How Katey Sagal Really Felt About Married... With Children

If you owned a television set in the 1990s, odds are you're familiar with "Married... With Children." Starring cast members Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, and Christina Applegate, the series was "irreverent," playing with the concept of middle class suburban families as seen on series such as "Leave It to Beaver." According to Sagal, even the stars were surprised when it became a massive hit.

"I'll never forget Ed and I went on a promo tour and we went into some parade and there we are, dressed as Peg and Al," Sagal explained on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2021. "We were waving and there were so many people there and ... we thought no one was going to really watch it because it was so irreverent." The actor also noted that the show's eccentricity "was so not like anything else on TV." 

With that, "Married... With Children's" transgressions ultimately paid off, as the show would eventually be cemented as one of television's most famous sitcoms. But despite its legacy and Sagal's initial surprise at the show's reception, one has to wonder — how exactly does she feel about her role as Peggy Bundy decades after the show's end?

Katey Sagal soured on Married... With Children

While "Married... With Children" was a runaway success, Katey Sagal recognizes that the series didn't exactly age well. For example, Al Bundy was the founder of a group called NO MA'AM, which stood for National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. Naturally, if one goes down the rabbit hole, there are many, many more instances when the show went too far.

"It was a very misogynistic show ... Women were completely exploited," Sagal told Aol. in 2017. "Of course, [I don't think women should be portrayed in a derogatory way] ... But playing Peg had nothing to do with what I thought. That was my job," she continued. Even back when filming the series, Sagal recalled thinking the show didn't fit into any particular sitcom niche. "I remember reading the script and thinking, 'This is hysterically funny, but no one will watch it because it's just too outside the box," she told ABC News. "We'll get canceled immediately."

Inasmuch, it may not be fair to write off the entire show based on how much society has changed since it aired — especially considering Sagal's change of heart from the show's initial run.

Katey Sagal originally found playing Peggy Bundy refreshing

Even though Katey Sagal later changed her mind, she was not among the detractors of "Married... With Children" while it was on the air. During the filming of the hit series, she enjoyed playing the nontraditional matriarch, Peg Bundy. She related to her "zest for life."

"I adore Peg Bundy," Sagal said in 1989. "To me she's a woman who enjoys her life and does whatever she wants," adding that the Bundy family is unlike others "seen on television for awhile, which... is kind of refreshing. It's a different kind of point of view."

Additionally, she directly responded to one of the series' critics. When faced with the show's treatment of female characters, Sagal simply said, "I really feel like she should change the channel." Sagal urged people to "see all sides of any picture," something she didn't truly do until about 20 years after "Married... With Children" ended. 

Despite her negative opinions of the series today, she still feels that the show was, at times, "hysterically funny." According to ABC News, she credits this to the "amazing chemistry" she had with Ed O'Neil. Regardless of how the show holds up, Sagal "just remember[s] going to work and laughing all the time."