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Warning: politically incorrect content ahead! Do you remember who the first politically incorrect TV star was? If you answered "Archie Bunker" from "All in the Family", you'd be close, but wrong; in those days, the 1970s, Archie's apparent racism was not yet deemed "politically incorrect".

source: Wikimedia Commons

I must admit: I loved Archie Bunker, racism and all. He also was a giant misogynist, often calling his wife, Edith, names like "dingbat". Actually he called everyone that wasn't like him, a white male, names; but that was part of the humor, the audience knows that he is wrong and laughed at his inability to recognize that. As far as I know, the first really politically incorrect TV person was Al Bundy from Married... With Children, another favorite of mine; Al was like Archie, but on steroids... It was a hugely successful show that ran for a total of more than 250 episodes over 10 seasons, but I recently learned that there was quite a lot of resistance against the Bundy family's political incorrectness, and that the first season actually turned out a loss for the then brand-new Fox television network.

From the start, the FOX network wanted to cater to a specific right-wing audience and aligned itself with the Republican party; the network profiled itself as the new kid on the block and wanted to differentiate itself from all the other broadcasters who were, according to Murdoch, all liberal strongholds. In a TV landscape filled with classical family sitcoms, like the hugely popular Cosby Show, FOX wanted something different, in fact they wanted the opposite: a fun fact is that Married With Children's first screenplay was titled "Not The Cosby Show". And it was indeed not the Cosby Show as none of the family members got along with the others, none of them were particularly well-educated, and Al wasn't a well-payed doctor, but a lowly shoe-salesman who hated his life, and his wife. In fact, he hated all women who were not a "hot blonde", and loved fat shaming them at every chance he got:

Al Bundy's Best Insults

Until recently I never knew what struggle it took to get the Bundy's on air, and to keep them there. Some of the jokes went too far, even for the FOX executives, and Married With Children suffered what I think was the first attempt at de-platforming political incorrectness; a rich and influential woman contacted the show-runners and the advertisers, and she even managed to convince some of the biggest advertisers to withdraw. Lucky for us that her success was short-lived, as the show turned out to be a huge success all over the world; I enjoyed Al's misogynist escapades from my parental house, and later while living on my own, in The Netherlands for almost the entire decade that it ran.

"That is the problem with everything. They try and make it better without realizing the old is fine." - Al Bundy

Who remembers what "NO MA'AM" stands for? It was the anti-feminist group founded by Al and his buddies: the National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood, and I thought it was just brilliant! Although I have little good to say about the right-wing propaganda machine that is the FOX network, I'd like to retrospectively thank them for putting up this fight against political correctness, and for pitting Married With Children against the strictly "correct" Cosby Show. Don't get me wrong here; there's nothing wrong with being politically correct, nor with identity politics. But as with all things, too much of it can cause damage. It's necessary to identify historically marginalized and suppressed groups in society in order to right many wrongs; that's a GOOD thing. And it's good to keep reminding ourselves about this fact of life through all private and public discussion platforms, as is required for a functional democracy. But it's a step too far, in my personal opinion, to expand that discussion into television and movie entertainment. Also, don't make the error of thinking that it's the government doing this; FOX and Disney aren't instructed by the government to infect their products with the identity politics agenda, but by their financial masters, their shareholders, advertisers and consumers.

This and more is covered by the below linked video; it's full of information about the "rise and fall" of Married With Children, and if you're a fan like me, I'm sure you will want to see the entire hour and a half of it :-)

Married... With Children - The E! True Hollywood Story

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