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Top Five Best Married…With Children Episodes

Al BundyIt’s no secret that I am a huge Married…With Children fan. I was introduced to the show at an early age. I discovered it around its 5th season (and the absolute best season of the show, in my opinion) thanks to my grandmother of all people. That’s just how cool of a woman she is.

Anyway, since then, I have watched the show religiously, both when it was still new on the air and when it went into syndication. It’s still in syndication to this day, and yes, I still watch it all the time, whether on TV or on DVD.

Married…With Children, despite never winning a single Emmy, is considered one of the funniest and most successful sitcoms of all time. It ran for 11 seasons, making it the longest running live action sitcom series in FOX history. It’s success has spanned across the globe, having been translated into countless languages and even remade shot-for-shot, episode-for-episode in other countries. The Bundys are one of the most favorite sitcom families in history, with Al Bundy constantly ranking in the top ten of TVs best characters and sitcom dads.

[ad 6]Because of the show’s greatness, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the five best episodes in history. With nearly 300 episodes to choose from and even the worst episodes of the series still being better than the best episodes of many other sitcoms, you could probably pick out any random five episodes as the best and still make a decent list. However, I have actually thought about this long and hard, and I have chosen what I consider to be the show’s top five episodes.

Fans of the show may agree with me completely; others may not agree at all. Either way, I think we can all agree that these five episodes are classic and deserve their high praise. I had a hard time picking and choosing which ones to include here, and the list changed several times. However, these five episodes always stick out in my mind. While I could have chosen numerous other episodes to be on here (and I may do so for another list one day), these episodes have always been favorites of mine, and I still laugh at each and every one of them very hard when I watch.

HONORABLE MENTION: Something Larry This Way Comes (season 9, episode 9.20)
Okay, I lied. This list includes six episodes. I just had to include this one though, if for no other reason than my friend Kelly Ravelli is a huge Larry Storch fan and she laughs every time this episode is mentioned. F-Troop’s Larry Storch guest stars as himself, and he is also Kelly’s acting coach. He and Kelly are set to do a scene from Phantom of the Opera for friends and family. Meanwhile, Al and Griff are doing a “Midnight Madness” sale at the shoe store in order to improve business. Larry Storch is Al’s idol, and Al wants to meet him before the play since he will have to miss it due to work.

As Larry drops by the shoe store to say hi to Al, he is confronted by Al’s boss Gary, who was once business partners with Storch in the Larry Storch School of Heating and Air Conditiong and was screwed over by Storch in the process. Gary knocks Storch out in frustration, forcing Al to take his place in the play as the Phantom, unbeknownst to Kelly. The scene with Kelly is hilarious, especially when Al reads the following line to the crowd: “I’ll just sit here and play with my organ.”

5. How Green Was My Apple (season 8, episode 8.16)
While there were numerous episodes featuring the Bundys engaged in ridiculous feuds of varying degrees, this one is my favorite due to the fact that the feud starts over nothing but an apple falling from a tree on the wrong side of the fence. After Al sees Jefferson eating an apple that he claims is from his apple tree (Jefferson found it in his yard), the Bundys and D’Arcys have a property survey done in order to determine where the actual property line lays, as well as the rightful owner of the apple tree.

After a surveyor (played by Danny Bonaduce) determines that the tree actually belongs to the D’Arcys, Al finds a flaw in the survey that shows he actually owns a different part of the D’Arcys’ yard. The two neighbors trade off taking over parts of each others’ property that actually belong to the other neighbor, eventually resulting in Jefferson blowing up the Bundy household with a rocket launcher.

4. The Proposition (season 7, episode 7.26)
I think the reason this is one of my favorites is because Al not only has some great lines throughout, but comes up with some of the best facial expressions I’ve ever seen (not to mention a hilarious goof that was accidentally left in the episode). Al discovers that world-famous model Coco (played by Vanna White) is actually a former ex-girlfriend of his from Polk High. Of course, the rest of the family doesn’t believe him. Turns out Al is telling the truth, as Coco comes into town, looking to get Al back into her life. After meeting the rest of the Bundy household, Coco buys Al from Peggy for the sum of $500,000.00. Peggy initially accepts the offer and sets off to move away with the kids, but both her and Al quickly realize that, despite all of the hatred over the years, they actually kind of like each other, resulting in Peggy calling off the deal.

