One of the most impactful television series ever to run on American TV was Married with Children. The show aired on the FOX Channel for 11 years, and many believe it was responsible for keeping the news station alive during the early years.
In 1987, commercial TV in the United States was dominated by the big three: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS). When the FOX Channel appeared on the scene, few people gave it much chance to survive in the face of its stiff competition, but Married with Children changed all that.
The show followed the exploits of a dysfunctional family that lived in a fictional suburb of Chicago. The main character was the father, Al Bundy, who was a lovable loser living with his self-centered wife, and bratty kids. Together, the family makes Al's life miserable as he stumbles, and fumbles his way through life. Al works as a shoe salesman that pays very little, and has little chance of promotion.
Al is an endearing character who gained the adoration of the American public for many years. The actor Ed O'Neil, who played Al, said that people still approach him to this day calling him Al, or Mr. Bundy. O'Neil also said that playing the character for so many years made it difficult for him to find work once the series ended because people associated him with Al.
One of the things that made the show so popular is that no subject was off-limits to the writers. It was a controversial show that dealt with controversial subjects. Many people boycotted the show because of its racy content, but FOX continued on. The show has cultivated a cult-like following that began in the 80s, and continues today.