Waxing Nostalgic Over Classic TV

Friday, March 20, 2009

Red-State Archie vs. Blue-State Meathead

All in the Family was the mega-hit situation comedy that ran on CBS from 1971-1979, and an additional four years as the revamped Archie Bunker's Place. From 1971-1976, the show was rated the number one show in the country. Producer Norman Lear made a name for himself by breaking through subject matter and language barriers that had previously been taboo. In fact, the show was considered so controversial that CBS displayed a kind of disclaimer prior to each show:

The program you are about to see is All in the Family. It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of laughter we hope to show, in a mature fashion, just how absurd they are.

The show was adapted from a British show called Till Death Us Do Part. Archie Bunker was a card-carrying conservative who lived in a house alongside his very liberal son-in-law, Michael Stivik (aka Meathead), as well as his daughter and "dingbat" wife. Today's red-state/blue-state division may have sprung directly out of the many spirited conversations between Archie and Meathead.

The video above is from one of the series' most notable episodes. When Sammy Davis Jr. finds himself stranded in the Bunker house we get some real insight into Archie's views on race and can only imagine what he would have thought about Barack Obama as president of the United States.

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