When explaining why California is a bad place to live to Gloria and Meathead in a highly politically incorrect manner, Archie Bunker didn’t hold back.
One of the most cherished sitcoms of the 1970s was All in the Family. Because Archie Bunker was not politically correct, Americans adored him. The honest observations Archie made about the rapidly evolving world were relatable to many of us. It made for hilarious episodes that garnered 22 Emmy Awards because Archie was never one to keep his opinions to himself and was always ready to express them.
Nothing could persuade Archie to change his mind. This was undoubtedly the case when he spoke of the relocation to California of his daughter Gloria and her spouse Michael Stivic, also known as “Meathead.” Archie said moving to California was a really bad idea and like in any good comedy, there are important themes that Americans can identify with underlying the jokes, such as a father who is heartbroken because his cherished daughter is relocating across the country.
“Nobody normal thinks about going out to California. It’s the land of fruits and nuts. Every fruit is a little nutty and every nut is a little fruity,” Archie told Gloria.
That emotion was even more evident during an episode as it was when Meathead derided the National Anthem as a “terrible song” that “glorified war.” Many people now claim that Rob Reiner, who played Meathead, wasn’t acting at all but rather playing himself as the usual “hippie.”
As the National Anthem starts playing on TV, “That is one terrible song,” Meathead said to Archie as the two are watching a baseball game together.
“Don’t start up nothing with me Meathead. That’s a beautiful song so shut your face!” Bunker responds.
“Ha! The song glorifies war and even as a song it stinks and nobody can remember the words,” Meathead said, refusing to let that go.
The character of Archie Bunker by Carrol O’Connor in All in the Family won over Americans who were tired of politics. His indignation at his son-in-disdain law’s made for must-watch television. Although the scene becomes comedic, it is timeless because it reflects current issues.
According to Rob Reiner, he still gets recognized as “Meathead” today. Gloria, a daughter of Archie, is the wife of Meathead in All in the Family. He is obtaining a sociology degree while not working and living with his in-laws. Reiner’s Meathead likes “protests” and makes people in America think of the counterculture of the 1960s.
Archie, on the other hand, was a decorated World War II warrior who cherished his nation. He was also a diligent foreman on the New York docks, which takes us to another iconic moment that highlighted Democrats during Jimmy Carter’s gas crisis and revealed his lack of concern for Democrats.
“The Democrats’ way of ruining this country is to go tell us all how we oughtta make sacrifices. God did great on that stuff. But they’re all gonna have us over the hill to the poorhouse. And we ain’t gonna be able to drive over there cause we ain’t got no gas. We gonna have to walk it,” Archie says.
“History repeats itself,” they say, and Archie Bunker’s observations about the 1970s still hold true today. Even the TV comedy’s catchy theme music, “Those Were The Days,” captures Archie’s irresistible spirit as the typical blue-collar worker in America who yearns for the past:
“Didn’t need no welfare state
ev’rybody pulled his weight
gee our old LaSalle ran great
Those were the days
And you knew who you were then
girls were girls and men were men
Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again”
The plot of the middle-class family fighting to survive in a world that is constantly changing is still relevant today even though the final episode of All in the Family aired in 1979. Despite our different worldviews, Archie urged us to love our family in the end. This was the crux of the problem with his daughter Gloria.
Regardless of the political differences he had with his son-in-law, he didn’t simply want her to move to California; he also wanted her close to him. The most important thing was family, not politics. We should all be able to support that sentiment.
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