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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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

Ideally, when we marry, the family we are born into and raised by will get along with our new spouse and their family. But that is not always the case. On All in the Family, Gloria Stivic (Sally Struthers) is the only child of Archie and Edith Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton). Married to Michael “Meathead” Stivic (Rob Reiner), Gloria is the peace maker between her liberal husband and her conservative father who refers to her as “little girl”.

During the first few years of their marriage, Gloria supports her husband while he attends college. Working at a department store, she only has a high school education, which does not help during arguments with Mike. After Mike receives his degree, they move into the house next door to her parents and welcome their son into the world.

Unafraid to speak her mind, Gloria can verbally tussle with her father as no one else can. As a young woman in the 1970’s, she speaks for the feminists of that generation, who were just starting to ramp up the fight for equality.

After they move to California, Gloria and Mike’s marriage falls apart. She eventually returns to New York as a single mother, working in a veterinarians office.

To sum it up: It’s a tough place to be in, torn between between the person you married and the family who you have known your entire life. But Gloria is somehow able to figure out how to walk that very thin tightrope without ruining her relationship with her parents and her husband.

Which is why she is a memorable character.


The NBA Strike is More Than a Night Off

Whether we know it or not, we often look to celebrities as examples of how to behave or not behave.

Since May, when George Floyd was murdered, protests have exploded all over the country. Across Hollywood and the sports world, celebrities have stepped up in the name of justice and equality.

With the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend, America was again reminded that police still single out Americans of color. In response, several NBA teams have chosen to strike. Jared Kusher, sticking his nose in where it did not belong, claimed that they were “taking the night off“.

The full quote is as follows:

“The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”

While it is true that they will still earn their salaries, this strike is not about money. It is about racial inequity and violence that still exists in the United States. These players are using their platform to take a stand and send a message.

Not that Kushner or anyone around him would be able to understand that message.

Throwback Thursday: Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

In the world of beauty competitions, the ultimate goal is to win. For some contestants and their handlers, that means resorting to tactics that break a few rules.

In the 1999 movie, Drop Dead Gorgeous, a small town in Minnesota is preparing for their annual beauty pageant. Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley) is the matriarch of the wealthiest family in town. She will do anything (and I mean anything) to ensure that her daughter Becky (Denise Richards) comes out on top.

But Becky has a rival in Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), whose mother Annette (Ellen Barkin), is equally as eager to see her daughter take the crown. Before the winner is announced there will be some roadblocks along the way. One of which maybe a dead body.

It’s not quite a satire, but it has elements of the genre. What I remember about the movie is that is both entertaining and a treatise of how we treat young women. If all they learn is that their looks are the most important thing in life, what will their expectations be for the rest of their lives?

I recommend it.

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