"Funny, I'm a shoe salesman, yet I'm not happy to come home."—Al Bundy
|Full Name:||Al Bundy|
|Born:||November 7, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Children:||Kelly Bundy (Daughter)|
Bud Bundy (Son)
Seven (Adopted son)
|Appeared on:||Married with Children|
|Character played by:||Ed O'Neill|
Al Bundy (played by Ed O'Neill) was the husband of Peggy Bundy, father of Kelly and Bud Bundy, and long term women's shoe salesman at Gary's Shoes. Al is known to frequently tell tales of his high school football days, most notably the time he scored four touchdowns in a single game for the 1966 Chicago All City Championship Game; and blaming the outcome of his life on his wife and the Bundy Curse. Al Bundy is also notable for being the founder of NO MA'AM, an anti-feminist organization after he loses his parking spot, and when the local nudie bar was turned into a Coffee House. Al is also notable for his 1971 Dodge, which he has been paying for, for years, never quite owning it outright. The Dodge is said to be a 1971 model; however in Requiem For a Chevyweight, Part I Al is shown to have had the Dodge since high school, which he graduated from in the late 60s.
As the series went on, Al would say how his childhood was very ideal. And unlike now, he would actually eat dinner. Al had a strong relationship with his father. Its shown that he cherishes the memories of him and his father together, as well as the things he inherited from him, such the hammer that was used to build a private room in If Al Had a Hammer or the collection of Playboys his dad left him in Desperately Seeking Miss October. Its also implied that his mother may have been an alcoholic, telling Steve Rhodes in Desperately Seeking Miss October that she would get drunk off of Singapore Slings and then pass out, allowing him and his father to sneak into the basement and look his collection of Playboys, sharing a special father-son moment. After his father's death, Al still tries to talk to him, even seeing him as a ghost in his living room in Desperately Seeking Miss October and hearing his voice from the afterlife when he's about to tear down his room in If Al Had a Hammer. Al had no siblings making him an only child, though he seems to have a few cousins and a couple of aunts and uncles.
As a child, Al had frequented a library but rarely returned books on time, and constantly battled the librarian, Miss DeGroot who belittled him as much as he did her. To try and teach him a lesson, Miss DeGroot agreed to let Al check out one more book, specifically, The Little Engine that Could, which Al in turn, held onto for thirty years before he attempted to return the book unnoticed to avoid paying fines. (MWC: "He Thought He Could")
He attended James K. Polk High School and was considered a top athlete, playing fullback for the football team and earning the nickname "Touchdown Bundy". His jersey number was 33. His greatest achievement in high school was scoring four touchdowns in a single game against Andrew Johnson High at the High School City Championship in 1966. He also scored the most touchdowns in one season for the team, making him the MVP that same year. In the episode, Scared Single, its revealed that he had drilled four holes into the girl's locker room and joked that he didn't even think women had heads for years. In the same episode, he reveals that he actually had a scholarship to play college football, but broke his leg after being tackled. In Al Goes Deep, he confirms the story about a tackle ending his football career, adding that it was Peggy's fault as she had distracted him during the game by shouting at him, even though he had told her not to do it anymore numerous times.
It is implied that he had many women during his high school years, due to him being on the football team, before meeting Margret "Peggy" Wanker and from there, his luck seemed to go downhill. Some of the women have been:
- Connie Bender
- Sandy Jorgenson
- Helen Granowinner (Coco)
- Marylin O'Brien (nee Fisher)
- (Sister) Mary Ignacious
When Al was in high school his mother convinced him to take up a job as a women's shoe salesman, as a temporary job. But later on after he got married and Kelly was born, he was still stuck selling shoes and couldn't find the time to quit.
In various episodes, its implied that Al was forced into marrying Peg at some point after high school. In "Old Insurance Dodge", Peg points out that Al tried to get out of the wedding that day by putting iodine on his face and pretended that he had chickenpox. In "Married...with Aliens", Al mentions that on their wedding day, she had a couple of her uncles hit him in the knees with a baseball bat and then threw him into the truck of their car to get him to the wedding. In other episodes, such "Go for the Old", he attempted use his athletic ability to dash out of the church only to be knocked out by one of Peggy's uncles with the butt of his shotgun and then dragged back as he made it to the exit. In "The Joke's On Al", Ephraim Wanker indicated that he had pointed a shotgun at Al to make sure he married Peg on their wedding day and was doing it again when they renewed their marriage vows. He also indicated in numerous episodes that he was dead drunk when he married Peg. Besides the Wankers, Al's family also attended their wedding, with Al's father trying to flirt with Peg at the reception, telling her "If you like my son, I'm twice as fun"
FamilyEditAl often gives the appearance and the opinion that he cannot stand his family, often making degrading and insulting remarks to them, and threatening physical violence against his wife, Peggy Bundy and his son, Bud Bundy. It has been proven however, on many occasions that he does in fact love and care for his family, and will at times intentionally sacrifice his chance at happiness and success for them.
