Married With Children lasted eleven seasons (well past the point where it had actual children in it). You’d think that would be enough episodes but Sony Pictures, who owns the show, is thinking of making more. How will they do it? By using a trick as old as cinema itself, the only surefire way to keep your characters ageless — you animate them!
In this proposed cartoon revival, the Bundys would be roughly the same age as they originally were in the show’s prime years. Original actors Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate and David Faustino are all in and willing. Family Guy’s Alex Carter has signed up to be the showrunner.
Conceived as a deliberate strike against the safe, family-oriented sitcoms of the 1980s, Married With Children was considered pretty shocking when it premiered among them. The characters weren’t role models — far from it. Ed Bundy wasn’t an upstanding white-collar father figure, he was a shoe salesman and a complete jerk. His big-haired wife Peg (the hair was Katey’s own idea) was about as bad as he was. Rounding things out were their children, bratty Bud and dimbulb Kelly. This family would spend all its time insulting each other, and the zingers were about as crude as the FCC would allow.
There was nothing like this at the time, but that would change. The following decade brought with it an endless march of MWC imitators, as well as its general feel influencing comedy in general. As 90s culture grew rawer and edgier, it was soon difficult to find a show about a loving family, or a cast of characters that weren’t reprobates. Eventually this would create a backlash to the backlash, with new viewers starved for SOME kind of heart on TV.
But in general, MWC popularized the idea of laughing AT characters instead of WITH them, a formula that still lives on today in shows like Always Sunny. Whether the Bundys truly get the chance to enter the 21st Century depends on the show getting picked up. Sony is the only major studio without its own streaming service, meaning someone else would have to agree to carry the series. It could be streaming, it could be cable or even broadcast. We’ll find out soon if this family of losers gets their second chance.