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Rites of Passage is the 16th episode of Season 6 of Married... with Children, also the 121st overall episode of the series. Directed by Gerry Cohen, and written by Ilunga Adell, the episode premiered on FOX on Febuary 9, 1992.


It's Bud's 18th birthday, but everyone still treats him like a little boy. Does he stay at home for his birthday party with a pony and a clown or does Al have something else in mind for his "adult" son?


Bud, or at least his Grandmaster B persona, is on the phone with a girl named Roxanne and tries to convince her to go out with him, as its his 18th birthday, but even his begging to get a soda with her or even a non-binding sexual thing backfires and is rejected by her.

Kelly, who had overheard his conversation, tries to remind that these past 18 years have consisted of ", desolate, stark, raving loneliness" before wishing him a happy birthday, showing him a gift box and calling him Buttwager B. Bud calls her "one size fits all" and tries to reject her gift, claiming that every year she does the same thing to him, giving him a rather stupid gift, such as Clearasil in a drum, a book entitled "If You're Lonely and You Know It, Let's Make Handshadows"  or a poster of the Village People with his face pasted over the cowboy. But Kelly convinces him it's finally different this time and Bud eagerly unwraps it, to find a tape recorder inside, before she tells him it's not the recorder, but the tape inside, which turns out to be a pre-recorded message she made for his answering machine:

Kelly trying to comfort Bud after getting rejected over the phone

"Hello, this is Bud Bundy, also known as Grandmaster Virgin. You must have dialed the wrong number, because no one ever calls me on purpose. But if you leave your name and number, I'll call you back as soon as I finish putting the negligee on my dog...Please hold...please?"

She then turns off the tape and jokes that it ran a little bit long, but it's not like he needed room for messages anyway.  Bitter, he tells her that if she really wants to get him a gift, to just forget that it's his birthday, because that's all he really wants at this point, for everyone to forget that it's his birthday. Just then, a very happy Peg comes down the stairs, calling him her "little, wittle birthday man" and asks him for a birthday hug, saying that he's now "16 and already a heartbreaker", before Kelly corrects her telling her that he's actually 18, but the pimples on his face are actually 16, before Bud tries to start a fistfight with her. Peggy intervenes, reminding them that fighting causes the dust to rise up from the couch and then tells Bud that they're going to have a celebration for his birthday.

Peggy asking Kelly about the 976 girl Bud has a crush on

But Bud interjects, saying that all he really wanted was the girl he called earlier, Roxanne and Peg says if that's what he wants, then she'll get him it. Immediately, she calls Kelly over and whispers in front of Bud if Roxanne is part of the Barbie doll line, before Kelly points out that she is a real girl. She then asks Kelly what happened to the 976 girl he had a crush on, but Kelly points out that she wont take his calls anymore. Feeling bad for Bud now, Peggy reveals that they are going to still have a party for him, which will include a pony and Sticky the Clown, a performer who Bud used to watch on TV until he was 12 and was recently on a work-release program after realizing that the thing he did which got him in prison in the first place was bad.

Al comes in and tells the family that he just "chocked up some more frequent loser miles" and that the Department of Juvenile Corrections sent a group of delinquents over to his shoe store, to show them why its important to stay in school. The delinquents were forced by guards to watch Al work for 3 hours until "even the most hardened punk was crying like a baby" . He reveals that the program is called "Scared Rich", but wishes they had one when he was younger called "Scared Single".

Peg comes up to Al and reminds him that its Bud's 18th birthday and that he should share of his fatherly wisdom with him. As Kelly and Peg leave the couch, Al walks up to the couch and tells Bud that he talk to him, but there's a show coming up that he wants to watch. He then gives him this piece of knowledge "A man is a man all of his life; A woman is only sexy until she becomes you're wife", before telling him happy birthday and then to go away.

