We'll Follow the Sun is the 1st episode of Season 5 of Married... with Children, also the 81st overall episode of the series. Directed by Gerry Cohen and written by series creators Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye, the episode originally aired on FOX, premiering on September 23, 1990.
At the Bundy kitchen, a radio is talking about how wonderful Labor Day is and to show him anyone who is not enjoying this day, before a baseball bat is shown smashing the radio, and then Al heading into the kitchen and tells the DJ: "A shoe salesman, Jim. 20th century blacksmith...a working man...an idiot." He then says he'll feel better when he has his coffee and ends up pouring out dark sludge from the kettle into the cup. As he takes a seat at the table, he looks in the cup and pulls out a bone, but ends up biting the meat off of it and then sarcastically says "Life is good" as he continues to chew the meat. Peggy comes in and asks Al if he missed her, responding with "With every bullet so far". She then continues on about being excited for having the newest TV Guide, though Al seem indifferent about it. She tries to convince him to be happy by reading some listings:
"Everything's Coming Up Maggie": high jinks ensue when Maggie - Chastity Bono - accidentally becomes vice president of the United States. Saturdays. Ooh, and look: "We Are Fami-lee": a Chinese family with three children. Oh-ho-ho, I get it! "We are fami-LEE"!
Kelly suddenly comes in and informs the family that she finally got her high school diploma, saying that she stole it from the mail man's truck instead of just waiting at the door. Her and Peg try to get Al to cheer up, but he tells them to leave him alone. Bud then comes down the staircase and greets the family, asking if any girls called for him yet, but Kelly points out that even Malaysian mail order brides living in a third world country wouldn't want anything to do with. Bud then responds with:
"Yuck it up, future welfare mother. The babes will be calling a-plenty soon. I'm a senior now. [puts his hand on Al's head] A mover. A shaker. I'm the man. I've got the juice. Yep, when I was a freshman, they flushed my head down the toilet. When I was a sophomore, they flushed my head down the toilet. When I was a junior I was getting cool, so they let me flush it myself. But now I'm a senior, and ready to rule. This year he's back, he's cool, he's dry"
Marcy then comes in and tells the family that she back from her two week vacation, though no one in the Bundy household knew or bothered to take of her house during her absence and just continue to stare at her blankly. She then continues telling them that she spent her vacation attending a seminar called "You Are What You Were", before Al makes a joke about her looking like a chicken with a bad haircut, but she ignores him, saying that the seminar made her feel renewed and confident enough go to her bank and demand her old job back, which involved "twenty minutes of frugging on my boss's desk in my slip while the other tellers tossed quarters at me" before being reinstated as a bank manager again and then jumping in joy in front of the family.
Peggy then mocks Al, saying that everyone else seems to be starting something new except for him and the dog. But then a small white dog with a hair ribbon comes by the door and barks for Buck to come down and they leave together, making Al even more depressed but then continues on:
"Well, that all but throws the dirt on my face. Everybody, I have an announcement: your happiness sickens me. Everybody but me is looking at good times. But for me it's been one long, continuous year since I got married. Actually, one long month: Hell-uary. But I'm not bold enough to expect happiness. I know that wasn't meant for me. But what I'd like one time in my life is for something new to happen to me. Something special."
Peg agrees with him, but then suggests that his new thing be a second job, causing him to walk off in frustration. But then he turns around to question his family about whether they view him as nothing more than an ox who has to work until he drops dead from exhaustion. Seeing that family doesn't view him as a"..husband, perhaps father, perhaps the man who's about to run amok with a meat cleaver if he doesn't have any fun?", he then proposes that the family goes on vacation for labor day. Peg is the first to admit she doesn't want to go out, as its the premiere of "Grandmaster and the Gopher" which is "an hour drama with comic overtones about a rapper who goes to the center of the earth, and raps with the mole people." and then points out that Sally Struthers is the queen.
Frustrated with Peggy's lack of enthusiasm, he takes away her TV Guide and then tells them:
Now, I shall tell you where we will holiday. We're gonna go where people pretend they wanna go when they can't afford to go someplace good -- we're gonna see America. We take no map, we'll follow the sun. We'll stay in cheap motels and steal what we need along the way. We go west, past the cheese factories, where the air is fresh, sky is big, and a man can still kill his dinner with his car. Guys, tomorrow we put the pedal to the metal and we ride with the wind.
The family is now in their red Volvo convertible and are stuck on the freeway, with traffic at a completely standstill.
