Desperately Seeking Miss October is the 7th episode of the 4th season of Married With Children; it also was the 64th overall episode of the series. Directed by Gerry Cohen, the episode was written by Arthur Silver and Steve Bing. It originally aired on FOX on November 5, 1989.
When Al recognizes a female customer at the shoe store as Playboy Magazine's Miss October, Al goes searching for his old issues of Playboy, only to find out that Peg sold them to buy a good luck charm named Tubro. He finally makes her get all the Playboys back.
When a Playboy playmate, Brandi Brandt, walks into Al's shoe store, he's eager to get home and look up her October 1987 issue. But Al is a broken man when he finds out that Peggy has sold his entire Playboy collection to get money to buy a good luck charm to win the lottery. The ghost of Al's father later appears and convinces him to get some self-respect. You see, Al kept all of his father's Playboy magazine in plastic and in chronological order. When Peggy can't get money from her family to get a statue, she sells her husband's Playboy magazines much to the dismay of the men in the house, including Bud. After seeing a Playboy Of The Month at Gary's Shoes, he tries to retrieve her picture to show his friend and neighbor, Steve, who is becoming more like Al much to the dismay of Marcy. All Peggy wants to do is win the lottery, have money, and happiness in her life so she gets "Tubra" statue. When Al gets a visit from his dearly departed father, (He's played by Ed O'Neill with a mustache and grey hair.), he demands that Peggy get his Playboys back.
Kelly, who is dressed up for school. is taking a nap on the couch and Peggy, who is coming down the stairs, tries to wake her up for school. After a few attempts, she finally gets up and tells Peg that she can't leave for school just yet, as she has to do a current events report and is waiting for Bud to come back with a newspaper. Just then, Bud comes in with a tabloid newspaper called the National Investigator. He tries to justify his pick, saying that everyone else will bring some sort of mainstream newspaper article and this will help Kelly stick out among them. He then offers her a choice: "Psychic Predicts Someone Will Watch Garry Shandling", or "Spuds McKenzie Just Says No To Justine Bateman". She settles on the Spuds McKenzie article, saying that "At least someone's heard of Spuds McKenzie"
While Peggy scans through the tabloid, she notices an article, "New Jersey Housewife Wins 8.7 Million Dollar Lottery" and found out that she won by rubbing the belly of a good luck charm named Tubro, the fat Panamanian God of Money. As Kelly tries to read the paper, Al comes down the stairs and is impressed, until she tells him that she lost her place and struggles to read the title again. As he is overcome with joy, he tells Peg that she should continue to make the Bundy women look good by making him breakfast. She scoffs at his request, before asking him for $195 for a Tubro of her own. He then points out that with kind of money, the family could easily have food, shelter and a college education, as they look at Kelly, struggling to reading the letter "A".
At Gary's Shoes, Al comes out of the bathroom and thanks the few people there for watching the store for him. Steve enters and tells Al that he got off of work early and proceeds to ask him what he's up to, saying that hes "trying to kill another sixty years so Willard Scott can say 'Hi' to me on TV". As Al heads to the storage room, Steve comments that he should try enjoy his life more and they should go out to see an opera or visit a museum, before he calls out "Hooter Alert!!!", causing Al to run out and greet the lady. As Al and Steve gaze at the beautiful lady, she tells them that she is looking for a pair of size 6 black stiletto heels. They both decide to grab the pair for her and struggle, eventually with both of them holding one shoe, but Al lets Steve go ahead before tripping him and steals the other shoe from him. As the lady tries them on and walks around the store, Al realizes that she is in fact Brandi Brandt, Playmate of the Month October 1987, telling Steve the facts about her ("Born 1968. Teeny teeny birthmark, 'round bend of left knee. Favorite movie "The Big Bus".") before he actually confirms it with her, causing them to giggle. Al proceeds to tell her how much he loves her work and then lets her have the shoes for free, seeing that she made it possible for them to have sex with their wives.
Back at the Bundy house, Steve and Al enter, getting excited to see the issue Brandi was in. Before Al goes to look for them, he tells Steve about his collection of Playboy magazines:
"I've got 'em all, Steve. I've been collecting Playboys my whole life. My dad got me started on the hobby. It was my twelfth birthday. We watched Mom Singapore Sling herself into oblivion. Then we went into the basement and there, behind the toolbox, was Dad's stash. Oh, the breasts we saw that night. And when Dad died, he gave them all to me."
