History of Media Arts II – Andre Puca
2 April 2013
All in the Family: Too Real for TV?
When All in the Family came out in 1971, it caught an impressive amount of attention. The CBS sitcom ventured into the dangerously taboo ideas and viewpoints held by conservative individuals in the early 1970s and brought them into the public dialogue through the loud, uncensored mouth of Archie Bunker. Like it or not, this show proudly displayed the inner racist, sexist, and otherwise bigoted monologue of many Americans. This is an impressive change as compared to the insult-minimal days of the Leave it to Beaver show in the 1950s. Instead of Beaver failing a test, this show dealt with substantial and current problems such as racism, sexism, and politics; however, this is only one reason why All in the Family was so hotly discussed and debated over at the time of its release. All in the Family granted it's viewers a close look into the daily lives and conversations of the Bunker family. Featured prominently and most actively discussed in critical essays is Archie Bunker, a conservative bigot who speaks his mind and constantly feels misunderstood. Beside him is his wifely foil, Edith AKA the “Dingbat,” who represents the stereotypical wife of the previous generation; she is complacent, tells inconsequential stories, tries to keep things generally pleasant and is willing to go along with seemingly anything. Archie's daughter, Gloria Bunker-Stivic is the antithesis of her father. She and her husband, the “Meathead,” offer the voice of the new generation, eager to embrace change. Naturally, not all discussion is civil at the Bunker house. The focus of the show is the casual discussions had by Archie Bunker and characters who share ideologies that differ from his. While Mr. Bunker is clearly shown to lack social grace, he is never condemned for his actions outright. In fact, the characters do not change in response to the events of an episode....
Cited: Jones, Robert T. "The Redeemers." Life Magazine 24 Jan. 1972: 74-76. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.
Leonard, John. "Bigotry as a Dirty Joke." Life Magazine 19 Mar. 1971: 11. Google Books. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.
Prouty, Howard. Variety Television Reviews: 1923-1988. New York U.a.: Garland Publ., 1989. Print.
Williamson, Chilton, Jr. "All in Your Family." National Review 11 Apr. 1995: 401-02. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.
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