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It's fitting that the producers of Married...With Children--The Complete Fourth Season were too cheap to pay for the rights to the show's classic theme song, the jaunty Sinatra tune "Love & Marriage," replacing it with some crappy instrumental. Not because the season is lousy--on the contrary, the show's crass and cynical wit is in full bloom--but because if the Bundys themselves were putting this out, they'd blow off the theme song as well. One of the longest-running sitcoms ever, Married...With Children portrayed American domestic life as bitter, sleazy, and perpetually hungry, yet bound together by the loyalty of the mutually damned. Emasculated shoe salesman Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill, Dutch, Spartan), his lazy and unsatisfied wife Peg (Katey Sagal, 8 Simple Rules), his dimwitted slut of a daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate, Anchorman, View from the Top), and his horny, conniving son Bud (David Faustino, The Trouble with Frank) all bicker and scheme to achieve any meager improvement of their lives. For example, Peg wants to buy an idol of Tubro, the fat Panamanian god of money, hoping that good luck will help her win the lottery; so she sells Al's beloved Playboy collection, launching Al into the depths of despair until he musters the shreds of his manhood and orders her to retrieve them. Or when Al, feeling suicidal on Christmas, gets a glimpse of how happy his family would be if he'd never been born and decides to live to keep their lives as awful as his has been. But it's not simply the parade of suburban atrocity that makes the show funny--it's the zest of the cast, who wallow in their white trash characters with gusto and commitment. Their glee gives the show a sardonic bite that transforms the squalor into something strangely giddy and transcendent, a vivisection of human pettiness that an 18th century novelist like Thackeray would appreciate. The fourth season features a startling array of guest stars, including Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element), Joe Flaherty (SCTV), Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Beverly Hills 90210), screaming comedian Sam Kinison, and former porn starlet Traci Lords.

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CO11467 Married with Children Season 4 DVD (1990/Ed O' Neill) $19.99