BA_Harrison

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Parlor
(2015)

Art is subjective, but even so...
If you're thinking of taking a vacation in sunny Lithuania (unlikely, I know), here's a few tips to help ensure that you stay safe and sound...

Don't wander off in the middle of the night with a strange woman to a seedy tattoo parlour located down a dark alleyway.

Don't get a tattoo there.

Don't accept a drink from the dodgy tattoo artist.

Failure to heed this advice could see you laying face down on a metal slab having your skin peeled off, which is exactly what happens to Brock (Ben Whalen), while his friend Amy (Tiffany DeMarco) is forced to watch.

Obviously inspired by the success of Eli Roth's Hostel, Killer Ink (AKA Anarchy Parlor) is a serviceable piece of 'torture porn' horror, with several stupid Westerners experiencing extreme pain at the hands of a sadistic tattooist (Robert LaSardo) and his sexy-but-sick sidekick Uta (Sara Fabel). The film delivers plenty of graphic nastiness for gorehounds to enjoy, and throws in lots of naked women for good measure, so fans of Roth's movie should be more than happy with this wannabe.

For me, though, the best (or worst) aspect of the film are the portraits painted on the flayed skin of the artist's victims. They're so amateurish that they prove laughable - the notion that wealthy weirdos would pay a small fortune for such childlike daubings is hilarious.

Possum
(2018)

Creepy poster; crappy film.
Marketed with a creepy poster that depicts a spider-like creature emerging from a bag, Possum is actually psychological, its central character, weirdo Philip (Sean Harris), emotionally scarred by his troubled past. When Philip returns to his decaying childhood home, he must confront his abusive uncle Maurice (Alun Armstrong), while trying to rid himself of the contents of his holdall: a puppet with Philip's face and large spider legs.

A great horror film can trigger a variety of emotions -- feelings of unease, fear and revulsion; Possum just made me bored and angry. Bored because of the incredibly slow pace and repetitiveness, and angry because of director Matthew Holness's pretentious arthouse approach and Philip's perpetually dour expression (that I wanted to slap off his miserable face).

Why does Philip have such an unlikely puppet in his possession? Does it really exist or is it all in his head, his trauma manifesting itself as Possum? Why does he keep a notebook of disturbing sketches and poetry? Why is the puppet called Possum when it looks like a spider? And what was the relevance of the balloons, the smoke, and the tree? Metaphors and symbolism, but for what? To be honest, I might have made more of an effort to figure this stuff out if I hadn't been so bored. And angry.

The ending, in which Maurice gives Philip a hiding with a belt, is unintentionally hilarious, as is the revelation that it is the uncle who has been abducting schoolboys (and not Philip, as the film suggests for much of the time). The way the missing kid scuttles out of the luggage trunk at the end is a hoot (but not enough to stop me from awarding this dreary mess a rating of 1/10).

Return to Splatter Farm
(2020)

Who is going to buy the farm?
Thirty three years passed between Mark Polonia's SOV gore film Splatter Farm and this sequel, during which time he directed plenty of other films; you would think he would have improved a lot over the space of three decades, but judging by Return to Splatter Farm, he's actually lost what little skill he had in the first place.

A good slasher usually features attractive people being sliced and diced in creative and gory ways by an iconic killer. Polonia's film features ugly people being offed in lazy and unimaginative ways by a lame maniac (played by Polonia's co-director and writer of this garbage, Jeff Kirkendall), with some truly pathetic special make-up effects.

The film sees Bobbi (Danielle Donahue) and her friends visiting the titular farm, the young woman having recently inherited the place. While there, they are attacked one-by-one by Jeremy, the killer from the first film, who has been living on the farm, bumping off any passers-by.

The acting is diabolical, the direction is basic, and the editing is awful. In addition to the bargain basement gore, Polonia and Kirkendall get two of the 'actresses' to strip for the camera: Jennie Russo as big-breasted middle-aged nympho Gina, and Mel Heflin, who plays Liz, an overweight redhead with delusions that she is sexy (if her skin was green, she'd be Princess Fiona's less attractive sister).

