Married… with Children was a beloved sitcom that ran from 1987 to 1997. And like most shows that aired for a while, it had its fair share of mistakes, bloopers, and issues with continuity and plot holes. In this video, we’re taking a look at several times when things didn’t go as planned on the popular show. Facts Verse presents: This Photo is Not Edited Look Closer at the Married With Children Blooper
A Legendary Sitcom “Married With Children”
Married with Children was a groundbreaking show in many ways. For one, it is the first live-action hit for the fledgling Fox network. In fact, it was the first series that the new channel put out in their primetime slot. And to this day, no other Fox live-action sitcom has had a longer run. It was also a cultural phenomenon. It pushed the boundaries on the type of humor that was acceptable on TV, and appealed to a wide audience because of its reliance on low-brow, crass, and often unabashedly un-PC humor.
The show’s popularity helps by a few controversies as well, allowing it to thrive for 11 seasons and 259 episodes. There were several episodes that riled up some viewers – one highly influential viewer in particular, managed to convince advertisers that he spoke for many people. He threatened to boycott the show, and many big advertisers pulled their support of the show. But the plan backfired, as the controversy only helped drum up more press. This, in turn, got the show many new fans, and soon Fox was getting even bigger advertisers and advertising deals than before. But as we mentioned, that didn’t keep it from being susceptible to some of the classic mistakes that come from airing a show.
Married With Children: A Little Laughter
Sometimes the actors on a sitcom can’t help themselves, and end up breaking character by errupting into laughter. After all, they’re only human, so why wouldn’t they laugh at funny scenarios and writing? And usually, when that happens, the director has to yell “cut” because the actor has ruined a take. But, especially when there’s a live audience, it can be a moment that brings levity and joy into the shoot. That’s sometimes vital on days when the shoot is running long, or people are tired, and so on. When an actor breaks, it’s usually the stuff you see on a blooper reel later on.
But sometimes there are moments when the scene is salvageable. That can happen with clever editing, where we don’t fully see one character’s reaction. But sometimes, even the best edits still reveal a little something. That was certainly the case in “You Better Watch Out” which was episode 13 of Season 2. There’s a moment when a mall Santa ends up in the backyard of the Bundy household. Naturally, everyone in the family looks back towards where Santa landed. But when they look back to the cameras, you can clearly see Ed O’Neil, aka Al Bundy, smiling. This is odd, since Al is supposedly quite angry about what’s happening in the scene. But when asked about it later on, Ed admitted that he found the moment hilarious and was doing his absolute best to only crack a smile and not bust out laughing completely.
Axe-ing for Trouble
The props department doesn’t have an easy job, especially when weapons are involved. Fortunately, on a sitcom, there isn’t usually much of a call for them. However, on occasion, they are asked to supply one, and the results can be unintentionally quite comical. In the episode, “Poppy’s By The Tree” which is the second offering of the second season, Al faces off against a literal killer, wielding an axe. For safety reasons, the show couldn’t actually have the actor trying to kill Al with a real axe. So they relied on a rubber one. That would probably have looked fine on TV, but the problem comes when Al blocks the killer’s swing with his briefcase.
In that moment, as the two men struggle to grab the axe, you can very clearly see that the axe’s handle keeps bending. Not exactly something a wooden and metal axe would normally do on its own! In the same episode, there’s another weapon related doozy. At the end of the show, the killer is hiding under the Bundy’s bed. We see a huge machete come up through the mattress. It’s a hilarious bit, but a little problematic. That’s because he’s under a bed where there’s only a few extra inches of space. There’s no room for him to get the blade up and through the mattress, without digging out a hole in the ground first. But hey, anything for comedy, right?
Airline Tickets are Pricier than Pizza
Sometimes bloopers come in the form of plot holes, when audiences are left wondering how something happened within the reality of the show. These moments are often hard for shows to avoid, since there are so many moving parts, so many writers, and so forth. And with multi-cam sitcoms that are filmed like a stage play in front of a live audience, there are many rewrites that happen in the moment. An actor will say a line, and if it doesn’t make sense, or if it doesn’t get a big laugh, the writers will huddle quickly.
