All In The Family Broke New Ground

archie and edith bunker

“Those Were The Days”

“All in the Family” came onto the scene in 1971 and ran until 1979.  At the time it was a ground breaking program dealing with themes heretofore not seen on TV.  Some of the topics they touched on were rape, homosexuality, abortion, racism, women’s lib, impotence, and menopause.  In today’s  politically correct time a show like All in the Family probably would not even be attempted  as a sitcom.

The  opening scene for the All In The Family programs is Edith playing the piano with Archie sitting next to her and the pair belting out “Those Were The Days”.  Edith did some pretty loud screeching on the high notes.  As the years went on her screeching got louder and louder and longer and longer.

Archie Bunker (Carroll  O’Connor) was a blue collar bigoted man with no tolerance for anyone who wasn’t just like him.  He dominated his long suffering wife, Edith (Jean Stapleton).  Edith was a sweet woman who  appeared to be a little wiser and more tolerant than her husband.  However, she usually let him have his own way on things.   Even so, Archie often referred to his wife as  dingbat and told her to stifle it.

Rounding out the family is their daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner).  Michael is a college student and a bit of a hippie.  In order to save money Gloria and Michael live with her parents.  Archie and Michael have two entirely different views on life.  Michael is much more liberal and in tune with current times.

The two men often clash over politics, religion or any issue at all.  Neither man backs down from his own point of view.  Archie usually winds up calling Michael “Meathead”. Or since Michael is of  Polish descent he might even refer to him as “dumb Polack“.

After finishing college Michael and Gloria buy their own home next door to her parents.  Archie is not too thrilled to have Michael as his next door neighbor.  The house they purchased was formerly  the home of  George Jefferson and his wife Louise.  George was an African American man who was just as opinionated as Archie.  He was pleased to rent his house to the Stivic’s since he figured having Michael living  next door would drive Archie nuts.

Archie truly believes the world would be a better place if it was the way it had been years ago.  Everything should be run by white protestant men like himself.  These men must be conservative U.S. born citizens.  Nothing else is truly acceptable to him.  Archie was never able to come to terms with the times in which he was living.


  1. melissa V-L says:

    Loved the show,there was freedom of speech on that show.

  2. Bob R says:

    As an All in the Family-o-phile, one correction. Michael & Gloria didn’t buy the Jefferson’s house next door, but rented it from them.

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