Nowhere near as much fun as the original movie, which had more gore and a certain demented charm about it, Return to Splatter Farm is unforgivably dull and utterly inept (the scene in which lank-haired loser Gopher is hit by lightning being the worst moment).

1.5/10, rounded down to 1 for the terrible theme song.

Men
(2022)

Remember when horror films were fun?
When Harper (Jessie Buckley) tells her husband James (Paapa Essiedu) that she is leaving him, he uses emotional blackmail to try and make her stay; when that doesn't work, he resorts to violence. And then he falls to his death (either accidentally or intentionally-it is never made clear).

Harper feels like she needs to get away from it all, so she rents a country house for a couple of weeks. The owner of the property, Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear) is an 'old-school' country gent, who treats Harper like the weaker sex; the local vicar (also Kinnear) tells Harper that her husband's death was her fault; and a young lad (with Kinnear's face digitally plastered on his head) calls her names. Meanwhile, Harper is being stalked by a naked man (Kinnear) with leaves sticking out of his face. After the stalker is arrested, an unsympathetic policeman (Kinnear again) tells Harper that the man has been released without charge.

With nearly all of the males in this film played by the same actor, the underlying message seems to be that all men are the same, guilty of toxic masculinity/misogyny in one form or another. Could Harper be losing her mind under the stress of being treated so poorly by men? Or are these horrors very real? I don't mind the ambiguity, but then there's all of the pretentious symbolism and analogy one expects from A24 and director Alex Garland, and it's not easy to decipher, making the film a total head-scratcher for much of the time.

What is the deeper meaning of the green man, Harper lying about playing the piano, the dandelion seeds, the echoes, the carvings in the church, the dead bird, the apples, the disappearing policeman, and Harper's pregnant sister? I can hazard a guess at some of these, but in the end - without much investigation post-viewing - this 'elevated' horror proves to be precisely what I hate about most of A24's output: a puzzling oddity that hasn't been made to be enjoyed, but rather to appeal to cinematic snobs - pretentious chin-strokers for whom the worth of a movie is directly proportional to how much it baffles, bores, and requires research to fully comprehend.

To their credit, Kinnear really goes for it in every role, his many characters like something straight out of Royston Vasey (Geoffrey is great), and Buckley doesn't allow the perplexing nature of the script to dampen her performance. And if what you're after is a big dose of weirdness with some amazingly graphic body horror, then this one will definitely do the trick, the final act delivering plenty of impressive gross-out special effects. I, however, prefer my movies to make a modicum of sense; failing that, they should entertain. If they deliver a message as well, great, but the last thing I want to think when the end credits roll is 'Why?'.

Prison Heat
(1993)

A fun slice of WIP trash, courtesy of Cannon.
Four American babes decide to drive from Greece to Istanbul, but run into trouble at the Turkish border where corrupt guards frame them for drug trafficking; before you can say 'Midnight Express', they're whisked off to an all-female prison where life is cheap. Prison warden Saladin (Uri Gavriel) takes a fancy to big-breasted innocent Bonnie (Lori Jo Hendrix), repeatedly sexually assaulting the girl, but ultimately plans to sell her as a sex slave to a wealthy Arab. Bonnie also attracts the attention of tough lesbian prisoner Hellena (Toni Naples), but the other three girls rally round to protect their friend. Colleen, the most resilient of the group, realises that their only option is to try and escape...

As WIP films go, this one is fairly formulaic, with the expected internal exam, communal showers, catfights, rape, and lesbian shower scene. What makes this one better than most is the standard of T&A on display, with Hendrix and Chambers possessing extremely hot bodies that they're clearly very proud of, showing off their impressive physical attributes at every available opportunity. The girls certainly weren't chosen for their acting ability, the performances being extremely wooden. Director Joel Silberg conducts proceedings with little finesse, but this kind of trashy sleaze doesn't need Spielberg at the helm, just someone who knows the value of a big pair of tits.

The violence on offer is fairly mild - don't go expecting any Jess Franco-style torture; even when Saladin finally gets what he deserves, Bonnie castrating him with a knife, there's nothing very graphic... just some blood on his grundies.

6.5/10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.

