If you’re a nineties child, then you might remember that there wasn’t one but three television Kelly’s to drool over. You had Kelly Kapowski from Saved By The Bell – the all-American “girl next door” – Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hills 9021 – the archetypal spoiled brat – and last but not least, there was Married With Children’s Kelly Bundy, played by the always lovely and incredibly talented Christina Applegate.
Kelly quickly became the breakout star of the sitcom. Whenever she would step out onto the set, she would be greeted with uproarious applause from the studio audience. She developed a reputation for being a sarcastic and wickedly funny vixen. It didn’t hurt either that her wardrobe consisted primarily of skin-tight outfits that left little for the imagination.
In many ways, Kelly Bundy was the heart and soul of the family. Even though she constantly made fun of him, she seemed to genuinely care about her somewhat dimwitted brother Bud and was always rooting for him when he wound up scoring a date.
She could be delightfully naive, resulting in some seriously funny moments. But every now and then, she would surprise you by busting out a bit of hard-hitting knowledge straight out of left field. She might have been seen as promiscuous and vain. But she was usually the Bundy with the warmest heart and hardly ever treated anyone with disrespect – aside from the usual sibling jabs she often traded with her brother.
Married…With Children celebrates it’s 34th anniversary this year. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but then again time has a way of doing that. Join Facts Verse as we see what secrets Christina Applegate has revealed over the years about her role on the iconic sitcom that helped launch her career.
Applegate Wasn’t The Original Kelly Bundy
It’s almost impossible to imagine the series without Applegate’s award-winning performance as Kelly Bundy. But what a lot of fans may not realize is that Christinia wasn’t actually the first pick to play Kelly. Actress Tina Caspary played Kelly in the show’s pilot. The scenes she was in were later reshot before the pilot made it to the airwaves.
Can you picture just how different the show would have been without Applegate? Honestly, it’s impossible to say how things would have played out. Applegate had such incredible chemistry with the rest of the series’ cast. And on top of that, she had excellent comedic timing.
It’s also worth noting that Applegate’s career was very much so launched by Married…With Children. She is an exceptionally talented actress. There’s no telling when or if she would have landed her big break without this role.
No offense Caspary, but Applegate was the perfect Kelly
Christina Applegate Initially Thought The Married…With Children Script Was ‘Disgusting’
Applegate was just 15 when she landed her role on Married…With Children. But before she signed on to the cast, she was apprehensive about taking the part. She was interested in becoming a dramatic actress. And after reviewing the script for the show’s pilot. She felt like it lacked the seriousness she was looking for.
In an interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Applegate said that she initially found the script to be ‘disgusting’. She went on to explain that she didn’t even want to audition for it.
After the producers of the series went ahead and filmed a pilot with two other actors playing Kelly and Bud. They realized that their chemistry wasn’t working. So, they came back to Christina and asked her again if she would come in for a screen test.
Once again, she turned them down. But on her way out the door, they gave her a tape of the pilot that they had already shot. When she got home and popped the tape in, she didn’t want to like it. But in no time, Christina and her mother were in stitches.
At the time, Applegate had never done comedy before, but she decided to go ahead and give it a go, and the rest is history.
There Were A Few Hair-Raising Problems On the Set
Christina Applegate might have made a name for herself on Married…With Children – growing up to be a superstar of sorts. But while she was still a cast member of the iconic series, her escalating fame started to cause her some rather hair-raising problems while she was on set.
While playing Kelly Bundy on the series, Applegate was cast in a movie role that required her to dye her hair brown. To keep with Kelly’s trademark image, she had to wear a blonde wig. Some fans of the show called foul, saying that the wig looked far too obvious. But this minor issue didn’t end up stopping her from evolving into the colossal star she inevitably became.
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Kelly Bundy Was A Virgin
If you were to believe Bud, Kelly was one of the easiest girls to bed in Chicago. But as it turns out, she just might have been a lot more chaste and pure than we ever imagined.
Christina Applegate did an interview with NPR in 2019 in which she dropped a rather surprising bombshell about her Married…With Children character. The former teen queen of fishnets and denim cut-offs revealed that Kelly Bundy was actually a virgin.
