Al Bundy is a misanthropic women's shoe salesman with a miserable life. He hates his job, his wife is lazy, his son is dysfunctional (especially with women), and his daughter is dim-witted and promiscuous.
The Banks family, a respectable Californian family, take in a relative - Will Smith, a street-smart teenager from Philadelphia. The idea is to make him respectable, responsible and mature, but Will has got other plans...
The Bundys are a stereotypical "white trash" American family. Al is a shoe salesman who is fond of frequently reliving his doubtful 15 seconds of fame on the football field. Al is terrified of the all-too-frequent amorous advances his ditsy wife Peggy, a woman who must spend most of Al's wages at the salon and the mall. They have two children: Kelly, the stunning but superficial party animal, and Bud, who is too wrapped up in himself to realize his goal of "scoring" with a girl. Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tom Sharpe once wrote the following regarding one of his characters: "Like so many great men, Lord Petrefact loathed his nearest and dearest..."
Many of us identify with Lord Petrefact, but are at a loss to express ourselves in this "don't worry--be happy," never-say-anything-negative world. We have very few role models to lead us against appalling, manipulative family members, and have often resigned ourselves to our fate. We've gone about our lives lacking the words to easily repel the smiley-face squads.
The Bundys are a superb resource for people like us. We can't and shouldn't adopt a Bundy-like demeanour to truly nice, kind people. But the Bundys suggest to us what we can say to obnoxious relatives and neighbours -- our nearest and (supposedly) dearest, who want US to do THEIR bidding so THEY can receive undue obedience, money, goods or status from OUR successes or aspirations.
For example, in one episode, Al thinks of buying a new car. Peg, Kelly and Bud all sneer at the type of car he chooses, telling him high-handedly what kind each of them particularly thinks he should buy -- i.e., what they want HIM to buy to satisfy THEM. Al does what most of us should do in such circumstances: He spreads his arms in a great paternal gesture, smiles broadly, and says, "Your wishes [slight pause for effect] mean nothing to me." It's extremely refreshing to hear. And it's very, very funny. The fact that virtually every character appearing throughout the show's long run was extremely sleazy allows this sort of repartee to continue uninterrupted.
God bless Al Bundy. The show has changed my life.
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