A Quiet Place
(2018)

No one dared disturb... the sound of silence.
Lee and Evelyn Abbott (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) try to keep their children, Regan and Marcus, safe in a devastated world that has been overrun by blind predatory creatures that hunt by sound.

If there's one thing A Quiet Place does well, it's raising awareness for the deaf, not just because its young star Millicent Simmonds is deaf in real life, but because for much of the film there is no dialogue and very little sound. The deafening silence of high-concept horror A Quiet Place is a window into the world of those who do not have full use of their hearing; however, in the same way that deafness must be a frustrating condition, so A Quiet Place is a frustrating movie, the noiselessness leading to tedium whenever the monsters are off screen.

Admittedly, director John Krasinski, who also wrote and stars in the film, uses the silence to great effect when his ugly creatures are present, every sound cause for edge-of-the-seat tension. He also brings us one of the most horrifyingly painful and nerve-shredding scenes of recent years, in which Evelyn treads on a nail while trying to keep quiet (Krasinksi shows us the nail in an earlier scene, and it's obvious what will happen, but this only serves to heighten the suspense).

But when all is said and done, the film's boring first half prevents this from being an enjoyable experience, while the script's obvious flaws in logic (see the negative reviews here on IMDb for details) cannot easily be ignored.

Married with Children: Twisted
(1996)
Episode 1, Season 11

The REALLY windy city.
This is the final season of Married With Children, so I'm not expecting greatness; that said, this first episode isn't too bad. It begins with a pre-credits sequence in which Bud is trying to create a fake storm because his girlfriend Ariel is turned on by life-threatening situations.

After the credits, we're in the shoe store with Al on fine insulting form, verbally abusing a fat customer ("That would explain the life preserver under your dress.", "If I were you, I wouldn't be going out on any limbs."). Outside, a real storm is brewing, and Griff (who escaped the electric chair) makes the most of the windy weather, grabbing food from the air and chasing a woman whose dress is blown off. The tornado hits the shoe store and whisks Al back to his home where Marcy has taken control of the situation, urging everyone to go down to the basement.

The Bundys and the Darcys become trapped in the basement, the wives becoming sexually excited by the danger; Al and Jefferson are left with no option but to use their secret escape...

N. B. Remember to stay for the end credits scene where Kelly is dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

Married with Children: Chicago Shoe Exchange
(1997)
Episode 24, Season 11

It's goodbye to the Bundys.
This final episode starts off fun with Kelly putting her new masseuse skills to use on Bud. "There's a sound I haven't heard before," she says as she paralyses her brother. Jefferson tries to help Bud with a technique he learnt in an Asian massage parlour, but he only makes matters worse. All of this is very amusing.

Less funny is Al bartering the shoe shop's stock in order to try and get himself a fancy electric massage chair: the Swedish Ecstasy 5000. This part is rather tedious and drawn out, but there is a chimpanzee involved, so it's not a total loss. At the end, the chimp puts his hand underneath the waistband of his pants, just like Al -- now THAT is comedy.

Married with Children: How to Marry a Moron
(1997)
Episode 23, Season 11

Will Kelly tie the knot with Lonnie Tot?
Al isn't happy about Kelly marrying idiot ex-jailbird Lonnie, at least until he finds out that his future son-in-law is a Tot, who own Tots Industries, makers of his favourite snacks, Weenie Tots. Realising that Kelly will be marrying into money, Al gives the wedding his blessing, but changes his mind when he discovers that Lonnie is a philanderer (who even hits on Marcy!).

This penultimate episode of MWC is a lot of fun, with some top notch dialogue that guarantees some giggles ("She makes a darling couple all by herself.", "The white dress is a bit of a stretch.", "I just heard the part about staying out of the kitchen."). Lonnie, of course, isn't worthy of our Kelly, and the wedding is stopped by Al, leaving his daughter to seek solace in the arms of several ex-boyfriends.

Married with Children: The Desperate Half-Hour
(1997)
Episode 22, Season 11

The writers should do time.
One can sense that the regular cast knew the end was nigh; this episode reeks of both desperation and indifference, if such a thing is possible. Everyone overacts horribly, none of the intended funnies having the desired effect.

