Opening Credits

Last update February 16, 2003

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 Buckingham Fountain Unfortunately, Married... with Children's opening credits usually don't feature episode titles. There are some exceptions, e.g. dubbed German episodes note the German title at the beginning of the first scene. However, the main purpose of this page is to help to identify episodes faster. As soon as you could associate an episode with a season, go to the Hypertext Program Guide to track down the specific episode by reading the short synopsises on the season listings or by cross-checking the very first scene mentioned on the pages about single episodes.

In addition to this page's main purpose, it also provides general information about the opening credits. The basic sequence consists of location shots of Chicago, followed by the series logo, actor credits, brief production credits over a shot of the Bundy house, finishing with a sequence of Al sitting on the couch, distributing money to the family. The exception to this was a few random shows during the ninth season which skip the couch sequence. For season eleven, the couch sequence was omitted permanently. On season 11, each episode features a short teaser sequence before the opening credits. For US syndication read the notes at the bottom of this page.

The location footage comprises views of Chicago, opening with a shot of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago's Grant Park. It is a giant copy of Latona Fountain in Versailles, France. The fountain was donated in 1927 by Kate Buckingham as a tribute to her brother Clarence. The water springs up to 90 meters. It operates May 1 to Oct 1 and is colored by lights nightly 9 to 11 pm. The aerial downtown shot was taken from the Lake Shore Drive section north of the Loop. The expressway entrance shot was taken from the 1983 movie "Vacation" (aka "National Lampoon's Summer Vacation") with Chevy Chase, featuring the green Family Truckster. Both, the downtown view and the highway entrance shot were omitted from season four onwards, but the remaining fountain shot included a "In Stereo Where Available" note. Non-English versions might differ, e.g. the dubbed German version always includes the expressway shot.

There's a big variety of actor credits. Check the table, the "Actor Shot Sources" section and the "US Syndication" section below for details. The Bundy house really exists. Check the Bundy House page for details. The payment scenes, where Al is distributing money to the family - including the family dog - are true classics. The season ten payment scene is the only one featuring Lucky instead of Buck, and Katey Sagal was pregnant at the time; therefore Peggy sits throughout the entire sequence.

The table below describes the Chicago views, actor credits, the painting of the Bundy house and Peggy's shirts during the payment scene where Al hands out money to the family.

Season one two three four 1st ½ four / five six seven eight nine ten eleven
Episodes 0101-0113 0201-0222 0301-0401 0402-0415 0416-0525 0601-0703 0704-0726 0801-0826 0901-1003 1004-1026 1101-1124
Chicago fountain, downtown & expressway fountain only, with stereo note
Al no pictures shown blue pants brown pants grey pants, remote bathrobe grey pants, hand
Peg salad, in pink salad, in blue stairs, in leopard clapping her hands
Steve baseball newspaper none
Marcy fork, in grey fork, in pink door shut, looks through window door shut, Feminism... door, Cleaner... door, entering in a winter coat
Kelly door, sneaking couch, finger nails door, hopping red dress, staring
Bud magazine, smiling phone, no beard dumb-bells mirror, with beard phone, with beard plastic leg, smiling magazine, shocked
Jefferson none girl's legs tray deck of cards noisemaker shocked, closing the door
House brown light beige
Payment flowered long sleeves black flowered short sleeves blue no payment

Actor Shot Sources
Al: bathrobe from "Just a Little off the Top" (0812)
Peggy: clapping in "25 Years and What Have You Got?" (0918)
Marcy: Cleaner... t-shirt from "Ride Scare" (0825), entering in a winter coat in "I Want My Psycho Dad, Part 1" (0913)
Kelly: staring in a red dress in "Somethin Larry This Way Comes" (0916)
Bud: dumb-bells from "Wabbit Season" (0508), on the phone with beard in "Honey, I Blew up Myself" (0814), holding a plastic foot in "Naughty but Niece" (0904), holding a magazine shocked in "The Stepford Peg" (1101)
Jefferson: noisemaker from "The D'Arcy Files" (0820), closing the door shocked in "Sleepless in Chicago" (0908)

US syndication opening credits are different. Seasons 1 and 2 feature a mixture of cannibalised shots of the actors: Al from the season four titles, Peggy on the couch from the "Pilot" (0101), Steve and Marcy from the season three titles, Kelly at the telephone from "Poke High" (0304) and Bud on a treadmill from "Master the Possibilities" (0216). Unlike the original transmissions, the Bundy house is seen with its usual light beige exterior; originally it was brown. Seasons 3 to 11 feature truncated versions of the original titles, i.e. there is no couch scene where Al hands out money to the other family members. But there might be the downtown view and and the highway entrance shot again at the very beginning. That's because several versions with modified details like that exist.

Some episodes have several or special credits. "Hot Off the Grill" (0401) uses the season three titles, but runs credits over the couch sequence. US syndication gives the proper season four opening credits. Season 5 titles are the same as the revised version seen in the latter half of the previous season, but Kevin Curran is listed as a producer on this season, unlike the previous year. "She's Having My Baby, Part 1" (0601) shows a special scene (!) of Jefferson pouring the contents of the beer glass onto his lap. The legs Jefferson enjoys in all other season six opening credits belong to Cyndi Pass.

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© Andreas Carl / StuartM 2003