Have we seen Al Bundy stick a hand down his pants for the last time?
Sitting across from Ed O’Neill Thursday (June 9) in Beverly Hills, the veteran actor appears thrilled to speak with Zap2it about his scene-stealing voice work as grumpy Hank the Septopus in “Finding Dory.” But as O’Neill stretches out across the fancy hotel couch, you can’t help but expect him to take the hand that isn’t draped across the top of the cushions and insert it firmly under his belt, as “Married … with Children” fans watched him do hundreds of times over the show’s 262-episode run.
The hand signaled the frustrations of family; it signaled the comforting familiarity of “unacceptable” behavior; it signaled Al’s desire to make the stresses of the world disappear for a moment. So, when talk turns to 2015 rumors of a “Married” reunion and he lets out a big sigh, you once again keep an eye on that free hand.
“I think that’s not going to happen,” says the 70-year-old actor, now on the immensely-popular “Modern Family,” explaining that the 2014-2015 commotion surrounding a reunion was fueled by none other than Bud Bundy.
“David Faustino had an idea for a spin-off,” reveals O’Neill. “He had an idea that was pretty good, and he pitched it to Sony.”
The spin-off would have taken place in modern days, with Bud still stuck in the Chicago suburbs and still afflicted by “The Bundy Curse.”
“Bud is now grown up and living in the old house with some of his buddies, but they’re all bust-outs, they aren’t working,” the actor says of the plot. “His ex-wife is living in one of the bedrooms with Bud’s best friend.”
But while things haven’t turned out so good for Grandmaster B, his parents have found their fortunes improving. “Peg and Al are retired and living in Vegas; they won the lottery,” O’Neill explains. “That was the idea for the series, and [Katey Sagal] and I said we’d do one or two episodes.”
Of course, O’Neill is in-demand with projects like “Family” and “Dory,” while Sagal’s post-“Married” career has similarly blossomed with “Sons of Anarchy” and “Futurama.” The fourth member of the family and perhaps most successful of them all — Christina Applegate — would also seem too busy these days.
“Kelly, I’m not sure if she was on board,” O’Neill begins. “Yeah, she was! I can’t remember what her storyline was.”
But before you get too excited, Ed O’Neill says the pitch fizzled, and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see Faustino’s idea realized. “Ron Leavitt was one of the creators of the show, and Ron died; his son wouldn’t sign off on [the spin-off].”
Since Leavitt’s 2008 passing, any “Married”-related production must have the blessing of his son Matt. “He wanted some kind of a deal that they couldn’t possibly do,” O’Neill explains.
Asked if “Married … With Children” is dead for good, he responds: “I would think it is, yeah. Because they’ve been talking about a reunion show for years, and it’s never happened. And now, the only [creator] left is Michael Moye.”
“Michael is capable of doing it,” he adds. “But, I don’t think it will happen.”