Married with Children (1986–1997)
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He Thought He Could 

Al discovers a library book that was due in 1957. He must return it to the library and face up to his worst childhood fear: the librarian.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Steve Rhoades
Kelly Bundy
Bud Bundy
Lu Leonard ...
Edan Gross ...
Brandon Bluhm ...
Joseph Dammann ...


Al discovers a library book that was due in 1957. He must return it to the library and face up to his worst childhood fear: the librarian.

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TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 November 1988 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the security camera footage is shown Al putting the book back, pretending he found it there, his shirt and pants are not the same when he actually went in with. It's obvious this was filmed at the end of the episode because the 2nd time he goes back to the library, its the same clothes as the footage See more »


[first lines]
Peggy Bundy: You know, the boys are upstairs working so hard, and this popcorn will make a nice surprise for them. So easy to make, too.
Marcy Rhoades: Uh, Peggy, you're supposed to move it around.
Peggy Bundy: Oh.
[shakes the popcorn]
Peggy Bundy: Well gee, now it's not easy any more.
Marcy Rhoades: Peggy, did you know this says use before May the eleventh, 1972.
Peggy Bundy: Marcy, if you read it carefully, it says *best* if used before May the eleventh, 1972.
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Love and Marriage
Music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen
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User Reviews

Mrs. De Groot:
18 December 2008 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Once the show hit its stride, all of the episodes generated their shares of untrammeled laughter and by the third season, things were swinging along easily. It's almost impossible to imagine how the writers could so consistently have come up with absurd situations and barbed exchanges. Neil Simon's joints would have creaked with the effort.

In this story, Al discovers a book, The Little Engine That Could, that he forgot to return to the local library in 1957. The others urge him to do the right thing and bring it back but he's haunted by memories of the fat old librarian, Mrs. De Groot. (The name alone suggests everything we need to know about her!) He has a flashback to one of his encounters with her as a child. He approaches the desk and she sneers down at him and say, "Ahh. Al Bundy -- the Devil Boy." She curses him and promises he'll be a loser all his life.

Thinking she must have retired or passed on by now, Al visits the library intending to turn in the book, only to find that Mrs. De Groot has waited for him all these years. Her desire to humiliate him further has held her together. He owes several thousands of dollars because the book is overdue.

Mrs. De Groot is played perfectly and Al's lines are among his best. She observes that he has become the loser she always predicted he would and Al replies haughtily, "Okay, I'm a shoe salesman. I get up in the morning and already hate myself. I drive to work with hundreds of other drudges and make no money. I don't like my family and they don't respect me. My life has been a complete waste. But, Mrs. De Groot, I'll tell you something. I've never put a gun in my mouth -- and that makes me a WINNER." One of the better entries in the series.

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