Fan Theory Friday: Modern Family Is A Sequel To Married With Children That Takes Place In Al’s Mind

I am not the first one to come up with theory linking Married With Children and Modern Family (a quick Google search confirmed that) however, I do want to take this fan theory one step further:

My theory is that Modern Family is the Sequel to Married With Children That Takes Place in Al Bundy’s Senile Mind.

Follow me on this for a few moments and I think you will agree. 

From 1987 to 1997, like much of America, I loved watching Fox’s Married With Children.

Partially for Christina Applegate’s dim witted Kelly Bundy character, but mostly for Ed O’Neill’s portrayal of the defeated-average-American-family man-who-peaked-in-high-school: Al Bundy.  Although, I still can’t figure out why Al never wanted to have sex with Peggy?

Ed O’Neill later made his return to prime time family sitcoms on ABC’s Modern Family as Jay Pritchett. While the character names are different, there are plenty of coincidences between both characters that has lead me to believe that Modern Family could have been labeled The Continuing Mis-Adventures of Al Bundy.

Picture this: Sometime after the conclusion of Married With Children in 1997, Al Bundy suffers a massive head injury. Whether it be from a single car crash with a street lamp post due to the brakes failing on the Dodge (as they often did), a fall off the roof of his suburban Chicago home (as he often comically did) or from a shoe heel that flew off of the massive foot of a heavy lady he was attempting to fit for a shoe.

However it happened, due to the injury, Al is now living in a fantasy post Married With Children world.

For this week’s Fan Theory Friday, let’s look at some of the reasons why Modern Family Could Be A Sequel To Married With Children Taking Place In Al Bundy’s Mind:

1. Jay Pritchett Is Financially Successful And On His 2nd Marriage

In Modern Family, O’Neill’s character Jay is financially successful living in beautiful California with a gorgeous younger bride. He even admits that his first marriage didn’t go well because he was not a nice guy. This is evident in the following clip:

This is about as upgraded as you can get from being married to a couch potato and selling women’s shoes in a run down mall in the snowy ‘Windy City.” And Gloria is an upgrade over Peggy in every way: looks, how she treats him and probably even bra size. 

2. His Blonde Daughter Had A Wild Youth

On Married With Children, his daughter Kelly was played up as a blonde ditzy party girl constantly dating wild boys from the wrong side of the tracks. Al would often need to physically throw these degenerates out the door.

On Modern Family, Jay’s blonde daughter Claire often implies that she was a party girl in her youth and wants to prevent her daughters from going down that same path.

Could this be Al’s wishful future for Kelly? In his mind, has Kelly simply grown out of her restless youth into the mother he always wished Peggy was to her?

3. His Son Was Always Awkward Around Women

On Married With Children, his son Bud (the younger of his 2 children) was always awkward, nervous and extremely unsuccessful with the women he tried to hook up with. This often confused Al who (in his mind) was a successful athlete and lady’s man in high school.

On Modern Family, his son Mitch (the younger of his 2 children from his first marriage) is openly gay and in a successful relationship with his partner Cameron. 

The relationship between Jay and Mitch is often showed as strained due to Jay’s unease with his son’s sexual orientation. Could that be the old football player “man’s man” personality of Al Bundy shining through? In Al’s mind, this may be Bud simply grown up and realizing who he is. Al may be rationalizing and making excuses in his head as to why his only male offspring was such a disappointment in sports and women. 

4. Ed O’Neill has been reading the same paper for 30 years

Case in point: Ed O’Neill has been attempting to finish reading the same paper for roughly 30 years…

As all parents know, “parenting”  is an ancient Sanskrit term that roughly translates to “the inability to get any task accomplished due to nonstop interruptions.”  (Disclaimer: I haven’t fully researched that.)

Could completing this newspaper be a metaphor Al is using to represent completing his life? His attempts to go through it while constantly being interrupted by his work and family could represent him trying to accomplish his goals he set forth in his ideal life (pro football, financial success…) while real life keeps getting in the way.

In conclusion, I think Modern Family is Al Bundy’s fantasy world where he is divorced from Peggy, remarried to a younger (and healthier chested) bride, financially successful, his daughter has straightened out her partying lifestyle and his son has come to terms with what makes him happy in life.

What do you think of this fan theory? Does it hold water for you? What other similarities between the two have you noticed?

Please comment below and let me know!

Also check out some of my other Fan Theories:

Peter McCallister From Home Alone Was Really A Mob Boss

The Ewoks Ate The StormTroopers In Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi

Proof That Diehard, Commando, Predator & Aliens Are All Connected In The Same Cinematic Universe



  1. Ha! I love “out there” fan theories like this and you build a pretty strong case! I love the fan theory for The Office that Toby’s character is really the Scranton Strangler.


      1. This is a really good theory. It all adds up, Well we can only wonder where Peggy went.


  2. This theory is great hahaha I thought about it two days ago while re watching modern family hahaha, for me, this IS the real meaning of this series, the only thing It didnt add up was names but now, with your teory about this all taking place in al’s mind thats settled.

    btww, @Lois, have you seen sons of anarchy? (regarding the whereabouts of peggy)


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