Married with Children Wiki

The Harder They Fall was the 15th episode of Season 3 of Married... with Children, also the 50th overall series episode. Directed by Gerry Cohen and written by Robert Ulin and Gabrielle Topping, it originally aired on FOX on March 19, 1989.


While driving with Steve to the video store, Peg flips off a driver and gets Steve in trouble, prompting the Bundys to stay at the Rhoades' house to protect him — and take advantage of their neighbors' hospitality.


Al prepares a snack tray for family movie night, but discovers that there is virtually no food in the kitchen, while Bud manages to find 3 M&Ms, a crouton and some sort of baby animal in the cuff of his pants. Kelly manages to find a half-eaten piece of cheese from the basement mouse trap and mouse droppings (which Al decides to reserve for Grandma's Fruit Cake). He then combines the ingredients along with some Fruit Loops he fought over with Buck for, to make Bundy Trail Mix.

As they sit on the couch, Bud and Kelly are depressed that they possibly the only family left with Betamax, instead of using VHS tapes like most families of the 1980s do, since they don't get many good movies on the Beta format anymore. While Al tries to convince them that having each other is good enough, they start to list off things they rather have like real food and heat. Accepting that their life does suck, he tells them that he sent Peggy with Steve across the state border to pick up movies at Bob's Betas and Bellbottoms in Milwauke, WI.. Peggy comes in and Al, thinking that she got "Predator" or "The Terminator", is disappointed when she hands him "Oh Heavenly Dog".

Shortly after, Steve walks in and tells the Bundys how mad he is at Peggy. He explains that while listening to his music during the drive with Peg to the store, he was cut off by a reckless driver while exiting I-94. He ends up pulling next to the guy and was about to ignore him, when Peg ended up giving the guy the middle finger and attempted to spit on the guy's car, only to be blocked by Steve's driver's side window. As the Bundys cheer on Peg for her actions, Steve becomes nervous, pointing out that the driver's car had a "I heart San Quentin" bumper sticker and looks out their door, to now see the driver had indeed followed him and was writing down his license plate number before speeding off.

Marcy comes in to the Bundys' house to look for Steve, telling him that she thought he had brought home fried chicken only to see six pigeons roasting on his car radiator, apparently due to him cutting through the park to avoid the driver from following him home, which causes Bud to go outside and use their roasted bodies for dinner. As Steve talks to Marcy about this, Al notices that she had 3 movies: "Predator", "Dirty Harry" and "Judy's Big Date". He then asks Peggy how come they don't get movies like these, only to be reminded that they are still using the now outdated Beta format and Marcy also points out that only idiots would still be using Beta at this point. As Marcy suggest that she and Steve should head home now, he realizes that the driver might come back for him and tells her that they should bring the Bundy's over to watch their movies with them instead. Marcy wonders what's going on, as she pointed that its was actually Steve's rule to never allow the Bundys over to their house, but he convinces her that he's doing this to extend a gesture of friendship to them, but Bud chimes in and reveals the real reason.

At the Rhoades house, the Bundys are enjoying "Dirty Harry", while Steve continues to convince Marcy that he would have done things differently and would have made Marcy proud. Suddenly, there is a phone call and Marcy picks up, confirming that it is the Rhoades residence and then gives the phone to Steve, only to be hung up on as soon as he says hello.

Steves starts pacing back and forth, thinking to himself a plan to quietly escape the house and leave town to avoid the driver. At the same time, Peggy reminds Al that with VHS, they can get all these amazing films, before he asks her to hand him "Rip Out Their Entrails 3" and boasts about how they're living the good life at the Rhoades house. While Peggy and Marcy talk about if they should worry about Al uses the bathroom, Marcy reveals that she has a violent side and would find a way to teach this guy a lesson. The driver calls the house again and Marcy tells him that he needs help, before Peg takes the phone from her and begins threatening the guy to come over and do his worst, before he hangs up on her.

Steve comes in, telling everyone that he just saved the fish that were in the bathroom, but then Marcy points out that the driver called again and tells him he needs to deal with the guy harshly. Hesitant, he tells them a story about how when he was a kid, he fought a lot and had a short temper. But one time, at the age of 10 he ended up beating an 8 year kid nearly to death and from that day vowed he would never fight again, much to Marcy's surprise and tells him to keep his promise and deal with the driver in a civilized manner. Shortly after, he calls Al over and they walk over to the other end of the room. There, he reveals that he was actually lying and was actually beaten up by the 8 year old and ran home crying to his mother. He worries about much more can a man from San Quentin do than what that 8 year old did to him in the 2nd grade.

Sensing how much fear Steve has now, Al tells him a story about a fear he had when he was going out with Peg. He eventually got tired of running from this person and ended up settling this with a fight on the school yard, who turned to be his mother in law and ended up horning him in the ribs. But he tells Steve that the point was that at some point, he has to face his fear and when this driver come to his house, he should to punch him in the breadbasket, which should drop him quickly.