Immediately after that, Marcy and Jefferson come in and wish Bud a happy birthday. Jefferson tells the group that he remembers when he turned 18, when he had girls over all the time and his phone wouldn't stop ringing, before realizing that the phone is silent and just the female Bundys are there. Marcy then tells Bud that he is lucky to turning 18 at this time, pointing out that with all the disfiguring diseases out there now, people have a chance to get to know each other and be friends before having sex, while back her time, it was about "Free Love. Free Sex. Free Huey". She then gets caught up in her thoughts about fornicating at will like dogs in strange places with people she barely knew, in ways that would shock most people today. She then says "Foxy Lady...Coming to get ya!" before giggling. Jefferson jumps in again, telling them at 18, he had a car, a place down by the beach and checks coming in from his father every month, saying it was a great age to be alive, before telling Bud that he heard he's getting a pony and clown for his birthday.

Bud telling the adults to watch the Grandmaster in action.

The phone rings and Kelly picks up , telling Bud its for him and its a girl who wants to take him to see a movie. Bud, trying to put on a cool persona, slowly walks over to the phone and tells the group that they can "keep your clown...and your parties...and your lame memories of the 60's or 20's or whenever the hell you thought you were cool." He gets to the phone and as he puts his baseball cap on, he tells them, " If you want a memory, watch the Grandmaster operate". As he picks up, he tells the girl on the phone "Hey babe! Hows it hanging?", only to suddenly change his tone as he finds out that its actually Grandma Wanker and she wants to take him to see The Care Bears Big Picnic movie. He tells her that he is wearing the knit socks that she sent him. He then is forced to kiss her over the phone and say "I love my mam'ma". Realizing how embarrassed he is now, he drops the cool persona and ask what Sticky is getting there at, before Peggy gleefully cheers on that the party is still on.

Seeing his son's disappointment as he goes up the stairs, Al calls him over to the couch while the others run off to plan the party, telling him he was waiting to tell him this when he hits the low point of his day. Hesitant at first, he sarcastically asks if "Coppula's daughter's wants to have tea?", but Al tells him "Do you want to spend your birthday atop of a dying horse while a clown squirts you with seltzer and your mom takes pictures?" Bud sits down and Al tells him that he is going to do what every male Bundy does when they turn 18 and take him to the "Nudie Bar" (The Jiggly Room) . As Bud gets excited about their upcoming trip there, Al continues on, telling him that his father took him to the Nudie Bar when he turned 18, just as his father's father, Jebidah Bundy, did for him and now it was his was turn to take Bud there, claiming that "throughout history, all male Bundys and looking at hooters that don't belong to them go hand in hand".  They both look up and Al talks more about the Nudie Bar:

"Ah yes, the Nudie Bar...Where the music stinks and they water the drinks..the Nudie Bar...Where the girlies dance in their underpants...the Nudie Bar...Where you see their butt and their trap stays the Nudie Bar."

Al showing his excitement for their trip to the Nudie Bar

As they get more excited, Al tells Bud to keep quiet about their trip, as Marcy, Peg and Kelly walk behind the couch with a suspicious look on their faces. They keep trying to hold their excitement in, but just then, Al caves in, miming like he's grabbed a pair of breasts and goes "Honk! Honk!", as they keep laughing and become more giddy.

Arriving at the Nudie Bar, Al tells Bud that since its his birthday, he can sit anywhere he wants. Hearing this, Bud immediately runs to the edge of the stage, sitting and looking up between the legs of a dancer who was performing, before stopping in frustration. Al quickly tells him to not sit there, as its demeaning to the dancers, plus its where nickles that people throw to the dancers land at. He then takes him to a table near the stage that Al had reserved for them and tells Bud to go for it. He starts to ask the dancer to take it off and Al tells the audience about it, who whistle and applaud, bringing a tear to Al's eye as he tells Bud "If this old heart could talk" and getting a bra tossed at him by another stripper, who then uses it to wipe his eyes dry.

Bud seeing what Al's entire paycheck can buy him

Al then gives Bud six dollars, with Bud surprised that he just gave him his entire paycheck. As he's about to put it in his pocket, Al tells him that its actually meant for the girls, but to not spend it all on just one girl, saying that no girl is worth that much money. Bud tells him that it'll take more than just a little leg to get him that excited. Just then, a blonde stripper comes on stage, in front of Bud and as she starts to dance in front of him, he ends up giving her the entire $6, which only gets her to remove her lace mini skirt. She then squats down to ask for more money to take off more of her lingerie, but with no money now, she waves goodbye to Bud and walks away.

