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An American Classic
brian_m_hass12 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This American sitcom is about a blue collar family living in New York. It is probably best remembered for Archie Bunker's racially-insensitive remarks as well as for the show's commentary about politically sensitive issues. The series broke new ground by tackling topics which were previously considered taboo on American television.

The four main characters were Archie Bunker, his wife, his daughter, and his son-in-law; and, all four lived under the same roof. Archie was an often crass but basically decent working class family man who had a narrow view of the world; and, he frequently felt threatened by changes to that world. Edith Bunker was Archie's loyal wife whose comments frequently irritated Archie. Michael Stivic (often referred to by Archie as "Meathead") was Archie's liberal-minded son-in-law who frequently challenged Archie's ideas and served as Archie's main foil on the show. Gloria Stivic was Archie's loving daughter as well as Michael's devoted wife; and, she sometimes found herself caught between the worlds of Michael's idealism and her parents traditionalism.

Although the series was remembered for its political commentary, it was usually at its best when it focused on the interactions of its characters. Although Archie often displayed his prejudices during his many rants, he was ultimately revealed to be a good man who was a bit rough around the edges. Archie and his son-in-law opposed each others world views and frequently engaged in heated arguments. However, the show's most endearing moments often involved Michael teasing and deliberately irritating Archie. Although Archie and Michael frequently engaged in very aggressive debates, the two characters ultimately felt a grudging affection for one another.

This sitcom was one of the best remembered shows of the 1970's. It delved into subject matter which was previously forbidden on television. Viewers may agree or disagree with many of the ideas presented on the show; but, all will generally feel drawn to the show's colorful characters. This classic sitcom is highly recommended.
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Boy, the way Glenn Miller played . . .
gkeith_16 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Boy the way Glenn Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade. Guys like us we had it made. Those were the days.

You meathead. You dingbat. Little girl. Archie tolerated Edith, and loved Gloria.

Archie was old school. All the things in the opening song represented the old days, that would never come back. All the yearnings for an earlier time of big bands and LaSalle automobiles.

Archie was blue collar, uneducated, sexist, bigoted, racist, etc. Lots of other characters tried to set him wise to the realities of modern life in the early nineteen seventies.

The show was written by a liberal person. The right wing Archie was bombarded by enlightened women and forward thinking African Americans. Archie was so backward that in real life his favorite chair on the show was put into the Smithsonian Institution. This is not bad for the real meathead of All in the Family.

Edith was the brilliant one. She had the last laugh. Archie would continue to run his mouth, trying to be the world's best authority on everything.

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All in the family is the greatest show
Realrockerhalloween11 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers below

What a great idea for show that transcends reality and becomes the first of it's kind to mix jokes with politics.

It went through many changes throughout the years from a crass raw political show to a warm loving family that support one another.

So many classic episodes were produced that it would be hard to name them all like the attempted rape of Edith, the ep where Archie accidentally joins the kkk.

Edith was the heart of the family, always supportive of Archie, advice and encouragement to her daughter and son in law. You get to see how a house wife would react to the turbulent times they all were going through. You could say she was the anchor that held everyone together.

Michael always butting heads with Archie and lead to banters that has never been topped by another sitcom.

Gloria was the definition of the strong women's lib that gripped America on college campuses during the 70s. She was often the banter between her father and husband.

We're the bunkers perfect? No. What family is? They were the poster child for disfuction and love.

Ten stars for nine amazing years of television.
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Those Were The Days
bkoganbing15 July 2016
I always had an ironic laugh about that opening theme from All In The Family. The reforms of the New Deal allowed millions like Archie Bunker to climb into middle class respectability. They could most certainly not use a man like Herbert Hoover again. I doubt Archie really thought hard about those lyrics.

All In The Family marked Norman Lear's breakthrough as a producer of comedies drawn from real life. Archie Bunker was an edgier version of that other working class hero Chester A. Riley from the 40s on radio and 50s on television. What happened in the 60s. We wanted out TV comedies most escapist. Bewitched, Gilligan's Island, and My Mother The Car were what we were looking for.

Archie reminded quite a lot about my uncles, blood and married who would come out with just the kind of stuff Archie said. Their kids loved them, but certainly recognized their frailties. They also appreciated the hard work their parents put in in giving them the comforts they had.

Which is something that son-in-law Mike Stivic never did. Carroll O'Connor as Archie and Rob Reiner as Mike argued in every episode about social and political issues. Archie didn't deal well with change, but Mike known to the world through Archie as the 'meathead' never really understood Archie and the better educated Mike never really made an attempt. Maybe Archie wasn't far wrong.

The women provided the show's heart. Sally Struthers was the Bunkers' one and only child Gloria. She was uncomfortably at times between her father and husband. Edith Bunker who exasperated Archie no end was Jean Stapleton. As often as his son-in-law was 'meathead', she was 'dingbat'. Edith could be dingy at times, but you caught a few nuggets of wisdom there that sometimes went completely over Archie's head. Stapleton as Edith Bunker was as loving as June Cleaver, but as scatterbrained as Gracie Allen in the same character. Not easy to do.

Norman Lear tilted the show toward Reiner. But he also never let Archie become a total caricature. That would have robbed the show of its effectiveness.

