I have never reviewed episodes of "All in the Family"--mostly because it's a classic and they hardly ever made an episode that missed the mark. But, as the show evolved towards the end of the run and as it evolved into "Archie Bunker's Place", the popularity of the show waned and the edginess of the show was gone. Now instead of Archie playing the racist arguing with his favorite nemesis, Michael, the show inexplicably cast Archie as a much more broadminded, almost liberal sort of guy who loves his niece, Stephanie. Not surprisingly viewership plummeted and I hardly ever watched the show during its original run. Now, the show is being re-run on basic cable and since I am bored, I decided to watch a few episodes. One shocked me because it was exceptional but the rest has so far been a dull lot--sort of like watching "Father Knows Best" is the father is a good bit stupider.
"The Trashing of the Temple" finds the local temple attacked by bigoted vandals--and Archie's Jewish partner and Stephanie are subjected to this hate. What's really weird is that in this neutered version of the show, Archie is a non-Jewish member of the synagogue! Archie? OUR bigoted, narrow-minded Archie?! And with a Jewish partner and niece who lives with him!
When the rabbi comes to Archie to ask him to join a committee trying to stop the vandalism, Archie thinks it's all blown out of proportion and that people really are no longer antisemitic. However, the episode proves to Archie that he's wrong--and it is rather inexplicable, as in a famous episode of the old show, a member of a JDL-like organization is blown up just outside the Bunker residence!
So is the episode any good? Well, it's not bad...but it's missing one important thing...humor. For a comedy show, it's woefully lacking in laughs. Now I DON'T think antisemitism is funny but the old show used to find more ways to bring laughs into meaningful discussions. Here, however, it makes a nice point but nothing more.
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