All in the Family Complete Series
The family did all sorts of stereotypical things, not seeming to like each other a whit. They lived in strange old house that looked like an apartment to me. He shouted and condemned. She wheedled and whined. They hadn't a clue, or so I thought. What would I want with this ball of noise?
This fantastic hit show began before we had a television in the family. And when we finally got a TV it was me doing the buying.
It was one of those he moves for the job and she remains to sell the house and care for the kids situations. Expenses were high and the budget was severely strained by a long year of strike and another of taking only the smallest paycheck from the new business, investing the lion's share into making it secure.
During the second year of solo parenting I was recovering from a complicated surgery. It was in some ways a repeat from one the year before so I could easily anticipate the recovery time. Since I would be alone day after day I decided to finally sign up for cable, after resisting this move for all the years our kids were growing up.
So I bought cable and a 5" TV,
the type that was made for early RV traveling. In fact, it was so cute it could be pivoted to an angle and placed on a shelf. Enduring nightly pain induced me to take it to bed with me. I could set it sideways next to my pillow and change sides with it as easily as I turned myself over to avoid the pain. The family thought it was a toy and couldn't believe that I had given in.
Then my dad paid me a visit and we placed
the tiny TV on a stool and sat there in our dining chairs for some family viewing. All in the Family came on and I rose to change the channel, but my dad was already laughing out loud. So I sat and watched it with him.
He roared and snickered and had a fine old time, but most of the humor just passed me by. I'm not sure if it was a mental block because of childhood reminders or what, but Dad felt like we had really bonded in a very happy way. He wasn't the only family member who loved this show.
Our city relatives clamored, in a really happy sense,
for time to watch the show. They regaled us with rolling laughter provoking renditions of the characters, encouraging us to watch it with them, but I just wanted to scoot out to the kitchen or to spend some time with the kids. Years later, after my return to college, I watched reruns and got totally wrapped up in the cultural references I had previously missed.
Now when I see references to the show I'm as moved as he was and I laugh just as hard. For some good old family reunion fodder I can't think of anything more thought provoking than scheduling a marathon night with Archie and Edith.
Did you know that Archie and Edith's chairs are in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History? You betcha! Get the scoop!
*here's the bonus: if you haven't seen the Sprout series you don't know what you're missing because each episode in the Complete Series contains an additional four or five minutes of the show that were clipped from the TV series.
For more of the same type humor Archie Bunker's Place carries on where the show left off.
Here's an animated version reminiscent of All in the Family, with an arch conservative dad contrasted with young liberal daughter and son-in-law.
In fact the Dad actors viewed and listened carefully to the All in the Family actors' delivery to get their lines just right.