All In The Family, what TV family comedy is all about.
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I thought it was just OK.
lois-lane333 October 2015
I must have seen some of the earlier seasons but I cannot remember them. I recently watched several of the later seasons just to see what it was like to see those later episodes again. I had a mixed reaction to it. A lot of people think that Jean Stapleton's acting was excellent-and maybe it was-but I found her character hard going at times-especially when the show went from heavy dramatic moment to light comedic moment rapidly. It is like a blasphemy to some people if they hear criticism of the show which is too bad because there are a lot of different elements in this show and I think that some elements work better than others. There are no interactions with Mikes family-sort of like he fell from space. That might sound like splitting hairs but I think if it was real life there would be at least discussion of that subject. Kind of a comedy-kind of tragicomedy. Too many people put the 1970's on a pedestal when it was just ordinary in terms of what it was like to live through it-in my opinion. Maybe I am just not best critic.
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A unique series that brought 'taboo' subjects out into the open!
gilligan196523 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this series all through the 1970s and 1980s; and, thereafter if I happened, or, happen, to see it listed while channel surfing.

Archie Bunker was/is "AMAZING" and as funny as funny gets...what a great actor - Carroll O'Connor! :) Jean Stapleton is great, too...the high-pitched and somewhat nervous housewife who wishes so much to please her husband.

EVERYONE, to some degree, has their petty prejudices and dislikes...whether it's applied to any or all of a race; religion; sexual orientation; form of government; political views; and, most everything in between and all the way down to someone's hairstyle or the shoes someone wears.

Most of this is based upon stereotypes that can be thousands of years old, or, as young as yesterday.

For instance, I'm half Swedish, and, the Finns call us 'Hurri' and B?G; and, we're also called 'Svennes,' 'Silver-tips,' 'Rutabagas,' 'Swedish Meatballs,' 'toeheads,' 'squareheads'...and, I laugh about it! I'm also half German who are called 'Heinees,' 'krauts,' 'boxheads,' 'blockheads,' 'Jerrys,' and, even more things, which makes me laugh even more. When Archie Bunker said 'kraut' or whatever, I didn't take offense.

HOWEVER...these slurs are ALL based upon some action or event that 'someone else' saw a Swede or a German, there's 'some' fact to them even if ALL Swedes and Germans don't apply. Hee-hee...many Swedes and Germans 'DO' have somewhat box-and-square-like heads, there's no denying this! :D

However, Swedes and Germans also have "Great" people, stereotypes, and, creations, as well. Swedes have Alfred Nobel (Nobel Prizes); Lennart Nilsson "A Child Is Born" (1965); Abba; Volvo; Saab; Ingmar Bergman; Ann-Margret; Husqvarna; the adjustable wrench; the pacemaker; the three-point seatbelt; Astrid Lindgren; etc...and, Germans have...Fritz Lang; Beethoven; Bach; Gutenberg; Handel; Kant; Engineering; Johann Galle; Wilhelm Emil Fein (electric hand drill); Grimm's Fairy Tales; The Christmas Tree; the clarinet; etc...and, I'm very proud!

True stereotype - how many real-Germans don't like Bratwurst, Beer, and, strudel? How many Poles don't like perogis and galumpkis? A black friend of mine got me hooked on sweet potato, I make it a lot! Stereotypes like these bring people of different cultures together, and, I like that. How unhappy would the rest of the world be if Chinese restaurants suddenly disappeared!?!? Archie Bunker is just that kind of person who'd rank on Italians, but, if the corner pizza shop closed or moved, he'd miss it!?!?

Some stereotypes are bad, and, some stereotypes are good...but, IT'S THE "INDIVIDUAL" WHO MAKES THE DIFFERENCE, or, the stereotype...and, it's not race-based, it's 'individuality'-based upon history! When people make fun of someone, or, discriminate against someone, as Archie Bunker does, it's sometimes funny, and, he's only making a fool of himself, which makes it even funnier.

With "All In The Family, we have GOOD AND BAD STEREOTYPES...all brought together in one big package to be presented to the world on television. "All In The Family!" I LOVE IT! :) This series got it ALL out into the open where everyone can hear and see what he and she is saying about him and her! It brought into the open what most people only say in private.

The spin-off of this, "The Jefferson's," is a black version of "All In The Family," and, it's funny, too. George Jefferson is a black version of Archie Bunker, and, he's funny. George Jefferson and Archie Bunker insulted one-another, but, deep-down, I believe that they actually liked one-another. They're both New York Mets fans...that's a start.

If you are proud of where and whom you came from, as I am, you should be able to laugh at yourself, and...none of this's just funny! :D

This Blockhead-Kraut gives "All In The Family" 10-out-of-10 stars...A+
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The painfulness of dated topicality, even when it is in tune with today's attitudes
tostinati4 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I had a relapse of All In The Family fever through much of this past Winter and Spring, when MeTV was showing two back-to-back episodes 8 to 9 evenings. I enjoyed it. I thought the comedy in the series stood up very well. But to a degree that surprised me, a lot of the "enlightened" speech-making by Michael Stivic -- Lear's mouthpiece, and the character with whom modern viewers should, theoretically, identify -- makes me squirm.

