Recently, I’ve been watching Married with Children on Hulu. Growing up, I’d occasionally watch it, but I haven’t seen too many episodes. In fact, when I started watching it a few months back, I was confused because I had never seen an episode with Steve (Marcie’s first husband) in it. I thought maybe he was replaced after the pilot, but I was quite wrong since Steve hung around for first three to four seasons.
Married with Children seemed to be on quite often in syndication and that’s where I saw it the most. Like most boys/teenagers of the 90’s, I had a crush on Christina Applegate and I got a kick out of Al Bundy’s hand down his pants routine. But besides that, I didn’t find much to enjoy about the show.
Now that I’m a bit older, I appreciate the show a lot more. I can relate to it in some ways, and really laugh at all the absurdity in other ways. I find the cruel insults and over-the-top humor perfect for some of these bad days I’ve had lately.
A few weeks ago, I watched the first episode of season three and Al went on a rant to the librarian who’d tortured him as a child. It cracked me up, because I related to it all too much. That quote has been on my mind lately, so I thought I’d share it here.
So you think I’m a loser? Just because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn’t respect me, a whole city that curses the day I was born? Well, that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you something. Every morning when I wake up, I know it’s not going to get any better until I go back to sleep again. So I get up, have my watered-down Tang and still-frozen Pop Tart, get in my car with no upholstery, no gas, and six more payments to fight traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes on the cloven hooves of people like you. I’ll never play football like I thought I would. I’ll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I’ll never again know the joy of driving without a bag on my head. But I’m not a loser. ‘Cause, despite it all, me and every other guy who’ll never be what he wanted to be are still out there being what we don’t want to be forty hours a week for life. And the fact that I haven’t put a gun in my mouth, you pudding of a woman, makes me a winner.
Also, there was a fantastic breakdown on reddit on whether or not Al could have supported his family on a shoe salesman’s budget in the late 80’s and early 90’s that is totally worth your time reading.
In the sitcom Married… with Children, protagonist Al Bundy is able to support himself, his homemaker wife, and two children on the income he earns as a shoe salesman in a strip mall in the suburbs of Chicago. Was this at all realistic for the late 1980s/early 1990s?