The Generation Gap
All in the Family aired in January of 1971 and centered around the Bunker family who lived in a home located at 704 Houser Street in Queens, New York. Archie Bunker, a dock foreman for the Prendergast Tool and Dye Company was the main character and was televisions most famous bigot, loud-mouth and downright rude. Edith Bunker ("Dingbat") was his somewhat dizzy wife who put up with Archie. Also living in the Bunker household were Archie and Edith's daughter, Gloria, and her husband Mike, or "Meathead" who was an unemployed college student. The stories revolved around many controversial topics including, rape, sex, homosexuality, death, and other topics that were relevant to the 1970's, especially political strife and inflation. Other frequent cast members include, the black neighbors, the Jeffersons and The Lorenzos. In 1975, Gloria had a son, Joey, and three years later in 1978, Gloria, Mike and Joey moved away to California, leaving Edith and Archie alone. In season one, episode six; Gloria comes home from the doctor with some news: she's pregnant. This leads to a big argument between Archie and Mike so Mike decides to quit school and move out. Archie doesn't believe him that is until Mike gets a job in Detroit and plans on moving there. However, plans for a move are suddenly halted when Gloria suffers a miscarriage. In season four, episode four; Gloria comes home from the doctor with some news: she's pregnant. This leads to a big argument between Archie and Mike so Mike decides to quit school and move out. Archie doesn't believe him, which is until Mike gets a job in Detroit and plans on moving there. However, plans for a move are suddenly halted when Gloria suffers a miscarriage. In season six, episode eleven; Thanksgiving dinner becomes a family battleground when Archie discovers that Mike and Gloria don't want to impose the family's religious beliefs on their baby. The argument quickly extends throughout the whole dinner with Archie insisting that the baby should attend Sunday school, while Mike and Gloria want their child to decide for itself. In the television show, All in the Family, there is a prominent generation gap between Archie and his wife and their daughter Gloria, conflicts that stem from this gap are political, social and cultural. Archie and Edith represent the older generation, raised around the time of the Depression and the World War II. The generations fight all the time, about the war in Vietnam, sexual attitudes, race, religion, and woman’s roles. Gloria and Michael both reject both Archie’s head-man of the family. In season one episode six, “pregnant”, Archie is portrayed sitting in his chair reading the newspaper and you can clearly see he has his own opinion on today’s news because he puts his tongue out. Mike makes a comment to Archie about the Chicanos and Archie says; “Ah, who cares, what’s in the name anyhow, eh? In my day nobody went around calling themselves Chicanos, Mexican Americans, Afro Americans, we was all Americans.” This supports the fact that over generations, racial issues have changed and today, everyone is seen as different according to their race. The Article; Archie Bunker’s Bigotry: A Study in Selective Perception and Exposure by Neil Vidmar and Milton Rokeach, it indicates Archie is a “bigot, domineering, rigid, loud, and that he mistreats his wife.” When Archie is greeted by his wife, Edith, he immediately demands dinner which tells us Edith’s position in the house-she provides the food for her husband. Patricia Hill Collins says in her article that, “Such families have a specific authority structure; namely, a father-head earning an adequate family wage, a stay-at home wife, and children.” In season four episode four, “Archie and the kiss”, Archie comes home after a hard day’s work and slams the door. Mike complains and Archie says; “When I come home after a hard day’s work, that means I’ve been...
Cited: Yorkin, Bud, and Norman Lear, prods. "Gloria 's Pregnancy." All in the Family. CBS. 12 Jan. 1971. Television.
Yorkin, Bud, prod. "Archie and the Kiss." All in the Family. CBS. 12 Jan. 1971. Television.
Yorkin, Bud, prod. "The Little Atheist." All in the Family. CBS. 12 Jan. 1971. Television.
Collins, Patricia Hill. "It 's All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race and Nation." Border Crossings: Multicultural and Postcolonial Feminist Challenges to Philosophy 13.3 (1998): 62-82. Print.
Vidmar, Neil, and Milton Rokeach. "Archie Bunker 's Bigotry: A Study in Selective Perception and Exposure." Journal of Communication 24.1 (1974): 36-47. Print.
Kutulus, Judy. "Who Rules the Roost?" The Sitcom Reader. New York: State University of New York, 2005. 49-59. Print.
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