Reference to a wanker in this TV show wasn’t used as British slang for a swear word.


If there was a need for a fast forward for the show we are sure that this ‘wanker’ situation will just pass by smoothly. Or, would it?

5. Mixed Storylines

O’Neill went on a movie screen in 1991 for a movie called ‘Dutch.’ The movie is about a working-class man who wants to impress his girlfriend. In order to do so, he needs to get her so much better. From that moment everything goes downhill.

The movie was mentioned two times on the show. The first scene was when Al was on a plane. The second one was when Al and Peggy went to rent a movie to watch at home. It seems that ‘Dutch’ was a perfect choice.

4. They Never Won An Emmy

Although this was one of the most successful shows ever, they actually never won an Emmy. One would think otherwise, considering how long the show was on TV. But, they were nominated seven times for the prestigious Emmy.

The only two shows that were run for so long and never claimed Emmy was ‘Married…With Children’ and ‘Baywatch.’ It’s not clear until this day why it was the case. Maybe they were ahead of their time?

3. The Banned Episode

FOX refused to air the season 3 episode ‘I’ll See You In Court’, in 1989. The main reason for such action was due to its racy content. At the time, the show was under strong attack by Mitt Romney’s sister, Terry Rakolta, a Michigan housewife who had advertisements pulled from backing ‘Married… With Children.’

Terry Rakolta wrote a letter-writing campaign that compromised show’s funding. Therefore, the banned episode was shelved indefinitely. After a long wait, the debatable episode was finally released on FOX in 2002.

2. It’s A Man’s World

This is one of those things that wouldn’t pass by in 2019 for sure. Al and his buddies had a group called ‘No Ma’am.’ The group’s names and its purpose were oriented toward one and one reason only.

No Ma’am stands for National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. Therefore, NO MA’AM was an anti-feminist organization founded with only one reason – to stop feminist domination.

1. ‘Married… With Children’ Lives On

Ever since the show premiered in 1987, FOX never had an impact on the audience during a first episode screening. ‘Married… With Children’ remains FOX’s longest running live-action comedy show.

The show had 10 years of broadcast and 259 episodes. The show airs even nowadays in syndication, Netflix and hundreds of countries around the world. Different countries just modified the show to their local culture.

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