Heavy metal and pop culture enjoy a peanut butter and jelly type symbiosis. The hard-partying antics of some headbangers create an inherent element of danger that serves as Hollywood catnip. It’s a simple formula:
Metal band + television = chaos
Television + chaos = ratings
One of the most notable instances of this relationship in action was when Anthrax, one of the most notable and notorious thrash bands in the world, appeared in an episode of Married… with Children. As it would turn out, My Dinner With Anthrax would prove to be one of the most popular segments in the history of the cult classic sitcom.
The setup of Season 6 / Episode 18 of the revered Fox show is simple. Kelly (Christina Applegate) and Bud (David Faustino) have won a video network contest to have Anthrax play a concert at their house. The band shows up and becomes stranded when a blizzard hits the area. All hell breaks loose. It’s an episode that has everything: Music, destruction of property, rancid food-induced hallucinations, a Fred Willard cameo, and jokes galore. Anthrax performs “In My World” and it’s enough to melt the heart of even the most cynical metalhead. A person would have to actively hate fun in order to not have a blast watching My Dinner With Anthrax.
If you are an old-school Anthrax fan and this all sounds a little familiar to you, it’s with good reason. The events in My Dinner With Anthrax were inspired by a real life contest that Headbangers Ball did in 1989. The winner of that contest did indeed receive a visit from Anthrax, who did indeed break a metric ton of their shit. “Thank god I don’t win an MTV contest every day,” said the shocked recipient of the prize, Lori Gutman of Kettleton, New Jersey.
If the real-life contest wasn’t precedent enough, it turns out that Anthrax were well-documented fans of the show. A poster of the band from the ‘80s features Scott Ian wearing a Married… with Children t-shirt. Needless to say it was a dream come true when the original script featured a scene where Kelly Bundy leads him up the stairs, presumably to have sex. It’s a scene that, much to Scott’s chagrin, was removed by the time the band arrived for their table reading. Word is that Christina Applegate (Kelly Bundy) herself had it removed from the script, saying: “I know my character’s a slut, but not that much of a slut.”
It seems like the backstage shenanigans were just as fun as what happened on screen. During a Headbangers Ball interview, actor David Faustino (Bud Bundy) reveals that he was 45 minutes late to set one day because Anthrax took him to a Metallica concert the night before.
Captioning a few photos from the Married… with Children set on Instagram in 2021, Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante had this to say:
“We finished and went to the after-show dinner. We all sat together with #edoneill at the head telling stories, it was so great. At one point #clinteastwood and #morganfreeman were sitting across from us and we were all freaking out. This is where it got crazy- Ed said to us ‘ hey guys, wanna go meet CLINT? He brought us to meet #dirtyharry himself and it was awesome. Many many drinks later we were shitfaced with Al Bundy. I don’t remember what happened after that… what a week”.
As Anthrax and Married… with Children fans, we can only imagine.