Bud's jailbird penpal Starla escapes from prison and pays the Bundys a visit with the intention of robbing them. However, not only has Bud lied about being a Brad Pitt-alike, but he also told porkies about living in a French provincial home. Starla holds the family hostage (as well as the D'Arcys, who show up in fancy dress), aided by her moronic boyfriend Lonnie.

With the police surrounding the house, Starla decides to start offing the hostages, beginning with Kelly, who Lonnie has fallen for. As Starla is about to shoot, Lonnie rushes her and the gun goes off, the bullet hitting Al...

The standard of gags in this episode is really low, the absolute nadir being when Lucky the dog is sent to get help, but comes back with what looks like a stem of corn in his mouth. "I said cops, not crops!" says Al. Just terrible.

Married with Children: Damn Bundys
(1997)
Episode 21, Season 11

One hell of an episode.
This story for this one revolves around Al's love of football, but it's got a devil-may-care zaniness that makes it a hell of a lot more fun than an average sports-themed episode.

When Al says that he would sell his soul to play for the Chicago Bears and take them to the Super Bowl, the devil (played with relish by Robert 'Freddy Krueger' Englund) turns up to seal the deal. Sure enough, Al is selected to play for the Bulls and takes them to the finals, but Lucifer never said anything about Al playing in the final game. Al plays anyway, without the devil's help, and is accidentally killed. The devil gets Al's soul, dragging the man to hell, where he is to be tortured for all eternity.

As a horror fan, how could I possibly dislike an episode featuring Englund as Lucifer? Englund aside, this is still very entertaining, with Peggy and the kids, and the D'Arcys, also going to hell. Peggy is given hooves, which makes ringing the shopping channel impossible, Bud is given claws, and Kelly transforms into a gargoyle. Their only chance of escaping eternal damnation is if they beat the devil's team in a football match. It's enjoyable nonsense, with Al having to ultimately choose between returning home with his family or with three babes with big hooters.

Married with Children: Lez Be Friends
(1997)
Episode 20, Season 11

Absolutely no spinning allowed!
Having come out as gay in 1993, Amanda Bearse finally got to play a character truer to her real self in this episode, as Marcy's identical cousin Mandy, who, having bonded with Al and Jefferson, reveals that she is a lesbian. Baseball-loving, fooseball-playing, beer swilling Mandy is far more popular than Marcy, who is jealous of the attention her cousin gets. Al proves remarkably diplomatic, convincing Marcy to talk things through with Mandy.

This is a very funny episode with a great sentiment. The script is top notch proving that the writers could still pull it out of the bag if they tried hard enough. There's plenty of laugh out loud gags: "Of course not... Lola's a guy.", "Before you know it you were a sex slave in an all-girl love cult.", "I'm Bud. I'll be your waiter this evening.", "We want to do whatever it takes to get our furry little friends together."

If the standard had been this high throughout the eleventh season, I reckon there would have easily been a twelfth.

N. B. I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, but I consider myself something of an accomplished fooseball player; I'd never allow my opponent to spin the players freely the way that Mandy does.

Married with Children: Birthday Boy Toy
(1997)
Episode 19, Season 11

Time to bring on the little people.
I have a theory that, back in the day, when a show was on its last legs they would bring on the dwarfs; this episode does just that, but they're saved for the very end.

It's Jefferson's 40th birthday and he's worried that he is losing his good looks and that Marcy will trade him in for a younger model. Peggy, who has been forbidden from spending any more of Al's money, suggests that Jefferson spends all of Marcy's money so that she will no longer have 'sugar mama' appeal. When Marcy finds out what her husband has done, she makes him get a job so that he can pay the money back.

At the shoe store, Bud is making a commercial for Gary and needs someone to play the shoe salesman; Al gets the part, but his acting sucks. Bud fires his father and casts Griff instead, but Al sabotages the shoot.

This is an improvement over the last episode, with some great lines of dialogue:

Kelly: "Gee, old man D'Arcy's getting pretty cranky, huh?"

Bud, when Griff tells him that he played Dorothy in a high school production of The Wizard of Oz: "All male school?" Griff: "No."