3. All Night Security Dude (season 5, episode 5.16)
This episode’s greatness often goes overlooked, but it is a classic episode, and Ed O’Neill’s personal favorite. Al is forced to temporarily leave the shoe store due to remodeling, and in order to make ends meet, takes a job as the night watchman at Polk High. During his first shift, the school’s football championship trophy is stolen while Al is taking a bathroom break, resulting in his termination. It turns out that the trophy was stolen by Spare Tire Dixon (played by the late Bubba Smith), Al’s rival from the championship game.

Dixon agrees to give the trophy back, provided that Al can score on him in a quick play. What follows is one of the most hilarious scenes in the show’s history, as Al and Spare Tire battle it out in a ridiculous slow-motion play, set to the theme from Chariots of Fire. Al eventually crosses the line and wins the trophy back, but he and Spare Tire are in great pain due to their age and simply pass out on the floor.

2. Hi I.Q. (season 6, episode 6.20)
This episode almost made the number one spot on this list. The performances by Al and Jefferson throughout the episode are classic. In fact, I was actually talking about this episode the other day with my sister as we were putting together my daughter’s birthday present from my grandmother (the same one I mentioned). We dumped the box out, saw all the little pieces and were immediately reminded of this episode. Fortunately, it didn’t take us days to put the gift together. Anyway, Kelly gets an invitation to join Alpha (a play on the Mensa genius group), despite being a dullard. Bud decides to follow her to the party, as he suspects something’s up.

Meanwhile, Al has bought a new work bench for the garage. Jefferson comes over to help him put it together, resulting in them working at it for days and resulting in numerous injuries to both men as Peggy and Marcy look on and take pictures. Kelly soon discovers that the party she was invited to was Alpha’s version of a “pig party”, with all of the Alpha members inviting stupid people as their guests. Her and Bud wind up beating up nearly everyone at the party as Al & Jefferson continue to struggle putting the bench together. Eventually, Kelly figures out how to finish the bench for her dad, despite her intellectual shortcomings.

1. You Better Shop Around, Parts 1 and 2 (season 5, episodes 5.21 and 5.22)
Okay, I lied again. I used seven episodes for this list. However, since this was a two-parter, I’m only counting it as one. This is not only Amanda Bearse’s favorite pair of episodes, but mine as well. In fact, part 1 is the very first episode I can remember watching late at night with my grandma, and I think that’s the main reason why I like it so much.

[adinserter block=”1″]After blowing out the power in the entire neighborhood thanks to a faulty air conditioner, Al moves his family into the frozen food section of the Foodie’s supermarket in order to stay cool during the summer. Eventually, the store manager catches on to what the Bundys are up to (after discovering Al is the same guy who has been bouncing checks all over town) and orders them to either buy something or go to jail. Al buys a pack of gum after cutting in line in front of Marcy, and accidentally becomes the millionth customer at the store, winning a $1,000.00 shopping spree.

Marcy protests, telling the store owner that the Bundys cut in line. The owner decides she and Al will compete for the prize instead, with whoever getting to a grand in groceries first winning, a la Supermarket Sweep. Al designs a custom shopping cart that includes oil slicks, a spring-loaded boxing glove, Ginsu “attitude adjusters” and more (aka “The Cart of Death”), ensuring certain victory. His plan works, and the Bundys win the shopping spree, but not before Peggy accidentally stabs Al in the stomach with the front of the cart.

