… lived like a king by today’s standards.
Readers over a certain age will remember the house above as the one used for exterior shots of the house from the Fox sitcom Married… with Children. The series chronicled the life and times of Al Bundy, a shoe salesman going through the motions of life with his best days left far behind him on the high school football field.
Mind you, this was a man who owned a three-bedroom house in a Chicago suburb. His car was notoriously uncool, but he owned it outright. And as the show’s title suggests, he had a wife and two kids.
It’s instructive, looking back these years later, to examine what it was about Al’s situation that made him a loser by the standards of his time. Al’s first demerit was his profession. He sold women’s shoes at the local mall for what we’re given to understand was a pittance.
True, by the 80s, retail work had fallen out of respectability. Being a middle-aged shoe salesman was definitely a strike against you in polite society. But what the writers couldn’t have foreseen was that showing a man raising a family and owning a home on a single retail wage is an even bigger joke today.
If you frequent this blog, you’re probably aware that younger generations find themselves in dire financial straits. Gen Y and the Millennials have seen their net worth plummet by 35% since 1995, exacerbated by crippling debt. The prospect of owning a home, much less one as grand as Al Bundy’s, seems like a pipe dream to them.
This is why they can never pull off a successful Married… with Children remake. It is impossible to make a homeowner with a family look like a loser to Millennials and Zoomers. A Millennial as low on the totem pole as Al Bundy was in 1987 would be squatting alone in a derelict Chevy Astro. Calling that show Married… with Children would be brazen false advertising.
That brings us to the other source of Al Bundy’s woes: his family. Al’s wife was a venal, bonbon-chomping shrew that had more respect for their dog and emasculated him at every turn. Their daughter was a vacuous slut, and their son was a shiftless lowlife well on his way to career in petty crime.
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