Those confrontational moments between Michael and Archie are a part of the nostalgic fabric of the series, and Stivic's one-note Liberal was unquestionably intended as part of the comedy back then. (--Stivic, the would-be hippie and thinker with the spreading waistline, waxes positively Gandhian between trips from the couch to the refrigerator and back.) Now, I can't say Stivic was often wrong in his confrontations with Archie. But when they set aside the comedy for one of his impassioned speeches, it's embarrassing. —Particularly his character's unflagging knee-jerk "I'm on the right side of history, and you're just a stupid old man anyway" smugness.

I also notice that where Archie was an unsophisticated, not terribly reflective type at the start of season one -- a credible real-life character -- by the time the series hit its stride, they were (over)writing him as a moron. Sure, the guy's bigoted in lots of ways. But maybe they went too far in trying to underscore how dense he is. Any word with more than one syllable is sure to be mispronounced by Archie, and every figure of speech he essays is mangled almost beyond recognition. I can understand the show's producers bending over backwards to set the record straight to this effect: "No, Archie ISN'T the right-thinking character in this show."* But it's another of the ways in which the show and characters were weakened by heavy hands.

On balance, I think the best things about the show are Carroll O'Connor in his greatest role and the great situational set-ups. (Archie, in the hospital for surgery, discovers he has a black doctor, and a black blood donor; Archie mocks Michael's gay friend, goading Michael to the point that he reveals to Archie that his own hero and close friend is a closeted gay.) The worst things are the too broad comedy and the dated topicality. For Lear, there was no place to go after this series but down. None of All In The Family spin offs can touch it.

*There was a backlash against Lear's political intent at the time, and some members of the Silent Majority half-kiddingly suggested Archie Bunker would make a great presidential candidate in 1972. Lear, his staff and the network somehow caught wind of what was going on out there in the heartland audience. I knew a lot of people Archie's age -- people a lot like the character of Archie Bunker -- who at the time commented without irony, "He's really telling it like it is."
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Archie is the only one that ever made me laugh
AlexanderExtazy20 April 2015
Forget those goofs in today's movies... Ferrell, Vaughn, Wilson, or any other clown they put on TV for kid's amusements...

Sir Archie Bunker is able to give a heart attack to any depressive individual. All 9 seasons were tremendous and every viewpoint Archie has on any aspect or topic.. there comes a big laugh after hearing him out.

Only negatives in this series is Gloria and Edith.. I never liked neither.. bad acting and poor choice of actresses from the director's standpoint. Gloria is more fit to entertain us at a circus show.. and Edith could sure entertain us in a zoo.. the way she walks makes a spider jealous.

One major interesting bit in the show is the fact that the producers included all sorts of arguments that started facing reality in the 21st century.. and Archie has something to say about each and every one of them!

RIP Carol, and thank you for all the good laughs. (Let's not forget the past 8 years Archie is the only one that made me laugh!)
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Thought Provoking and Meaningful Television
Emily Horne6 January 2014
In dedication to watching the best TV shows ever made, over the last few months, I have watched every single All in the Family ever made. It ran from 1971-79. I can't begin to tell you how wonderful this show is, but I'll try. It's contemporary, even now. It put a face on hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and it squashed it with humor. It gave a voice to a generation through Mike and Gloria. It was ground-breaking and innovative. They NAILED the laughter through tears emotion, repeatedly. There is nothing like it on television today. Jean Stapleton died last year, in June. She won Emmys and Golden Globes for her portrayal of Edith. Seriously fine actor. Through her character they were able to address women's rights, rape, the subservience of the "housewife", and uncover the fact that while she may be a "dingbat", she was altruistic and endlessly loving. There was so much yelling! Archie yelled at Mike, and Mike never backed down. Gloria yelled at Mike and Archie and the best yelling ever was when Edith lost her composure and yelled at anyone. Through arguments and lough-out-loud comedy they addressed race, religion, politics, war, sex, the economy, and very current events of the time. Can you imagine? A 2014 Mike Stivic (Meathead) would be picketing against Monsanto, mainstream media corruption and the One Percent. Hell, in 1971 they had an episode in which Mike and Gloria are campaigning for politician Claire Packer, who comes to the house and talks with Archie. After declaring he didn't want to hear about her "progressive pinko welfare ideas... giving welfare to families who couldn't be related to him for 'complexionary' reasons..." (huck, huck) Claire responds by asking if he was related to any of the executives at Lockheed, because they are receiving the largest amounts of welfare. Government subsidy. Welfare to the rich. Does this sound familiar? I would love to see that on TV today. Thought provoking and meaningful. Arguably one of the most important television shows of all time.
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Greatest and most landmark TV show of all time
hnt_dnl30 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The BEST. That is what ALL IN THE FAMILY (premiering in 1971) is. Accept no substitutes! I think there is this myth that the first of anything by definition can't be the best, because anything can be improved upon. This may apply in some arenas, like technology, but not art. And AITF is art! In the same way that I feel that "The Maltese Falcon" is the first great example of film noir (and still to this day, best) and "Psycho" is the first great example of the slasher film (and still to this day, best), I feel that AITF is the first great example of the modern television show, and still to this day...BEST! 21st century TV viewers can have their "Sopranos" and their "The Wire" and their "Breaking Bad". I take AITF over all of them! Modern TV in the 21st century is close being a "one-trick pony". A show can be a drama OR a comedy, but not both. Just because a show has "realistic" elements like violence, profanity, and sex, doesn't make it groundbreaking.

