Pilot was the first episode of Season 1 of the FOX TV series Married... with Children, as well as the 1st overall episode. Written by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye, the episode was directed by Linda Day. It first aired on FOX on April 5, 1987.


A down-on-his-luck shoe salesman named Al Bundy, unhappily married with two children, is forced to choose between going to a basketball game or joining his lazy wife, Peg, in meeting their new neighbors, Steve and Marcy Rhoades.

Full episode summaryEdit

Peggy Bundy is sitting at the kitchen table cutting out newspaper clippings when Kelly Bundy crosses the kitchen and sits down on the couch in the living room to do her homework. Behind her her brother Bud Bundy jumps out of a pot plant, grabs her hair and pulls her head back. She tells him to let go of her hair but he pretends to slit her throat with a rubber knife, saying "Die, commie bimbo!" Peggy looks them and tells Bud to cut it out, as it has had a bad effect on his grandma and no one thinks it's funny.

She then tells them to go to school as they hear the school bus honk and they leave. Al Bundy walks down the stairs with a bandaid on his palm, carrying a little cactus, and asks Peggy if there is a reason why she put the cactus where the alarm clock used to be. She tells him she thought it would dress up the room and then apologizes, as she realizes she forgot to tell him to be careful before slamming his hand on it in the morning. He tells her it's okay since he stopped the bleeding with her slip and asks where the kids are, while crossing to the fridge.

She tells him they already left and that Bud has Show'n'Tell at school that day with the subject "What does daddy do?" so if the beer and the remote control appear missing that night, that's where they are. Al frowns and says that he hopes Bud will bring them back because the Bulls are playing on TV to which Peggy responds with faked enthusiasm. Al sarcastically claims that it might not be as exciting as her "Cooking with Clyde the Cajun" show but that it gives him a reason to come home.

He then opens the fridge to look for food when Peggy asks him to close it again because she is getting a draft. Annoyed, he jokes he'll just look for food in the dishwasher. He sits down next to her and notes that they are out of juice and asks Peggy sarcastically if she has a job, as she claims she didn't have time to buy any. She remarks that the housework she does for him should probably be considered more an adventure than a job and that he could buy juice on the way home from work.

He asks her if there's anything else he can do to make her life easier to which she says he could shave his back but he claims the hair is there to keep her off of him at night. Noticing the growing tension, she pats his hand and asks him not to start a fight since they were having a nice morning. He apologizes but complains that he has no food to get him through his hard day of work. She acknowledges that it's her fault and promises him there will be food when he gets home to which he adds "and juice."

She agrees and puts the cactus on the coffee table, noticing the plate of food Kelly left behind. Annoyed, she gives the food to Buck, the dog, so it doesn't go to waste, oblivious to the fact that Al would have gladly taken it. She proceeds to wish him a nice day and walks upstairs. Al gets up and tells the dog that there better be juice when he gets home.

At the shoe store a young boy named Arnold knocks a rack of shoes off the shelf and runs around the store. He then sits down by the side of his mother Nancy, a heavy-set woman, who claims that she is a size 7 and has been since high school. Al desperately tries to convince her that she is actually a size 9 but fails to do so without making snarky comments on her weight, while Arnold starts hammering an expensive shoe on the floor. He asks her to tell him to stop to which she points out that his ad reads "courteous service" but he sarcastically replies that it was the former owner's ad who died when a size 9 exploded in his face. Nancy gets up angrily, takes her son and leaves.

At the same time Luke Ventura, Al's co-worker, enters the store and asks him if he can have another lunch break despite just finishing his, which he actually spent sleeping with a woman. Al asks him how he can be happy sleeping with every woman he meets and Luke tells him he doesn't know but he is. Al then tries to list all the benefits that come with having a wife and kids but can't come up with much, while Luke notices an attractive blonde customer named Tawny and tells Al that that is heaven on earth and approaches her before escorting her to a nearby chair.
Meanwhile an older, less attractive woman asks Al for help. He guesses her size to be 7, as in his experience all women claim to be sevens.

On his way to the stock room, Al stops to look at Luke flattering Tawny, who then tells her that Al is married, causing them both to laugh at him. Luke then gets up and asks Al if he wants to go to the Bulls-Lakers game that night, as he has an extra ticket, and teases him whether he's sure his wife will let him go, but Al tells him that no woman tells him what to do. In that moment, the woman he was serving gets his attention and tells him to get her shoes, which Al submits to.

Back at home, Peggy is lying on the couch smoking, eating chocolates and watching daytime TV. When she hears Al's car pull up, she quickly turns off the TV, puts out her cigarette, and turns on the vacuum cleaner, sucking up all the cigarette butts and candy wrappers off the table. She hides the box of chocolates behind a pillow and continues to pretend to be cleaning when Al walks in, looking skeptical at her attempt to make him believe she actually worked.