Al and Peggy met while the two were in high school, and it has been suggested many times that Al was willingly intimate with her and often took her on dates. However, Al has often said that Peggy had an annoying habit of trying to get his attention during the football games while he was on the field, and that on several occasions, injuries were the result. Al also insist that his marriage to Peggy was not entirely willful, something her father, Ephraim Wanker proved true when he drunken mentioned he had once held a shotgun upon Al to force his marriage to Peggy. This was proven when he once more held a shotgun to Al's head to get him to remarry Peggy, the joke being on Al since the gun was never loaded the first time.
He has however shown he loves Peggy, albeit rarely. After all despite everything he has not divorced her, whether this means he cares for her or he just fears her family is not determined. It is hinted that Al does have a weak morality, as he cannot bring himself to commit adultery in the rare cases he is tempted. Also, when tensions rise to the point that Al and Peg have a separation, Al admits he "kind of likes" Peg and his children.
Al seems to value his daughter, Kelly who he usually calls "Pumpkin", even though he seems to wonder just how dumb she can really be almost every time he sees her in every episode. He also seems to either pretend that his daughter isn't promiscuous or just doesn't get the fact that she is, but he is always quick to punch and throw out any boy she brings home, unless he can find a way to exploit him for his own gain. There have been times when he has been mad at her, like in the episode, Calendar Girl, when he found out that she ate his last Hershey's Kiss and as punishment, put her in the Bundy Will, meaning she will now be stuck with all his debts, to which she screams out "No! Daddy! NOOOO!!!" or in The Gas Station Show, when he chokes her for leaving the car brakes on when the rest of the family had to push the car to the gas station. Other times, he jokes about her stupidity with Bud, or tries to tease her, such as when she went insane from the Peruvian Stinging Beetles in Scared Single, joking that its cute that he "used to call her pumpkin, and now she is one" after she becomes unresponsive to his call.
But overall, it is shown that he truly loves his daughter and will do his fatherly duty to protect her and make her happy.
As the next male heir in the Bundy family, Al seems to value his son for his intelligence more than his athletic ability or his skill with women, both of which he seems to lack in comparison to his father. Both of them seem to have similar interests, such as going to the nudie bar, doing a panty raid and reading Big'Uns or Playboy and on some occasions, even participate in those activities together. Both of them end up getting a job they hate that involves dealing with people (Al with the shoe store and Bud working for the DMV in the later seasons) But unlike Al and the rest of the family, he does manage to go to and graduate from college and has been known to use his higher level of intelligence to blackmail his father.
Though, most notably in the early season, he would often snitch to Al about Kelly's failing grades or her whereabouts at night, believing that Al was the man of the house and as men, they would need to stick together. Still, Al is usually willing to show he'll discipline him by threatening to give him "Five across the eyes" (in other words, slapping him across the face with the back of his hand) whenever he's done something enough to upset him.
Al has said that he wanted someone with more athletic ability, like Aaron Mitchell or with better business skill, like Little Floyd, to be the son he always wanted. On the other hand, Bud has sometimes said he isn't related to Al in order to avoid being embarrassed by him, stating that he's actually adopted or Al is just some random guy he just happens to know. Also, unlike his father, he seems lack the ability to get as many women as Al did back in high school, but Bud had better chance getting women now since he is in college and scored with them, Al usually fantasizes or leer at hot women a lot, but Bud had better chances getting hot women in bed that Al does, often making him the butt of jokes and Al even tells Jefferson that he'll never be able to pass on the Bundy name at the rate he is going. But, Bud will use his intelligence to make up for his lack of sex appeal and hatch up a plan in order to get girls, such as creating a fake persona (Grandmaster B) but it did work for some time, go skydiving, creating a fraternity or going on a game show (he was successful after getting rejected by Candy Lipinski since hot women want him bad), though in the end,one thing backfire was the skydiving.
