Married... with Children is an American television sitcom that aired on Fox, created by Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt. Originally broadcast from April 5, 1987 to June 9, 1997, it is the longest-lasting live-action sitcom on Fox and the first to be broadcast in the network's primetime programming slot.
The show follows the suburbanChicago lives of Al Bundy, a once glorious high school football player turned hard-luck women's shoe salesman; his lazy wife, Peggy; their attractive, dumb, and popular daughter, Kelly; and their smart, horny, and unpopular son, Bud. Their neighbors are the upwardly mobile Steve Rhoades and his feminist wife Marcy, who later gets remarried to Jefferson D'Arcy, a white-collar criminal who becomes her "trophy husband" and Al's sidekick. Most storylines involve Al's schemes being foiled by his own cartoonish dim wit and bad luck.
Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill)—the misanthropic head of the Bundy household; afflicted by the "Bundy curse" that consigns him to an unrewarding career selling women's shoes and a life with a family that mocks and disrespects him, but who still enjoys the simple things in life. He constantly attempts to relive his high-school Big Man On Campus days, when he was the "All State Fullback". His most noted achievement was having scored four touchdowns in a single game for Polk High. His favorite things in life are the local nudie bar, his collection of BigUns magazine, his television, his Dodge car with almost 1 million mi (1.6 million km) on the odometer, and a television show called Psycho Dad. Despite his family's contempt for him, and his for them, Al is always ready to defend Bundy honor (often with his fists), and he is fiercely protective of daughter Kelly, his "little girl" who rarely had a boyfriend Al did not beat up.
Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal)—Al's wife who is always on his case about money and refuses to clean or cook. She is a lazy, big-haired redhead who spends most of her time parked in front of the TV watching talk shows such as Oprah or robbing Al blind to go shopping; a famously inattentive mother and nagging wife who uses every opportunity to humiliate Al about his job, his meager earnings, and even sexual abilities. Her careless spending on things like clothes and going to male strip clubs have run Al into debt on numerous occasions. A recurring joke in the series is Al's regret of having married Peggy in the first place; the union was forced on him at shotgun-point. Peggy's best friend is Marcy, with whom she occasionally conspires against Al. Her family is a stereotypical backwoods clan of degenerates whom she often forces the other Bundys to endure, especially her morbidly obese mother, whom Al finds intolerable.
Kelly Bundy (Christina Applegate)—the Bundys' firstborn; a stereotypical dumb blonde who is often derided as promiscuous and dates men who get under Al's skin to the point of him physically assaulting them. Her stupidity manifests in many ways, from forgetting ideas on the spot to mispronouncing or misspelling simple words. Like her mother, she is quick to steal Al's money for expensive things. Her favorite hobby is belittling her lonely and sexless brother, though she stands up for him against anyone outside the family.
Bud Bundy (David Faustino)—the younger Bundy offspring, and the most intelligent family member; the first Bundy to attend college. His awkwardness and preoccupation with sex leads to inevitable failures with women. To improve his success with girls, Bud often uses his alternate persona, "Grandmaster B", a bad-boy rapper from New York City. When using the "Grandmaster B" persona, Bud usually wears dark sunglasses and a backward Los Angeles Raiders hat. His mistreatment at the hands of Kelly is returned in kind, making jokes at her expense regarding her promiscuity and stupidity, and tricking her into mixing up TV shows with novels; but when she is in a legitimate bind, Bud will stand up for her, much like Kelly does for him under similar circumstances.
Marcy Rhoades D'Arcy (Amanda Bearse)—the Bundys' next-door neighbor; Peggy's best friend and Al's nemesis; an educated banker, but also a feminist and environmentalist who often protests Al's schemes with his NO MA'AM (National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood) group. Ironically, she is just as chauvinistic as Al and the founder and leader of an anti-man support group called "FANG" (Feminists Against Neanderthal Guys). Despite her political correctness and structured life, Marcy harbors a dark, somewhat sexually deviant side, which comes up when she reminisces over events in her past. Al is repulsed by Marcy and frequently belittles her, likening her to a chicken, and mockingly confusing her for an adolescent male. At the outset of the show, Marcy is married to Steve Rhoades. After Steve is written off the show during the fourth season, he is replaced by Jefferson D'Arcy.
Steve Rhoades (David Garrison) is Marcy's first husband, a nerdy banker who is dragged into Al's schemes, such as going to strip clubs, chasing after girls, watching sports when Marcy disapproves, and reading pornographic magazines. Steve's most prized possession is his Mercedes Benz, which he does not even let Marcy drive. Growing increasingly tired of Marcy's controlling behavior, Steve eventually leaves her during the fourth season to become a forest ranger at Yosemite National Park. He comes back in "The Egg and I" to try and reclaim his old life with Marcy, but finds trouble with Jefferson. Steve later has another job as the dean of Bud's college, after blackmailing the previous one he worked under as a chauffeur.
Jefferson D'Arcy (Ted McGinley), a pretty-boy scam artist to whom Marcy wakes up one morning and discovers she is married. Unlike Steve, Jefferson is an unemployed, lazy dimwit who takes advantage of Marcy. When he gets caught, he distracts her by working his pretty-boy charm and resorting to sexual bartering. Steve and Jefferson do not like each other for personal reasons. In several episodes, Jefferson is implied to have had a past life as a former spy/CIA operative.
It is never explained how Peggy was able to go to high school in Chicago when she lived in Wisconsin. While the audience is aware that Al's father died years ago, his mother's whereabouts are never mentioned or acknowledged. She is only heard once during the season one episode "Nightmare On Al's Street". Peggy calls her briefly on the phone, because she promised to invite her for summer the next time Al was "right about anything".
Buck (portrayed by Buck Bundy, originally named "Mike", voiced by Cheech Marin, Kevin Curran, and Kim Weiskopf) — the Bundys' wisecracking dog, that insults his family and is punished upon his death by being reincarnated as Lucky, the dog the Bundys acquire to replace Buck.
Gary (portrayed by Janet Carroll), owner of the women's shoe store where Al works. Appeared in 7 episodes from 1994 to 1997.