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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Married with Children: Vol. 1—The Most Outrageous Episodes (1987)

"We all have to live with our disappointments... I have to sleep with mine."
- Al (Ed O'Neill)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: March 05, 2003

Stars: Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal
Other Stars: Christina Applegate, David Faustino
Director: Various

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language, sexual and bodily humor)
Run Time: 01h:54m:00s
Release Date: February 04, 2003
UPC: 043396095311
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BC+B- D-

DVD Review

Married with Children (along with The Simpsons) is responsible for the Fox Network as we know it today. But don't hold that against it. This bawdy family sit-com lowered the bar for TV tastelessness, going further with sexual innuendo and gross-out gags than any preceding prime time American series. The show received harsh criticism from family watch dog groups, and it helped give Fox its enduring reputation as the smut purveyors of the airwaves (Marge Simpson: "Fox turned into a hard-core pornography network so gradually, I didn't even notice.").

Proving that critics have very little impact on what people actually watch, and that negative publicity just might be the best kind, the show was a smash success, and went on to become a lynchpin in the early development of the Fox Network and one of the longest running sit-coms in history, with 11 seasons and over 250 episodes. The weekly antics of the beleaguered Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill), his sex-obsessed wife Peg (Katey Segal), his doltish son Bud (David Faustino), and his blonde bimbo daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) earned the family a place in the annals of television history and an enduring slot in syndication.

Sixteen years after it first debuted, the series has lost a bit of its edge, but it's still surprisingly raunchy, and surprisingly funny. Sure, the characters are all gross exaggerations, but the actors attack their roles with gusto, particularly O'Neill and Segal, who have a wonderful oil-and-water chemistry, and Christina Applegate, who always gets the best lines and never fails to sell them. Al's feud with his neighbor Jefferson (Ted McGinley) and Jefferson's wife, Marcy (Amanda Bearse), along with her ex-husband Steve (David Garrison), provide some ongoing antagonism and plenty of plots to hash and rehash.

Married with Children isn't memorable for its characterization or depth of plotting, but it is consistently laugh-out-loud funny. The Bundys are a loveable bunch (in a disgusting way), and they've finally made their DVD debut. For some reason, Columbia TriStar has opted to abandon the season-by-season release pattern favored by fans, choosing instead to put out "best of" discs of the most "outrageous" episodes. While this will no doubt irritate many DVD addicts, this five-episode disc does provide a nice introduction for those new to the show.

Episode 40: A Dump of My Own
Season 3; originally aired 1/8/89

"Marry your own wallet!" -Peg, to Kelly

In one of the classic early episodes, Al decides to fulfill a lifelong dream: to build the ultimate bathroom. Much bodily humor ensues as he constructs a powerful toilet capable of the Furgeson—the Man's Flush. Al's affection for his crapper over his family is good for a few laughs, and there is a nice blend of funny dialogue and broad physical comedy.

The unfortunate connection between the title of this episode and the icon used for rating is entirely coincidental. 3.5 toilets.




Episode 101: You Better Shop Around (Part One)
Season 5, originally aired 4/14/91

" I thought you were going to a discount store to buy one of those Korean products with almost real names like 'Ou Fridgea-door Refrigerator.'" -Peg

In this first installment of the season five two-parter, Al, too cheap to buy air conditioning, moves his family into the supermarket (refreshing!). Eventually they are found out, and are told that if they don't buy something they'll be arrested, so they cut in front of Marcy in line and, as a result, they win the $1000 shopping spree for being the millionth customers. Which doesn't exactly make Marcy happy.

Plop! 3.5 toilets.




Episode 102: You Better Shop Around (Part Two)
Season 5, originally aired 4/21/91

"You know what you need to get your mind off this? A nice, cool Bud." -Bud

In part two, Marcy and Jefferson challenge Peg and Al to a Supermarket Challenge to determine the winner of the shopping spree. All I could think was, "If you hear the beep, you could be on Supermarket Sweep!" While their parents are racing carts around the store like children, Bud and Kelly pass the time by antagonizing the store mascot, Mr. Beaver.

Get your plunger ready for 3.5 more toilets.




Episode 163: No Chicken, No Check
Season 8, originally aired 10/10/1993

Kelly: This guy could do wonders for my career, so I asked him out on a date in my new car.
Al : Not so fast, pumpkin. You're gonna need to be covered.
Kelly: Isn't that the guy's responsibility?

This is the funniest episode on the disc, taken from the eighth season of the show, when the actors had become iconic and every entrance warranted a huge burst of applause from the audience (and a couple of "WOOOO!"'s, in Kelly's case). Kelly and Bud buy a car together to increase their chances with members of the opposite sex, but problems ensue when they both schedule drive-in dates on the same night. Bud's middle name (Franklin) is revealed, in case you were wondering.

4 more porcelain thrones.




Episode 45: I'll See You in Court (The "Lost" Episode)
Season 3, originally aired on FX 6/18/2002

Look, Al. I want sex. Do you want to be conscious or not? -Peg

This is the infamous "lost" episode from the series' third season. It wasn't aired as intended due to what Fox deemed "controversial" content (namely, couples being filmed without their consent or knowledge). It aired several times overseas but didn't see the light of day in the U.S. until 2002, when it aired on the FX cable channel. The Bundys and the Rhoades are taped having sex at a hotel, and Peggy and Steve decide to sue. The concept is decent, but this one is a little light on laughs.

Perhaps it should have stayed lost. 2 toilets.



Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality isn't as nice as I hoped, and I'm sad to say that the episodes don't look much better than they do in late-night syndication. Colors are washed out and the image is fairly soft. Colors also appear a little fuzzy, and there is some noticeable color bleed. Artifacting and aliasing aren't a problem. Perhaps these issues can be attributed to the source material (many sit-coms are shot on video), but I was still fairly underwhelmed by the quality of the image.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a fairly standard, subdued DD 2.0 mix. The results are adequate, if unimpressive. Dialogue is clear and understandable, and mixed well with the music and laugh track. The front soundstage (which carries all of the audio) expands to offer support for the score as well, though most everything seems to be coming through the center channel.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 5 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Sweetest Thing, TV Comedy Favorites, Salute to Sinatra
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The only included extras are a few semi-related trailers. The Sweetest Thing features Christina Applegate, and the CD Salute to Sinatra celebrates the MwC theme song. Finally, there is a nice TV Comedy Favorites trailer advertising the DVD releases of All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Larry Sanders Show, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Mad About You.

Each episode includes only one chapter stop and there is no "play all" option, nor any way to skip to the next episode without returning to the main menu.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Married with Children: The Most Outrageous Episodes is a decent "best of" compilation, but most real fans would probably prefer season sets. If you've never seen the show, it's a nice introduction. If you're a die-hard, hopefully the sales of this disc (and the audience support for the recent, highly-rated reunion special) will be enough to prompt Columbia TriStar to put out full seasons.

 


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