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Saturday, June 1, 2013

All in the Family

R.I.P. Jean Stapleton

All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, picked up where All in the Family had ended. Wikipedia

 Archie Bunker, was a working-class family man who held bigoted, conservative views of the world. His viewpoints clash with nearly everyone he comes into contact with especially his liberal son-in-law Mike Stivic (or, as Archie delights in calling him, "Meathead"). Written by Brian Rathjen

By 1971 I was no longer living at home with my parents, but I used to live only 8 miles away and I would visit with them regularly.  I especially enjoyed visiting on Tuesday nights when the popular program “All in the Family” was televised.  I never told my stepfather that I thought his personality and way of thinking most closely resembled Archie Bunker.  I found that he most often agreed with Archie Bunker on the issues that were discussed on a given Tuesday night.

My stepfather, was not bigoted like Archie Bunker, but he always spoke what was on his mind, without the benefit of any social filter.  After every episode of Archie we would sit around the table and have a friendly discussion about the issues the program covered over a cup of coffee.  I had my ulterior motives for engaging my stepfather in conversation.  You see he loved the show, and really felt that the way Archie treated Edith was proper.

I just wanted to make sure that he understood that Archie Bunker was a television character that was portrayed as flawed, and basically a caricature.  Without being disrespectful, I just wanted him to understand that I was there to look over my mother’s best interest, and wellbeing.  I’ve always had and still do the utmost respect for a man that accepted the responsibility to finish raising me when my father was not around.  On the other hand I always wanted to make sure that I was nearby for anything my mother needed.

All in the Family provided much needed entertainment and remained in first place for 5 years straight.  Most importantly the program provided opportunities for discussion on social issues ranging across the spectrum.  Jean Stapleton, was a wonderful and professional actress.  Some of the most basic characters in the industry require the most talent and she sure had it.  She lived to nice age of 90 and will always be fondly remembered R.I.P.  The best is yet to come…

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