The Razor's Edge is the tenth episode of Season 2 of the FOX sitcom Married... with Children, as well as the 23rd overall episode in the series. Written by Ellen L. Fogle, the episode was directed by Gerry Cohen and premiered on FOX on November 15, 1987.


Steve returns home having grown a beard from a week-long rafting trip. He and Marcy get into a huge argument over his reluctance to shave it off, leading him to move in with the Bundys.


Marcy is at the Bundy house, planning a suprise "Welcome Back" party for Steve, as he been camping for the last five days, while claiming this has the been time that they have been separated from each other since they got married. She then asks Peggy what she would do if Al was gone for that long and she tells Marcy that she would cash in Al's life insurance policy, send Bud and Kelly to her mother's place and travel. Suddenly, the sound of a car pulls up and Marcy tells Peg to hide. As the door opens, Al comes in and the bucket of confetti that Marcy set up above the door drops directs over his head.

Now annoyed that Al ruined the moment, Peggy asks him why is home and he tells her "Well, the summer place is all closed up, the yacht's in dry-dock, so I thought: what the hell, let's spend the night at the ghetto home!". Marcy then tells him that they're throwing a surprise party for Steve, causing him to ask why couldn't they just have it at her house instead. Marcy explains that when Steve comes back from his camping trips, he is usually in the mood for sex, but their house is a mess and he can't get aroused when there is a big mess to clean up at the house. Peg starts to debate about if Al would be aroused if their house was cleaned, but then she ignores it. Marcy tells them about the trip, which involves river rafting and how exciting it was for her, but then the sound of Steve's car pulls up.  The ladies hide behind the couch, while Al sits on the couch and puts his feet up, but seeing this, Peggy tells him to open the door, but he tells her that he's hiding and can't open the door. Annoyed, Peg gets up and opens the door.

Steven, now wearing a red down vest, flannel shirt, jeans and a beard, walks in as the door opens and Marcy jumps up from behind the couch to greet him. As they embrace, Marcy tells him how much she missed him, but stops as he is about to kiss her, noticing the beard that he grew while on his trip. As he points out that he has a beard and asks if she likes it, she sheepishly grins and then he tries to tell everyone about his trip, before Al cuts him off and suggest they have some cake. Steve tries to suggest to Marcy that they go home and have sex. She tells him that she is also tired, but suggest that he shave first and then take a nap, but he tells her he wants to keep the beard. Al and Peggy get excited over their argument, thinking that they can keep the cold cuts. Marcy tells Steve that if he wants to keep it, he can keep the trimmings in a baggie, but he needs to shave it, because she doesn't like it. They continue arguing, with her saying that they make joint decisions and a beard is a decision, to which he replies that he'll support her choice to grow a beard next time, but he is keeping his. Frustrated at his stubbornness, she walks out the door, saying that he has to sleep at some point, but he tells her that he sleeps like an owl. Al thinks about growing a beard after seeing the argument, but Peggy tells him it won't work, as she doesn't look at his face anyway.

The next morning, the entire Bundy family is sitting at the table, eating the leftover cake. Kelly tells them that can smell cold cuts and asks them if there are any in the kitchen. Al and Peggy look at each other, trying to think of an excuse, before lying to her and saying they wish they had some. Al then asks the kids if they heard Steve and Marcy fighting, with both of them saying yes. Bud tells the family that when he gets married, he won't let his wife tell him when to shave, but Kelly makes fun of him and hints that he'll be married to a sheep. He then slyly remarks that she's making fun of him as he's the only virgin in the Bundy house, which causes Al and Peg to stop and stare at Kelly. She attempts to lie and say Bud is making it up, but he then makes a sheep's sound to say no. The doorbell rings and Steve, looking weary, stands there, before Al comments: "Nope, sorry, Tex, no chores for you today. Maybe we'll have you chop a little wood for us tomorrow." Steven tells him that he's there to apologize about the argument last night and if kept them awake, but Peggy tells him not to worry, as she didn't hear anything, including the part where Marcy said: "I don't care how sad Mr. Mike is, there's no room at the inn".

The doorbell rings again, and  Steve instructs them to tell Marcy that he's not there. Al opens it and sees Marcy, but points to where Steve is at. She quickly walks up to him says that they're not done arguing, and he has to shave the beard. Steve, still defiant, tells her no and he'll just go where his beard is appreciated. Hearing this, Al realizes what's going, but before he can say anything, Steve puts his arms around him and Peggy, telling Marcy that he'll be staying with the Bundys until she can "accept this beard and all it stands for", even if it means staying till hell freezes over, saying that she needs to accept that a man's face is a man's face. She then tells him he can come home when his face is back to being baby smooth.

