‘Married…With Children’ Cast Sent Gifts to Their Biggest Critic

Married…with Children is considered an iconic TV show. The sitcom featuring the dysfunctional Bundy family became a main staple of the Fox Network. Throughout the series’ 11-season run, audiences tuned in to see what trouble the Bundys found themselves in. Although the comedy was a hit with fans, it did have its critics. The cast and crew found the best way to deal with negative feedback was to reply with kindness.

The cast of 'Married...with Children' post for a photo backstage at the 1989 HBO special 'Comic Relief.'
Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Amanda Bearse and David Garrison I Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Terry Rakolta boycotted ‘Married…with Children’

Married…with Children was in Season 3 when “Her Cups Runneth Over” premiered in January 1989. The plot had Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) and neighbor Steve Rhoades (David Garrison) visiting a lingerie shop to purchase a bra for Peg Bundy’s (Katey Sagal) birthday. The episode was raunchy and included scenes of scantily clad women in the store.

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On the night of the episode’s premiere, Michigan housewife Terry Rakolta tuned to watch the show with her kids. Rakolta was appalled by the vulgarness and embarked on a campaign to boycott the show. Rakolta’s boycott made headline news and brought attention to the Fox sitcom, but not in the way she hoped.

The show’s cast and crew sent flowers to Terry Rakolta

Although Rakolta’s campaign did tone down some of the show’s raunchiness, it did little to affect ratings. Married…with Children‘s popularity grew following the controversy, and the Bundys became America’s favorite TV family. The show ran for 11 seasons before airing its final episode in June 1997.

However, the cast and crew never forgot about Rakolta, who helped with the show’s success. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sagal revealed the show sent Rakolta gifts. “We sent her flowers every year. She tried to get us off the air, and all it did was get us on the front of The New York Times. And it doubled our audience,” Sagal explained.

Would the show be successful in today’s society?

Married…with Children was ahead of its time. One of the reasons for the show’s popularity was the characters’ speaking their minds, no matter how offensive they were. Yet, fans can’t help but wonder how the show would fare in today’s society.

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In a Reddit thread, fans debated on the topic. Although many commenters believe, Married…with Children wouldn’t survive in today’s world with its edgy content; other fans were quick with a rebuttal. “TV is way more edgy now than it was in the 90s,” wrote one user. Meanwhile, another fan chimed in with, “There are a ton of TV shows that do humor much more offensive than this.”

The debate is still ongoing, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Married…with Children‘s impact on television. No matter how controversial, the sitcom is still as popular today as it was during its heyday.