AITF ushered in the modern age of television. What AITF does that many modern shows fail to do is to both have realism AND entertainment value! For a show that premiered over 40 years ago, one can still watch AITF today and be flooded by varying emotions: laughter, sadness, contemplation, thought. I proclaim the TV show "Cheers" as the greatest COMEDY of all time, not the greatest SHOW of all time. I'm calling AITF the greatest SHOW of all time. Huge distinction, because AITF was not just a comedy, it was an EXPERIENCE, much like my best film of all time, "2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY" was an experience. AITF did not fit into just one genre. Not just a comedy. Not just drama. You can't pigeonhole this show into just one thing. That's the beauty of it.

Even though I had been born when AITF premiered in the early 70s, I was a bit too young to appreciate it. It took repeated viewing and the absorption of all TV that I've seen over the last couple of decades to come to the conclusion that it really all started with this show.

AITF starred what I consider to be the GREATEST TV character of all time, Archie Bunker (played to perfection by the late, great Carroll O'Connor). Archie was an amazing protagonist-antagonist that I still don't think has ever been equaled. He was a proclaimed Christian, a bigot, and of the old school. He didn't like change or the way the world was going in the early 70s, equal rights for women and affirmative action. He was essentially a sounding board for conservatism. The ultimate irony is that, in real life, O'Connor was a forward-thinking liberal, the antithesis of Archie. It had to be somewhat difficult for him to portray a person who was the opposite of him in many ways. O'Connor was awarded FOUR Emmys for this role. Not enough if you ask me! But to counter Archie's conservativism, he was also a military veteran, and a hard-working family man who loved his wife and daughter and tolerated his opposing son-in-law.

These other 3 vital characters were his sweet, daffy wife Edith Baines Bunker (awesomely played by the late Emmy-winning Jean Stapleton), his beautiful, effervescent daughter Gloria Bunker Stivic (wonderfully played by Sally Struthers), and his smart, liberal, Atheist son-in-law Michael Stivic (superbly performed by Emmy-nominee Rob Reiner, who we all know now for his directorial efforts).

The group dynamic of these main 4 characters is sublime, all of them being in perfect synergy in their scenes. Many times other recurring or guest characters would share scenes with the main 4 and the entire ensemble would nail dialogue-heavy, drawn out scenes, and keep the viewer fully engaged. Ensemble shows now don't even enjoy this kind of interaction, with ensemble scenes being saved for big reveals or moments, with quick editing and snarky dialogue in the guise of real interaction. AITF scenes seemed real.

AITF, of course, would pair off, and for me, the best pair was Archie-Mike. The constant back-and-forth bickering between these 2 men is awe-inspiring. Every important topic was pretty much covered in their arguments: religion, politics, war, sex, the economy. And a few not-so-important ones, too! I think Archie and Mike actually learned a lot from each other over the years, as in the later seasons, you could see Archie begrudgingly beginning to accept change and Mike seeing a few things from Archie's POV as he had to start raising a family in a tough economy.

Archie-Edith had a great dynamic, too. Initially Archie's figurative punching bag, Edith came into her own, as she proved to be more free-thinking and open-minded than her husband. To counter Archie's close-minded views, Edith would constantly rail into these long-winded anecdotes that always would get under his skin. I think she sneakily did this to shut him up most of the time! Although not as forefront as the Bunkers' marital woes, Mike-Gloria had their share of great interactions over the years, mainly a battle of the sexes, but also arguing about Archie.

AITF, through incredible writing and brilliant acting, had this ability to relay to the viewer extended character interactions that would be the set up ONE huge laugh at the end, but also to yield various laughs on the way to the big one! Mike and Gloria left after the 7th season, but the show still survived and was very good in it's 8th season with the introduction of a new character, Edith's niece Stephanie (well-played by Danielle Brisebois) and still had thought-provoking, wonderful stories. The show made it to a 9th and final season being called "Archie Bunker's Place". But, for me, as long as Archie Bunker is involved, it's ALL IN THE FAMILY!
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Changed U.S. TV and popular culture
runamokprods21 June 2013
It's easy (and impressive) to see why this sit com was so revolutionary for its time. Prior to "All in the Family", issues like racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam war were rarely touched in network dramas, much less comedy. TV was a place where the real issues and problems that effected real people didn't seem to exist. And when these things were addressed, it was with such kit gloves that it rendered it almost meaningless.

And in creating a main character who was a paradoxically lovable if terribly foolish and arrogant bigot, creator Norman Lear crossed into dicey, politically incorrect territory that was shocking at the time.

It was also helped by that fact that both Caroll O'Connor as the bigoted working class Archie and Jean Stapleton as his ever optimistic, good hearted, sadly subservient and not very bright wife managed to turn these potential cartoons into very human characters, simultaneously absurd, but still real enough that they reminded you of those relatives you inevitably cringed through Thanksgiving with, and somehow loved despite themselves. (ala my own grandfather's seemingly endless "that colored boy can sure play ball" refrain).

