Sunday, December 2, 2018
Sunday Fun: All in the Family (1971 - 1979) Opening
The greatest television series ever made, I say. It's certainly the greatest U.S. program of all TV time, to me. Archie Bunker was the "lovable bigot". Yes, he was misguided much of the time; a simple man who did not read (notice the set dressers provided no book case), which informed his ignorance and his not knowing much of anything. Providing a "Meathead", a son in law who was, in Archie's eyes at least, clearly misguided about most things from sports to social issues (a "pinko, commie, atheist"), allowed the script writers to explore and comment on a quickly changing America. Archie was afraid of change, which was the core idea behind the show: immigrants moving into his neighbourhood; an uneasy job market; general attitudes towards ideas that to Archie were immovable, but being moved before his eyes.
This character dynamic of 'conservative vs liberal' made the series work much better than if it had been a living room echo chamber.
It was a sitcom, but a very funny one.
A few years ago I reminisced about the series with a black friend of mine. We laughed. After we settled down, he said: "I'd have a beer with Archie."
Perhaps that's a mark of All in the Family's true brilliance.
An episode very early in the show's run had Archie say this, with passion and a finger wag: "You liberals are always trying to bring down dis here country."
That was from 1971.