Nevertheless, he asks her if she's working hard to which she says yes and turns off the vacuum. He walks over to the TV to feel it's still warm, sarcastically noting that she must've had a hard day, since even the TV is sweating.

Testing her, he tells her to get him some juice. Peggy stops arranging the magazines on the coffee table and looks guilty, realizing that's what she forgot to do. Al nods having already expected that answer and tells her that it's not important and that she doesn't even have to make him dinner because he is going to the ballgame that night.

He gives her a peck on the cheek and heads for the door but Peggy stops him saying that he is not going to the game. He turns around and explains to her that since he works all day he needs to have fun at night but she insists he can't go because she invited company over. Staggered he asks who would want to come over to their house. Peggy explains to him that she invited the honeymoon couple that moved next door because they have no friends and neither do Al and Peggy, despite having lived there for 15 years. She insists that she wants to make friends because she gets bored when it's just her and Al at night and that she's only asking for one night of company.

When he tells her again that he's going to the game, she reminds him that their bank accounts are in both of their names and the stores are still open, causing him to give in and sit down on the couch next to her. Visibly annoyed, he asks her again why she didn't get him juice.

A little later, they are still sitting on the couch. Peggy is looking at her nails and kicking her leg. Irritated by her leg's motion Al puts his hand on it to stop it and asks if the kids are gone. She tells him that they are but that they will be back. He tells her he can't believe she invited people over, as he hates company. She demands he think about her for once, as she is home all day alone contrary to him who is around people all the time and that she needs some fun too.
He sarcastically responds that selling women's shoes might seem like fun but is really not different from any other "minimum-wage-paying slow death".

Bud enters through the front door and asks Al for five dollars, which Al says he had to earn money himself when he was young, so Bud asks him if he wants to know who Kelly was with that afternoon and sticks out his hand, making Al into give him the money. Bud tells him that she went out with a guy named Cobra, who has a sore on his mouth, so Al gives him another bill and tells him he did a good job. Bud heads out, telling Al that he is going to the Lakers game that night because Peggy said it was okay. Al looks at her when she tells him Bud really wanted to go and angrily slaps his hand on the couch.

Kelly enters through the garage door and asks Al for ten dollars. He asks her who she was with that day, listing a couple names including Cobra with a sore on his mouth, which Kelly explains to him, he only has because he fell asleep with a cigar in his mouth. She sticks her hand out and Peggy tells him he has to give her money too, as he gave some to Bud before. Unwilling, he hands Kelly the money and asks Peggy if she finds it acceptable that their daughter is going out with a guy named Cobra but Peggy tries to comfort him, telling him that his real name is Stanley, she met him and he is a nice boy.
They hear the horn of Cobra's van outside, which Kelly points out as the reason she fell in love with him and leaves.

Peggy nudges Al and tells him they must have done something right, since they raised two great kids but he dismisses her comment, implying that he was just thinking of killing himself. She sarcastically remarks "Not tonight, honey. We have company coming over," before Al gets up to turn the TV on and watch the pregame show. However, she stops him, as every time they have company he watches TV and separates himself and she doesn't want that to happen again.

The doorbell rings and Peggy tells him that that must be their neighbors Steve and Marcy Rhoades so he shouldn't make any snide comments or eat or drink in case they have to use the bathroom after him. He tells her that he will hate them but Peggy insists annoyed that they are very nice and tells him to open the door after the bell rings repeatedly.

Al walks to the door and lets them in, before Peggy offers them to sit on the couch. She admits that she doesn't have anything to serve them, to which Al adds that if they need anything, they can go to the store and get him some juice while they're there.

Peggy laughs it off as a joke and tells them Al is just upset she didn't have time to go shopping to which Marcy replies that her and Steve share their chores. Al sarcastically congratulates him and asks him who he thinks will win the NBA championship but Steve tells him that, since Marcy doesn't like sports, they have decided not to watch it anymore, nor expose their kid to it if they decide to have one. Al jokingly asks if they plan on neutering it too. Ignoring his comment, Steve asks if they have kids themselves.

Changing the topic, Al asks them how long they've been married, so Steve tells them they've been married for two months, to which Peggy replies that her and Al have been married for 15 years. When Marcy asks about their secret, Peggy tells her they don't have one other than being considerate and accepting each other for what you are without pointing out the flaws, for which they give explicit examples, leaving the Rhoades startled.

Peggy then gets up to make coffee and is joined by Marcy. Steve wants to help too but Al holds him on the couch to share his wisdom about women.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, after Marcy notices the big amount of coffee Peggy puts into the cups, she explains to her that those are for the men, as you will only get what you ask them for if you do some damage to their internal organs. Marcy objects, saying Steve has been the ideal husband so far but Peggy points out that she is letting him slip away by letting him have fun alone because otherwise there would be no reason he is staying up later than her. Nervously, Marcy starts adding tap water to Steve's cup like Peggy asked her to.