On the other hand, the series has dated as time has moved on. In the days before serialized series, the 'lessons', often about complex social issues, still had to be summed up in a brief 24 minutes of story time. Also, the supporting and guest actors didn't always rise to the level of O'Connor and Stapleton, so that they did indeed become cartoon. And elements do get repetitive quickly, especially in this era of 'binge watching' multiple episodes in a single sitting. For example, the pretty generic and predictable political arguments between right- wing Archie and his left-wing son in law (Rob Reiner) do get old by the 3rd or 4th one in a sitting.

To those who grew up more recently, it may be hard to grasp why this show was such a huge deal. And for those of us who grew up watching it, time has somewhat dulled it's punch. But there's no question that this one show changed TV and American popular culture forever, and deserves it's reputation based on that.
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Those Were the Days!
ShelbyTMItchell1 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After hearing the recent passing of Jean Stapleton, really a great TV show. Despite being politically incorrect. The show seemed to be taboo.

As despite being a jerk, Archie Bunker the bigoted and conservative politically correct title character, did have a soul. Despite at times mistreating his family, in particular his sweet natured but dim-witted wife Edith, played by Stapleton.

The late Caroll O Connell for the record, was in real life a liberal. But made Archie the guy who was a jerk, but had a soul. As Archie and Edith have a child Gloria(Sally Struthers), who is like her mom and her husband, and future filmmaker Rob Reiner as Michael aka Meathead, the liberal hippie husband of Gloria.

As Bunker and Michael butted heads over their beliefs and politics. Despite CBS taking a risk, in the end, it paid off big time. Really a great show that will open your eyes. RIP Jean and Caroll!
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The beginning of modern TV and quite a gamble at the time
calvinnme3 March 2013
When All In The Family premiered in 1971 it took some chances. Remember that the CBS lineup at the time included The Beverly Hillbillies, Gunsmoke, and Green Acres - hardly the stuff of controversy. Controversial "Laugh-In" had been racking up big ratings for a couple of years, but second-rate NBC had nothing to lose by taking chances.

Besides broaching all of the controversial topics of the day - abortion, the Vietnam War, homosexuality, and race relations, the show dared to say something that was seldom said on stage or screen before - that bigotry and racism thrived north of the Mason Dixon line, and found particularly safe harbors in some of the urban areas of what is normally thought of as the heart of liberalism. In this case, the Bunker household is in Queens, New York.

The year is 1971, and before outsourcing is even a word, Archie Bunker is able to maintain a middle class lifestyle in New York City with a blue collar job and a stay-at-home wife, Edith. He will never be anything more than he is right then. Archie holds very conservative though not well thought out - or at least not well articulated - viewpoints. And then his 18 year old daughter Gloria marries a liberal. Mike is an atheist with a Polish Catholic background, and stands for everything Archie is against. The icing on the cake - he's a penniless student and he will be a guest in Archie's home for the next several years while he finishes the university degree that will enable him to look down on Archie forever afterwords. It's funny this last point is brought up only once, by the observant if subservient Edith, Archie's wife.

For a few seasons all was well, and then this show and MASH suffered a series of crushing blows - the Vietnam War ended, Nixon was disgraced, and the controversial views held by Archie's son-in-law Mike began to enter the mainstream. Thus the show had to come up with new angles to stay fresh, and it did that, even managing to negotiate the loss of three of the four main characters and a neighboring family that played an important supporting role, the African-American Jeffersons.

Today it looks somewhat tie-dyed, but it's still worth studying just to see mainstream viewpoints change before your eyes.
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1971: The Birth of Archie Bunker and All In The Family on it's 45th anniversary
rcj536527 March 2012
Premiering on January 12,1971,the situation controversial comedy series "All In The Family" made it's television debut on CBS-TV. At the time of it's airing,the show marked the first time since Jackie Gleason's "The Honeymooners",that a weekly comedy series was videotaped live in front of a live-studio audience. Created and Produced by Norman Lear along with producer Bud Yorkin,"All In The Family" actually changed the course of situation comedy(Loosely based on the 1960's British sitcom "Till Death Do Us Part" written and created by Johnny Speight). So successful that it remained the Number One show on television for the first five consecutive seasons of it's phenomenal nine year-run.It was CBS' top-rated show that was nominated for an impressive 22 Emmys and winning 6 Prime-Time Emmys for Best Actor,Best Actress,Best Original Writing,and Best Comedy Series. It accomplished a feat by winning 8 Golden Globes for Best Actor,Best Actress,Best Supporting Actor and Actress,and Outstanding Best Comedy Series.

