All in the Family
By Persona Non Grata
Debuting in January, 1971 and based on the British series Till Death
Do Us Part, the Bunker's of All in the Family were a
radical change from the bland, affectedly sweet '50s sitcom families, the
Anderson's of Father Knows Best or the Cleaver's of Leave it to
Beaver. Working-class Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Conner) was
anything but. Uneducated, prejudiced, bigoted and outspoken, Archie
bought into every negative ethnic or racial stereotype.
Unfortunately there was no escape from the people he held in
contempt. His daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband Mike
Stivic 'Meathead" (Rob Reiner), a liberal, Polish, unemployed,
sociology student shared his home. A black family, the Jefferson's,
moved in next door. Archie's wife Edith "Dingbat" (Jean
Stapleton), an addle-brained but unprejudiced and kind-hearted woman, was
a close friend to Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford). Louise's son Lionel
(Mike Evans), a friend of Gloria and Mike's, took great pleasure in
teasing Archie about his bigotry.
George Jefferson, (Sherman Hemsley)
Louise's husband, an ambitious but hot-tempered dry cleaning store owner,
continually antagonized Archie and George's brother, Henry (Mel Stewart)
was Archie's counterpart from a black point of view.
The show was retooled for the fall of 1979 and renamed Archie
Bunker's Place. It lasted a further four seasons and spawned the
short-lived spinoff Gloria.
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