All in the Family

All in the Family

All In The Family was one of the most critically acclaimed and groundbreaking sitcoms of the 70s. In a way that no other show had ever attempted, the series reflected and commented upon the social upheaval of the country through the eyes of a typical American family. It inspired both devotion and controversy, and became one of the most successful television series of all time.

The series, based loosely on a British show called Till Death Us Do Part, centered on Archie Bunker, a narrow-minded, blue-collar worker who was the dock foreman for the Prendergast Tool and Die Company. His sweet but ditzy wife Edith ran the household and tried to deal with her cranky husband.

They had a daughter, Gloria, who was often at odds with her father’s old fashioned way of thinking. There was also her boyfriend, Michael “Meathead” Stivic, who was an impassioned liberal studying for his sociology degree, and the impetus for many arguments with Archie.

In the midst of everyone, Archie could always be counted on to have a prejudiced thing to say, usually in an hysterically funny way. His politically incorrect opinions and his ethnic insults reflected a certain segment of the country, while the show pointed out how ridiculous they were. He liked to call Michael “Meathead” for his liberal views, and readily enjoyed finding new ways to make fun of Mike’s Polish heritage.

But Archie’s viewpoint was in the minority, and he was surrounded by more reasonable characters. An example was his African-American neighbors the Jeffersons. George Jefferson made a good living owning a dry-cleaning store. His wife Louise was a friend of Edith’s, and his son Lionel was a buddy of Michael’s. Lionel lost no time teasing Archie about his bigoted opinions.

Another character who took Archie to task was Edith’s progressive cousin, Maude Findlay, who got on Archie for his sexist attitudes. The banter made for episode after episode of entertaining comedy, and launched successful spin-off shows for both the Jeffersons and Maude (the latter of which launched another successful sitcom, Good Times).

Meanwhile, All in the Family ran for 9 seasons, earning the #1 spot in the ratings for six of them. In 1979, the series officially ended, but the Bunkers continued on in a new show, Archie Bunker’s Place. That series ran for another four seasons, with Archie now managing his own bar. During the premiere of the second season, however, his beloved wife Edith passed away in a particular touching episode. Things would never be the same for Archie, who was utterly devistated.

All In The Family remains popular today in syndication and is watched by fans all over the world. The show has earned it’s place in television history as both a representation of a turbulent time in America, and as an example of some of the best writing and acting on network television.

Did your family tune into All in the Family each week to watch Archie Bunker and his loveable family. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this iconic series in our comments section below.

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