Later that day, Steve is cleaning up the kitchen and Al comes home. Thinking that its Peggy, he asks for a beer and tells Steve about how all the customers at his job complained that their husbands don't pay any attention to them, before Steve startles him. Al asks him what is he doing there and Steve reminds him that he's staying with them for the time being, but promises that he won't be an intrusion and asks that if there's any issues to let him know. Just as Al is about to put his feet up on the table, Steve swats them away saying he just cleaned the table, and to also not mess up the cushions on the couch, as he'll be sleeping on it at 10:30pm sharp, which upsets Al, as that's the exact time Peggy goes to bed as well, meaning he'll have to be in bed with her. He then suggest that he shave the beard and get out of his house, before noticing the smell of food cooking. He then asks Steve how he was able to cook since Peg said the stove doesn't work, but Steve pointed out that someone just cut the cord and he was able to fix it. Just then the kids come in and are surprised that Steve is cooking food for the family.

The Bundy family, now looking stuffed and satisfied, are sitting at the table, with Al noting that this is the first time that they've actually eaten a real meal and then tells the kids to thank their mother, but they respond with "Thanks Mr. Rhoades" instead. As Al and Bud head to the couch, Peg grabs Kelly's arms and tells her that she had set the napkins in place, which Kelly tries to push away and then pat her on the shoulder in pity. She then turns to Steve and asks if he can help her with her algebra homework. He puts his arm around her and tells her that he's been known for juggling numbers at his work as they walk upstairs. Peggy tries to stop her and says that she was going to help her, but Kelly points out that if she's goign to get help, it might as well be from someone who can actually help her pass. Peggy obviously becomes jealous about this and tries to find a way to get rid of him. The doorbell rings and Al sees Marcy, acting sheepishly and dressed in a raincoat, who then asks if Steve is there. Al thinks about it for a brief moment and then tells her no, as he slams the door in her face and has a grin of satisfaction.

The next morning, Steven is cleaning the kitchen dining table, while Peggy looks extremely depressed. Al, acting happier than usual, greets him and lets him know how nice he looks and suggests they go out to do something. Steve tells him that he can't and Al informs him that if Peggy had something to do with it, he'll make sure she's out on the street by nightime. Steve tells him that its actually because he has to attend a banquet for the bankers with Marcy. Al becomes concerned that he'll get back with Marcy and leave the Bundy's but Steve tries to reassure him that it will be alright and he's only doing it for the appearnce and his career. As he straightens Al's tie, he continues:

"It's... this banquet is important to both our careers. It'll be really uncomfortable for me to be there with her, I mean I haven't seen her for five days, I haven't touched her, I haven't smelled her, I haven't buried my face in her..."

Al cuts him off, telling him to remember the reason he's keeping the beard and to also keep the Bundys in mind. He then tells Al he's horny and wants to shave it off, which causes Peggy to jump up in excitement. He then asks if they can have a moment of private guy time and Al tells her to get out of the house. She then says she'll head upstairs, telling Steve that she has a picture of Marcy from last summer washing their car where she got her T-shirt wet and he made a comment about taking her for a spin. As she leaves, Steve tells Al that he's going to shave it off now. Al tells him to sit, but Steve embarrarrsingly tells him that he can't, so he bring him down slowly to the couch, and gives him a lecture about nature:

"...I'm talking about the one that keeps us men from ruling the earth. See, nature gave men the urge, and women the answer. True, it's not much, but it's all they need. Gee, I wish nature gave us everything, like the worm. Or like that guy who works down at the antique store, but... nobody asked me and now it's too late."

Steve comments about Marcy's wet t-shirt picture, but Al continues:

"Steve, think dry here for a minute, will ya? See, the problem is women know we have these urges. But they have the same urges we do, they just don't show it because...but that's how spiteful they are. But Steve, they need us just as much as we need them. Why? Because we can do the job, and you can't take a battery home to meet your mother. There. I've said my piece, now what are you gonna do about it, buddy?"

Steve tells him that he's set on shaving the beard and "rock the house", as its becoming itchy. Al gives him his last piece of advice which is to remember his pride, as its the one thing that keeps a man's pants up when he has the urge for sex. Steve realizes that Al is right and tells him that he'll be keeping the beard. As Al and Steve leave for work together, Peggy signals Marcy, who had been standing outside, to come in. Peggy tells her that she heard Steve is horny and Marcy tells her that she can tell, as the house is extremely clean. She then tries to convince her that she's doing fine without him, before breakind down in tears and revealing that she needs a man. Peggy then offers her some advice:

"Look, you can keep your principles and still have Steve. Marcy, I only want your happiness, preferably at your own house. Because you see, now I have healthy kids, a happy husband, and it has just got to stop. So why don't you do this: tonight, when you pick up Steve for this banker thing, why don't you wear the sleaziest, sexiest, sluttiest outfit you can find? I'll loan you something."