Back at the Bundy house, Sticky the Clown is sitting on the couch holding a knife in one hand and a stuffed blue animal in the other, He kisses the animal on the head and then licks the knife before jamming it straight through the toy animal's head. Peg and Marcy look on, as Peg is surprised that she was able to hire him for only $5. Kelly and a girl walk in and Buck runs down the staircase with a gift box.  Peggy tells Buck that it wasn't Bud that came home, but he is awestruck when he sees the pony in the backyard and runs back upstairs to freshen up. Kelly and the girl head to the kitchen and she reveals to Peggy that the other girl is Roxanne, who is the girl Bud has been trying to go with. Kelly reveals that she wanted to do something nice this time, and convinced Roxanne to go to the party by telling her that Bud is dying. Roxanne sits down next to Sticky and tells him that she's going to miss Bud, but Sticky tells her that she must have mistaken him "for a clown who actually gives a damn."

Roxanne, Jefferson and Sticky the Clown waiting at Bud's birthday party

Jefferson comes in with the birthday cake, and Buck comes downstairs again. After Peggy says that its not Bud again, Buck tells her that he doesn't give a cat's ass and is going to get some with the pony in back and runs out the front door. Marcy walks up Jefferson and asks him why did take over 3 hours just for a cake, before revealing that after all the talk about their youth that he bought a '65 Mustang. Marcy then asks him when is going to get job and then tells him to take it back before he kisses her, convincing her to let him keep it. He walks behind the couch and Sticky extends his hand, saying "I'm Sticky" and Jefferson shakes his hand, saying "Me too...but at least I've got a car."

As Sticky starts to put his arm around Roxanne and stare at her, she tells Kelly that she needs to get going now, as she doesn't want to spend her Saturday night with her creepy dad sitting next to her, thinking Sticky is Kelly's and Bud's actual dad. Peg tells her not to lie to Roxanne, and then Peg tells Roxanne that her husband is actually dead. As Sticky continues to lean towards Roxanne and stroke her hair, Jefferson asks when will the party actually begin and Peggy tell him that it'll start as soon as Al and Bud get back.

At the Nudie Bar, a stripper is trying to catch a dollar that's on a string that's being pulled by Al, before she gives up and walks offstage. Bud tells Al that's he's bored now and Al tries to convince him that he'll end his boredom, by getting up on stage and trying to dance with a brunette stripper, who then takes his dollar and puts it between her cleavage, but doesn't notice Al pulling it away as she walks off stage. Sensing that Bud is having a problem, he asks him what's going on, which he tell him that it sucks when you're broke. Al tells him that the reality is that any place sucks when you don't have money and even admits that he does get bored there sometimes too. Bud then asks him why does he keep coming to the Nudie Bar and before he can answer that, one of the patrons who is looking at his money bumps into Al from the back. With a grin on his face, he tells Bud the reason why by starting a fight with the guy who just bumped into him.

Al and Bud trying to survive the bar brawl

As chaos ensues, one of the patrons grabs Bud, but realizing that he's young and new to the club, he lets him get a free shot, but Bud decides to be sneaky and takes a chair, smashing it across the guy's back. Al and Bud continue fighting and at one point, as Bud punches a guy he's put in a headlock, a waitress walks by and as Bud tries to get her attention, she uppercuts him in the stomach. Al, on the other hand, breaks a bottle over the head of the guy he started the fight with and then takes the wig off another guy before punching in the face. Al and Bud end up with their backs against each and check to see if they're OK, before Bud tells him to look out as another patron jumps off stage to attack someone else.

