On this day in 1997, the series finale of Married… with Children aired. While the final episode of the series aired later in June, the series finale proper, How To Marry A Moron, aired on May 5th.
The often controversial comedy followed a high school football star turned shoe salesman, Al Bundy (Ed O’Neil), his wife, Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal), and their two kids. They also have multiple episodes featuring the neighbors, Steve and Marcy (who later marries Jefferson). Many episodes follow Al and his failed (and often quite dumb) schemes.
Technically, the show didn’t get to write up a proper series finale. FOX canceled the show before its 12th season. The 12th season would have been its last. The show was one of Fox’s first sitcoms. It also was Fox’s longest-lasting live-action sitcom with 259 episodes and 11 seasons.
Despite its longevity, the cast and crew of Married… with Children faced a ruthless cancellation process. Fox announced the cancellation to the public before telling most of the cast, meaning people who had spent a decade working on the show found out through the news.
‘Married… with Children’ Star Katey Sagal Said She Didn’t think the Show Would Be a Hit
During a 2017 interview with ABC News, Katey Sagal admitted that she didn’t realize the show would be successful. “I remember reading the script and thinking, ‘This is hysterically funny, but no one will watch it because it’s just too outside the box. We’ll get canceled immediately,” She said.
Not to mention, the show was on FOX, which at the time was just getting its start. It didn’t have the pull that the major networks at the time did. Sagal said, “It was on a network nobody had heard of.”
But despite Sagal’s concerns, the show took off. She recently joked to Jimmy Kimmel that she knew that the show was successful when they started buying her wigs.
“Because the first three years I would just do my own hair, and then all of a sudden they started dishing out money like wigs are not cheap. They got me a wig.”
After Married… with Children, Sagal would go on to land roles in Futurama, Simple Rules, and Sons of Anarchy.
Married… with Children was irreverent, different, and a pioneer for modern-day TV comedy. While it ruffled some feathers, it also got many laughs. Its unique and vital legacy set the groundwork for more comedies long after its 1997 finale.