As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XDustinEFLX, and if you like Married…With Children, you can follow my Al Bundy parody account at http://www.twitter.com/bundyisms. Also follow my personal blog at http://nerdslikeme.blogspot.com (feedback is welcome). Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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Married…With Children: The Complete Series DVD Set

Dustin Nichols
Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:
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17 COMMENTS

  1. i agree with number 1 and 5. and the best episodes in my p.o.v besides those two are: england show 1-3, we’ll follow the sun, hot off the grill, fair exchange, its a bundyfull life 1-2, wabbit season, route 666 1-2, cheese, cues and blood (yauza bauza shabou), the gas station show, and sooooooooooo many others!!!

  2. My favorite episode is in season 7 where Bud gets a $25,000 grant/scholarship from Tremaine University. Al and Peg go to the bank to deposit a nickel in Bud's college fund when they discover the bank statement says the balance is over $25,000. Peg thinks the bank made a mistake so they withdraw the money before the bank discovers their "mistake". My favorite parts are Al and Peg's faces when the teller is counting the money, Kelly throwing an object thru the screen of the big screen tv to make it unreturnable, the jet-ski sitting on the stairs, and Al looking thru the peep hole in the wall in Bud's dorm room.

    • I actually wrote a blog about this episode after Bubba Smith passed away. That slow-motion scene is just too good. One of the best single moments in the show's entire 11-season history.

  3. What about "It's a Bundyful Life"? Having Sam Kinison portray Al's guardian angel was casting from Heaven, no pun intended. Not to mention the depiction of how the family could have been.
    Also the ending of "What Goes Around Comes Around" is priceless and shows despite all her taunts Kelly truly loved her little brother, "Grinchmeister B".-Don't Mess With A Bundy!

    And last but not least the first return of Steve in "The Egg and I"– just remembering Marcy, Steve & Jefferson in the bedroom and the Bundys across the way with binoculars, has my eyes filling with tears.

  4. Excellent episodes chosen, but 2 of my favourites are off this list:

    Season 3's "He Thought He Could", and Season 5's "Married with Aliens".

    As funny and outrageous as the show was, what made the show truly great to me was that great character, never-say-die attitude, that Al had, and that even though (or maybe because) he was just a regular guy, a poor shmuck stuck in a dead-end job with no future, no silver lining, and no great love for or from his family – he wouldn't give in, and through that, he would prove an inspiration to the rest of us shmucks in dead-end jobs with little to be happy about.

    "He Thought He Could" is very direct with this message, with Al Bundy telling the Librarian, Ms. Degroot, that even though he's got nothing, he'll keep battling away, and that's what makes him "a winner".

    "Married with Aliens" is a bit less direct, and to me the better episode because of it – because for all his failures, and his feelings of worthlessness, at the end, we see that maybe Al (and us, in our never-ending quest for meaning) might actually "count", and that something that he does may be more important than anything else.

    "Long ago, in the Galaxy Euryops, a great, menacing comet was born. Colossal in size, deadly in trajectory, it hurtled unstoppable through the universe, on a collision course with many inhabited planets. Among the doomed was a small green world called Earth. But on planet Philydion they still sing songs of the man who made it possible for the comet to be destroyed. The man who saved Earth and a hundred worlds, by providing fuel for the ships which diverted the comet. And that man is…. AL BUNDY."

    The ending of that episode brings me to tears, and gives me hope and inspiration. Al Bundy is a hero.

    • Absolutely agree! With hundreds of episodes showing Al getting the screws put to him, my favorites are the ones where he actually "wins" a bit — even if that only means showing the fortitude to continue on.

      To the two you have, and the Sam Kinison ep below, I'd add the softball championship ep where he wins MVP despite being turned on by all his teammates, including his family. His speech at the end is priceless. In part: "I'd just like to say: I hate you all. I thank no one but myself. … :-)) The very ending is an homage to "Eight Men Out."

      I will also cop to laughing hysterically at the ep where he and Jefferson are trying to install a satellite dish on the roof and they keep falling off. Insanely stupid slapstick, but I cried I was laughing so hard…

  5. I can't believe you left out the "You better watch out" episode from Season 2 where a drunken Santa Clause plummets to his death into the Bundys back yard.

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