Tag Archives: Mike "Meathead" Stivic

All in the Family Character Review: Archie Bunker

The new characters I will be reviewing are from…All in the Family.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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

From a writer’s perspective, it would be too easy to create a one note character that is entirely predictable. It is much harder to create a fully rounded character who the audience can relate to in-spite of that person’s flaws and imperfect humanity.

Archie Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor) is very much an every man. A veteran of World War II and a blue collar worker, Archie lives in Queens with his wife Edith (the late Jean Stapleton), his daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers), and his son-in-law Mike “Meathead” Stivic (Rob Reiner).

The world around Archie is changing. When change happens, there are two ways to respond. You can either accept it or entirely reject it. Archie is not shy in admitting that he would prefer that life went back to the way it was. He also is not shy about using not so politically correct terms that some might refer to as racist or sexist.

Archie is a dyed in the wool supporter of the Republican Party and then President Richard Nixon. Which often leads to clashes with Mike and Gloria, who politics are on the more liberal spectrum. He also refers to Edith as “dingbat” and loves to sit in his favorite chair while sharing his opinions about the world around him.

But underneath that gruff and bravado is a man who loves his family and at the end of the day, would do anything for them.

To sum it up: No one is just all good or all bad. It is that in between of good and bad that makes us human. Though Archie Bunker may appear to be a racist and sexist hard-ass, he is in reality a man trying to process the transformation of everything that is in front of him.

That is why he is a memorable character.

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

If a Draft Dodger and a Gold Star Father Can Find Something in Common, So Can the Rest of Us

*-Spoiler alert. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the episode of All in the Family that aired last week.

Last week, Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times’ aired on ABC.

I can’t comment about the Good Times episode because it’s just one of those shows that I never watched.

However, I knew the episode from All in the Family.

The focus on the episode was Christmas dinner. Pinky (Kevin Bacon) has been invited by Archie (Woody Harrelson) to join the Bunkers for Christmas Eve. A gold star father who lost his son in Vietnam, Pinky is still in mourning for his son. David (Jessie Eisenberg) is an old friend of Mike (Ike Barinholtz). He has nowhere else to go for the holiday and is extended an invitation by Mike.

Over the course of the episode, David reveals that he is a draft dodger. Archie, of course is enraged. The expectation is that verbal daggers will be thrown. Instead, the two men shake hands and peacefully sit down to dinner.

Our country is as divided as it was when this episode originally aired. The thing that struck me is that if these two men, with completely opposite viewpoints, can sit down and have Christmas dinner in peace, why can’t the rest of us?

Happy Monday.

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Filed under History, Television