Marcy, to a fat woman at the aerobics studio: "Maybe if you gave up your spot they'd all fit."

And let's not forget about those little people who show up during the end credits: they buy one of Al and Griff's shoe box houses, the answer to the homeless dwarf problem.

Married with Children: A Babe in Toyland
(1997)
Episode 18, Season 11

Princess Kelly's Castle.
Bud gets Kelly a job on her favourite childhood programme, Uncle Dudley's Playpen; when Uncle Dudley suffers from a breakdown, Kelly takes over as presenter and becomes a diva. At home, Peggy keeps on invading Al's space in bed, so he agrees to buy her a TV for the bedroom if they can try separate sleeping arrangements (twin beds, bunk beds).

A rather lackluster episode, this one goes through the motions with Christina Applegate doing her dumb blonde routine, and O'Neill and Sagal back to their usual bickering. There's nothing remarkable or fresh about the script - the children's TV show storyline is weak and the dialogue doesn't shine. I was, however, impressed with how much Kelly's Budrick ventriloquist doll actually looks like David Faustino: hats off to the props department.

Married with Children: Live Nude Peg
(1997)
Episode 17, Season 11

Jasmine at The Jiggly Room.
No sooner has Al returned to the Bundy household and he's back to his old ways, partying with the NO MA'AM guys at The Jiggly Room. Peggy feels ignored and Marcy explains that wives can't compete with strippers. Peggy decides that the only way she can get Al's attention is to become a stripper herself, competing in amateur night as Jasmine, a mysterious veiled beauty. Al finds Jasmine irresistible, and returns home feeling horny. But when Al calls his wife Jasmine during sex, she decides that it is time for the stripper to reveal her real identity.

Peggy is full of Eastern promise in this episode, but despite playing at being a stripper, we don't get to see too much of her Turkish delights at The Jiggly Room, her outfit keeping her frustratingly decent. Meanwhile, Kelly has been binging on snacks for a role as the 'before' girl in a diet loss commercial, but all of the weight she gains goes to her ass. So that's Peggy as a stripper who doesn't reveal much and Kelly with a bubble butt. For shame.

Married with Children: Breaking Up Is Easy to Do: Part 3
(1997)
Episode 16, Season 11

Back together again.
The concluding part of this three-part story sees Peggy throwing a dinner party for her date, a wealthy man named Bruce; the D'Arcys are also invited. During the meal, Bruce chokes on some food, which leads to the episode's funniest moment, Jefferson doing the Heimlich Maneuver on the man. "Jefferson must really want a job," comments Peggy as he thrusts repeatedly behind Bruce.

Al shows up at the house, having been invited by a mischievous Marcy. When Al sees that Peggy has a date, he hides the flowers he has brought her. Marcy takes a photo of the disappointed man: "Look Jefferson," she says with glee, "we have our Christmas card."

When Bruce tells Peggy that, should they marry, she'll be expected to cook and clean, and informs the kids that they will have to leave home, they're not happy and kick the bloke out. Peggy is really missing Al and goes to see him. After a chat, Al drives Peggy home but stops at Maple Lane where the couple had their first argument, followed by great make-up sex. History repeats itself.

It was obvious that Al and Peggy would get back together, but the break-up wasn't fun - I didn't like seeing them apart, and so much of the humour didn't land for me. Now that they have patched things up, let's hope that they are funnier than ever (for the remaining eight episodes).

Married with Children: Breaking Up Is Easy to Do: Part 2
(1997)
Episode 15, Season 11

Al and Piggy hit the singles scene.
Part two of this three-part story sees Al living in an apartment adjacent to the airport, the man having left his wife in part one. He decides that he is going to live the life he should have had, and together with Jefferson and Griff, he starts hitting the singles bars. Having smashed Al's belongings, Peggy also goes out, with Marcy and Kelly, the ladies arriving at the same bar as Al and his friends.

As I said in my review for part one, I'm finding Al and Peggy being separated a bit of a downer. They may have made each other's lives a misery when together, but they were perfect for each other, and deep down I think that they know that. Part three will undoubtedly see them get back together, but watching the estranged couple trying to meet other people isn't much fun.

