High School Crushes: Christina Applegate

If you’re a man of a certain age – somewhere between 30 and 40 – Christina Applegate was one of the biggest early crushes of your life. It’s just a fact.

If you fall in that age range, you grew up when FOX launched as a television network with a cartoon family in a generic American town playing at 8pm on Sundays, and a brusque, crass, and – at the time – scandalous family of four following them on Married… with Children.

As entertaining as Al Bundy’s lamentations about life (and reflections about the good ol’ days at Polk High) were on a week-to-week basis, if you’re a guy that lands in the above age range, part of the reason you were tuning in every week was to see his slutty, dumb-as-rocks daughter Kelly.

That too is a fact.

Applegate was outstanding; a big-haired bottle blonde with ultra-dark roots, the junior version of her mother, Peggy, played by the terrific Katey Sagal. As much as we all had a handful of wholesome, girl next door types that stole our hearts in during our formative years, there was something about the dim bulb with a smoking body and an apparent readiness to do the things those GND types wouldn’t that made Applegate’s Kelly irresistible.

Little known fact that makes Applegate doubly crush-worthy: she was one of the original Pussycat Dolls, you know, before they became an awful pop music vehicle for Nicole Scherzinger.

What has been really cool to watch over the post-Married years is how Applegate has transcended her role as Kelly Bundy to become a really kick-ass comedic actress that is still going strong more than 15 years later.

It would have been real easy for her to star in our adolescent fantasies and then fade into obscurity – or become a recurring character parody of herself like her television brother David Faustino did on Entourage – but instead, she’s continued to do well for herself, and grown up to be a smokin’ hot fortysomething.

Sure, there were some not-that-great moments like Jesse and Samantha Who? and a bunch of low rent movies no one really saw, but she was great in The Big Hit and crushed it as Cameron Diaz’s BFF in The Sweetest Thing before earning a permanent place in our hearts as Veronica Corningstone in Anchorman.

Sidenote: Can Anchorman: The Legend Continues just hurry up and get here already?!

Congratulations Christina Applegate – we’ve been bonkers about you for more than 15 years.

 Now can I get a “Whoa Bundy!” on three…

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