"Judging Books By Covers" is a landmark episode in the greatest situation comedy in history. There are many reasons why. The first is the most obvious: the subject matter. Long considered taboo in the world of prime time television, "All in the Family" does a great job bringing this serious subject to the forefront. Further commendation is needed here because the subject was dealt with in a unique way, instead of pushing stereotypes about gay people and the gay lifestyle, this episode turned them upside down and made the viewer see just how absurd they are. The excellent supporting cast is yet another reason why this episode works so well. Emmy winner Anthony Geary is terrific as Roger. He plays the part perfectly by not hamming it up and being very relaxed in the role. The same can be said for the late Phil Carey as Archie's friend Steve. Like Geary he too does not try to overplay the role. "Judging Books By Covers" is one of the inaugural season's best episodes.
It took a lot of guts, brains and talent for a network television show to tackle gay people and gay rights in the early 1970s.
In the previous decades their had been few openly gay characters (much less actors) on television mostly based on cultural cues, sexual innuendos and various gender-based stereotypes. Even less was said about the issue of gay rights. While their was a gay rights movement in post-war America, television -- especially entertainment -- generally avoided the issue.
Hence, this episode was a controversial at the time. It challenged not just homophobia, but larger issues of sexism. Entirely appropriate for the series, but not without some protest.
For example, President Nixon went on record as being very opposed to it and homosexuality in general. Yet, the series would tackle sexuality based prejudice and discrimination in future episodes.
It is a great episode, albeit somewhat dated, and many of the issues raised are still being debated today.
Please read the following before uploading
Do not upload anything which you do not own or are fully licensed to upload. The images should not contain any sexually explicit content, race hatred material or other offensive symbols or images. Remember: Abuse of the TV.com image system may result in you being banned from uploading images or from the entire site – so, play nice and respect the rules!