I did, however, find the following amusing:

Al (having been hit by a hot woman): "Why would a lesbian even go to a straight bar?" Camera cuts to Marcy...

Married with Children: Breaking Up Is Easy to Do: Part 1
(1997)
Episode 14, Season 11

"Yes. No. Whatever the right answer is."
Al and Peggy have always bickered and made each other's life a misery, but underneath it all I always felt like they were fond of each other, even though Al would hate to admit it. In this three-parter, Al and Peggy's marital troubles get worse, exacerbated by a Mr. & Mrs.-style board game in which the players must answer questions about their partners: when Al is asked the question 'Where did you and Peggy first make love?', he gets the answer wrong and Peggy isn't happy.

Peggy decides that going to a marriage counsellor might help their relationship, but the session results in Al leaving her.

While all of this is going on, Kelly is literally fighting for a role in a movie, entering the boxing ring with a rival actress to decide who will get the part.

While I am sure that Peggy and Al will patch things up by the end of this three-part story, it's not much fun seeing them go their separate ways. Oh well, at least we have Kelly in her aerobics and boxing outfits to cheer us up a bit.

Married with Children: T*R*A*S*H
(1997)
Episode 13, Season 11

The title says it all.
A garbage strike has left the Bundys with sacks of trash in their living room, so Kelly and Bud devise a novel way to get rid of it: a catapult. Al signs up with the National Guard reserves to get away from his family, but basic training is cut short so the new recruits can go on a mission: help clean up Chicago.

In short, this one is rubbish.

A lot of the predictable (and not very funny) gags revolve around Al and Griff being totally unsuited to life in the army, the men too old for the physical challenge. There's an R. Lee Ermey-style drill sergeant who makes life hard for the guys, but when the chips are down and the sergeant needs help under fire, Al shows that he's no candy-ass shoe salesman. It's all way too stupid for my liking, especially when Griff is hit by an egg, thrown by the striking garbage men, and acts like he has been mortally wounded.

And, yes, Bud does get thrown through the air by the catapult.

Married with Children: Grime and Punishment
(1997)
Episode 12, Season 11

Landlord Al.
When Al learns that Bud is earning a decent wage he decides to start charging his son rent. Bud finally agrees to pay $200 a month and gets Al to sign a lease. As a tenant, Bud demands that Al makes improvements to the basement. When his father refuses, Bud calls in a building inspector who slaps an electronic shock collar on Al and says that it will only come off once he has made repairs to Bud's living space.

I was enjoying this one until the collar went on, then it all got a bit too daft for my liking, Al being hit by an electric shock whenever he tries to move too far. The dialogue up to that point was great ("Kelly hasn't slept here in years.", "Nobody likes a whiny baby.", "You've had your whole life to get in shape."), but the whole thing descends into ridiculous farce, Bud charging people to torture Al until he finally gives in and agrees to make improvements.

Married with Children: Bud on the Side
(1997)
Episode 11, Season 11

Bud the Boy Toy.
Bud's love life has hit a dry spell so he goes to his father for advice; Al tells his son to lower his standards. So when shoe store owner Gary comes on to Bud, the lad decides to not look a gift horse in the mouth. At first Al is horrified by Bud's new woman, but is much happier when he starts to reap the rewards of the relationship: a new break out room at work with big screen TV and a fridge full of beer.

However, Bud realises that he is being used by Gary as a sex toy and is upset that she doesn't respect him. He breaks up with her, much to Al's dismay.

Bud-centric episodes are among my favourites, the character nearly always getting the best lines. This one is no exception: it's definitely one of the better episodes of season eleven, although the best jokes on this occasion go to Kelly ("Is this Baby Armani?") and Al and Peggy ("What do love and marriage go together like?" "How the hell should I know?" -- fans of the earlier seasons of Married With Children will get this gag).

Married with Children: The Stepford Peg
(1997)
Episode 10, Season 11

The perfect Peggy.
Al's dreams come true when Peggy hits her head and suffers from amnesia: he is able to reprogram her to becomes the perfect wife who loves to cook and clean but who doesn't enjoy sex. Al has his NO MA'AM pals over for an evening of TV wrestling (complete with very sexy ring girl), but Al finds himself turned on by his perfect wife and takes her upstairs. While having sex, Peggy's memory comes back.

