This "Married… with Children" Star Just Slammed the Hit Sitcom
Amanda Bearse, who played Marcy D'Arcy, understands why some want to "cancel" the show.
You won't find this former sitcom star defending her old show. From 1987 to 1997, Amanda Bearse appeared on Married… with Children as Marcy Rhoades, and later Marcy D'Arcy. She was a neighbor of the Bundy family and often got into disagreements with patriarch Al (Ed O'Neill). And while Bearse now credits the show with launching her career behind the camera, she isn't full of praise for the series itself. In a new interview, the actor said she understands why some may want to "cancel" the show from TV history. Read on to find out why.
Bearse called the show "misogynistic."
In a recent interview with Page Six, Bearse said she understands why Married… with Children would be reevaluated and given more scrutiny today.
"It was a very misogynist show," she said. "To me, there were some episodes and storylines that I really wasn't a fan of … there is a bit of cancel culture around it, which to me is not inappropriate."
Much of the humor on Married… with Children came from its depiction of Al's anti-feminism and his wife Peg's (Katey Sagal) laziness and nagging. Jokes included jabs at Christina Applegate's stereotypical "dumb blonde" character Kelly and Al's discomfort with men he perceived as gay or effeminate.
Even at the time it originally aired, some found the show too raunchy and offensive. A woman named Terry Rakolta made headlines for attempting to lead a boycott of the show and trying to persuade its advertisers to back out early into its run.
She's also said that its comedy is "mean-spirited."
This isn't the first time Bearse has criticized Married with… Children.
"It was a mean-spirited and misogynist show," she told News Corp Australia in 2018. "It was just so completely inappropriate. Today I don't think the show would be produced because it's so globally offensive. Even then it wasn't everybody's cup of tea but for some reason it's had this amazing longevity."
She added that, despite her misgivings about she did have an attachment to her character, who was often Al's antagonist. "I loved Marcy, she was near and dear to me, she became more complicated and then less complicated as all the characters did as time went on," Bearse said. "It became full-on ludicrous. But I have great affection for her and I really appreciate a lot of the writing that went her way. Hers was a different voice than any of the others on the show."
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Another star spoke out about the show's depiction of women.
Bearse isn't alone in her thoughts about the series when it comes to the cast. In 2017, Sagal also condemned Married… with Children for its problematic take on gender. She acknowledged that it was meant to be satire, but the issue was, many viewers took it at face value.
"It was a very misogynistic show," she told Build Series. "And it was when I really clearly understood that my job as an actor was to interpret the material. It's not necessarily my belief system … Women were portrayed completely, like, exploited on that show. That was part of Al Bundy's thing. He liked hot women and they showed 'em all the time."
She continued, "If you're asking me, do I think that women should be portrayed in a misogynistic way, in an exploited way? Of course, I don't think that. But playing Peg had nothing to do with what I thought. That was my job."
Bearse is grateful for the show, regardless.
Even though she doesn't entirely approve of its content, Bearse is thankful for Married… with Children because of what it did for her career. She told Page Six she is "very grateful for that show for many reasons—mostly because it gave me my second career."
Bearse transitioned to directing while she was still on the series, of which she directed 31 episodes. She went on to direct many other TV shows, including The Jamie Foxx Show, Dharma & Greg, and Reba. She still acts occasionally, including in the new rom-com Bros.