Still, there have been plenty of moments when Al has been proud of him, such as when he gets into his first bar fight at the nudie bar, when he learns to run a lemonade stand in the middle of winter, when he was chosen to go to the White House or when he successfully blackmailed Al by getting him placed under house arrest.
Overall, it is shown that Al is proud of Bud for being intelligent and doing something more with his life.
Al and Marcy do not get along. Marcy holds neo-feminist values while Al feels that a woman's place is in the home, making dinner for her working husband (which he, comically, doesn't get in his own household). Through the years, Marcy and Al have had battles to try and one-up the other. One highlight of the constant struggle between Al and Marcy is the episode "NO MA'AM"; in which Al starts an anti-feminist group in order to fight, what he feels, is the growing number of people and places that support ideas like those of Marcy. The Jiggly Room is turned into a coffee house and his usual bowling night is replaced by Ladies' Night at the local bowling alley. All this proves to be too much for Al and he, and his associates, hold 'The Masculine Feminist' Jerry Springer hostage. Marcy shows up and reveals Al's identity to the world and has him arrested. Despite all these incidents between Al and Marcy, there is a strange sort of affection that Al feels for Marcy. When she's really low, he has been there to help her, such as when her first husband Steve Rhodes left her and he helped comfort her. And, despite all the snarky comments Marcy makes to Al, she has even been attracted to him on a few occasions, a good example being the episode, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Al and Marcy have also found commonality on the fact that they are the main breadwinners, and occasionally express resentment to each other to support loafing spouses.
- Throughout most of the show, Al wore the same light blue dress shirt, reddish-brown tie and blue-grey dress pants to work (or a very minor variation of it). In Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?, he starts to fully dress up in a black suit and white pinstriped shirt with black suspenders for a while, before realizing that he really doesn't need to dress up anymore. In the last few seasons, it was shown that wore other shrits to work briefly (such as a green dress shirt with a red tie and brown slacks), but eventually went back to his original fashion.
- His favorite food is Weenie Tots, claiming that they're "nature's perfect food". He even becomes excited when he has a chance to see the Weenie Tots factory in Weenie Tot Lovers & Other Strangers and when he's about to become the father-in-law of Lionel Tot, one of the heirs to Tot Industries (makers of Weenie Tots).
- His favorite show is "Psycho Dad".
- His favorite movie is "Hondo, though he missed it when it is shown on TV because of Peggy's family in season 2's All in the Family or when he was stuck inside a store in Assault and Batteries. Al holds the film in very high esteem, once telling Peggy's family members, "Your lives are meaningless compared to 'Hondo'!".
- Another favorite movie of his is Shane, which he had also missed when it was on TV because of Peggy's family.
- He was once (during a dream sequence involving Pamela Anderson) called "Al Hercules Bundy!", but it is not confirmed if that is really his middle name.
- His hobbies include fishing and bowling, which have been a major theme in a number of episodes.
- He, along with Bud, enjoys reading Big'Uns magazine, though in the early seasons, he specifically mentions reading Playboy, stating that he started collecting them with his dad at the age of 12 and even meets Playmate Brandi Brandt at his shoe store in Desperately Seeking Miss October.
- In "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?", its revealed that Al wears white Hanes underwear, size 34
- His favorite toilet is a Ferguson, referring to it as "the Stratovari of toilets" while his favorite toilet paper is "Aurora White"
- In Rites of Passage, Al mentions that his father took him to the Nudie Bar when he turned 18, just as his father's father Jebidah Bundy did for him and now Al was going to take Bud there, claiming that "throughout history, all male Bundys and looking at hooters that don't belong to them go hand in hand"
- His favorite songs are "Anna (Go to Him) " by Arthur Alexander, which was the song he struggled to find the name of in the episode, Oldies But Young 'Uns and "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler.
- His least favorite song is "Honey (I Miss You)" by Bobby Goldsboro, which Peggy points out season 1's Thinnergy and uses it to torture him. Al makes reference to the song again in season 5's Oldies But Young 'Uns, referring to it as "Bobby Goldsboro's musical sphincter lock known as 'Honey'".
- He was named 'Rookie Shoe Salesman of the Year' in 1968.