Archie Bunker, was a bigoted working-class family man who held his views of the world. His viewpoints clash with nearly everyone he comes into contact with especially his son-in-law Mike Stivic (or, as Archie delights in calling him, "Meathead"). Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
Two pilots were shot, the first under the title "Justice for All", and the second under the title "Those Were the Days". Different actors played the roles of Mike, Gloria, and Lionel in the first two. The family name was Justice, not Bunker. Meathead was called Dickie, not Michael, and he was originally Irish-American, not Polish-American. See more »
Throughout the first five seasons,it appears that Mike and Gloria's bedroom is on the opposite side of the wall from Archie and Edith's bedroom.
But in later episodes both bedrooms appear to be directly across the hall from eachother. See more »
Many people will tell you that the perfect show, yet alone the perfect sitcom does not exist. I normally would agree, but I watched All in the Family, and this show is without a doubt one of the top contenders in my opinion and, well, to me is the greatest TV show of all time. You never can get television like this these days, a show that is controversial, groundbreaking, different and all around brilliant, as you do in this show.
The show centers around Archie Bunker, a bigoted dock worker living in Queens. His wife is Edith Bunker, nice sweet woman who stays at home. His son in law is Mike Stivic, an idealistic college student of Polish descent, and Gloria, Mike's wife and Archie's daughter.
Archie is not your typical sitcom character, he comes across more as a real person, exactly what he is supposed to be. He is aging, obnoxious, quite angry, his hair is out of place, and his motives are hardly altruistic. He always barks at his wife and his son in law, always arguing at someone, and always saying something bad about The I-talians, the Chinkies, the Catholics, the coloreds, the A-rabs, pretty much anyone that is not American.
Mike Stivic is the idealistic college student and constantly arguing with Archie. The two rarely if ever saw eye to eye and were always on each others nerves. That in the early years was the core of the show. The two discussed issues ranging from the Vietnam War, Nixon, affirmative action, racism, women's liberation, television never saw such debate on television before, and all of these issues, the way they talked (it was one of the first times someone cussed on television) and the realistic dialogue on very current issues made this one of the most popular shows of all time.
Archie Bunker was your typical working class guy, something rare in television up until that point and definitely since that point. Television always had people that were well to do, nice looking and always wealthy, for the most part. This show was about a regular family, people identified with the regular people, and they fell in love with the show. A show like this would be hard to do today. There was so much controversy at the time and people were really divided, like they were on this show. This was a show that reflected the day, and the hot button issues of the day are not nearly as hot button today. This still is great as a time piece, and definitely funny because of the brilliant Carroll O'Connor, who played Archie.
Nick at Nite said Archie was the original King of Queens, that is absolutely true, no question. Archie was great, and there will never be a show on TV quite like this one. This show captured the time so perfectly, and TV wouldn't allow to be a show to be so edgy today. This would be too much. It would be too issue oriented, unlike a lot of these shows today, where every show is a cookie cutter show, and all of the shows are not funny today.
But then there is the supporting cast. First there was George Jefferson, and his precursor Henry Jefferson, who was George's brother. They were only in one show together, which was Henry Jefferson's last show. When George Jefferson was on the show it was some of the best shows ever on television to me.
The two best George Jefferson episodes were when George wanted Archie to sign a re-zoning petition to further expand George's dry-cleaning business and the other one was when we met Lionel's fiancée who was part white and this drove Archie and George crazy. The climax of that one show was brilliant. Tom Willis, the father of Lionel's fiancée and Louise Jefferson started dancing and both George and Archie toasted to a time that would have never happened. That was brilliant.
Then there was Barney Heffner, one of Archie's best friends, my personal favorite of his buddies but a bit of a late arrival. Kelsey owned the bar where Archie hang out, then there was the bartender Harry and many more. Then there are all of the very small parts, people that appeared in maybe one or two episodes but were constantly referred to, like next door neighbor McNabb, Stretch Cunningham, Mr. Quigley, all the family members and so many more. All of the supporting cast made this show so good to, no question.
In all of the characters that came on this show, few if any supporting characters were weak. All of them provided something unique to the episodes they were in. I do find some very minor weaknesses in the show. I thought Edith should have been a little less dingbatty. She should have argued with Archie a little bit more, stood up to Archie a little more.
This show works on another level as well. Gloria's character can be a spoiled brat, and outright mean sometimes. I cannot stand her character on occasion. In television characters tend to be very inoffensive, perfect and laid back. She annoyed me and I could not stand her. Character development was excellent in this show.
Among my favorite episodes other than those with George Jefferson were the ones like the one where Cleavon Little and Demond Wilson (later Lamont of Sanford and Son) robbed the Bunker residence, the one where Archie witnessed an Italian guy get mugged and he insisted the mob mugged him, those are my two favorites, I crack up whenever I hear Archie arguing with the Italian shoemaker, that cracks me up.
All in all this is to me perhaps the best show ever on television, if not definitely the best sitcom. This is classic stuff, the standard bearer for American comedy on television, if you have not seen it, you have absolutely no idea what you're missing. SEE IT!!
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