Marcy. Seriously, what the hell? At the begining of the series, she starts out as a polite, well mannered, if naive next door neighbor who would try to help out the Bundy's by giving them calm, logical solutions, but somehow she transforms into this mean, Rich Bitch, Know-Nothing Know-It-All whose sole mission in life seems to be destroying Al and everything he tries to achieve. What happened? An extreme case of Character Derailment?
You could argue that she (like the show itself) went off the rails with the departure of her husband Steve.
It's funnier that way; or at least the writers thought that.
Likely, the stress of being neighbors with the Bundys finally got to her.
And she was always materialistic; she and Steve were supposed to be parodies of driven yuppies.
Marcy was shown to have signs of mental instability as early as the 3rd episode and several anecdotes from her past show that she always had some underlying mental instability.
I think Marcy has a (maybe subconscious) crush on Al (who consciously loathes her). There is way too much anger to be caused by ordinary annoyance.
Just look at the way she behaves around him when she's drunk. In one episode she jumps into his arms and kisses him (to which a disgusted Al replies that she "beaked" him) and in another she wore a Christmas Dress with a head ornament that left a piece of mistletoe dangling in front of her face, which she teased Al about.
Al has been a thorn in her side from the very first episode. From chicken jokes to getting her demoted (repeatedly) to blowing up her house, you have to admit Al deserves it.
Well that's the thing, Peggy and the kids were no saints either and she was part of the causes of a lot of trouble for her, yet she's still her friend, and though she doesn't like them she doesn't hate Kelly and Bud, who also make fun of her a lot, so what is with the desire to actively ruin everything slightly good that happens to Al, she knows he's life is crappy enough and it's not like she hasn't help her at times or anything.
More likely it had to do with Al's outrageously politically incorrect views. Keep in mind that Marcy was in some respects a Straw Feminist as well as upholding traditional "family values", which of course Al (to say nothing of the creators) hate. Bud's a lecherous pervert, but he's never expressed the same opinions on feminism or family values as Al, which may be why Marcy doesn't loathe him the same way she does his father. Bud's occasional hitting on Marcy and not making any chicken jokes probably helps too.
I don't think it was a subconscious crush, so much as subconscious recognition that he was the breadwinner for his family and, despite her feminism, she did owe some respect to what he provided his family [Insert favorite line from Peg, Kelly or Bud here.] She found herself in the same place, once Steve lost his job and basically went nuts, and wound up getting drunk with Al at a bar, complaining about gender-non-specific spouses in general. The two of them could relate to each other in very few ways, but when they found common ground, it was based on mutual respect. This became less of an issue when she married Jefferson and the show became one of the greatest live-action cartoons ever made.
Why didn't Al find his incredibly attractive wife, attractive? He acted like he was married to a gorilla.
Because she's a sponge who contributes nothing. There's more to attraction than physical beauty.
And what do the array of hot, mute 20-years olds, that he's always ogling have to contribute, I wonder?
A fresh start, for one thing; The fact of the matter is that if Al was married to anyone besides Peggy the quality of his life would improve just by default. And you assume these 20 year olds will leach off of him just as bad as Peg does, because.......?
No it wouldn't. He'd still be just as miserable with one of the mute hot chicks as with Peg; he's already proven to not have the keenest eye when it comes to women. Al doesn't pick women based on whether they're decent people, he picks them based on how hot they are, which is why he ended up with Peg in the first place. Besides, the more fundamental reason why he ogles hot women (other than the obvious reasons, in addition to the quote below) is because they're not Peg.
"A girl is a girl all her life, but a woman is only sexy until she becomes your wife."
While I don't have a problem with Al's failure to recognize his wife's attractiveness (because he was the type who'd lose interest in any woman over the course of a marriage), it was hard for me to believe that other men didn't recognize it. At one point, someone asked Al and Jefferson why they'd go to the "nudie bar" when they could see their wives topless for free, and both men replied, "Have you seen his wife?!?!" Jefferson must have been blind.
Indeed, in one later episode, Peggy dons a veil and becomes the favorite stripper of all the NO MA'AM guys... including Al, who is horrified when he learns the truth.
In the episode where Peggy ends up on a billboard, other men blatantly show their appreciation for her. Similarly, the dancers at Troy's seem to enjoy giving her special attention (maybe because she's a big tipper, or maybe...)
"Incredibly attractive wife" has good parts and bad parts. "Incredibly attractive" is the good part, "wife" is the bad part.
Peg is physically attractive (since Katey Sagal is) but her dress sense and personality are horrific. It's enough to put him off her regardless of what she looks like.
Word of God comes into play here. The cast themselves said that the point was the boredom that settles into the sex life, that it becomes like chore. They even add it a case like that it wouldn't matter who your married to.
How can Al afford the house by just working as a shoe salesman at the mall? I know the Bundys are remembered for being the example of "white trash" and not the happy TV families you usually saw in the late 80's and early 90's. But they live in a relatively nice suburban house. Grant it, by the end of the show's run it was really dated, but in 1987 a lot of houses still had that 70's interior. I'm mostly talking about how he could afford it in the beginning of the series, when Kelly and Bud were still kids, and the only job Peg had was working at a clock store for a week. I don't know what sales people made in the late 80's, but it couldn't have been that much to afford a house that's easily in the $200,000 zone today.
Al's property isn't worth nearly as much as it looks. In one episode, Officer Dan mistakes the Bundy residence for a crack house, while in another he mentions that people think it's abandoned. It's filthy and poorly maintained, with Al's substandard wiring jobs creating an obvious fire hazard, it's been repeatedly damaged by everything from gas main explosions to rocket launchers to Peg's mother to Al's various DIY Disasters, the driveway is made up out of ground-up womens' shoes, and it's implied in several episodes to be in a bad neighborhood. Not to mention that the land itself is probably contaminated, as a survey done in one episode reveals that the First Nations people who lived in the area initially used the Bundy property as a landfill where they threw their rotting moccasins. It was probably the only property Al could afford. A more pertinent question would be why a wealthier couple like Steve and Marcy would buy a house in a crappy neighborhood like the Bundys' when they probably could have afforded something better.
Maybe they have the cheapest house in a decent neighborhood? And they "moved in" before the series began; I imagine housing cost less when Al signed the paperwork.
Given that Al never makes any comments about a mortgage payment, perhaps he inherited the house from a relative. The poor condition of the house could be a combination of the family's inability to perform basic house-maintaining tasks and their poverty.
Oh, Al makes mortgage payments. One of the bills in the episode where he sings the "We're Broke" song is his mortgage payment. In another episode he mentions that it shouldn't be too hard to get a sixth mortgage on the house, and in the classic episode 976-SHOE he ends up owing $100,000 to two banks, which he arranges to pay off by extending his mortgage to the year 2157. After that, he'll be able to retire.
And they aren't too fair-dealing either. In one episode they got horrified at the thought of living off only Al's wage.
If Al is so poor, how could he afford the No Ma'am shirts?