All in the Family
All in the Family
TV-PG | 12 January 1971 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    Best movie of this year hands down!

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    While it doesn't offer any answers, it both thrills and makes you think.

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    A movie that not only functions as a solid scarefest but a razor-sharp satire.

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    This film is so real. It treats its characters with so much care and sensitivity.

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    Archie bunker is a character that will nevre be forgotten . Watching this show now is a bit cringy but in reality it was ahead of its time with its unapologtic approach to politics and racism. Love him or hate him, Archie Bunker is a character that will never be forgotten, even if he is remembered for being a pessimistic bigot!

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    It's easy (and impressive) to see why this sit com was so revolutionary for its time. Prior to "All in the Family", issues like racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam war were rarely touched in network dramas, much less comedy. TV was a place where the real issues and problems that effected real people didn't seem to exist. And when these things were addressed, it was with such kit gloves that it rendered it almost meaningless.And in creating a main character who was a paradoxically lovable if terribly foolish and arrogant bigot, creator Norman Lear crossed into dicey, politically incorrect territory that was shocking at the time. It was also helped by that fact that both Caroll O'Connor as the bigoted working class Archie and Jean Stapleton as his ever optimistic, good hearted, sadly subservient and not very bright wife managed to turn these potential cartoons into very human characters, simultaneously absurd, but still real enough that they reminded you of those relatives you inevitably cringed through Thanksgiving with, and somehow loved despite themselves. (ala my own grandfather's seemingly endless "that colored boy can sure play ball" refrain). On the other hand, the series has dated as time has moved on. In the days before serialized series, the 'lessons', often about complex social issues, still had to be summed up in a brief 24 minutes of story time. Also, the supporting and guest actors didn't always rise to the level of O'Connor and Stapleton, so that they did indeed become cartoon. And elements do get repetitive quickly, especially in this era of 'binge watching' multiple episodes in a single sitting. For example, the pretty generic and predictable political arguments between right- wing Archie and his left-wing son in law (Rob Reiner) do get old by the 3rd or 4th one in a sitting. To those who grew up more recently, it may be hard to grasp why this show was such a huge deal. And for those of us who grew up watching it, time has somewhat dulled it's punch. But there's no question that this one show changed TV and American popular culture forever, and deserves it's reputation based on that.

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    When All In The Family premiered in 1971 it took some chances. Remember that the CBS lineup at the time included The Beverly Hillbillies, Gunsmoke, and Green Acres - hardly the stuff of controversy. Controversial "Laugh-In" had been racking up big ratings for a couple of years, but second-rate NBC had nothing to lose by taking chances.Besides broaching all of the controversial topics of the day - abortion, the Vietnam War, homosexuality, and race relations, the show dared to say something that was seldom said on stage or screen before - that bigotry and racism thrived north of the Mason Dixon line, and found particularly safe harbors in some of the urban areas of what is normally thought of as the heart of liberalism. In this case, the Bunker household is in Queens, New York.The year is 1971, and before outsourcing is even a word, Archie Bunker is able to maintain a middle class lifestyle in New York City with a blue collar job and a stay-at-home wife, Edith. He will never be anything more than he is right then. Archie holds very conservative though not well thought out - or at least not well articulated - viewpoints. And then his 18 year old daughter Gloria marries a liberal. Mike is an atheist with a Polish Catholic background, and stands for everything Archie is against. The icing on the cake - he's a penniless student and he will be a guest in Archie's home for the next several years while he finishes the university degree that will enable him to look down on Archie forever afterwords. It's funny this last point is brought up only once, by the observant if subservient Edith, Archie's wife.For a few seasons all was well, and then this show and MASH suffered a series of crushing blows - the Vietnam War ended, Nixon was disgraced, and the controversial views held by Archie's son-in-law Mike began to enter the mainstream. Thus the show had to come up with new angles to stay fresh, and it did that, even managing to negotiate the loss of three of the four main characters and a neighboring family that played an important supporting role, the African-American Jeffersons. Today it looks somewhat tie-dyed, but it's still worth studying just to see mainstream viewpoints change before your eyes.

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    This television show changed everything on TV after it. It broke so many grounds. It was one of the first sitcoms to deal with prejudice, politics, war, and was the first television show to feature the sound of a flushing toilet. The main character, Archie Bunker, is an old-fashioned bigot who represents the working man in America. His wife, Edith Bunker, represents the old-fashioned house wife in the 1950's. Archie an Edith's daughter Gloria and her husband Micheal live with the Bunkers in a suburb of New York City. The Show took on so many controversial topics of the time such as the Vietnam War and Watergate. It could always find humor in everyday suburban life. It was mostly dealing with the old-fashioned way of life (Archie), being confronted by the easy-going hippie lifestyle (Micheal) during the 1970's. All the humor is in Archie and Micheal's feuds and bickering due to the twos different beliefs. This sitcom is one of the best.

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