All in the Family

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CBS (ended 1979)

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millerem99

User Score: 533

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All in the Family Fan Reviews (69)

8.9
out of 10
Average
1,294 votes
  • Very great show, very political, couldn't be done today. Unintentionally led to the Reagan Revolution as a show that was supposed to make fun of conservatism actually led to its rebirth.

    7.0
    All in the Family was considered to be one of the best shows on TV, and Norman Lear, the creator, was during its run hailed as a genius. All the regulars in the show are well known (Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, Jean Stapleton, and of course the late Carroll O'Connor as Archie.) Even got the Jefferson's started. Very highly rated and critically acclaimed.

    However, the show had critics, and after 35 years or so, the critics look like they were right. The show has not had the legs as some of its contemporaries, like MASH. The premise of the show was Archie, a complete bigot (in just about every way) complaining about the state of the world in the 70's. He was supposed to be a relic, clutching onto an idealized past where men were men and people knew their place. The theme song was famously "those were the days". He was always battling with his liberal daughter, his tired-of-his-ways wife, and son in law (Reiner) who constantly challenged his beliefs. Norman Lear intended Archie to be a fuddy-duddy buffoon, a relic of the past in the glorious afterglow of 60's radicalism.

    Critics pointed out the show was too clever for its own good. The show was a big hit, but not for the reasons Lear thought. Most of the viewers did not see the satire and instead related to Archie. The 70's were not a good time to be an American. Oil shocks, the decline of manufacturing, and defeat in Vietnam and later Iran hostages, plus the cities (especially pre-Giuliani New York) were filled with immorality and urban decay.

    People saw Archie as a frugal, blue collar, hard working member of the "greatest generation", disgusted with what "modern society" has wrought. They agreed with Archie. Plus Reiner's character was, unintentionally, a pre- caricature of a dirty hippie. Unemployed, thinking he was smart because of college education but without accomplishment, dirty, fat and sloppy. Sally, Archie's daughter was an empty headed, whiny brat.

    Between Archie and the 70's, people chose Archie without the racism. Perhaps did as much to usher in the Reagan revolution as Carter's incompetence and Reagan's speeches. Quite the unintended outcome from a show that wanted to make fun of conservatives.
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