Tag Archives: Michael "Meathead" Stivic

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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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

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

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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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