Marcy tries to tell her that she couldn't do something like that, but Peggy continues:

"Marcy, let me tell you a little something about men. You see, nature played a very cruel joke on them: it gave them a source of pleasure, but in order for it to work, the blood has to leave the brain. And, you see, it leaves them confused, disoriented and eager to enter into negotiations. Because the brain wants that blood back. You see, it needs it to go to work to pay for all those things they'd agreed to only moments before. You see, Marcy, we may not have upper body strength, but we do have sexual kryptonite. Use it, Marcy. Have him shave that beard. Oh hell, have him shave his head!  [chuckles] For me."

Marcy still tries to avoid this and tells her that she'll do it her way, by trying to have a reasonable discussion to reach his intellect, before suddenly asking Peg if she has any batteries.

Later that night, Steve is still arguing about the beard, but Al reminds him to keep it. Steve then admits that he so horny, he resorted to looking up womens skirts. Seeing how bad his urge is, Al tells him take a seat, as he had been saving a gift for him. He starts to slowly reveal a picture of his mother in law, which causes Steve to scream in utter horror, as he reveals the details about it:

"Yep, look at her, bending over at the beach, summer of '71. Notice the perspiration percolating in the folds of her flesh. You may wonder why her upper arms are blurry: there was a breeze, and we caught them in mid-flap." Steve, still trying to regain his composure, then thanks him and Al insist that he take it with him to the banquet, as is its also good for dieting. Peg and Marcy come in through the front door. Marcy, wearing a trench coat and a new harido and makeup, greets Steve, who notices the new hair. She asks him what does he think, and immediately looks down at the picture, before looking at her and telling her he doesn't like it and asks if she's ready to go now. She then tries to reason with him as she had told Peg before:

"All right, Steve. But first I have something to say: with regards to your beard, though it is your face, it has affected both of us. It does not enhance your business persona and it makes me terribly unhappy. So I appeal to your intelligence, sensitivity and good judgement by asking you to please shave the beard."

He flat out tells her no and seeing no other option, she removes her trench coat, revealing that she's only wearing black and red lingerie with thigh high stockings. Steve looks surprised and then she pulls out an electric razor and walks out the door, with him following behind. Peg, who is looking happy about what happened, is sitting with Al on the couch. He then asks if she can make the potatos that Steve did, but she replies by asking if he's willing to make love to her for an hour and a half like Steve does with Marcy. They both stare at each other blankly for a moment, realzing they neither of them could do those things and then they settle on going to Burger King.


Regular CastEdit


To be added.




  • This episode, along with The Egg and I, is the only episode that shows Steve with a beard and in both cases, he grew the beard while being out in nature for an extended period of time, away from Marcy.
  • As indicated by Bud, at the age of 16 in the episode, Kelly is no longer a virgin, while Bud is the only virgin left in the family for the next few seasons.
  • This is the first episode where Al becomes excited to have a male outside of his family cook for him due to marital issues. This would happen again in the season 5 episode "The Dance Show".
  • This is the first episode directed by Gerry Cohen, who directed the majority of episodes on the show.

Cultural ReferencesEdit



  • Bundy Living Room/Kitchen


  • Marcy tells Peg that Steve has been gone for 5 days. Yet when he gets home, he has grown a full beard. It would take longer than 5 days to grow a full beard like that.
  • When Steve enters the Bundy's house, he is carrying a brown bag on his right side hanging from his shoulder. He places it down on the floor near the door. When he leaves with Marcy, he leaves without the bag.
  • While Steve is cooking, Al states that Peggy said the stove has been broken for months. Steve replies that the cord has been cut. Moments later, Peggy warns Al that the electric bill will be expensive. Al replies that the stove is gas.

External LinksEdit

◄ Season 1 Season 2 Episodes Season 3 ►
Poppy's by the Tree (Part 1)Poppy's by the Tree (Part 2)If I Were a Rich Man
Buck Can Do ItGirls Just Wanna Have Fun (Part 1)Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Part 2)
For Whom the Bell TollsBorn to WalkAlley of the DollsThe Razor's Edge
How Do You Spell Revenge?Earth AngelYou Better Watch OutGuys and Dolls
Build a Better MousetrapMaster the PossibilitiesPeggy Loves Al, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
The Great EscapeImpo-DentJust Married... with ChildrenFather LodeAll in the Family
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