This tidbit might come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever watched the show, given how the series relied heavily on sexual innuendo and how Bud was always cracking jokes about his sister’s supposedly promiscuous lifestyle.
It’s also surprising since Kelly never shied away from this perception. In one memorable scene, she even gave Bud a bit of advice on how he could initiate his own sex life. I guess it’s true what they say, ‘those who can’t do, teach’.
She Always Looked Out For Bud
For people that have an ever-warring relationship with their brothers and sisters, they typically live by a pretty simple rule. They can say whatever they want about their family, but you can’t.
Kelly and Bud might have always been tossing insults back and forth at each other about their intelligence, looks, and sexuality, but if anyone was to ever cross one of the Bundy kids, they’d have hell to pay.
In one early episode of the series, Kelly let a girl played by actress Tiffani Amber-Thiessen know in no uncertain terms that the only one that was allowed to humiliate Bud was her.
Applegate Based Kelly Off A Real Person
If you were an 80s or early 90s kid and grew up around the hair metal scene, then you already know that Kelly Bundy’s style was the epitome of the fashion and prevailing attitudes from that era. She was like some kind of real-life video vixen that stepped right out of MTV and into a pair of fishnets.
Besides modeling her look after some of the metal girls of that time, Christina actually drew inspiration from a real person when coming up with Kelly’s look. That girl was rock groupie Cindy Birmisa, best known for playing herself in the 1987 mockumentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.
Kelly Wasn’t As Airheaded As She Seemed
Even though Kelly Bundy was known for being the poster child ‘dumb blond’, she wasn’t nearly as dense as her family would lead you to believe. Christina Applegate has said that she played Kelly as if she was a genius. And in her own special way, maybe she was.
For one, she knew just what numbers to pick on a roulette wheel in the episode ‘You Gotta Know When To Fold ‘Em (Part 2)’, and then there were all the times that she knew just how to use her feminine whiles to get what she wanted.
In one episode, she proved that she could retain knowledge like a boss when Al filled her mind with all kinds of sports trivia to prep her for an appearance on a game show. So, yeah! Maybe we’ve all just underestimated Kelly Bundy. Perhaps she was even the smartest member of her little dysfunctional clan.
Like Mother Like Daughter
Christina Applegate and her television mother Katey Sagal had stellar chemistry on Married…With Children. Kelly and Peggy were one heck of a mother-daughter team as well. Both ladies knew exactly how to use their sexuality to their advantage and had a knack for deflecting blame whenever they did something a bit devious.
Another noteworthy connection that the two actresses had was that they both hailed from show-business families. Sagal’s father, Boris, was a famed television film director, while her twin sisters were the original Doublemint Twins.
Applegate’s mother is singer-songwriter Nancy Priddy, and her father, Robert William Applegate, was a record producer and record company executive.
Applegate’s Mom Guest-Starred On Married…With Children
Throughout the series’ run, just about every member of the cast had at least one of their family members make guest appearances on the show. In Christina Applegate’s case, her familial guest star was her mother.
Nancy Priddy appeared in an early episode entitled ‘Oh What A Feeling’. She played the mother of a spoiled bratty girl that Al ran into when trying to buy a new car. Al ended up having this big meltdown while telling her that if she didn’t want the car, then he’d be happy to take it off her hands.
Married…With Children might have helped launch Christina Applegate’s acting career, but she’s been going strong ever since.
From 1998 to 2000, she starred in the title role in the NBC sitcom Jesse. She followed that up with an Emmy Award-winning performance when she landed a recurring guest role on Friends.
In 2005, Applegate appeared in the Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. That performance earned her a Tony Award for best actress in a Musical.
Between 2007 and 2009, Applegate starred in the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? And from 2011 to 2012, she starred in the NBC sitcom Up All Night.
More recently, Applegate has been a key cast member in the Netflix dark comedy series Dead To Me, which premiered in 2019 and is soon to air it’s third season later this year.
Do you think that Christina Applegate’s Kelly Bundy was really as dumb as she seemed, or do you think that she simply was playing the ‘blonde’ card to get what she wanted? Let us know in the comments.
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