All in the Family (1971–1979)
8.9/10
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The Draft Dodger 

The Bunkers invite Archie's buddy Pinky Peterson to Christmas dinner. Then Mike's old friend David Brewster drops by unexpectedly, which worries Mike because David's a draft dodger wanted ... See full summary »

Director:

Paul Bogart

Writers:

Norman Lear (developed by), Jay Moriarty | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Carroll O'Connor ... Archie Bunker
Jean Stapleton ... Edith Bunker
Rob Reiner ... Michael 'Meathead' Stivic
Sally Struthers ... Gloria Bunker-Stivic
Liz Torres ... Teresa Betancourt
Eugene Roche ... Pinky Peterson
Renny Temple ... David Brewster
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Storyline

The Bunkers invite Archie's buddy Pinky Peterson to Christmas dinner. Then Mike's old friend David Brewster drops by unexpectedly, which worries Mike because David's a draft dodger wanted by the FBI and he's been living in Canada. When Pinky arrives, Archie reminds the family not to move the conversation toward his son Steven since he's still in shock over his tragic death in Vietnam. During dinner Archie keeps quizzing David about why he lives in Canada. David is so put out that he admits that he is a draft dodger, which incites furious rage from Archie. He assumes that since Pinky, the "Gold-Star father," lost his son in Vietnam, he'll join him in his outrage, but to Archie's shock, Pinky sides with David and wishes him a Merry Christmas. Shocked at this turn of events, Archie tells the family that he needs time to work this out. He goes to the door, tells a group of carolers that he doesn't want to have to call the cops on them, then slams the door. This shakes a wreath embossed ... Written by Jerry Roberts <armchairoscars@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1976 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The term in the title refers to a person who avoids the conscription policies of the country in which he or she is a citizen by leaving or going into hiding. See more »

Quotes

Archie Bunker: Starched shirt, I feel like I'm inside of a tin can. Chinks must've invented starch as a torture for the white people.
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Soundtracks

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Traditional
Sung by carolers
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User Reviews

 
A Classic
16 June 2019 | by frankjosephsaracenoSee all my reviews

Quite simply, this is one of the ten best episodes of All In The Family. The show had tackled the Vietnam War in past episode discussions, but nothing like this and nothing like one of the most heated debates of this or any era. Mike's friend David (Renny Temple) drops in for a surprise visit during the Christmas holidays. Originally from Chicago, he's been living in Canada. The nervous audience reaction upon this reveal is chilling over 40 years later. Archie's announcement that his old friend, and sometime foil, Pinky Peterson (Eugene Roche) will be joining them too, adds another layer of tension. Pinky's son Steve was killed in Vietnam. The way shows like AITF, and to a greater extent M*A*S*H, blended comedy and dramatic commentary together, was incredible. It created powerful television. Carroll O'Connor gives a riveting, heart wrenching, performance. Archie's anger, frustration, and outright contempt for David mirrors so many men of a certain age. David's firm, strident objections represented so many young men who chose the path he took. In one of the shows' most devastating scenes, O'Connor delivers a line that literally had to be censored prior to air. Roche's counter point to Archie's tirade, which was classic Archie, so much so, you can tell the audience was almost feeling guilty laughing at times, gets to the heart of the divisiveness that was the Vietnam War. The way the episode ends, with Edith trying to talk Archie back to the dinner table, is one full of emotion and a touch of sadness. An episode not to be missed, and when you're finished watching, study up on why this topic was and remains so volatile to this day.


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