In late 2022, Netflix audiences were inducted into what will likely be the final live-action appearance of the ever-excellent Christina Applegate, with the third and final season of Dead to meis an ode to friendship being filmed after her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. But if the stars can ever align just right — presumably to spell “NO MA’AM” — Applegate could one day soon return to the role that made her a household name, Kelly Bundy, in the form of the previously announced Married with children animated spinoff. While not much has been said in recent months, she gave a brief update on the project and also reflected on the less-than-savory way the character was sexualized as a teen.
As reported in May 2022, Sony Pictures Television was deep in the development process for a animated take on the beloved crass Fox sitcom Married with childrenwhich has long been considered one of TV’s most offensive programs. And while it seemed like more big announcements were on the horizon, Christina Applegate shared an update with Vanity purse making it sound like none of the stars have been brought in for voice work or script readings. In her words:
I’m definitely not trying to play a doomsayer here, as “no news” can definitely be the same as “great news” in today’s entertainment industry. If she, Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal and David Faustino are all still attached to the revival, then that means the revival hasn’t been shut down due to studio reversals. There are plenty of reasons why Married with childrenThe animated return of the animated return may take a while to come together, and I imagine the process of scripting and story-making is part of it, as it’s no doubt challenging to bring back the show’s purposefully problematic characters. in ways that don’t. feel extremely uncomfortable by current social norms. (And it’s probably even harder now that the WGA writers strike is happening.)
Making the show animated was not only a way to showcase the Bundy family in a more timeless way, but also a way to stick to the busy schedules of co-leads Ed O’Neill, who is plays former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling in The Sterling Casesand Katey Sagal, who returns to The Conners and also plays Leela again in the upcoming one Futurama revival (an offer to which she quickly said yes). If Dead to me fans saw in the last season, Sagal and Applegate reunited on screen, but not as mother and daughter. Of course, that created an even greater urge to see their past relationship come back on screen in some form.
Christina Applegate on the sexualization of teen Kelly Bundy
One can easily assume that the animated Married with children will rub shoulders with other slick and tacky adult animated series like Archer And Bo Jack Rider, featuring numerous sexually explicit jokes aimed at Peg and Kelly Bundy. (Sorry, Bud.) Applegate’s sitcom character was often written as a walking stereotype, as was the standard for Fox in those early days, with the actress’ talent surpassing such generalizations even in the earliest seasons. Still, Kelly Bundy was seen more as a TV hottie than Applegate was seen as a comedy pro, saying the sexualized attention Kelly received during her teenage years was frustrating, and in retrospect is indeed “pretty gross”. Here’s how she put it:
As it was far too often for TV stars, Married with childrenChristina Applegate’s great success over such a long period of time had a direct effect on Christina Applegate’s career outside of the sitcom world, though not in a good way. The Anchorman vet claimed she had “billions” of instances where she auditioned for things, was told she knocked them out of the park, and then still didn’t land the roles because of the Kelly Bundy stigma. We have Don’t tell mom [The Babysitter’s Dead] out, which can’t be denied, but that should have been one of at least a dozen mega-memorable big screen roles for Applegate in the ’90s.
While we obviously can’t go back and change all that crap, we hope the animated revival progresses quickly and brings Christina Applegate lots of laughter and love from her former co-stars as she continues to adjust to life with MS.
Fans waiting for new Bundy adventures, to use that word very lightly, can watch all eleven seasons of the show with a Hulu subscription.