All in the Family

 
(i)

 

Landmark '70s sitcom lightens bias with humor.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Archie Bunker is a conservative bigot with a good heart. His prejudices are meant to highlight cultural issues in a positive, thoughtful way. Serious topics like women's rights, gay rights, racial equality, etc. are addressed.

Violence

Usually no violence, except for occasional slapstick stuff. In one episode, a man is killed during a hate crime outside the Bunker house. Discussion of other crimes, including rape.

Sex

Some very tame allusions to Mike and Gloria's sex life. Some brief kissing. Discussion of sexually related issues, like homosexuality.

Language

Some mild cursing, like "hell" and "dammit." Occasional bigoted language, like the n-word and derogatory terms for homosexuals.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character drinks an occasional beer and smokes a pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this landmark sitcom features a main character who is racist and homophobic -- and was recognized as such even when the show initially aired in the '70s. Archie's bigotry is used to highlight serious social topics like rape, breast cancer, and homosexuality in a humorous, thoughtful, ultimately positive way. Racially charged language (like the n-word) is sometimes used. In one episode, a guest character is killed by an explosion in the distance.

What's the story?

Starring Carroll O'Connor as "loveable bigot" Archie Bunker, groundbreaking 1970s sitcom ALL IN THE FAMILY topped the ratings during much of its original nine-year run and has justifiably earned a spot in the TV hall of fame. Archie Bunker was a prejudiced, blue-collar white guy from Queens whose socially conservative opinions clashed frequently, and hilariously, with those of his lefty son-in-law Mike "Meathead" Stivic (Rob Reiner) and his daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers). His long-suffering spouse, Edith (Jean Stapleton), was a traditional wife who usually deferred to her husband, even tolerating his pet name for her: "Dingbat." Episodes typically addressed Archie's bigotry, putting him in situations where he has to confront his prejudices. For example, in one show, Archie travels with Mike and Gloria on the subway back from a visit to the Bronx, where the couple was looking at a house. On the train, Archie warns Gloria not to sit next to "preverts" or winos, and he alludes to the Bronx being a place where African Americans live -- and therefore, using his logic, not a neighborhood for white people like Mike and Gloria.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Before All in the Family, serious political and social topics like homosexuality, rape, racism, and women's rights weren't discussed on a network comedy show. Though Archie expressed his beliefs frequently, his illogical reasoning and hilarious malapropisms seriously decreased their impact. And Edith was funny, too -- her simple nature allowed for some humorous misunderstandings. In some episodes, Archie uses the "N" word and other derogatory terms for African Americans and gay people. It's worth noting that O'Connor went on to star in the show In the Heat of the Night, in which he played a wise, tolerant sheriff in the Deep South. Obviously, Archie's intolerance was all an act -- and an excellent one, at that (O'Connor earned eight Emmy nominations for the role and won four times).

Families might enjoy watching All in the Family together, although it may seem too dated for the younger set. Much of what was considered risqué in the 1970s seems modest by today's standards (the sound of a toilet flushing had never been heard on primetime before this series). Parents will probably want to discuss Archie's prejudices with younger folks to help them put it in context and understand the subtleties of the show's humor.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about race and prejudice. How have discussions of race changed since this show began? How are they the same? What kinds of racial divisions do kids notice in their school? Have kids ever heard someone use a racial epithet? What do kids think about Archie's bigotry? Is this a racist show? Is it the media's job to bring attention to issues like prejudice? How do today's media tackle these topics?

TV details

Cast:Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner
Networks:Syndicated, TV Land
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of All in the Family was written by

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Teen, 17 years old Written by1970 April 9, 2008
 

it funny

this show is funny while it can be sad at the sme time but it is the best show to ever be on television
Adult Written byRyanD 1 July 23, 2015
 

All in the Family is comedy at its best!

This show, as many know, packs the punches when it comes to perpetuating stereotypes and bigotry. Archie Bunker, the patriarch of this show, is never slow to speak his mind. Contentious political, social, and racial boundaries are crossed in this show frequently. In its time, this brand of humor on primetime television was unparalleled. That being said, this show is a classic. Anyone who tunes in to the Bunker family is guaranteed a belly laugh. Archie's blunt prejudice and opinionated personality make the show. My personal favorite "All in the Family" moment is when Sammy Davis Jr. kisses Archie when they have a photo snapped. The look on Archie's face is priceless. I laugh out loud when watching this show. I'd recommend it for teens and up. The language is mild and ranges from "meathead" (a nickname that Archie gives his son-in-law) and "dingbat". Parents: please explain to your children before they watch that Archie's misogynist, anti-semitic, racist, or chauvinistic comments are played for laughs. Teach them to respect all cultures and races and to follow the Golden Rule. That's my best advice. On that note, watch it with your teens and enjoy!
Kid, 10 years old July 8, 2013
 

Awesome show!!!!!

I watch a lot of classic TV and this is the most funny one I most seen i know there is lots of racy words and stuff but I love this show my parents let me watch all by myself with my 5 year old brother it's best show in the universe

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