Tv Throwdown Al Bundy Vs
If Homer Simpson had a human equivalent, it would probably be Al Bundy, from Married... With Children.
A belching, privates-scratching, nudie-mag-loving shoe salesman, Bundy was made famous by Ed O'Neill.
So, when O'Neill returned to the small screen last fall to portray Jay Pritchett in the new hit comedy Modern Family, we were excited to see another O'Neill take on family life. And so far, we haven't been disappointed.
But how do the two dads (and their families) compare? Well, nobody is a worse husband and father than Al Bundy, so there's no contest there. Instead, we'll measure the two characters by their comedic endeavors.
Points scored are for being funnier, not more skilled.
With no job, no cooking skills and no ambition, Peggy Bundy was about as useless a homemaker as they come. She spent most of her days smoking, watching daytime television and eating bon bons. At night, she spent her time trying to get Al into the bedroom, which repulsed him, and served as a long-running joke on the show.
Jay recently re-married, scoring a hot Columbian wife that's half his age. There are often bungled cultural misunderstandings between the two, and they bicker over Gloria's son, Manny, and her ex-husband, Javier. But generally, they get along.
Al and Peggy's contentious relationships is one of the funniest in TV history. Al scores in this round.
Al's children were definitely a product of their environment. Bud (named after Al's favorite beer, Budweiser) was the smartest Bundy, but couldn't get a date to save his life. Kelly, a promiscuous blonde bimbo, was often the butt of jokes for her incredible stupidity. Even the dog made fun of her!
Jay's offspring include his adult son, Mitchell (a gay lawyer), and daughter, Claire, (a stay-at-home mom to three kids), and young step-son, Manny. Jay has a much more complex situation on his hands, one that's ripe for confrontations, misunderstandings and wry humor. (To his son, Mitchell: 'You're not mad at me. You're mad at the old balls and chain.')
And that's just for starters. Jay wins this round.
Al Bundy's modest home is filled with worn, outdated furnishings. Al's most prized possessions seem to be (in no particular order): His Dodge Dart; the dated floral couch, upon which he is constantly perched; and his Big 'Uns magazines.
Jay is a picture of modern success, with a sprawling home and luxurious pool, and any extravagance that money can buy.
Although Jay's somewhat unhealthy obsession with his human-sized 'dog butler' has been a source of contention between him and his wife, it was only good for one episode of laughs.
Al's hovel -- in which a dusty M&M is often pulled from under the fridge and considered dinner -- is hard to forget, and built for comedy.
EXPRESSION OF FEELINGS
Both men are former football players and 'men's men.' Neither is all that touchy-feely.
Al spent most of his time insulting his family with barbs including, 'I work in a shoe store, I make less than minimum wage and yet I'm not happy to be home.' Even so, Al always stood up for his family to outsiders -- especially Kelly. He often beat up her boyfriends or men that disrespected her.
Jay shows his softer side by throwing sleepovers for his grandchildren, where he cooks them Sloppy Jays and they all watch western movies together. But a more typical scene involves him craftily slamming his family members. He doesn't resort to outright humiliation, like Al.
Al's insults were always funny, but could get monotonous. Jay's digs are much more subtle, and his large, diverse family has more depth, presenting the potential for different blunders for years to come.
Jay has been mistaken for Gloria's father on a few occasions, which has got to be totally embarrassing. To be fair, his old-man velour sweatsuits aren't helping his case.
Al is years younger than Jay and has more hair. However, Al is known for his terrible body odor, nasty feet and for constantly having his hand down his pants when he watches TV. Why Peggy even wants to have sex with him is beyond us.
So, while Jay's marital situation will make for endless jokes, it's not unusual enough to overcome Al's slovenly hygiene, scoring Bundy the final point in this competition.
Bottom line: Al squeaks by with the win, but just barely. While we are more amused overall by the clever writing on Modern Family, Al Bundy, as a character, was more ridiculous than Jay. (In fact, we'd love to see how Jay would handle someone like Al as a son-in-law.)