Stunning Secrets From Behind the Scenes of ‘Married… With Children’

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This article was originally published on definition.

Source: Getty Images

In 1986, on a fledgling TV station known simply as Fox, a show that would become a cultural touchstone during its 10-plus years on the air premiered. Married… with Children was not a roaring success during its first season, or even its second. It would take the work of a “family values” activist and some unintended consequences to turn it into a smash TV hit. Who was the activist, and what were the consequences? Hold tight, as those answers and more little-known Married… with Children facts will be revealed. You’ll learn fascinating — and in some cases, hilariously funny — tidbits about Al, Peggy, Kelly, Bud, Marcy, and yes, even Buck. Discover these behind-the-scenes Married… with Children facts that you (probably) never knew.

Where do you rank Married… with Children among the  all-time great comedy sitcoms? Where does Al Bundy rank among the all-time great television characters? How does Married… with Children compare to The Simpsons, the other show that made Fox into the powerhouse it is today? We want to hear from you! Let us know on Facebook and make sure to SHARE this with fellow fans of the Bundys!

The Show's Working Title

Source: Fox

The character of Marcy D’Arcy, Peggy Bundy’s best friend and neighbor, was named after an executive producer of The Cosby Show. Why, you ask? Well, the working title for Married …with Children during production, before the show aired, was Not the Cosbys.

Stealing From 'National Lampoon?'

Source: YouTube/TVStuff2

In the original opening sequence, there is a shot of cars on an interstate interchange. That footage is actually from National Lampoon’s Vacation. The Griswolds’ Ford Crown Victoria station wagon can be seen in the short clip. Also, Al’s “mighty Dodge” vehicle in the show is actually a 1972 Plymouth Duster.

How About a Little Notice?!

Source: Fox

When the May 6, 1997 season finale aired — which would end up being the last episode — executives at Fox didn’t know if they would cancel the show. They finally decided they would, but didn’t tell the cast of their decision right away. Ed O’Neill was on vacation and overheard a couple at a table next to him discussing the cancellation. He reportedly paid for their meal and thanked them for letting him know.

Not an Overnight Success

Source: Fox

The show was not a huge success on the then little-known Fox network, but fate intervened in a strange way. A season three episode entitled “Her Cups Runneth Over” insulted Michigan “family values” activist Terry Rakolta so much that she felt compelled to write to several advertisers, asking them to pull their ads from the show. Several companies did, but the media coverage ended up drawing more viewers to the program, and it soon turned into a major hit.

The show’s cast and crew reportedly sent Rakolta flowers each year after it was renewed, and even spoofed the controversy in the season nine episode “No Pot to Pease In.” In that episode, the Bundys discover that there is a TV show based on their lives, which gets cancelled because a “housewife in Michigan didn’t like it.”

Peggy's Bouffant

Source: Getty Images

It was reportedly Katey Sagal’s idea for Peggy to dress the way she did. When Sagal went in for her audition, she brought her own red bouffant wig. The producers loved it so much that they changed the character’s look.