The driver eventually arrives at the Rhodes house and as Steve looks to Marcy, who cheers him on and then to Al, who reminds him to hit the guy in the breadbasket, he nervously walks up to the door. He opens the door and immediately hits the guy. Surprised at what he just did, he calls over Al to help and bring the guy in, revealing that the driver, Mr. Williams is actually a midget and ended up getting punched on the forehead rather than his stomach as Al had suggested. As he eventually regains consciousness, he asks for his wallet back that Bud had stolen. He reveals that he didn't know why he decided to follow Steve after the incident, but he really just wanted to come over and offer an apology for cutting him off, which he accepts. As he's leaving, Marcy asks Mr. Williams why did end up in San Quentin, to which he replies that he used to torch Mercedez-Benz, but the doctors said that was almost recovered, before noting that they have a nice Mercedez. Marcy starts telling Steve how proud she is of him and that she's now turned on and drags him upstairs. As they head upstairs, Steve stops and tells the Bundys to leave now, before heading back up and the Bundys respond back by taking all the food, the VHS player and anything else they can grab before heading out, leaving Buck behind.

Recurring cast/Guest stars[]



  • The title of this episode is a reference to the 1956 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart as a former sportswriter dealing with the shady promotional tactics in the boxing world.


  • Al tells the kids that he sent Peggy to Bob's Betas and Bell Bottoms in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Steve drove her there via the I-94 or Interstate 94, which runs between Montana at the western end and Michigan at the eastern end.
  • Peggy reveals that the Bundys previously owned at least two parquets.
  • Daniel Frishman, who played Mr. Williams, previously appeared in The Jeffersons, a sitcom that was produced by MWC creators Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye.
  • In this episode, Steve invites the Bundys to their house to avoid a fight and in the end, after he kicks them out to have sex with Marcy, Al steal their VCR. In the season 5 episode, "Kids! Wadaya Gonna Do?", a somewhat similar parallel happens, where Al decides to invite himself to the D'Arcy residence to avoid having sex with Peggy and brings their VCR back.
  • This is one of the few episodes where the final scene continues on even after the "Directed by/Written by" credits appear, as the Bundys finish stealing items in the Rhoades' living room and exit, before show Buck in the Rhoades living room by himself.

Cultural References[]

  • Bud mentions that he found 3 M&M's, referring to the hard shell chocolate candies.
    • In the previous episode, Bud told Al about how he was able to make a meal with a fuzzy M&M he found.
  • Al mentions the cereal brand Fruits Loops as part of the ingredients he will add in to make Bundy Trail Mix.
  • Throughout the episode, Al laments about how they were limited to what was available to rent on Beta while the Rhoades were able to get more recent top quality films on VHS.
    • Betamax (or Beta) was a media format launched in 1975 that allowed home users to watch and record video onto a video cassette for the first time and was considered the forerunner of the VHS tape format. It went head to head with the more common VHS tapes in what was dubbed "The Videotape Format Wars" during the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, with major movie studios taking sides. But, by the late 1980s, Betamax was virtually non-existent in most markets.
    • Conincidentally, one of the major proprietors of Beta was Sony, which would later produce the last few season of MWC after acquiring Columbia Pictures and released the original DVD box sets before Mill Creeks aquired the licensing rights. The last few seasons of MWC also filmed on Sony Pictures Studio lot.
  • San Quentin most likely refers to San Quentin State Prison, in San Quentin, California, which is California's oldest prison, and home to the largest death row in the western hempisphere.
  • The films that are mentioned throughout the episode:
  • Steve said that he was listening to Arturo Toscanini in his car while driving Peggy to Milwaukee.
  • While watching Dirty Harry, Peggy points out that Clint Eastwood's card was rejected before firing his gun at the cashier and Al comments "Don't leave home without it!" in reference to the slogan used by credit card company American Express.
  • Peggy mentions that she hates the fictional character Pippi Longstocking. A film titled The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking was released a year before this episode aired and was a failure at the box office.
    • The film was produced by Columbia Pictures, which also produced MWC via its television division, Columbia Pictures Television.
  • Kelly mentions that she was looking for the rock band Guns N' Roses before Mr. Williams arrives.



  • Bundy Living Room/Kitchen
  • Rhoades Living Room


  • As the Bundys are about to leave the Rhoades residence, Al takes the VCR without disconnecting the video cable from the television. The cable would have to be inserted for them to watch anything with the VCR.

External Links[]

◄ Season 2 Season 3 Episodes Season 4 ►
He Thought He CouldI'm Going to SweatlandPoke HighThe Camping Show
A Dump of My OwnHer Cups Runneth OverThe Bald and the BeautifulThe Gypsy Cried
Requiem for a Dead BarberI'll See You in CourtEatin' OutMy Mom, the Mom
Can't Dance, Don't Ask MeA Three Job, No Income FamilyThe Harder They Fall
The House That Peg LostMarried... with Queen (Part 1)Married... with Queen: The Sequel (Part 2)
The Dateless AmigoThe Computer ShowLife's a BeachHere's Lookin' at You, Kid