He then tells Steve to take a seat while he goes to the basement to get them. As he becomes giddy, Al comes up with a shocked look on his face, saying that his entire collection is now gone. Just then, Peggy comes in holding her own Tubro, causing Al to ask her if she knew what happened to his collection of Playboy magazines. She then reveals that she sold them, since he wouldn't give her the $192 to buy it. Later, as Peggy and Al sit on the couch, Peg tries to justify herself, saying that she didn't realize that Al didn't, even though she noticed that they were in chronological order and individually wrapped. She then tells Al that he should rub Tubro's belly, but Al instead proceeds to choke it. Bud sneaks by unnoticed to look at the Playboys and Al scolds her for selling them, indicating that they were part of the male Bundy history that should be passed on to Bud, but she says he's just blowing things out of proportion. Just then Bud comes up from the basement, heartbroken and ready to cry as he realizes that they are no longer there and struggles to make his way up the stairs. Al then asks why doesn't she just steal from the kids and sell their stuff, but she points out that they lock their bedroom doors.
The doorbell rings and Marcy, who is standing there, calls Al "maggot bits", revealing that while she and Steve were making love, a thumb tact hit her on the head before a picture of Brandi Brandt fell down. As Al becomes excited that he found the issue, Marcy indicates that she used some painful method involving his testicles to get Steve to reveal that it was Al's idea. Peggy wonders why men have to look these kinds of women when they have wives at home, but he points out that some people just like close their eyes and fantasize that their Dodge is a Ferrari. Marcy then tells Al to stay away from Steve and to keep his Playboys away and as Al proceeds to request to take the picture of Brandi back from her, she then tears it up and jumps on top of the torn pieces. As he struggles to pick up the pieces, Peg asks him if he's thought about other women while they were together and he sarcastically tells her no, but then asks if one of the pieces he's holding is a nose or a breast. Laughing at the fact that he doesn't know female anatomy, she tells him that until he calms down, she's going to rub Tubro and win the next big jackpot. She then proceeds to rub Tubro, chanting "Chatta chatta. Tubra yumbra"
Al comments that someone else has to have even worse luck and that he's just glad his dad isn't alive to see what's happened. Suddenly, the sound of Al's Ferguson Toilet is heard and the ghost of Al's dad, sporting grey hair and a mustache, dressed in similar fashion, and holding a newspaper underneath his arm, comes out and takes a seat on the couch. After a moment, Al's dad points out that because he let Peg sell the family Playboys, Al is being laughed at by Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and the Three Stooges. Al asks if the guys in heaven know anything about women, but his dad says no, saying that the only thing they know for sure is that women are the greatest threat to the world and must be stopped, by him taking a stand. He further tells him that the guys in heaven are counting on Al, including his hero, John Wayne, who has $5 riding on him. Al gets up and gives his dad a thumbs up, who smiles and gives him a thumbs up before fading away. Now with determination, he goes up to Peg and tells her to get the Playboys back, no matter what. As she sadly walks away, Al says that he feels like John Wayne and calls the kids down to clean the car and make him a meal, but the kids just laugh at him, saying that he's old and delusional for thinking that they'll do what he's asked them.
Later that night, Al decides to make a Tangwich and asks if the kids want some, but Kelly points out that they like the way Peg makes it, as she pinches the edges so the powder doesn't fall out. As Al takes a seat on the couch with the kids, they both ask him when Peg is coming back, as they feel like they need to talk to her. Al scoffs at that, saying that they can learn from him, before his Tangwich starts to leak out the Tang powder, and then tells Kelly to tell him about her question, as there is nothing that they can ask Peg that they ask him about it as well. She then tells him that she's ovulating and gets a pinching cramp. Not understanding what ovulation is, he tells to walk it off and for future reference to stretch before "ov-a-late". Feeling like a parent, he then tells them to go to bed as he tries to clean up the Tang powder from his shirt, but they just get up and head out for the night.
Al looks up and talks to his dad before Peg suddenly comes in with a wheelbarrow full of his magazines, making him excited. He asks her how she was able to do it and she tell him that she took his car, under Tubro's suggestion and while she was driving, they were hit by a speeding Mercedes-Benz and the driver offered her enough money to buy the Playboys back. Al then wonders just how much damage was done, and she indicates it was significant, pointing out that he can't make left hand turns and he's also missing the doors, but she is unhurt. Al just shrugs it off as he now has his Playboys back and then show Peg the issue with Brandi Brandt on the cover. She then tells Al that she doesn't get why he's attracted to her, but he tells that she'll find out when Brandi's pictures is tact up on the headboard and tells her to head upstairs, causing Peggy to be giddy as Al puts his arm around her and they rush up the stairs.
Recurring cast/Guest stars
- Brandi Brandt as Herself
- The title of this episode is a reference to the 1985 film, Desperately Seeking Susan and Al and Steve's search the October 1987 issue of Playboy.
- The episode focuses around Brandi Brandt, who was Playmate of the Month for October 1987.
- This episode marks the first and only time that viewers get to see the face of Al's father, who is also portrayed by Ed O'Neill.
