All in the Family

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
All in the Family TV Poster Image
Landmark '70s sitcom lightens bias with humor.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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.

Positive role models & representations

Characters learn and demonstrate empathy and humility. 

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
Drinking, drugs & smoking

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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that All in the Family 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.

User Reviews

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 sp... Continue reading
Adult Written byweezy April 9, 2008
it FUNNY. but shouldn't be shown to kids under The age of 11
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 watc... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 8, 2011

Another great show from the 20th century...WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING?!

This show is just another awesome 20th century icon! I can't believe what I've been missing! But no kid under 10 should be watching it, and kids 10-12... Continue reading

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 "perverts" 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 this show, 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 prime time 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about race and prejudice in All in the Family. 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?

  • How do the characters in All in the Family demonstrate empathy and humility? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

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