Steven "Steve" Bartholomew Rhoades is Marcy's first husband and the original neighbor of the Bundys. Much like the name "Bundy," the creators chose the surname "Rhoades" after a professional wrestler – in this case "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (real name Virgil Runnels Jr.). He is a mortgage broker who seems unfazed by his lower position than Marcy at The Leading Bank of Chicago (when Marcy moves up to a high position at another bank, Kyoto National Bank, he gets promoted into her former job).
Biography[edit | edit source]
Although not much has been said about his childhood, it is implied that he was rather nerdy during high school and not invited to parties, choosing instead to study hard so he could afford the nicest car in the neighborhood. At school he did tap dancing as well as play the accordion and sousaphone in the marching band. He was also in a rock band in high school called "The Tuxedos", but eventually left due to creative differences, as there was not enough parts for his sousaphone. He owned a Mustang in college.
Marcy mentioned that she first saw Steve when he was running a marathon and tried to catch up to the woman in the lead. She later stated that she did go out with him, despite the fact that he was a nerd, because he was the only person willing to go to the homecoming dance with her after she was rejected by multiple guys. Despite the ridicule she got from her friends, they continued to date before eventually getting married.  In the pilot episode, they are newlyweds, specifically saying that they've been married for two months, and in "Just Married... with Children", they have been married for just over a year at 13 months.
Steve initially condescends to the Bundys, but eventually becomes more like them. Marcy was initially attracted to him because of his self-centered nature. Although Steve, in general, respects his marriage such as when Al had told him about an attractive repairwoman, Steve at first asked him " You made me drop everything for this?!" When a chastened Al replies in the affirmative, Steve then lightens up and says "Thanks, Al!" and the two drink beer while leering at her together.
Steve seemed to be a fairly demure and buttoned-down character, compared to Marcy and the Bundys, although he did show a dark side. As a banker, Steve took sadistic pleasure in humiliating people who bullied him in high school by making his former tormentors (many of whom were stuck in poor, dead-end jobs similar to Al's) grovel for bank loans, which he flatly refused (or because their credit scores were too low to qualify for the mortgage in the first place).
Steve was written out of the show in the middle of the fourth season; Garrison had decided he no longer wanted to be tied down to a weekly television series, preferring to avoid being typecast in one role, and devote more time to his first love: stage acting. He reached an agreement with the producers to buy out the remainder of his contract. In the final episode shot (though, confusingly, not the final episode aired) in which he was a regular character, Steve becomes disenchanted with his and Marcy's lifestyle, and is increasingly interested in becoming an outdoorsman (a real-life interest of Garrison's).
He then disappears, with the explanation that he left Marcy to become a forest ranger at Yosemite. Prior to disappearing he lost his job at the bank underwriting a loan for Al's "shoe hotline" project which fails, in an attempt to win a contest that whoever underwrote the most loans would win a free trip to Hawaii. He then got a job at an exotic pet shop, but in "A Taxing Problem", he tells Al that he quit his job at the pet stop. He grumbled to Al that it was due to backstage politics, claiming that he did not get to do his favorite part of the work - handling birds. However, Al, who has more serious problems of his own, tells Steve to grow up.
Al's complaining to Steve that he should cut it out may have inspired Steve to run away and become a forest ranger. Steve would make a notable return in one episode when he was on the run from the law, for stealing the egg of an endangered species which was subject to inhumane lab tests (and thus jeopardizing his career as a forest ranger to do what was right). When Peg learns there is a large reward for handing over Steve to the FBI, Al stops her efforts, showing that he did value Steve as a genuine friend.
In later seasons, Garrison would reprise the Steve Rhoades character on four occasions, returning to guest star in individual episodes (with Steve having pursued other careers in the meantime), as he eventually returns to the show with a job as a chauffer. He eventually accepts that Marcy has remarried with Jefferson, although Marcy was angry with Steve for running off out of the blue. Steve's final appearance was where he installed as the dean of Trumaine University by the rich man he chauffeured around. However, Steve's leadership is at odds with Bud, who is a student at the same university, and the two appear to end in an antagonistic relationship. This episode was intended to be the springboard for a spin-off series called Radio Free Trumaine, which would focus on Bud's life without the rest of the Bundys. Due to budget cuts, that series never got produced.
Family[edit | edit source]
Steve seems to be rather close to his mother, to the point where he prefers her over Marcy. She actually took a taxi from her home in Cincinnati, Ohio to pick Steve up for Christmas and spend it with just him back home. He tells Al that she even left instructions for Marcy on how to take care of Steve, but after a week of marriage, she was not washing his hair or making melon balls properly. He has even said that if he lived with his mom, he would at least eat better food. According to him, his mother would cook a real meal even after work, while Marcy heats up frozen fish sticks and tater tots for him.
He mentioned to Bud that the only lie he ever told her was that he is the president of his bank. But he didn't consider it a lie, as he believed that he would be someday.
Steve believes that Marcy and wives in general hate their mother-in-laws because they love their sons more than a wife ever could. Marcy seems to hate Steve's mother because of the instructions and his constant clinging to his mother. She also mentions that his mother uses Marcy as a coat rack.
In "A Taxing Problem" he mentions that his father had killed himself in after his mother constantly nagged at him.
In "I'll See You in Court", Steve said that his grandfather immigrated to America as a poor man. He also mentions having an uncle named Nick who fought in World War II and killed many Nazis by giving them a venerial disease (which would imply that he may have been a male prostitute).
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- He is a fan of melon balls as it is the only way he'll eat melons. Marcy mentions that his mother gave her specific instructions on how to make them the way he likes them. Though it appears he is rather critical of Marcy's skill when it comes to making them.
- In an episode of the show Nikki, David Garrison and Amanda Bearse reprised their roles as Steve and Marcy Rhoades. In the dream fantasy they appear in, they are named Skeve and Marni Rose but are still married and live next to the Bundy residence.
- He is a proficient bowler, claiming to bowl about 170, which was just under Al's 175 in "Alley of the Dolls".
- Both he and Marcy are proficient at tap dance and try to teach Kelly how to do it.
- Steve frequently demonstrated David Garrison's own love of Gilbert & Sullivan, singing or humming excerpts from "The Mikado", "The Pirates of Penzance" and "HMS Pinafore" among others.
- He and Marcy call his penis "Mr. Mike" as stated in "Buck Can Do It" and "The Razor's Edge"
- In "Yard Sale", Marcy mentions that Steve's strengths were sex and show tune trivia.
- He has a scar from an appendectomy.
- He has some culinary knowledge, as he was able to cook meals for the Bundys in "The Razor's Edge" and said that he can make a chocolate soufflé for Marcy in "At the Zoo"
- He had invented a "99 cent" coin, believing it would help people eliminate carrying extra change around when business charge prices like $7.99 or $99.99 (as well as keep the homeless beggars away when they don't hear the jingling of extra change). It was turned down by the U.S. Treasury Department after he kept insisting his face be placed on the coin.