This one is okay - no classic, but sporadically funny (I particularly enjoyed the bat in the kitchen cupboard). It's nice to see Peggy actually doing something other than sitting on the couch eating bon bons, but her perfect housewife persona is destined to come to an end. At least Al was happy for a while.

Meanwhile, Bud is amused that his stupid sister thinks that a mirror in the bathroom is a window and that there is a blonde next door who smiles back at her. At the end, it turns out that there IS a girl next door, and that she is Kelly's doppelganger.

Married with Children: Crimes Against Obesity
(1996)
Episode 9, Season 11

Al on trial.
If, like me, you're a fan of Al's insensitive remarks about 'big-boned' women, then you'll love this episode: the shoe salesman delivers some great new quips "I had a manatee...", "I think gravity has its hands full right now.", "The proper term is little people" - "That's the proper term for anyone standing next to you."), plus we get a series of flashbacks to some of his funniest insults.

Al's ruderies have gotten him into trouble with a herd of heavyweights, who tie him up and put him on trial. Al hopes that Peggy will act in his defense, but she only makes matters worse. The women find Al guilty, his punishment being to watch a morbidly obese woman perform a strip-tease. However, Al makes a confession that causes the women to drop all charges: as a teen, he was overweight himself, and his insults are his way of denying his own pain. Of course, it's all lies!

While all of this is going on, Kelly and Bud are trying to tint the windows of Al's Dodge as a birthday surprise, but Kelly tints Bud's face instead. All in all, this is a surprisingly good episode in a season that has more than its fair share of duds.

Married with Children: God Help Ye Merry Bundymen
(1996)
Episode 8, Season 11

I thought this was average, see?
This seasonal episode of Married With Children feels like it is just going through the festive motions: Al and Griff lose their jobs to younger, more eager salesmen, and so they find even worse ways to make ends meet (Al gets a job as driver of a Christmas train for kids and Griff is a reindeer); Peggy has discovered a love for making gingerbread houses; and Kelly and Bud kidnap Mary and Joseph from the D'Arcys nativity display, demanding $500 for their return. There's no single, strong storyline, just a lot of unremarkable Christmas-themed shenanigans that delivers mediocre gags.

At the end of the episode, Al scares off the new salesmen by telling them that they are destined to become like him; Gary gives Al and Griff their jobs back and Al gets to take home the shop's Christmas tree. When Kelly and Bud confess that they stole Mary and Joseph and have accidentally decapitated them, Marcy is angry and forces them take the place of the broken statues; she is even more furious when first place in the Christmas decorations competition is awarded to Peggy for her gingerbread neighbourhood.

Kelly does a remarkably good impression of a '30s movie gangster (Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar?).

Married with Children: The Juggs Have Left the Building
(1996)
Episode 7, Season 11

The D'Arcys as the Bundys.
The Bundys take a vacation in Branson, Missouri, Al tempted by the promise of an all-fried buffet and twin beds. While they are away, the D'Arcys take care of Lucky and seize the opportunity to act out a dirty fantasy in the Bundys' home, the couple role-playing as Peggy and Al.

Everything that takes place in Missouri is clichéd nonsense, with stereotypical hillbilly behaviour from the hotel desk clerk (he eyes up Bud and wants to take him on a canoe trip) and obvious swipes at Midwestern ways (nasty fashion). When the Bundys find themselves low on cash, Peggy and Kelly enter a talent contest as mother and daughter country and western duo The Juggs. They win the competition, which means that they also get the chance to tour worldwide with country legend Tammy Wynette (good job she can sing, 'cos she sure can't act).

Jefferson and Marcy playing Al and Peggy is the best thing about this episode - they're very funny, Amanda Bearse looking great in Katey Sagal's wig and Jefferson, as Al, going past the couple's agreed 'safe place'. However, Kelly has the funniest line while impersonating the desk clerk: "...as soon as someone learns him his letters."

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