Peg and the kids decide to take their frustration out on Al for not realizing how bad traffic would be on Labor Day with Peg pointing out that they haven't moved in over 2 hours, but Al seems to be ignoring them and claiming he's enjoying it, before breaking down in tears and laying his head on the car horn. After some time has passed, they still haven't moved, but Kelly asks if they are there yet, which upsets Al and causes him to threaten putting the car in park, which the kids sarcastically act like they are scared of his threat. Peggy then asks Al if they are going to be home by next Thursday as she now wants to see "Nun of This", which is about "a nun who's had enough. Karen Valentine is Sister Lash, your worst nightmare - a nun with a gun!". Al, not having any more of this, decides to take Peggy's TV Guide and throw it out the car and then proposes they have a sing-a-long. Even though the rest of the family isn't going to have any of it, Al decides that they will sing "The Cow Kicked Nelly", until a fellow driver with his family tells him to shut up. Seeing that this guy is threatening Al, the rest of the Bundys decided to join in and sing The Cow Kicked Nelly loud and in unison towards the driver, who then threatens Al again, telling him that if he doesn't shut up he'll be "gumming 'The Cow Kicked Nelly". Accepting the challenge, he tells Peg to take the wheel and gets out of his car to immediately greet Gerry by
choking him on top of the Bundy's Volvo. Peggy and Gerry's wife, Kitty, come out of their cars and yell at their husbands to stop it, but hearing Gerry's wife call Al a moron and Peg a hussy causes Peggy to pimp slap her and then choke her on top of Gerry's car. The kids, seeing this decide to just fight the others kids right away, with Bud doing an elbow drop and then follows up with a stomp to the boy and Kelly pinning the girl and then punching her in the face, before Al is seen again, attempting to break Gerry's neck on top of the car hood. Suddenly the sound of car engines revving is heard and the Bundy's (and the other family) get back in their car thinking they will finally get moving, but only move about an inch. Seeing this, they decide to continue to resume the fight with Gerry and his family. Gerry tries to diffuse the situation by telling them "Just a minute. We're human beings, right? We're not animals" but Al decks him and the rest of the Bundys hop into the other car and attack Gerry's family.
Back in their vehicle, they Bundys are still sitting around in their car and Al, willing to admit he made a mistake about choosing to take a trip on Labor Day, tells them that even with the massive traffic delay, they should just enjoy being outside together, but the family just continue to mock Al and his decision. Having enough of their insults, he tells them that he's now going to floor it and drive into the bus in front of them, but they suddenly change their tone and convince him not to do it. Calming down now, he suggest that they play Geography, which they cautiously accept. They play and try naming places that start with the last letter the word used, but Kelly can't think of any location that starts with the letter A, causing Al to become frustrated again, but then he suggests some music, but the only stations they can find are Spanish language stations. Peggy then tells Al that she needs to use the bathroom and quickly runs back home, as they can easily see the house from where they are at. Kelly finally comes up with a word for the geography game: "Al-a-bam-er" then tells Al that the next word should start with R, but Al puts his head back on the steering wheel in frustration.
It is now nighttime and Al still has his head on the steering wheel. Peggy walks back to the vehicle, greeting the fellow drivers stuck on the road before stopping at a car that is rocking back and forth to see what kind of action they're getting into. She finally makes it back to the car and tells the family that she spent the time eating, napping and watching the premiere of "All Night Security Dude", thinking that its the part that Erik Estrada was born to play. She then asks what did she miss, which Al then raises his head and tells the kids to re-enact what exactly she missed, as the kids yell over each other:
Kelly: This sucks, daddy!...We hate you!...Why didn't you take us home?!...We wanna go home, we wanna go home, we wanna go home!
Bud: You're going to rot in a lowly grave!...You're not my father!...We wanna go home, we wanna go home, we wanna go home!
Al then reveals that he had to listen to that for over 4 hours. He then tells them that its now 9pm and by now, traffic usually thins out at this time, so they can buckle up and be ready to go. Now, it is morning and they feel asleep, though it appears that they still haven't moved much since. Kelly asks where they are, but Al tells her "No sense in starting the day with stupid questions", but Peg quickly notices that they are still where they were before, causing Kelly to cry and Peg to tell him that he reeks. Bitter, he looks at her responds "I reek? I? I, who only wanted to share the joy and brotherhood of a family outing, reek. Well, let me tell you what reeks, okay?" He then gets out of the car and on top of the car hood to speak to the fellow drivers stuck there:
"Now what reeks is this facade that we call 'Labor Day'. Honk if you hate Labor Day! [All the drivers on the
expressway honk their horns.] You know what else reeks? Families reek. Honk if you hate families!" [All the drivers honk their horns again, louder this time.]
"Because they are truly the reason Labor Day reeks. Once a year, they're on these highways and byways. And what do they say? [in a whiny voice] We hate this. We hate you. Idiot. Moron.[Kelly chimes in and says "Buffoon, daddy"] Buffoon daddy."
"But what about us... the ones who truly labor? We're on this stinking road every day, choking and wheezing, marching along like lemmings to a horrible, screaming death. Who cries for us, Argentina? Not our families... But we can't expect that. The yoke on the oxen feels no guilt... But what we can expect is that on our one lousy stinkin' day off, traffic can move us to our lousy stinkin' pathetic destinations. [the other drivers begin to really listen to Al nod in agreement] To our polluted beaches, our burning forests, our wheezing grandmas... To our family barbeques with Uncle Otto and his runny eye. But does the highway department prepare for us? Are they out here helping us? Are they out there in front of us by that first damn car that caused this traffic jam, saying, "Step on the gas, you moron! Let the 20 million people pass!"? They are not. Why? Because they don't care. And that, my friends, is what really reeks!"