Back at the Bundy house, Buck, sitting in a dark living room, has a plastic cigarette in mouth while a Jame Bond style theme is playing in the background, saying he's happy that he got his. The front door, with Stick's knife sticking through, opens and a badly beaten up Al and Bud walk in, proud that the male Bundy tradition of getting into a fight at the nudie club lives on. Asking how he feels, Bud responds by first spitting out a tooth and then telling him that he feels great, before wondering what to tell Peg in the morning. Al tells him that since he's a man now, the proper response would be to look her straight in the eye and tell her they got stuck in traffic, but they'll remember where they were at, as Al reflects back:

Al and Bud bonding over their night at the Nudie Bar

"At the Nudie Bar...where you can't touch a breast, but you can cave in a chest...At the nudie bar...Where you look at a thigh and blacken an eye...At the Nudie Bar...Where the beer gives you gas, but the Bundys kick ass...[Al and Bud in unison] At the Nudie Bar!!"

Al puts his arm around Bud's shoulder and they laugh as they try to help each other walk up the stairs.

Recurring cast/Guest stars[]

Cast Regulars

Guest starring[]



  • The title of the episode is in reference to term "Rite of Passage", which is a ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person's life as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.
    • In this episode, Bud's celebrates his 18th birthday with the Bundy males rite of passage of going to the Nudie Bar.


  • The house rules for the club read:
    • Must wear shoes
    • No head bands
    • No phones
    • No belt knives
    • No cameras
    • Clothes must be acceptable
    • No fighting
    • No dwarf tossing
  • As Bud reveals in this episode, Al's entire paycheck is actually $6.
  • Martial arts legend, "Judo" Gene LeBell, who has appeared on the show numerous times, is listed as a stunt performer in this episode and can be seen as the drunk red head walking around with a beer bottle in hand during the fight sequence at the Nudie Bar.
  • Frank Lloyd, who previously had a recurring role as Al's friend, Norris, appears in this episode as Gorgo, a bar patron with long hair and flannel shirt, who lets Bud try to punch him in the face, but instead gets a chair smashed across his back. Besides acting, Lloyd was MWC's resident stunt man and appears in numerous episodes as a stunt performer.
  • In the original airing, during the ending credits, Sticky the Clown holds a yellow teddy bear (instead of the blue animal he had in the middle of the episode) and gesticulates with the knife. On the DVD, only a still frame of Sticky the Clown is shown.
  • In this episode, Bud is celebrating his 18th birthday party. David Faustino, who played Bud Bundy celebrated his 18th birthday three weeks after this episode originally aired.
  • Al reveals that a male Bundy tradition is taking their son to a strip club on their 18th birthday.

Cultural References[]

  • The "Scared Rich" program is a spoof of  "Scared Straight!" programs, which was turned into a 1978 documentary where a group of juvenile delinquents are sent to Rahway State Prison in NJ and spend 3 hours with convicts who are doing life in prison. Their goal was try to convince the kids that they don't want to be in prison like they already are, through the use of intimidation and verbal abuse.
    • Afterward, Al mentions that he wished that there was a "Scared Single" program when he was younger. In season 8, there was a MWC episode titled "Scared Single", in which Al tries to convince his new assistant, Aaron Mitchell into not marrying Angie.
  • Bud said that one of the gifts Kelly gave him in the past was a poster of the 1970s disco group, the Village People with his head pasted over the cowboy.
    • The group would later appear on MWC as themselves and perform in the season 8 episode, "Take My Wife, Please".
  • The Care Bears Best Picnic is mostly likely a made-up film, as the last Care Bears movie that came out around this time was from 1988 and was a Christmas film.
  • Marcy makes a partial reference to the song Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix.
  • Marcy's "Free Huey" quote was about Huey P. Newton, the African American activist who in 1967 was charged with shooting Oakland, CA. Police Dept. officer John Frey.



  • Bundy Living Room / Kitchen
  • Nudie Bar dance stage / seating area


  • When Al comes home, he obviously didn't shut the door fully and it can be seen swinging when Al talks about the Scared Rich program. Yet, when he finished talking to Bud, Marcy and Jefferson open the door and walk in, indicating that the door had been shut!
  • This episode is supposed to take place in January since Bud birthday is January 22nd, but there is no snow, or cold. Chicago in January is freezing and has tons of snow and frost in real life.
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