August 12, 2014 10:38 AM EDT

In 1989, Michigan housewife Terry Rakolta organized a boycott against this family insult comedy, deeming it offensive, raunchy and sleazy. Curious viewers tuned in, agreed with her—and kept the show on the air for over 10 years. Shoe salesman Al Bundy (like the show, he spent his career stooping as low as possible) was crude, saddled with an oversexed wife and disappointing kids, and Ed O’Neill—one of the best character actors on TV—played him to whiny perfection. Like the Simpsons, the Bundys were really a twisted mirror of TV’s instant-gratification culture, an illustration of deadly sins—lust, sloth, greed—suitable for a medieval morality play. Zestily lowbrow and sex-obsessed, Married was dedicated to the classical ideal that unhappy families were more interesting than happy ones… and a lot funnier.

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