They’ll pitch some new lines to try, and give them to the actors to try again. These can all sometimes mean that there are plot holes. One such instance happened on the 17th episode of season 4, called “You Gotta Know When To Fold ‘Em.” In the ep, Al is strapped for cash when trying to buy a pizza. We also know that Peggy has already maxed out Al’s credit cards. So it makes sense that when he tries to use them to buy the pizza, he can’t. But what doesn’t make sense is that Al is somehow able to buy three airline tickets from Chicago to Vegas. Suddenly the cards seem to work again, so unless the bank decided to suddenly up his credit limit for no reason, it’s a bit of a hole in the plot!
Easy as Candy
Sometimes the littlest mistakes can catch the notice of eagle-eyed viewers. And while they don’t always make a huge difference, it can be a distraction once you start to notice them. Like in Episode 21 of Season 7, “Movie Show.” There’s a shot when the cast is perched at the snack bar. Right before that, we saw the employee of the theater put sealed boxes of candy down on the counter in front of them. However, as we watch the family eat, the candy boxes are suddenly empty.
This wasn’t a magic trick the Bundy’s performed, it was an error in continuity by the props department. For whatever reason in between the time they filmed the first shot and the next, the candy boxes were somehow swapped out with empty ones. Or maybe they decided it would look more realistic if they were opened, not realizing they had already established that they were sealed in the first shot. Who knows!?
Some Are Better Than Others
While often the bloopers and mistakes we see are spread out among many episodes, occasionally there’s an episode that contains a few. It makes you wonder if the whole cast and crew was rushed that week, or if everyone was a little tired. The 22nd episode from season 5, aka “You Better Shop Around” has this issue. For starters there’s a slight plot hole that happens when a supermarket manager tells a photographer to snag a photo of Al’s shopping cart.
Technically when the flash from the camera goes off, Al is positioned in a way where in reality his entire right shoulder would be blocking a bunch of that photo. It’s not a huge deal, cause we can easily suspend our disbelief there. But a more cringey moment happens when Al knocks Jefferson out of the way. While everyone knows about the existence of stunt performers, the goal is to make it look like it’s the real actor doing the physical movement. But in this case, the stunt performance is super obvious.
You can see the stuntman jumping up and into a wire rigging that holds him. It’s possible there was just no way to film this with their set up in a way that looked real, but it feels like they needed to try something different here. Then there’s the weird issues of the ‘bad’ cart Jefferson has. In the beginning, the manager of the supermarket gives him ‘wobbly’ cart. But somehow for the remainder of the episode, it’s a completely fine cart. And speaking of the wobbly cart, when Jefferson is shown driving it at first, it’s clearly a perfectly fine cart in reality. You can see the actor making the shaking movements with his hands!
Cast and Crew Of Married With Children
Everyone knows that shows aren’t taped with only the cast there. There are dozens of people working behind the camera, including people moving things around, lighting crew, camera operators, and more. So sometimes we get an accidental glimpse of their existence in the final product. For example, in the episode “A Man’s Castle” – episode 15 of season 5, Peggy has an entrance into the kitchen. As she does, the visible shadow of someone else’s head can be seen. And based on the plot, it can’t have been another of the actors.
So clearly it was someone from behind the camera. A similar thing happens in “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” the 13th episode of season 4. Al has just fixed the roof, but Peggy says he now needs to fix the TV antenna. As he replies that he’ll do it, you can see a shadow moving across a blue bucket that’s sitting on the Bundy’s table. It’s a super subtle thing, but probably means someone moved behind the camera as they shot. And then there’s Episode 2 of Season 9, “Driving Mr. Boondy” in which there’s a shot of Al getting up to answer the phone. You can briefly get a glimpse of the boom microphone above his head. Whoops!
Now it’s time to hear from you. Do have favorite bloopers and mistakes from Married With Children? Let us know in the comments section below!