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Married…With Children: The Complete First & Second Seasons (1988) – DVD Review

Married With Children: The Complete First Season DVD cover art
Married With Children: The Complete Second Season DVD cover art


Series Created by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye
Starring Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Amanda Bearse


  • Season One Set:
    • Married… With Children Reunion Special
    • New Comedy Sneak Peek
    • Bonus Trailers
  • Season Two Set:
    • 13 “Hidden” Easter Eggs featuring interviews with the cast

Released by: Columbia-Tristar
Rating: NR (parental guidance)
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Rent them.

[ad#longpost]Al Bundy (O’Neill) has your typical American family. He has an amorous wife, Peggy (Sagal) and two…um…individual kids. He has nosy neighbors who annoy him and get into his business. He’s got a good job. What could be better? Well, for starters, he could find a way to live forever in those brief few seconds on the football field when he was in high school. He doesn’t seem to see that his rather well-endowed wife is constantly after his physical affection or that his daughter, Kelly (Applegate) is after anyone’s physical affection or that his son, Bud (Faustino), doesn’t seem to understand why young women don’t want his physical affection to begin with.

If All in the Family put the nuclear family under a microscope and dissected it, this show…well…nuked it. After all, it was about a man who was ultimately not happy with his family life and couldn’t seem to get ahead in his job at all. Not only that, but he didn’t seem to be doing anything about trying to improve either his family or his job. So, what was the show about? Well, each episode centered around one of the characters in Bundy’s life and how they either try to get money or sex out of him for one thing or another; and if someone from outside the family got in their way, they would team up and beat the crap out of them. That pretty much sums it up.

This show was not about challenging any societal ills or getting its audience to think about the deeper issues of humanity. No, this show went right for the libido of every red-blooded heterosexual male in the country. It is base humor at its best (or worst depending on your perspective). Like it or not, there are reasons why this show ran for ten years; and, I think both of them belong to Christina Applegate. Of course, Katey Sagal helped, too.

Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal, David Faustino from Married With Children
Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal and David Faustino

Seriously though, at the time this show’s pilot hit the airwaves, there was absolutely nothing like it on television anywhere. Every other sitcom dealt with families who were…well…just too perfect. There was nothing for anyone to connect with. If you have a brother or sister, you know that it is not always peaches and cream in everyday life. There are times when you just disagree or get on each other’s nerves. None of the other shows on television dealt with that at all. This show took that weakness and exploited it for all it was worth. In fact, it made a point of going too far in the other direction. The Bundy family loved getting on each other’s nerves. It’s what made them happy.

The First Season DVD set resembles more of what a typical DVD set for a television series looks like. The entire Reunion Special is here for you to enjoy. It is filled with individual interviews with each of the cast members that contain their take on their characters and their relationships with the other characters on the show. There’s also a large group interview with the entire cast where they were able to bounce remembrances off of one another and really make it feel like a reunion. In fact, at the beginning of the special, it shows the cast members entering the set and, apparently, seeing each other for the first time in a long time (the reunion special aired in 2003). It’s very nicely done. The other features are just silly. There are trailers for some of the other television series DVD sets and The Sweetest Thing, one of Applegate’s movies with Cameron Diaz.

Christina Applegate from Married With Children
Christina Applegate

For the Second Season set, Columbia TriStar seems to have forgotten the concept of the DVD Easter Egg, or they didn’t think enough of the mental capacities of their audience to find the bonus features if they didn’t provide them with a road map. Let me be more clear: there is a reason the word “hidden” is in quotation marks in the list of bonus features above. When you put each disc in your machine, right there on the main menu is an option that reads EASTER EGGS…yes, just like that in large, capital letters. When you select this option, there are instructions on how to find each of the thirteen Easter Eggs on all three discs. (Note the expression on Al’s face in the screen shot.) It just bugs me that they came across looking like fools in the planning and packaging departments on this one.

After you get through laughing at them, the content that is presented in the bonus material is actually quite good. There are thirteen snippets of interviews with the cast. These seem like the deleted scenes from the reunion special that can be found on the Season One Set. Each of them lasts about two minutes each and they are well worth watching. When you put these two together, you really get a clear picture of how the cast felt about the show they were doing and how it changed the course of television history forever, and arguably, launched a network.

Even if you weren’t the biggest fan of the show, you might want to check these out to see what the cast had to say about it. Some of the comments might surprise you. I would say pick them up as a rental. The only reason I can think of to plop down the cash for these would be the same reasons the show ran for ten years.

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