- Al reveals that he has been collecting Playboy issues since he was 12 years old and also inherited his father's collection after he passed away.
- Al tells Steve that during his 12th birthday, he and his dad watched Al's mom "Singapore Sling herself into oblivion", inferring that she got drunk on the cocktails until passing out. In various episodes, it is mentioned that Al's mom was an alcoholic.
- One of the headlines in the newspaper that Bud reads makes reference to Spuds McKenzie, a Bull Terrier dog used as the mascot for Bud Light Beer from 1987 to 1989. It was met with much controversy during its run, as many claimed that the dog was being used to allure children into drinking beer at a young age through the dog and merchandising with items such as plush toys and t-shirts.
- Bud's newspaper also makes reference to Justine Bateman, an actress best known for her role as Mallory Keaton on the 1980s sitcom Family Ties .
- Christina Applegate and David Faustino guest starred in different episodes of Family Ties before starring on MWC and Justine's co-star on the show, Tina Yothers appeared on MWC in Season 11's "Kelly's Gotta Habit" as one of Bud's clients.
- Justine Bateman's brother, Jason Bateman, starred in the 1980's sitcom It's Your Move, as well as another FOX television series, Arrested Development.
- One of the headlines that Bud reads off mentions Garry Shandling, a comedian, actor and writer, who's was known at the time of the airing of this episode for his show, It's Garry Shandling's Show, which aired on Showtime from 1986 to 1990 and later had re-runs on FOX, the network home of Married...With Children, to boost its ratings.
- Garry Shandling was previously mentioned on the show in "He Ain't Much, But He's Mine", when Peggy and her friends discuss how much money it would cost to convince them to sleep with Shandling.
- Al mentions Willard Scott, an actor, author and television and radio personality, best known as being part of NBC's Today Show, where he wishes centenarians a happy birthday twice a week on the show.
- Al tells Steve that he's trying to kill another 60 years so Willard Scott can say hi to him, referring to Scott wishing centenarians a happy birthday on-air. This would also indicate that Al is about 40 years old in this episode.
- When citing facts about Brandi Brandt, he states that one of her favorite films is the 1976 comedy, The Big Bus.
- Al tells Steve that his mother would get drunk off of Singapore Slings, a gin based cocktail.
- Marcy mentions that she was humming "Battle Hymn of the Republic" while having sex with Steve.
- During the conversation with his dad's ghost, Al's and his dad list off famous people who are in heaven and rooting for Al to get his Playboys back:
- Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of the United States
- Socrates - Greek philosopher who is considered the father of Western Philosophy and the Socratic method
- Larry, Moe, Curly - The original three members of the comedic troupe, The Three Stooges.
- Marilyn Monroe - Actress and Playboy Playmate who was known for playing the "Blonde Bombshell" and being a sex symbol during the 1950s and 1960s.
- Plato - Greek philosopher who was a student of Socrates, and considered one of the founders of Western political philosophy and spirituality, as well as the first higher institute of learning.
- John Wayne - American actor and director (and Al's personal hero). In the episode, Al begins to act like Wayne, by calling Peg "Pilgrim" and then standing like him when ordering Bud and Kelly to cook and clean. He also says "I feel 'The Duke' in me!", referring Wayne's nickname "The Duke".
- During his talk, Al's father mentions that Plato had some philosophical ideas about women, but then became more interested in taking boys camping while giving an awkward pause. Later when Al order Peg to get the Playboy magazines back, he tells her that it is for him and all the guys "except Plato", with both of them implying that Plato was gay.
- While never actually confirmed, it is alleged that Plato was gay and possibly engaged in sexual relations with young boys as an adult, as homosexuality and more specifically, pederasty was somewhat common in ancient Greece.
- Plato, like his later student, Aristotle, viewed women as inferior to men, but believed that education could put them at a better advantage.
- Powdered drink brand Tang is seen, as Al makes a Tangwich for the kids.
- If one looks closely at the wheelbarrow that Peg has the Playboys in, the issue that is prominently seen in the front is the September 1988 issue, featuring Jessica Hahn, who was the longtime girlfriend of MWC co-creator Ron Leavitt.
- Bundy Living Room / Kitchen
- Shoe Store
- After Peggy brings back Al's Playboys, as she walks near the staircase, Al gets up and clearly doesn't have anything in his hands as he walks towards her. Then after Peggy reveals that the guy that crashed into the Dodge gave her enough money to buy them back, Al says "Wait a second, Peg!" and suddenly has the October 1987 issue in his left hand.
- Desperately Seeking Miss October at the Internet Movie Database
- Desperately Seeking Miss October on Bundyology
- Desperately Seeking Miss October - Final Draft Script on albundy.net
- Desperately Seeking Miss October - Transcript on albundy.net
- #65 Desperately Seeking Miss October - MWC Podcast on Horrorphilia