All in the Family

Common Sense Media says

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.


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.


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


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

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?


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
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of All in the Family was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byRockybalboa211 June 29, 2011

Not for kids under 15!

The only reason I put 15 as the limit is because I don't believe anyone under that age could appreciate the full humor of the show. Archie is a bigot, yet sometimes lovable.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written by1970 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

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 bymrnocal April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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