What can you say about Married With Children that hasn’t been said already? “It’s the show single handedly launched the Fox Network”, “it’s one of the most raunchy shows on TV in the 80s and 90s”, “Everyone all over the world loves this show!”, “a woman in Michigan hates it.” Everyone has their opinions on this show, but there is one question that everyone has always wondered: Can the show produce a good spin-off series? The answer is no, it can’t, and they (Ron Leavitt, Arthur Silver, and Michael Moye) have tried to pull it off… FOUR TIMES. And in this super-sized Dead Television, we’re going to look at all of them.
The first spin-off was called Top Of The Heap, the show ran for seven episodes from April 7th to May 19th 1991, it (presumably) served as launching vehicle for Matt Leblanc. The show’s backdoor pilot aired as Married’s 100th episode in season five. The show follows Al’s friend Charlie Verducci and his son Vinnie as they partake in get rich quick schemes, and that’s the show. They don’t do anything else except try to get rich and nothing else. Only three actors from the Married cast made a guest appearances on the show, Ed O’Neil showed up at the end of the pilot, David Faustino had a cameo in the second episode, and Christina Applegate made two cameos in the show, which made since, her character and Vinnie were a couple during season five.
Despite it’s short run, it managed to produce a sequel series, Vinnie and Bobby, like it’s predecessor it ran for seven episode season from May 30th to September 5th 1992. The show follows Vinnie and work/roommate Bobby Grazzo as get into some crazy predicaments. Vinnie’s father Charlie was written off and neither him or anyone in the Married cast made appearances on the show. There’s not a lot to say about the show.
In Married’s Ninth Season, another attempt was made for a spin off, the backdoor pilot, Radio Free Trumaine, would’ve followed Bud’s life in college, with David Garrison returning as Steve Rhodes, and would be portrayed as the rude and obnoxious Dean of Students. Keri Russel and Eric Dane would also appear in the series, playing Bud’s love interest of the week and the main character/Steve’s arch-rival respectively. One last attempt at a spin off came in Season 10, with the episode, Enemies, the show would have been essentially a Friends knock-off (or parody). Kelly dates a delivery man named Tom, who’s using her to get back at his ex-girlfriend, Shannon. Shannon fights back by dating a billionare named Henry played by Alan Thicke. Ironically while all this is happening, Al finds himself watching Friends, and various knock-offs and parodies. Did I mention, this and Radio Free Trumaine are the least popular episodes in the series?
After the show ended in 1997, there were plans for two more spin-offs. The first would’ve focused on Kelly, but Christina Applegate already signed on to star in the NBC sitcom “Jesse”. The other would have followed Al’s club, NO MA’AM (National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood), but was canned due to concerns over losing FOX’s female demographic. I’ve heard rumors that there’s another spin-off being developed in the future, with Bud being the focus, but I don’t know if it’s happening any time soon.
But on another note, there was one other show that was made by two of the three people responsible for Married (Leavitt and Silver), created a series back in 1995 called “Unhappily Ever After”. It ran from 1995 to 1999 on The W.B. network, a lot of people believe the show to be a rip-off of Married, but I don’t think it counts as a rip-off if it’s made by the same people, if anything think of the show more as a spiritual successor than a rip-off. I’ll talk about the show in the sometime in the future.
Top of The Heap: 1 out of 5
Vinnie and Bobby: 1 out of 5
Radio Free Trumaine: 3 out of 5
Enemies: 2 out of 5
So, welcome to 2015! let’s hope this year turns out better than last year. Next post is (most likely) the next Girl Meets World recap, see you then.