Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask the former crew members on “Married With Children,” television’s longest running sitcom, which aired its last episode on May 5.

After 11 years, the crew of “Married” like those of other L.A.-produced shows that just ended unusually long runs (“Coach,” “Roseanne,” “Wings”) are hitting the bricks again.

“When it was time to say goodbye it was very, very emotional,” said hairstylist Dottie McQuown, creator of the famous Peg Bundy bouffant. “This was like my family. They were there when my mom died, they came to my son’s wedding, we went to each other’s baby showers.”

From camera operators to hairstylists and sound technicians to grips, dozens of closely knit local crew members have had to face unemployment for the first time in years.

“It’s very hard. For 11 years it was a huge part of my life,” said Marti Squyres, former costume designer on “Married” and one of only two original production staff members who stayed until the final episode. “This is my normal hiatus. Now, however, instead of enjoying my time off, I have to worry about getting a new job.”

Her chances are not great until August, when production begins for the new fall season. While writers and producers are already being hired for the fall season, job opportunities for technical crew members won’t open up until August.

“It’s hard because you get in during the birth of a program and you get spoiled; it’s luxurious,” said Pamela Eells, who was executive producer for “Married.” “Then you get thrown out to the open market and you’re unemployed looking for a job.

“I’m job hunting just like everybody else.”

But don’t expect to see crew members from L.A.’s long-running shows in line at local soup kitchens. Salaries are good, ranging up to $4,000 per episode for a director of photography.

Hairstylist McQuown, 53, the other “Married” crew member besides Squyres to stay through the show’s full run, counts herself as one of the lucky ones. She landed a job as a hairstylist with an NBC series less than a week after her job ended with “Married.”

“There’s a lot of people from the show who are unemployed. I was one of the very fortunate,” McQuown said.

Bruce Doering, national executive director of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 600, says that when a show is canceled or otherwise ceases production, the crew receives no severance compensation.

“The crew is a group of freelancers whose members are subject to the vagaries of the industry,” said Doering. “Even a top show like (“Married”) runs out of gas sooner or later.”

Making matters worse, sources say, was that the show’s producer, Columbia TriStar Television, did not tell the “Married” crew that they were ending the program.

In fact, some crew members were not aware that the show’s final episode, an hour-long special, was the last time they would be working together.

“We deserved a better ending. I think that hurts all of us the most,” said Squyres. “It’s like a divorce in a way, a death in the family.”

Justin Pierce, a spokesman for Columbia TriStar, responded to the lack of notice to the “Married” crew by saying: “I really don’t know what to say other than it was well documented in the press that Fox was not picking it up for another season.”

While being jobless can be stressful for some, a lot of freelancers are used to it. The more savvy types work simultaneously on two or more shows, so that when the final curtain is drawn on one show, they still have one to sustain them.

Besides, new slots open up all the time because there are so many new shows. James Anderson, a spokesman for Carsey Werner Co., producer of the just-ended “Roseanne” show, said that if they have a good reputation, “they’re someone who could slip right into a new show.”

Ultimately, however, when the set is cleared and the last prop put away, crew members are left to deal with the loss of a close working family.

“It’s not just about the money. It’s losing a family; it’s very emotional,” said McQuown.

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