"All In The Family" ran for an astounding nine seasons on CBS producing 208 episodes from it's debut on January 12,1971 until the final episode on April 8,1979. When it premiered in 1971,audiences had to adjust to the outrageous blunt humor of the show where it faced almost considerable publicity(and even close to being canceled within it's first season,but viewers response saved it from the cancellation axe)about Archie Bunker's railings against minorities,religious groups, and political agendas,something that was never even heard of for a weekly television series. By July of 1971,it was saved from the cancellation axe,and became a controversial phenomenon colossal hit making Archie Bunker the most liberalistic bigot in the history of television. By it's second season it soared to the top of the Nielsens,making it the Number One show on television....a position it conquered for the five seasons(1971-1976) of it's nine year-run when it dethrone "Laugh-In" off the top spot in television. By the 1976-1977 season it became the Number Two show on television when ABC's "Happy Days" dethrone CBS' top rated show from the Number One spot. Lovable,but liberalistic bigot Archie Bunker(Carroll O'Connor),his wife Edith(Jean Stapleton),Archie's sweet and lovable childish-adult daughter Gloria(Sally Struthers),and her live-in boyfriend and later on her political pushing/protesting husband Michael(Rob Reiner).

Archie's sayings like "Meathead!",and others became staples within the American culture. The phenomenal success of "All In The Family" spun six spinoffs that were under the supervision of Norman Lear himself. The first of the six spinoffs that were associated with "All In The Family" were "Maude",(1972-1978),followed by the spin off from "Maude" titled,"Good Times"(1974-1979). "The Jeffersons"(1975-1986) the third spin off from "All In The Family", became the most successful and the longest running spanning 11 seasons. "Archie Bunker's Place",the follow up after Carroll O' Connor's original series ended lasted from 1979- 1982. "Checking In",which was the spin off of "The Jeffersons",by way of "All In The Family"(starring Marla Gibbs)premiered in 1981 and lasted four episodes. "Gloria" starring Sally Struthers was the next spin off that featured Archie Bunker's daughter as a divorce parent starting a new life lasted two seasons from 1982-1984. The last and final spin off to "All In The Family" titled,"704 Hauser Street",that lasted six episodes in 1994 starred former "Good Times" actor John Amos. The commentary has been reedited on January 12, 2016 to commemorate the show's golden 45th anniversary.
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horrible show, how can anyone like this?
AllInTheFamilySucks24 February 2011
I get that this show was supposed to challenge some of the prevailing norms of the time. It's not really controversial to say that most old people back then were ignorant, racist and loud like the character Archie is, and my dislike of the show isn't because I in any way sympathize with his views. My problem with the show rather is that the characters are all completely unlikeable. Archie sounds like he has down's syndrome (not to disrespect anyone with down's syndrome, but he really, really does sound mentally challenged, which is a problem since that's not intended and so it just sounds silly) - it's impossible for me to understand anything he's saying because the actor playing him (Carroll O'Connor) mumbles everything he says. It's as if he's trying to sound as dumb as possible when he says his lines. The actor playing Archie's wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) is constantly screeching, regardless of what emotion she's portraying. It actually hurts my ears to listen to her. Her character is also really one-dimensional - basically, she's always oblivious, no matter what the situation is. Most of the time she's oblivious to Archie's bigotry and stupidity, but when Archie isn't being a bigot, the writers usually find something else for her to be oblivious to. Their daughter Gloria is also one-dimensional; she parrots the liberal views of her husband (played by Rob Reiner, who I must say, has really put on a lot of weight since back then), but doesn't have the ability to form thoughts complex enough to understand them. As Archie and Edith's daughter, Gloria is convincing in that the actor portraying her combined a little bit of the down-syndromish voice of her father, and a little bit of the annoying shrieking of her mother. Like her mother, she's often fairly oblivious to what's going on. The laughtrack usually plays when one of them says something stupid (which is often), even if the situation isn't actually that funny. Her character is also literally a mouth breather. Don't watch this show.
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Those Were The Days
rreeyore30 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This television show changed everything on TV after it. It broke so many grounds. It was one of the first sitcoms to deal with prejudice, politics, war, and was the first television show to feature the sound of a flushing toilet. The main character, Archie Bunker, is an old-fashioned bigot who represents the working man in America. His wife, Edith Bunker, represents the old-fashioned house wife in the 1950's. Archie an Edith's daughter Gloria and her husband Micheal live with the Bunkers in a suburb of New York City. The Show took on so many controversial topics of the time such as the Vietnam War and Watergate. It could always find humor in everyday suburban life. It was mostly dealing with the old-fashioned way of life (Archie), being confronted by the easy-going hippie lifestyle (Micheal) during the 1970's. All the humor is in Archie and Micheal's feuds and bickering due to the twos different beliefs. This sitcom is one of the best.
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Opened the Floodgates!
Jetset97113 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This show has got to be, without a doubt, the most groundbreaking sitcom in the history of the medium. Nothing, I mean NOTHING, was to taboo for this show, and that was what made it so genius. Racism, womens Lib, war, poverty, you name it, they covered it. Caroll O'Conner was nothing short of brilliant as the uneducated blue-collar working man Archie Bunker. Jean Stapleton became the heart and conscience of the show and Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers gave tremendous support as they represented the younger more liberal point of view against Archie. I have heard people say that you couldn't do this show in todays "PC" world. I have to agree, the only way it would work is if the subject matter was done in a completely dramatic fashion. Isn't it Ironic? I mean forty years ago, the only way people could accept all these taboo subjects was through comedy, Now it has to be through Drama. All the same, Loved this show, still as thought provoking and funny as it was back then. Those were the days!
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Archie, Meathead, Dingbat and Little Goil
Greatornot17 September 2009
The headline truly does say it all. You certainly did have ALL in this family. Conservative,uneducated bigot in Archie. Liberal smug college student in Mike,the son in law. Naive with her shining moments in Edith the housewife. Womens libber daughter Gloria. What a fun family. First 5 yrs impeccable. My 10 is based on those. Funny with clashes constantly. Bring in Lionel, the families young, black friend and you had full blown fits of laughter. As the show went on the feistiness and bluntness slowly seeped . The final season not even a shell of this wonderful show. Sometimes the show did get more serious after the initial 5 seasons. All in all this show was a microcosm and realistic picture of Americana in a working class mans home. Lots of humor eased tension on issues of the day, such as picketing,gun control, Vietnam,homosexuality,privacy rights, religion,political affiliation clash, race etc. Hmmm we have quite a few of these same issues today, go figure. In a nutshell, even though the show lost steam after the first 5 seasons, after the Stivics moved away from the Bunkers... It is still my favorite show of all time. In all fairness to AITF- I believe there must have been pressure to tone down due to political correctness rearing its ugly head= What a shame. Enjoy this show on DVD or TVLAND. At least the early seasons come out first on DVD.
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tupungato24 March 2009
Whenever I notice that a channel is presenting reruns of All In The Family, I make sure to watch. I usually still find the stories enjoyable -- even if once in awhile a dialog seems dated - - and I still laugh out loud during scenes I may have seen 8-10 times over the last 35+ years. To me All In The Family continues to stand out amongst situation comedies, and amongst most television shows for that matter.

