All in the Family Character Review: Michael “Meathead” Stivic

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series All in the FamilyRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Marriage, we are told is a compromise. It is also more than the coming together of two people making what will hopefully be a lifetime commitment. It is the coming together of two families. But whether or not these families learn to like or even love each other is another story.

Michael “Meathead” Stivic is the liberal son-in-law of Archie & Edith Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton). Michael or Mike as he is called, initially lives with his wife, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and his in-laws while attending college. To say that Mike and Archie don’t get along is an understatement. Nicknamed “meathead” by Archie, their arguments can go from 0 to 60 in an instant.

But just because he leans politically to the left does not mean that he is perfect. He can be racist and chauvinistic at times, forcing a hard look in the mirror. He is also not the perfect husband. When his son was a baby, Mike got a job in California. This was unfortunately the beginning of the end of the marriage. More than a decade after Mike and Gloria married, their divorce was finalized.

To sum it up: Politics and familial relationships do not always make easy bedfellows. That being said, that does mean that just because you are related to someone on the other side of the political aisle, that you are all good and they are all bad. It is about trying to see the other side and finding some sort of common ground. Unfortunately, as admirable as some audience members might think Mike he is, he might be too much like his father-in-law for his own comfort.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, New York City, Politics, Television

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