so just for the hell of it i downloaded the first season of all in the family. i remember watching it when i was a kid and enjoying it, but i haven’t seen the show in maybe twenty (yikes) years… and wow, pretty great! it ran from ’71 to ’79 and if something this progressive was the number one show on network tv today, well, that would be nice.
download it here…
All in the Family was notorious for featuring language and epithets previously absent from television, such as “fag” for homosexual, “spic” for Hispanics, “dago” and “wop” for Italians, “chink” for Asians, “spade” for Blacks, and phrases such as “God damn it.” It was also famous for being the first major television show to feature the sound of a flushing toilet; it became a running gag on the show.
While moral watchdogs attacked the show on those grounds, others objected to the show’s portrayal of Archie Bunker as a “lovable” bigot. Defenders of the series pointed out that Archie usually lost his arguments by reason of his own stupidity.
In addition to its candid political dialogs, All in the Family’s story lines also included a sense of realism not previously associated with sitcoms. A 1973 episode, for example, found the Bunkers discovering a swastika painted on their front door. (It had been intended for their Jewish neighbors down the street.) An activist from the Jewish Defense League showed up, proposing violent retaliation against whoever painted it, but upon leaving, he was blown up in his car, as the Bunkers watched in horror from their front door. To interweave illness, crime, or in this case, the off-screen violent death of a character into the plot of a comedy show was an unprecedented move.
too… but not as good and for different reasons…
This series starred veteran character actor Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, a working-class, very outspoken bigot, prejudiced against everyone and everything not in agreement with his view of the world. His ignorance and stubbornness tend to cause his malaprop-filled arguments to self-destruct. He often responds to uncomfortable truths by blowing a raspberry. He longs for simpler times, when people sharing his viewpoint were in charge, as evidenced by the nostalgic theme song, “Those Were the Days,” the show’s original title. (In the first pilot filmed, the family name was Justice rather than Bunker .)
By contrast, his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) is a sweet, understanding, if somewhat intellectually limited woman. She usually defers to her always-opinionated husband, but on the rare occasions when she takes a stand, she proves to be one of the wisest characters in the series. This is perhaps best seen in episodes “The Battle of the Month” and “The Games Bunkers Play”. Archie often tells her to “stifle herself” and calls her a “dingbat”, but despite their very different personalities, they love each other deeply.
They have one child, Gloria (Sally Struthers), who is married to perennial college student Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner). Michael is an archetypal 1960s-style liberal. He and Archie constantly clash over political, social, and personal issues. For much of the series, the Stivics live in the Bunker home to save money, providing even more opportunity for the two men to irritate each other. When they finally move out, it is to the house next door, offered to them by George Jefferson, the owner, who knew it would get to Archie. Archie frequently calls his son-in-law “meathead” and “Polock” to insult Michael’s intelligence and Polish ancestry respectively.
The show is set in the Astoria section of Queens, one of New York City’s five boroughs.