All in The Family did have its faults, however. The shouting that so often took place between characters, especially between Mike and Archie, got tiresome, as did Edith's trotting to and from the kitchen. A change in a more fundamental aspect of the show, however, really began to make to make the show less appealing after the first 3-4 seasons.

All new ideas eventually become old, and I may have begun losing interest as the controversial themes that made All In The Family such a revolutionary program started to lose their impact. Looking back, though, I recall that I also began to feel differently about All In The Family because I noticed that Archie Bunker was changing.

Whether later scripts were requiring Archie Bunker to alter his style, or Carrol O'Conner could no longer call forth the same volatile temper and caustic sarcasm that marked the character he played so well, I remember seeing Archie Bunker become an irritable, whiny, elderly-looking man, who overreacted like a hypochondriac to stubbed toes and bumped heads. The same man who had entertained by mispronouncing and misusing words and names was apparently trying to do the same by mismanaging his own body.

For the most part, All In The Family included characters that were very well conceived. They did represent social types, true, but a viewer could not always predict their behavior. Though Archie Bunker, for example, tended to dominate discussions, despite his illogical reasoning, with his chauvinistic attitudes and feelings of indignation, he did on occasion have something valid to say.

Similarly, while in most episodes the subservient Edith catered to Archie's wants and demands, or made comments that exuded naivety, she did assert herself now and then, demonstrating a social kind of intelligence lacking in her husband. Son-in-law Mike could surprise the viewer, too. Although he usually adamantly advocated the counterculture ideology typical of college students of the early 70's, his arguments revealed a sexist core whenever he had to confront the issue of women's rights.

One could not consider family friend Lionel Jefferson simple or one-dimensional either. He almost never agreed with Archie and did not approve of his bigotry, but he recognized the limits of Archie's experience and intellect, so instead of allowing himself to enter into power struggles with Archie, Lionel spoofed Archie's opinions and made him look all the more foolish in the process.

Sometimes I have wondered if the popularity of simpler, light-hearted shows, such as Happy Days and Three's Company, influenced All In The Family's writers, since episodes after the first few seasons seemed to include an element of silliness or broad comedy. Whatever the direction that they consciously took the show, it succeeded because the members of its cast performed as if from a higher league.
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A Classic 70s Sitcom
hfan7721 March 2008
Even though it took three years and three pilots to get All in the Family on network TV, it has become one of the most classic 70s sitcoms as well as the show that broke the genteel world of comedies like Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver by featuring subjects that weren't explored on those shows. Subjects like bigotry, racism and menopause were controversial topics that were finally brought out of the closet and used as the basis for a number of episodes.

The four main actors, Carroll O'Connor as Archie, Jean Stapleton as Edith, Rob Reiner as Mike and Sally Struthers as Gloria had great chemistry but it was O'Connor's portrayal of Archie is what made the show a major hit after a slow start. His bigoted rants and numerous malaprops stood out and were very funny. Also, the many scenes with Archie and Mike clashing on a lot of subjects were also extremely funny, especially in the flashback episode where Archie met mike for the first time.

All in the Family's success paved the way for more shows with more controversial topics such as Maude and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Besides Maude, the show also had two other spinoffs, the hit sitcom The Jeffersons and the not so successful Gloria.

As the years went by, I felt the show jumped the shark when Archie became a lot mellower after buying Kelsey's Bar and when Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers left the show. The episode about Mike and Gloria leaving for California was one of the saddest sitcom episodes I ever saw but it remains a classic. Mike and Gloria leaving also lost most of the show's edge since the Archie-Mike conflict was one of the show's centerpieces. Another shark jump was the addition of Edith's niece Stephanie, another example of a sitcom adding another kid.