Back on the couch Al convinces Steve to watch sports with him, since he used to love sports. Steve gives in, turns the TV on and puts his hands down his pants like Al does. Marcy admits to Peggy that he has been getting up earlier than her too, so Peggy tells her to get PMS, as they walk back into the living room and hand the men their coffee.

Taking a sip Steve nearly chokes on it, while Al, used to the taste, sips it appreciatively. Marcy notices the TV and looks at Steve in horror, as they had agreed on no sports but Steve shushes her. She sits down and demands Steve to tell her what he does late at night without her, while kicking her leg like Peggy does.

Nearly making a snide comment as Al would, he gives him a look, then looks back at Marcy and tells her he just thinks about how much he loves her and that he is going to the game with Al the following week. However, Marcy tells him that her mother is coming over, to which he sarcastically jokes if she is going to teach Marcy how to bury him like she did her husbands.

Aghast, she questions if he is implying their suicides were her mother's fault. When he just stares at her, she suggests she just move in with her, to which Steve remarks that he can go to bed at a normal hour then.
Marcy looks at Peggy for help, who gives her an encouraging look, then gets up and orders him to come home with her to redefine their relationship. Steve agrees and tells Al he will see him at the game, as Marcy tells Peggy they will be spending a lot of time together.

As Steve and Marcy cross the room and argue out the door, Peggy gets up and sits next to Al, who puts his arm around her, remarking that it's going to be rough for them. Peggy nods and adds that it was rough for her and Al too but they made it. Al then suggests they go out to eat sometime since they haven't done so in a while.

Peggy smiles and agrees, while looking at the TV, contrary to Al. Looking her up and down, he smirks and asks her if she wants to go upstairs. Peggy smirks back but reacts surprised, as she thought he wanted to watch the game. But he just tells her nah and turns the TV off, which makes her grin even more. On their way upstairs Al pats her behind and mentions that he likes the coffee at the restaurant too.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

Unaired Original PilotEdit

The original Pilot version taped on December 12, 1986, was different from the broadcasted Pilot. The producers weren't happy with the original child actors Tina Caspary (as Kelly) and Hunter Carson (as Bud). Therefore they reconsidered the casting and finally chose Christina Applegate (as Kelly) and David Faustino (as Bud), so the scenes including the Bundy kids had to be reshot. Because of this, the producers took the opportunity to retape part of the shoe store scene as well with a lot of line changes, as the original version followed the final draft script. Also, actor Ritch Shydner (as Luke Ventura) and the Bundy kid actors were mentioned in the opening credits of the original Pilot, but they weren't part of the season one opening credits that finally made it to the TV screens. Additionally, the original version features a line when Al talks to Steve about women that was likely cut from the broadcast version for censorship reasons.

"But you can't actually say that to 'em or else they'll kill you. And they're allowed, too. See it's that whole period, P.M.S. thing, I don't know, I'm not a doctor, but I think that P.M.S. stands for "Pummel Men's Scrotums." Does your wife buy you juice, Steve?"


  • The 1987 airing premiere of this pilot was also the premiere of the Fox Network; it was followed by The Tracey Ullman Show pilot; both pilots were repeated twice on that night!
  • In early drafts of the script Bud was called Ben, the shoe store was called Bob's Shoes and Accessories instead of Gary's, and there was no dog.
  • Kelly had the first line in the first episode and the last line in the final episode.
  • For the first and far from the last time, food goes to Buck instead of Al.
  • This is the only episode that lists the writer/director credits at the beginning of the episode instead of at the end.
  • When Al hears his neighbors' first names for the first time, he asks Peggy: "What is their last name, Gorme?" This indicates that the Rhoades' first names "Steve'n'Marcy" could be a reference to "Steve and Edie" aka Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, a husband-and-wife singing team who do light songs.
  • On April 22, 2012, FOX re-aired the episode in recognition of the show's 25th anniversary.


  • As Marcy proceeds to make coffee for the men, we hear her turn the sink water on, but it's obvious none is coming out.
  • During the opening sequence, the front door to the Bundy home is white. The door, however, is actually red during the show.
  • During the show, the story about how Al and Peggy got married changes a few times. At one time Al says he was drunk and unaware that he was marrying Peg. While later he claims that it was a shotgun wedding, he tried to flee the scene but Peggy's father Ephram held Al at gunpoint during the wedding. The latter version is recreated when they renew their vows.


Wikia MWC - Pilot opening incident

The first interaction


Married with Children - Unaired Original Pilot23:30

Married with Children - Unaired Original Pilot

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