The drivers continue to honk in agreement with Al and then he continues
So let's face it: we're not moving. We're just lining up to die. But let's show them that the American spirit is not dead. So join me, will you, on this, our Labor Day, and get out of your cars, and tear this highway to bits! Go into your trunks, get your tire irons and your road flares. Burn, baby, burn! Vengeance is ours!!
As the drivers continue grabbing their gear, Peg alerts Al that they are now moving. He alerts the fellow drivers about them moving and then gets back in the car, telling the family to buckle up, because they will now ride. But unfortunately, as the car starts to move, the tire on the driver's side goes flat suddenly and Al tells the time to get out of the car. Peg tells Al that the family will see him next Thursday as she and the kids walk back home and talk about "Swim Gyms" a show starring Mark Spitz and Greg Louganis as synchronized swimmers that solve crimes in their spare time. Al, now alone, says he doesn't need his family, as he has his fellow drivers for support. He then gets up on the hood of the car and asks if anyone has a spare tire, but instead of receiving their help, he is pelleted with trash from the frustrated drivers who then get out bats and tire irons. As Al pleads with them to remain calm and to not do anything irrational, Gerry and the other drivers gang up Al who is now cowering and they begin to hit him with their weapons.
- Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy
- Katey Sagal as Peggy Bundy
- Amanda Bearse as Marcy Rhoades
- Christina Applegate as Kelly Bundy
- David Faustino as Bud Bundy
- Eric Menyuk as Gerry
- Marla Frees as Kitty (as Marla Fries)
- Frank Lloyd as Motorist #1
- Gita Isak as Motorist #2
- Eddie Rio as Motorist #3
- Peggy: Hi honey. Did you miss me?
- Al: With every bullet so far.
- Peggy: Did I miss anything?
- Al: [dryly]Yes, Peg, you did... Kids, show mommy what she missed.
- Kelly: [Yelling over Bud] This sucks, daddy!...We hate you!...Why didn't you take us home?!...
- Bud:: [Yelling over Kelly] You're going to rot in a lowly grave!...You're not my father!...
- Bud and Kelly: [Yelling and hitting Al's seat] We wanna go home! We wanna go home! We wanna go home! [Al immediately motions for them to cut their yelling out]
- Al: About four hours of that Peg. That's what you missed.
- The title of this episode is a reference to the Beatles' song "I'll Follow The Sun"
- The opening credits for this entire season remain the same as the later half season 4.
- Kelly is wearing the same dress she wore at the end of "The Agony of De-Feet".
- Starting with this episode, Marcy has a noticeably shorter hairstyle for the rest of the season.
- Marcy tells the Bundys that she was able to get her job as a bank manager back, by frugging on her boss's desk while wearing a slip. She had originally lost her managerial job and was demoted to "Drive Thru Teller" following the events of season 4's "976-SHOE".
- After Peggy returns to the car at night, she mentions watching the premiere of a TV show called "All Night Security Dude" starring Erik Estrada, which also happens to be the name of the 16th episode from this season.
- The show "Grandmaster and the Gopher" may be a future reference to Grandmaster B, Bud's alternate persona who claims to be a street tough rapper during season 6. As Peggy points out, the show is "an hour drama with comic overtones about a rapper who goes to the center of the earth, and raps with the mole people".
- The car the Bundys are stuck in during the traffic jam is the same 1988 red Ford Mustang convertible which Al and Peggy won on the game show 'How Do I Love Thee?' in the season 2 episode, "Just Married... with Children". It would not be seen again.
- As indicated in this episode, Kelly has officially graduated from high school, while Bud has officially become a high school senior.
- This is the 2nd episode of Married...With Children that deals with how the Bundy's spend their Labor Day, the first being the 1st episode of Season 4, "Hot off the Grill". Though, in that episode, Al seemed more opposed to taking a family trip than the family did.
- Frank Lloyd, who normally plays Al's buddy Norris appears in this episode in a different role as "Motorist #1". He can be seen in a yellow shirt, in the black pickup truck behind Gerry's station wagon and later, holding a shotgun as the crowd comes to attack Al.
- Eric Menyuk, who plays Gerry, the man that Al beats up on the expressway, would later appear on MWC in the season seven episode "Peggy and the Pirates" as Black Bob.
- After Marcy explains what she has learned from the seminar and claims "I was what I am", Al jokes that they should all stand back because she's going eat spinach and her tattoo will get bigger. This is in reference to the cartoon character Popeye The Sailor, who typically says "I yam what I yam".
- The shows that Peggy lists from her TV Guide feature real actors and professional athletes:
- Everything's Coming Up Maggie - Chasity Bono
- Grandmaster and the Gopher - Sally Struthers
- Nun of This - Karen Valentine
- All Nite Security Dude - Erik Estrada
- Swim Gyms - Mark Spitz and Greg Louganis
- Al leads the family in a sing-a-long of "The Cow Kicked Nelly".
- Bundy Living Room / Kitchen
- We'll Follow the Sun at the Internet Movie Database
- We'll Follow the Sun on Bundyology
- We'll Follow the Sun - Transcript on albundy.net
- #82 We'll Follow the Sun - MWC Podcast on Horrorphilia