Married... With Children

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Married... With Children TV Poster Image
The Bundys are still outrageous. Teens and up.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show presents a wide array of inappropriate and anti-social behavior, including lying, cheating, swindling, and more. None of these actions are intended to be cruel -- just a way of "getting ahead" (which is iffy in its own right). References to women and women's body parts are often sexist. At the end of the day, though, the Bundys, despite their dysfunctional behavior, clearly care about each other.

Violence

Occasional pushing, shoving, and hitting of peripheral characters. But no real harm occurs.

Sex

Strong references to sexual behavior, including masturbation. Peg is always badgering Al to have sex with her. No graphic presentations of sex, but some female characters (particularly Kelly) are usually in tight, revealing outfits. Bud is constantly on the make.

Language

"Hell," damn," "crap," plus crude words used to describe body parts -- particularly breasts ("hooters" and "jugs"). Plenty of insults and put-downs traded between characters.

Consumerism

Peg is materialistic, but no brand-name products are shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent references to alcohol, especially beer. Early seasons feature Peggy smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this show -- which was purposely designed to test the boundaries of network primetime TV -- mines adult themes for laughs; caution is recommended when allowing tweens and young teens to watch. References to sexual behavior (including masturbation) fly fast and furiously, there are crude references to body parts and homosexuality, and characters constantly insult and belittle each other. All of that said, hidden under the insults and tight clothes is a nuclear family that cares about each other.

Wondering if Married... With Children is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydvdgirl April 28, 2020

funny

a show about a family that's not all there and I like it.
Adult Written byRonjasMom October 3, 2019

Sexist and damaging

Being allowed to watch this as a child warped my view of male/female relationships. This is not "someone said a bad word" or "someone had sex.... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMintychan April 9, 2020

Why make a teen character a skank

Honestly I believe that no one should watch this considering all the times they made a teen woman gamble when she’s not legal for such deed
Teen, 14 years old Written byWooba December 31, 2019

Funny but don’t show it to impressionable children - the family role models aren’t that good.

I have only watched the first couple of seasons, and apparently it gets much worse later. But so far it has been very funny, with humour that is somehow vulgar... Continue reading

What's the story?

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN -- which has the distinction of being the very first original primetime show to air on the Fox network -- is a sitcom that puts a unique twist on the idea of "family values" by celebrating the Bundys, a significantly flawed working-class nuclear family from Chicago. Lazy, unlucky shoe salesman Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill) heads up the family; his college football career was cut short when he was forced to marry tacky, undereducated girlfriend Peggy (Katey Sagal) after knocking her up. Their sexed-up teenage daughter, Kelly (Christina Applegate), personifies the "blonde bimbo" stereotype; younger brother Bud (David Faustino) is an intelligent young man who repels girls. Peggy, Kelly, and Bud often get roped into Al's efforts to achieve fame and fortune by participating in half-witted schemes that usually fail -- and they're always the first to tell him "I told you so." Rounding out the crew are Yuppie neighbor Marcy and Steve Rhoades (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison, who was later replaced by Ted McGinley as Marcy's second husband, Jefferson).

Is it any good?

Meant to serve as a critique of the perfect, unrealistic families often seen on network TV, Married... With Children constantly pushes the envelope with its bathroom humor and over-the-top sexual innuendo. Al's sexist references to "hooters," demeaning homosexual stereotypes, and allusions to masturbation are comedic staples throughout the series -- as is Peggy's non-stop whining about never getting any sex from Al. The Bundys are also are constant schemers and don't hesitate to take advantage of each other if it helps them get ahead.

But even though the show comes across as being anti-"family values" on the surface, it actually supports the idea of a family that, while seriously flawed, cares deeply about each other. Al is vocal about "liking his family," while Peggy is very clear about the love she feels for her husband. The kids, while often embarrassed by their father, are always there to support him when it counts, and both siblings defend each other against others despite their constant rivalry. As a result, while the Bundys may not be perfect, the importance and strength of family is a strong theme throughout the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their own flaws and strengths. While no family is perfect, what are the great things about your family? What are some of the talents your family members have? Families can also talk about the inappropriateness of stereotypes and sexist references. What are people really saying when they use stereotypes to describe a person? Parents and teens can also talk about the Bundys' relationships. Why do they resort to name-calling and insults so often? How can you tell that they really do care about each other?

TV details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate