All In The Family is about Bunker’s family situated in Queens, NYC where the patriarch Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) is the only source for bread and butter. With that source comes Archie’s heinous bigotry which let down many verbal backlashes and neverending arguments at home. Wife Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) is a sweet woman, a hardworking housewife, and a typical example of a faithful wife. Daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) is recently married to her jobless husband Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner). And they all live together.
Archie being a proud ‘white’ American, pro-Nixon, intolerant towards the blacks, Porto Ricans, and Jews, and his unacceptance to multiculturalism leads to many racial backfiring and hate consisting many dozens and dozens of episodes showing a reality about the society hesitant to change in the politically troubling decade of the late 60s.
But the best part is that this family of four is an example of tackling many sensitive issues in the most humorous writings ever. A tv show from 1971 speaking about racism, homosexuality, Vietnam War, women empowerment and liberty, atheism, rape, and so many sensitive subjects, it was way ahead of its time. Not only the writing of the show but the direction and performances of all the four leading casts made this sitcom and overall an American tv show of any genre one of the greatest shows of all time.
Not only was All In The Family culturally and politically significant in the US but was also successful in building its own universe where the supporting characters of the show got their own sitcoms as spin-offs and became popular sitcoms ‘Maude‘ and ‘The Jeffersons‘. Maude was Edith’s cousin and The Jeffersons were Bunker’s neighbors.
All In The Family won 22 Emmys from 55 nominations and is the first of the only four sitcoms in which all the leading cast won the Primetime Emmy Awards for their respective categories (Best Leading Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Actress).
All In The Family was also the beginning of the legendary writer and producer, Norman Lear on television who convinced CBS to run this show after two failed pilots.
America’s groundbreaking sitcom of television history is easily the greatest sitcom of the 70s and one of the greatest American shows of all time. Both TV Guide and Writers Guild of America has ranked the show 4th in their ‘greatest’ category.
There is a lot to write about this show as my fondness stretched to infinity episode by episode. I just loved Archie’s bigotry, Edith’s innocence, Gloria’s emotional fluctuations, and Mike’s scuffle with Archie. On a personal note, All In The Family is now convincingly one of my favorite sitcoms (either American or British).