Saturday, September 25, 2021

Review of "The Wit & Wisdom of Archie Bunker," by Norman Lear

 Review of

The Wit & Wisdom of Archie Bunker, by Norman Lear

Five out of five stars

Cutting edge humor with a social bite

 It is impossible to overstate how revolutionary the television show “All In the Family” was when it debuted 1971. Until that time, families and their internal dynamics were portrayed as sweet and innocent, none of the darker aspects of the world ever appeared in pure form. Some shows, such as the “Star Trek” original series, dealt with topics such as racism, but only in a limited way.

 “All In the Family” took on the dirty aspects of the social strata of the United States, confronting them in a head-on manner. The two main antagonists were the reactionary Archie Bunker and his liberal son in law Michael Stivic,  they were constantly at odds over current and past events. Michael was a student and married to Archie’s daughter Gloria, the two of them lived with Archie and his wife Edith.

 Like all great sit-coms, the show was made by the very high quality of the writing, including the chopping up of the English language. As a working class man, Archie was not very well educated, so his speech can be infused with well-meaning blunders. That is the basis for most of this book.

 Some of the hardest material to write is the wrong thing said in the right way. Archie was constantly fracturing the English language, yet it was done in a way that was often hilarious. The lines in this book are classic in the art of quality writing for television. They demonstrate genius in action that appears to be the utterings of a man that has many nasty opinions about others and embodies many of the things that were wrong in the United States of the early seventies.

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