Saturday, November 5, 2022

Review of "TV’s First Family," by Louis Solomon

 Review of

TV’s First Family, by Louis Solomon

Five out of five stars

History of a revolution

 When Norman Lear developed the hit show, “All in the Family,” he revolutionized network television. For the first time, pressing social issues became the subject matter of a prime time situation comedy. Specifically, the racism and ethnic prejudice that was so much a fact of American life. Ethnic, racial and religious slurs were as much a part of Archie Bunker’s life as was eating and breathing. On the opposite side, there was son-in-law Michael Stivic, a pure liberal that was often as thick-headed as Archie. Somewhere in the middle were Archie’s wife Edith and his daughter Gloria Stivik. As is almost always the case in revolutionary works of art, all the characters are played to extremes. Edith is portrayed as of limited intelligence and hopelessly devoted to Archie.

 The show was extremely satirical, with the prejudices of Archie portrayed as objects of ridicule rather than as role models. To many, it was a breath of fresh air in a medium that was sometimes referred to as “the bland leading the bland.” “All in the Family” was controversial, yet it was a hit and was the forerunner of other hits that stretched the limits of what could appear on network television. Often lost is that this show was the first fiction show on television to depict an attempted rape. It was dramatic television at its’ best, Jean Stapleton should have won an award for that scene only. There is no more dramatic scene in the history of television.

 A change agent of the largest type, Normal Lear was the first to give us reality television. Not the scripted nonsense now called reality TV, but television drama that reflected the difficulties and hardships of real life. This book is an excellent, brief history of this incredible show.

No comments:

Post a Comment