All in the Family, despite all the racial slurs was one of my all-time sitcom favorites. There well never be another show like it.
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All in the Family-Bigotry Was Never Better than This ****
edwagreen21 September 2007
A show that brought out the stupidity of bigotry by showing how crazy it could really be.

Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker epitomized such bigotry. Archie would let all the groups have it equally. You could never say that he was for one specific group.With his extremely liberal son-in-law, Rob Reiner, the conflicts between the two were absolutely memorable.

As the long suffering, naive wife, Jean Stapleton added plenty of humor with those sardonic looks. When Archie said that the Hebs tended to name their sons Abe, Edith replied,"I didn't know that Lincoln was Jewish!"

Remember the beginning theme song that had to be done over since the line: Gee,our old LaSalle ran great could not be readily understood.

Pity poor Sally Struthers, the daughter of Archie and Edith who was wed to the Meathead Reiner. She had to walk a fine line from her ultra Conservative father and liberal father. Remember her hair-do? She looked like Orphan Annie.

Richard Nixon being president at the time certainly added the necessary ingredients for this show to succeed. Could the show have worked well had Ike been in the White House? You have to wonder about that one.

What memories with Sammy Davis Jr., the Ku Klux Klan, Frank and Irene Lorenzo, the Jeffersons, Cousin Maude. Those certainly were the days.
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"That man had charisma!" "I don't care if he was sick!"
Behold one of the most politically incorrect and yet uproarious sitcoms ever made. Here's the basic premise: bigoted AWG with a dutiful if slow-on-the-uptake wife lets his daughter and her far-far-far-*far*-left-wing husband live with them so he can finish school, and then the adventure begins! So, yes, Archie Bunker is a jerk. He's notorious for getting himself in way too deep in situations involving race, religion, orientation, and activism. His wife Edith serves as a naive voice of reason... usually to the annoyance of her husband. Daughter Gloria is proud of her husband Mike, to whom Archie always refers as "meathead" (dead from the neck up). And Archie can't move past the fact that Mike is Polish and liberal.

Adding other dimensions to the series are their neighbors, the Jeffersons (whose race frequently causes Archie to put himself in trouble with his ethnically-based comments), and, of course, among others, Cousin Maude-- Edith's no-nonsense cousin who shows up every so often just to push Archie's buttons. The writing is always fresh, the humor works nearly every time, and it's an absolute joy to see the cast at work-- the chemistry is perfect.

I really wish they could make a sitcom like this that actually works again.
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The First Version of Reality T.V.
dataconflossmoor26 July 2007
When this show premiered, the American television audience had never witnessed anything like it before!! Archie Bunker became a household word... His whole mindset was that of the straight and narrow philosophy which reflected the introductory song to this series "Those Were The Days"...."All in the Family" had a two pronged attack on realism in television programming which was acrimonious as well as groundbreaking!! First of all, this show pointed out how not every American was a spawn of lace curtain living!! Your average Joe lived in a very modest house, one similar to Achie Bunker's!! Secondly, the changing times of the sixties and seventies brought on mores of behavior that cultural conservatives such as Archie Bunker could not really deal with!! New York City brought on a bevy of cultural stereotypes who compounded Archie's difficulty to cope with a changing era!! The characters in "All in the Family" were all well fortified by firmly entrenched political viewpoints which evoked a compelling aura of ignorance and blissful stubbornness!! Eventually, each and every one of them became the recipients of political indiscretions just by virtue of the fact that they were victims of their own hypocrisy!! Archie (Carroll O'Connor) was the bigoted non-dimensional plebeian whom people viewed as irascible and not very easy to understand!! While Archie appeared very cantankerous and closed minded, he was not alone, and was far more common and run of the mill than most people would like to believe!! Edith (Jean Stapleton) his wife, was the simpleton whose good nature prevailed throughout one dose of modern philosophy and spousal rudeness after the next!! Mike (Rob Reiner) the confused and arrogant liberal, (He was my favorite character on the show!!) He thought solutions to real life problems could be attained in text books!! Finally, Gloria (Sally Struthers) was the whining and closely guarded daughter, who took in an egalitarian approach to different lifestyles, as a way of rebelling against her father!! The chemistry with the actors, and actresses and producers and directors of this show became a masterful blend of effective programming through a deliberately flawed and injured comedy!! Almost no other show was fully able to accomplish this!! "The Honeymooners" is about the only one I can think of off hand!! I saw an episode last night where Archie saved "a woman's" life by giving her mouth to mouth resuscitation, only to find out that this "woman" was a transvestite!! It was situations such as these that made this show so popular!! When issues about race, social adversity, sexual preferences and unusual lifestyles are taboo, they cultivate a precarious curiosity which the television audience has, and wants to satisfy!! The conundrum being: Why are these aspects of American culture so hush hush anyway!! "All in the Family" was more popular than almost any other T.V. Show in the history of television, and it was because it broke ground on purveying an accurate portrayal about so many social issues....When a sitcom like "All in the Family" has had so much success, your hat has to go off to it!! I feel that "All in the Family" has made assertive progress in establishing better television... This is not easy to do!!
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